GamerSushi Asks: What Are You Playing?

Happy Turkey Day to my fellow Canucks, and um, happy Columbus Day to my friends in the States. Seeing as how this is a nice long weekend, perfect for unwinding from the stresses of our daily lives, I thought it would be pertinent to do our monthly checkup on your gaming habits.

Personally, I had a nice zombie-themed day yesterday with a few of my friends, and just zoned out on Nazi Zombies and Left 4 Dead. To cap it all off, we checked out Zombieland, which gets two hearty thumbs up from me. Check it out if you like laughter…or gore.

Besides zombies, I picked up Operation: Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and so far it’s really engaging. It’s a lot more “realistic” than, say, Call of Duty, which makes it perfect for my mood right now. I’ve only played an hour or so, and it’s got my hungry for more.

What about you guys, though? I know Uncharted 2 and BrĂĽtal Legend don’t come out until Tuesday (who was the genius that came up with releasing these games after a long weekend?), but I’m planning on picking them up anyways, following up with some Borderlands. Are you planning on getting any of these titles, and what’s in your box, station, or PC right now? Answer, or we shall make you play Wii shovel-ware from now until the release of the 2012 movie, which we will force you to watch. It will be torture unending.

The Death of Single Player Gaming

brutal-legendWe’ve talked around these parts before about how single player gaming seems to be going the way of the buffalo, slowly shuffling towards some great doom in future generations of gaming yet to come. It seems that you can’t make a decent single player experience without trying to tack on a co-op mode or some kind of competitive multiplayer. Why, Brutal Legend and Uncharted 2 are recent examples of this idea in action.

Kotaku has put up a fairly thoughtful piece on the idea of single player gaming’s slow extinction, and what it means for the industry. The big factor in most of these multiplayer mode add-ons is that companies don’t want people to resell and buy their games used. To me, you can’t escape the inevitable- used games are here to stay, and there’s nothing you can do about it. What you can do as a game company is lower your budget and (gasp) maybe even the prices of games so that there’s more incentive to both buy and keep the games you want. Another great model is Fallout 3’s DLC packs.

So what do you guys think? Is single player gaming dying?


Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Mindless beat-em-up brawlers occupy a special place in my heart. First off, they’re the easiest games to pick up and play: just grab a controller and mash the hit button until everything is dead. Second, brawlers are awesome for co-op, especially if they are vested in a universe that both you and your co-op partner are interested in.

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 takes its cues from a lot of different games and smashes them together with the Marvel universe in hopes that you’ll like the offering. It does have a lot going for it: the Civil War storyline that Marvel published a couple years ago is the main background for the game even if it does make a left turn at the corner of Metal Gear Solid 4 and go all nano-bot on us, forgoing the actual conclusion of the comic series. It is a lot better than the “cram everything in for fan service” campaign from the original Ultimate Alliance where you would be fighting Arcade one second then dusting up Mephisto the next. A more coherent story helps move the game along at a fairly brisk pace while keeping you engaged. The voice-acting is a little hit or miss, however, but the most painful gaffs are confined to the minor characters. Visual representation for the game is serviceable, as you always know what your looking at and your characters are easy to follow. It’s not the most beautiful game by any means, but it’s far from being the ugliest.
Continue reading Review: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

Become Filthy Fuel Vultures in Left 4 Dead 2

We’ve got some good news coming out of the Left 4 Dead 2 front this week as it creeps inexorably closer to its November release date. With the demo coming up for pre-order customers (of which I am one), Valve has dropped information for another competitive mode called “Scavenge”.

In this new mode, the four survivors band together in an effort to gather fuel cans from around the level while the Special Infected try to choke, burn, and other-wise decimate the poor would-be escapees. Adding to the complication of having a whole passel of crazy zombies on your tail is the fact that the gas cans in Left 4 Dead are extremely fragile, and can easily be set off by either the Spitter’s acid or an errant bullet. “Scavenge” matches consists of three round at 120 seconds each, with each fuel can be collected by the Survivors adding twenty precious seconds to the clock. The Survivors need to find 16 cans spread across the level in order to win. The levels themselves are arena-like updates of sections from the existing campaign maps.

Now, this strikes me as an excellent idea. I used to play a Source mod called Zombie Master which had a similar mechanic to it, where the humans would collect various item from the level in order to rebuild an escape vehicle while the Zombie Master commanded his hordes in a bid to stop them. Granted, the role of Zombie Master was more of an RTS-type control scheme, but I think Left 4 Dead 2 can pull it off admirably.

So, what do you fellas think of this new mode? Does it strike your fancy, or are you going to stick to campaign and versus? Also, who else has pre-ordered this and for what system?

