While Halo 4 is a still a few days out, the review embargo for the game lifted in the wee hours of the morning. I remarked on Twitter the other day that removing the embargo for the game so far in advance of its release meant that Microsoft and 343 Industries must have been plenty confident in their product.
Turns out that they have every right to be, because Halo 4 is cleaning house when it comes to reviews. The reviews I’ve read for the game so far have been glowing, and have maxed out my hype meter. I’ve tried to restrain myself, but the critics haven’t been able to and it’s kind of infectious. Here’s a sampling of some of the scores:
So yeah, Halo 4 has apparently ousted Bungie is the minds of the reviewers. While Bungie’s legacy will always remain, I’m happy to see that 343 Industries has managed to carve out their own territory within this well-worn franchise.
The only negative aspect of Halo 4 that I’ve heard about is that some parts of the story might be a bit too complex for people who haven’t read Greg Bear’s Forerunner Trilogy and the plot relies a little too heavily on hidden terminals for backstory. I haven’t read those books myself, but I always enjoy item hunting and as long as the combat is tight, I’ll forgive them this one misstep.
Now that the review scores are out in the wild, how is your excitement for Halo 4 faring? Reaching a fevered pitch? Has it perhaps chipped away at your armored resolve not to get the game?
The world of making indie games is something that’s become a recent fascination for gamers. With wide open platforms and fewer barriers between a game creator and the consumer than ever, it’s certainly appealing for would be game-makers to take a stab at producing their own content.
This summer, one of XBox Live Arcade’s blockbuster releases was a game known as Dust: An Elysian Tail. Dust is a Metroidvania (or Castleroid if you’re nasty) style game with a bit of a cartoony flair, with a really interesting art direction and a wonderful setting. I’ve heard nothing but good things, and the gameplay videos are promising as well.
But the most interesting thing about Dust? It was created, essentially, by just one man, Dean Dodrill. In a fascinating Postmortem feature at Gamasutra, Dean walks through his solo development cycle for Dust, in which he quit his day job, taught himself how to code, built the game’s systems from scratch and struggled to get it out on time. He goes through the ups, the downs, the woes, the prayers, the deadlines and everything else, in what’s probably one of my favorite game articles I’ve ever read.
Seriously, if you’re interested in ever taking a stab at your own game or just admire the people who do, I highly recommend checking out this article. Has anybody played Dust? Anyone out there already dabbling in constructing your own video games? When do we get to play them? Go!
So Minecraft just surpassed Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on the list of most played XBox 360 titles. Say what?
For those of you familiar, Major Nelson, Director of Programming for XBox Live, releases figures every month about the most played titles on Microsoft’s platform. Typically, these lists are ho-hum affairs, teaching us that mankind will generally settle for mediocrity, even years later. Sometimes there will even be two or three separate Call of Duty games all in the top ten for the month, a figure that still baffles me. But no matter how you slice it, Call of Duty always reigns supreme in some fashion.
But not so in October 2012, when Minecraft 360 overtook Activision’s beast and cast it down to the number 2 spot. This strikes me as something ridiculously significant. Say what you will about Minecraft’s longevity, and whether or not it’s a gimmick, and if it’s better on the PC or the 360 — but a game created (for the most part) by one man just topped last year’s biggest title as the game with the most users logged (single or multiplayer) on XBox Live. How is that not incredible, no matter your thoughts on Minecraft?
It’s a brave new world, gents. Does anyone else think this is pretty cool? Who’s played the 360 version of Minecraft? Who wants to hate on Call of Duty or defend it? Have at it in the comments.
Hello, Sushians. I’ve come to give you very bad news: single player video games are nothing more than a gimmick. I know, this may come as a shock to you. What, with games like Dishonored, XCOM, Deus Ex, Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City gracing our screens over the last couple of years. I mean, it’s easy to be fooled by these great titles with fantastic mechanics or engrossing stories. But you really should know that playing by yourself is a gimmick.
At least, according to Gogogic CEO Jonas Antonson. Antonson has a few thoughts about single player titles in a recent interview that might not be too popular around these parts:
“I also think that it is worth to note that the single player mechanic is a gimmick – games are meant to be played with others and it doesn’t matter if it’s in-person or online. The first games were designed as multiplayer experiences, but when computer and console games became a thing there was a need to construct an antagonist and/or a protagonist for commercial purposes.”
