The Difference Between Hard and Annoying

gaming difficulty

Sorry about how slow it’s been around here lately guys, but other than Mass Effect 3 dominating our lives (and every news post on every other site), there’s hasn’t really been much else to report on. There’s a new Sim City, I suppose, but what do you need to know? You make buildings, lose them to tornadoes, c’est la vie.

Given the lack of news and new releases, I’ve been replaying Mass Effect 3 on Insanity, trying to make Mass Effect 3 the first game in the series that I get 100% of the achievements on. So far it’s been fine, but the thing about cover based shooters is that on the hardest difficulty, the game pulls some really cheap tricks to make things difficult for you.

Since being in cover essentially makes you invincible (as one would expect), stepping out in to the open means certain death via some BS means like stun locking. Getting caught out in the open in Mass Effect 3 is survivable on normal but on Insanity it’s an instant death sentence. This doesn’t make the combat encounters challenging, but more of a slog because it mainly comes down to finding the one corner where enemies can’t flank you and just wasting them with power and ammo until you win.

Games do a really poor job at being difficult (there are exceptions like Dark Souls and the like) and that’s what makes doing runs on Insanity or Legendary or whatever such a chore. Maybe it’s too hard to design higher difficulty levels because most people just play it on normal, but increasing the amount of damage done to you incrementally doesn’t actually count. Halo: Reach was one of the last games to make a fun, challenging experience on Legendary; there were actually more things done to change the way the enemies behaved, and the energy weapon projectiles were faster meaning that not getting out of the way of a plasma pistol volley could spell the death of your Noble Six.

What games have you guys played recently that have given you a run for your money? What games have really poor excuses for the highest difficulty level? Do game developers need to start making harder games overall? Go!

The Banner Saga: A New Kickstarter Challenger

Although it’s already starting to become cliche just how many people are using Kickstarter to fund any damn thing in the world (why do people need $30,000 to produce a podcast – seriously), every now and then a project will rise above all the noise and show us something very cool.

On the heels of Double Fine’s Adventure game, The Banner Saga, by Stoic, promises us a Strategy RPG title, made by industry veterans, which happens to feature a mature story and some truly breathtaking art. Seriously, just the visuals alone were enough to sell me on the project, before even reading any of the impressive facts about it. I’ll let you watch the trailer.

The game is scheduled for release in June 2012, and just $10 nets you Chapter 1 of the game. I have to say, the whole thing really has impressed me, and I’ll probably be throwing some support their way – plus, it’s based in Texas, which is awesome.

What are your guys’ thoughts on The Banner Saga? How do you feel about the new fad of putting everything on Kickstarter? Go!

Source – The Banner Saga on Kickstarter

Borderlands 2 Promises Pimped-Out PC Version

borderlands 2 pc version

If you’re like me and you played the original Borderlands on the PC then you were probably disappointed by how much the game reeked of “console-itis”. The signs of a hasty port were everywhere and the game suffered for it. With a new Borderlands on the horizon, Gearbox decided to kick their PC support into overdrive and threw up a love-letter from everybody’s favorite (sarcasm) robot Claptrap, listing the features that will be in the PC version of Borderlands 2.

While this is a very nice gesture on behalf of Gearbox (and I hope they carry all this over to their other release this year, Aliens: Colonial Marines) it just strikes me as how odd it is that features that should be included on the PC SKUs of games like FOV sliders and offline LAN support are now considered to be extras by the developers. If anything demonstrates how far down the chain PC gaming is in terms of priority these days, it’s this.

Sure, a lot of the items on the list are things that PC gamers take for granted, but we just don’t get that kind of support these days. Usually these things are added in by mods, so at least Gearbox is taking the time to add that to the game.

What do you guys think of Borderland 2’s promised PC version? Does it get your engine running? What do you think of these features now being considered “bonuses” of a kind? Go!

Source – Borderlands 2 website

GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Quirks?

Deus Ex

We’ve all got our quirks, even in video games. Or at least for some of us, especially in video games. I tend to be an obsessive compulsive searcher/hoarder/stealther. I’m not sure if some of the searching obsession comes from the days when JRPGs didn’t mark every item for you or make them obvious, forcing the player to run around mashing buttons in the hopes of finding some potion or other piece of loot. But even in Mass Effect 3, which marks things for you via omni-tool, I’m still running around mashing buttons in the most random corners, searching every last avenue before moving towards the objective. I almost can’t help it.

