Borderlands was a really interesting game when it came out, a hybrid of RPG, FPS and open-world game with a good bit of loot-craziness thrown in. Even with bajillions of guns, there were a few issues with the game, most notably the somewhat stale environments (would you like desert, garbage dump, or garbage dump in the desert?) and the most nonsensical ending in the history of video games. Secret robot assassins aside, Borderlands did well enough to warrant a sequel and the release date trailer dropped today, revealing the four main characters and adding a bit of the old dubstep.
Borderlands 2 is looking really fun, and if you put WUB WUB over anything there’s a good chance I’ll buy it. The new characters look pretty neat, and the enemy variety looks like it has expanded beyond skags and bandits. Color me excited, which I believe in loot parlance is purple. What say you? Does this trailer catch your fancy? Borderlands 2 launches September 18 in the US and the 21 in the rest of the world.
Welcome, friends, to Episode 41 of the GamerSushi Show, in which we say silly things about video games. As opposed to the rest of our podcasts, which are only super srs in nature. This thing was actually recorded all the way back on February 9, so you can listen to it with amusement and think about how wrong and naive we were all those weeks ago. Oh, the things we’ve learned since then. The places we’ve been. The games we’ve played. It was a different time.
Anyway, you’ll hear a couple of the technical difficulties that we had throughout this cast. Namely, that our Internet connections were goofing with the Skype call, making us sounds like robots every now and then. In addition, I had nearly a whole bottle of wine throughout the recording, so I just gradually transform into a troll over the course of it.
When we’re not robots, however, you’ll notice a number of sweet gaming topics, which range from Kingdoms of Amalur to the Double Fine Kickstarter to Final Fantasy XIII-2 and more. After all that, we play a game of grades in which we act all high and mighty about the whole industry. True story.
So yeah, check it out, everyone. And don’t forget to rate!
With Mass Effect 3 on hot approach, it seems that related articles are crawling out of the woodwork. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that’s we’re prone to sensationalism here at GamerSushi, there’s no denying that we’re jonesing pretty hard for that game.
Much like the Zelda article I posted a couple days ago, this essay on Mass Effect has been making its rounds today. It’s not about fixing the series, though, but rather examining why Mass Effect is the greatest science-fiction universe of our generation. It’s a very long read, but just like the Zelda article, it’s worth it. The author, Kyle Munkittrick, picks apart the many facets of Mass Effect and analyzes everything from the medium it’s presented on to its messages and philosophies.
One of my favorite parts of the article is where the writer touches on my favorite conversation from Mass Effect one, and maybe the whole series: the point of Virmire where you encounter Sovereign and realize that Saren is merely a pawn in this living, almost god-like, ship’s plan to destroy all sentient life in the universe. That’s part of what the philosophy of Mass Effect is, according to the author: the universe is large and uncaring, and what place does humanity have in it. By extension, what place do you as Shepard have in humanity?
I really like the recent surge in quality video game essays recently, ones that take a look at our hobby through a more refined lens. It proves that there’s more to video games than just explosions and scantily-clad women, so I hope this pace keeps up. What did you guys think of the article?
When I first started playing multiplayer games, the realm of online gaming felt like a vast, unexplored world — one that needed conquering by my mighty hands. As the intrepid explorer, I imagined I would venture out into the far reaches of that vast pasture of frags and k/d ratios, seeing everything there was to see. It didn’t matter if I was alone, I could do this for hours on end, slaying the multitudes of faceless, anonymous players that populated each server.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. At some point, I began to need a buddy to help me tackle the vile denizens of multiplayer. This became especially apparent to me over the last week, as I played through the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer demo and Battlefield 3 (for the first time) with fellow GamerSushi writer, Mitch. You see, with early access to the Mass Effect 3 demo, I could have very well jumped into a multiplayer match with total strangers, fighting alongside them against waves of Cerberus bots. But that prospect just didn’t excite me. The same thing was the case with Battlefield 3, a game I’ve owned for over a month but didn’t want to play until I had someone to enjoy it with.
