We might have to do a What Are You Playing every Tuesday from now until the end of the year because it’s about to go down, people. There’s maybe about a billion games coming every week for the next few months on this exact day, except for Skyrim, which hits on a Friday (also known as “Eff Your Weekend Plans, Here’s Skyrim” Day). Naturally, we’re curious about your gaming tastes as it helps us format the content for the site and it also lets us know that your care enough to respond. That said, let’s dig in.
Because I’m a crazy person, my purchase today will be Spider-Man: Edge of Time, Beenox’s sophomore attempt at this property. I enjoyed their last effort, Shattered Dimensions, so who knows, I might like this one too. Other than my guilty pleasure we have RAGE and Dark Souls, one of which I know Anthony is salivating ferociously over. I also picked up the Witcher 2 on Steam for 30 bucks and of course there’s the Battlefield 3 Beta and Gears of War 3 when I get a moment. Who ever said that gamers are lazy should really look at the 2011 release schedule. That’s a lot of gaming to get done with so little time!
So what’s on your docket? RAGE, Dark Souls, something else? Polishing off the backlog maybe?
The day that we’ve all been waiting for has finally come to pass: after much hemming and hawing and three pre-rendered trailers, BioWare has seen fit to announce the release date for their highly anticipated Star Wars MMO. The Old Republic (TOR) will be brought into being on December 20, 2011 in North America and the 22 in Europe. People who have pre-ordered the game will also be given early access, but there’s no specific time-table for that yet.
In addition to the launch day, BioWare also dropped The Old Republic’s pricing structure. Every copy of the game will come with a 30 day subscription built in, but anything past that will be subjected to the typical MMO monthly fee. The breakdown goes thusly:
1 Month Subcription: $14.99 (£8.99/€12.99)
3 Month Subscription: $13.99 per month (one-time charge of $41.97/£25.17/€35.97)
6 Month Subscription: $12.99 per month (one-time charge of $77.94/£46.14/€65.94)
So there it is, folks, laid bare for all to see. I’m kind of surprised that TOR is going with a traditional pricing scheme when every other MMO (even World of Warcraft to an extent) is going free to play. Indeed, there’s one MMO I’m looking forward to possibly more that TOR and that’s Firefall which is going to be supported by microtransactions.
I’ll still give TOR a shot anyways, just because I’ve been waiting so long for it, but the subscription might be a deal breaker in the long run. What do you guys think about this news? Excited for TOR? What are your thoughts on the pricing structure?
Ni No Kuni, the Level-5 RPG that’s being co-created with Studio Ghibli (the wonderful people behind classics like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away), is due for release in Japan later this year and in America early next year. While I’ve only seen a trailer and some art for the game, I was happy to learn that Level-5 brought it to TGS. And as expected, it’s gorgeous.
I know that sometimes we gamers throw around terms like “stunning” and “gorgeous” until they lose all meaning, but I really am impressed by the art and the style of Ni No Kuni. It looks to be one of the PS3′s best-looking games, and that’s certainly saying alot.
Looks like I’ll have one more game to add to the list for 2012. What are your thoughts?
EDIT: You might have to watch two ads to get it to play, but it works. Check it!
Over the years, the advancements in video game technology and the bigger budgets associated with AAA games have helped the games industry compete with movies in terms of their appeal and their business. The experiences are bigger, bolder and more akin to Hollywood blockbusters than ever. We expect more out of games these days – and a lot of that mindset is owed to the cut scenes that were introduced several generations ago. Cut scenes stretched our idea of what games could be. But do games still do cut scenes right?
That’s the question Wired asks in a new piece titled 5 Film-School Violations in Videogame Cut Scenes. In it, writer Jason Schreier takes a look at some of the things that modern cut scenes still get wrong, even after all these years. While I think the list is sort of ill aimed (it’s more about writing and editing than actual direction), Schreier raises some great issues. In terms of writing, many games just can’t seem to cut it compared to the movies they’re trying so desperately to be.
While I’d have to disagree with him on Mass Effect 2 (one of my friends was a cinematic designer on that game and knows his crap), I’ve long maintained that many game cut scenes don’t really know what they’re doing in terms of the actual craft of film – shots are set up all wrong, and are more about flash and spectacle than about the story itself. To me, one of the most grievous recent examples is Final Fantasy XIII. For all the flack that the game takes, I felt like very little of it was directed at its cut scenes, which were often a jumbled mess. During action sequences, I often found it hard to follow what exactly was going on in the scene, to the point where I had to re-watch them several times.
