PC

Lessons in Efficiency from Walking Dead: 400 Days

10 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Walking Dead 400 Days

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!

The GamerSushi Power Rankings: July 2013

8 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 9 Comments

Company of Heroes 2

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!

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Klei Introduces its Tactical Espionage Game, Incognita

3 Jul 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Incognita

Anyone that’s played Mark of the Ninja or Don’t Starve by Klei knows that these guys are some talented developers with a knack for creating some crazy fun games. Mark of the Ninja, a 2D stealth game, is one of the more creative titles I’ve played in years — and probably some of the best stealth gameplay in this generation. And while I haven’t played Don’t Starve, I’ve heard the alpha access, community building and the fun take on survival gameplay made the title an interesting experiment that’s worth taking part in.

Klei’s newest game, Incognita, announced yesterday, sounds just as ambitious as their previous titles — with a brand new take on stealth. Taking inspiration from XCOM, a game that I fell in love with, Klei is aiming to make Incognita a turn-based tactical espionage game, where information is power.

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The Backwards Reviews of Company of Heroes 2

27 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

company of heroes 2 reviews

One of my most anticipated games of the year, Company of Heroes 2, is finally out, and it’s being met with some pretty good review. Well, the number at the end of the review is good, but if you actually read the review, it paints quite a different picture.

Despite the praise heaped upon the multiplayer of Company of Heroes 2, and the new Theater of War missions which work a lot like an RTS version of Modern Warfare 2′s Spec Ops mode, a lot of criticism is heaped on the campaign. I can’t quite speak on CoH 2′s campaign yet, but I find it odd that a review would focus on the negative aspects of a game and then spend a little bit of time talking about the good parts and give it a pretty good score. Check out the reviews below:

Now, I don’t want to seem like I’m criticizing, but if I’m going to give a game a high score I’d list the good things in detail instead of the bad parts. I’m still looking forward to trying out some Company of Heroes 2, but what about you guys? What do you think about these reviews? Are you going to give CoH 2 a try?

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 72: E3 2013

17 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

gamersushi show e3 2013

It’s the Season Finale of The GamerSushi Show! At the end of this season of the podcast, we talk about E3 2013: the press conferences, the games, and how we felt about the whole thing!

All five of us assembled like some sort of giant robot or mighty super-hero team, so it’s a pretty great cast. Unfortunately I had to duck out early thanks to work things coming up, but the guys brought it home in grand style.

So, you know the deal. Listen, rate, and eagerly await our return in September (or August, if Saint’s Row 4 has anything to say about it).

0:00 – 5:02 Intro
5:03 – 30:59 Microsoft’s press conference
31:00 – 54:21 Sony’s press conference
54:22 – 1:04:05 Nintendo’s….presence at E3
1:04:06 – 1:12:53 E3 wrap up thoughts
1:12:54 – 1:17:20 Outro

Towers Crumble in Battlefield 4: Siege of Shanghai Multiplayer Trailer

11 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

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?

GamerSushi Asks: E3 2013 Predictions

8 Jun 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

e3 2013

E3 2013 is right around the corner (seriously, it’s on Monday!) so it’s time to bust out those E3 predictions! Gaming yearly extravaganza always seems to sneak up on us, even when we know exactly when it’s coming.

This year is going to be especially interesting considering that both Microsoft and Sony’s next generation consoles have been announced. With Microsoft’s recent info-dump about the Xbox One’s stance on used-game and its once-a-day mandatory Internet check in, I wonder whether they’ll concentrate mainly on games or try to do further damage control.

So! What do you think is going to happen at E3? What are you looking for out of the press conferences? Of the big two, since Nintendo is skipping E3 this year, who do you think will come out on top? Will EA announce SimCity 2? Go!

EVE Online’s Fanfest Is A Learning Experience

22 May 2013 | Posted by | No Comment

EVE Online Fanfest

We’re going to be hit hard with Xbox One news in the coming weeks so today I wanted to offer a momentary respite from that with something that fascinates us all: EVE Online.

EVE Online is the most interesting, intimidating, exciting and possibly most mundane game that most of us have never played. Many of us will never play it, but the awe-inspiring stories that are generated from the MMO are the stuff of legends. The tales of epic battles, years-long subterfuge and stunning betrayals have left us all stunned at one time or another. It’s kind of amazing that such amazing things are happening practically under our noses. The density of the game prevents many from playing it, but those who do find themselves part of a unique community. And the hallmark event of that community is Fanfest.