Honestly, I can’t even say why or when this change took place. I’m not sure if it’s because this whole “life” thing forced my gaming time to be more precious or because there are more social gaming options now than ever before, but at some point my tastes shifted. The main point of this was to ask you guys whether or not you tackle multiplayer games by yourself, or if you need a friend with you to truly enjoy it? Maybe you guys can help illuminate some of the reasons why we game the way we do in that regard. Go!
In preparation for the glorious release of Mass Effect 3, gamers everywhere are enjoying a taste of the game’s demo tonight and throughout the rest of the week. With an offering of both single player and multiplayer, it’s giving everyone a chance to see what all the hype (and in some cases, the fuss) is about. To join the Shepard spirit, we thought we’d debut a new feature, a brainchild of the good sir Anthony Taylor. Because he’s cool like that.
This feature, titled Renegade/Paragon, is a look at the video games industry through the brutal cut-and-dry scope of the Mass Effect universe. Here, we grade certain entities and rate them as either Paragons — bastions of light and purveyors of all that is good and true — or Renegades — bringers of gloom, doom and every corridor of evil in between those two. Afterwards, you get to make your own calls on the situations.
Let’s get started. Who are the current Paragons and Renegades in the industry?
I’m going to try and type this post without going into full-on editorial rage mode, but it’s going to be difficult. Guinness World Records recently held a vote to determine which video game had the best ending of all time. A number of “gamers” (13,519 to be exact) cast their ballots and came up with the Top 50 Video Game Endings of all time.
There are some pretty decent choices on the list like Shadow of the Colossus, Portal and Red Dead Redemption but the game that tops the list is last year’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. That game had a decent ending, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of any list, much less a list of the supposed best endings in the history of gaming. This isn’t the only puzzler either as Sonic Adventure 2, The Force Unleashed II and Super Mario Bros all make an appearance. I could rant forever about why the Force Unleashed doesn’t even deserve anything but a quick trip to the incinerator, and Super Mario Bros doesn’t even have an ending.
I’ve got mixed feelings on demos these days. On the one hand, the impatient, spoiler-hunting, flip-to-the-end-of-the-book part of me (I’ve done that a couple of times, yes) loves getting a glimpse at a game that I’ve been anticipating. It’s like getting just a bit of cool refreshment in the middle of a ridiculous Texas summer. And if you know what that feels like, it is damn heavenly – at least until the oppressive heat crushes and suffocates you again. On the other hand, the more sensible part of me knows that demos only rile me up and leave me wanting more. And then there’s the mutant third hand, which likes trying out games that I’m on the fence about – but we’re going to ignore him for now.
While tomorrow might be Valentine’s Day for many lucky gamers out there, it’s a monumental day for yet another reason — the Mass Effect 3 demo hits. Now, while I normally try to avoid demos for games that I’ve already pre-ordered and am sure to enjoy, I just stinking love Mass Effect and have been dying to experience 3. Even though the game comes out in just a short month, I still want to get my hands on it as much as possible right now, particularly to experience some of the multiplayer. I also happened to receive a demo code to download it early, so it might be queued up on XBox Live, even as I type this…
My question to you dudes, is this: how do you feel about demos for games you’ve already pre-ordered? Do you not wish to spoil the experience at all, waiting until the moment the game is out to truly play it for the first time? Or do you want a taste as soon as possible? Go!
And by the way, if you haven’t seen the incredible FemShep trailer yet – go do that, too. I’ll wait.
This podcast is just a tad late this week, but I figured we’re doing good if we managed to get it up early in the weekend. Hey, at least it’s better than leaving you guys podcast-less for almost half a year, right? That’s what I thought. Also, Mitch and Anthony start things off with an extra special intro they worked up for all of you. It’s fairly entertaining.
In this edition of the GamerSushi Show, we chat about the Mass Effect 3 Co-op trailer, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Saint’s Row 3. On top of that we play a game of Fill in the Blank, where we grade a variety of topics like Miyamoto taking a backseat at Nintendo, no next gen consoles in the near future and Zynga’s supposed shady dealings (on which this podcast derives its name). All in all, it’s a pretty decent show, and hey, we even fit in 6 more minutes of Resident Evil 6 talk – because why the heck not?
