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.
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.
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.
It’s crazy to think that Relic’s World War 2 RTS sequel Company of Heroes 2 was supposed to be out already; indeed, it was to be released day and date with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm. Thankfully for gamers (and not so much for employees) THQ went under so Relic was not forced to meet their earlier deadline and their new masters at SEGA pushed the release date back until late June. This is good, because while the game is a ton of fun, it isn’t ready yet.
You can get into the beta by liking the Company of Heroes 2 Facebook page, or by pre-ordering the game, and I think a little “Like” on Facebook is a small price to pay. Unlike the original game, which took place on the Western Front, CoH2 features clashes between the Red Army and the German Army on the fields and villages of Russia. Company of Heroes 2 now throws the seasons into the mix, playing on the infamous contributions of “General Winter” to the war.
As we inch ever closer to Episode 69, the Return of the Drunk Cast, I bring you this, Episode 68, which has a bit of a different format than previous shows. First, Eddy and I start off with an extended intro where we talk my genetic inability to lie on account of my nationality, and how Eddy knows a guy who has done a lot of cool voice acting.
Then, when Jeff joins the cast we kick into a talk about Heroes on Xbox LIVE, SimCity descending even further into a well of idiocy, and then we bring back Fill in the Blank. You can see the topics below, and as you can image we had some good discussions.
You know the deal, listen, rate and come back next week (hopefully) for the Drunk Cast!
0:00 – 14:44 Intro
14:25 – 21:24 Microsoft is bringing back Heroes on Xbox LIVE
21:25 – 24:29 SimCity adds Colgate-sponsored DLC
24:30 – 25:19 GAME TIME (Fill in the Blank)
25:20 – 40:17 Valve refunding Bioshock Infinite after a customer complained about it based on religious reasons is _____
40:18 – 48:42 Ubisoft Montreal CEO thinks gamers are ready for always online. He’s ___
48:43 – 55:20 Video game prequels underperforming is ______
55:21 – 58:41 Link to the Past 2 and trading in the Xbox 360
58:42 – 1:00:34 Outro
BioShock Infinite was announced a long time ago in gamer terms: 2010 was the first time we heard about the world of Columbia in any official sense (Irrational had been referring to the game as Project: Icarus before that). Even though we’ve known about it for three years, we can assume it’s been in development for much longer than that. Naturally, any game with a long gestation cycle will undergo a lot of changes, and BioShock Infinite is no exception. The folks over at Outside Xbox have a short video detailing the ways that Infinite has progressed ever since we first laid eyes on it, and I thought I’d share it with you for this week’s “Did You See This” Wednesday.
Even though we at GamerSushi are extremely happy with the end product, it’s crazy to think what could have been. BioShock Infinite isn’t wildly different in its final form, but Elizabeth’s powers were more broad in scope and the combat arenas were much more open and dynamic than they were in the final game. What do you guys think? Happy with how Infinite turned out? What features from 2010 would you like to have seen stay in the game?
With Blood Dragon coming out soon for FarCry 3, I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about DLC. It’s hard to imagine several things about the scenario that resulted in one of the year’s top sellers creating an 80s-themed sci-fi story: 1) that someone would have this idea and feel strongly enough about it to 2) pitch it to suits who would then 3) agree to make the damn thing.
Taking beloved mechanics and applying them to a wild shift in setting is fascinating, and it made me start thinking about the types of DLC we have available to us. From simple add-ons like weapons and maps to full-blown sequel-bridging epilogues, DLC has really come a long way in the last few years. While there are some bad apples, it seems that developers for the most part are starting to be more creative about what they offer, and when.
So that being said, let me hit you up with a poll. Vote and tell us about your favorite DLCs in the comments!
Coming off Bioshock Infinite, I was anxious to start Tomb Raider, a game I have had my eye on since the first E3 reveal way back when. But once I started, there was one big problem: I just couldn’t get into it. There were a number of reasons for this: I was tired, I was trying to get in a little more WWE ’13 before trading it in and I had a pretty busy week with lots of “real life” obstacles getting in the way. I liked what I played, but being only able to play in 20-30 minute sessions a night wasn’t allowing me to get invested in Lara Croft and her tribulations in the Dragon’s Triangle. Even during cut-scenes, I found myself checking Twitter instead of paying attention.