Antonson goes on to talk about how toddlers make up someone to talk to when they play games, and even points at the “high score list” in arcades as a way to make games social. I understand what he’s saying — on one level, playing a game in a social setting transforms the entire experience. It’s nice to compare experiences with other people in a meaningful way, as we’re seeing with a game like XCOM. But on the other hand, I think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that all single player titles are inherently gimmicky by not including a social component.
So what do you guys think? Is this WTF worthy? Is Antonson off his rocker in his assessment of single player as a gimmick? Does every game need some kind of social component in order to truly matter? Go!
After being saddled with Desmond the last four games, Ubisoft is looking to bring a bit of finality to his story, and in the words of Masters, “To actually wrap up what you’ve opened and experienced with him”. Traditionally the Desmond segments of the Assassin’s Creed games have always been poorly received, right up from the moment in the first game when we realized that we weren’t technically going to be playing an assassin in the Middle Ages, but were experiencing the genetic memories of some poor kidnapped sod. It’s actually kind of interesting to see the lead designer of AC3 admit that the series did rotate around Desmond for a bit too long, as this part of the interview shows:
“And we wanted you to feel a good sense of progress in what’s going on in the story. A lot of the misdirection and the way we’ve been meandering a little bit has been kind of frustrating as a player and for the audience, so we wanted to make sure there was going to be more substance to get your teeth into.”
While I don’t hate Desmond as much as some, the cliffhanger at the end of Revelations did feel like the modern-day storyline was starting to wear out its welcome. I’m interested to see where the Assassin’s Creed story will go after three, and whether or not we’ll be saddled with another Desmond-type character to keep the sci-fi conceit going.
What do you guys think about this? Will we actually see Desmond’s story wrap up or is this just a developer telling us what we want to hear? Are we saying goodbye to Desmond for good, or will he be back?
Do you ever have one of those games show up on your radar so suddenly that it just kind of takes you back? Like, you’ve got all your priorities lined up, you know where your time is going to go for the next few weeks, and then out of nowhere, you get Falcon Punched by some game you hadn’t even paid attention to?
That’s the case with me and XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the new turn-based, tactical role-playing military game from Firaxis. For some reason, I had no interest whatsoever in XCOM for the last year that I’ve been hearing about it. I really can’t tell you why. But then, people started raving about it just a week or two ago. Then they raved more. And harder. We’re talking glowsticks in the air like you just don’t care kind of raving, from all corners of the gaming press.
You can’t help but take notice when that happens. Then I did that thing that we gamers do, when we get on the slippery slope and say that we’ll just read one review or watch just one video of something, just to get our feet a little wet. And then you discover that the game has all kinds of personalization, like naming your team and leveling them up. And you find out how fun the strategy combat looks. And about some of the cool abilities your team gets as the game rolls on. You know, the wonderful stuff games are made of.
And now, dammit, I want to buy XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
So now, a couple of questions: do you guys ever try to resist the temptation to learn about a new game that people are talking about? Who here is getting XCOM? And what is the deciding factor that gets you suddenly interested in a snap decision like this? Go!
It’s been a few weeks, faithful listeners, but we’re back. It’s kind of hard to get a balance going once we start the podcast again, but we’ll probably be back up to weekly casts right before we go on another break. C’est la vie, non?
In this episode we’ve got some apologizing to do around Resident Evil 6, which is apparently the worst game ever. Seriously, we’re really sorry about how much time we devoted to this game over the past year.
We also talk about Cliffy B and the BioWare Doctors leaving the industry which evolves into a talk of whether there are anymore big name people left beyond the standards (Newell, Miamoto and the like). It’s a really cool talk about the state of the industry and how faceless it’s become in some ways.
We also talk about Borderlands 2 (nee Bonerhands) for a while and then we chat about our most anticipated games for the rest of the year.
So! You know how it goes. Listen, rate, and please accept our apologies.
