Another month, another update to the beloved, ever-changing GamerSushi Power Rankings. If you’ll remember, March had us loving games like Ni No Kuni, FarCry3 and Dead Space 3 above all others. Well, things have changed quite a bit in April. You see, some of the year’s best games and biggest surprises have all come out one after the other, which leaves us quite a few new contenders. And some of those contenders will probably linger for a while to come.
I barely have the words to describe Blood Dragon, FarCry3’s new standalone DLC, but I suppose I’ll try my best. Imagine if FarCry3 were re-invented as a really terrible 80s science fiction movie starring Michael Biehn of Aliens and Terminator fame. Yes, that’s what Blood Dragon actually is. Oh, and there are also robot dragons that shoot lasers out of their eyes.
In what it is seriously one of the most bananas moves I’ve ever seen by any video game company, Ubisoft is going completely off the rails with FarCry 3’s new content — and I couldn’t be more excited, even if I have no idea where this inspiration comes from. I can’t say I’d mind playing FarCry3’s mechanics in a ridiculously hilarious ode to 80s science fiction. And for $14.99, I can’t see why I wouldn’t jump right in with two bionic legs.
GDC is going on this week, and apparently Konami and EA were bursting at the seams to announce their games and couldn’t wait for E3 to roll around. Both Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (a combination of the previously announced Ground Zeroes and, of course, The Phantom Pain) and Battlefield 4 were revealed with accompanying trailers. Metal Gear Solid 5 is just below, with Battlefield 4 after the jump.
Between Sim City, and the new announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way gamers set and manage their own expectations when it comes to new games.
The disappointment for Sim City comes from knowing that a ridiculously good game might be lying beneath the surface of some extremely frustrating mechanical issues. From the servers not working (I was put into a 20 minute queue last night in the middle of a session) to the ancient-feeling social interactions, and some of the really odd rules of gameplay (too-small cities and some unhelpfully helpful Sim guides), I’m disappointed because Sim City might be a masterpiece completely stepping on its own feet.
With Assassin’s Creed 3, I felt a little lured into a game that was ultimately a total bomb. From carefully selected vertical slices of gameplay for hands-on previews to unbelievably cleverly edited trailers, Assassin’s Creed 3 looked set to put the series back to what it was with Brotherhood, while simultaneously striking out in a bold, new direction. What we got instead was a total mess, and it made me evaluate the way I take in my gaming news, which I’m already pretty strict about to begin with. Needless to say, I won’t be excited about AC4 anytime soon.
So I figured for today’s poll I’d ask you guys where you derive most of your expectations for upcoming games. Hit up the poll, and then the comments!
Today at Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera interviews Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the Tomb Raider reboot (and daughter of British national treasure Terry Pratchett). In the first part of the interview, they discuss the controversy surrounding the game’s PR blunders as well as Pratchett’s personal history with the Tomb Raider franchise and her approach to rebooting the game.
I especially liked her response to a question about how the reveal that she was the head writer affected perception of the game’s content:
It’s not fine because I’m a woman. It’s fine because we approached it with the right creative sentiments. It was an honest scene for those characters and that moment. It wasn’t done for titillation. It wasn’t prolonged. It was uncomfortable because it should be uncomfortable.
I played through the first two hours of Tomb Raider last night, including the controversial moment that caused so much furor, and I can attest to the fact that in context the scene isn’t at all played for titillation. The game is definitely intense and occasionally brutal – the first time Lara died, I cringed – but it’s all done in service to some of the best game writing and pacing I’ve experienced in a very long time. My heart was pounding for most of those first two hours, and it wasn’t because I was trying to “protect a woman”.
How about you? Did anyone else pick up Tomb Raider? Have you played through the controversial part of the game?
Avast, landlubber! After a pre-order poster for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag leaked earlier this week, Ubisoft went ahead and confirmed that the game and its pirate setting are real and there will be an official reveal on Monday, March 4. The game has been announced for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and WiiU, but you know this is coming to the PS4 and the Xbox successor as well.
There are no firm details about the game other than that it will be a pirate-themed game based on the open sea and will be set in a new time period as well as feature a different protagonist. Based on the box-art, which I used for the image, the time period won’t be radically different from the Revolutionary America setting from Assassin’s Creed 3.
The naval battles were my favorite part of the previous game, so I’m glad Ubisoft is running with the one new addition to the series that worked well. I’ve made my dislike of AC3 well known, but I can’t help but be a little excited for Black Flag. A pirate that follows the creed would make for an excellent protagonist indeed, and hopefully a departure from the more or less morally-upright main characters of games past.
