Open-world games are hugely popular. Ever since Grand Theft Auto III, it seems most franchises try to take a stab at it at least once, with mixed results. The masters of the genre are the ones that give you so many things to do that you become paralyzed by the freedom of choice. Although sometimes this can be a good thing. If everything is fun, then maybe you just do whatever is nearest to you, until eventually you have done it all.
The point is, there are many ways to approach open-world games. Grand Theft Auto V is drawing close and I will be anxious to see if they are able to give us enough tasks to keep us busy, as they failed to do in GTA IV. I am currently playing Fallout: New Vegas in the meantime and I am taking a slightly different approach to the game than I have in the past. When I play Skyrim, Oblivion or Fallout 3, I tend to avoid the main quest as much as possible, doing all the side tasks that I can until I am suddenly weary of the game and then I race through the main story as fast as possible before the game drives me insane. Continue reading An Open-World Game Draws Near! Command?
This last week saw the release of Saint’s Row IV, the sequel to the irreverent, goofy, completely ridiculous sandbox crime series that lets you blow up just about anything in just about anyway possible. As if the games weren’t already insane enough, this version of the series has added in superpowers with which to visit havoc upon the citizens of Steelport, in addition to its new alien overlords.
While the first few missions of SR4 took me a bit of getting used to (the game makes you waddle through quite a bit of set-up in order to get to the first open world gameplay), once it unleashes you in the digital, Matrix-style Steelport, where you’re constantly testing the world’s parameters— things kick up quite a few notches. I’m already in love with the power glitches, a gameplay element quite similar to Crackdown’s agility orbs, which beckon you to jump to new heights to get stronger and faster. We’ll see how the rest of the game unfolds.
So what about the rest of you? Who else picked up Saint’s Row IV this last week? What are your thoughts on the game so far? What’s your character like? And did you choose the Nolan North voice? Sound off, Sushians!
There’s something sad about looking forward to playing a game with friends only to have that hope crushed in front of your very eyes. Such was the case last Friday when four of the GamerSushi crew sat down in front of our PCs to play Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine, the recently-released top-down heist game by Pocketwatch Games.
After navigating through the game’s menu, which included having to disable Big Picture so Jeff could actually invite us to the game, we attempted to play Monaco for about a half an hour before giving it up. Between the small levels that aren’t really built for more than one person, the vague goals and the confusing visuals, we were rather disappointed with our experience.
I suppose that it can be said that we didn’t give the game a fair shake, but to be honest I have no interest in going back to it. I’m sure Monaco appeals to a certain person, but that just isn’t me.
Has anyone else played Monaco? What did you think of it?
After Skyrim, I thought to myself, what’s the most stressful, rage-inducing experience I could put myself through? Naturally, a trip to the DMV was my first choice but there were no appointments available. So I went with the next best thing: Dark Souls. The only difference being, with Dark Souls, there is a chance, albeit slim, that I could end up feeling good about myself.
I didn’t quite finish it back when it came out, so I deleted my save and started anew. Thankfully, my skills had not atrophied over time and I quickly cut my way through the first few areas. Even the bosses that once gave me fits found themselves bowing to my mighty sword. The rush you get when clearing an area is like few in gaming. No Achievement or Trophy has ever made me feel the sense of accomplishment that I got when I finally dropped the Capra Demon in the Lower Undead Burg. My next stop is the infamous Blighttown, an area that I have heard horror stories about.
Have you ever stopped a game for a really long period of time and when you came back, you find that you are somehow really good at it now? This happened to me with Pac-Man, as well. I sucked as a kid, but as an adult, I can usually get the high score. Just like I did during GamerSushi Weekend. Seriously, ask the guys, they will tell you. I even called it beforehand, too.
So what about you? What games have you stopped and then picked up again later without missing a beat? Have you stopped a game and then discovered when you come back to it that you have no idea how to play anymore? Do you plunge through or restart?
Not entirely, mind you. I didn’t 100% it or anything crazy like that. But I finished what I wanted to out of it, which was the Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood and the main quest lines. I put 65 hours into it, got to level 37, plundered tons of caves, stole EVERYTHING from everyone I could and slew more than my fair share of dragons. I got more than my money’s worth out of the game. Indeed, if you do the math, I got more than an hour for every dollar I spent on it. Bethesda may be buggy, but they give you the bang for your buck.
Now though, after hours and hours of juggling weight limits (the most annoying thing about the game), arrows in knees and killing falmer, I am done. I love the game, but there comes a time when you have to put it aside for a while and I have reached that point with Skyrim. It’s such a massive game that I wish there was a 6 month moratorium on all new releases so we all could really delve deeply into its dense dungeons. I started and stopped that game several times since I bought it on Day 1, but it’s all over now. I might go back to it sometime, but no time soon, I can assure you. The biggest obstacle on my backlog is gone and I feel lighter for having it removed. On to greener pastures…like finally finishing Dark Souls…oh God.