Patrick Klepek and Drew Stanton of Giant Bomb traveled to Reykjavik, Iceland for Fanfest. Iceland has a population 319,000. To give that some meaning, my hometown of Tampa, FL has 349,000 people, so an entire country with less people than that honestly boggles my mind. But it is from this tiny nation that CCP, the creators of EVE, hail. EVE has about 500,000 active users and 1,400 of those users made the trip to Fanfest as well. Kind of staggering to think of more people play the game than live in the country that gave birth to it.

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Pixel Count: Most Missed Game Types?

21 May 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

We gripe quite a bit about the homogenization of games on GamerSushi. One of the most disappointing things about this past generation has been the way publishers and developers have shifted to providing game experiences that feel all too similar. We’ve been through the laundry list of complaints before: RPG mechanics married with Call of Duty style shooting, games that lead you down cut-scene filled tunnels, etc.

However, in the last year or two, we’ve finally had a bit of a break from the attack of the video game clones. With creative titles like XCOM, Monaco, Papers Please, Journey, Walking Dead, Hotline Miami and more, it seems like we’re slipping out of that mid-generation funk of tired, boring military games. And as time goes on, I feel like I keep seeing more reasons to be excited about upcoming games, as people are finally turning the corner. Don’t get me wrong, the shooter will always be popular — but we’re finally seeing more of the variety that the generation started with.

So, with that in mind, let’s have ourselves another edition of Pixel Count. This week, we’re talking about the game types we miss most, and that we hope to see more of in the near future. Start casting your votes and tell us why in the comments. Go!

Which type of game do you miss most?

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Going Through the Motions with Blood Dragon

20 May 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Blood Dragon

I’ve got a confession to make: I don’t love Blood Dragon.

After being so excited about Far Cry 3′s far-out DLC with a cheesy sci-fi bent, it turns out I’m just not that into it. The atmosphere of the game, full of reds, purples and neon colors, actually makes it kind of hard to pull of Far Cry 3′s refined, excellent gameplay. You can’t see enemies very well, you’re so superpowered that stealth barely matters, and with all the colors you rarely have any idea of where enemy fire is coming from.

But more than anything it just makes me want more of the real game. I’m not sad that I purchased it — I think DLC like this should be made more often — it’s just not really floating my cyber-boat. I find that I’m having to force myself to play the game, even after bumping it down to Easy to make it pass more quickly.

With gaming, I tend to muscle through most of the time and finish titles, even if I’m not 100 percent feeling them. But sometimes, I run into a Blood Dragon, where I legitimately do not even want to play it anymore, but feel like I should. So my question for you guys is this: when do you decide to cut the cord on a game? And what’s the last game you decided to stop playing? Go!

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 70: Pwncentages

19 May 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

gamersushi show ep 70

After a little break from the Drunk Cast, we’re back with a normal-ass normal episode of the podcast. Nick joins us once again and we bring back Anthony’s famous GAME TIME clip for the second time in recent memory.

In a little change from casts past, we talk about something other than the video game industry. We dip into a conversation leading off of Blood Dragon about TV shows, and it’s a pretty good talk, all things considered. We’re very well-rounded nerds.

So yeah, listen up, rate up and enjoy…up. Catch you next time!

The Onion’s “Find the Thing You’re Most Passionate About, Then Do It On Nights and Weekends For the Rest of Your Life”.

0:00 – 5:06 Intro
5:07 – 18:34 EA and Star Wars
18:35 – 23:33 Microsoft Ditches Points
23:34 – 46:16 Blood Dragon (NOPE j/k we talk about TV)
46:17 – 53:44 Fire Emblem: Awakening
53:45 – 1:00:59 Star Command and Kickstarter
1:01:00 – 1:02:06 GAME TIME (Percentages)
1:02:07 – 1:05:03 Chance we’ll see a price at the Next Xbox reveal
1:05:04 – 1:07:11 Chance that half the presser is dedicated to Kinect
1:07:12 – 1:09:36 Chance we’ll see some new cool thing involving Kinect
1:09:37 – 1:12:25 Chance we’ll see a Halo teaser/trailer
1:12:26 – 1:16:34 Chance there’s a good launch title
1:16:35 – 1:21:07 Chance the Wii U will have a system seller by this Fall
1:21:08 – 1:23:27 Outro

Workshop: Building the Perfect MMO

16 May 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Bungie Destiny

A couple of years back, we built the perfect shooter. The results were a lot of fun — in the comments, we put together all of our favorite features to describe the ideal shooting scenario, taking cues from things like Counter-Strike, Goldeneye and more. This time around, I thought we’d tackle a new genre.

