Grand Theft Auto Online launched 10 days ago and it only now seems to have reached a stable state, much to the dismay of people with amnesia. For the rest of us, we all knew it would be a disaster, as we have seen this movie many times before and starring companies who have far more experience and know-how with online games than Rockstar does. Hell, if Blizzard can’t get it right with Diablo III, what chance does anyone else have?
That being said, it is pretty messed up that we can’t expect to play something we bought for on the day it launches: from Simcity to Call of Duty, the first day and even week can be a symphony of frustration to any gamer who dares dip their toe into the online world. How does this make you feel? Do you get angry at this or have you come to a place of serene acceptance, as I have? Are these just the breaks or should companies go out of their way to compensate their customers, as Rockstar is doing now with the bribe, I mean, gift of $500,000 for GTA Online? Should they stagger allowing certain timezones access or would that make you angry knowing that people on the East Coast are already playing while you have to wait a few more hours? Speak now or forever hold your peace!
Several new challengers, actually. Now that the fall is rolling out like AutoBots, it’s safe to say that our Power Rankings chart is going to undergo quite a few transformations of its own, month-to-month. See what I did there? References!
This month sees several new contenders making a debut on the rankings, from mobile games to indie titles and to arguably the biggest blockbuster of the entire year in Grand Theft Auto V. Yes, this venture into Los Santos and San Andreas has stolen our hearts, making us forget all of the abuse that Rockstar dished out in Grand Theft Auto IV. We’re fickle beasts.
So, without further ado, here are the top 10 games we’ve been playing over the last month. What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing? Go!
Shiver me timbers, potential Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag players! For the upcoming pirate-themed sequel, you will be able to rate missions on a five-star scale, helping Ubisoft build better content going forward.
This is a neat move by the company, and one that open-world games in general can greatly benefit from. While this system (like anything you give to gamers at large) is open to abuse, the fact that you can directly give developers feedback on what you thought about a given mission is an exciting prospect. This feature is entirely optional and at the end of a given mission a small box will pop up on the lower right of the stats screen, allowing you to assign a one-to-five star rating.
Open-world game mission design has gotten a lot better since the start of this generation, but for some reason we still have follow missions, or escort quests. Also, I would appreciate the ability to go back and give all of Assassin’s Creed 3 one out of five stars.
What do you guys think about this? Is it a good move for Ubisoft? Does it seem like we’re beta-testing mission design? Go!
You see, in the last couple of weeks I’ve developed a bit of an addiction. Every day at work, my mind is driven by thoughts of drugs, violence, theft, mayhem and destruction. At night my actions are guided by these impulses, and I disappear into the dark underbelly of my psyche to participate in grotesque fantasies, some of which leave people bloodied and battered.
Of course, I’m talking about Grand Theft Auto V here, Rockstar’s record-breaking new game that puts you in the shoes of the retired thief Michael, the up-and-coming gangster Franklin and the maniacal, homicidal addict Trevor. I can’t get enough of it.
We’re back after a week break, but can you blame us? We needed time to digest Rockstar’s latest magnum opus, GTA 5. As you can imagine, a large portion of the cast is taken up by this game, but we only talk up to the first heist, so there’s not a huge risk of spoilers.
Other than that we talk Valve’s Steam announcements (outside of the Steam controller that hadn’t been revealed yet), I heap some love on Nintendo for the Wii U and Windwaker HD and the fact that Apple payed EA to give them the exclusive launch of Plants vs Zombies 2, and apparently that’s a big deal?
Anyways, you know the drill by now, listen, rate and come back next week (hopefully) for another installment of the GamerSushi Show!
0:00 – 6:27 Intro
6:28 – 21:40 SteamOS, Steam Machines
21:42 – 26:58 Next Gen Transfers
26:59 – 31:09 Wii U and Wind Waker HD
31:10 – 37:25 EA and Apple “Non-troversy”
37:26 – 1:01:07 GTA 5
1:01:08 – 1:03:48 Outro
The white whale has landed: Grand Theft Auto V has been in our hot little hands for over a week now and with the white whale comes the white lies: people making up all manner of tall tales, the kind that spread through message boards and social media like a digital Ebola virus. In the old days, outrageous claims were difficult to confirm. You had to try it yourself, usually several thousand times while wondering if you were following that jerk on the playground’s instructions exactly or if he was just a being a tool.
