As of late I have been watching the re imagined seasons of Battlestar Galactica, and whilst I felt season one was a bit lacking, season two picked up the pace and since then I’ve been hooked. Watching BSG again reminded me of a game by the same name I played awhile back on the PS2, I couldn’t finish the first mission and ultimately gave up on it. It turns out my mentality was similar to ‘Starbuck’s’ in the series, in that I felt I was just there to kill toasters and nothing else, and thus the mission objective never got completed. Never the less, I have decided to go back and face this adversary again and I’m happy to say with better results. Continue Reading
State of the Game is a series where we look at the recent changes and updates brought into a game and the effect those changes have had on the meta of the game. In a day and age of Early access, game changing updates are becoming common place and it pays to know what they do.
Whilst it hasn’t been classed as a Beta for some time, Planetside 2 has been in a constant state of development since it supposedly became a full release. Go to the Planetside website and you’ll find a roadmap of the planned updates and content patches Sony Online Entertainment plan on rolling out over the course of the year making for some interesting reading. Continue Reading
The Nine Circles is a series where I take apart the games that are a general pain to play. Whether it is due to something major like bad mechanics or something as small as FOV sliders. Either way they have caused some ire in the world and as such we shall be sending them to the deepest depths of hell for their crimes against the gaming world.
I have been meaning to write a post dedicated to this game for some time yet I haven’t been able to play a session of Borderlands 2 long enough to fully correlate my thoughts on the subject. Maybe that sums up my overall feeling for this game, yet it obviously does something right as it is a popular game. I have given slight hints to my disposition towards this game in a few of my previous posts primary being my post on bad publishers where I hinted towards one of the outstanding problems I had with the game. Continue Reading
The term ‘ things moving with the times’ can bring both good and bad developments, it all depends on how you look at the way things change. Unfortunately for us, the gaming world has been going through a rough patch with franchises old and new being put through a meat grinder and being spat out into some unintelligible mess that some would have the nerve to charge full price for, and as of late a game has come out that really struck a nerve with me, not only because I’m a fan of the franchise it is supposed to belong to but but because it made a complete hash of it.
Star Trek: The Video Game has been described as the worst game in the franchise since Klingon Academy, and that takes some effort. The game is set in the rebooted J.J. Abrams universe where naturally occurring phenomena known as lenses flares litter the galaxy and Vulcan got blown up thanks to an angry Romulan with the most over powered mining ship in the quadrant, yes it’s from the future but since when was a civilian ship outfitted with enough firepower to take on an entire task force? Anyway, the game is set as a bridge between the first and the recently released second film giving those who want to know what happened between the two films a chance to personally experience it, and they’ll wish they hadn’t because it may cause serious blood pressure issues due to the amount of frustration it causes. Continue Reading
It seems the world of triple A gaming has become a lot like the world portrayed in the original ‘Syndicate’ game. We have several giant corporations fighting for outright control leaving no moral depths plundered to achieve this goal. As such it is fair to say that some envisage the giants of the gaming world as inherently evil.
Cast your minds back a few years and you should remember that many people claimed that the CEO of Activision, Bobby Kotick, was the reincarnation of Satan, and for good reason. Activision’s policy of acquire infinite money at the cost of quality and actual development wasn’t getting them any positive press, yet it was getting them the money to the point where I imagined Kotick swimming in a vault of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck. Selling overpriced DLC and releasing a new Call of Duty game every year worked wonders for their revenue and cemented Activision as the demonic monolith of gaming, yet as of late we haven’t really heard anything from them and as such their throne is at risk. Continue Reading
If like me you are finding that the current range of First Person Shooters are becoming about as entertaining as a tortoise eating lettuce, yet you still want a first person game to pass the time. have I got the game for you. Put down your assault rifles and sub machine guns and instead pick up a sword and shield and partake in a good old fashioned duel of honour and wits, I am of course referring to Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.
I used to be skeptical about games that didn’t have guns in them, I accepted that the furthest back in time I was willing to go was World War 2 era games, World Was 1 at a push, if a good game released in that era was released. So in retrospect I some what missed out and am now making up for that lost time, playing games like Torchlight and of course Chivalry, which has probably been the most fun I have had from a game in some time. The fun I get in the game originates from running around the map with a war hammer, nothing is more satisfying then charging at a crossbowman as they miss their crucial shot and then bringing the hammer down on their head.