What about you guys? Did you get your fill of Skyrim? Is there any game on your backlog that hovers over you like a scythe? What do you need to finish before the fall onslaught hits?
Very few games compel me to play them every day. Sure, there are times when I’m obsessed with a game for a few days, but rarely do I log on every day consecutively for weeks at a time.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one such game. This is my first experience with Nintendo’s long-running life-simuilator, and it’s got me hooked. For Animal Crossing veterans, some of the experience will be familiar: you collect fruit, seashells and various flora and fauna in your attempt to accrue enough bells to stay out of debt with Tom Nook.
The kicker this time around is that you’re the mayor, and as such you can build public works and enact ordinances to change how your town functions. I typically play Animal Crossing on the bus to work at 8:00 am, but the shops don’t open until 9. With the “early riser” ordinance, I can force the shops to open at 8. The only downside is they close a little earlier, but it’s better than having to wait until lunch to sell my pockets full of goodies.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf isn’t typically the sort of game I play. It’s cutesy and there’s no combat, but it’s deep, addictive and a heck of a lot of fun. Because the game keeps track of the clock (a long-running feature of Animal Crossing) this is a title you can play for years on end if you want. In terms of value for your money, there’s few games that can offer that.
Who else is playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf? What did you name your town? Does anyone want to come visit Assville?
I’ve recently started digging deep into Fire Emblem: Awakening and I’m having a great time so far. It’s taken me a bit to get used to its own special brand of SRPG, but I am starting to understand the mechanics and I’m improving with every battle, which is all you can really ask for. You can’t expect to master a game like this from the outset, otherwise, where is the strategy there?
But with this learning curve comes a danger: perma-death. That’s right, the terrible tragedy of losing one of your favorite characters lurks at every turn. To make matters even more frustrating, the enemy has no such fears. They will rush forward in a suicidal frenzy, knowing with certainty that you will kill them on your next turn, but they pay no heed to their own safety. For them, it’s worth it if they can take down one of your squad. It’s not fair and makes the game even more challenging than it would be normally, but that’s what makes it nerve-wracking. Continue reading Resetting the Past in Fire Emblem
No, I haven’t finished it. I’m just done with it. After stopping for a month to play Bioshock Infinite (twice) and Tomb Raider, the thought of going back to Ni No Kuni was enough to make my body recoil in revulsion. I wasn’t sure why, but I had a similar feeling when I stopped Ni No Kuni the first time in order to play Dead Space 3. But once I started playing again, I found it surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things. I put 24 hours into it before I took my month-long break.
But just like last time, I decided to throw it back into the old PS3 and see if my sudden aversion to the game would dissipate once I got going again. It didn’t. The moment I started playing I wanted to stop. The first battle I got into was literally the last battle I ever wanted to play in this game, which I think is the crux of the problem. I love the characters, the world and the story, but the battle system, while tolerable for the first 20 or so hours, just suddenly hit a wall for me. I love everything else about this game except for the battle system. I thought back to some of the tedious boss battles I had been through and I knew I didn’t want any part of that again. In the end, they were more of a chore than enjoyable. Continue reading Ni No More Kuni For Me
Coming off Bioshock Infinite, I was anxious to start Tomb Raider, a game I have had my eye on since the first E3 reveal way back when. But once I started, there was one big problem: I just couldn’t get into it. There were a number of reasons for this: I was tired, I was trying to get in a little more WWE ’13 before trading it in and I had a pretty busy week with lots of “real life” obstacles getting in the way. I liked what I played, but being only able to play in 20-30 minute sessions a night wasn’t allowing me to get invested in Lara Croft and her tribulations in the Dragon’s Triangle. Even during cut-scenes, I found myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention.
But, as I knew it would, the game finally grabbed me this past weekend, when I was able to play for a few hours in one sitting. Little things like upgrading your weapons, exploring the areas and the really fun use of the bow managed to reel me in and after one gorgeous and harrowing sequence where Lara must climb an insanely tall radio tower, I am now riveted. The mystery of the island and how Lara overcomes these dangerous situations have got me playing through the story at a fairly decent clip now. The voice acting is great, with perhaps the exception of Whitman, who’s characterization just feels out of place with the rest of the cast and the gameplay is tight. Continue reading Pushing Through in Tomb Raider
Hey look, a post that’s not about Bioshock Infinite… for now. I actually finished Ken Levine’s masterpiece (and yes, that word is appropriate for Infinite) this weekend, and the game certainly lives up to the hype in terms of what a sheer breathtaking experience it is — even if it’s sometimes lacking in the gameplay department.
