Sometimes you think you’ve got your fall completely planned out, with money and pre-orders organized in neat little rows and squared away just so. You tell yourself you know the games that are worth skipping, the ones that you’ll get after a price drop, and the ones that you’re getting on day one.
But then reviews change everything.
As many of you know, I’ve had my qualms about Deus Ex: Human Revolution for quite some time. In fact, I labeled it as a “Shun” in a recent feature. But today, a pile of glowing reviews dropped for the game in advance of its release tomorrow.
Apparently, Deus Ex is a contender for Game of the Year. It’s being hailed as the best action/stealth game to come out since Metal Gear Solid. It’s also being called a cool blend of Metal Gear Solid and Mass Effect. People are raving about the world, the story and the phenomenal gameplay. As such, all of the GamerSushi staff decided to purchase it today, including myself. And I can’t wait to play it tomorrow. I’m happy to have been proved wrong, but we’ll see if I agree with all the reviews.
So – who else is pumped about these great reviews? When have reviews changed your mind about a purchase before? Go!
Seeing as we’re not a professional gaming site (something I’m increasingly thankful for), we tend to over-indulge on posting about games that are of great interest to us collectively or individually. This was the case last year with Halo: Reach, so I thank you for your patience in that respect. That said, I’m going to be writing about Battlefield 3 constantly from now until release, and probably after, so you will learn to like it.
Cross-platform feature griping aside, DICE has stated that Battlefield 3′s co-op mode will take place alongside the single-player campaign and will feature multiple branches of the military, allowing for lots of different types of gameplay. The mission that DICE showed at Gamescom, called Exfiltration, started with a stealthy segement where you and your partner are tasked with infiltration a building and nabbing an informant. The blog post teases a little surprise if you manage to pull this feat off without raising the alarm (this sort of brings Splinter-Cell’s co-op to mind, which is awesome).
Co-op in Battlefield 3 will also be quite the challenge according to the game’s producers, but those who persevere will be rewarded with guns and other items that they can take into multiplayer. These items are garnered through combined co-op scores with your partners, so hopefully we won’t see too many people crying about how imbalanced this is going to be for multiplayer.
Everything about Battlefield 3 just makes me more and more excited for the game. Outside of modding Battlefield 2 with an infinite horde mode, there hasn’t really been a way for PC players to do co-op gaming with this series, so I’m glad DICE is adding it in. Imagine if we get to do a co-op dogfight?
A new challenger arrives: Episode 34 of the podcast, in which we repeat the phrase, “To Be Fair” quite a bit, even though we are usually anything but fair in these raucous casts which we pod. Also, sorry for Anthony’s robot voice. These things happen over the tubes.
As per usual, we bounce around along various topics, including but not quite limited to Team Bondi, Valve, GameFly’s PC rentals and a throwback to Metroid Prime. After that, we launch into a game of Fill in the Blank, where we vocabitate about next gen consoles, The Old Republic’s expected sales numbers and Bethesda claiming the word Scrolls.
We recorded this guy the day before Counter-Strike: GO was announced, so sadly there’s none of that on there. But next week! Oh, next week there will be counters struck, you guys.
A couple of weeks back, Bethesda hit Mojang up with a bit of a legal dispute, stating that their upcoming game Scrolls was going to confuse consumers about the much bigger Bethesda game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Sort of poor form on Bethesda’s part.
Anyway, to clear up this debacle, Notch has made a gentleman’s wager: if Bethesda can beat Mojang in a 3-v-3 Quake 3 match, then Notch will change the name of Scrolls to anything Bethesda wants. If Mojang wins, Bethesda drops the lawsuit.
Personally, I hope Bethesda jumps on this. It’s brilliant PR for them, whether or not they win or lose the match. On top of that, how entertaining would it be to see some sort of stream of this?
Seeing as we’re stuck in kind of a gaming drought and I don’t have regular access to my PC to play me some sweet, sweet StarCraft 2, I’ve been replaying the original inFamous after I got it for free during the PlayStation Network’s Welcome Back program. Coming fresh off of the sequel, it’s given me appreciation for just how different inFamous was when it came out and reminded me about some of the things that the first game did that were awesome that Sucker Punch removed for the second game.
