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.
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.
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.
Oh man, what a weekend and a week. You guys may have noticed a lack of posting on my part. That is because my life is just a poopstorm of activity these days, with a slight chance of things slowing down finally. We’ll see. My wife and I just bought a house a couple of weeks ago, and have finally moved in. In addition, I’ve been working on Web Zeroes and not to mention my full time job. Mitch, likewise has just started a new job as well, and Anthony’s PC broke. So, we’re doing our best, and I think things are finally about to return to normal.
Since I’ve been so busy, I’ve missed out on the chance to play some games over the last week. And the thing is, the longer it goes, the more I’m starting to crave it again. I find myself oddly dying to play games I haven’t touched in a while, like Resident Evil 5 or Fallout 3. Though another part of me just wants to kick back and do some Firefight in ODST.
So what about you guys? When’s the last time you’ve had to go awhile without playing any games? What games do you start to crave when you haven’t played in awhile?
Though I didn’t get to play much of Dead Space when it released, I’ve been wanting to do so, even though I’m a big wuss when it comes to survival-horror games. Many people I know have played and loved the game, so it’s definitely on my list of titles I’d love to tackle eventually.
How did it do in sales, though? Well, according to the most recent EA podcast, it seems that twice as many people played Dead Space as bought it. Though there was some internal speculation about this, the discussion revolved around whether or not the game had enough content to justify its $60 price point. When you’re matched up against a game like Fallout 3, which is 40 hours easily without multiplayer, then that certainly makes sense.
So what do you guys look for when you buy a single player game? Would you rather it have more modes, or multiplayer added on? What kind of content do you need to spend $60? Personally, I feel like Resident Evil 5 is one of the most recent examples of a game that didn’t have traditional multiplayer giving you plenty of bang for the buck. What do you think?
Growing up, gaming was all the same thing to me. Things were either platformers, brawlers/shoot-em-ups, or fighters. That’s all that gaming fell into, and I was happy with it for a time. But then something magical happened. I played a Japanese RPG, and my world changed. I didn’t know that gaming could tell a story. I had no idea up until that point that I could care about a game’s characters or miss them when I had read the last bit of text. It was truly an eye-opening experience.
Since then, I have played a lot of JRPG’s. Probably too many, to be honest. In college, I remember I would rent anything that looked remotely like a JRPG, and played it until my eyes bled. I loved the concepts, the stories, and I really liked being able to level some guys up and fight through hordes of baddies. It was all extremely appealing to me. However, somewhere along the line, things have taken a drastic turn southward in JRPG-land.
In my mind, they just don’t make video game openings the way they used to. Since games seem to focus less on story in many instances, or more on tutorial levels, the classic opening intro to video gaming past is more like a relic than something that is constantly evolving and moving forward. That’s why, when one hits you right in the mouth and is awesome, you really remember it. Take Fallout 3, for instance, which has one of the best openings to a game I can remember in years.
Well, GamesRadar has put together a list of what they deem to be the greatest video game openings of all time. It’s a pretty interesting group of games, and one that I mostly agree with, though I would have liked to see Final Fantasy VI or Final Fantasy VII on there, I think. Nothing quite compares to those marching mechs in VI, or seeing Midgar for the first time in VII.
So what do you guys think? What is your favorite video game opening of all time?
Having been a great fan of Bethesda’s earlier RPG series, The Elder Scrolls, I was eagerly waiting for Fallout 3 and their decision to make it into a FPS/RPG hybrid. Not having played any of the previous Fallout games, I was not concerned with any drastic changes they might have made, so this review will come from the perspective of a Fallout noob.
I’ve always loved the Winter Break. So much time for the things that really matter. You know what I mean. Family, friends and games. I think it’s fairly safe to assume that the majority of us are either enjoying blissful freedom for gaming time already, or we are just on the verge of it (I fall into this latter category).
Since so many of us will have more time than normal to play through some piled up stacks of game discs, I thought I’d take the time to find out what all you guys are playing through. It’s been no secret that this Fall has blasted us in the mouth with a cannon full of titles, and I’d like to say that we all took it like men.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing my best to finish Fable II, Prince of Persia, Fallout 3 and Chrono Trigger on the DS. I know that I won’t come anywhere close to doing all of that, but a man’s got to dream, doesn’t he?
What about you guys? What will you be playing over the holidays? List your games!
Looks like Gamecop was right: publishers need to start spreading the Triple A titles throughout the year instead of bombarding gamers with a barrage of bad ass games during the holiday season.
But it appears they need to do so for their own sake and not for us poor, cash-strapped gamers. According to NPD, courtesy of Gamasutra, sales for Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge are very weak, compared with those of Gears of War 2, Fallout 3 and others. These are strong games, with very positive reviews and it appears they simply got lost in the shuffle of the hectic holidays.
What say you? Did anyone buy these games? Why or why not? And don’t you think it would behoove publishers to sprinkle these games out all year long instead of hoping they can get past the big boys of winter?
Choices involving good, evil and morality seem to be the latest trend in games. In the old days, the only choice you had was whether to use the boomerang or bomb as a secondary weapon in The Legend of Zelda. But times have changed.
At first, the choices were opaque: in Grand Theft Auto III, when not in a mission, you could run around and kill innocent bystanders for no reason. Or you could abide by the law (except traffic laws) and just stick to the straight and narrow. I wreaked as much havoc as possible because that world is a virtual playground and I wanna play! It wasn’t a choice in the way we usually think of them, but it was there for you to decide.
If you hadn’t heard, Fallout 3 is done and ready to be delivered into your hands later this month. Bethesda was kind enough to put together the handy list of system requirements for you PC die-hards that are dying to pimp this thing out on your gaming rig.
It’s time for all the good boys and girls to make lists for their loved ones for Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever holiday festival you choose to celebrate. I celebrate Christmas, so this is a Christmas list. If that bothers you, don’t worry. I eat poorly and will likely die an untimely death. Now, on with the countdown…er count up, since I start with #1.
There are two kinds of people in this world: Fallout 3 nuts and Achievement nuts. Ok, so there are more types than that, but they aren’t concerned with the news that Fallout 3′s list of achievements is now up for your beady little eyes.
I know that some of you don’t care about achievements quite as much as myself, but these are worth checking out for the pictures alone, featuring Vault Boy in a variety of goofy poses and costumes, including one very much akin to a Mr. Norris.
In continuing with their tradition of Fallout 3′s ridiculously awesome art, Bethesda seems to have gone all out with their PAX booth this year. While I was kindly asked by a Bethesda dude to not take any video, I was able to grab some pretty incredible pictures of the set-up that they had going on, which included but was not limited to a trailer, burned-up mannequins, and a huge metal cylon looking guy.
It also included perhaps the best piece of SWAG of the day…
Wow. Seen a lot of crazy stuff at PAX today, but haven’t had any time to update about it because it’s been so nuts. Tonight, I’m going to be uploading my videos and pictures, and they’ll be released over the night and during the day tomorrow. Among some of the coolest things we saw: Little Big Planet, Resistance, the new Halo 3 map, a bunch of Wii games and Fallout 3. More to come!