PC

GamerSushi Asks: Avoiding the Avalanche?

22 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 4 Comments

Tomb Raider

You’ve been there before. It starts out as a trickle. A game that wasn’t even a blip on your radar, or maybe one that you had never even heard of before, suddenly shows up. Maybe it’s in the form of a review, or positive buzz from gaming sites. Soon, the trickle gains some steam as overwhelming praise starts to sound from corners of the web. Then a friend plays it and loves it. Then multiple friends play it and sing its praises. And before you know it, love of this game has become an avalanche, ready to knock you from your footing of carefully budgeted gaming purchases.

This is my story right now with the Tomb Raider reboot, especially after our most recent podcast (which will be up on Sunday), and Jeff’s stellar Tomb Raider review. Whenever this happens, I tend to panic. I start checking the game’s price on different outlets. I find myself stopping at Redbox stations to see if the game is available for rent. I wonder what I might stop playing in favor of it. The really silly thing about doing this with Tomb Raider is that I’ve already got an impressive backlog, and I’m in the middle of a Ni No Kuni playthrough. As a scholar once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Has this happened to you guys recently? Do you try to avoid the avalanche when a new game comes out that you weren’t expecting to be great? Do you just give in, or wait? What games have done this to you? Go!

Penny-Arcade Goes Hands-On with Elder Scrolls Online

20 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Elder Scrolls online

Dragonborn Sushians, hark! For Did You See This Wednesday, we’re pointing you to one of many hands-on previews that press outlets scooped this past week with Bethesda’s upcoming MMO of their popular RPG series, The Elder Scrolls.

Penny-Arcade’s preview of The Elder Scrolls Online in particular has some nice, juicy info for any of you that have been hurting for more details about what it’ll be like to run around in the lands we’ve visited in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim. For the most part, the game seems to deliver generic MMO fare, although the combat sounds a bit more interesting than what you’d usually see in a WoW clone.

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Pixel Count: Free EA Game?

19 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Well, now that EA has finally revealed the more-meager-than-most-would-like-list of games that are available as a free download to compensate for any hardships caused by the unmitigated disaster that is Simcity, it’s time to find out from our dear readers what game they are going to choose! I know some people were expecting more from this, such as perhaps choosing any EA game on origin, but come on: it’s EA. We’re lucky they haven’t convinced our banks to double-charge us for Simcity. The list is below:

What Free Origin Game Would You Choose?

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Battlefield 3: End Game is an Inauspicious Final DLC

18 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 6 Comments

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!

Review: SimCity

14 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

sim city review

Anthony

My city, Trampa, started off well: I kept my industrial zones far away and downwind of my residential areas with a nice buffer of commercial zones between them. My city was low on natural resources, so I decided to focus on gambling and tourism. Being from Florida, it only made sense to apply my native expertise to Trampa. My first casino was moderately successful, but when I added some resort rooms and blackjack tables, it was pulling in over $15,000 a day. My second casino, located on the other side of town, was equally successful. My city was booming and I built an exo and held events, earning over $100,000 a night! Trampa was on the map and without building a monorail! Then, out of nowhere, things took a turn. My budget was in the red, citizens started leaving. My once robust casinos were losing twice what they used to make per day! Things fell apart and without any explanation.

Having perused the Internet, the now-known pathfinding bugs and traffic errors are what I think are the culprits. I built a bus station that was closer to the highway than the casino was, which is why all the tourists and shoppers stopped frequenting the casino. I did what I could to save my city, destroying the industrial sector altogether and making room for more homes and businesses, but nothing worked. Eddy’s city was having sewage problems, so I had to build my own sewage plants, causing ground pollution in the middle of a commercial zone. My airport was desolate and my expo was a ghost town. This was after about 5 hours of playtime, at Llama speed (cheetah speed has been disabled because it breaks stuff). No space in my city to expand, residents fleeing, budget is in the red. I turned off services, built some parks and shockingly, things turned around. I went from 37,000 citizens to 73,000, with barely any effort at all. It made no sense. I was being told to zone homes because workers were needed, but also that unemployment was high.