In next week’s podcast (which we recorded last night), I drink through most of a bottle of wine while we talk even more about Final Fantasy XIII-2, Double Fine and Kingdoms of Amalur. Stay tuned, gents and ladies.
Apparently this is the week where all of our wildest gaming dreams come true. OK, that might be stretching it a bit, but at least a few of our gaming wishes seem to be coming to light. Between Battlefield 3 rumors, Double Fine’s Kickstarter Adventure and Notch talking Psychonauts 2, we’ve got kind of a lot of things worth salivating over. But that’s not all!
You see, DICE 2012 is underway right now, featuring a number of sessions from well known people in the field of interactive entertainment, including none other than Skyrim boss Todd Howard himself. Last night, Todd Howard gave Skyrim fans the world over a bit of a tease, something to get their heads spinning as we look forward to future DLC.
The Skyrim Game Jam is a week-long project where developers at Bethesda were challenged to come up with and implement one feature that they’d love to see in the enormous open-world RPG. While Howard cautioned that some of these things are just tests and might not ever see an actual release, the possibilities are enough to keep people excited about where the game could possibly go. Howard showed a reel which boasted all the things that the developers came up with in just one week’s time, ranging from mounted dragons (!) to seasonally changing foliage. Go ahead, see for yourself.
Although this power gets abused quite a bit, it’s still pretty cool that we live in a time where developers can retroactively incorporate fresh new additions to gameplay that might need some polishing. So my question to you guys is this: which of these features would you actually want to see in the final game? Also, if you could add a reel of features like this to any other game, what would you do? Go!
People have been mocking Final Fantasy XIII-2, the newest installment in Square’s as-of-late troubled ongoing franchise, as “the great apology”. In an attempt to make up for the many grievances that fans had with Final Fantasy XIII, Square-Enix brought a new tale to Lightning and company, one that supposedly addresses all the complaints leveled against it.
With all that’s being written about this game, it was hard for me to get a bearing on just how excited I should be about more from Final Fantasy XIII’s universe. Even though I (eventually) enjoyed the game despite its many missteps, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to revisit Gran Pulse and Cocoon. But now that I’m in the middle of playing FFXIII-2, I have to say that my response to the game has taken me totally by surprise: I love it.
Episode 39 of the GamerSushi Show happens to be Canadian-less, so I’m sure that’s going to make it a lot better for you guys to listen to. I kid, I kid. Mitch had a fancy radio show to take care of, so the rest of us tackled the week in gaming all by our lonesome selves. I will suggest that it’s merely coincidence that it’s one of the more fluid casts we’ve ever recorded.
As always, we cover a variety of topics. One of these happened accidentally and might become a regular feature that is sure to make you guys rage quit our site and go find your gaming entertainment elsewhere – Six Minutes with RE 6. It’s just what it sounds like. And it’s awesome by association with the greatest gaming franchise of all time.
Beyond that, we tackle Uncharted 3 and Arkham City. And then we play a game of Percentages, where we rank the chances of a number of pending news items and if they’re likely to go down. I’m pretty sure you all know the drill by this point: Eddy wins and makes some fantastic points while the others talk nonsense.
Back at the end of 2010, a glance at 2011′s calendar either sent gamers into a fit of excited trembling or utter despair. How were we going to play all of these games? What surprises were in store for us? Which ones were going to be worth the money? Could the long-awaited sequels live up to the years of promise? At the beginning of 2012, we now have all of those answers and then some. And thus, the GamerSushi Top 10 Games of 2011 list is born.
It sounds like we’re using hyperbole, but we truly feel like 2011 was one of the greatest years of gaming we’ve seen in quite some time. That much is evidenced by each staff member’s ballot – the submissions we used to determine our final top 10 (and yes, your votes for Game of the Year counted as one of our submissions, as well) were wildly different and full of an astounding variety of games. One thing was certain – gamers had a wealth of choices last year, and everyone benefited from it.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 games of 2011. Enjoy, dudes.
