We’re exactly a month after Halo: Reach’s monumental release, and we keep finding things to post about it. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! For the small but vocal minority out there that have been lambasting Reach for its relatively slim selection of multiplayer maps, Bungie has heard your cries.
Coming at us next month for 800 Microsoft Points, or 10 real life dollars, the Noble Map Pack will deliver three new maps and 250 Achievement points. Considering that I still haven’t beaten the game on Legendary solo (it’s really hard!) I can only imagine what these new cheevos will bring. Halo 3 had some ridiculous Achievements added after the fact, so my inner Achievement whore shudders to think what I’ll be going through in a month and a half. Bungie has also released some screenshots of the battlefields contained within the Noble Map Pack, so hit the jump to see them in their glory!
If you weren’t watching ESPN tonight for whatever reason, then you may have missed the full length trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops. The teaser went up a few days ago, but good things come to those who wait, right? Because you’ve been patient, we have the trailer embeded right below for you. Go ahead and get a quick look at the single player campaign of Call of Duty: Black Ops:
Say what you will about Treyarch and their previous efforts, I kind of like the behind-the-scenes, cloak-and-dagger setting that the game is building, which is different from what Call of Duty usually gives us. While I’m sure the game will involve all the bombastic action that we’re used to, having an opportunity to fight through the Cold War is a new one for us gamers. Now that we’ve seen a bit more on the single player for Black Ops, any thoughts? Do you have doubts after Modern Warfare 2, or do you think Treyarch will succeed in single player?
Steam. Everybody loves it. What better way to get your games online for your PC than with Valve’s awesome distribution method? Naturally, if a competitor is doing something excellently, Microsoft is going to try and capitalize with its own service: enter Games for Windows.
At the London Games Festival, Gearbox recently called for Valve and Microsoft to fix the incompatibility issues that plague users who purchase their games via the rival distributors. According to Gearbox’s marketing honcho Steve Gibson, the two are “building silos”, which will inevitably “hurt the PC industry.”
With their big release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011 sure to be a sales grabber, it’s no wonder that Gearbox is concerned about this kind of issue. Honestly, I’m wondering why anybody would purchase a game via Games for Windows when an option like Steam even exists.
Every year, the question of digging through the stacks of releases to find which games are worth your time and money is a pretty extensive one. It requires a fair bit of research, a little bit of hocus pocus and also gut instincts to nab the things that you think will jive with your gaming preferences most fully. This becomes especially hard as the video game world becomes obsessed with certain games, sometimes hyping and potentially overhyping whatever new Messiah of gaming has shown up this year.
We’ve all dealt with our share of overrated games not quite living up to what we thought they would be. In fact, we’ve talked about that very thing a number of times here on the old Sushi. However, I was thinking about this issue the other day when talking about the Halo franchise to someone: can a game be both overrated but also still good?
Personally, I think it can be, and the Halo games totally fit the bill. They’re not quite as great as everyone gives them credit for, but they’re still pretty awesome, in my book. Other games that belong here in my opinion include anything from GTA IV to Bioshock (great but over-praised, I feel), Final Fantasy X and even one of my all time favorites, Final Fantasy VII.
So, what games would you guys put in that category? Can games be both very good but also overrated?
Apparently someone at 343 Industries was taking their crazy pills and signed off on Apt. 117, a cartoon about a “normal, average guy who lives with a Halo fanboy.” Sort of like the Odd Couple, but with more man-boobs. Actually, maybe the exact same amount. Anyways, the trailer for this cartoon recently went up, and you can watch it below if you’re so inclined.
If that didn’t excite you then maybe it’s doing its job, as the cartoon is described as purposely underwhelming. I don’t know if I’ve ever invested my time into being specifically disapointed but hey, this might be a new untapped market. Personally, I think a cartoon dedicated to Spartan 1337 would be better, as his short was the only one from Halo: Legends I enjoyed. Apt. 117 will be hitting Halo: Waypoint on X-Box LIVE soon, making it the only time in history that I will consciously stay far, far away from something Halo. Thoughts?