One thing that I found disappointing about the game, for all its wonders, was the fact that the game was almost completely on rails. Mighty fine rails, mind you, but still, I’m the kind of guy that likes a hub, or a home base of sorts, where I’m free to weigh my options and pursue them at my leisure.
We talk a lot about backlogs here at GamerSushi, as some of us (mainly me) have an annoying tendency to buy games and then let them sit on the shelf for weeks and months at a time as we get distracted by something fresh and shiny. It’s funny because gamers complained for years about the Fall Onslaught of games, but now instead of a sudden rush, we have a year-long trickle that makes finishing a game before the next one you want comes out tough, not to mention making a dent on the backlog.
This is something I’ve been confronted with since I received Ni No Kuni on my birthday back in February. My goal was to put a dent in it until Simcity came out and then play Simcity until Bioshock Infinite was released. From there, I had no real idea what I was going to do after I beat Bioshock Infinite; likely go back to Ni No Kuni and split time with that and Simcity until Ni No Kuni was completed and I was sick of Simcity. Continue reading Clearing The Plate for Bioshock Infinite
As the announcement of Battlefield 4 draws every closer (seriously, they just teased the reveal trailer on Twitter), the last piece of DLC for Battlefield 3, End Game, has hit. With dirtbikes, Capture the Flag, and Air Superiority, End Game is throwing a lot at the wall. Does it all stick? Luckily for you, I’ve made a video summarizing my thoughts on End Game. Give it a watch, will you?
It’s not exactly the best way to close out Battlefield 3, but it’s not awful, either. As a final piece of DLC we could have gotten much worse. Unlike Armored Kill, I could see the maps from End Game easily slotting in alongside the Aftermath, Karkand, and vanilla maps. Has anyone else been playing End Game on PC? Any YouTube experts want to give me some constructive criticism? Go!
I’m one of the lucky few that has managed to put in some decent time with Simcity. This makes me both a target of envy, admiration and hatred for certain people, but I am okay with that. It hasn’t been a smooth ride the entire way so far, but I’ve managed to keep my cool and have a lot of fun with it.
But what strikes me as problematic is the size of the land you are given on which to build your city. It’s small. This is nothing new: it has been a concern for quite a while, going back to early previews of the game. But here we are, not even a week out and my city’s space is at capacity, with a population of just over 50,000. Granted, this is my first attempt at a city and I imagine the next attempt will be more efficient and better suited to increasing the population, but I can’t help but wonder if the smaller cities is a detriment to the overall experience. Continue reading Simcity’s Sudden Stop
Given that Kojima Productions couldn’t turn Metal Gear Rising into an actual game, I’m kind of surprised that Platinum Games (makers of Bayonetta) were able to take the basic premise of “Raiden slices stuff up” and make a pretty kick-ass title.
Taking place about four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden is back in his cyborg body, working for Maverick Enterprises. A surprise attack on a convoy he’s protecting leads to him adopting an even more powerful cyborg frame and vowing to get revengeance on those who wronged him (such as Jetstream Sam, and yes, that face is even better when you see it in-game).
Revengeance is a serious departure from the stealth-oriented gameplay of the MGS titles; when you hear the iconic Alert sound “!”, you know it’s time to leap into action, as opposed to running and hiding. Raiden can chop up foes with a light or heavy attack, and you can use the new Zan-Datsu mode to slice foes open and steal their spines, which allows you to heal yourself on the fly (more accurately it’s a container of repairing nano-paste as opposed to a spine, but that doesn’t sound as cool).
Admittedly, I’m having a lot more fun with Revenageance than I thought I would. These types of beat-em-ups aren’t usually my cup of tea, but Metal Gear Rising is so bonkers I can’t help but be drawn in. I did reach a pretty serious road-block last night with some enemies that run counter to the mechanics that you’ve been taught up to that point, but I’m eager to jump back in. Has anyone else played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? What do you think? Anyone going to pick it up?
As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of a new gaming PC, so naturally I’ve been digging through my backlog of Steam games to put the new machine through its paces. Thanks to various sales, I have a pretty sizable collection of games despite not having a rig worthy of running them until now. One of the games I’ve been playing the most is Saints Row: The Third, which I bought as part of the THQ Humble Bundle. The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t buy the bundle thinking I’d end up playing much Saints Row; it was more that I’m a sucker for a sale price and thought some of the other games in the bundle might be worth checking out.
