As the next gen looms, one thing I can’t help but notice is how many companion apps our games are getting. While smart phones and tablets are fairly ubiquitous these days, do games actually need a “second-screen” experience?
My first encounter with a companion app was last year when Mass Effect 3 hit. The Datapad app allowed you to send out fleets on missions to up your Galaxy at War completion percentage, something that was invaluable to bring all of your War Assets into the final battle. It was also a viable substitute for people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, participate in the excellent multiplayer mode.
Now, it seems like every game has an app. GTA 5 has iFruit (which is pretty bad), Battlefield 4 has Battlelog and UbiSoft’s next-gen samplings have their own apps. What do you guys think about companion apps? Do they add anything? Do you think they’re super neat and useful? Sound off!
I’ve been gaming for as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to be a kid during the beginning of the NES revolution, a revolution that we owe to Hiroshi Yamauchi, former President of Nintendo, who died yesterday. Yamauchi is largely responsible for turning Nintendo from a card-game company into the video game giant it is today, thanks to the NES, the brainchild of Yamauchi. He didn’t design games himself, but he was instrumental in crafting what would eventually become the NES.
As sad as it is that Yamauchi is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through the NES and all the great games and memories associated with it. I got my NES when I was 5 years old. I didn’t even know what it was, it just appeared one day, a gift from my mom to my brother and myself. Playing through Super Mario Bros, finding the warp zones, wondering how many damn levels there were in the game…it was a blast. I remember using the Power Pad to play Track & Field and losing to Cheetah over and over until finally resorting to pounding the pad with my fists instead of running on it like we are supposed to. Cheetah went down and my hands ached, but damn it, I won. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Favorite NES Memories?
You know, the one that we’re all going to disappear into while we’re busy playing games. The first harbinger of doom comes in the form of one Grand Theft Auto V, which somehow is only a few days away. I’m not really sure how that happened, but I’m not complaining about it. After that, we’ll have games like Watch Dogs, Batman: Arkham Origins, AC IV, Battlefield 4 and then some.
But before all that, what are you guys playing right now? To prepare myself for battle at the moment, I’ve been diving into Saint’s Row IV, trying to finish it in a mad dash just in time for GTA V. I’m also trying to wrap up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and hope to knock out Call of Juarez: Gunslinger sometime in the near future as well… but my eyes are often bigger than my stomach when it comes to gaming.
So what about you guys? What are you playing while you await the inevitable fall madness? Go!
We’ve been in this current console generation for so long that I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to anticipate the release of a new system — the way I eagerly latch on to any news about release dates, original IPs, sequels and features. Something about it takes me back to when I was a kid, playing a Nintendo 64 for the first time in a mom-and-pop (or really just an old nerdy dude) video game shop, marveling at the flying cap and my first glimpse at 3D done the way it was always meant to be. I felt like an extension of the controller. Like I could do anything in Mario’s shoes. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Next Gen Plans?
This last week saw the release of Saint’s Row IV, the sequel to the irreverent, goofy, completely ridiculous sandbox crime series that lets you blow up just about anything in just about anyway possible. As if the games weren’t already insane enough, this version of the series has added in superpowers with which to visit havoc upon the citizens of Steelport, in addition to its new alien overlords.
While the first few missions of SR4 took me a bit of getting used to (the game makes you waddle through quite a bit of set-up in order to get to the first open world gameplay), once it unleashes you in the digital, Matrix-style Steelport, where you’re constantly testing the world’s parameters— things kick up quite a few notches. I’m already in love with the power glitches, a gameplay element quite similar to Crackdown’s agility orbs, which beckon you to jump to new heights to get stronger and faster. We’ll see how the rest of the game unfolds.
So what about the rest of you? Who else picked up Saint’s Row IV this last week? What are your thoughts on the game so far? What’s your character like? And did you choose the Nolan North voice? Sound off, Sushians!
I hope the summer is treating you well. You know, with life stuff. We primarily talk about games here, but life is sort of crucial, too. I guess.
But enough with the srs business — it’s been awhile since we’ve properly talked about what games we’re playing, so right at the edge of summer seemed like as good of a time as any. For me, this is the time of year that I’m doing what I can to catch up on my backlog — and thanks to the latest Steam sale, that’s gotten just a bit bigger recently. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Summer Playlists?
Kickstarter is something that isn’t going to go away any time soon, what with the massive success that so many games have seen on that service.
While Kickstarter may have worn out its welcome with me personally, there are some cool projects that have come through, like Double Fine’s two games, Broken Age and Massive Chalice, or FTL.
As awareness about Kickstarter has grown, there have been some massive funding undertakings, so I think it’s probable that at least a couple of Sushians out there have Kickstarted something. So, what have you put your money towards? Anything you regret Kickstarting now?
E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.
So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!
Now that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been revealed, there’s been much hemming and hawing here at GamerSushi over what would make us buy one of the new devices. Sure, there are neat features between each one, like the Xbox One’s three operating systems so you can “alt+tab” your console now, or the PlayStation 4’s streaming services, but there’s nothing that’s really made one console stand out over the other.