0:00 – 1:33 Intro
1:33 – 14:25 Resident Evil 6
14:26 – 17:17 Over/Under Checkup
17:18 – 31:10 Cliffy B and the BioWare Docs
31:11 – 40:42 Borderlands 2
40:43 – 53:00 Most anticipated game of the rest of 2012
53:00 – 54:45 Outro
No word of a lie, I’m pretty excited for the next Company of Heroes game. Set on the Eastern front, this sequel looks to bring a lot of new mechanics to the old formula like vision cones, ice with hit points and building fires for warmth. What it’s also bringing is a new tiding of evil in the form of pre-order reward tiers.
If you take a look at the Company of Heroes 2 page on Steam, you might notice that it has a section called “Pre-Purchase Rewards”, promising additional goodies if more people pre-order the game. I’ve kind of accepted the status quo of pre-orders in the gaming industry but this seems like a step too far to me. Even the new XCOM: Enemy Unknown game does this, and even though it looks like a lot of fun, these pre-purchase tiers make me hold back a bit.
The problem I have with the pre-purchase tiers in Company of Heroes 2 is that it makes it look like Relic is trying to add cash-stops to a full-price game. Things like XP boosts and character boosts might fly in a single-player game, but in a multiplayer arena that doesn’t really work. Eventually all that evens out, but for the first couple of weeks that leads to a huge imbalance.
So what do you guys think? Are pre-order reward tiers the equivalent of the devil? Is this just another way to get those oh-so-important pre-order dollars?
Insomniac, makers of Ratchet & Clank, my favorite platformer since Mario, are currently working on Fuse, which you may remember being announced as Overstrike. Fuse is a 4-player co-op 3rd person shooter, set to be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 at some point before our sun burns out. That’s not the news part of this post.
I can’t imagine that any game we’d do from here on out will be single-player-only. The [game industry] has changed. As gamers, we have always been social, but thanks to the way technology has evolved, it’s much easier for us to play together.
Price went on to say that this doesn’t mean games will be multiplayer only, just that there will be a multiplayer component to games that would normally just be single-player. While I can’t be upset at that part, this paradigm shift that seems to be permeating throughout the industry, notably with EA, is a little bit frustrating. Some of the most popular games have been single-player only experiences and the constant denial of this by the publishers is staggering.
Am I shouting into the wind here or do you guys feel the same? I love multiplayer games, but shoehorning them into every release seems counterproductive to me. What say you?
In my eyes, Assassin’s Creed is one of the more notable examples of why publishers shouldn’t be afraid to take great risks on a new franchise. It was an IP that nobody had ever experienced, and now it’s one of the powerhouse releases each year, right alongside Call of Duty and Halo. Anybody that has concerns about whether or not new franchises can enter the scene with the other AAA giants need look no further than Altair, Ezio and their ilk.
But is AAA going to be as big of a factor in the next generation as it has been for the current one? Assassin’s Creed 3 Creative Director Alex Hutchinson doesn’t think so. Because of free to play, the rising costs of AAA development and more, Alex joins the ranks of other people that feel that at some point, there will be a change. Only Alex thinks this is coming rather soon. A quote, from the latest issue of Edge.
We’re the last of the dinosaurs. We’re still the monster triple-A game with very large teams [and] multiple studios helping out on different bits. There are fewer and fewer of these games being made, especially as the middle has fallen out.
So, Alex thinks that AAA games are going the way of the buffalo so quickly that Assassin’s Creed 3 will be one of the last? While I agree that at some point the industry is going to have to change to get in line with the expectations of the consumer, I think this is reaching just a bit. If anything, AAA games are bigger now than ever, and only seem to be ramping up at the moment.
I think sometime in the next gen, we’ll see that fizzle out some, but definitely not on the timetable that Hutchison predicts. What do you guys think? Are we looking down the barrel at the end of AAA games? Do you think the industry will change at all? When? Go!
Wow. Nobody does a trailer quite like Kojima-san. The newest piece of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Ground Zeroes, was announced last week at a Kojima event, along with the existence of a Metal Gear Solid movie. At the event, a secret trailer of Ground Zeroes was shown to the attendees — so naturally, that’s leaked everywhere now.