I’ve also documented multiple times my obsession with stealing in open world games and how I like sneaking around in stealth games. It borders on unhealthy, and tends to totally hamper the first portion of both of those types of games. Deus Ex: Human Revolution combined both of these things into one package that forced me to actively re-think the way I approach these situations, just to keep my sanity.

I’m bringing all of this up because 1UP has a fun article going on at the moment called You’re Not Alone, which takes a look at different quirky gaming habits from readers and staff alike. It’s kind of hilarious to see that there are other gamers just like me who hoard special items until they’re practically useless, or who hate to use healing items if there’s an inconvenient method to do it for free.

So what about you guys? What are your gaming quirks, ticks and obsessions? Go!

Source – 1UP

Diablo III Has a Release Date

Diablo 3

Zounds! After a week of nothing but Mass Effect 3 ending talk, it seems that there’s finally some news worth posting about — Diablo III launches on May 15th. So two months from today, PC gamers everywhere will be enjoying the great tastes of hack-n-slash dungeon crawling that have been missing since Diablo II came out in June of 2000. Almost a dozen years, gents.

While there was originally a lot of clamor about the art style of Diablo III and some bickering about whether or not it would see the console light of day, all that seems to have died down in recent months. I’ve had a chance to play literally just a few minutes of the beta, but plan on playing a little more now that the game has a proper date. Needless to say, I’ve been missing this type of game for years now – it’s strange that nobody’s really done it as well as Diablo II has all those years ago.

So now, the big question: is anyone else as pumped about this as I am? Who’s going to be grabbing this on day one? Go!

Source – VG247

Game Design Gets Taken to Court

game design lawsuits

In the wake of the recent Mass Effect controversy and all of the other game-design related outcries, I sometimes wonder if gamers would take games to court if they could. 1up recently put up a feature about six game design choices that should be punishable by law, and it’s a pretty good read.

Sure, it’s humorous in nature, but there’s no denying that I feel like I need compensation for the pain and suffering caused by some of their examples. The slow-moving text in Skyward Sword is a great one, and it’s something that a lot of Nintendo games, from Pokemon to Mario, are guilty of. Sure, you can hold down the A button or whatever to speed up the text, but it still crawls pretty slowly. Ninty seems set on doing this and a lawsuit just might be the only way to get them to change their ways.

Personally, I’d like to sue someone over the Journal design in Mass Effect 3. I can get around bad quest logs, but the one in ME3 is just plain unhelpful. Main quests, side-quests and fetch-quests are all lumped together and the damn thing doesn’t even update when you’ve gathered one of the items necessary for your eavesdropping side-business on the Citadel.

I could probably also make a case against some of the things in Battlefield 3, and maybe for the extreme time-loss caused by Skyrim, but I’m pretty sure I have Stockholm Syndrome where that game is concerned. What did you guys think about the article? Are these choices worth going to court over? What games would you get litigious against?

Source – 1up

Today’s WTF: The Petition to Change Mass Effect 3’s Ending

mass effect 3 endingWell, here it is people. The point where I begin my slow descent into quitting video games. I’ve moaned about the entitled attitudes of gamers before, but this absolutely takes the cake. Mass Effect 3 hasn’t even been out a damned week and there’s already a petition to get BioWare to change the ending of the game.

I haven’t beat the game yet (I’m holding out until my Galactic Readiness is 100% in every sector) but I have heard some grumblings about the less than satisfactory way the Mass Effect trilogy wraps up. Sure, not every trilogy has a perfect ending, but demanding that the developers change their vision is a new one.

So far I’m really enjoying Mass Effect 3, even if I have problems with it. The game doesn’t exactly put its best foot forward but the further you get into the game the better it gets and some of the missions are really fun. True, some of the side missions are pretty boring “horde” scenarios but it’s not that big a deal.

I’m trying really hard to avoid spoilers which is why I’m linking to the Kotaku post instead of the actual poll on BioWare’s social site. I looked at the poll and almost spoiled myself, so I’m mad at these Gandalfs for more than one reason. I mean, how would BioWare change the ending? It wouldn’t be in a free patch, that’s for sure. What do you guys think about this? Do you have a (spoiler-free) opinion on the ending?

Source – Kotaku