It’s safe to say the combat is infinitely more fun then anything else I have played, whether you just charge in wildly flailing your sword around or you are more precise with your strikes, both strategies can and do work, however the flailing strategy will gain you a lot of hatred from your team as team killing is a constant danger in group skirmishes with horizontal swings being the main cause, people are very apologetic, but I just laugh as a single swing from a vanguard resulted in the death of two of his team and one enemy. You would think that the accidental team kills can be avoided in a free for-all game type, and you would be right, however the game changes from team killing to mosh pits where no one is safe, your one vs one duel will immediately be highjacked by one or more people hoping to score an easy kill while you are distracted. needless to say if you get irate at games i would probably suggest you avoid this title.
Another rather interesting feature in the game is the map design, the most notable being an attack/ defend map that takes place in what can only be described as a lava/ volcano fortress. You know a team is evil when they have a base located on a piece of real estate that even Sauron would consider prime. The Mason’s whilst being the evil side arguably have the better objectives, such as defending the volcano base and pillaging and burning villages. Nothing says medieval theme like pillaging and burning.
The only problems I can really find with this game originates from the server browser. A variant of the Valve system it is somewhat temperamental, if you want to set filter parameters it will think about it and then probably freeze or give you no results that fit your search. You can just ignore this feature by just accepting the results the standard search gives you.
All in all, one problem in a game that has so many redeeming qualities makes for a worth while purchase, with this being a PC title you will only be paying at most around £15 on both Steam and GamersGate and even then it will probably be on sale at some point. So not only is it more fun then games like Call of Duty, it’s cheaper too and any updates are free. Now if you don’t mind I have some filthy peasants to oppress.
So EA announced Battlefield 4, well when I say announce, I mean confirmed another of the industries worst kept secrets since the unveiling of the PS4. If your not skeptical about this announcement then you should be, EA has confirmed that it is planning to release a new FPS every year and since it drove the Medal of Honor franchise of a cliff into shark infested waters during a maelstrom caused by the end of the world it leaves the Battlefield franchise with the back breaking burden of yearly releases.
So how do you announce one of the greatest multiplayer shooters? With a single player demo of course. It seems EA is determined to continue to shoe horn a single player element into a game that, historically speaking, has been multiplayer focused since its origins. Yes it looked impressive, the Frostbite 3 engine really shows what it can do in this environment, but you get the feeling that this is what this is all about, showcasing the engine. The singleplayer element is not there for your benefit, it is there to show off what D.I.C.E’s latest engine can do, with some fancy set pieces and scripted events creating a sense of awe, you get the sense that this would be better used in a film, yes it’s pretty but did anyone come here to see a rendered building collapse or did they come here to look at what would hopefully be a Battlefield game that is going back to what it does best
Battlefield 1942 and Vietnam got by fine with no single player campaign and Battlefield 2 is still considered by some to be, in terms of gameplay, better than Battlefield 3. Personally my favorite is still 2142, it has mechs and what war game wouldn’t be improved with the addition of mechs? Plus the addition of the Titan game mode which adds a whole new element to objective gameplay. Each Battlefield game had something about them that made them memorable, from the beach landings of 1942 to the sky diving off of a Titan in 2142, 100% of the development time was focused on making a pure multiplayer game and it showed. All this history seems to be disregarded by one of the people presenting the unveiling, saying “Social persistence to increase replay value… A single player game true to the Battlefield franchise.” I assume you jumped into the Battlefield series around the time of Bad Company then, either that or you are suffering from a serious case of selective amnesia.
All in all I think we may end up seeing the death of the Battlefield franchise and judging by EA’s current track record it may make it a certainty. In pursuit of the success of Call of Duty, EA has sacrificed one franchise in the form of Medal of Honor and is looking at doing the same to Battlefield just for the sake of earning more money and pleasing the investors, Battlefield is not Call of Duty, so stop trying to make it like Call of Duty, we already have one and personal I’m not too fond of it.I’m okay with the fancy graphics, just cut the singleplayer crap, get rid of the yearly release plan and focus on what a Battlefield game should be, a well crafted large scale multiplayer game.
Whilst I am on record for disliking the way modern first person shooters have developed, there is more to the problem then bad mechanics and development practices. If you are old enough you too will remember an age when the enemies and villains in games were more than just some radicals in a far off country, threatening the ideals of whatever country the playable character represented. What I’m saying is that in the past we seemed to put more effort and imagination into the stories we created.
