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BioShock Infinite Steps Up the Difficulty with 1999 Mode

21 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

BioShock Infinite 1999 1

Some of the other writers here at GamerSushi may fall into the category of gamers who would agree that developers “just don’t make ‘em like they used to.” With plenty of respectably aging gamers out there who grew up on games that made today’s “Veteran” difficulty look like child’s play, it’s no wonder a change was bound to happen. The crew over at Irrational Games, makers of the BioShock series, is introducing a new level of difficulty in BioShock Infinite with “1999 Mode.” This mode is designed to “challenge players in a variety of ways – each requiring substantial commitment and skill development.” But what does this mean exactly?

I’m an old school gamer. We wanted to make sure we were taking into account the play styles of gamers like me. So we went straight to the horse’s mouth by asking them, on our website, a series of questions about how they play our games. 94.6 percent of respondents indicated that upgrade choices enhanced their BioShock gameplay experience; however, 56.8 percent indicated that being required to make permanent decisions about their character would have made the game even better.” – Kevin Levine, Creative Director

The idea behind 1999 Mode is to make players think much harder about the decisions they make while playing the game. Gone will be the day of rushing in like Rambo without thinking. Players will have to deal with each and every one of their choices – sometimes permanently. This new game mode will also force the player to pick specializations and focus on them. The new mode will also have “demanding” stat requirements including health, power and your weaponry. Respawning will also be much tougher, with players experiencing the old school “Game Over” screen if they don’t have sufficient resources to get back into the action.

So what do you guys think of this new game mode? With games like Call of Duty, where players can charge through recklessly, will BioShock Infinite’s new approach change the way we approach single player campaigns? I can certainly see this sticking with certain types of games. How about you guys? Will we see more of this in games, or can today’s youth not handle the challenge?

Source – Business Wire

Trailer Reveals Resident Evil 6 Coming November 20th

19 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

Anyone who has been to this site and listened to our podcasts knows what one of our all-time favorite games is: Resident Evil 5. So it would follow that aside from being the game we always try to mention in every podcast, it is also the game we want to see a sequel to more than almost anything else. Our wish, it seems is coming true, much earlier than expected.

Capcom, rather than following the Square Enix model of announcing a game 6 years before release, has suddenly released a trailer announcing Resident Evil 6 will be hitting stores on November 20th on PS3, 360 and PC. Only 10 months before release. Yes, I’ve already started the countdown. In another in a series of shocks, the trailer shows off some actual gameplay. It has a very epic feel to it and the shooting style that debuted in RE 4 returns.

Dead Space has set the bar high lately in this genre, do you think Resident Evil 6 can clear it? ¡Mátalo!

Mass Effect 3 Demo Coming February 14, Contains Multiplayer

18 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

mass effect 3 demo

The final chapter in BioWare’s sci-fi trilogy Mass Effect will be releasing on March 6, but fans will have an opportunity to try out the various features of the game on February 14 when the demo launches.

In a post on BioWare’s social site, Chris Priestly laid out the details of the newly announced Mass Effect 3 demo and what we can expect from it come release day. The demo will feature both single and multiplayer content and will be launched simultaneously on all three platforms.

The single-player portion of the demo will contain a couple snippets from Mass Effect 3, one taking place early in the game during the initial Reaper assault on Earth and the second will occur on an unspecified alien homeworld where Shepard travels to gain the support of the populace. All three of Mass Effect’s different single-player modifiers, Story, Action and Role-Playing, will be available and Xbox 360 users will be able to take advantage of the Kinect integration. The demo will have all classes available and you can customize and level up Shepard. Progress in the demo does not carry over to the main game, however.

The multiplayer component of the demo will be available to all on February 17, but owners of Battlefield 3 (with an activated Online Pass) will put their boots on the ground day one. A microsite will be up on February 7 where you can check and see if your EA account is eligible for early access, but as long as your account contains an active Battlefield 3 Online Pass, you’ll be good to go. There will also be an early access program for people who have not purchased BF3 or activated a Pass, so no worries there.

The multiplayer demo will contain two levels, Slum and Noveria, but beyond that BioWare isn’t saying. I’m happy for an opportunity to try out the multiplayer, even if I’ve already pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition (although it should be Reaper’s Edition in my opinion).

Are you guys excited for the Mass Effect 3 demo? What are your thoughts on the early access for multiplayer? Oh, one more thing: PC players will need to get the demo through Origin, EA’s much-maligned digital store.