The (ridiculously gorgeous) trailer focuses on a prison camp, and a mysterious figure who visits a prisoner there. While it’s a long sequence, the last couple of minutes actually treat us to some gameplay — and, according to reports, the gameplay has now been transformed from the typical MGS model into more of an open-world stealth game, built around escape if your stealth attempts fail. It’s an interesting departure in terms of gameplay, one that holds a lot of promise to shake the series up a bit.
I think the most striking thing about the trailer (apart from the fact that you’re back in the shoes of an older Big Boss) is how beautiful the whole thing is. Running in-engine, the visuals are pretty unbelievable. Supposedly, Ground Zeroes will see its release this generation, not next. I’m not sure I believe it.
So what do you guys think? Does Old Big Boss still have some sneaking left in him? Do you think this is actually meant for this gen? Go!
It’s been a couple of months since we’ve updated our Power Rankings, and the tumultuous nature of the top 10 list should show that quite a bit of time has passed. This has given some new challengers room to flex their muscles, smashing new resting places for themselves right at the top, casting down all other games in a mighty display of strength. All future games for 2012, take notice. Walking Dead is the way you want to make your entrance.
Yikes. Been a bit quiet around here at GamerSushi, what with everyone busily working on their backlogs and preparing for the fall blitz. One bright spot in a not-so-surprisingly dim summer of gaming is the release of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which just graced monitors and TVs around the world this past week. It’s the first game I’ve played in a month or so regularly, and I find myself itching to jump into it almost every night. It feels like a great mix between Source and 1.6… and just feels like Counter-Strike again, which is hard to quantify, but easy to recognize once you experience it. And this is a good thing.
Even cooler? Valve’s treatment of CS: GO with Source Filmmaker. For any of you Leet World fans, you can imagine that this kind of caused some collective jaw-dropping with that particular gang. Lots of jaw-dropping indeed.
So, who out there has CS: GO? Drop your Steam name in the comments and let’s have some fun.
Yesterday was kind of a strange day for the video game journalism industry at large, as two odd pieces of news hit about a couple of anticipated games: BioShock Infinite and The Last Guardian. One garnered an almost “they sky is falling” type of reaction, and the other was met with a sort of apathy. Let’s look at them, shall we?
This was enough cause for alarm that almost every single news outlet declared this the “end times” for Infinite, leaving Ken Levine and Irrational to do a serious amount of damage control. The game is still on track for its February 2013 target and Rod Fergusson, formerly of Gears of War studio Epic Games, was brought on to take Infinite into the home stretch. While this string of events is unfortunate, I doubt tht it’s the major disaster that it was made out to be.
On the other hand we have The Last Guardian, the next game from Team Ico which we haven’t seen in what feels like a couple of years. Sony let the trademark filing for The Last Guardian slip which news sites were quick to brush off as “nothing major”. It’s a sort of odd contrast where one unfortunate event can spur paragraphs the of woe that will betide us, while the trademark expiry of a vaporware game is no big deal. Sony has said that The Last Guardian is still in development, so take from that what you will.
What do you guys think of these two bits of news? Thoughts on BioShock Infinite’s multiplayer trouble? Does the trademark issue for The Last Guardian herald anything? What about the sensationalizing that happened around Infinite while Last Guardian got the brush-off?
If broshooters are your thing, you can’t really get much more bang for you buck than Call of Duty. Even with a new title releasing every year, there’s enough ranking and unlocking packed into the games to keep you busy for a while.
While the Call of Duty series has been waning in the eyes of the gaming public for while (to those of us “in the know”, at any rate), I’ve always appreciated Treyarch’s willingness to stick their necks out and deviate from the formula set up by Infinity Ward. Things like zombies, crazy Cold War conspiracies and now trips to the future are all helping to keep the series somewhat fresh while Modern Warfare approaches stagnation. The new multiplayer trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 shows you how you’ll be fighting in the future of 2025. If you thought that Call of Duty needed more ridiculous kill-streak rewards, then you’re in for a treat.
Walking tanks and helicopter drones and suicidal UAVs, oh my! The only thing missing from this trailer is the crazy customization that Treyarch packed into the original Black Ops, but I’m sure all of that will be revealed in another trailer closer to the release date.