It made no sense. None of it did. My city is an illogical puzzle built on an infrastructure of lies. For about 4 hours, it was supremely addictive, almost intoxicating in the joy it gave me. Now I wish I had my $60 back so I could play Tomb Raider for 10 hours. SimCity is not a game I recognize anymore. I’ve bought bad games in the past, but I’ve never felt screwed before. EA and SimCity just popped that cherry. And all I can do is hug myself in shame, wondering what might have been.

sim city review

Eddy

Once I could finally play SimCity, I was excited. Having spent some time with the Beta a few months back, during the server fiasco I always like once people could play the game, they’d get over it and be happy with the amazing treat that was waiting for them. For the whole first week of SimCity, I couldn’t find my way into a game until 4 days after release, and even then my time was sparing. But even in those first couple of nights of play, I started to notice a few issues, namely with the way social interactions are handled.

For one, the game seems to require two people to be in the same server at the same time before you can even invite a friend to your region. This may not be the exact case, but who knows with how wonky the game’s network has been. But when I attempted to invite a friend, it was a 40 minute process while he logged onto the server (not always reliable) and then was forced to play through the tutorial again, since the server considered him a new player. On top of that, I had to log out of my own game in order to invite him – and couldn’t log back in when I was done since the server was busy. How these kinds of issues are even possible in 2013, I could never tell you. It reminds me of being back in Quake 2 or CS 1.3, writing down server IPs and sending instant messages or calling friends so we could try to meet up. Except worse.

But that’s not even getting to the game, which I noticed was behaving strangely after just a few hours of play. Utilities didn’t seem to work the way they were supposed to, with houses and businesses unable to receive water or electricity. Nobody seemed to shop at the casino on the other side of town, even though I had plenty of public transportation. The game always thought I needed more workers to fill jobs, more industrial zones even though I had zones without factories being built on them, more shops and then some, without any explanation or any results when I made changes. Come to find out, the game has some major traffic and population glitches that are virtually game breaking once your city starts to grow. This makes sense, seeing as how my first few hours with the game were bliss… and everything after that has been one giant bug jam.

I wanted to love this game, and I keep hoping for a patch. But right now, it’s one of the worst video game purchases I’ve ever made, and I’m deeply regretting the fact that I can’t get a refund for it.

sim city review

Mitch

SimCity starts out with hope and promise, the tantalizing view of a city packed with skyscrapers barely visible from the shores of your town hinting at better days to come. Building you city from the ground up and watching it sprout its first highrises is the single shining spot on this shallow, deceptive, broken mess of a game.

I knew something was fishy when I had to meta-game my sewer outflow pipes to prevent them from overflowing while I waited for enough money to build a sewer treatment plant. Instead of dividing the task of pumping out crud between the two facilities, I was having to close one and open the other when the amount of sewage they were trying to handle was too much. Even when I built my treatment plant I kept one pipe open just in case, but the way that Glass Box handles “agents” meant that it would always try and go to the nearest applicable service, regardless of how ready and willing my shiny new plant was.

This is just one example of the dozens of ways SimCity’s facade broke while I was playing it. My Sims protested germs and crime at my City Hall while over-staffed police stations and hospitals and clinics sat unused. My biggest frustration came from upgrading roads to handle increased density. The game’s tutorial doesn’t tell you how to use the road upgrade tool, and even when I figured that out I still had to tear up most of my roads so I could build even bigger ones.

SimCity constantly tries to hold your hand, but given the way that nothing works the way it’s supposed to, your advisers yelling at you to zone for more high-wealth residential comes across as a slap in the face. Your city will scream at you for dwellings and services you have in spades that they just can’t get to because Glass Box can’t figure out what to do with itself. Even hours after I built a ferry terminal, Sim thought bubbles were popping up telling me how much they wanted one.

You can legitimately build a city consisting of nothing but amphitheaters and high-density housing with one single road. This isn’t a simulation game, it’s a battle against fundamentally broken mechanics.

GamerSushi Grade:

F

How does our grading system work? Check out our grade chart!