But, as I knew it would, the game finally grabbed me this past weekend, when I was able to play for a few hours in one sitting. Little things like upgrading your weapons, exploring the areas and the really fun use of the bow managed to reel me in and after one gorgeous and harrowing sequence where Lara must climb an insanely tall radio tower, I am now riveted. The mystery of the island and how Lara overcomes these dangerous situations have got me playing through the story at a fairly decent clip now. The voice acting is great, with perhaps the exception of Whitman, who’s characterization just feels out of place with the rest of the cast and the gameplay is tight.
We’re hosting another community night next weekend, and we want as many of you as possible to join us, because fragging fellow Sushians makes for a good evening. Over the last couple of game nights, we’ve jumped headfirst into Team Fortress 2 and Goldeneye Source — and this time we’ll be going back to our roots in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
So yeah. Tell us in the comments which night this weekend would be good for you guys (although Saturday always seems to be the best night for everyone), and we’ll make this thing happen. And if you haven’t, join up at our GS Steam Group so you can get updates as we near the time/date.
Update: This is happening tonight, April 20, at 10pm CST! Let’s have some fun, dudes. We’ll post the server IP closer to game time.
Welcome, welcome, one and all, to the 67 episode of The GamerSushi Show. On this three man cast, we finally delve into spoiler-talk about BioShock Infinite, so be warned if you’ve yet to complete the game.
Not that Eddy doesn’t try and spoil it a couple times in advance of the actual discussion, but I, your fastidious editor, made sure that his attempts at trolling were for naught. Sorry in advance to you headphone users, though. In addition to BioShock, we talk about Disney closing LucasArts, EA winning the Worst Company in America award for the second time in a row (they’ll annualize anything, won’t they?) and the out-of-control rumor mill surrounding the next Xbox.
Listen, rate, and we’ll catch you on the flip side! Of the coin. Get it? BioShock reference.
0:00 – 3:47 Intro
3:48 – 10:55 Disney closes LucasArts
10:56 – 17:24 Ea is the Worst Company in America (Again)
17:25 – 33:50 Next Xbox is a Cable Box and Always On
33:51 – 1:20:00 BioShock Infinite Spoilercast
1:21:41 – 1:23:50 Outro
When I tend to think back on my favorite games, I tend to reminisce on particular moments rather than the experience as a whole. Sure, the experience as a whole is worth replaying as well, but usually there is one bit that I have focused on above all others, one instant where everything came together and burned itself into my brain forever.
Recently, Bioshock Infinite has held several of those moments for me. I won’t venture into spoiler territory here, but I will say that besides the ending, a moment that stood out to me was in the basement of a broken down bar, where Booker DeWiit picks up a guitar and plays Let the Circle Be Unbroken while Elizabeth sings. It’s one of those things that catapulted straight to the lead of my favorite gaming memories, and I remember being breathless in the moment itself.
There are plenty of others to choose from. Climbing that ladder in MGS3. Talking to your party members for the final time in Mass Effect 3. The ride into Mexico in Red Dead Redemption. I’m sure we’ve asked this question before, but it’s always a good time to stop and update. What are some of your recent favorite video game moments?
Another month, another update to the beloved, ever-changing GamerSushi Power Rankings. If you’ll remember, March had us loving games like Ni No Kuni, FarCry3 and Dead Space 3 above all others. Well, things have changed quite a bit in April. You see, some of the year’s best games and biggest surprises have all come out one after the other, which leaves us quite a few new contenders. And some of those contenders will probably linger for a while to come.
So without further ado, here are GamerSushi’s top 10 most played games for the month of April. Tell us why we’re nuts, and what we’re doing wrong. We’re listening.
I barely have the words to describe Blood Dragon, FarCry3’s new standalone DLC, but I suppose I’ll try my best. Imagine if FarCry3 were re-invented as a really terrible 80s science fiction movie starring Michael Biehn of Aliens and Terminator fame. Yes, that’s what Blood Dragon actually is. Oh, and there are also robot dragons that shoot lasers out of their eyes.
In what it is seriously one of the most bananas moves I’ve ever seen by any video game company, Ubisoft is going completely off the rails with FarCry 3’s new content — and I couldn’t be more excited, even if I have no idea where this inspiration comes from. I can’t say I’d mind playing FarCry3’s mechanics in a ridiculously hilarious ode to 80s science fiction. And for $14.99, I can’t see why I wouldn’t jump right in with two bionic legs.
Battlefield might have yielded to Call of Duty when it comes to being the overall king of mutlipayer first-person-shooters, but in my mind, you just can’t beat the crazy action that comes with a typical Battlefield match. Jumping over a tank in a dirt bike and throwing C4 on it, or nailing a helicopter with a well-placed RPG shot: these are things that only happen when a game allows for the type of randomized chaos that Battlefield revels in.