Source – BioWare Social Network

The GamerSushi Show, Ep 37: Don’t Call it a Come Back

17 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 4 Comments

After the long-awaited arrival of last week’s video podcast, many of you expressed your wishes that we not wait so long before the release of the next one. Well, for the first time in my life, I’m afraid I won’t be disappointing all of you – here’s a brand new podcast, fully of shiny gaming stories, GamerSushi memes and all kinds of other wonders.

This podcast brought us the monumental task of trying to recap an entire season’s worth of games, ranging from Bastion all the way to Skyrim. We used this as an excuse to try out a new game, Lightning Round, and I think all of you are going to be happy with the results. It was a nice way to run down a staggering list of games in a way that didn’t take 87 podcasts and two years of our blabbering to cover.

In addition, we played a game of Buy or Sell with a number of industry topics. Like we do. Listen up and enjoy, friends.

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Demo Madness with Kingdoms of Amalur and The Darkness 2

17 Jan 2012 | Posted by | One Comment

kingdoms of amalur reckoning

It might just be me, but 2012 seems a little light on big tent-pole titles. 2011 would be a tough year to beat, true, but this far out the only notable games I can think of are Mass Effect 3 and Halo 4. I’m sure I’m missing some, but beyond that I’m not too sure if there’s anything to look forward to.

Demos dropped today for a couple relatively unknown games hitting early this year, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and The Darkness 2. Kingdoms of Amalur is a new one for me, but it’s got some well known names behind it like Big Huge Games, Todd McFarlane, Curt Schilling and R.A. Salvatore. Big Huge Games made one of my favorite RTS games of all time, Rise of Nations, then kind of dropped off the map for a while.

Reckoning, which I’m going to be calling it for brevity’s sake, is a Western-style RPG that’s very reminiscent of Fable and Dragon Age 2. It controls more like a brawler, but you have all the RPG trappings you’ve come to expect from games of this flavor. You can pick one of three archetypes (warrior, rogue or mage) and min-max from there, but thankfully the game doesn’t lock you into one specific class. I actually really enjoyed my time with Reckoning, which has fun combat, a beautiful world, and an engaging story (despite all the obtuse fantasy terms). I can already tell it’s one of those games that sucks you in very quickly and doesn’t let go. I just love the art style in this game, which is stylized and helps differentiate it from similar games in the genre. Even the most basic weapons and armor look bulky and bad-ass and the spell effects are flashy and powerful looking.

I have a couple of minor nitpicks, mostly concerning the inventory and the conversation systems. Reckoning straight up lifts Mass Effect’s dialogue wheel, but doesn’t give your character a voice. Maybe I’m too used to that, but if you’re going to copy someone’s ideas, at least go all the way with it. That’s a minor annoyance compared to the inventory, however. Like most RPGs, you get a huge stash of loot to manage, and the screens to do so are big and clunky and move kind of slow. You can put consumables like potions on a wheel to use in combat, but you can’t put various types of weapons on there, meaning that during the tutorial I had to constantly hop in and out of the menu to use the various gadgets the game was trying to show me. Once you nail down your class I expect that this smooths out, but it was kind of annoying.

That said I’m really looking forward to Reckoning after playing this demo. Like I mentioned above, it’s a game that just grabs you and pulls you in without any difficulty, something that only BioWare and Bethesda games have managed to do. Hit the jump for the other demo I tried.

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Mass Effect 3: Does Choice Allow for Character Depth?

16 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 9 Comments

Mass Effect 3 Shepard

Whenever people talk about JRPGs being obsolete in relation to the success of the modern Western RPG, the one thing I can never escape is that the Western RPG’s freedom tends to work against its story. As great a game as Skyrim happens to be, its narrative takes a backseat to whatever impulse it is that drives us to pick locks or hunt foxes outside of Whiterun. I think this is one of the reasons that the Mass Effect series appeals to me – it still manages to have a tight, exciting narrative while allowing the player a certain amount of freedom. Somehow, the series has straddled a pretty nice sweet spot that brings the best of both of those worlds.

In the latest release of Bioware Pulse, the company’s video series highlighting its projects, lead writer Marc Walters discusses their desire for Shepard to be a much deeper character this time around than ever before:

“One of the things we wanted to do in Mass Effect 3 was deepen Shepard as a character, so you really get to express what your Shepard is feeling and going through, throughout the war… We wanted to take that next step with the story telling. Yeah, it’s a war, yeah it’s got giant robots we get to shoot in the face, but there is a human side to the story. You are role-playing, and you are role-playing as a human. Why shouldn’t that human have an emotional component throughout the game?”