That said, there might be something announced at E3 that would completely change my mind about one of the new consoles that would make it a “must have” for me. I’m not talking about games, because I already have a PC (although InFamous might sway me), and let’s face it, both of these consoles will have games at some point. No, I’m talking about something that makes you stand up and say “that is so awesome, I can’t believe nobody’s built that in yet”.
So, my question to you guys is: what’s the magic feature that would make you shell out your hard earned cash for either the Xbox One or the PlayStation 4? This can be something that Microsoft and Sony have already said “no” to, like backwards compatibility, or things like that.
It’s no wonder why licensed games sell well: even as I was still sat in the theater watching Iron Man 3, I thought to myself, “Man, I really want to play a good Iron Man game!”
It’s fun to think about: what weapons and abilities you could use, whether the suit would take cosmetic damage or whether there is enough money in the world to get Robert Downey Jr to voice act in the game (spoiler: there isn’t). Not to mention what villains would appear, what the structure of the game would be, etc… There is a lot to juggle in something like this. I personally think an open-world game, like Infamous or Arkham City would be best. Just think of it like Far Cry 3 or Mercenaries: give me a big open world, lots of things to do and let me play. Maybe even throw in some War Machine for 2-player co-op goodness and it can’t miss! Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Who Should Make An Iron Man Game?
A couple of years back, we built the perfect shooter. The results were a lot of fun — in the comments, we put together all of our favorite features to describe the ideal shooting scenario, taking cues from things like Counter-Strike, Goldeneye and more. This time around, I thought we’d tackle a new genre.
I’ve long been intrigued by the MMO genre, but no game can ever put together enough of the right pieces to get me to take that leap into another realm. I’m not a big fan of grinding, paid subscriptions or disconnected point-and-click combat. I’d also love a story that morphs over time, in a way that makes me feel like my actions matter beyond just a stat or a new level number next to my name. I want big worlds, big universes, high stakes and easy accessibility. But maybe I’m just being nitpicky.
So for this feature, we’re going to dig into a variety of options, and discuss what we would love to see in the perfect MMO. Below are the categories and options I came up with. If you don’t like the options, feel free to add your own! Continue reading Workshop: Building the Perfect MMO
The above Ode to Garry’s Mod is a hilarious, silly and kind of moving tribute to one of the goofiest games in existence. Just watching it made me think of all the hours I’ve spent in the Source engine’s multiple iterations, from Garry’s Mod to Left4Dead and Counter-Strike. Without Garry’s Mod, we dudes at Smooth Few Films would have been unable to produce some of The Leet World’s stupider effects. It’s hard not to be grateful for that engine, and all the time I’ve spent exploring it for glitches, physics and lighting experiments.
So it got me thinking: what gaming experiences are you guys thankful for? From multiplayer to singleplayer, what experiences do you feel went beyond a hobby to something that actually played a big part in your life? Beyond Garry’s Mod, I’d have to say Mass Effect inspired my imagination more than almost any game in the last few years, and Halo gifted me with a way to stay in touch with all of my long distance friends.
What about you guys? What gaming experiences are you thankful for?
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m getting older, have less time, or because most multiplayer games are feeling pretty homogenous these days, but I’m barely able to dive into multiplayer matches any longer. What used to keep me up long into the morning hours before school or work just feels like a chore. Fighting guys that use the same cheap tactics, using the same abilities or progression trees that started in Modern Warfare — none of these things interest me any longer. Even Halo 4, a game whose multiplayer I loved, only had my attention for a few weeks. It seems like CS:GO is the only multiplayer game I can dive into a few times per month.
If other players must be involved, what I love these days is a good co-op/horde mode. It’s far better to kill with friends than it is to kill your friends (virtually speaking, lest I end up on an FBI watch list). I’ve had my eyes on Monaco for this very reason. Besides the fact that it’s a co-op heist game (which we talked about on a podcast a few months back), I just really want a game that allows me to yell at my friends.
One on the unquestioned traditions for gamers is preordering. No one asks if you preordered something but where you preordered it. What bonuses did you get, etc… Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy and even Steam will routinely shower gamers with gifts in order to secure those advance sales. Some of the bonuses, like early access to a shotgun, are dumb extras that aren’t worth the effort. Others, like a free copy of a related game, are enough to make you question your own intelligence if you DON’T preorder the game.
But after the disappointment of Assassin’s Creed 3 and the still-ongoing disaster that is SimCity, my question to you is this: why do you preorder? What drives you to spend money before you can use the item that you bought? Is it the aforementioned bonuses? Is it simply a habit now, ingrained in our buying rituals so much that we don’t even question why we are forking over money before we can confirm the game is actually worth it? Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Why Do You Preorder?
With the recent success of BioShock Infinite, it may be time to revisit the “favorite video game sidekick” topic. Sure, no character will ever beat Mass Effect’s Garrus Vakarian for me (he’s like space-Batman except he shoots people), but the usefulness of Elizabeth in BioShock Infinite may catapult her to the top of many lists.