Thankfully, in this age of Youtube, we can test out some of these myths and legends for ourselves. And that’s just what DefendTheHouse has done on its Youtube channel: they’ve rounded up some of the biggest GTA myths out there and set about to prove them true or false. From towing a pursuing police car to stabbing a shark while underwater, these myths get put to the test. My personal favorite is the one about a car’s backfire igniting a gasoline trail. Little details like that really make the game stand out.
So take a look at the video below and tell us about your favorite video game myths, from GTA and from other games. Remember: busting makes you feel good. Go!
Prequels are all the rage these days. A word that used to hold little meaning before Star Wars made it commonplace in the 90s, prequels now span every medium of entertainment, from movies to video games and TV. For every Breaking Bad, there’s a Better Call Saul, for every Deus Ex, there’s a Human Revolution, and so on.
With Batman: Arkham Origins dropping next month, one of the more popular video game franchises in recent years is getting its own prequel treatment, putting us in the shoes of a younger, less experienced Dark Knight. While I’ve no reason to be suspicious of the game at all, I admittedly find it hard to get excited about not taking a step forward in the mythology, seeing as how I love where the story seemed to be heading with Arkham City. Likewise, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain, while looking mighty impressive, sort of kills my desire to see its story unfold since we’ve already seen how the whole thing ends — and let’s not even mention that there’s a new voice for the iconic Snake.
So today’s Pixel Count focuses on prequels. Do you love them or hate them? Are you indifferent? Go!
Welp, it’s Grand Theft Auto V week here on the Internet, so you can guess what we’re talking about.
Despite our many, many grievances about Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto V has managed to charm me over the last few weeks. I have to give credit to Rockstar for the way that they’ve managed the flow of information about this game, from the screenshots to the trailers to the details about GTA Online. It’s created a bit of a frenzy for a game I never wanted to play, to the point where all this week I’ve been salivating over reviews.
Which leads me to today’s Pixel Count. We’ve all got our methods about how we choose our games, or how we rate them before we’ve played them. I wanted to know how you guys get a sense of a game when it releases. Vote and tell us more in the comments!
You know, the one that we’re all going to disappear into while we’re busy playing games. The first harbinger of doom comes in the form of one Grand Theft Auto V, which somehow is only a few days away. I’m not really sure how that happened, but I’m not complaining about it. After that, we’ll have games like Watch Dogs, Batman: Arkham Origins, AC IV, Battlefield 4 and then some.
But before all that, what are you guys playing right now? To prepare myself for battle at the moment, I’ve been diving into Saint’s Row IV, trying to finish it in a mad dash just in time for GTA V. I’m also trying to wrap up Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and hope to knock out Call of Juarez: Gunslinger sometime in the near future as well… but my eyes are often bigger than my stomach when it comes to gaming.
So what about you guys? What are you playing while you await the inevitable fall madness? Go!
In the last few years, some of the most striking, emotional experiences I’ve had in games have come from stripped down, simple titles. Titles like Journey or Bastion, which give the player one simple goal, and execute the carrying out of that goal in a skillful, artful manner.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a new title from Starbreeze Studios which does just that. The best way to describe Brothers is that it’s a single player co-op game, one in which you control two brothers simultaneously, with each analog stick on a controller, along with its triggers. While it sounds simple enough, trying to solve puzzles with two characters at the same time can be a decent enough challenge of your dexterity and brainpower.
But the more striking thing is how much the game conveys with no dialogue whatsoever, just gameplay.
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.
I’m back from four days of video games, panels and D&D down in Seattle, the home of PAX Prime. My shoulders are sore, my eyes are aching because of expose to dim lighting and bright neon and I can’t feel my feet, but I had an awesome time checking out some unreleased games.
Here’s a quick rundown of what I saw, I what I thought of it!
My hatred of Grand Theft Auto IV has not been exaggerated or underreported in the slightest over the last few years. While Liberty City was gorgeous to look at through Niko’s eyes, I found it to be a dull, tedious place that I hardly cared about, or cared to be a part of.
