There's been a veritable explosion of independent games as of late. Some of them are even quite good. I'm going to go over a couple I've played recently that are really more like interactive works of art than games.
First up is a PSN exclusive called Journey. It's $15 and you can play to the end in only 2-3 hours. I know, that doesn't sound like a great way to sell a game, but Journey doesn't feel like it's shorting you at all. Those 2-3 hours cover an impressive arc of shifting visuals and emotion. There's not a written word to be found anywhere once you enter the game proper, but there's definitely a story being told. The music is also no small part of the package; it's obvious it was given just as much care as the visual presentation.
Journey definitely leans more towards interactive art than game, but there is a game in there with some surprises laying in wait. I can't really say more without ruining the experience, and I'm not sure I could do it a proper description in words. It's something you have to see in motion to truly appreciate.
The other game I've played recently is Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery. It's $8 on Steam (and also available on iOS), and can be finished in about 6 hours. It's done in an 8-bit side-scroller style, though there are some conventions for modern hardware present. Most notably is the game's headline feature: it's soundtrack. There's no other way to put it... the music is absolutely sublime, and is worth the $8 alone. The game is mostly a puzzler, though it does have a few combat sequences. It's a real trip to play, and the dialog can be pretty hilarious.
I'm enjoying these games, and I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more like them.
Normally I review games, but there's really no point with Mass Effect 3. You've already made up your mind if you're going to buy it or not, and nothing I say is going to change that. Instead, I'm just going to cover the much ballyhooed ending.
In short? I liked it.
You still want the long version? I suppose... though you might want to stop here if you haven't played to the end yet.
I'm a huge gearhead, and I've always loved racing games of any type. On-road, off-road, or the rare few that mix both. I like sims more than arcade racers, but I have been known to play both. Following the rather large disappointment that was Gran Turismo 5, I was hoping that Forza Motorsport 4 would pick up where the Japanese failed. For the most part, it did.
This isn't going to be a long review. Pretty much if you've played Forza at all up to this point, you're not going to be disappointed by the latest version. It's not revolutionary by any means, but does many things to further refine the franchise. Go ahead and buy it, it's worth your money. If you plan to get any of the DLC, the $30 season pass should be worth it as well.
So... the high points? The graphics are incredible, every car model looks like it belongs in the current console generation, and the Autovista models are mind-bogglingly detailed. It's a far more consistent presentation than GT5, where loading up an "old" car model was like playing GT4 on the PS2 again.
The cars themselves have never felt more alive. Wheel hop from rear drive live axles, four wheel drifts on all wheel drive cars, wheel lift on front drive cars, etc. All translate well into your hands and the way the cars behave. One of the biggest improvements is in the feel of the track. In Forza 3 they always felt a bit too smooth. No longer in Forza 4... corners with rough patches and difficult cambers demand respect. Fail to give that respect and a meeting between you and Mr. Wall will be very intimate. Again, GT5 just can't compare here.
The car selection is still very good, and unlike the majority of GT5's cars, all of Forza's were designed for current hardware. All of them also have fully modeled interiors with working gauges.
Multiplayer is the biggest area of improvement over Forza 3. There are a myriad of options that simply didn't exist in previous games, all allowing much more control. I haven't explored all of the options yet, but it does appear that the majority of complaints were addressed.
Forza 4 is an amazing game, but it does have a few faults. The silly pre-race engine revving that you have no control over exacerbates the issue that standing starts are the only type of start Forza knows. This makes getting a good launch off the line next to impossible. It also gives AWD cars a serious advantage at starts, which is a third issue. For whatever reason Turn 10 didn't address any of these problems.
They're small issues in what is otherwise an excellent racing sim. Not perfect by any means, but certainly better than GT5's attempt.
The abbreviation of Duke Nukem Forever is "DNF." In racing, the acronym stands for "Did Not Finish." It's appropriate, because I never finished playing Duke Nukem Forever. In short, I got bored.
I was a massive Duke Nukem fan back in the mid-90's. Duke Nukem 3D was one of the greatest games ever made. So it pains me to say that Duke Nukem Forever was boring. There are plenty of other games out now doing new and interesting things.
There's nothing outright wrong with DNF. The game itself was relatively bug-free and was a solidly constructed shooter. Had DNF been released in 2005, it likely would have well-reviewed. It wouldn't have been as groundbreaking as Duke Nukem 3D (2004's Half-Life 2 would have stolen that crown), but I think most of us would have been happy with a "good" return to the world of Duke. Unfortunately, DNF was released in 2011.
There are simply too many other games out there sporting modern graphics, new gameplay ideas, sophisticated narratives, more interesting weapons/devices, and plenty of other forward-thinking ideas. I don't fault Gearbox. They saw a chance to take a mostly finished game, polish it up a bit, and release it for relatively little cost. To their credit they released a game with relatively few technical problems.
Ultimately DNF is a game stuck in time. Its window for a return to glory had passed a good 7-8 years before it was finally released. Was it fun? Occasionally. Was it funny? At times, though Duke's humor doesn't work quite as well as it used to. Is it worth the price of admission? Not even close.
Yeah... I got this little gem in my gmail inbox today, which only reinforced what I said about the state of multiplayer video games these days. It purported to be from "email@example.com." The source headers tell a different story, but you probably guessed that already.
Ever wanted to dominate the servers you play on with guaranteed results, but you were too afraid to cheat because of ban risks? Visit [url removed]. It's safe, secure and undetected.
Along with hacks, we've also got some general discussion sections, hacking tutorials and tools, porn, free giveaways and much more. This site has been conditioned to meet all your needs in terms of resources so be sure to take a look and tell us what you think.
the [url removed] team.