She finds ammo, health and Salts for you, doesn’t get in the way during combat and her ability to open tears can be handy in a pinch. While shepherding Elizabeth through Columbia is essentially an extended escort quest, the benefits of having her around makes you wonder who’s guiding who. Add that to the fact that she’s an interesting, well-rounded character and you have yourself a strong case.
Of course, there’s always the old stand-by Alyx Vance, but as the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind” and it’s been a long while since we’ve seen her. So, what do you guys say? Who’s your favorite video game sidekick?
When I tend to think back on my favorite games, I tend to reminisce on particular moments rather than the experience as a whole. Sure, the experience as a whole is worth replaying as well, but usually there is one bit that I have focused on above all others, one instant where everything came together and burned itself into my brain forever.
Recently, Bioshock Infinite has held several of those moments for me. I won’t venture into spoiler territory here, but I will say that besides the ending, a moment that stood out to me was in the basement of a broken down bar, where Booker DeWiit picks up a guitar and plays Let the Circle Be Unbroken while Elizabeth sings. It’s one of those things that catapulted straight to the lead of my favorite gaming memories, and I remember being breathless in the moment itself.
There are plenty of others to choose from. Climbing that ladder in MGS3. Talking to your party members for the final time in Mass Effect 3. The ride into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption. I’m sure we’ve asked this question before, but it’s always a good time to stop and update. What are some of your recent favorite video game moments?
Welp, time for another Bioshock Infinite post. I’m sure you guys are getting sick of these by now, but I suppose you’ll have to suffer through our praises of this game for just a little longer.
As I already noted on Monday, Bioshock is a gorgeous game. The worldbuilding and the design of Columbia are enough to take your breath away for the first few hours, and everything begs to be explored. But what happens after that? You get sucked into the story, and soon you’re rocketing along faster than skyrails.
Every now and then, I find myself trying to slow everything down, though. Not in a bad way, like the game is moving too quickly. But more in a way that I want to appreciate everything instead of tackling it at a breakneck speed. Certain story games prompt me to blast through them and enjoy the ride no matter where it takes me, but with Infinite I find that I’m trying to pull back just long enough to remember the experience and make it matter more.
So my question for you guys is: when is the last time a game did this for you? Do you try to take your time with games, or just push through them as quickly as possible on your first playthrough? Do you pace yourself? Go!
There are two types of franchises in video games: the ones like Final Fantasy, where each game is a completely separate world with new characters and new experiences and the ones like Mass Effect where there is a continuing narrative that flows from game to game. These two aren’t the only franchises that are like this of course, but they are two of my favorite and I think they best represent the example I am trying to make. So I wanted to ask the GamerSushi Universe which type you prefer.
Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. With Final Fantasy’s template, you know every time that you are getting something radically different from the previous game. Sure, certain themes and elements will be the same, but it’s kind of exciting to get immersed (or annoyed) by a whole new world with new characters to fall in love (or hate) with. Not to mention new gameplay ideas and mechanics that seem revolutionary compared to the previous entry. Far Cry 3 is a great example of this. There is a downside to this, though: as we saw with Final Fantasy VII, sometimes the game is so popular that deviating from that story will only irritate its legion of fans. Final Fantasy VIII is all but forgotten by Square Enix these days. It was only years later that they thought to capitalize of FF VII’s success, but by then it was too late. Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: The Continuing Story?
You’ve been there before. It starts out as a trickle. A game that wasn’t even a blip on your radar, or maybe one that you had never even heard of before, suddenly shows up. Maybe it’s in the form of a review, or positive buzz from gaming sites. Soon, the trickle gains some steam as overwhelming praise starts to sound from corners of the web. Then a friend plays it and loves it. Then multiple friends play it and sing its praises. And before you know it, love of this game has become an avalanche, ready to knock you from your footing of carefully budgeted gaming purchases.
This is my story right now with the Tomb Raider reboot, especially after our most recent podcast (which will be up on Sunday), and Jeff’s stellar Tomb Raider review. Whenever this happens, I tend to panic. I start checking the game’s price on different outlets. I find myself stopping at Redbox stations to see if the game is available for rent. I wonder what I might stop playing in favor of it. The really silly thing about doing this with Tomb Raider is that I’ve already got an impressive backlog, and I’m in the middle of a Ni No Kuni playthrough. As a scholar once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Has this happened to you guys recently? Do you try to avoid the avalanche when a new game comes out that you weren’t expecting to be great? Do you just give in, or wait? What games have done this to you? Go!
Welcome, Sushians, to the first Would You Rather of 2013! Actually, this is the first Would You Rather since Spring of 2012, which is a little insane to think about. How were you guys getting your fix of Sophie’s Choice style questions about video games without us? How?!
While you’re reeling over the awesomeness of finally getting a new Would You Rather, you should peruse some of these questions and write your own answers. These questions are inspired by some of the issues we’ve seen in games recently, from Sim City’s DRM to Tomb Raider’s updates and Gears of War Judgment’s lack of a horde mode. Feel free to make your answers as lengthy as you want. You’ll get extra points if you insult one of the other GS writers, too.