Call of Duty “Almost Ruined” a Generation of Gamers, Says Red Orchestra Dev

14 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

call of duty ruining gamers

Call of Duty is, without a doubt, the most popular online FPS game of our time. Millions of people have played it and become accustom to the mechanics, so much so to the point where if you want to make a successful shooter, you have to ape the way CoD plays and feels to a certain degree.

Not so with Red Orchestra 2, which has an upcoming expansion in the form of Rising Storm. PC Gamer spoke to Tripwire Interactive President John Gibson about the expansion, but also about how he feels that Call of Duty has “almost ruined” a generation of gamers.

His frustration mostly stems from trying to create “Action Mode”, a blend of Red Orchestra and Call of Duty and not being able to make it work. Call of Duty players were called in to consult on the mode and the mechanics for RO2 just aren’t compatible with the way CoD plays.

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Pixel Count: Great Expectations

12 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Between Sim City, and the new announcement of Assassin’s Creed 4, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way gamers set and manage their own expectations when it comes to new games.

The disappointment for Sim City comes from knowing that a ridiculously good game might be lying beneath the surface of some extremely frustrating mechanical issues. From the servers not working (I was put into a 20 minute queue last night in the middle of a session) to the ancient-feeling social interactions, and some of the really odd rules of gameplay (too-small cities and some unhelpfully helpful Sim guides), I’m disappointed because Sim City might be a masterpiece completely stepping on its own feet.

With Assassin’s Creed 3, I felt a little lured into a game that was ultimately a total bomb. From carefully selected vertical slices of gameplay for hands-on previews to unbelievably cleverly edited trailers, Assassin’s Creed 3 looked set to put the series back to what it was with Brotherhood, while simultaneously striking out in a bold, new direction. What we got instead was a total mess, and it made me evaluate the way I take in my gaming news, which I’m already pretty strict about to begin with. Needless to say, I won’t be excited about AC4 anytime soon.

So I figured for today’s poll I’d ask you guys where you derive most of your expectations for upcoming games. Hit up the poll, and then the comments!

Where do you get expectations for an upcoming game?

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Random Encounters III

12 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Assassin's Creed 4 Black Flag

Time for another edition of Random Encounters, where I share my thoughts on a variety of subjects that are currently on my mind:

1. I have no proof and only baseless Internet speculation, but I can’t help but wonder if Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag was originally a side-story like the Ezio trilogy and was rebranded as a numbered sequel in order to take people’s mind off the bitter disappointment that was Assassin’s Creed 3. It just seems odd that the AC 4 is in roughly the same time period and is a prequel, which means it might not even forward the Desmond story set in the future. We will have to wait and see, but if that is the case, it’s kind of disgusting, akin to Square Enix allegedly releasing Final Fantasy Versus XIII as Final Fantasy XV.

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Simcity’s Sudden Stop

11 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Simcity 2013

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.

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GamerSushi Community Night: Goldeneye Source

10 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 8 Comments

Goldeneye Source

You guys are pretty fun to play games with. Over the last month or so, we’ve tackled both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Team Fortress 2 as an army of Sushians. Now, we want to kick things a bit old school with Goldeneye: Source.

The best thing about Goldeneye: Source is that it’s free, so that gives more people the opportunity the chance to join in on the N64-ish mayhem on the GS server. First, be sure to download the game, which will require a download of Source SDKBase2007 in order to work correctly. Don’t worry, the game will ask you to install it when you try to run it.

We’ll be playing next weekend. To sign up, simply leave a comment below about whether or not you’d be down to game with us, and what day would be best for you. We’ll do our best to accommodate. You can also hit up our GS Steam Group and keep an eye on the event, once the night/time is determined.

So, who’s in?

Update: This is happening tonight, 3/16, at 10PM CST! Be sure to download the game and join us then!

Update 2: We’re about to start! IP is: 173.62.11.99:27015

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 64: Dead Cast

10 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

the gamersushi show

With Dead Space 3 firmly in our rear view mirror, Anthony and I thought it would be a good idea to give the series a send-off in podcast form. This is something we’re looking in to doing more of as a site where we dedicate an episode to our favorite games or series, so let us know what you think.

