I am leaving you for better, greener pastures. Well, sometimes they’re greener. Sometimes they’re frozen tundras swarming with dragons. Other times they’re cavernous holds for bandits. It doesn’t really matter what they look like, all I know is that I’m going to the world of The Elder Scrolls, and I don’t know if I’ll ever return from those fair peaks and dark dungeons.
This could last awhile.
As you know, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is out tomorrow (or in just a few moments on the East Coast), and the world will never be the same. I for one plan on playing this game through the end of the year, forsaking all other suitors that plead for my time. With a ton of great, mostly perfect reviews out for the game, along with the reports that it will have never-ending sidequests, it almost seems like a no-brainer to pick this one up.
So I guess my question to you guys is this: who’s getting Skyrim? Roll call! Go!
So it seems that the other day, an error by Microsoft resulted in the testers of the new XBox 360 dashboard update being able to get their hands on an early build of Mass Effect 3. This accidental leak (which was meant for private internal testing) included portions of both the single player and multiplayer, some of which were missing sound and textures.
While this is certainly a bit of a goof, the more interesting part of the story is the menu that showed up for these players, which revealed something that we didn’t know about the game. Basically, it gave players the option for the single player game to choose to highlight certain components for their playthrough, each with an emphasis on different aspects. Here are the three choices:
Action Mode: For those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management. Action mode will set automatic replies in conversation and a normal difficulty.
Story Mode: For those who want to emphasize story immersion and minimize combat pressure. Story mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.
RPG Mode: For those who want to explore both realms of story and combat. RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.
This seems like a direct response to the complaints that Bioware received about Mass Effect 2 being “dumbed down.” While none of this is final, it’s certainly an interesting way to tackle the problem – too many games these days try to be all things to all people, and it’s something that doesn’t always work. Bioware has responded to the leak, saying that these options will give players an even greater degree of control over their personal experience with the campaign.
What do you guys think of the idea of splitting the campaign into these different modes? At first glance, it appears to be a creative way to let each player get the Mass Effect 3 that they want. Give us your thoughts, though. Go!
Oh, Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. You look like a fairly interesting take on the Zelda universe, complete with a sky diving Link, imaginative monsters and some of that fancy Nintendo art design that has made your series famous. But you seem to have some confusion regarding your control scheme.
I guess it’s kind of rude of me to keep having this conversation with a video game while ignoring my fellow Sushi-ans, so I’ll clue you in. As you guys all know, Skyward Sword is a game slated for release on the Nintendo Wii, and as such, requires playing the game with a Wii-mote. Unfortunately for southpaws, though, there is no left-handed control scheme, despite earlier reports that it would end up in the game.
Now, I’m not going to bash Nintendo for this, even though it seems like a drastic oversight. Plenty of game companies don’t allow for control schemes that work for everyone. In fact, it’s often a big deal now when video games come packaged with options for handicapped players, like what Modern Warfare 3 is doing.
I guess my big question is why more developers aren’t allowing for these kinds of options in games? One of the biggest advantages to PC gaming in my mind is that you can customize your keyboard to play the game however you want to play it, and it doesn’t make any difference to anybody. I get that there needs to be some kind of standardized way to play, but would it hurt games to have a more customizable experience in that regard?
What do you guys think of this? Fair/foul on Nintendo? Should more games allow for changing the controls as you see fit? Go!
My character falls to his death and I don’t even move. I don’t scream, I don’t curse, I just sit and wait for the animation to complete so I can get back to what I was doing. I’m Anthony and I’m a veteran of Demon’s Souls and now Dark Souls.
As we all remember, I was a huge fan of Demon’s Souls, the intense and famously difficult action-RPG from From Software. The tough, but fair challenge, the amazing online experience…it all just clicked for me and for many other gamers as one of the best games of this generation. Now, with Dark Souls, From Software is back to give you nightmares all over again.
Yikes. Yesterday, the Internet was absolutely exploding about the news that Mass Effect 3 has a multiplayer mode. Shocker of all shockers, the instant reaction to this was utter panic, as the Internet is an entirely sensible bunch and not prone to hyperbole.
As a result, Chris Priestly, Bioware’s Community Coordinator, stepped into the Bioware forums to deliver some clarification about just what the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer would look like. It turns out that the game will actually support 4 player co-op missions that are separate from the main campaign. This mode, called Galaxy at War, will put players in control of 4 squad mates (not including Shepard) who can be made up of a variety of powers and races.
The cool thing about Galaxy at War is that it sounds like the progress you make in these co-op missions will affect the single player, in the sense that you’re helping the overall war effort against the Reapers. Whereas in Mass Effect 2, you were grooming 12 people for a suicide mission, in Mass Effect 3, you’re getting the entire galaxy ready for an all-out war. The co-op missions can boost your overall Galactic Readiness level.
So, that’s just a few of the details for what actually sounds like a promising mode that doesn’t step on the toes of the Mass Effect universe. I think the big debate moving forward is going to be if this hurts single player in any way, or if this mode is even necessary for what’s already been a great experience. You can certainly read the rest of the FAQ for yourself here.
How do you guys feel about this? Are you freaking out? Excited? Upset? Ready to swear loyalty to Bioware forever? Go!
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?