The Highs and Lows of the Battlefield 4 Beta

battlefield 4 beta

Last week the Battlefield 4 beta launched, featuring the map Siege of Shanghai with the modes Conquest and Domination. Being the outspoken Battlefield advocate that I am, I selflessly took it upon myself to dive headfirst into the beta and bring you a report from the dust-choked battleground of Shanghai.

I’m playing the beta on PC, and thankfully I haven’t been impeded by the weird technical errors that seems to have stymied some users. Battlefield 4 looks absolutely gorgeous on a decent rig as DICE has done away with most of their weird aesthetic choices from Battlefield 3 (like the super-nova sun and the blue tint). The war torn streets of Shanghai have a lot of interactive features as well, like the ability to close store shutters to keep enemies out or raise bollards to stop a tank from rolling across a bridge (at one point I was able to use a blinking metal detector to locate an enemy that had rounded the corner and escaped my line of sight).

Continue reading The Highs and Lows of the Battlefield 4 Beta

Minerva Help Me, This New Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Trailer is Awesome

I think that I’ve been pretty vocal in my condemnation of Assassin’s Creed 3 over the past year. I thought it was barren, janky, scatterbrained and didn’t fit the mold of what I’ve come to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game. In short, it left me wary of future installments in the franchise.

Since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was announced a few months ago, I’ve been rather lukewarm about it. Sure, it capitalizes on the best part of AC3, the naval battles, but being a successor to that game would it travel the same dark road? This new gameplay video narrated by game director Ashraf Ismail shows how closely Assassin’s Creed IV is hewing to the older games and what’s changed for the next adventure.

I’ve got to admit, Black Flag is looking pretty solid. The naval combat has had a tactical layer added on to it with the spyglass, and the return of free-form assassination contracts rubs me in all the right ways. So what do you guys think? Does Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag look like it has some promise, or are appearances deceiving?

Towers Crumble in Battlefield 4: Siege of Shanghai Multiplayer Trailer

You guys probably knew this was coming, but after Battlefield 4’s strong showing at the EA press conference yesterday, there’s no way I could pass up sharing this.

DICE showed off a 64-player Conquest mode match on a map based in Shanghai, displaying the revamped Commander mode (which you can do through a tablet as well as in-game), Levolution, and a few things besides. While the gameplay is live, the players are quite obviously following a script, but overall it’s a great trailer. Have a watch!

So yeah, consider me super impressed by Battlefield 4! EA had a great press conference, even if they did spend a little too long on sports (which I understand, even if it’s the genre of games I find the least interesting). What do you guys think of Battlefield 4’s multiplayer? Looking good?

Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem Awakening

I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?

But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem

Anatomy of a Game

Anatomy of a game Zelda

One of the many complaints I have with video game journalism is there is no follow-through. A game is announced, followed by rumors, speculation, then a hands-on preview and finally, the long-awaited review. Maybe, just maybe, there will be an interview with the developers or some type of feature written after the game has been released, but rarely does anyone delve deeply into the inner workings of the actual game.

However, there are a few who do and one of them is Jeremy Parish, sole survivor of the many layoffs and closings at 1Up. Jeremy, like many of us, keeps his own blog, Telebunny (http://telebunny.net/toastyblog/) formerly known as Gamespite. In addition to a hefty archive of great game writings, there is a section that I want to shine our spotlight on today: Anatomy of a Game. Anatomy of a game is a careful look at game mechanics and how they relate to the player as given by the designer. I will let Jeremy explain himself: Continue reading Anatomy of a Game

Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?

Participation

Achievements have definitely had a huge impact on the way I play games. A few years ago I played Oblivion well past the point of enjoyment because I knew for a fact that if I just played long enough I could get all of the achievements. It’s still the only game I’ve ever managed to 100%, but there have been several other times I’ve come close. Achievement hunting appeals to the obsessive collector in me, and if I don’t burn out on a game, I’m usually more than willing to spend a few hours after the endgame running around trying to do the oftentimes arbitrary tasks required to make them unlock.

That said, it didn’t surprise me to read designer Keith Burgun’s article about how achievements negatively affect gameplay. Burgun argues that “at their best, [achievements] do nothing at all. At their worst, they influence player behavior.” Now, I’m sure we all have stories of achievement hunters ruining multiplayer games. After all, if there’s an achievement for getting X kills with a knife in multiplayer, the end result is that you’re going to have a bunch of dudes running around trying to stab each other whether or not it actually makes tactical sense. It’s easy to see how achievements could negatively influence player behaviors when it comes to playing with a group of people, but what’s the big deal when it comes to playing solo? Continue reading Achievements: Unlocking Negative Gameplay?

Gears of War: Judgement Will Change as You Play

gears of war judgement declassified system

If there’s any game that’s more unnecessary than a Gears of War prequel, I’d like to see it (already seen God of War: Ascension) but it sounds like Epic subsidiary studio People Can Fly are doing their best to make the next trip back to the Gears-verse worth your time.

As Gears of War: Judgement is being told from the perspective of Baird and Cole defending themselves at a treason hearing, certain elements of the game will change each time you play it because, like any memory, things are going to be forgotten, replaced, or just plain made up. For example, the first time you play through a level, you might have access to sniper rifles, but the next time you play, Baird might say something like “we didn’t have access to snipers rifles” and poof: where you were once popping fools with snipers, you now have to get down and dirty with them.