Source: Destructoid

UK Police Enlist Gamers to Catch Crooks, Form Combine

Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Apparently, the British Police are developing a video game in which ordinary citizens can look through the lenses of actual CCTV cameras and try to catch a crime in progress. If they do see some shifty stuff going down, they just have to click their mouse and the operator on the receiving end is sent a text message including a picture of the alleged dirty deed.

Called Internet Eyes (Eagle Eye was taken), this web-based initiative will launch next month in a town called Stratford-upon-Avon. The site for the game has a “Hall of Fame” for the caught criminals, and will offer ÂŁ1,000 to the most successful sleuth.

This raises all sorts of questions about, first off all, how the Police determines that something is actually a crime, and not just someone who locked their keys in their car. This system is open to abuse that way, where a griefer (and you know there will be griefers), will spam the site with a whole bunch of pictures of nothing. While I’m sure there are contingency plans in place to deal with potential problems, this might backfire in a pretty spectacular way.

I still think it’s a neat idea, just not one without its possible pitfalls. But, what do you guys think? Is this a brilliant scheme by the British Police, or does this cross a line? Can you see something like this spreading around the globe?

Source: Destructoid

Modern Warfare 2: Infamy Trailer

There is no question that Modern Warfare 2 is the most anticipated title of the year, with a hype level that has been snowballing as of late. As if that wasn’t enough, the folks over at Infinity Ward have released a brand new trailer for the game, moving me from excited to a near fever pitch. One of the wildest parts of the trailer? Images of what looks to be Washington, DC under attack. Why isn’t it November yet?

Getting the Gaming Craving

firefightOh man, what a weekend and a week. You guys may have noticed a lack of posting on my part. That is because my life is just a poopstorm of activity these days, with a slight chance of things slowing down finally. We’ll see. My wife and I just bought a house a couple of weeks ago, and have finally moved in. In addition, I’ve been working on Web Zeroes and not to mention my full time job. Mitch, likewise has just started a new job as well, and Anthony’s PC broke. So, we’re doing our best, and I think things are finally about to return to normal.

Since I’ve been so busy, I’ve missed out on the chance to play some games over the last week. And the thing is, the longer it goes, the more I’m starting to crave it again. I find myself oddly dying to play games I haven’t touched in a while, like Resident Evil 5 or Fallout 3. Though another part of me just wants to kick back and do some Firefight in ODST.

So what about you guys? When’s the last time you’ve had to go awhile without playing any games? What games do you start to crave when you haven’t played in awhile?

Review: Halo 3: ODST

Halo 3 ODST reviewHalo 2’s E3 demo from 2003 was the stuff of legends, something that had the fans salivating for the next instalment of Bungie’s break-through franchise. The sight of the Pelican dropship swooping down onto an Earth city under attack by the Covenant took people’s breaths away, and gave them a tantalizing glimpse of our home planet in the Chief’s universe. Ultimately, the final version of Halo 2 featured a New Mombasa that couldn’t deliver on the high hopes set by the demonstration, and left Halo enthusiasts wanting.

Six years later, we finally get our chance to explore the city of New Mombasa as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, or ODST. These special forces troops are dropped from orbiting ships in one-man pods, and are the only human soldiers in the Halo games that can stand up to SPARTANs in terms of bad-assery. The basic premise of the game is that your squad is dropped into New Mombasa, ostensibly to assault a Covenant ship that’s parked above the city, but things go horribly awry. The ship enters light speed inside Earth’s atmosphere causing a massive explosion and scattering your squad to the winds. You mostly play as the Rookie, a new-comer to the ODST squad, six hours after the drop. You search the hub city of Mombasa for clues as to what happened to your squad and your mission.
Continue reading Review: Halo 3: ODST

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Drops the F-Bomb

We’re getting closer to 2010, which mean that we’re starting to see some new media from a lot of next year’s big titles. Mass Effect 2 and Splinter Cell have been conducting the information blitz, but one game I’ve kept my eyes peeled for especially is Battlefield: Bad Company 2, seemingly the millionth game this quarter to bear the number “2” in it’s title.

The original Bad Company’s multi-player was surprisingly robust, owing in part to the amazing environmental destruction mechanics. With a year and a bit of refinement behind it, Bad Company 2 is well positioned to deliver the same crazy shoot-outs, even if it looks like it’s been bitten by the Call of Duty bug. Check out the trailer, which contains a surprisingly large number of epithets, so exercise discretion if you’re around those with sensitive ears.

The game also looks really polished graphically, so consider me psyched for this! Is anyone else looking forward to some more Bad Company, and what systems are you getting it for?