While I am glad that Sucker Punch changed the horrible side-mission structure, some of the powers and the main quest designs in the first game were pretty awesome. The ability to absorb energy while grinding and using your basic lightning bolt to redirect your rockets akin to a laser-guided missile have me really enjoying the game, even on hard difficulty.
While I still maintain that inFamous 2 is truly deserving of the grade that I gave it, the original still holds up even two years later (at least in the sense of gameplay, the graphics are still pretty rough). This got me thinking about the original games in franchises that have a better reputation than their sequels. Games like Knights of the Old Republic and Deus Ex are obvious, but I’d count Halo (which is better than three of its four successors) and Dead Rising among those. Dead Rising 2 was good, but the original sucked me in in a way that the sequel never did.
What about you guys? Any games that you like more than their sequels? If your thoughts go against popular opinions, I definitely want to hear about it.
Man, I really liked Inception (and I enjoy the Mind Hest/everything mash-ups) but that loud, repeating BRAHHH noise is getting a little out of hand. Ranting aside, Infinity Ward just launched a trailer for the Spec Ops Survival mode for Modern Warfare 3, detailing the changes made to the gameplay and all the crazy perks you can purchase with your blood money.
It looks like it plays a little bit like Onslaught from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (surviving against waves on enemies while trying to complete and objective) and Horde 2.0 from Gears of War 3 (buying gadgets and upgrades) but the action is patently Call of Duty.
Is it just me or does this actually look kind of awesome? Spec Ops was my favorite way to play Modern Warfare 2 and this new title is slowly chipping away at my admittedly weak resolve. What say you about this trailer? Does it look good? Has this coerced you into picking up MW3?
Forgive the sensationalist headlines folks, but this is something I’ve been seeing more and more of recently. After Mass Effect 2 toned down the series’ RPG mechanics and tuned up the shooting aspect, there’s been a small but vocal minority complaining that BioWare is abandoning its fans in favor of the dudebro Gears of War audience.
While Mass Effect 2 was way less RPG than its predecessor, it still retained the story and dialogue-focused elements that made the first one such a success. My least favorite parts of the original Mass Effect were the clunky hidden dice-roll combat and the obtuse stat and inventory systems. I loved the story and seeing the ways my Shepard could interact with everyone and I considered the RPG aspects to be a necessary concession to way that the game needed be built. I never considered those mechanics to be an integral part of the Mass Effect experience and I was perfectly fine with the changes they made to 2.
Apparently I am alone is this opinion because a recent article I read on FMV Magazine demonstrates how strongly people feel about this. The writer of the article makes the argument that Mass Effect’s gameplay shouldn’t be made to appeal to a wider player-base, that its inherent RPGness are what makes it a great game. If I’m reading the article correctly, the writer believes that Mass Effect can’t have a great story if its gameplay apes that of Gears of War or other third-person shooters.
Wait, what? I’m sure that I’m reading this wrong, because that makes no damn sense to me. Because the game is now a third-person shooter with RPG-lite elements, it will be all explosions and fist-bumping? Making the argument that story has to be sacrificed because the controls are being tuned to deliver a more shootery experience doesn’t click with me.
I could be wrong in my interpretation of the author’s statements, but that’s how it reads to me. What do you guys think? Will Mass Effect 3′s adherence to more twitch-based gameplay ruin the story (somehow)? Can you sacrifice RPG mechanics and still have a character-driven plot?
As I said in the podcast post, you should notice that there is more going on around here than there has been in the last few weeks. We were taking a break because of the post-E3 news drought, and because we just wanted to chill a bit. It’s funny, because for some reason, I took a break from gaming in general, save for the daily StarCraft 2 ladder match.
So, now that the gaming season is kicking back into high gear, I’ve been trying my hand at a few games lately. For one, I picked up Bastion, and have played just a bit of that lately. I’m really enjoying the presentation, and it helps that the gameplay is solid, too. On top of that, I’ve been knocking out some Civilization V, which I’m enjoying as well.