What do you guys think about this announcement? Are you excited for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? Would you rather this game sank to Davy Jones’ Locker? Will the game use the term “poop deck” with a straight face?
I hope you’re all happy to know that we’re bringing the Power Rankings back this year, but in a slightly different format. Last year, the Power Rankings updated at a few key points to bring you our running list of the best 10 games of the year so far. In 2013, the Power Rankings will focus more on our hottest 10 games of the moment, despite what year it was released. Think of it as a “what’s trending” list amongst the GamerSushi staff. These are the games we just can’t get out of our heads, or out of our disc trays (or hard drives, as it were).
Every year, it’s interesting to note the games that stick with you from the end of the previous year’s crazy gaming season. For me, the biggest surprises to come out of the Fall were games like Hotline Miami, but most especially Far Cry 3. While I had no interest in Far Cry 3 for the entire year, I couldn’t put the game down for the entire two weeks that I blazed through it, completing nearly all of the sidequests as well. If you had told me that Far Cry 3 would still be on my mind in 2013 a year ago, I would have snorted and called you a crazy person. Heck, I still might call you one today.
If you’re captured by pirates on a tropical island halfway around the world, what do you do? According to Far Cry 3, you get some sick tribal tattoos and start stabbing. Far Cry 3 doesn’t waste much time before dropping you into an island paradise full of dangerous predators and even more dangerous pirates and mercenaries and allows you to go about your business as you see fit.
Want to be a master of stealth and roll around with a bow and a machete? Go for it. Want to trundle in with a flamethrower and a bunch of rocket-propelled grenades? Perhaps you’d like the local wildlife to do your killing for you. Far Cry 3 has so many ways to interact with the environment and your enemies that it’s almost insane. Oh, did I ever tell you the definition of insanity? Continue reading Review: Far Cry 3
New IPs are increasingly rare as this console cycle stretches on and on. It’s not something I fully understand, as more people than ever have 360s and PS3s, so one would think the risk of funding a game based on a new property would be much lower, but then again, what do I know?
Thankfully, Bethesda feels differently and thus has unleashed Dishonored upon the world. Developed by Arkane Studios, which features the talents of one of the original Deus Ex developers, it is a mix of Bioshock, Thief and Deus Ex, all rolled into one package. Onward to the review! Continue reading Review: Dishonored
I love stealth games, but they tend to stress me out. The idea of sneaking around without getting caught always tends to add a pile of burdens on top of me, like the game is judging me if I fail, and will punish me with extra waves of enemies should I find a way of royally fracking things up.
And while most stealth games do a poor job at making stealth just as fun as the shooting counterpart (or throw out a poor attempt at both), FarCry 3 makes sneaking around exciting, challenging and maybe even more fun than mowing down bands of pirates with an assault rifle or rocket launcher. This is mostly accomplished through an excellent skill system that rewards you for stealth kills and chaining takedowns together for some brutal, silent mayhem. It adds a dash of style to a mechanic that is normally slow and methodic, even in a (mostly traditional) first person shooter.
It’s always refreshing to play a new twist on a familiar game mechanic, and FarCry 3 does this in a number of ways. Because of this empowerment, FarCry 3 doesn’t make me nearly as nervous to play in a stealthy manner, and it’s making the game all the more fun for me. I’m not fretting about getting spotted, but rather, given just the right tools to adapt — and have a blast doing it.
How do you guys normally feel about stealthy gameplay mechanics? Do you tend to sneak around or come into a situation guns playing? What are some of your favorite stealth games? Go!
This week, I finally jumped into Far Cry 3’s sprawling green and blue playground of predators and pirates, and like many other gamers, have found myself enthralled by not only the emergent gameplay, but the sidequests that know just how to entice me off the beaten path. But before I started off-roading, gaining experience through stealth kills and skinning komodo dragons, I did what I do for every game — I tweaked the settings.
Starting a new game is equal parts excitement and ritual for me. I’ve got a bit of a ceremony whenever I pop in a new title. First, I turn on subtitles, since I’m usually trying to keep volume low so as not to wake up a sleeping baby (or worse yet, a sleeping wife). Then, I lower the overall master volume of the game. Next, I check controller settings to make sure that the y-axis isn’t inverted, and after that I lower the sensitvity to the point where it feels like the gun is dragging through molasses. No matter how engaging the beginning of a game, if these things aren’t set, I don’t feel like I’m in control of the experience.
So what about you guys? What pre-game rituals do you have before you start a new game? Do you mess with the audio? Is there a particular set of headphones you prefer to use? A particular time of day or a specific position you need to be in on the couch? Show us your OCD side in the comments.
Sushians, welcome to our first ever “What We’re Playing” Monday post. I know. You can probably barely contain your excitement.