Here’s my question, and one I think the Western RPG is going to keep running into as long as it does business this way: can a lead character in a game based on player choice ever really have depth? Sure, Bioware has come up with some memorable, incredibly well-written characters in the past – but all of these completely outshine the main characters, who are just conduits for your own one-dimensional choices. I’m not sure if those things can ever co-exist, and I think developers could be kidding themselves if they think they can.

How do you guys feel about this issue? Can lead characters in games based on player choice actually have depth? Is it OK for them not to?

Source – VG247

RAAM’s Shadow is Gears of War DLC You May Want to Skip

12 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 2 Comments

gears of war 3 raams shadow review

RAAM’s Shadow, the second piece of DLC for Gears of War 3, dropped on December 13 featuring a single-player/co-op campaign set just after Emergence Day. Starring Zeta Squad, composed of Lieutenant Kim from Gears 1 and Tai Kaliso from Gears 2 with two newcomers, RAAM’s Shadow offers a three-ish hour adventure with the opportunity to play as the titular Locust general, complete with Kryll shield and giant machete. Purchasers of the Season Pass may have gotten it as part of the deal, but what about those of us who didn’t go for the package offering?

It’s been a while since the DLC has dropped, so you’ll have to forgive me for that, but the experience I’ve had with it has made me realize that I wasn’t really missing much. Since the DLC is set years before Gears of War 1, you play on a Sera that has yet to be destroyed by the Hammer of Dawn and seeing a city in this world complete and intact is something unique, but the outdoor environments feel very sterile and “fake”, for lack of a better word. Gears of War has always nailed the “Destroyed Beauty” motif, so simply cleaning up all the rubble in the decor doesn’t make the world believable, it does the exact opposite. There are a few cool areas to fight through, like the bank vault which has stacks of money that catch fire and the school that really does look like a deserted evacuation center, but that’s about the extent of it.

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Revelations: When Story Suffers at the Hands of Sequel-itis

12 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 2 Comments

Assassin's Creed: Revelations

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, or worse, terribly cliche – I want to take a moment and gripe about sequel-itis in video games. No, I’m not against sequels. And yes, I understand that in a time where AAA games cost big bucks to develop, publishers want to go with surefire hits instead of taking chances on new IPs. All of that’s fine. But what I can’t forgive is when this sequel-itis starts affecting stories negatively.

Take Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, for instance. I’m sure all of you will think I hate this game after posting a couple of negative critiques about it, but it’s more that Revelations’ negatives shine so outrageously because the game itself plays so well – and in some ways is a perfection of the Assassin’s Creed formula. I’m going to have to be as spoiler careful as possible here, but AC: Brotherhood ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. OK, that’s an understatement – it ended on a double scoop of cliffhanger with a major sprinkle of WTF. Part of the lure of Revelations is that it was supposed to give you some of the answers about both Desmond and Ezio that were left hanging at the end of Brotherhood.

The problem is, Revelations ends in much the same way. The cliffhanger isn’t so bad compared to Brotherhood, but the “answers” they finally give you only lead to a dizzying array of questions. No explanation is given for some of the really bizarre things you see in the climax of this game, after the entire narrative kept assuring you that the time for answers was coming soon.

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The GamerSushi Show, Ep 36: PAX South

10 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 9 Comments

This post was actually written by Eddy, posted by Nick. Just to clear up any confusion.

Wow. Uh, hi dudes. I know it hasn’t been a long time since we’ve chatted, but it’s certainly been a long time since we’ve chatted in this format – you know, the format where I’m bringing you a brand new podcast. So that’s pretty cool, right? Especially considering the fact that this isn’t a normal podcast, but a special video podcast!

Yes, this is the long-rumored video podcast from GamerSushi Weekend, AKA PAX South, where the GamerSushi dudes convened for a weekend of hanging out, video gaming, drinking and yes, podcasting. I know it’s pretty ridiculous that it’s just now coming out almost six months later, but sometimes life happens and bearded dudes have to go to California to work. And yeah, that gets in the way every now and then.

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Revelations: Developers in Denial

8 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 7 Comments

Assassins Creed: Revelations

I should be over the annual Assassin’s Creed formula that Ubisoft has set into motion this generation. Sure, Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood both happened to be great games, but there’s no way that lightning can strike three times, right? That’s the gamble that we take by playing yearly re-hashes, and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations is no different.

So far, I’m actually enjoying the game quite a bit. It’s kind of a rinse and repeat job, but the promise of learning Desmond’s fate and seeing the close of the Ezio storyline certainly has me hooked, and I like to see Ezio as a bit of a grim, grizzled old man, complete with salt-and-pepper beard and all. To Ubisoft’s credit, they’ve done what they could to mix the gameplay up, but unfortunately, some of these additions are where the game’s cracks are most evident.