I kind of love these Fallout: New Vegas developer diaries that have been appearing recently. I know that we’ve been humming and hawing about Obsidian and their track record (which is strange, considering that Knights of the Old Republic 2 was like crack to me), but these videos show me that they have a really good understanding of Fallout and what people expect from it. This makes sense considering that Chris Avellone (Senior Designer at Obsidian) worked on Fallout 2 back in the day. Check out the video to get your run down on the three main factions you can side with in New Vegas:
It’s a nice option being able to choose sides, especially considering in Fallout 3 your options were basically “join the Brotherhood of Steel or not”. Personally, I’m leaning towards the New California Republic with Mr. House in a close second. Fallout: New Vegas comes out really soon, October 19, so you’ve got a little bit of time to plan out whether you’ll support once faction or go for total anarchy.
The funny thing about online gaming is that it’s an experience that seems to get overhauled every few years. While still in its infancy compared to the longer history of gaming in general, online gaming is going to continue to change in marvelous and unexpected ways. I can actually still remember my first online game, which was in the older than old school Rainbow Six on the PC. After that, it was Quake 2.
I have to say, it’s definitely an interesting read, and I can’t really argue with it. For one, they include Portal’s free release on Steam when it came to Mac systems (and let’s be honest, Valve finds a way to get Steam on a list like this every year). On top of that, they point towards both Minecraft and even Starcraft II’s removal of LAN play except over Battle.net as key moments in online gaming this year as well.
So what do you guys think of this list? What were some of this year’s biggest online developments? And on top of that, what were your favorite online experiences?
I don’t want to start off this article by saying that we’re a bunch of gaming prophets or anything, but sometimes we make frighteningly accurate predictions. I don’t know if any of you recall, but on our E3 podcast, we conjectured that Bungie and Activision might be putting out an MMO since Activision loves recurring payments and Bungie loves making games. Turns out we might not have been too far off the mark.
In a recent keynote speech at GDC Online Austin, Bungie’s Joe Staten, known for writing the Halo games along with the Contact Harvest novel, talked about building the canon around Halo and how that contributed to the game’s success. After he finished giving his speech (in which he admitted that the ending to Halo 2 was a total mess, confirming what we knew all along), he opened up to some Q&A with the audience. One of the questions was related to Bungie’s next project, to which Staten responded with this little snippet:
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could make a world that was always there for you?”, replied Staten. “Wow. That would be great.”
While he doesn’t out and out say that an MMO is indeed Bungie’s next project, his comment does seem to lean in that direction. While his whole discussion on the writing of Halo was a great read, this is probably going to be the sticking point for people going forward.
We’re undoubtedly going to see something concrete from Bungie’s next project soon, so do you guys think they’re going to go the MMO route? Do you think it will be First Person or some other genre? Based on Halo: Reach, I’d love to see some space combat in there as well.
One of the most imaginative franchises in gaming is Fallout, envisioned as an alternate future where the art-deco mind-set of the 1950s dominated the design of everything from home computers to robots. However, this retro-futuristic setting was destroyed be a devastating nuclear war, and humanity is still trying to rebuild itself during the series. While the game is fairly imaginative and speculatory, it still has to have a reality behind it. Where the Science of Games comes in is that point, where the fictional meets the factual. How well does Fallout stand up under the microscope?
I personally really enjoy this series, and in the past they have covered games such as Mass Effect and Star Wars and have explored whether or not the fantastical gadgets in those games are feasible. What did you guys think of this particular segment? What games would you like them to cover in the future? Personally, I’d love to see a Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising themed one, exploring the realities of the zombie apocalypse.
Since I haven’t been playing very many games in the last few days, I thought I’d live vicariously through you guys. Caught up in the middle of a substantial amount of personal writing, I’ve set my gaming aside just a bit. It keeps nipping at my heels, too, but I try and resist as much as possible.
So, if I weren’t writing, here are the games I would be playing: Halo: Reach (Captain Grade 1, bitches), Lego Harry Potter (I refuse to return it until I get an achievement), Breath of Death VII, Dead Rising 2, and Minecraft, although I might cave and check that one out tonight. On my list for the next couple of weeks: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow.
