Has hell frozen over? Are pigs flying? Are Republicans and Democrats holding hands in the streets? The only reason I ask is because Final Fantasy XIII (and no the number on the end doesn’t represent the development cycle) finally has itself a good and proper release date. Imagine that! The game drops on March 9th, 2010 in the US and Europe.
Is anyone else pumped about this? Which console will you buy the game for? Playstation 3 here. Sticking to my roots. Also, check out the new trailer for the game, which rules.
If I were in charge of the PlayStation division of Sony, I’d be feeling pretty good about myself right now. According to Gamasutra, more and more consumers seem to be buying up the hotly anticipated sequels to Assassin’s Creed and Modern Warfare on the PS3 as opposed to the X-Box 360.
Gamasutra’s article focuses on something called “franchise lineage”, which for us laymen is “gamer intent to purchase sequels to successful games”. The direction of the lineage seems to be changing for Assassin’s Creed 2, which shows the biggest shift. According to GamePlan Insights, the company that ran the research, fifteen percent of those who own the X-Box version plan to buy it on PS3 while only seven percent of PS3 Assassin’s Creed owners are purchasing Assassin’s Creed II on the X-Box.
While Assassin’s Creed II seems to be in the forefront of this movement, the report also indicated that Modern Warfare 2 shows a varying trend as well. The big question is this, though: why is the X-Box 360 losing sequel sales to its competitor?
Tomorrow marks the release of Dragon Age: Origins and I honestly couldn’t be more excited. Through the recent release of the new Wheel of Time book, the Gathering Storm and Bioware’s new RPG tomorrow, I suddenly have a plethora of fantasy world experiencing to do.
I have to say that I’m a bit surprised by just how pumped I am for Dragon Age. It makes me realize just how long it’s been since I’ve played a really solid RPG. So far, the reviews are giving it great scores and my anticipation is at an all time high on the eve of release. I’m not sure what it is about a good RPG that gets my blood going, but whatever it is, Dragon Age has stoked that fire as well.
What about you guys? What game left on the holiday schedule are you jonesing for? And just for kicks, who else is in to fantasy? Got a favorite series?
Shooter fans have been used to a very ridged structure in their games so far: you progress through levels, you shoot stuff, you move on. Sometimes you pick up different guns, but mostly it’s an aesthetic change than an actual improvement on your previous weapon, barring the rifle-bazooka trade-up.
What first person shooters haven’t had is the in-depth levelling and obsessive-compulsive stat manipulation of traditional RPGs. Enter Borderlands, a first person role-playing shooter from Gearbox, best known for the PC port of Halo and the Brothers in Arms series. Set upon the dismal dust-ball of Pandora, Borderlands has the player choose one of four classes (Solider, Hunter, Tank or Siren) and starts them off on an adventure to find and open a mythical Vault full of alien weaponry.
Even though I appreciated Bioshock’s quality in terms of its immersiveness and story, I just didn’t go quite as crazy about it as everyone else did. I didn’t dislike the game, it just didn’t hook me the way it seemed to for hundreds of thousands of other gamers out there. I keep thinking I want to pick it up and finish it one day, but the sequel so far hasn’t gotten me all that excited either.
However, I do have to say that it seems that they’re really putting a lot of thought into the game’s universe and how it ticks, which is starting to perk my interest a little. The newest developer interview sheds some more light on what the game’s about and who some of its new characters are. I’d suggest giving it a watch. What about you guys? What do you think about Bioshock 2?
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.
Okay, I am thoroughly confused by this one. I’m a big supporter of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” game design method, so I’m a little puzzled as to why Infinity Ward thought that their upcoming blockbuster needed a third-person multi-player mode. The following video was taken off a live stream of someone in France (the big source for all leaks, apparently) showing off the supposed alternate view point for Modern Warfare 2. It certainly looks legit, but I’d wait until an official comment comes from Infinity Ward before going too crazy. I mean, those poor guys have enough problems as it is.
The video is of questionable quality, which is a natural consequence of recording off a live stream. It shows the action well enough, and it does look like MW2. The third-person modes in question appear to be Team Death Match and Cage Match, so I wouldn’t expect to see this camera option appear in the campaign or SpecOps. What do you guys think? True or fake, and is this a weird move for the series?
Edit: So, it looks like this is true. Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling confirmed the existence of a couple third-person playlists, citing it as “another way to play”.
OK, I’ll be the first to admit that we’re probably getting pretty close to the Borderlands saturation point around here, but this story was too good to pass up. Three weeks ago, Borderland’s Creative Director Mikey Neumann promised that he would play the post-apocalyptic Role-Playing-Shooter with you and drop some rare loot if you could provide a picture of yourself pre-ordering the game via Twitter. It turns out that this little boast kind of back-fired on him as over 200 people took him up on the offer.
Since Borderlands released last Tuesday, Mikey has been ploughing through his list trying to get through as many of the lucky players as he can. The game hasn’t even come out on PC yet (it lands on Monday), so I bet that he’s got a ways to go.