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Top Xbox LIVE Activity for 2011 Shows Black Ops on Top

8 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

xbox live top activity 2011 black ops

I really like the fact that every year Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson posts the top activity for the service so we can see which games got the most attention during the year. Call of Duty has held the top spot ever since 2007, but I don’t think the domination by that series has ever been this strong.

Activision’s much maligned but million selling series holds three of the top spots with Black Ops surprisingly taking first place over Modern Warfare 3 which falls in second. Halo: Reach is still holding strong in fourth place and is faring better than two of this year’s big multiplayer releases, Battlefield 3 and Gears of War 3, falling in the fifth and seventh spots, respectively. I’m kind of surprised that Gears of War is so low considering that this is the series that defined multiplayer on the Xbox this generation, but seeing Reach in fourth spot warms my heart, if only out of spite for all the complainers who said Reach would be dead in a year.

Some other surprises from the list would be that GTA IV is still charting as is Gears of War 2. I guess Xbox LIVE gamers know what they like, and that’s re-hashes of a game from 2007 and previous iterations of an improved product. Thoughts on 2011′s Xbox LIVE activity list? Surprised that Black Ops still holds first place? Anything that should be higher in your opinion? Go!

Source – Major Nelson

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Game of the Year

7 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 17 Comments

portal 2

We’re at the end of the road for the inaugural edition of GamerSushi Votes and I think it’s gone rather well. We’ve talked the highs and the lows, but now it’s time to put all of our chips on the table and declare once and for all what our favorite game of 2011 is.

There’s no cheating here by saying 2011 didn’t have a Game of the Year, no sir. Each individual vote shall be inscribed upon the great Tablet of GamerSushi with chisel and hammer by Anthony, borne up the Mountain of Souls by Eddy, passed through the Cauldron of the Blaze by myself, given to Jeff and his eagle mount to soar high into the clouds to the Sky Palace of the Beard for Nick’s final approval. Yeah. It’s that important.

Now that you know what fate rests upon your mortal souls, vote! What was your Game of the Year for 2011?

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Game of the Year

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Poll: Best or Worst Generation of Games?

6 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 3 Comments

Let’s face it: this generation has been one of a kind. Some of the best quality games we have ever seen. And some of the worst service and disasters we have ever seen. As consoles have become more complex, there is a lot more room for errors and I don’t think any opportunities for screw-ups have been missed. But…the games, man! They are so good! But are they enough to overcome the PSN Hack, the Red Ring of Death, the terrible DLC debacles, the DRM nightmares, constant patches due to broken games on release day and the countless other crap we suddenly have to deal with now?

I mean, Uncharted, Gears of War, Bioshock, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Portal and the Arkham series, just to name a few, are all amazing new franchises that stand with some of the best all time. But is the high quality of the product enough to call this the best generation? Or is the terrible state of things for us consumers too much for these stellar games to overcome? Hit the poll and then hit the comments!

Is this the best or worst generation of video games?

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GamerSushi Votes 2011: Biggest Disappoinment

4 Jan 2012 | Posted by | 16 Comments

While 2011 was a year of serious highs, there were more than a few lows, too. Even when you’re as plugged into the industry as we are, sometimes you just can’t avoid the stinkers.

Some of the entries on this poll are fairly obvious, but I’m going to try really hard to not insert my own bias into this list. True, I’ve learned fairly heavily on my own opinions for the previous polls, but when you start slagging popular titles, that’s when the mud gets flung. Without further ado, here we go!

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Biggest Disappointment

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GamerSushi Votes 2011: Best Singleplayer

30 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 13 Comments

Alright folks, here’s part two of GamerSushi Votes 2011, and this time we’re tackling the solo aspect of gaming. While this might have a bigger overlap with the typical “Game of the Year” criteria, you can have an awesome single-player experience with pretty crappy multiplayer, like Dead Space 2, for example.

I’m going to put what I think are the most popular and well-recieved single-player games of 2011 in the poll below, but if you have any other suggestions, please tell us in the comments! While the GamerSushi crew (and me in particular) do try to give every game a fair shake, sometimes we miss stuff, so if there’s a game that your want to represent, go ahead. I know we have a few supporters of The Witcher 2, but what other games caught your fancy?

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Best Singleplayer

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GamerSushi Votes 2011: Best Multiplayer

27 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 13 Comments

What up friends and gamers and welcome to a new yearly feature here at GamerSushi. We’re going to be trying something different this year by letting you, the community, weigh in on the always fun “best of the year” lists via some voting. We all love practicing our democratic rights (while we still have them, anyways) and these sorts of topics always make for great discussions.