I know that people will argue along the lines of realism, that the developers want a game that is grounded and believable and whilst I agree with them on that grounds, in an age where supposed realistic shooters have over saturated the market a return to old developments ideas would be welcomed, hell people even think a return to World War 2 themes would be a welcomed change from what the majority of devs are producing. Gaming is generally about escapism, so the last thing you would expect is something that is aiming to be realistic. I mean what would you rather be fighting, countless numbers of Russian/ middle eastern in some undisclosed country, or endless waves of demons in a realm of hell. Yes I would rather play the original DOOM, over the latest Call of Duty. Whilst it isn’t just modern military shooters that fall into the unimaginative, compelling villain trap, they are the biggest suckers when it comes to it. Generic, pro liberty western country verses whatever the flavor of the month is, Russians, Chinese, Middle Eastern insurgents, or my personal favorite Private Military Contractors, because nothing says down with western civilization like a rich mercenary military group who would technically loose more then they would gain by attacking a western super power. To quote Yahtzee from Zero Punctuation, “Where would a PMC hide all the necessary military hardware to wage war on a super power, the fucking moon.” As far as the target of realism goes, having PMCs as the enemy is pushing it a bit.
A good example of imaginative design implemented in relatively modern games is the Ace Combat series. Until recently Ace Combat games have had some interesting boss style enemies such as flying air fortresses and super carriers, presenting a challenge and an interesting enemy, but in their most recent game, Assault Horizon we see a more grounded realistic attempt at a flight combat game, with some rather bad helicopter and rail shooter segments to make it even more of a bland modern era game. their plan to appeal to a wider audience in today’s day and age has in some sense backfired, the people who bought into the series found a rather disappointing and lack luster game to what they’re used to, whilst newer players were probably indifferent about the whole experience.
Call me nostalgic, but the olden days of gaming did have their redeeming features, we look back on them now and instantly judge them by their graphics when we should be looking at what made them memorable, judging a game by it’s graphical fidelity although considered an important point doesn’t really stand the test of time, where as judging a game by its story and characters does. I’m not asking developers to go over board with wacky villains, but just to put some creativity into the design process and to create characters that are more compelling then what we have been seeing as of late. I know there are devs out there that can do this, Halo 4 being a good example of compelling story writing but please give some thought to those people who only wish to watch the world burn.
So I have been playing a bit of Halo this week, A bit too much Halo.
I started off by playing Halo 4 multiplayer and getting annoyed at how bad my team was. I’m not usually competitive on Halo but with Halo 4 I noticed that I seem to take it more ‘seriously’. So after completing my match with Incompe-team (A combination of incompetent and team, obviously) I decided that I should play Halo 3 and see if it was any better and it was.
This made we question why, what’s so different about these game? They are both Halo titles and they have most of the same weapons, so why can I be relaxed when playing Halo 3 but get aggressive with halo 4? I discovered a series of factors that contribute to the competitiveness of the games.
The first difference I will call presentation, when you finish a match in Halo 3 the announcer will tell you that you have won and that’s it but with Halo 4 you are told that you have won then “Victory” will be displayed across the screen and then you are shown how much experience you have received and what you have unlocked. Halo 4 is trying to give you an incentive to keep playing and with some games I understand this feature, but with halo 4 and Halo Reach it’s not like they were the first games, they are built on a successful series. All you had to do was remake the previous games great multiplayer in a new engine with new maps.
The second difference I think is more a matter of opinion, it’s the maps. Most of the Halo 3 maps were relatively small but well structured; most of them have some open space for vehicles but usually something was put in the design to prevent that open space from becoming a massive ‘kill zone’. Most of the Halo 4 maps have tight corridors with multiple paths this means that you have to keep focused since an enemy could be around any corner or could be behind you, the maps also seen to have large ’kill zones’ that you just can’t go to without having everyone shooting at you from every direction..
I finally decided to play the first two Halo games which I have never enjoyed however there is no online multiplayer for them anymore so I was force to play the campaign and I feel that they have terrible design for the levels, most of them seem bland and empty and seem to go on for far too long, I would prefer a short well-made level than a long repetitive, copy and paste level. I have also noticed that some weapons are completely useless, in a game like Call of Duty there are only a few types of weapons and they have slightly different stats so you expect some weapons to be not as good as others but with Halo each weapon is supposed to have its place or have a twist to make it worth using but some weapons I just don’t bother with, there is never a time where I think “Oh, I should use that weapon here”. Finally it shouldn’t take a super soldier three attempts to kill a tiny alien by battering it over the head with a futuristic alien alloy, that grunt should have died on the first hit.
So in conclusion I personally don’t feel like it’s worth playing anything less than Halo 3 and unless you have competent friends it’s not really worth playing Halo 4’s multiplayer, then again that’s just my opinion.
Lots of love Dogflap.