But for me, though, the crown jewel of my gaming life the last two days has been Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions on iPhone. For those unaware, this is the PSP remastered version of Final Fantasy Tactics, one of my favorite games of all time. The idea that it’s in my pocket whenever I want to play it is kind of incredible, and already I’m sucked right back into it. Seriously, if you have never played this and have an iPhone, get it.
Bungie’s twentieth anniversary may have come and gone (and with it their stewardship of the Halo series) but they have one last present to give to their fans. Pulling footage and interviews from their long history of crafting awesome stuff, Bungie’s newest ViDoc deatils the company’s past in depth, including some frank revelations concerning Halo 2 and its notorious ending.
There’s also a bit about Bungie’s relationship with their passionate community and a few celebrity interviews besides (yes, Anthony, Nathan Fillion is in there). This beast clocks in at just about an hour, so get comfy and prepare to relive your memories of Halo, Myth, Marathon and Oni.
Now that Halo is out of Bungie’s control and they’re onto bigger and better things, do you think that their new project will garner as much acclaim as Halo? What could their new project be? There are some tantalizing hints at the end…
We’ve taken a bit of time away from the podcast (and if you’ve noticed, the site in general) to recharge our batteries a bit before heading into the fall. The thing about video game news is that like anything else, it works in seasons of dry spells and deluges, and the month of July is a drought of anything worth talking about on the whole. This is mostly due to E3, since the games industry seems to save all its mojo for one special week, and then deals with the announcements for another couple of weeks after. And then the dread silence.
So, we decided that for the podcast, August through E3 will now be a “season” of the show. Which technically makes this season 2, I guess. Welcome! We’ve got a game of over/under for the first few games of the fall, some talk about Bastion, as well as some silliness about the Nintendo 3DS price drop.
Anyway, you’ll see more posts in general around these parts, including the continuation of the weekly podcast. I for one am ready for the Fall of epic gaming to be upon us. Here are the topics for this week’s prodigal podcast:
After being confirmed by just about every gaming site in existence (thanks to Eurogamer’s diligent journalism) Gearbox Software and 2K Games acknowledged that Borderlands, the gun-porn heavy FPS RPG, is getting a sequel in early 2012.
Borderlands 2 will take place on Pandora, which is kind of a bummer in my eyes because of how boring looking the planet was in the original, but there’s nothing saying that the majority of the planet was represented by the last game. The game will also feature brand new characters and a bajillion more crazy weapons.
There’s not much else being revealed right now until the Game Informer story hits, so I’m going to open the floor to you guys. What do you want from Borderlands 2? What do you think the new classes will be like? What would you change about the loot system, the level progression and the story? Go!
The second offering in 2011′s Summer of Arcade came out this past week, and like Bastion before it, the materials I saw before release intrigued me enough to pick it up. I am speaking, of course, of From Dust, the environment-manipulation game from UbiSoft.
In From Dust, you control the Breath, a deity of sorts that has the ability to manipulate the landscape. You can pick up anything from water to lava with the left trigger and drop it with the right. At first you’ll just be using earth to make bridges over water, but later in the game things get more complex as you’ll be sculpting the land to re-direct lava flows or using wind to part the seas.
No god would be complete without people to worship it and From Dust supplies you with devotees in the form of the Men. These little guys are your responsibility as they seek out to populate the land and rediscover connections to their ancient heritage. For the most part the Men do what they will, you only command them what to do when you want to recover an artifact, found a new village or move on to the next area.
From Dust is a little different from other games of this type because it puts you under a lot of pressure in the later stages, forcing you to move fast against the overly-aggressive nature of the world. Erosion happens very quickly and lava can overwhelm your poor Men if you’re not careful. You’re not omnipotent here, the Breath has a very defined set of powers and it’s up to you to work within those limitations as best as you can. The only problem I’m experiencing with From Dust so far is the controls; they’re a bit too loose for my taste, requiring a lot of compromise on your part as you’re not able to fine tune your movements with the analogue sticks.