This weekend, I spent pretty much the entirety of Saturday afternoon obsessively picking my way through Hotline Miami, a top-down 2D stealth/challenge room shooter by Dennaton games, gifted to me during the most recent Steam Sale.
For those of you unaware (which means you haven’t listened to the newest podcast), Hotline Miami is a violent game about busting into rooms full of bad guys and taking them out in the most brutal, daring way possible — all while maintaining twitch-quick reflexes.
The thing about this game is that it is old school, throw your controller across the room hard. You bust into a room full of mobsters, and you have to rehearse how you’re going to eliminate them quickly and methodically, one by one. If you’re not perfect, you get your brains blown out. As such, it requires a certain amount of rinsing and repeating, as you attempt to clear the same rooms over and over, racking up an absurd amount of deaths.
There’s something strangely addicting about this kind of gameplay. I’m not sure if it taps into that old part of us that was used to trial-and-error gameplay, the kind that required you to get a level absolutely perfect, step-by-step, if you ever wanted any hope of progressing. All I know is that on Saturday, I was a slave to Hotline Miami’s drug, trudging through half of its levels all in one sitting, sometimes shouting in triumph, sometimes cursing and swearing the game off forever.
All that to say — if you haven’t played Hotline Miami, you should certainly give it a try. It’s probably one of the more addictive games I’ve played in the last year. Have any of you guys played it? What are some other games you’ve played recently that relied on this kind of rinse and repeat drug? Go!
We once again convene our even nerdier Council of Elrond as we return for the 57 episode of The GamerSushi Show. It’s been a few weeks since our last podcast, but when isn’t that the case?
To be fair to us, not a lot has happened between then and now, except for The Walking Dead finishing up its first season, which we cover in the majority of this podcast. In case you’re wondering, we go full spoilers on this one. No holds barred, and all that, so be warned if you’ve yet to finish.
Well isn’t this just dandy? Just a couple of weeks after the game is released with a mess of glitches and bugs packed right in, Ubisoft has announced the Thanksgiving patch for Assassin’s Creed 3 which, by the looks of it, will remedy almost every misgiving I had with the game engine wise.
As I outlined in my Assassin’s Creed 3 review, this new game in the series is riddled with almost-game-breaking glitches from things that prevent you from accomplishing optional objectives for full synchronization to a final chase that’s so ridiculously bug-ridden that it’s nigh impossible to complete on the first few tries. The fact that this patch is being handed out half a month after the game has launched means that Ubisoft was more than aware of the problems AC3 players would face, but chose to ship the game anyways.
Just take a look at the laundry list of fixes coming in with the Thanskgiving patch. Almost every mission is getting changed to some degree, and that’s before getting to the stability changes that the Anvil Next engine is getting.
If this is how much the game needed fixing after the day one patch, I can only imagine the state it was sent to discs in. How it ever passed certification is beyond me. Since I’ve given up trying not to editorialize, I feel massively ripped off by Assassin’s Creed 3 in a way that I haven’t been by a video game in a long time. I payed full price for a game Ubisoft knew was broken, without any idea that it would be receiving a patch that would fix most of my grievances. While my problems with the mission design and the story still stand, I think the game would have fared better if I didn’t have to fight a legion of bugs.
What do you guys think about this? Am I right to be this indignant? Who’s still holding on to their copy of Assassin’s Creed 3?
The most appealing aspect of the Assassin’s Creed series is the ability to experience different periods of human history through a sci-fi wrapper. Thanks to the prolonged presence of Renaissance Italy’s Ezio Auditore, the need to travel to a different era was reaching a high. Thankfully for Assassin’s Creed 3, Ubisoft moved the clock up a few hundred years, dropping you in Revolutionary America in the moccasins of Connor Kenway (real name Ratonhnhaké:ton) a half-Mohawk, half-British assassin.
With a new setting, a new engine and the possibility of wrapping up the modern day storyline of Desmond Miles, Assassin’s Creed 3 seemed poised to make the same sort of leap that the series did with Assassin’s Creed 2 back in 2009. Did Ubisoft manage to pull it off, and can Connor replace the venerable Ezio? Continue reading Review: Assassin’s Creed 3
It’s been a while, but we’re back. In the month since we’ve been gone a lot has happened, such as Disney buying LucasFilm and a whole bunch of games coming out. We managed to cover a lot of it, leading to what has to be our longest cast in a while.
Nick is absent yet again, but you have the regular crew, albeit with a couple of us fighting off coughing fits at several points. Eddy just plain forgets that he can mute himself, so in a couple spots you’ll hear him coughing or chomping on a cough drop. It’s not too bad, but I’ve decided to christen the cast in his honor.
