Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3

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.

Continue reading Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3

Gabe Newell’s Steam Box Dream

Gabe Steam Box

PC gamers and Steam lovers can rejoice, because the cat’s finally out of the bag: a Valve’s “Steam Box” is official, Gabe Newell confirmed in a recent interview with The Verge.

While we can mostly guess at what a Steam Box means for games — namely a “Big Picture Mode” console designed for your TV — Newell did talk about some of the box’s other early features. For instance, rather than just the living room, they want the Steam experience to be sharable from screen to screen, and between different rooms with ease. But beyond that, Valve’s main emphasis will be open platforms with different manufacturers, open content and a way for gamers to publish and create their own content through the Steam store or possibly even personal stores. The goal is to make things easy for publishers and developers, and ideally that trickles down to gamers as well.

It’s certainly too early to tell anything about the Steam Box, but it basically sounds like my dream console. I’m pretty pumped on Steam at the moment, mostly due to the most recent Steam sale (sorry, but you’ll hear me mention it a million times over the next, I dunno, year, so I love the idea of an affordable console that runs what I think is currently best platform for games. I love that Valve will be removing the normal restrictions we see from consoles, and can’t wait to hear more about this. I definitely recommend checking out the rest of the interview, there’s even a bit about how they have been researching biometric feedback and new controller inputs.

What do you guys think of the Steam Box? Go!

Source – The Verge

Anthony Gets Upgraded

Lemme Upgrade Ya

Well, I finally made the plunge into the PC gaming world, courtesy of my PC Guru: Nick the Beard. I am quite happy with the performance of my machine, which Nick priced out for me and built himself in a rather impressive amount of time. I have him a budget of $600, which also paid for shipping from California to Florida and I think I got quite the bargain. Of course, everything you see below might as well be written in Klingon because I don’t understand a damn bit of it. But I know you guys would be interested to see what I am working with so check it out below:

Intel 3.1GHz Core i3-2100 CPU
BioStar H61MGC Mobo
Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 1GB GPU
G.Skill 4GB DDR3 1333 RAM
Samsung 1TB 7200RPM HDD
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I am already playing Counterstrike: GO and might jump into Diablo 3 sometime in the future. I might also pick up DayZ when it becomes a stand-alone game. I am going to take my time and probably stick to PC exclusives, but it’s nice to have the option to play something on the PC if I so desire. Also, totally getting SimCity in 2013. So add me on Steam: Edgewalker.

What other PC games should I have on my radar, either past, present or future? And let’s see your PC specs…CS…GO!

The PC Gaming Time Machine

Back to the Future

Somehow, I feel like I’ve stepped into a time warp. I’m not really sure how or when it happened, but gaming has taken me back about 12 years or so. I look a little bit older, I know only a couple of more things, I’m about to be a father, but the mouse and the keyboard still feel the same: every satisfying click fires another round, sends another SCV, marks another target or claims another piece of loot.

And there’s something terribly right about the whole thing. Continue reading The PC Gaming Time Machine

Ars Technica Details how Developers are Messing Up PC Ports

ars technica how to ruin pc ports

Being an occasional PC Gamer, one thing I’ve noticed recently is that PC ports have a few reoccuring mistakes that developers and publishers are continually making. Sometimes they’re simple things, but most of the time they’re huge errors like not allowing users to customize their controls or burying the graphics options deep within the game’s files.

Ars Technica did a little write up detailing how to ruin PC ports in five easy steps and they included all the major faux pas that are far too common for my liking. I’m not too upset about the controls and graphic things (I usually just play on the default settings, anyways) but the log-ins withing log-ins is getting fairly annoying. Grand Theft Auto IV was annoying in this respect as was Crysis 2.

The old PC Gaming bane DRM is also included in this list, with the writer of the article tearing up a quote from the recent Blizzard event detailing Diablo 3’s DRM. Another point of contention is the fact that PC Ports are often released way after the console versions, meaning that any site that deigns to review them will use the original scores and won’t take any usability errors made in the port into account.

While the tone of the article may come off as snarky, it does make more than a few good points and exposes a lot of the hardships that your average PC gamer has to deal with. I know we have a lot of PC gamers on this site, so what did you guys think about this feature? Did it hit pretty close to home?

Source – Ars Technica

Consoles: Killing PC Gaming Softly?

ConsolesOnce again, get your flame suits on, and make sure to seal them up extra tight. I’m predicting a lot of heat in these comments.

In the ongoing super-friendly and always well-mannered debate of PC enthusiasts versus console lovers, both sides constantly engage one another in only the finest of rebuttals and, yes, even buttals. However, Maximum PC has just launched a new salvo against the console in a new article titled 12 Ways Consoles Are Hurting PC Gaming. Not to editorialize too much, but I’m surprised the author didn’t pull a muscle from all the stretching he did in the piece.

While he raises quite a few issues that gaming in general is facing, I think it’s kind of hard to peg all of these on the rise of consoles. Dumbed down sequels? In some cases, perhaps, but that’s going to happen as developers try to make their games have a wider appeal, on PCs and consoles alike. See: Counter-Strike: Source. He also makes some noise about auto saving and bad control schemes, as well.

Anyway, check it out and see if you agree. My question is this: have consoles made gaming better on the whole, or deteriorated it? I don’t mean just from your perspective, but as a whole? I think there are interesting arguments to make on both sides. Go!

Source – Maximum PC