Other than that, though, From Dust is a very interesting game and carves out its own niche in the Summer of Arcade. God games are something we don’t see a lot of on the consoles (or even on PC anymore), so if you’ve been missing those types of games, I recommend checking this out.
Has anyone else grabbed From Dust? Are you waiting for the PC/PS3 releases? What are your thoughts?
Welcome to a new GamerSushi feature, gents. In Fun or Shun, we set our sights on an upcoming release that we are on the fence about, and make final declarations of our allegiance (or lack thereof) to the title. In the first edition of this endeavor, we thought we’d tackle Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the long anticipated follow-up to a legendary series.
Each of us have fallen off the fence about this title in recent weeks. See where we’ve landed below.
As many of you know, Halo: Anniversary releases this November, right in time for the 10th anniversary of Halo: CE, a game that changed the landscape of FPS gaming on consoles. All we’ve seen of the game thus far has been shown to us in a slew of E3 trailers, but no more. The dudes at 343 have been kind enough to put together a walkthrough of The Silent Cartographer, one of the original game’s more famous levels, in the brand new engine.
So what do you guys think? Do you think the graphics go far enough to make this a contender with some of the other big titles of today? How excited are you that they used much of the original game’s code? Who will be buying this? Go!
Bastion was released this past Wednesday, ushering the in the annual Summer of Arcade on Xbox LIVE. Made by Supergiant Games (and published by Warner Brothers Games), Bastion is an isometric RPG-style beat-em-up that is supposed to invoke the feeling that games gave us back when we were kids. The folks at Supergiant have said this repeatedly since the game was announced and I’d say that they really nailed it.
Taking on the role of “The Kid”, you set out to restore the Bastion, a safe-haven where the residents of Cealondia agree to meet during a catastrophe (called “The Calamity” in this case). Along the way your adventures are narrated by one of the other characters and it’s this persistent monologue that really makes the game shine. The presentation of this game is fantastic, from the dynamic narration to the visuals and the music (oh man, that music). Supergiant has made a classic here, if only in the new steps it takes in storytelling.
The game isn’t exactly perfect, though; the combat is a little too simplistic and repetitive, even if you can apply new attributes and boosts to your variety of weapons. Aside from that minor blemish, Bastion is really, really good and has already given me another music-in-gaming moment that might just top Read Dead Redemption (please be careful clicking that link if you don’t want to be spoiled!).
Is anyone else playing Bastion right now? What are your thoughts?
Bastion was a curious title that was on the GamerSushi radar for a quite a while. A downloadable isometric brawler/RPG with charming graphics, great music and the unique aspect of having your entire adventure narrated by a silky smooth voice? Color us intrigued.
Even though we were hyped for the game when it dropped, how does it fare when stacked up against the GamerSushi grade chart?
I know, I know, this is another gaming industry trash talk article, but bear with me for a minute. Now that Bungie has said good-bye to Halo, Microsoft has taken up the banner, trumping up their upcoming schedule of Halo titles like the Combat Evolved remake this fall and Halo 4 later next year. Since Halo 4 features the return of Master Chief, Microsoft’s Corporate VP Phil Spencer talked with OXM about bringing back the O.G. Spartan and why Halo 4 evokes the spirit of the first Halo. I get that he’s promoting Halo 4, but the way he does it is kind of odd. Have a look at the quote, and see if anything strikes you as unusual.
“The key question for me in managing the studio and the creatives is ‘what is Halo?’, making sure Halo lives up to what I think gamers fell in love with [playing Combat Evolved],” Spencer told OXM at E3 after the new game’s official reveal.
“What does that mean? Playing Master Chief,” he said. “We kind of lost our way a little bit, I’ll say. And that’s why I wanted to make sure that at the unveiling of Halo 4, you knew you were playing Master Chief, that John was back. Because Master Chief is the John Wayne character of that universe, and that’s who you want to play.”