So how do you guys feel about this list? How do you feel about cut scenes in gaming? Which games do it right and which ones do it wrong?
We keep saying it over and over, but gaming news is mostly out of commission right now. Well, unless you think that the 3DS thumb peripheral is news. Or… well, that’s about it, this week.
When we’re normally dealing with this kind of drought, the tactic I usually take is to talk about something going on in the specific game I’m playing. However, I’m standing on the cusp of a lot of games coming out, and I’m currently playing nothing. So instead of talking about nothing, I thought I’d ask you guys what’s been on your mind lately in relation to games and the gaming industry.
For me, I’ve mostly been thinking about game design in relation to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which I finished last week. For everything wrong with the game, it was designed in such a way that it didn’t matter. Just something bouncing around in my head that I might expand on in a future feature.
So what about you guys? What’s been rattling around in those noggins of yours in relation to gaming? Go!
Where do these games companies get off, making awesome things and then teasing me for a year before I can actually get my hands on their games. If it wasn’t enough making Skyrim look like the RPG to end all RPGs, Bethesda just released a twenty-minute walkthrough of the game, narrated by Game Director Todd Howard. This was the behind closed doors demo shown to games press at E3 and fans at PAX, and now the general public finally gets a look at it. Part one is here, and parts two and three are after the jump.
Well, it’s not quite fall, but nobody’s told that to the video games industry yet. Already, we’ve seen Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Resistance 3, Dead Island, Space Marine and soon, Gears of War 3. And that’s just for the month of September. Yes, the Fall of 2011 has been documented far too many times on our site, but seriously, can you blame us?
As such, we thought it was time to drop in with a brand new edition of Would You Rather. This time, we wanted to give you some tough decisions regarding the fall, and all its video game goodness. For the Would You Rather newbies out there, the game is easy: we ask and you dish out your response. Give as much or as little explanation as you want for your choices, but we all know that we like to see the reasoning behind the madness.
Don’t let your answers suck, though. Jeff just got a new pair of glasses that can spy people that give sucky answers and then annihilate them with crazy lasers. Seriously. I’m totally not making that up. OK go!
When you’ve got a fall that’s going to be as epic as 2011, it becomes necessary to dig into the furthest reaches of your brain to properly forumlate the best approach. If you look at the Fall of games like a mine field, which steps can you take to avoid getting blown to smithereens? At least, that’s the way I look at it, but I’m kind of weird.
Hyperbole aside, I really do have a game plan of sorts when it comes to this Fall’s releases. It seems like you almost have to in order to avoid dropping $500 in just a few months. Off the top of my head, here are just a few of the games we’re going to see: Deus Ex, Gears of War 3, Batman: Arkham City, Shadow of the Colossus/Ico, MGS HD, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Skyrim, Uncharted 3, Torchlight 2, etc. And that’s not mentioning Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3.
As of now, I’ve got Gears of War 3 and Batman pre-ordered, with plans to use Batman’s credit to get closer to Skyrim. Beyond that, I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I know for sure that I’m going to buy Battlefield 3 and Uncharted 3, even if I have to sell my body.
So what about you guys? What’s your game plan for the Fall? What games are you for sure buying? What have you already pre-ordered? What’s your strategy? Go!
It’s GamerSushi weekend! For those of you that don’t know, the GamerSushi gang is getting together irl for the first time ever, here in hot and steamy Houston, Texas. For real. It’s hot here.
So far, we’ve watched some Aliens, played some Mortal Kombat, and have a barcade run to make later today. Also, all of us in the same place is going to make for a pretty entertaining podcast. As such, there won’t be much posting happening for the next couple of days, so I wanted to ask you guys what you’re playing.
Up until today, I’ve mostly been swamped in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is so far fantastic. It just feels like an old school PC game, and has a gorgeous atmosphere and great gameplay to boot. It’s got a lot of stuff I didn’t realize I was missing from games, and I love it for that.
So, what are you guys playing in honor of GamerSushi weekend? Go!
Sometimes you think you’ve got your fall completely planned out, with money and pre-orders organized in neat little rows and squared away just so. You tell yourself you know the games that are worth skipping, the ones that you’ll get after a price drop, and the ones that you’re getting on day one.