Fair warning, as we’re talking the Dead Space series as a whole, this podcast will contain a ton of spoilers for every game in the franchise, so beware if you haven’t played them yet. Also, I’d like to apologize up from about the stress my microphone put on my “s” sounds. What you’re hearing is after I’ve tried to reduce the noise, so you can image how painful it was at first.

Anyways, listen to the podcast, rate the podcast and be sure to leave any parting thoughts on Dead Space if you wish. Until next time!

GamerSushi Asks: Sim City’s Launch Woes?

8 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Sim City

So you guys might have heard about this game called Sim City that came out this week. Apparently lots of people are playing it, and everything that EA has done with the launch has been so brilliant that people are throwing parades for it, both in their game’s city streets and in real life. It’s being heralded as the way to do a launch right, and a bastion of hope for how to do an “always online” DRM.

OK, none of that is true. At all. In fact, lots of people can’t even play the game yet.

In what might have been a worse launch disaster than Diablo III, Sim City points to a somewhat grim future for “always online” single player games on the PC. The game’s servers have been so overloaded that people are having trouble playing, saving cities, seeing their friends and more. In fact, EA is having to turn off features that supposedly made “always online” necessary in the first place, just to help people connect.

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Review: Crysis 3

7 Mar 2013 | Posted by | Comments Off

crysis 3 review

After six years and hundreds of over-taxed PCs, the Crysis series is coming to a head with its third installment. Running on a new version of the CryEngine, the latest entry in the franchise takes you back to New York to finally unravel the mystery of the Ceph and the nature of their connection to the main character, Prophet.

With a new weapon, better graphics and even more maximum powers, does Crysis 3 wrap everything up?

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Here’s the World Premier Trailer of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

7 Mar 2013 | Posted by | One Comment

Seems that this last week has been pretty slow for gaming news, so we only have the premier trailer for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag to show you today. While it’s all pre-rendered, as is the way with Ubisoft’s announcement trailers for Assassin’s Creed, it does get me hyped for the game against my better judgement. In Black Flag, you’ll be playing as Edward Kenway, father of Haytham Kenway from Assassin’s Creed 3 and protagonist Connor’s grandfather. In the trailer, infamous pirate Blackbeard gives us an introduction to our new assassin.

This seems a little odd for the series, as pirate and assassin don’t really mix, but I’m down for it. Apparently the game world is an open ocean with a few major ports and a lot of little islands to explore. So far I’m down with Assassin’s Creed IV, but I’m definitely waiting for a bit after release before I buy it. What say you? Are you on board with Assassin’s Creed IV? Did the trailer work its magic on you?

This Week’s Videos: Journey and Bioshock Infinite Music

6 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 2 Comments

I promise I’m not trying to make weekly videos a theme, but it was hard to resist the idea of showing you guys these two music-themed videos. And seeing as how one is related to Bioshock Infinite, a game that many of you are pumped about, and the other is related to Journey, which I feel has one of the best gaming soundtracks of all time, I didn’t think you all would mind.

The first video is a brief clip of two of Bioshock Infinite’s actors, Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper, singing an old spiritual song that appears in the game, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This is a classic song, and I love the time period that it establishes Columbia in. It’s a lovely duet, and it’s pretty cool that it appears in the game.

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Tomb Raider’s Rhianna Pratchett Interviewed at The PA Report

6 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Tomb Raider

Today at Penny Arcade Report, Ben Kuchera interviews Rhianna Pratchett, writer of the Tomb Raider reboot (and daughter of British national treasure Terry Pratchett). In the first part of the interview, they discuss the controversy surrounding the game’s PR blunders as well as Pratchett’s personal history with the Tomb Raider franchise and her approach to rebooting the game.

I especially liked her response to a question about how the reveal that she was the head writer affected perception of the game’s content:

It’s not fine because I’m a woman. It’s fine because we approached it with the right creative sentiments. It was an honest scene for those characters and that moment. It wasn’t done for titillation. It wasn’t prolonged. It was uncomfortable because it should be uncomfortable.