It’s the “we kind of lost our way a little bit” coupled with the fact that Mr. Spencer seems to think that Master Chief is what makes Halo Halo. Now that Bungie has officially parted ways with their old publisher, I think a little bit of resentment is starting to crop up in the 343 Industries office. Saying that Halo lost is way in ODST and Reach was a bit unfair, especially considering that Reach was lauded as the closest the series has ever come to emulating the magic of Halo: Combat Evolved.
I guess you could look at this from a story standpoint, but I just don’t think that gamers care that much about who they’re playing as in Halo, as long as the combat is fun and there’s co-op and multiplayer to boot. What do you guys think? Is Phil Spencer dissing Bungie, or does he geniunly believe that people want the Master Chief back really, really badly?
I’m a big fan of Games Workshops’ sci-fi table top game Warhammer 40,000, and I think I’ve mention my affection for the Dawn of War series here on the site a few times. To get in a little extra revenue (and free advertisement) before the release of this Fall’s third-person action game Space Marine, Relic Entertainment has released Warhammer 40K: Kill Team, a twin stick shooter.
Out today for Xbox LIVE Arcade (and next week on the PSN), Kill Team takes the action to a series of levels stuffed with Orks (and maybe a guest appearance by another race) and has the players run through them, trying to get as many kills and points as possible. Being a twin stick shooter (think Guardian of Light but without the awesome puzzles) Kill Team is very basic, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time. If you’ve got a co-op buddy, there’s a decent amount of entertainment here for ten dollars.
You can play through the game as one of four different types of Space Marines (each with their own unique skills and special moves) and you can gain boosts and new gear to max out your damage. Facing down hordes of Orks with a buddy and mowing them down with your rapid fire rocket launcher while he rips it up in melee is a sight to behold. When you’re done that, you can run through the levels again with a different Marine, or you can try out the ubiquitous survival mode.
Where the game does fall flat, though, is the fact that co-op is local only and only the lead player can get Achievements. If you can get around these two stumbling points, Kill Team is a blast and exponentially more so with a co-op partner.
I don’t know if any of you were even aware of this games existence, but if you’re hungry for a quick shot of downloadable co-op action without much brain strain, Kill Team should be on your radar. As a bonus, completing one mission in Kill Team gives you access to the Power Sword when Space Marine hits. Are any of you going to try this out, or will you pass on this year’s Warhammer 40K offerings?
It had to happen at some point, folks. As somber as it is, Bungie is finally saying their official goodbye to the Halo series as of August 2nd, they’ll be handing control of Halo: Reach’s matchmaking, etc. over to 343 as they send their legendary franchise off to sea. Or the stars, as it were.
Here’s a bit from their farewell post:
Halo is yours now. In many ways, it always has been. Its new caretakers will strive, just as we did, to be worthy stewards but you have the package. Hold these characters and stories and worlds to the same unflinching standards you did while we were at the helm, but allow them all to blossom and change and grow in the ways that they must.
As such, Bungie says they’ll be running dark after August 2nd, as they continue work on their newest endeavor, a brand new universe that they’re building for publisher Activision. Their final words? “See you starside.”
So how do you guys feel about Halo passing hands? I know some of you don’t care very much about it, and I know we also have some fanboys, myself included. Love it or loathe it, it’s hard to deny such a monumental series and its power, and I’ll be curious to see what happens to it in the future. Thoughts, friends?
Yes, you read that right, twenty minutes of BioShock Infinite gameplay have been gifted to us by the boss of all bosses, GTTV’s Geoff Keighley. In reality it’s a fifteen minute demo book-ended by Ken Levine of Irrational Games chatting about Infinite, but that’s nothing to scoff at either.
One of my big gaming resolutions for 2011 and beyond was to not get dragged into the hype train and consume every piece of media I can get my hands on, but given the quality of what I’ve seen, that pledge has been tough to hold up. Even though BioShock Infinite isn’t coming out until 2012, it’s got me salivating like a fat dude jogging past an ice cream store. What did you guys think of this demo, which was originally shown to journalists at E3? Looking good?