Unless you’re living under a rock, you know all about the reveal of the Xbox One, Microsoft’s successor to the Xbox 360. In the one-hour event at Microsoft’s Xbox Campus, the Xbox One was unveiled, showing the actual console (including a new Kinect and controller), multimedia features, Skype integration, sports, the internal workings of the device, and I think there were a couple games in there somewhere.
The Xbox One conference started off showing the console’s compatibility with your existing TV services as Yusuf Mehdi switched between live TV, the 2009 Star Trek movie and even opened a Skype call while he was doing this. The gestures and voice commands actually looked pretty slick, and I could see this being a huge reason to buy the Xbox One for some people.
We gripe quite a bit about the homogenization of games on GamerSushi. One of the most disappointing things about this past generation has been the way publishers and developers have shifted to providing game experiences that feel all too similar. We’ve been through the laundry list of complaints before: RPG mechanics married with Call of Duty style shooting, games that lead you down cut-scene filled tunnels, etc.
However, in the last year or two, we’ve finally had a bit of a break from the attack of the video game clones. With creative titles like XCOM, Monaco, Papers Please, Journey, Walking Dead, Hotline Miami and more, it seems like we’re slipping out of that mid-generation funk of tired, boring military games. And as time goes on, I feel like I keep seeing more reasons to be excited about upcoming games, as people are finally turning the corner. Don’t get me wrong, the shooter will always be popular — but we’re finally seeing more of the variety that the generation started with.
So, with that in mind, let’s have ourselves another edition of Pixel Count. This week, we’re talking about the game types we miss most, and that we hope to see more of in the near future. Start casting your votes and tell us why in the comments. Go!
I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t love Blood Dragon.
After being so excited about Far Cry 3′s far-out DLC with a cheesy sci-fi bent, it turns out I’m just not that into it. The atmosphere of the game, full of reds, purples and neon colors, actually makes it kind of hard to pull of Far Cry 3′s refined, excellent gameplay. You can’t see enemies very well, you’re so superpowered that stealth barely matters, and with all the colors you rarely have any idea of where enemy fire is coming from.
But more than anything it just makes me want more of the real game. I’m not sad that I purchased it — I think DLC like this should be made more often — it’s just not really floating my cyber-boat. I find that I’m having to force myself to play the game, even after bumping it down to Easy to make it pass more quickly.
With gaming, I tend to muscle through most of the time and finish titles, even if I’m not 100 percent feeling them. But sometimes, I run into a Blood Dragon, where I legitimately do not even want to play it anymore, but feel like I should. So my question for you guys is this: when do you decide to cut the cord on a game? And what’s the last game you decided to stop playing? Go!
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!
Last week’s revelation that EA had acquired the exclusive rights from Disney to develop new Star Wars games was only the first drop in what is likely to be a slow trickle as new information slowly comes to light. Today, our Bothan spies have returned with more news regarding EA’s intentions towards the fabled franchise.
As reported last week, Bioware, DICE and Visceral are the 3 EA studios being granted first crack at the galaxy far, far away. Of those 3 though, it appears DICE is the flyboy who gets to go into the garbage chute first. EA just opened DICE LA (no, my caps lock is not stuck) in, you guessed it, Los Angeles. The studio will be “a key cog” in its Star Wars plans and is located very close to Activision, with a clear purpose:
For a game I haven’t even played yet, I’m a bit obsessed with Monaco. My backlog is preventing me from springing into a new game just yet, but soon I hope to be plunging the depths of Monaco’s heist-based, co-op driven goodness. With friends, of course.
One of the more fascinating things I’ve read about the game recently has to do with its community design. The creator of the game, Andy Schatz, faced an interesting challenge — how do you promote good behavior from your online community? While most online games do excel with a bit of proper teamwork, co-op based multiplayer always has a bit of a risk. Once players stop working together, the game breaks down. That’s why most games offer a bit of a chance for players to become a lone wolf, running and gunning as they see fit, with no care of what their team is doing. So how did Schatz address this issue in a way that few have accomplished before?
We’ve talked at length about the mystical, nebulous “next generation” here quite a bit recently, and it only makes sense — new machines are dropping on us left and right, with the next XBox reveal to take place just one week from today. And while we’ve already spoken about what we think is most important in the next generation, I thought we’d revisit that topic in a more practical approach.