One of the biggest pieces of news to come out in the last few months has been that of the inclusion of a multiplayer mode in Mass Effect 3. Specifically, a co-op horde mode of sorts that has an actual bearing on the single player game. As is typically the case with the Internet, this news was met with all kinds of hyperbolic reactions – from those complaining that it was going to ruin the main game to others celebrating it without even seeing anything.
Well, now we can expect even more outrageous reactions: Bioware’s released a trailer for Special Forces mode in all its glory, teasing the game’s final release in March and the demo that’s scheduled to drop next month. I have to say, the footage looks a bit more fun than I anticipated – I definitely think the different races/classes are going to mix up the gameplay.
I’d like to consider myself a fairly patient gamer. I don’t have too many deal breakers or things that make me want to lambast a particular game in general. I’m very much able to greatly enjoy a number of titles despite small (and sometimes even massive) failures. That being said, there are occasional stumbling blocks I hit when playing a game that throw me for a loop.
Take Saint’s Row 3 for instance, a game that I love dearly at the moment. For all of its zany mayhem, hilarious writing and occasional forward-thinking (such as the GPS arrows on your HUD), the game has the occasional bothersome design hiccup. The biggest offender? Escort missions.
Like the top of some ancient relic poking through an otherwise serene landscape, these out of date mission prompts completely disrupt the flow of the game for me. What’s worse than that is the fact that for the first few hours, nearly every other mission you’re performing is an escort mission of some kind. Sure, they take on different shapes – you could be escorting someone below you while raining down rocket launcher fire or protecting a pimp while he goes to make girl/drug deals, but in the end it’s all the same.
As much as I should be used to these things appearing so frequently in games, it kind of seems like we should be past them now as a medium. I’m not saying that they should never appear again, but I do have to say that I’m surprised by their frequency, considering the fact that they have almost never been in the entire history of the people of Earth. I mean really, shouldn’t we have left these things behind last gen? I’m surprised that we still see these at all. You can add exploding red barrels to that list, as well. But I could be the only one that feels that way.
What do you guys think? Are escort missions out of date? Are there any other random gameplay tropes that still surprise you with how often they appear in modern games? Go!
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?
Anyone who has been to this site and listened to our podcasts knows what one of our all-time favorite games is: Resident Evil 5. So it would follow that aside from being the game we always try to mention in every podcast, it is also the game we want to see a sequel to more than almost anything else. Our wish, it seems is coming true, much earlier than expected.
Capcom, rather than following the Square Enix model of announcing a game 6 years before release, has suddenly released a trailer announcing Resident Evil 6 will be hitting stores on November 20th on PS3, 360 and PC. Only 10 months before release. Yes, I’ve already started the countdown. In another in a series of shocks, the trailer shows off some actual gameplay. It has a very epic feel to it and the shooting style that debuted in RE 4 returns.
Dead Space has set the bar high lately in this genre, do you think Resident Evil 6 can clear it? ¡Mátalo!
The final chapter in BioWare’s sci-fi trilogy Mass Effect will be releasing on March 6, but fans will have an opportunity to try out the various features of the game on February 14 when the demo launches.
The single-player portion of the demo will contain a couple snippets from Mass Effect 3, one taking place early in the game during the initial Reaper assault on Earth and the second will occur on an unspecified alien homeworld where Shepard travels to gain the support of the populace. All three of Mass Effect’s different single-player modifiers, Story, Action and Role-Playing, will be available and Xbox 360 users will be able to take advantage of the Kinect integration. The demo will have all classes available and you can customize and level up Shepard. Progress in the demo does not carry over to the main game, however.
The multiplayer component of the demo will be available to all on February 17, but owners of Battlefield 3 (with an activated Online Pass) will put their boots on the ground day one. A microsite will be up on February 7 where you can check and see if your EA account is eligible for early access, but as long as your account contains an active Battlefield 3 Online Pass, you’ll be good to go. There will also be an early access program for people who have not purchased BF3 or activated a Pass, so no worries there.