With the recent reveal of Battlefield 4, I thought I’d break down my hopes and fears for the game. While it has been two years since the game proper has come out (or will be by the time 4 drops), the most recent DLC, End Game, just came out. Is it too soon for another Battlefield? What can DICE realistically change in that time? What should they change?
Hey look, a post that’s not about Bioshock Infinite… for now. I actually finished Ken Levine’s masterpiece (and yes, that word is appropriate for Infinite) this weekend, and the game certainly lives up to the hype in terms of what a sheer breathtaking experience it is — even if it’s sometimes lacking in the gameplay department.
One thing that I found disappointing about the game, for all its wonders, was the fact that the game was almost completely on rails. Mighty fine rails, mind you, but still, I’m the kind of guy that likes a hub, or a home base of sorts, where I’m free to weigh my options and pursue them at my leisure.
Welp, time for another Bioshock Infinite post. I’m sure you guys are getting sick of these by now, but I suppose you’ll have to suffer through our praises of this game for just a little longer.
As I already noted on Monday, Bioshock is a gorgeous game. The worldbuilding and the design of Columbia are enough to take your breath away for the first few hours, and everything begs to be explored. But what happens after that? You get sucked into the story, and soon you’re rocketing along faster than skyrails.
Every now and then, I find myself trying to slow everything down, though. Not in a bad way, like the game is moving too quickly. But more in a way that I want to appreciate everything instead of tackling it at a breakneck speed. Certain story games prompt me to blast through them and enjoy the ride no matter where it takes me, but with Infinite I find that I’m trying to pull back just long enough to remember the experience and make it matter more.
So my question for you guys is: when is the last time a game did this for you? Do you try to take your time with games, or just push through them as quickly as possible on your first playthrough? Do you pace yourself? Go!
Hype. It has been the pitfall of many a game and it can appear at anytime from any number of sources. An amazing trailer, such as Dead Island. A genius auteur, like Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear Solid series. A storied franchise, like Final Fantasy. All have been the focal point of an intense wave of hype and anticipation and all, at various points, have failed to live up to the near-unattainable level of quality that the gaming masses expected.
The almost-ravenous desire for Bioshock Infinite stems from all three of the sources mentioned above. At E3 in 2010, a clever trailer brought the world’s eye upon the game for the first time. Ken Levine, the man behind the first Bioshock, itself heralded as one of the greatest achievements in gaming, was back with a brand new game, set in a brand new world with promises to blow our minds as thoroughly as Andrew Ryan did in Rapture. Then the reviews started to come in, garnering some of the most lavish praise ever bestowed upon a video game. The hype was out of control. Surely there is no way a game can live up to this kind of fervor. Bioshock Infinite is going to disappoint us just like so many of the ones that came before.
You guys should prepare yourselves, because I’m guessing a lot of our upcoming posts for the next couple of weeks will have to do with Bioshock Infinite in one way or another. Not only is it just a hot commodity right now in terms of gaming news, but the thing is just really damn good.
While we’ve already talked about its design and storytelling on the most recent podcast, one thing that’s stuck out to me as I traverse through Infinite’s floating Americana utopia of Columbia is just how gorgeous of a place it is. Bioshock Infinite might be one of the most beautiful games I’ve ever played. I don’t mean that from a graphical fidelity standpoint, but more in terms of the game’s design.
There was a shocking amount of things to talk about this week on The GamerSushi Show, with what might be the most high-profile game release of the year hitting this week. BioShock Infinite takes up a good chunk of the cast, along with the latest entry in Gears of War series (which is actually pretty fun).
For news, we break down the trailers that came out this week at GDC and the fact that Square Enix’s CEO stepped down. It’s a righteous cast, and we hope you enjoy! You know what to do: listen, rate and we’ll see you next time!
0:00 – 3:51 Intro
3:52 – 18:12 BioShock Infinite
18:13 – 24:59 Gears of War: Judgement
25:00 – 30:56 Counter-Strike: GO and Mass Effect on PC
30:57 – 40:44 Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada Steps Down
40:45 – 53:36 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
53:37 – 1:01:41 Battlefield 4
1:01:42 – 1:04:47 Outro
GDC is going on this week, and apparently Konami and EA were bursting at the seams to announce their games and couldn’t wait for E3 to roll around. Both Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (a combination of the previously announced Ground Zeroes and, of course, The Phantom Pain) and Battlefield 4 were revealed with accompanying trailers. Metal Gear Solid 5 is just below, with Battlefield 4 after the jump.