Part of the fun of my new machine is launching games and seeing how they run with all settings maxed out, so I spent most of one Saturday launching one game after another and playing with the settings. Much to my surprise, Saints Row is actually a gorgeous game, especially on the highest settings. Once that sank in, I realized that I was also having a hell of a lot of fun playing the opening set piece during a bank robbery gone wrong. Pretty soon after that, the game had its hooks in me, and I ended up playing it for a good six hour session the following weekend.
I’ve been bit with a bit of a completionist bug lately. I mainly blame Ni No Kuni and its charming world, which has totally sucked me in, much like the game’s main character Oliver, as he looks for a way to save his mother with the help of his fairy friend, Mr. Drippy.
While I’m not normally the kind of guy that I used to be with RPGs — namely, the guy that does every possible sidequest before moving onto the story — Ni No Kuni is making me feel like a kid again, and I don’t mind plumbing the world’s depths for bounties, errands, and familiars. But it is causing me to run into an issue: to guide or not to guide? Continue reading To Guide or Not to Guide in Ni No Kuni
I already talked a little bit about Crysis 3’s multiplayer during the beta, and for the full release my impressions are pretty much the same. Crytek fixed the aim-down-sight issue, but I still just can’t manage to get a good round in.
The single-player of Crysis 3, on the other hand, I’ve been enjoying quite a bit. Set twenty years after the events of Crysis 2, you journey back to a ruined New York as the nano-suited entity known as “Prophet”. A lot is made of what has become of your humanity during the twenty years you’ve been in the nano-suit and whether or not you’re human anymore. Prophet himself isn’t sure, either, constantly stating that he’s sacrificed a lot to battle the alien Ceph.
Shortly after the opening segments in which returning character Psycho busts you out of a CELL containment unit, you’re given Crysis 3’s new weapon, the one that all the pre-release materials made a big deal of: the Predator bow. While being able to stay cloaked even after shooting off an arrow is pretty cool, the bow unfortunately unbalances Crysis 3 a little too much in favor of the player. Continue reading Crysis 3 Single-Player Kicks off the Year of the Bow
Over the weekend, I finally jumped into the world of Ni No Kuni, Level 5 and Studio Ghibli’s collaborative take on JRPGs. As has been reported from pretty much the whole world, the game is charming as all hell, from the story down to the monster design. With a great big world to explore and tons of sidequests, the experience is certainly reminiscent of the RPGs I used to play during my summers off of school.
But one of the more surprising reasons for my nostalgia happens to be the game’s cut scenes. Back in the day, one of my favorite parts of a new game was getting to a CG cut scene. These fully animated sequences served as a bit of a reward after a particularly harrowing part of the game, and always kept me on the edge of my seat. The fact that they looked so much better than the game made it all the more rewarding. Continue reading Ni No Kuni and the Lost Art of Cut Scenes
A common concern with horror games is that adding another person into the mix will negate the scares, kind of like watching a scary movie with a friend and making fun of it to lessen the tension. While Dead Space 3 might seem like more of an action game with two players tearing up necromorphs together, there are a couple neat tricks that developers Visceral Games pulls to make the experience a little more frightening.
Throughout the game, the co-op partner playing as second banana John Carver will experience hallucinations that the person playing Isaac Clarke won’t see. It’s up to Clarke to protect Carver as he works through these visions. This is a pretty cool way to make co-op a bit more difficult as during these moments players can’t help each other defeat the enemies they are fighting, meaning that Isaac needs to hold off the hordes by himself while Carver does the same.
Communication is key during these parts, and this is one of the many ways that co-op feels integral to Dead Space 3. While there are the standard puzzles like holding a piece of equipment down while one player climbs up or re-routing computer programs simultaneously, going through Carver’s co-op exclusive missions make the co-op campaign of Dead Space 3 that much more enticing.
Has anyone played Dead Space 3? Are you doing it co-op, or are planning to do so?
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made what amounts to a Herculean effort in terms of my gaming backlog. That means that I’ve utilized the strength of ten mortal men to play lots and lots of video games, and the pile of judgmental game titles, physical and hypothetical, have lessened their gaze of fury, demanding to be played.
Basically, I’m having fun.
The most recent target of my gaming swathe has been Borderlands 2, the ludicrous FPS action RPG that can barely support any more capital letter descriptors. Nick and myself have been tearing through this game like nobody’s business, and just this past weekend managed to smite the Warrior, the game’s final fiery boss (with some help, of course). Naturally, one of the biggest draws of any dungeon crawler like Borderlands happens to be the massive amount of loot that you have access to, and according to legend, the Warrior drops some mighty fine bonuses. Continue reading Borderlands 2 and the Question of Duping