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

Update: Valve Not Considering Steam Trade-Ins

steam trade insWe generally like to avoid cluttering up the front page with multiple articles on the same story, but I think that this particular story deserves a follow up. A couple of days ago, I published an article in which I quoted Michael Pachter saying that Steam is “supposedly” looking into allowing trade-ins via their digital store. Now that the interview has had sometime to make it’s way to Valve, the quote is coming back to haunt Mr. Pachter.

Valve marketing head Doug Lombardi recently spoke to EuroGamer regarding the alleged trade-in plans, and said that Valve has never met with Michael Pachter, and they have no idea where he got the notion from. Pachter responded in turn, agreeing that he had never met Valve, and that the problematic quote came around because the game journalist posed the question to him awkwardly. This is his new stance on his line from a couple days ago after the jump: Continue reading Update: Valve Not Considering Steam Trade-Ins

Michael Pachter Believes Valve Will Offer Steam Trade-Ins Soon

Steam trade in service
Michael Pachter, an analyst that tries to gauge future trends in the video game industry, has basically built a career saying crazy things and hoping they come true (kind of like some games journalists, but I digress). While most of what he says can be brushed off as preposterous rumor, he sometimes produces a rare gem, like a diamond in a coal mine.

Take this recent interview he had with NowGamer where he postulated that Valve will begin offering a trade in service on Steam fairly soon. While we all love Steam, apparently there’s some demand to have Valve’s digital store offer the same sort of service provided by GameStop, i.e the ability to trade in titles for credit towards new ones. This is the explanation Pachter gave as to how he thinks it would go down:

“Steam is phenomenal, it’s a great service,” Pachter explained, “Steam gives gamers enough other stuff so that they don’t resent the fact they can’t trade in their games. And you know, name all the Steam games that you’ve purchased that you’ve traded back in to somebody else for credit. Steam’s about to let you do that supposedly, you know like trade and exchange, but they’re going to take a fee from it.”

While the “supposedly” does take this idea pretty firmly into guesswork territory, I think it’s a novel idea that Valve are possibly exploring, if only to further their dominance on PC gaming. What do you guys think? Any truth to Pachter’s statement? What kind of “fee” would Valve take, if any?

Source – NowGamer

Poll: Impatience and Upgrading

Starcraft II. It’s out. It’s been clamored for since last decade. And now everybody and their mom seems to be playing it. Well, everybody that is, except me. You see, I’ve found myself in a bit of a pickle over Starcraft II’s epic release.

Here’s the rundown: it’s been almost 5 years since I upgraded my PC. I think I did it the year I got married, which was all the way back in 2005, before the days of Leet World. In fact, TLW was part of the reason that I upgraded in the first place, in order to get ready for that kind of work. As such, my PC can just barely play SCII, much to my sadness.

So, I’m left with a bit of a choice. I was hoping to upgrade sometime in the next 5-6 months, which will make my PC able to easily tackle this grand RTS. However, I still want to play it, and play it now, because I feel like I’m missing out on all the fun. The problem is, on my crappy system, I’m not sure how much fun it will actually be.

What would you guys do if you were in my shoes? I thought I’d put it to a vote. Go!

What would you do?

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Brink Developers Splash Damage Go Trolling

The future of PC gaming is something that comes up a lot among the enthusiasts, the media, and even developers. Is it dying, is it going to experience a resurgence, what’s going to happen to the PC? While there are some companies that seem to earn a living just fine by making high-quality PC titles (Valve and Blizzard come to mind), there are other companies that have moved over into console development to supplement their income.

Splash Damage head honcho Paul Wedgewood has a few words to say about PC exclusive development and how it’s no longer financially viable. He maintains that the budget is not there for triple-A quality PC titles which makes it hard to get high-end bonuses like a full orchestra and a rich voice cast. Considering that his studio originally started as a mod house which made “hardcore” multi-player maps for Quake and Wolfenstein, perhaps Mr. Wedgewood is in a better position to judge the future of PC-only development than most people.
Continue reading Brink Developers Splash Damage Go Trolling

7 Crazy Gaming Rigs

pcI’ve finally decided to update my PC in just a couple of months, seeing as how it’s been almost 4 years since my last significant hardware upgrade. I’m actually pretty excited about this, as I’ve spent a little more time lately on my PC and have been getting the itch to play certain games that I haven’t had before.

Since I’ve been curious about all of this business again, it was neat to see that Wired had an article titled The Best Gaming Rigs Money Can Buy up today, where they detail a few of the craziest machines in the PC gaming world. While some of them have atrocious cases and can obviously be made for much cheaper given some tweaks, it’s still pretty nuts to see some of these things. I really can’t justify spending up to 10k on a computer.

What do you guys think? When was the last time you PC gamers updated your machines? What is your next upgrade going to be?

Source- Wired

PC Games That Deserve Sequels

jediknightpcAh, PC gaming yesteryear. How I miss thee. No matter how much I love console gaming, there’s a part of me that will never leave PC gaming behind completely. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of games that really make me want to jump back into it these days.

In honor of PC games gone by, Big Download has put together a list of 10 PC Games That Need to Make a Comeback. While I haven’t heard of all of the games on the list, I strongly agree with a couple that they have on there. Particularly Baldur’s Gate, Wing Commander, and the Jedi Knight games.

What about you guys? What PC games would you like to see sequels for? For me, Counter-Strike! It’s about time for a new one, darnit.

Source- Big Download

Spore, EA and Castration

In a move that can only be described as completely moronic (or evil, depending on your view, really), EA has essentially crippled Spore with a horrendous DRM. It is basically rewarding its customers the way a totalitarian regime might reward people who steal food: Chopping dicks.

Why EA would do this on the heels of the whole Mass Effect PC clusterflub when that game was released on PC is completely beyond me, and many other consumers for that matter.

Continue reading Spore, EA and Castration