I’ve long been intrigued by the MMO genre, but no game can ever put together enough of the right pieces to get me to take that leap into another realm. I’m not a big fan of grinding, paid subscriptions or disconnected point-and-click combat. I’d also love a story that morphs over time, in a way that makes me feel like my actions matter beyond just a stat or a new level number next to my name. I want big worlds, big universes, high stakes and easy accessibility. But maybe I’m just being nitpicky.

So for this feature, we’re going to dig into a variety of options, and discuss what we would love to see in the perfect MMO. Below are the categories and options I came up with. If you don’t like the options, feel free to add your own!

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Monaco: Cutting Down the Trolls

15 May 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Monaco

For a game I haven’t even played yet, I’m a bit obsessed with Monaco. My backlog is preventing me from springing into a new game just yet, but soon I hope to be plunging the depths of Monaco’s heist-based, co-op driven goodness. With friends, of course.

One of the more fascinating things I’ve read about the game recently has to do with its community design. The creator of the game, Andy Schatz, faced an interesting challenge — how do you promote good behavior from your online community? While most online games do excel with a bit of proper teamwork, co-op based multiplayer always has a bit of a risk. Once players stop working together, the game breaks down. That’s why most games offer a bit of a chance for players to become a lone wolf, running and gunning as they see fit, with no care of what their team is doing. So how did Schatz address this issue in a way that few have accomplished before?

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GamerSushi Asks: Gaming Experiences You’re Thankful For?

10 May 2013 | Posted by | 16 Comments

The above Ode to Garry’s Mod is a hilarious, silly and kind of moving tribute to one of the goofiest games in existence. Just watching it made me think of all the hours I’ve spent in the Source engine’s multiple iterations, from Garry’s Mod to Left4Dead and Counter-Strike. Without Garry’s Mod, we dudes at Smooth Few Films would have been unable to produce some of The Leet World’s stupider effects. It’s hard not to be grateful for that engine, and all the time I’ve spent exploring it for glitches, physics and lighting experiments.

So it got me thinking: what gaming experiences are you guys thankful for? From multiplayer to singleplayer, what experiences do you feel went beyond a hobby to something that actually played a big part in your life? Beyond Garry’s Mod, I’d have to say Mass Effect inspired my imagination more than almost any game in the last few years, and Halo gifted me with a way to stay in touch with all of my long distance friends.

What about you guys? What gaming experiences are you thankful for?

Papers, Please Has Been Accepted by Steam Greenlight

8 May 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

papers please greenlight

Usually we don’t give a lot of attention to Steam Greenlight titles around here, but this one is worth talking about. Papers, Please, a “Dystopian Document Thriller” has been accepted via the Greenlight process and will become a real game in the next while. For those unfimiliar with the game, you play a border guard in the fictional nation of Arstotzka in the early 1980s.

Arstotzka has just finished a war with its neighboring country Kolechia and has recently reopened its borders and it’s up to you to keep up with an increasingly complex series of security checks as hundreds of people try to cross the border. The mechanics of the game are fairly simple: a person hands you documents and you need to check them against certain things to make sure everything is on the up-and-up. You need to be conscious of the issuing date, whether or not the picture matches, if the issuing city actually exists in the issuing country, that kind of thing.

There are things that will trip you up, like a girl who warns you that the man behind her in line is plotting on selling her into slavery, but his papers are in order, so do you let him in or turn him away? You get two notices before the Ministry of Admission starts docking your pay, and you need all the money to keep your extended family warm, fed and healthy.

If you want to try out the Papers, Please Beta, you can check it out on the creator’s website by clicking the highlighted words. I highly recommend it. Have any Sushians played this game?