Duke Nukem Forever, shown in its resurgent form at PAX 2010 thanks to Gearbox Software, is finally gaining some momentum and is actually coming to home systems next year. The game has only been shown behind closed doors so far, but plenty of off-screen footage has been taken. This most recent video, taken at the Firstlook gaming convention in Amsterdam, shows that the humor that was prevalent in the series back in the day is still permeating the title. Whether or not people still find this stuff funny is up for debate, but I thought I’d post the video anyways since I know a bunch of you are jonesing hard for this one. The game actually starts going at two minutes in if you want to skip Randy Pitchford’s pontificating.
I’ll admit that the game itself actually looks pretty good, and the fight against the giant alien is pretty intense (who doesn’t use God Mode at demos?), but the attempts at toilet humor just didn’t do it for me. Also, when someone is urinating, can’t you typically see their equipment? Methinks Duke might be compensating. As always, we’d love to know what you guys think about this new video. Do you bet on Duke, or was this video not doing it for you? Are you maybe dreading the inevitable destruction of the world that will prevent this game from ever coming out? Go!
The GamerSushi podcast is back with your regularly scheduled programming, and this time the main portion is a helping of Halo: Reach with a side of fall gaming. In this episode, we take a look at the big Bungie title and then do a rundown of all of the other titles we’re anxious to play in the coming months, plus we predict scores for some of the bigger names in a new, awesome segment. Throw in some community topics and the Nintendo 3DS, and you’ve got yourself a mighty podcast.
If I’m being honest, I think this is probably our best episode yet. We didn’t run into any technical difficulties, and I think we’ve finally nailed down a format for discussion that keeps things moving from topic to topic easily. But then again, I should just let you be the judge, since I’m biased.
Well, today is just the Saturday of deals, isn’t it? In addition to the XBox Live thank you gift Anthony posted about earlier, here’s another one for all of you dudes wondering how many couch cushions you’re going to have to turn over to get the rest of the games on your Fall list: GameStop’s trade in values for October 2010.
Bowing to pressure from those wary of disrespecting U.S. soldiers killed by the Taliban, EA has announced that they are removing references to that group from the multiplayer portion of Medal of Honor, due to be released in November. The Taliban will now be referred to as “Opposing Forces”, which is just generic enough to not offend anyone opposed to the change.
Executive Producer Greg Goodrich made no mention of any changes in behavior or gameplay, so it sounds as if it just a cosmetic change and no mention was made of removing references to the Taliban in the campaign, which would likely be a significant undertaking. Still, I can’t help but be disappointed that EA has caved. If video games are going to move forward as a significant art form and a medium, publishers shouldn’t back down if they truly believe in their artistic decision.
One thing I must mention is that it is just a name change. At the end of the day, people are still going to be able to kill U.S. troops in the game, so I am curious to see what the reaction from the “opposing forces” of Medal of Honor will have to say about this.
What do you think about the change? Is EA doing the right thing or should they have stood their ground? Do you think playing as the Taliban in a multiplayer game is disrespectful to fallen soldiers?
Ladies and dudes, the time is here: the fall season of gaming is officially upon us, and all we can do now is paddle as hard we can to keep up with the avalanche of titles falling to our TVs and monitors. Sure, I’m mixing metaphors here a little bit, but the point here is the same: lots of games are coming out, and you no doubt want to play a large share of them. Yes, even though Little Big Planet 2 has been delayed.
Since we’re so nice, we’ve put together an epic list of our 30 most anticipated upcoming games of 2010. You’ll be surprised at just how much is waiting for you. We’ve got everything from RPGs to zombies, DS exclusives and sprawling PC MMOs. Check it out!
If you’re into online First Person Shooters, you’ve probably come to accept that all of them incorporate some sort of XP progression/unlock system at this point. This fad started gaining steam with Call of Duty 4, and it has been carried over to almost every other shooter since then. Fittingly, Black Ops takes this into the ridiculous territory with the customizations that will be allowed in game. Call of Duty usually avoided having the player customize their in-game avatar, but Black Ops will allow you to give your persona everything from face paint to armor and customized sights for your guns. Seriously, this video borders on ludicrous once the developers start detailing the different kinds of emblems you can emblazon your firearm with. Take a look:
While this is really cool, I think they lost me around the custom red-dot sight part. At some point you’re just adding too much to the investment system, and constantly dangling carrots in front of people gets annoying more often than not. As much as I love Halo: Reach, the poor design of the rank/armor system has really been rankling me (it takes forever to make it past Warrant Officer). Hopefully Black Ops will not suffer the same fate by making more options available faster. So, see anything that catches your fancy? Are you getting sick of shooter with a huge focus on ranks and unlocks?