A Little Bit of LOL: Video Game Facebook

Facebook is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, one where the slightest misstep can end up as an embarrassingly tagged photo that leads to an awkward conversation with your parents about boundaries of privacy. Of course, for all the evil that Facebook has brought upon our world, there’s sometimes a lighter side to these things.

Take for example these five bits of video game character Facebooking. The sad thing is, I think we all know people whose posts are at least a little bit like this. Check out the pictures after the jump.
Continue reading A Little Bit of LOL: Video Game Facebook

Heavy Rain Corner Store Gameplay

Man, I want this game. Even though Heavy Rain has been pushed into 2010, it doesn’t make it any less desirable. Especially if gameplay videos like these keep popping up.

In this new video highlighting a corner store sequence, we see a detective trying to find out more about the Origami Killer that he is pursuing. Unfortunately for him, a robber shows up in the store, demanding and waving a gun the way robbers are wont to do. The cool thing about this video though, is that it shows several of the different ways that this sequence could ultimately pan out, including the main character himself dying, at which point a new character would take over.

GamerSushi Asks: List Your Fall Purchases

beatlesrockbandThe Fall gaming season is upon us! That’s right, the time of year that we all wait for without much patience, reacting to every bit of news and feasting upon new gameplay videos. I really truly hunger for this season each and every year, and the new experiences that lie in wait inside disc-shaped treasures. New video games. Does it get any better?

While I believe we’ve asked this question in months past, things always seem to change at the last minute as more information comes out and we get to see some more gameplay, or even read reviews. So I’ll ask it again: what games are you going to purchase over the next few months?

For me, I’m going to be picking up Dragon Age: Origins and Modern Warfare 2 for sure, having already partaken in the fun Firefights of Halo 3: ODST and the melodious harmonies of Beatles Rock Band. Recently added to my list is Uncharted 2, which has received some resounding praise that I just can not ignore any longer. I’ve also removed Borderlands from my list, as I’ve read a few “meh” assessments of its fun factor.

What about you guys? What kind of budget are you looking at? What games are you on the fence about? What are you for sure purchasing? Go!

Today’s WTF: Splinter Cell Conviction Has No Night Vision

scconvictionOk, I hate to sound the “WTF” alarm for just anything these days, given the rather easy-to-upset gaming community at large, but this article I read today kind of jumped out at me. As some of you know, one of my most anticipated games for next year is Splinter Cell: Conviction. Chaos Theory still ranks among my favorite games of all time, and I’ve been waiting for a true sequel since then.

Well I might have to wait a little longer. While I’m largely OK with some of the additional gameplay mechanics that Ubisoft has added (the one-button executions, etc), something I read in an interview with the game’s creative director Max Beland disturbed me…

I crept through some dark areas as I worked my way into the building. Even in darkness, I did not need night vision to see, notably. In dark areas the game’s graphics become grainy, but the expected night-vision overlay doesn’t come into play. Beland doesn’t like green night-vision sequences in games and told me that Fisher’s goggles aren’t used for anything like that; just for sonar scans, which show enemy positions through walls.

Seriously? No night vision in a Splinter Cell game? I mean, call me crazy, but that just about throws the game off my radar. Looks like I might not get the proper return of the franchise that I wanted.

So what do you guys think? Am I overreacting to this? How would some of you guys feel if your favorite franchise was stripped of a staple of its gameplay?

Source- Kotaku

Capcom’s Inafune Gets Sour at TGS

With the Tokyo Game Show wrapping up, it’s a time for all the games journalists of the world to remember the awesome things they’ve seen, like Peace Walker and everything Final Fantasy. For others, it’s a time to bemoan the fall of the Japanese game industry. One such sour-puss is Capcom’s Keiji Inafune, creator of Mega Man and my personal favorite, Dead Rising.

Where others looked around the TGS show floor and saw hope for Japan’s flagging creative teams, Inafune saw only despair and darkness. Quoth the raven:

“Personally when I looked around [at] all the different games at the TGS floor, I said, ‘Man, Japan is over. We’re done. Our game industry is finished.'”

Harsh words, Mr. Inafune. While the games industry has kind of turned on its heel in the last decade or so, being predominantly a Western enterprise, I don’t really think that Japan is “finished”. Sure, they’re hitting a rough patch, but things will turn around. Right?

Of course, Inafune shouldn’t be taken at face value: he left Capcom out of the list of dismal failures of TGS ’09, and as Destructoid pointed out, avoided mentioning the irony of handing off Dead Rising 2 to a Western company (Canada-based Blue Castle Games).