But then reviews change everything.
As many of you know, I’ve had my qualms about Deus Ex: Human Revolution for quite some time. In fact, I labeled it as a “Shun” in a recent feature. But today, a pile of glowing reviews dropped for the game in advance of its release tomorrow.
Apparently, Deus Ex is a contender for Game of the Year. It’s being hailed as the best action/stealth game to come out since Metal Gear Solid. It’s also being called a cool blend of Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect. People are raving about the world, the story and the phenomenal gameplay. As such, all of the GamerSushi staff decided to purchase it today, including myself. And I can’t wait to play it tomorrow. I’m happy to have been proved wrong, but we’ll see if I agree with all the reviews.
So – who else is pumped about these great reviews? When have reviews changed your mind about a purchase before? Go!
Free to play games are getting more and more common these days, but I’ve always been hesitant to check them out, mostly because if a game has the word “free” in it, my mind tends to lower my expectations significantly. I don’t know where this notion comes from, but I’ve been making an effort to try out the mass of free games that have flooded the market (except for TF2, I played that game for years before it became free).
To date I’ve tried the Battlefield game, APB Reloaded and Age of Empires Online, and a few buddies of mine have tried out the MMOs that have gone free like Dungeons and Dragons and Lord of the Rings Online. While the gameplay in these games are pretty good, I just can’t get into them, mostly because of their reliance on the microtransaction business model.
All of the games use it to varying degrees, but APB Reloaded and Battlefield are the two worst offenders in my mind, allowing players to purchase weapons for use in PvP combat. This might not make much of a difference in Battlefield, which is still and FPS and is mostly determined by skill, but APB is an MMO, so whoever has the best gear wins. Add that to the fact that the level system is so convoluted (I had to play for two days before I realized that I wasn’t even close to eligible to buy a weapon with in-game funds) and I got tired of the whole experience pretty fast. It was fun ripping around the city robbing store with friends, but the whole microtransaction aspect soured me on it.
I realize that this is just one example and most of the stuff you can buy with your money in other games are personal cosmetic things and the like, but I just can’t abide with the “whoever has the most money wins” method of play. I know some people don’t have an issue with this, but for me I can clearly identify which games are a shameless cash-grab.
Firefall is an upcoming free game that I’m greatly looking forward to though, mostly because the developers have stated that they want their game to be about skill, and the paid stuff will not affect PvP combat. To me, that’s the best way to go about these things. I’m wondering what you guys think about free to play games, though? Which ones have you played and did you enjoy them? What your take on microtransactions?
A couple of weeks back, Bethesda hit Mojang up with a bit of a legal dispute, stating that their upcoming game Scrolls was going to confuse consumers about the much bigger Bethesda game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Sort of poor form on Bethesda’s part.
Anyway, to clear up this debacle, Notch has made a gentleman’s wager: if Bethesda can beat Mojang in a 3-v-3 Quake 3 match, then Notch will change the name of Scrolls to anything Bethesda wants. If Mojang wins, Bethesda drops the lawsuit.
Personally, I hope Bethesda jumps on this. It’s brilliant PR for them, whether or not they win or lose the match. On top of that, how entertaining would it be to see some sort of stream of this?
Look at that, two weeks in a row. My, we are on something of a streak. In fact, you might even say that we are streaking. Just throwing that out there.
In this edition of the podcast, Jeff and Anthony acted like divas and stormed off the set, leaving myself, Nick and Mitch to discuss things all by our lonesome. We basically used this time to talk about all the things we can’t normally talk about with those two bozos around, which really means we spend a good chunk of time talking about StarCraft 2. It gets… fairly in depth at a couple of points, so hopefully you like that kind of thing. I know I do.
We also took the three-man opportunity to play a game we’ve never been able to play before on the podcast – a real-time edition of GameCop Versus LameCop, with each of us swapping roles as we see fit. I think the results are particularly entertaining, and hopefully you do, too. You will either love it or turn the podcast off and throw it from your window.
Forgive the sensationalist headlines folks, but this is something I’ve been seeing more and more of recently. After Mass Effect 2 toned down the series’ RPG mechanics and tuned up the shooting aspect, there’s been a small but vocal minority complaining that BioWare is abandoning its fans in favor of the dudebro Gears of War audience.