One of the surprise features in Treyarch’s 2008 Call of Duty entry World at War was the inclusion of the four-player co-op mode Nazi Zombies. Fans of CoD were originally dismissive of this offering, but those of us who played it quickly fell in love with the shambling hordes of Third Reich undead. Nazi Zombies featured a scaling difficulty that meant later rounds necessitated a good team working together, otherwise your soft flesh would quickly provide sustenance for the ravening swarm.
Nazi Zombies quickly gained in popularity throughout World at War’s life-span, with Treyarch adding new maps and even a mythology behind the game. Now that the Call of Duty off-team is up to bat again, they’re putting Nazi Zombies into Black Ops, but tuning it up for the upcoming release. Studio head Mark Lamia gave this little snippet in regards to the return of the walking dead:
“Zombies have been such a hit with our community that we were committed to bringing brand new zombie experiences to Call of Duty: Black Ops. We’ve taken extra special care to retain the essential ingredients of our Zombie game, and have also crafted a nice surprise for the fans.”
There’s nothing else beyond that, but one can only imagine what Nazi Zombies (or Communist Zombies?) is going to look like after two years in development. There have been a lot of changes to Call of Duty since then, so one can only suppose that the mode will change to compensate. I know that my purchase of Black Ops hinged on a Zombie mode, but what about you guys? Ready to kill some whiskey deltas? When more details unfold, we will be sure to include them. If you’re the kind of person who likes a good teasing, Call of Duty: Black Ops site GKNOVA6 has what you’re looking for.
This is sort of a week for excellent dance-themed machinima, it seems. First we get the sublime krogan dance off in the form of Mass Effect 2′s Dance Dance Redemption, and now we have Dance Fortress 2. This little beauty of a video was made by a talented man who goes by the name of James Benson. This project started two months ago, and the culmination of his efforts can be seen below. This was apparently made as a resume to Valve, so best of luck to you, Mr. Benson.
Whether we like it or not, Halo is a game that changed the FPS landscape forever. It can be argued that this is for both good and ill, but the fact remains that the epic FPS sci-fi series from Bungie typically constitutes a natural disaster in whatever year it arrives. Halo: Reach has made landfall, gentlemen, and it’s time to sort out the damage.
After a couple weeks of reading other Halo: Reach reviews, there seems to be a general consensus. One, that writers like to use the phrase “swan song”. Two, that Bungie’s final installment into the Halo series culminates in what might be its greatest and most critically acclaimed title yet. Reviewing a Halo game carries with it a tricky balance of managing hype, expectations and fanboy glee, but in Reach, it’s hard to ignore all of the wonderful things that Bungie accomplished, and how they’ve changed the game yet again moving forward.
So, just how good is the game? Read on to find out.
In our modern day of tubes, webs and whatever hamsters that ferret the packets of data across the Internet, online gaming has risen to a peak like never before. This is obvious to say in a sentence, but really, when you think about how different things were just 5 or 6 years ago, it’s actually staggering. For instance: Halo 2 was the first major online console FPS. That was released in 2004. YouTube was just a fledgling site then. You get the picture.
Anyway, in thinking about the way the gaming world has transformed as well as contemplating some old gaming favorites, I was struck by the notion of bringing the classics online. For me, it wasn’t until I started playing games online that I realized what a small fish I was in a huge pond in terms of skill. For every green shell I could connect at Mario Kart 64, there were probably millions that could run circles around me, and so forth. My skills in Goldeneye were only surpassed by my brother in our circle, but I wonder what kind of challenges he would have faced out there.
So, in continuing with that thought, what gaming classics and favorites would you choose to infuse with co-operative or competitive online play? Go!