I played through the first two hours of Tomb Raider last night, including the controversial moment that caused so much furor, and I can attest to the fact that in context the scene isn’t at all played for titillation. The game is definitely intense and occasionally brutal – the first time Lara died, I cringed – but it’s all done in service to some of the best game writing and pacing I’ve experienced in a very long time. My heart was pounding for most of those first two hours, and it wasn’t because I was trying to “protect a woman”.

How about you? Did anyone else pick up Tomb Raider? Have you played through the controversial part of the game?

The GamerSushi Power Rankings: March 2013

5 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Final Fantasy 7 Tifa

Welcome to the monthly Power Rankings, gents. If you’ll recall, we’ve changed the Power Ranking format in 2013 to reflect our current “What’s Hot” list, regardless of the year the game was released. These are the games we keep coming back to collectively, salivating as we play… OK, that last part might have been an exaggeration, although I hear Mitch does get very excited about necromorphs.

Speaking of necromorphs, 2013 is already rolling with a handful of new games that have made their appearance on this month’s Power Rankings, including Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3. Next month’s list will be even wackier in terms of shake-ups, if Anthony’s recent Pixel Count is any indication. We’ve also been dipping our toes into some older ponds, including the zany urban warfare depicted in Saint’s Row 3, as well as the magepunky slums of Midgar in Final Fantasy 7.

Here are GamerSushi’s top 10 most played games right now. Feel free to tell us we’re the crazy ones, and tell us what would be on your list.

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Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3

4 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

Saints Row the Third

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.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 63: Podcast with Butterfly Wings

3 Mar 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

the gamersushi show, ep 63

Welcome back to The GamerSushi Show! We’re releasing these at a fairly decent clip, aren’t we? You’d think with how dry the gaming industry has been news wise recently we’d have nothing to talk about every week, but here we are again, invading your media players.

It’s another three man team, but this time in the usual combination of Eddy, Jeff and Anthony. They may be lacking Nick and myself, but they still manage to have a rousing conversation anyways. They talk about some older games then launch into Ni no Kuni and next Tuesday’s Tomb Raider, then they talk news which includes the announcement of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and the fact that those scamps over at EA are continuing with microtransactions for the next gen.

Listen, rate and comment! Thanks for stopping by!

0:00 – 0:54 Intro
0:55 – 3:54 Nick Hates The Walking Dead
3:55 – 13:52 Jeff’s Steam Box and Saint’s Row 3
13:53 – 20:11 Far Cry 3
20:12 – 27:03 Ni no Kuni
27:04 – 34:51 Tomb Raider
34:52 – 37:51 Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
37:52 – 50:38 EA microtransactions and Xbox successor deal
50:39 – 54:40 Next gen budgets
54:41 – 56:42 Outro

Ubisoft Hoists Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag

28 Feb 2013 | Posted by | 5 Comments

assassins creed 4 black flag

Avast, landlubber! After a pre-order poster for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag leaked earlier this week, Ubisoft went ahead and confirmed that the game and its pirate setting are real and there will be an official reveal on Monday, March 4. The game has been announced for the PS3, Xbox 360, PC and WiiU, but you know this is coming to the PS4 and the Xbox successor as well.

There are no firm details about the game other than that it will be a pirate-themed game based on the open sea and will be set in a new time period as well as feature a different protagonist. Based on the box-art, which I used for the image, the time period won’t be radically different from the Revolutionary America setting from Assassin’s Creed 3.

The naval battles were my favorite part of the previous game, so I’m glad Ubisoft is running with the one new addition to the series that worked well. I’ve made my dislike of AC3 well known, but I can’t help but be a little excited for Black Flag. A pirate that follows the creed would make for an excellent protagonist indeed, and hopefully a departure from the more or less morally-upright main characters of games past.

What do you guys think about this announcement? Are you excited for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag? Would you rather this game sank to Davy Jones’ Locker? Will the game use the term “poop deck” with a straight face?

Source – IGN