While I’ve been saying that I won’t partake in the next generation for some time, there are admittedly a few sticking points that could make me change my mind. I love the IPs that Microsoft has at its disposal. But I love the gamer-centric approach that Sony is taking with the PlayStation 4. As always, the right games at the right time can do wonders, but right now I still want to see what these machines cost, and what their long-term plans are. And then of course there’s the Wii U… which… yeah.
So let’s vote and talk about the next generation consoles in the comments. Go!
If you took a Diablo-style game, made it a free-to-play MMO and then skinned it with the Marvel Universe, what you’d end up with is Marvel Heroes, Gazillion Entertainment’s foray into the F2P market.
Marvel Heroes had an open Beta weekend on Steam these past few days, and despite a few problems with connecting to the game servers and some interesting bugs, I had a great time. The game allows you to pick one of the Avengers to start (the movie line-up, not the current comic book roster) and Gazillion kindly gives you a couple thousand credits of in-game currency to buy another hero or one of the many alternate costumes for sale.
I ended up picking Iron Man as my avatar and I found that the game has a nice difficulty progression to complement the array of cool powers that become available to you. Once my friends were able to connect we ended up romping around for a couple hours tackling quests that had us fighting a host of Marvel super-villains from the infamous (Doctor Octopus) to the obscure (Grim Reaper). The individual loot spawns fairly frequently and more often than not I was looking at an upgrade. In a new twist on selling trash to a vendor, you can give shop NPCs your unwanted gear instead of selling it, allowing them to “level up” and carry better gear.
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?
After Disney shut down LucasArts, we were all left wondering why would pick up the Star Wars torch and bring new games to the market. Turns out we didn’t have to wait long because earlier this week, Disney announced that Electronic Arts has acquired the exclusive license to make core Star Wars games. Disney will retain the rights to make social and casual games for Star Wars.
EA wasted no time in announcing that DICE, BioWare and Visceral will start making Star Wars titles, presumably due to coincide with the new movies starting 2015. Here’s what EA Labels President Frank Gibeau had to say about this deal:
“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe. Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”
So there you go guys, it looks like we’ll be getting Star Wars titles that aren’t just movie tie-ins, but three unique products that have their own story-line and characters. What do you guys think about this? Anyone want to take my bet that Visceral will end up with Star Wars 1313? Go!
The big news of the week so far happens to be the semi-bombshell that EA and Disney signed an exclusive deal for Star Wars games yesterday, meaning that EA’s various developing arms will have sole access to the enormous Star Wars universe. While there is some skepticism rightly reserved for allowing the floundering EA to tackle a property that so many love and hold dear, especially after some huge missteps, I think it’s OK to have a little hope here.
When you break it down, what other publishing Goliath in the industry has the number of varied, talented developers in their portfolio that EA does? I can see an argument for Activision, but that’s the only one that even comes close to rivaling the kind of talent of DICE, Bioware, Maxis, Popcap, Criterion and Visceral. So we have reason to feel two ways about this. But for now, let’s dream a little.
So here’s this week’s Pixel Count. Hit up the poll and tell us your thoughts in the comments!
It seems to be the season of the 3DS here at GamerSushi as both Anthony and I are both enjoying Nintendo’s handheld. True, the 3DS did get off to a slow start, but the number of quality games for it are climbing steadily.
One such game is Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, the sequel to the ghost-catching GameCube launch title. Instead of having one mansion to clear, the taller Mario brother now has several homes to go through, each with the sort of hidden collectibles and Boos that you would expect. The new Poltergust 5000 is your tool for battling the ghosts, which functions a lot like the vacuum in the original Luigi’s Mansion (surprise, surprise). You stun ghosts with your flashlight and then proceed to suck them up, holding on for dear life as they try to escape. Unlike the first game, once you’ve got a ghost on the line they can’t break free by themselves; you have to be hit by another ghost or object to lose your grip.
Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon also has an awesome multiplayer component where you and three other ghost-busters can play either Hunter, Rush or Polterpup in ScareScraper. True, having to make story progress to unlock multiplayer is a bit annoying, but Hunter is a ton of fun. You have five minutes to clear a floor of ghosts, so you have to work both independently of each other to cover as much ground as possible, but also together so you can tackle larger groups of enemies. Despite the limited communication options (the D-pad has four pre-determined call-outs and that’s it), Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon manages to deliver in a big way when it comes to co-op.
Has anyone else played Dark Moon? What do you think?