The decline of the Japanese game industry has been a hot button issue for a while, but I think this is the first time that anyone from inside the the industry has come out and said that we’re looking at the end. What do you guys think? Is Mr. Inafune exaggerating, or will we see the end of Japanese-made games in our lifetime?

Source: 1up

Dead Rising 2 TGS: Let’s Shotgun Party!

One game that was disappointingly absent from E3 was Dead Rising 2, Capcom’s sequel to the surprise zombie killing hit of 2006. I loved the first game to death, and I collected almost every achievement obsessively for a while. The 5 and 7 day survivor achievements will forever sit atop my stack of shame.

Anyways, you didn’t come there to read me moaning about a couple of achievements, you came here to see Dead Rising 2’s weapons combination mechanics in action! If you ever thought that a shotgun desperately needed a bayonet that looked more like a pitchfork, you’re in luck. Check out this video of the protagonist giving it to zombies all redneck style.

The game-play looks a little rough (I’d hazard a guess at Alpha), but it looks like it’s progressing nicely. The trailer out of TGS reveals that the main character is not a motocross star as previously thought, but a zombie gladiator! I’m salivating like a mad dog for this game, but I want to know what you guys think! Who else wants to rip it up cage match with style with the undead?

GamerSushi Asks: Would You Rather?

Wow, it’s been quite a while since we’ve been graced with the presence of a Would You Rather. In fact, nearly half a year! So, before the salvo of new Fall titles drop, let’s give it another shot.

In Would You Rather, I simply ask a series of questions, and you follow up with your answers. 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. You will be excommunicated and labeled with some kind of vulgar name. Believe it.

Continue reading GamerSushi Asks: Would You Rather?

TGS: Final Fantasy XIV Trailer

Malboros! I know Final Fantasy XIII still isn’t out yet, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have trailers for Final Fantasy XIV, the new MMO (maybe) entry into the series. While Final Fantasy XI never really did it for me, something about the art and the presentation of what I’ve seen so far for FF XIV have been striking.

This new FFXIV trailer straight from TGS only solidifies this position for me. Unless I’m wrong, am I spotting a hint about air and sea battles? Sign me up.

Thoughts on a One Console Future

one-consoleA lot has been made recently over the recent (and supposedly untrue rumor) that Microsoft may purchase Electronic Arts. Even though this rumor appears to be false, it does bring up some valid questions, and ones that got Anthony and I engaged in a ripping e-mail debate this morning.

As most debates go, it ended with us making various claims about each other’s mothers, but before that there was some reasoned discussion going on. Anthony believes that a move like this could really hurt the video game industry on the whole, and potentially see the downfall of the other two giants (in this case Sony and Nintendo). My position is that while I agree that such a situation might occur, we are reaching a point where a one-console future could and probably will be a reality, it’s just a matter of who goes the way of Sega first.

So, what do you guys think about this idea? Would you push away the idea of a one console future, or welcome it? To me, we are already on our way there, seeing as how there are fewer and fewer exclusive titles to separate the systems out anyway. Go!

TGS: New Last Guardian Footage

TGS 2009 is going on right now in Tokyo, and with it comes lots of new information from all those lovable Japanese developers. Why, we’ve had some new previews from MGS: Peace Walker, FFXIII and FXIV, and then some. But the thing that interested me the most was some new footage of Team Ico’s new game, The Last Guardian.

I just can’t get enough of this hippogriff thing. The gameplay looks intriguing, and the art design is just gorgeous. Who else is dying for this game?

More Like PSP No! Retailers Boycott the Hand-held.

I should be hung for that title, but I couldn’t resist. It seems that the gaming industry is trying on its big-boy pants lately, what with all the high falutin boycotts going on. Usually we see consumers getting up in arms about the alleged unfairness of some crazy rip-off or another, but this time around we’ve got actual stores joining in on the fun.

The PSP go, a recently announced upgrade for Sony’s base portable model, is being met with a hostile reception by several retailers in Eruope, with the Australian branch of EB Games being rumored as a potential party. Dutch game shop chain Nedgame alleges that the portable is too expensive to bother stocking in addition to being miffed about the lack of UMD support on the gizmo. According to the store’s official statement, the lack of actual discs for sale robs the chain of its main source of profit on game sales: the mark-up on prices. The PSP go uses media which is exclusively available from the PlayStation Network, so I’d imagine that being the middle-man in this exchange would rankle a bit.

One small chain of stores refusing to stock a product is one thing, but once a big company joins the party it’s a whole different kettle of fish. What do you guys think? Is this the first step in stores really lashing back at downloadable content? Where can this go from here, and do you think that the stores are taking the right approach with this?

Source: Kotaku