While Mass Effect 2 was way less RPG than its predecessor, it still retained the story and dialogue-focused elements that made the first one such a success. My least favorite parts of the original Mass Effect were the clunky hidden dice-roll combat and the obtuse stat and inventory systems. I loved the story and seeing the ways my Shepard could interact with everyone and I considered the RPG aspects to be a necessary concession to way that the game needed be built. I never considered those mechanics to be an integral part of the Mass Effect experience and I was perfectly fine with the changes they made to 2.
Apparently I am alone is this opinion because a recent article I read on FMV Magazine demonstrates how strongly people feel about this. The writer of the article makes the argument that Mass Effect’s gameplay shouldn’t be made to appeal to a wider player-base, that its inherent RPGness are what makes it a great game. If I’m reading the article correctly, the writer believes that Mass Effect can’t have a great story if its gameplay apes that of Gears of War or other third-person shooters.
Wait, what? I’m sure that I’m reading this wrong, because that makes no damn sense to me. Because the game is now a third-person shooter with RPG-lite elements, it will be all explosions and fist-bumping? Making the argument that story has to be sacrificed because the controls are being tuned to deliver a more shootery experience doesn’t click with me.
I could be wrong in my interpretation of the author’s statements, but that’s how it reads to me. What do you guys think? Will Mass Effect 3′s adherence to more twitch-based gameplay ruin the story (somehow)? Can you sacrifice RPG mechanics and still have a character-driven plot?
This past weekend Steam offered Brink, Splash-Damage’s less than well received free-running FPS, as a free download for a limited time. I was turned off by the game’s reception at launch and the various issues I had heard about since then, but at the low, low price of nothing, I was intrigued enough to download it and give it a go.
Instead of being just a simple demo, the full game was up for grabs for the limited time offer and I got to try out a whole host of Brink’s gameplay. I was definitely intrigued by what I played; the game’s free-running aspects were great fun to use once I got used to it and the shooting felt tight and responsive. I played through most of the Security side of the campaign with a friend and we had a great time. This is the co-op shooter that I’ve been missing this year and I never would have played it if Steam hadn’t done this free trial.
While Brink has more than its share of problems (I was dropped from servers constantly until I restarted my PC, which magically fixed that issue), I realized that basing my assumptions off Metacritic ratings isn’t necessarily doing me any favors. For most of the games I’m curious but doubtful about I’ll go off a friend’s recommendation, but I don’t know anyone who even so much as gave Brink a sideways glance.
If it weren’t for some extenuating circumstances, Splash Damage definitely would have made a sale with this free weekend. Brink was a lot more fun then I realized and it kind of made feel stupid for disregarding it in the first place.
Did anyone else try out the free weekend and what are your thoughts on Brink? Did it convince you to pick up a copy? Should more games try this method to boost sales a couple months down the line?
As I said in the podcast post, you should notice that there is more going on around here than there has been in the last few weeks. We were taking a break because of the post-E3 news drought, and because we just wanted to chill a bit. It’s funny, because for some reason, I took a break from gaming in general, save for the daily StarCraft 2 ladder match.
So, now that the gaming season is kicking back into high gear, I’ve been trying my hand at a few games lately. For one, I picked up Bastion, and have played just a bit of that lately. I’m really enjoying the presentation, and it helps that the gameplay is solid, too. On top of that, I’ve been knocking out some Civilization V, which I’m enjoying as well.
But for me, though, the crown jewel of my gaming life the last two days has been Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on iPhone. For those unaware, this is the PSP remastered version of Final Fantasy Tactics, one of my favorite games of all time. The idea that it’s in my pocket whenever I want to play it is kind of incredible, and already I’m sucked right back into it. Seriously, if you have never played this and have an iPhone, get it.
After being confirmed by just about every gaming site in existence (thanks to Eurogamer’s diligent journalism) Gearbox Software and 2K Games acknowledged that Borderlands, the gun-porn heavy FPS RPG, is getting a sequel in early 2012.
Borderlands 2 will take place on Pandora, which is kind of a bummer in my eyes because of how boring looking the planet was in the original, but there’s nothing saying that the majority of the planet was represented by the last game. The game will also feature brand new characters and a bajillion more crazy weapons.
There’s not much else being revealed right now until the Game Informer story hits, so I’m going to open the floor to you guys. What do you want from Borderlands 2? What do you think the new classes will be like? What would you change about the loot system, the level progression and the story? Go!