To kick it off, we’re going to be talking the best multiplayer of the year, also known as the “Battle of the Threes”. There are a lot of great candidates and I can’t wait to see which way this leans. Get your vote on!

GamerSushi Votes 2011: Best Multiplayer

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What are Your Christmas Gaming Plans?

22 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 10 Comments

assassins creed revelations

Happy Holidays, GamerSushi-ans! I hope your break (should you be on one) is going well. The GamerSushi crew will be ramping down for the Holidays, so this might be the last post you see out of us for the next few days. It’s been kind of a quiet Fall around here, but can you really blame us? Between all the games and our personal lives, we’ve kind of been slacking on the posts, so we apologize. There will however, be some treats coming from a certain jolly, bearded man sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.

Now that we have a little free time, what are your Christmas gaming plans? Personally, I’m finishing off Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and tucking into the multiplayer on that while going through my backlog and finishing off some left-over Achivements from games like Sonic Generations and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. I may even tuck back into Saint’s Row the Third, but after my 30 hour cheevo didn’t pop (along with a bunch of campaign ones, but that’s a known issue) I’ve kind of soured on that experience.

So what are you up to? Polishing off the backlog? Awaiting a windfall of Christmas gifts? Let us know!

What was Your Surprise Gaming Hit of 2011?

21 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 3 Comments

sonic generations

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but 2011 was a monumental year for video games. The last four months alone have given us some of the finest gaming experiences of the last few years. Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City are still vying for my personal Game of the Year slot, but even with these two juggernauts on my mind it’s hard to forget the games that were smaller but still managed to pack a big punch.

My biggest surprise of 2011 was Sonic Generations, the return to form for the Blue Blur that we’ve been waiting for ever since Sonic Adventure 2. There are no Werehogs (which I love to point out smugly is a misnomer, as “were” means “male human”, so “Wolfhog” would have been more appropriate), no goofy side-kick levels and no swordplay. It’s just straight up speed in classic or modern flavors and I kind of love it for that. If you’ve been hesitant about Generations, it gets my personal seal of approval. It’s not Game of the Year contender material, but it’s a solid title that earns its praise.

Another game that caught me off guard this year was Magicka, the isometric magic-casting game that took the PC world by storm. This game took co-op and turned it on its head by making your friends not only your greatest allies but your biggest threat as well. Four out of the five GS crew members played a night of Magicka and it was a howling good time, even if it did turn me into a raging asshole.

Rayman Origins also gets a nod from me as a sleeper hit, but what about you guys? What were your big 2011 games that no one’s talking about?

Skyrim is Full of Undiscovered Secrets

16 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 15 Comments

Skyrim Horse

It goes without saying that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is tremendous. And I don’t even mean that in terms of quality. I’m talking about sheer size. The game is enormous in every sense of the word. From the amount of quests to the cities to the NPCs and the depths of dungeons, it could take one years to mine all of the game’s secrets on their own. You can ignore the main quest and spend hundreds of hours doing nothing but dungeon-diving or picking pockets. That doesn’t even take into account all of the mods available for the PC version.

That’s one of the reasons I love the Internet: we don’t have to do this kind of stuff all by ourselves. The kind folks over at the Official Playstation Magazine have put together a list of 9 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in Skyrim. While I’ve made good use of a few of the items on the list, such as free archery training and the re-fillable soul gem, a few things certainly surprised me. Lists like this are usually a bad thing for me, as now I want to go get the dog that never dies, the staff that turns enemies into bunnies and the legendary horse as well.

As it stands, I’ve had some strange occurrences in Skyrim myself. Why, just a couple of weeks ago, I had to square off against an invisible dragon. On another night of exploring, I came across a lying character that tells you meta secrets about Bethesda and its development of the game.

So what about you guys? Have you stumbled across any of these undiscovered secrets? What are some of the strangest things you’ve seen for yourself in the game? Go!

Source – Official Playstation Magazine

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Top Six: Mitch’s Gaming Moments of 2011

13 Dec 2011 | Posted by | 8 Comments

Every year there are many standout moments in gaming that redefine my hobby and help me appreciate it in new ways. Last year it was riding into Mexico to the tune of “Far Away” in Red Dead Redemption, managing my own guild of assassins in Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or riding down a river in a patrol boat with the Rolling Stones in the background in Call of Duty: Black Ops.

2011, being the landmark year that it was, was not deficient in great gaming moments and I’ve pared my memories down to six selections of moments that have helped shape this year for me. Come along as I try to sift through all the great games this year had to offer and try to nail down which small selections changed my perception of gaming in 2011.

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