This strikes me as admirable, considering the few weeks after a major game launches is when most of the studio’s development team takes their vacations. Essentially, Mikey is giving up the beach to play some Borderlands with the fans, so kudos to you good sir.
Borderlands itself is doing quite well; it’s topping the Steam sales chart, beating even Left 4 Dead 2. Every retail store I’ve visited has been sold out, too, but this is due more to a shortage in shipped products (so the clerk at EB told me, anyways) than overwhelming demand.
I’m waiting for the PC version personally, but are any of you playing it on the 360 or PS3, and what do you think?
Valve has bad luck with leaked videos, don’t they? First Meet the Spy got leaked, and now the opening cinematic for Left 4 Dead 2 has been snuck onto the internet via some digital skulduggery. Like the original opening movie for Left 4 Dead, it introduces the player to a whole bunch of game mechanics (what the new infected do, melee weapons, that type of stuff), while wrapping it all in an entertainingly gruesome package. Take a gander:
Not looking so much like a simple expansion now, am I right? I’m greatly anticipating ripping into some zombies with a chainsaw myself, but what about you guys?
God bless IGN, ya know? For all the flack that they take from the gaming enthusiasts, they can still surprise you sometimes, like with this excellent parody video of Gearbox’s CEO Randy Pitchford explaining Borderlands to some casual game testers. Hilarity ensues.
Keep your pimp hand strong, Randy. Keep it strong. Oh, if you’re watching in a public place, wear some headphones. Just to be safe.
Looks like Sam Fisher’s been taking a few lessons at the Batman School of Stealth, if this new video show-casing the upcoming Splinter Cell: Conviction is any indication. This new Splinter Cell seems a lot more focused on “blitzkrieg” style attacks, relying on brute force exercised with precision and speed rather than a considered approach.
It’s different from the Splinter Cell we know and love, certainly, but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m still looking forward to executing some punks Punisher-style when the game drops in February of next year, but I’m concerned that games like this may be sliding more towards an extended Quick Time Event than any semblance of actual freedom. Maybe I’m just paranoid.
But, as always, we want to know what you think! Does this new Splinter Cell seem like something that you’d want to pick up, or do the differences from past versions make you turn up your nose?
If there was a technical term in the video game industry that was the equivalent of what it would be like to have mind boners, then this new trailer for Dragon Age: Origins comes dangerously close to producing this effect in me. It’s hard to necessarily quantify how badass this trailer is in words, so I’ll just let you guys do the watching. Needless to say, there are dragons in this fantasy game, and it’s something that’s been sorely missing from my favorite pastime.
Who else is getting this game on November 3rd? I’ll be first in line.
Happy Turkey Day to my fellow Canucks, and um, happy Columbus Day to my friends in the States. Seeing as how this is a nice long weekend, perfect for unwinding from the stresses of our daily lives, I thought it would be pertinent to do our monthly checkup on your gaming habits.
Personally, I had a nice zombie-themed day yesterday with a few of my friends, and just zoned out on Nazi Zombies and Left 4 Dead. To cap it all off, we checked out Zombieland, which gets two hearty thumbs up from me. Check it out if you like laughter…or gore.
Besides zombies, I picked up Operation: Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, and so far it’s really engaging. It’s a lot more “realistic” than, say, Call of Duty, which makes it perfect for my mood right now. I’ve only played an hour or so, and it’s got my hungry for more.
What about you guys, though? I know Uncharted 2 and Brütal Legend don’t come out until Tuesday (who was the genius that came up with releasing these games after a long weekend?), but I’m planning on picking them up anyways, following up with some Borderlands. Are you planning on getting any of these titles, and what’s in your box, station, or PC right now? Answer, or we shall make you play Wii shovel-ware from now until the release of the 2012 movie, which we will force you to watch. It will be torture unending.
Mindless beat-em-up brawlers occupy a special place in my heart. First off, they’re the easiest games to pick up and play: just grab a controller and mash the hit button until everything is dead. Second, brawlers are awesome for co-op, especially if they are vested in a universe that both you and your co-op partner are interested in.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 takes its cues from a lot of different games and smashes them together with the Marvel universe in hopes that you’ll like the offering. It does have a lot going for it: the Civil War storyline that Marvel published a couple years ago is the main background for the game even if it does make a left turn at the corner of Metal Gear Solid 4 and go all nano-bot on us, forgoing the actual conclusion of the comic series. It is a lot better than the “cram everything in for fan service” campaign from the original Ultimate Alliance where you would be fighting Arcade one second then dusting up Mephisto the next. A more coherent story helps move the game along at a fairly brisk pace while keeping you engaged. The voice-acting is a little hit or miss, however, but the most painful gaffs are confined to the minor characters. Visual representation for the game is serviceable, as you always know what your looking at and your characters are easy to follow. It’s not the most beautiful game by any means, but it’s far from being the ugliest.