One thing that’s guaranteed to make headlines is a video game developer making a few design choices on the PC that get people up in arms. After continually raising eyebrows back during the lead-up to StarCraft 2, Blizzard invited a few games journalists down to Irvine, California to sample some of Diablo 3. While I’m certain they came away with the excellent taste of RPG/brawler in their mouths, a couple bits of news might have left a sour taste.
Diablo 3 will feature an in-game auction house where players can exchange real money for items or receive cash for selling theirs. As a kick-back for running the service, Blizzard will take a little off the top (like Valve and the community TF2 items), but the seller will still see some payouts in the end. In addition to Blizzard taking their cuts, an un-announced third party will be handling the transaction and taking their piece of the pie as well.
Blizzard sees this as an extension of the trading system in Diablo 2 where the best items would get filtered around by the players on Battle.net. While the auction system will be closely regulated by Blizzard and there are several safeguards in place to prevent abuse, this seems like quite the gamble to be taking with Diablo 3.
Speaking of gambles, Blizzard also announced at the same event that Diablo 3 will require a constant Internet connection, even if you want to play all by your lonesome. The constant connection will be used to authenticate your character with Blizz’s servers and prevent piracy, auction house fraud and other sorts of nastiness. Another part of the reasoning was that Blizzard thought that people wouldn’t appreciate maxing out a character in single-player and starting over from scratch if they wanted to try Battle.net.
That’s quite the pair of head-scratchers right there, if you don’t mind me saying so. Blizzard is always trying to push the envelope in these terms, so this might not be the weirdest things we hear pre-release. What do you guys think about this news? Does this affect your perception of Diablo 3? Oh, and there will also never, ever be mods. So there’s that.
Bastion was released this past Wednesday, ushering the in the annual Summer of Arcade on Xbox LIVE. Made by Supergiant Games (and published by Warner Brothers Games), Bastion is an isometric RPG-style beat-em-up that is supposed to invoke the feeling that games gave us back when we were kids. The folks at Supergiant have said this repeatedly since the game was announced and I’d say that they really nailed it.
Taking on the role of “The Kid”, you set out to restore the Bastion, a safe-haven where the residents of Cealondia agree to meet during a catastrophe (called “The Calamity” in this case). Along the way your adventures are narrated by one of the other characters and it’s this persistent monologue that really makes the game shine. The presentation of this game is fantastic, from the dynamic narration to the visuals and the music (oh man, that music). Supergiant has made a classic here, if only in the new steps it takes in storytelling.
The game isn’t exactly perfect, though; the combat is a little too simplistic and repetitive, even if you can apply new attributes and boosts to your variety of weapons. Aside from that minor blemish, Bastion is really, really good and has already given me another music-in-gaming moment that might just top Read Dead Redemption (please be careful clicking that link if you don’t want to be spoiled!).
Is anyone else playing Bastion right now? What are your thoughts?
Some exciting news out of Comic-Con today regarding the Old Republic, but maybe not the kind that people were expecting. It’s not the release date as many people might have hoped, but rather the news that you can pre-order Star Wars: The Old Republic in one of three flavors (regular, Digital Deluxe and Collector’s
Pre-ordering is all well and good and as natural to the video game industry as wetness is to the ocean, but letting people pre-order without a release date is a little strange. Beyond that, the Collector’s Edition was very limited (it was sold out by the time I looked at the page this morning) and apparently the Digital Deluxe version is in limited supply as well. You can still pre-order the DD SKU, but after dropping your cash-monies on it you’ll be informed that you are “likely” to receive the thing you paid for.
I’m going to try and not editorialize this too much, but there’s something wrong if you can’t guarantee people something they paid money for, especially if it is digital. What many people suspect EA and BioWare are attempting to do is limit the amount of people logging in on day one in order to transition smoothly from development to MMO-sentience, but they way they’re going about it is all wrong. Opening pre-orders before a solid release date and telling people that they might get what they paid for smacks of under-preparedness among other things.
EA will no doubt bequeath people their Digital Deluxe editions, but whether or not you’ll be in the first run remains to be seen. I get that the Collector’s Edition is supposed to be rare (given the number of Halo 3 boxes I still see in stores makes me scoff at that notion), but putting a limit on a digital item will no doubt raise eyebrows.
What do you guys think of EA’s move? Is it a little too much taking money before putting out a release date?