Can you guys believe that it’s already May? That means it’s time for another bout of Power Rankings. At about half way through the year, I do have to say I’m surprised with the games on this month’s list, and what a surprise 2013 is shaping up to be in terms of variety and the titles available to us. Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite are still kicking strong, but Blood Dragon is a surprise contender out of the blue. And that’s not even mentioning the two 3DS games that are making waves.
So here’s this month’s list of the hottest 10 games that the GamerSushi staff is playing at the moment. I’m actually really looking forward to the shake-ups that are bound to occur for June’s list, when games like Last of Us and Monaco show up in our backlogs.
What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!
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.
But beyond that, my most beloved thing at the moment is still tried and true single player gaming.
After a long wait, the Kickstater-backed iOS title Star Command finally came out today. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, Star Command is sort of a combination of Game Dev Story and FTL where you take control of a spaceship and its crew. There’s permanent crew death as well, so, much like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, prepare to get crushed when your little sprite crewmen die by getting sucked out of the airlock. Here’s the release trailer to get your interest piqued:
Hit the jump to read about the announcement plans for the next-gen Xbox.
No, I haven’t finished it. I’m just done with it. After stopping for a month to play Bioshock Infinite (twice) and Tomb Raider, the thought of going back to Ni No Kuni was enough to make my body recoil in revulsion. I wasn’t sure why, but I had a similar feeling when I stopped Ni No Kuni the first time in order to play Dead Space 3. But once I started playing again, I found it surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things. I put 24 hours into it before I took my month-long break.
But just like last time, I decided to throw it back into the old PS3 and see if my sudden aversion to the game would dissipate once I got going again. It didn’t. The moment I started playing I wanted to stop. The first battle I got into was literally the last battle I ever wanted to play in this game, which I think is the crux of the problem. I love the characters, the world and the story, but the battle system, while tolerable for the first 20 or so hours, just suddenly hit a wall for me. I love everything else about this game except for the battle system. I thought back to some of the tedious boss battles I had been through and I knew I didn’t want any part of that again. In the end, they were more of a chore than enjoyable.
Fun or Shun is making a surprise comeback! In this feature, GamerSushi editors take a look at an upcoming game and give their thoughts on whether or not it will be worth your time to play. We’ve also done this with Dishonored and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This time, we’re giving Naughty Dog’s upcoming survival action adventure The Last of Us a litmus test.
Is it already close to that time of year again? The time when all the gaming news outlets start revving their engines in preparation for E3? Seems like it.
The big show is still a few months away, but we’re already getting little bits of information about what to expect from some of the big three console developers. While we’ve already gotten Sony’s rundown of the PlayStation 4, we can expect a few more details in terms of launch date and price, along with a few more morsels of actual gameplay.
As for Nintendo’s big E3 news? Well, there won’t be any. That’s right, Nintendo is ducking out of its E3 press conference, opting instead for their smaller Nintendo Direct presentations. One wonders if the really awful Wii U sales, as well as Nintendo’s inability to properly convey what the Wii U experience actually is at the last couple of E3 shows are to blame for this.
So that’s the round-up from this week. What are you guys expecting from these guys at E3? Which one are you most excited to learn more about? Sound off!
As someone who likes to put on his imaginary pretend writer cap from time to time, I’m always interested in the subject of writing when it comes to video games. On the whole, the practice seems so different than what I’m used to that I find it fascinating. In a recent article on Polygon, author Austin Grossman talks about what video games taught him about writing — lessons that he took to pen the bestselling supervillain novel Soon I Will Be Invincible.
Grossman has some interesting things to say about the writing process for video games, which he witnessed firsthand when working on titles like System Shock, Deus Ex and most recently, Dishonored. The biggest lessons that video game writing taught were that stories don’t have to go in a straight line, nobody necessarily wants to read your prose and that people won’t respect what you do. One of my favorite bits:
You learn to be inventive. After all, players are using everything on the screen to form an idea of what they’re doing and why. You learn to sneak story in at the margins. Leave it lying in dusty corners and layered into other parts of the world, embedded into combat mechanics and level geometry and audio cues, or leave half-cues for players to fill in. To this day, I can’t tell a story straight through — Soon I Will Be Invincible and You zoom back and forth from the past and the present.
If you’re interested at all in how video game writing works, or if you just like reading smart things by good writers in general, I’d suggest checking it out.
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?