The multiplayer demo will contain two levels, Slum and Noveria, but beyond that BioWare isn’t saying. I’m happy for an opportunity to try out the multiplayer, even if I’ve already pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition (although it should be Reaper’s Edition in my opinion).
Are you guys excited for the Mass Effect 3 demo? What are your thoughts on the early access for multiplayer? Oh, one more thing: PC players will need to get the demo through Origin, EA’s much-maligned digital store.
After the long-awaited arrival of last week’s video podcast, many of you expressed your wishes that we not wait so long before the release of the next one. Well, for the first time in my life, I’m afraid I won’t be disappointing all of you – here’s a brand new podcast, fully of shiny gaming stories, GamerSushi memes and all kinds of other wonders.
This podcast brought us the monumental task of trying to recap an entire season’s worth of games, ranging from Bastion all the way to Skyrim. We used this as an excuse to try out a new game, Lightning Round, and I think all of you are going to be happy with the results. It was a nice way to run down a staggering list of games in a way that didn’t take 87 podcasts and two years of our blabbering to cover.
In addition, we played a game of Buy or Sell with a number of industry topics. Like we do. Listen up and enjoy, friends.
Whenever people talk about JRPGs being obsolete in relation to the success of the modern Western RPG, the one thing I can never escape is that the Western RPG’s freedom tends to work against its story. As great a game as Skyrim happens to be, its narrative takes a backseat to whatever impulse it is that drives us to pick locks or hunt foxes outside of Whiterun. I think this is one of the reasons that the Mass Effect series appeals to me – it still manages to have a tight, exciting narrative while allowing the player a certain amount of freedom. Somehow, the series has straddled a pretty nice sweet spot that brings the best of both of those worlds.
In the latest release of Bioware Pulse, the company’s video series highlighting its projects, lead writer Marc Walters discusses their desire for Shepard to be a much deeper character this time around than ever before:
“One of the things we wanted to do in Mass Effect 3 was deepen Shepard as a character, so you really get to express what your Shepard is feeling and going through, throughout the war… We wanted to take that next step with the story telling. Yeah, it’s a war, yeah it’s got giant robots we get to shoot in the face, but there is a human side to the story. You are role-playing, and you are role-playing as a human. Why shouldn’t that human have an emotional component throughout the game?”
Here’s my question, and one I think the Western RPG is going to keep running into as long as it does business this way: can a lead character in a game based on player choice ever really have depth? Sure, Bioware has come up with some memorable, incredibly well-written characters in the past – but all of these completely outshine the main characters, who are just conduits for your own one-dimensional choices. I’m not sure if those things can ever co-exist, and I think developers could be kidding themselves if they think they can.
How do you guys feel about this issue? Can lead characters in games based on player choice actually have depth? Is it OK for them not to?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or worse, terribly cliche – I want to take a moment and gripe about sequel-itis in video games. No, I’m not against sequels. And yes, I understand that in a time where AAA games cost big bucks to develop, publishers want to go with surefire hits instead of taking chances on new IPs. All of that’s fine. But what I can’t forgive is when this sequel-itis starts affecting stories negatively.
Take Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, for instance. I’m sure all of you will think I hate this game after posting a couple of negative critiques about it, but it’s more that Revelations’ negatives shine so outrageously because the game itself plays so well – and in some ways is a perfection of the Assassin’s Creed formula. I’m going to have to be as spoiler careful as possible here, but AC: Brotherhood ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. OK, that’s an understatement – it ended on a double scoop of cliffhanger with a major sprinkle of WTF. Part of the lure of Revelations is that it was supposed to give you some of the answers about both Desmond and Ezio that were left hanging at the end of Brotherhood.
The problem is, Revelations ends in much the same way. The cliffhanger isn’t so bad compared to Brotherhood, but the “answers” they finally give you only lead to a dizzying array of questions. No explanation is given for some of the really bizarre things you see in the climax of this game, after the entire narrative kept assuring you that the time for answers was coming soon.