As you play the missions you’ll eventually get to go through “declassified” versions of the levels, which is the actual series of events. Gears of War: Judgement also comes with a smart-spawn system similar to Left 4 Dead’s director: if you’re doing well the game will throw more enemies in different locations and you, and if you’re struggling to progress, things will get a bit easier.

Mixing things up like is what helps make a prequel a bit more palatable. I’m interested to see how this system will preform when the game drops, but for now it sounds like an interesting concept. What do you guys think? Is Gears of War: Judgement sounding a bit better to you now? What do you think of the declassification system?

Source – Kotaku

BioShock Infinite Steps Up the Difficulty with 1999 Mode

BioShock Infinite 1999 1

Some of the other writers here at GamerSushi may fall into the category of gamers who would agree that developers “just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” With plenty of respectably aging gamers out there who grew up on games that made today’s “Veteran” difficulty look like child’s play, it’s no wonder a change was bound to happen. The crew over at Irrational Games, makers of the BioShock series, is introducing a new level of difficulty in BioShock Infinite with “1999 Mode.” This mode is designed to “challenge players in a variety of ways – each requiring substantial commitment and skill development.” But what does this mean exactly?

I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.” – Kevin Levine, Creative Director

The idea behind 1999 Mode is to make players think much harder about the decisions they make while playing the game. Gone will be the day of rushing in like Rambo without thinking. Players will have to deal with each and every one of their choices – sometimes permanently. This new game mode will also force the player to pick specializations and focus on them. The new mode will also have “demanding” stat requirements including health, power and your weaponry. Respawning will also be much tougher, with players experiencing the old school “Game Over” screen if they don’t have sufficient resources to get back into the action.

So what do you guys think of this new game mode? With games like Call of Duty, where players can charge through recklessly, will BioShock Infinite’s new approach change the way we approach single player campaigns? I can certainly see this sticking with certain types of games. How about you guys? Will we see more of this in games, or can today’s youth not handle the challenge?

Source – Business Wire

GamerSushi Asks: Call of Duty and Videogame Vampires?

Game Vampires

While reading Game Informer issue 220, I ran across a section called “Feedback.” In here they list responses from readers and one in particular caught my eye. The response was entitled “Call of Duty: Time Vampire.” What follows is the entry and Game Informer’s response.

“This letter is coming from a previously avid Call of Duty online player. Recently, I’ve begun to actually think about what I’m wasting all these hours of my life on. I decided to pop back in my copy of CoD: WaW, and after getting shot up quite a bit, I quit in frustration. Then I moved back into my comfort zone with my usual gaming selection: Black Ops. I played for a little while and suffered more than my share of frustrating deaths. Then I rage quit and walked outside, thinking about what I had just endured. I asked myself, “Aren’t video games supposed to be fun? Why am I wasting hours upon hours of my life on such a meaningless and even disturbing experience? Why does my kill/death ratio even matter?” I then stepped back and realized that Call of Duty is just a massive waste of time. I went into the barracks option and looked at the amount of time played. It read 10 days, 18 hours, and 34 minuets. Call of Duty, you were like a leech, sucking away at me and my time. I’m glad to be rid of you.”

Matt Bernsdorf
via email

Then GI responded with this:

“So we’re guessing you don’t plan on subscribing to Activision’s new monthly Call of Duty: Elite service?”

So the article hit me in a way that may surprise some people. I felt like this letter was totally worthless, as was the response from GI. I talked about it with my girlfriend and she agreed that the article seemed pointless. Games within themselves are just that, ways to waste time. They are for entertainment, like a movie or a book. They are for you to spend your free time and have fun, two things that the author seems to be re-thinking.

I have spent 8 days 2 hours and 31 minuets playing Black Ops alone. I have had horrible games and been frustrated, but I never consider it an absolute waste of time. I play with my friends and I have fun. To me it seems the author of the letter is not having fun, which leads him to believe that said games are a waste of his time. What I find interesting is that this can be taken to more than just the Call of Duty series and FPS games. I guess MMOs and RPGs are all wastes of time, too. What’s the point? Why should I go for the best weapon or armor? Why should I level up?

I find that it defeats the whole purpose of gaming all together. Perhaps he has grown out of videogames, but I feel he is just being a bad sport. So what do you guys think? Is Call of Duty a total waste of time? Are videogames in general worthless vampires that suck away at us? Give me your thoughts!

Source – GameInformer

Twenty Minutes of BioShock Infinite Gameplay for Your Friday

Yes, you read that right, twenty minutes of BioShock Infinite gameplay have been gifted to us by the boss of all bosses, GTTV’s Geoff Keighley. In reality it’s a fifteen minute demo book-ended by Ken Levine of Irrational Games chatting about Infinite, but that’s nothing to scoff at either.

One of my big gaming resolutions for 2011 and beyond was to not get dragged into the hype train and consume every piece of media I can get my hands on, but given the quality of what I’ve seen, that pledge has been tough to hold up. Even though BioShock Infinite isn’t coming out until 2012, it’s got me salivating like a fat dude jogging past an ice cream store. What did you guys think of this demo, which was originally shown to journalists at E3? Looking good?