Open-world games are hugely popular. Ever since Grand Theft Auto III, it seems most franchises try to take a stab at it at least once, with mixed results. The masters of the genre are the ones that give you so many things to do that you become paralyzed by the freedom of choice. Although sometimes this can be a good thing. If everything is fun, then maybe you just do whatever is nearest to you, until eventually you have done it all.
The point is, there are many ways to approach open-world games. Grand Theft Auto V is drawing close and I will be anxious to see if they are able to give us enough tasks to keep us busy, as they failed to do in GTA IV. I am currently playing Fallout: New Vegas in the meantime and I am taking a slightly different approach to the game than I have in the past. When I play Skyrim, Oblivion or Fallout 3, I tend to avoid the main quest as much as possible, doing all the side tasks that I can until I am suddenly weary of the game and then I race through the main story as fast as possible before the game drives me insane. Continue reading An Open-World Game Draws Near! Command?
One of my favorite TV shows of all time is AMC’s Breaking Bad, the story of how a mild-mannered chemistry teacher becomes a hard-core crystal meth dealer. In the opening few episodes, the central character is told by his junkie accomplice that you just can’t start “breaking bad”, implying that if you’re a kind person at heart, you just can’t start doing things that are incredibly out of the norm for you.
I feel this way about moral choices in video games. I’ve just started replaying the entire Mass Effect trilogy as a Renegade female Shepard and I’m finding it difficult to “break bad” as it were. I subconsciously find my conversation wheel hovering over the Paragon dialog choices before the option is even up, and when it comes time to make a Renegade decision I get a little sick in my stomach. Continue reading Breaking Bad in Games
With the price of games on the rise, so too have a series of complaints risen around the idea that longer games generally mean better games. In particular, RPGs are expected to be bloated to colossal lengths, from the Elder Scroll series to Mass Effect and even Fallout 3. Gamers want more game for their money, more world to explore, more weapons to collect, more foes to conquer and more time to invest. But is this always a good thing?
In a rather interesting (if somewhat controversial) review of the game Dark Souls, Slate writer Michael Thomsen wonders if 100 hour games are a waste of time for gamers instead of a boon to their hobby. Even though I haven’t played the game, and always hear the opposite of his assessment of it, I do have to say that I find his prodding question to be thought-provoking. Honestly, there’s so much that people can accomplish in the amount of time it would take someone to clamber through all of Skyrim – but does that mean that it’s pointless for the person that enjoys it?
It seems that Thomsen would argue that yes, it is. In his view, it’s never necessary for a game to take 100 hours to tell its tale, and that many games have done better with far less time. When put that way, I do have to agree: some of my most favorite games have accomplished what they did in around 20 hours or so, without ever overstaying their welcome.
So, while I’m not sure I’m on board with everything this article states, I did want to kick the question to you guys: are 100 hour games just a waste of time? Go!
Gamers come in all sorts of different flavors, and I’m not just talking about casual and hardcore. There are some who don’t play single player, some who only play single player, and then there are the kinds that give game designers of any type nightmares. I think I’m probably in the last category, specifically when it comes to Western RPGs. Given that games in those genres these days have branching stories, multiple conversation outcomes and more hidden bonuses than you can shake a stick it, it tends to drive OCD completionists with a lot of time on their hands (e.g. me) crazy.
That’s when I turn to the most forbidden of texts, the horrible tome know as the “FAQ”. Deep within the dark recesses of the Internet, I find my brethren, people who restart dungeons because they missed one chest after defeating whatever horrible creature inhabits that cave. These are the people who don’t play RPGs for the story or the characters or the experience, but rather to accrue every possible trinket and stat bonus the game has to offer. We can leave no stone unturned, no party companion un-romanced, and we do so by exploiting the game to its maximum. Not through exploration or discovery though, but by distilling it down to the most bare bones, no frills, maximum return type of experience. This is how I’ve come to destroy any Western RPG I’ve played. Continue reading How I Ruined RPGs with the Internet
One of the most imaginative franchises in gaming is Fallout, envisioned as an alternate future where the art-deco mind-set of the 1950s dominated the design of everything from home computers to robots. However, this retro-futuristic setting was destroyed be a devastating nuclear war, and humanity is still trying to rebuild itself during the series. While the game is fairly imaginative and speculatory, it still has to have a reality behind it. Where the Science of Games comes in is that point, where the fictional meets the factual. How well does Fallout stand up under the microscope?
I personally really enjoy this series, and in the past they have covered games such as Mass Effect and Star Wars and have explored whether or not the fantastical gadgets in those games are feasible. What did you guys think of this particular segment? What games would you like them to cover in the future? Personally, I’d love to see a Left 4 Dead or Dead Rising themed one, exploring the realities of the zombie apocalypse.
In what some may consider to be a surprise, especially considering the bad taste this same feature left in gamer’s mouths when Fallout 3 was released, Fallout: New Vegas will end when you beat the game. That’s right, you don’t get to keep playing and complete all those side-quests you left unfinished.
Game director Josh Sawyer of Obsidian explained to 1UP the situation, confirming earlier reports:
“We put a lot of effort into the ending slides — we know those slides are really popular with people so we want to make sure there’s a huge amount of variety and reactivity with that stuff. We weren’t really focused on new features so much as to add a really rich sense of reactivity to the players and the choices they make.”
It does seem that you will get a warning before you pass the point of no return and you can always do what we did in the old days, which was reload your final save and keep playing that way. Some might speculate that this will be changed during the inevitable DLC onslaught, but from the article, it doesn’t sound like there are any plans to add such a feature.
On an unrelated note, I had no idea the ending slides were “really popular” with anyone. They were okay, but didn’t exactly rock my world.
Does this affect your outlook on the game? Would anyone not buy this game now?
One of the premier titles of 2008, Fallout 3, was well received for its large game world, memorable denizens and its slow-motion auto-targeting system, VATS. Knowing that a game this popular deserved a follow up, Bethesda studios, creators of the popular Elder Scrolls series, enlisted Obsidian Entertainment to take players back to the Fallout universes’ post-apocalyptic setting. What’s being changed from the 2008 title, and what can fans expect to return?
The first thing wasteland-aficionados will notice is that the setting of the game has changed from Washington DC in Fallout 3 to, rather obviously, the areas around Las Vegas. While previewers weren’t given the option to travel to the titular gambling town, they were allowed to try out the reformatted VATS system and fool around with the new weapon customization options. Continue reading Fallout: New Vegas Info Hits the Internet