As part of our summer schedule, I’m happy to bring you guys a new edition of What We’re Playing. Like I imagine many of you guys are doing, I’ve been diving headlong into an ancient backlog for the time being, partly because there’s a break of game releases (besides the Last of Us, of course) and partly because I’m preparing to auction off a few items in preparation of new console releases. Next up on my list: Final Fantasy VI.
The most interesting thing that I’ve been experiencing in Final Fantasy VI at the moment is how great the illusion of freedom actually is, for a game so old. For any of you that are unaware, a critical moment comes halfway through the story that results in the destruction of the world, rearranging/reshaping it and scattering your party members far and wide. Once you resume control, you can go after them in almost any order, or go tackle some of the game’s many sidequests, or just go face Kefka in his mighty tower.
Hello, fine GamerSushi friends. In continuing with our summer schedule, today is “Did You See This”. Naturally, with another E3 come and gone, the industry is still buzzing and writing some fantastic pieces on the things they saw last week, so that’s where we’re headed — and more specifically, to Ryse.
For those that are unaware, Ryse is one of the games that was highlighted by Microsoft at the XBox One press event. Developed by Crytek, Ryse looks like God of War had a baby with Gladiator and Dynasty Warriors, offering historical-looking action and dozens of quick-time events.
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?
Now that Microsoft has sounded off this morning, it’s time for Sony to jump in with their own version of what the next generation of video gaming should look like. As these things tend to go, the conference had its share of highs, lows, hyperbole, hype and exciting moments. But most of all, some shots fired at Microsoft.
Many people said that this year was Sony’s to lose. So how did they do?
Well gents and ladies, E3 is here, which of course means one thing: time for press conferences! The big gaming show is about the only time of the year that I get excited to listen to executives throw a bunch of scripted marketing speak at me, since it (sometimes) means I’ll get to look at some new games — and, if it’s a really good year, maybe some new tech and a few new IPs as well.
So how did Microsoft deliver after all the hubbub they’ve caused in recent weeks with the reveal of the XBox One? Let’s find out.
Man oh man, if there’s one game for the rest of this year that might be able to topple BioShock Infinite off of its lofty perch, it’s The Last of Us. Sure, everybody might have their own personal Game of the Year (come on, Battlefield 4), but I predict that those two giants will be slugging it out for that prestigious award come December.
What makes me say that, you ask? Well, in case you missed it yesterday, the review embargo for Naughty Dog’s fungal-fueled post-apocalyptic title lifted and there are some fantastic reviews out there. Here’s a round-up of what some outlets are saying about it:
Pretty much unanimous across the board, except for Polygon’s review which highlights a few inconsistencies with the shooting mechanics. The multiplayer is of particular interest to me, especially considering I kind of forgot that The Last of Us even had this mode.
The game is out next Friday, so what do you guys think about these reviews? Are you getting excited?
Video game timelines are funny things. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got the annual release titles — the familiars of our hobby, such as Call of Duty, Madden, Assassin’s Creed, Mario and the like — and on the other side of the spectrum you have the folks that release games when they’re good and ready — the Valves and Square Enixes of the world. Today’s post concerns the first group.
With the recent quality dip of franchises such as Assassin’s Creed, the underwhelming “next gen” (but still the same old) gameplay of Call of Duty: Ghosts and the staleness of other titles like Mario or Madden, it seems like there are quite a few annual releases in need of a good old fashioned sabbatical. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike these franchises. Far from it. I just think that perhaps an extended break might give developers a chance to come back to the table with fresh eyes and maybe a few gameplay or art tweaks that might reinvigorate things again.
Take Madden, for instance. I’m a dude that loves watching just about any random NFL game I can find on TV, but you almost couldn’t pay me to play a Madden game. Here’s the game of football — a rough-hitting, edge-of-your-seat, strategy-on-the-fly sport played by athletic gods — and EA manages to make a game that feels boring. Contrast that with something as historic as Mario or Zelda, two imaginative franchises that don’t quite excite the way they used to (unless they go retro or reboot one of the older, better games in some way), and it starts to feel like maybe it’s time for these guys to rest just a little while.
So without further ado, here’s today’s Pixel Count. Get your votes on and tell us what you think in the comments! It doesn’t even have to be a yearly release — just a franchise that you think might benefit with some rethinking.
I’m not entirely sure how to feel about Sonic the Hedgehog anymore. While SEGA has made some decent efforts in the past to revitalize their old mascot’s image, for every step they take forward it seems like they take two back. Sonic Colors was good, but it was only on the Wii, so a lot of people didn’t play it. Sonic Generations was, by and large, a really fun Sonic game, but every couple of levels the developers seemed to forget what kind of Sonic game they were making and shoved in some clumsy platforming sections. That said, the new Wii U and 3DS exclusive Sonic game Lost Worlds looks like Sonic Team has been bitten by the Mario Galaxy bug, and that isn’t a bad thing at all. Watch the trailer below!
Besides the Galaxy influence, I’m detecting some Sonic Extreme in there as well, which is good news for people who waited for that game back in the mid ’90s only to have it cancelled. So what do you guys think of Sonic: Lost World? Are you on board?
Hola friends, bro-mans, Sushians — and welcome to GamerSushi, summer style. If you are up to date on the latest podcast (and if you’re not, then why aren’t you, because we talk about XBox One and it is fantastic) then you know that Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer for us here at Sushi land, and we take that thing pretty seriously. It helps us to take a slight break while game news trickles to a crawl just after E3, and gives us a chance to recharge a bit and continue doing this thing year after year. For real, we’d probably have hit each other with hammers and blown up the site if we didn’t get a chance to do this, and then what podcast would you listen to?
With the summer schedule we’ll be posting 3 times per week instead of the normal 5-7. That means you’ll still get plenty of gaming content and commentary, just not at the normal frequency. You’ll find the schedule below.
What this means is that Nintendo is using YouTube’s copyright algorithms to analyze videos and if there’s a certain percentage of Nintendo content in those then Nintendo monetizes them and receives that ad money. This cuts the video makers out of the ad revenue loop and any Let’s Plays will forward the money to Nintendo instead of the person(s) who made the video.
This has led to a bit of backlash from the YouTube Let’s Play community, with a lot of well-known personalities claiming that they won’t be playing Nintendo games on their channel anymore. A lot of smaller game developers have come out saying that Let’s Play videos are great forms of grass-roots advertisement, and a few companies have gone out of their way to give YouTube channels special permission to make money by playing their games and making videos of that.
What do you guys think? Is Nintendo right to claim the ad money from these videos? Are people correct in the backlash? Go!
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!