But dang, does Grand Theft Auto V look different. In addition to a campaign that looks to mix up the formula with three protagonists, Rockstar’s newest iteration of the popular series is taking the multiplayer in a different direction than ever before by way of Grand Theft Auto Online, a persistent world where you and up to 15 others can heist, race, deathmatch, build and generally unleash havoc together. I’ll let the video do the rest of the gushing.
Grand Theft Auto Online releases on October 1, and is free with every retail version of GTA V. What do you guys think? Am I jumping too far into the hype train? Have I been burned too many times to take another chance?
Another month, another update to the rankings. This time, we’re seeing not only movement in our backlogs, but movement in a few games that we managed to stick with from one month to the next. Imagine that!
I think that I’ve been pretty vocal in my condemnation of Assassin’s Creed 3 over the past year. I thought it was barren, janky, scatterbrained and didn’t fit the mold of what I’ve come to expect from an Assassin’s Creed game. In short, it left me wary of future installments in the franchise.
Since Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag was announced a few months ago, I’ve been rather lukewarm about it. Sure, it capitalizes on the best part of AC3, the naval battles, but being a successor to that game would it travel the same dark road? This new gameplay video narrated by game director Ashraf Ismail shows how closely Assassin’s Creed IV is hewing to the older games and what’s changed for the next adventure.
I’ve got to admit, Black Flag is looking pretty solid. The naval combat has had a tactical layer added on to it with the spyglass, and the return of free-form assassination contracts rubs me in all the right ways. So what do you guys think? Does Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag look like it has some promise, or are appearances deceiving?
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?
I’ll be honest, when I heard that Telltale was releasing 400 Days, The Walking Dead’s first official DLC (excluding the episodes, of course), I may have squeed a little. OK, maybe a lot. Even though I was a little saddened that we were seeing the world through the eyes of a handful of new characters, I was still happy to be stepping back into Kirkman’s zombie-verse, as depicted by Telltale. And once I played it, I wasn’t disappointed.
For any of you that loved The Walking Dead, do yourself a favor and pick up 400 Days. It’s a handful of stories of brand new characters, including a long-haired stoner, an escaped convict, a former drug addict, a young kid on the run and a big sister trying to soften a hard world for her younger sibling. And while the DLC might only be a few hours long, Telltale shows that they’re as efficient as ever in crafting memorable, fully realized characters in such a short span of time.
What amazed me most about 400 Days is just how invested I was in brand new characters, even though you really only spend about half an hour (or less) with each of them. It makes me wish that other studios would start taking notes about how to craft characters, how to introduce them to us right when their lives change, and how to make us identify with them right off the bat. At just $5, the game will easily return what you spend.
Have any of you played 400 Days yet? Thoughts? Go!
Half of 2013 has come and gone, and maybe it’s just me, but this year already seems like it’s offered us some huge surprises — almost too many, if my nasty backlog is any indication. Fortunately, July is the month that we can sort of start catching up, putting old titles behind us in preparation for the blitzkrieg of the fall.
That’s not to say there aren’t any new titles worth playing, though. Between The Last of Us, Animal Crossing 3DS and Company of Heroes, we’ve had our hands full. You’ll see these guys making appearances in our monthly top 10, along with some old classics. So here we are, the top 10 games we’ve been playing for the last 30 days.
What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!
You guys probably knew this was coming, but after Battlefield 4′s strong showing at the EA press conference yesterday, there’s no way I could pass up sharing this.
DICE showed off a 64-player Conquest mode match on a map based in Shanghai, displaying the revamped Commander mode (which you can do through a tablet as well as in-game), Levolution, and a few things besides. While the gameplay is live, the players are quite obviously following a script, but overall it’s a great trailer. Have a watch!
So yeah, consider me super impressed by Battlefield 4! EA had a great press conference, even if they did spend a little too long on sports (which I understand, even if it’s the genre of games I find the least interesting). What do you guys think of Battlefield 4′s multiplayer? Looking good?
Well gents and ladies, E3 is here, which of course means one thing: time for press conferences! The big gaming show is about the only time of the year that I get excited to listen to executives throw a bunch of scripted marketing speak at me, since it (sometimes) means I’ll get to look at some new games — and, if it’s a really good year, maybe some new tech and a few new IPs as well.
So how did Microsoft deliver after all the hubbub they’ve caused in recent weeks with the reveal of the XBox One? Let’s find out.