Papers, Please Steam page.

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 69: Drinking in Askarnia

6 May 2013 | Posted by | 11 Comments

gamersushi show drunk cast

We’re finally here with Episode 69 of the GamerSushi Show, the third installment of the Drunk Cast! It’s a full crew this time as Nick makes a triumphant return with some whiskey and beer.

After we establish the nation of Askarnia in podcast canon, we talk about Nintendo skipping E3, Microsoft’s next gen troubs, Tomb Raider, Call of Duty: Ghosts, GTA 5, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon and many more things besides!

So yeah, it’s a pretty great cast. Listen, rate and enjoy the cast!

0:00 – 7:57 Intro
7:58 – 25:17 Nintendo skipping E3
25:18 – 40:30 Microsoft is behind for the next-gen
40:31 – 46:42 Tomb Raider
46:43 – 57:06 Call of Duty: Ghosts and GTA V
57:07 – 1:10:54 Watch Dogs and some other stuff
1:10:55 – 1:23:45 Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
1:23:46 – 1:27:49 SimCity
1:27:50 – 1:37:41 Outro

The GamerSushi Power Rankings: May 2013

3 May 2013 | Posted by | No Comment

Fire Emblem Awakening

Can you guys believe that it’s already May? That means it’s time for another bout of Power Rankings. At about half way through the year, I do have to say I’m surprised with the games on this month’s list, and what a surprise 2013 is shaping up to be in terms of variety and the titles available to us. Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite are still kicking strong, but Blood Dragon is a surprise contender out of the blue. And that’s not even mentioning the two 3DS games that are making waves.

So here’s this month’s list of the hottest 10 games that the GamerSushi staff is playing at the moment. I’m actually really looking forward to the shake-ups that are bound to occur for June’s list, when games like Last of Us and Monaco show up in our backlogs.

What do you guys think of this list? What are you playing right now? Go!

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Review: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon

1 May 2013 | Posted by | No Comment

far cry 3 blood dragon review

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon seems like one of those games that never should have happened. After the main game went out the door, a small team at Ubisoft was given the basic framework of Far Cry 3 and a very short time frame to turn in an expansion pack.

What we got out of that is a mishmash of every single 80s movie staring Michael Biehn and featuring giant lizards that shoot lasers out of their eyes. Roll your D20s, nerds, it’s time to review Blood Dragon.

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Pixel Count: Most Anticipated May Release

30 Apr 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

It’s the last day of April and with it comes Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, which is the likely winner of this month’s poll. Before that, let’s look at last’s month poll real fast to see who won: Injustice! The DC Comic fighting game won the hearts and minds of our readers in a somewhat anemic month. Did anyone play Injustice? I tried the demo and found it to be about what I expected, which is a lot like the last Mortal Kombat. Not like that is a bad thing, but I already got my fill of that a few years back.

So here’s what we have lined up for May, kids:

Pixel Count: Most Anticipated May Release

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On Video Games and Writing

24 Apr 2013 | Posted by | One Comment

System Shock

As someone who likes to put on his imaginary pretend writer cap from time to time, I’m always interested in the subject of writing when it comes to video games. On the whole, the practice seems so different than what I’m used to that I find it fascinating. In a recent article on Polygon, author Austin Grossman talks about what video games taught him about writing — lessons that he took to pen the bestselling supervillain novel Soon I Will Be Invincible.

Grossman has some interesting things to say about the writing process for video games, which he witnessed firsthand when working on titles like System Shock, Deus Ex and most recently, Dishonored. The biggest lessons that video game writing taught were that stories don’t have to go in a straight line, nobody necessarily wants to read your prose and that people won’t respect what you do. One of my favorite bits:

You learn to be inventive. After all, players are using everything on the screen to form an idea of what they’re doing and why. You learn to sneak story in at the margins. Leave it lying in dusty corners and layered into other parts of the world, embedded into combat mechanics and level geometry and audio cues, or leave half-cues for players to fill in. To this day, I can’t tell a story straight through — Soon I Will Be Invincible and You zoom back and forth from the past and the present.

If you’re interested at all in how video game writing works, or if you just like reading smart things by good writers in general, I’d suggest checking it out.

Source – Polygon

Image – Shodan by Jim Hatama