So, what do you think? Does the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 do it for you? Is it worth going black to the future?
The new Day Z will follow the Minecraft route where people can purchase an Alpha that will be continuously and quickly iterated upon. Day Z the mod will exist alongside the full title, and will continue to be improved upon as well. There isn’t much more information availible at this time, but the new Day Z has its own website, so check there for updates.
It’s kind of crazy to think that almost three months after our interview with Dean Hall, when his mod was just gaining steam, Day Z is fast on its way to becoming a fully-fledged game. Not that being a mod was a knock against it, but I think Bohemia is moving in the right direction by turning it into a Minecraft-style title with a community Alpha. This allows the game to retain the same feel while at the same time moving it out of the mod scene (and of course, generating new income).
As always though, we’d love to get your thoughts on this development. Is Day Z becoming a standalone game good news for the players? Should it have stayed a mod indefinitely? Could this be a move by Bohemia to get out ahead of the recently announced The War Z, or has this been in the cards for a while?
No fooling, guys, this game just needs to come out. While you shouldn’t take my word on anything Assassin’s Creed related, given that I am a one-man Assassin’s Creed hype machine, you can’t deny that Assassin’s Creed 3 looks like an awesome leap up from 2. And when you consider how much 2 improved over the original, I expect that my mind will be blown, a phrase I don’t toss around lightly.
Ubisoft just put out a trailer for the new engine powering Assassin’s Creed 3, AnvilNext, and it looks hot. Seriously, check it out.
I do like that the music swell early in the trailer is accompanied by shots of people doing menial tasks. Regardless, I’m still high on the hype for this game and I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on it in October. What do you guys think? Does Assassin’s Creed 3 continue to impress? How do you think AnvilNext will translate on the PC version?
We’ve gotten a hefty share of free (and excellent) multiplayer DLC for Mass Effect 3, but outside of the Extended Cut, the single-player add-ons have been a little lacking. There have been rumors floating around for a while about single-player DLC and at EA’s Summer Showcase, BioWare officially announced the Leviathan DLC for Mass Effect 3.
Taking place during the mid-game, Leviathan features Shepard and crew hunting for an ancient construct that is said to be a Reaper killer. Obviously Shepard and co. would like to have that in their back pocket, so you get to take the Normandy on a Lair of the Shadow Broker-sized adventure to recover Leviathan and use it in the war against the Reapers.
The DLC will add in new areas on the Citadel and a couple new weapons, the AT-12 Raider Shotgun and the M-55 Argus Assault Rifle (both of which were previously only available as pre-order bonuses). Leviathan has no firm release date other than “summer”, but when it drops it will be 10 dollars, or 800 Microsoft FunBux.
Despite the misgivings about Mass Effect 3’s endgame, the combat is engaging enough that I wouldn’t mind embarking on a new aventure with my bro Garrus. BioWare is said to be tuning Leviathan to address concerns that Mass Effect 3’s combat was too easy, so we’ll see whether or not I bring my Insanity Shepard into the fray. What about you guys? Are you going to take the Plunge when Mass Effect 3’s Leviathan DLC drops later this summer?
BioWare also revealed that they are increasing the frequency of their content drops, adding in a bunch of new stuff between now and the Free to Play launch. New companions, such as an HK-51 assassin droid, warzones and space combat mission are expected.
To clarify, The Old Republic will still have a subscription option in addition to the Free to Play method, and paid customers will earn “Cartel Coins” based on how long they’ve been paying, or if they bought the collector’s edition, things of that nature. Cartel Coins can be used to purchase exclusive vanity items, such as Darth Nihilus’ mask and a party Jawa pet.
Considering that almost every month since The Old Republic’s release has seen at least a couple articles about how much trouble that game is in, I’m not surprised that a Free to Play option is coming in before the game’s first anniversary. Will it get people to actually try the game? I’m certain that the price tag is right for some, but the lack of a viable end-game will cause the numbers to drop off again.
That’s just what I think though. Is Free to Play just what the doctor ordered for this struggling MMO? Will you actually play the game when it goes free?