We’ve got some good news coming out of the Left 4 Dead 2 front this week as it creeps inexorably closer to its November release date. With the demo coming up for pre-order customers (of which I am one), Valve has dropped information for another competitive mode called “Scavenge”.
In this new mode, the four survivors band together in an effort to gather fuel cans from around the level while the Special Infected try to choke, burn, and other-wise decimate the poor would-be escapees. Adding to the complication of having a whole passel of crazy zombies on your tail is the fact that the gas cans in Left 4 Dead are extremely fragile, and can easily be set off by either the Spitter’s acid or an errant bullet. “Scavenge” matches consists of three round at 120 seconds each, with each fuel can be collected by the Survivors adding twenty precious seconds to the clock. The Survivors need to find 16 cans spread across the level in order to win. The levels themselves are arena-like updates of sections from the existing campaign maps.
Now, this strikes me as an excellent idea. I used to play a Source mod called Zombie Master which had a similar mechanic to it, where the humans would collect various item from the level in order to rebuild an escape vehicle while the Zombie Master commanded his hordes in a bid to stop them. Granted, the role of Zombie Master was more of an RTS-type control scheme, but I think Left 4 Dead 2 can pull it off admirably.
So, what do you fellas think of this new mode? Does it strike your fancy, or are you going to stick to campaign and versus? Also, who else has pre-ordered this and for what system?
There is no question that Modern Warfare 2 is the most anticipated title of the year, with a hype level that has been snowballing as of late. As if that wasn’t enough, the folks over at Infinity Ward have released a brand new trailer for the game, moving me from excited to a near fever pitch. One of the wildest parts of the trailer? Images of what looks to be Washington, DC under attack. Why isn’t it November yet?
Halo 2’s E3 demo from 2003 was the stuff of legends, something that had the fans salivating for the next instalment of Bungie’s break-through franchise. The sight of the Pelican dropship swooping down onto an Earth city under attack by the Covenant took people’s breaths away, and gave them a tantalizing glimpse of our home planet in the Chief’s universe. Ultimately, the final version of Halo 2 featured a New Mombasa that couldn’t deliver on the high hopes set by the demonstration, and left Halo enthusiasts wanting.
Six years later, we finally get our chance to explore the city of New Mombasa as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, or ODST. These special forces troops are dropped from orbiting ships in one-man pods, and are the only human soldiers in the Halo games that can stand up to SPARTANs in terms of bad-assery. The basic premise of the game is that your squad is dropped into New Mombasa, ostensibly to assault a Covenant ship that’s parked above the city, but things go horribly awry. The ship enters light speed inside Earth’s atmosphere causing a massive explosion and scattering your squad to the winds. You mostly play as the Rookie, a new-comer to the ODST squad, six hours after the drop. You search the hub city of Mombasa for clues as to what happened to your squad and your mission.
We’re getting closer to 2010, which mean that we’re starting to see some new media from a lot of next year’s big titles. Mass Effect 2 and Splinter Cell have been conducting the information blitz, but one game I’ve kept my eyes peeled for especially is Battlefield: Bad Company 2, seemingly the millionth game this quarter to bear the number “2” in it’s title.
The original Bad Company’s multi-player was surprisingly robust, owing in part to the amazing environmental destruction mechanics. With a year and a bit of refinement behind it, Bad Company 2 is well positioned to deliver the same crazy shoot-outs, even if it looks like it’s been bitten by the Call of Duty bug. Check out the trailer, which contains a surprisingly large number of epithets, so exercise discretion if you’re around those with sensitive ears.
The game also looks really polished graphically, so consider me psyched for this! Is anyone else looking forward to some more Bad Company, and what systems are you getting it for?
Ok, I hate to sound the “WTF” alarm for just anything these days, given the rather easy-to-upset gaming community at large, but this article I read today kind of jumped out at me. As some of you know, one of my most anticipated games for next year is Splinter Cell: Conviction. Chaos Theory still ranks among my favorite games of all time, and I’ve been waiting for a true sequel since then.
Well I might have to wait a little longer. While I’m largely OK with some of the additional gameplay mechanics that Ubisoft has added (the one-button executions, etc), something I read in an interview with the game’s creative director Max Beland disturbed me…
I crept through some dark areas as I worked my way into the building. Even in darkness, I did not need night vision to see, notably. In dark areas the game’s graphics become grainy, but the expected night-vision overlay doesn’t come into play. Beland doesn’t like green night-vision sequences in games and told me that Fisher’s goggles aren’t used for anything like that; just for sonar scans, which show enemy positions through walls.
Seriously? No night vision in a Splinter Cell game? I mean, call me crazy, but that just about throws the game off my radar. Looks like I might not get the proper return of the franchise that I wanted.
So what do you guys think? Am I overreacting to this? How would some of you guys feel if your favorite franchise was stripped of a staple of its gameplay?