You know how it goes by now, being veterans of our show. Listen, rate and be excellent to each other. We’ll see you soon!
Even if a game like Dishonored presents itself very seriously, there are still options to exploit its mechanics for moments of levity. One of my favorite YouTubers, birgirpall, found a way to turn Dishonored from a tale of a man seeking revenge into a comedy factory. It may just be his Icelandic accent narrating the entire thing, but I haven’t laughed this hard in a while. There may be spoilers for certain scenes in here; I don’t really know, I haven’t played the game yet. Just a head’s up.
Sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves that people stil play games for fun as opposed to just finding ways to complain about them all the time. Just thought I would share this with you guys to try and brighten your day. Enjoy!
After being saddled with Desmond the last four games, Ubisoft is looking to bring a bit of finality to his story, and in the words of Masters, “To actually wrap up what you’ve opened and experienced with him”. Traditionally the Desmond segments of the Assassin’s Creed games have always been poorly received, right up from the moment in the first game when we realized that we weren’t technically going to be playing an assassin in the Middle Ages, but were experiencing the genetic memories of some poor kidnapped sod. It’s actually kind of interesting to see the lead designer of AC3 admit that the series did rotate around Desmond for a bit too long, as this part of the interview shows:
“And we wanted you to feel a good sense of progress in what’s going on in the story. A lot of the misdirection and the way we’ve been meandering a little bit has been kind of frustrating as a player and for the audience, so we wanted to make sure there was going to be more substance to get your teeth into.”
While I don’t hate Desmond as much as some, the cliffhanger at the end of Revelations did feel like the modern-day storyline was starting to wear out its welcome. I’m interested to see where the Assassin’s Creed story will go after three, and whether or not we’ll be saddled with another Desmond-type character to keep the sci-fi conceit going.
What do you guys think about this? Will we actually see Desmond’s story wrap up or is this just a developer telling us what we want to hear? Are we saying goodbye to Desmond for good, or will he be back?
Man, there has been a binder full of games coming out the past week, and it just isn’t going to stop until December. I’m still finding things to do in Borderlands 2 (like the recently release DLC) and I’m neck-deep in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. I’ve also been playing Pokemon White: Version 2 and Sonic Adventure 2, and Sleeping Dogs sits on my shelf, waiting to be unwrapped.
Truth be told, I don’t know if I’m going to have time for anything other than XCOM. It’s just so good, and really, really difficult. You’re constantly spinning plates when it comes to managing the metagame, and I’ve got at least four countries sitting on Level 4 Panic while I hurry up and wait for my satellites to build. If I play that game through again, I’m going to start building power generators and satellite facilities from the get-go just so I can have a stable of the damn things ready to launch if things start to go off the rails.
I’ve also been quite tempted to pick up Dishonored, but I’ve heard mixed things about it despite the overwhelmingly positive reviews. While the game is being praised for a lot of things, I hear that it really can be quite short, and the stealth mechanics are a little fuzzy when it comes to determining whether or a not a guard can actually see you. After Mark of the Ninja (apples and oranges I know) managed to pull off communicating this so well, and games like Chronicles of Riddick have done it too, I feel like Dishonored could have been more tuned up in this area. That said, I haven’t actually played it, so feel free to tell me if I’m talking out of my butt.
A recent pattern has emerged over the years and it’s one that makes this crotchety gamer flabbergasted. Video game websites are on a desperate mission to spoil games in as many ways as possible. I’m not just talking about story spoilers, either. No, now we get gameplay videos of full missions of Dishonored, at least 3 of which have been released thus far. The game came out on Tuesday. And yet so far, just from one prominent website that I shall not name (but you can probably guess), we have had posts on: a possible sequel, Easter eggs, tips on how to play the game best, videos showing how many different ways there are to kill enemies, etc…
It’s mind blowing. The game came out this very week and if you had read all these articles, I would question why you even would play the game. Part of video games is about having a sense of discovery, of exploring the world, the environment and figuring out your own way to play it. These posts aren’t doing anyone a service. And other websites do these as well. The most famous game site on the Internet will regularly post videos of endings, while another well-read site will show you the location of every hidden collectible in a game on the day it comes out.
Seriously: Stop doing this. I know there is the argument that people can choose whether or not to read these posts, but can we agree that they shouldn’t be posting things like this on the week the game is released? It’s destroying half the fun of playing the damn thing. We’ve finally reached a point where most websites will not post spoilers about the story, or at least warn you if they are about to, but now we are have inverted the problem by spoiling gameplay.
Am I alone on this? Don’t you think it’s more fun to try things yourself first and not have your hand held through every nook and cranny? Tell us in the comments!