I just don't get it.
Nintendo painted a pretty bleak picture with their most recent financial statement. They went from projecting profits back in July, to projecting a sizable loss just a couple days ago. That on top of the sizable loss they actually had over the past year. It's really something, because this would be the first full year of losses for Nintendo in a good 30 years. It might come as a shock to some executives at Nintendo, but to a lot of us gamers, it's not in the least bit surprising.
Today's console market is a very different animal than the one Nintendo helped catalyze back in the late 80's and early 90's. Nintendo has failed to recognize these changes time and time again. The "ooh! shiny!" factor doesn't make for repeat business anymore. I don't buy a console and then wait for the games to come. That worked back when Nintendo was the only serious contender in the business, but they're far from alone today. Today I own a 360 not because the hardware is amazing (quite the opposite, if I'm honest, RROD anyone?), but that's because most of the new and exciting games are on the 360. I also own a PS3 because there are a few good exclusives to be had. The ability to play blu-ray discs is nice too.
It's been a long time coming. The last time I played was way back in middle school. That was 1995-ish. I got interested in D&D again when I found the Penny Arcade D&D podcasts. I started reading up on fourth edition, and I generally liked what I saw. I couldn't see what all the long-time players were complaining about. Granted I never played third edition.
Let me slow down a bit. I spent some time really trying to figure out why I wanted to get back into D&D, and it hit me: online multiplayer today just plain sucks. There was a time when playing games with other human beings was an enjoyable experience. After middle school and the end of D&D, I burned pretty much every afternoon following high school in Team Fortress Classic. I didn't care about gamer scores, achievements, kill streaks, or anything that could serve to enlarge my e-peen.
You see, back then games for the most part could only run on custom built computers. Maybe this is the PC elitist in me talking, but you had to be in possession of a logically functioning brain to assemble a PC in the pre-2000's world of computers. Generally this meant that players partaking in the online world of gaming were of high quality. The few that weren't got banned and that was that. It was a small world, so when those people went away, the average quality went up sharply.
Fast forward to today. I play maybe a handful of hours a month of Team Fortress and Left 4 Dead. That's pretty much it. They're great games, don't get me wrong, but joining them means I have to wade through the unwashed masses of the current crop of "gamers." So I hardly ever play them. Gamers today are a bunch of foul-mouthed, spoiled, bratty, selfish, egotistical, social problems. I usually leave voice chat modes completely off and type what I need to say. It's just not worth it anymore.
I wouldn't touch the multiplayer mode of a console game with a 40 foot pole and ear protection. The one mode I will entertain on a regular basis is co-op. That's because I'm always playing with a friend I know in person. Following that lengthy line of explanation, it comes as no surprise that I got back to D&D.
D&D at its heart is a cooperative game between friends. It's the ultimate cooperative game, because there are humans behind all of the controls. There aren't any achievements, there are no stat trackers. It's simple and honest, and can only be played because you really want to play. I enjoy the single-player aspect of video games, but I'd really been missing that social component that comes from having quality human beings playing the same game you are.
I blame consoles. Always.
The original Deus Ex was considered by many gamers to be the greatest game ever made. I certainly believe it deserves praise as one of the greatest games ever made, but the greatest? I wouldn’t go that far. Don’t get me wrong, Deus Ex was a groundbreaking game both technically and when it came to gameplay. No game before and few games since have given you the complete freedom to accomplish objectives in any way you see fit (within the game’s limits of course).
The second game in the Deus Ex franchise was the much maligned Invisible War. To use a more recent comparison, Invisible War is to the original Deus Ex much like Mass Effect 2 is to Mass Effect 1. It was more shooter, more action-oriented, and it lost a lot of the RPG elements that gamers loved so much about the original.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the much anticipated return of the series following an eight year hiatus. For all intents and purposes, it was worth the wait. Human Revolution is an excellent game that takes the best parts of both the original and Invisible War and finds a (mostly) happy medium.
Human Revolution is set 25 years before the events of the original game. You play Adam Jensen, head of security for Sarif Industries. Sarif has made a major breakthrough in human augmentation that will make “augmentation rejection” a thing of the past, paving the way more than just simple prosthesis. Needless to say this has made Sarif a hot target of parties both for and against human augmentation. Jensen is mortally injured in an attack on Sarif by unknown parties, and as a result has to be augmented or die on the operating table. Again needless to say, they put more into Jensen that just what was needed to keep him alive.
Valve might as well just admit it. Half-Life 2: Episode 3 isn't going to happen. They're really working on Half-Life 3 (or whatever it will be called). I think at some point they just figured that they might as well wrap the whole Portal/Half-Life story into one package with the Borealis. There's a lot of interesting theories out there. One of my favorites revolves around an interview where Gabe Newell said that they would no longer be making "isolated" single-player experiences. So go ahead and jump to a conclusion that has both Gordon Freeman and Chell as co-op partners. Toss in a little asynchronous gameplay (like what Fear 3 did) and you've got a gaming geek's wet dream. That's probably not what's going to happen. Valve is nothing if not unpredictable. What they make will probably not resemble any of the rumors, and we probably won't know about it until a month before release. I just want to say one thing to Valve; please, PLEASE don't get stuck in the loop of infinite expectations. 3DRealms made that mistake, and they seemed just as invincible to us gamers back when they announced Duke Nukem Forever.
If you've ever looked at this blog before, you'll know I'm buried quite deep in Eve Online. World of Warcraft still holds the record for the most time I've spent with an MMO, however. I started playing it back in 2006 shortly after the release of The Burning Crusade expansion. About six months ago I quit WoW with the intent of never coming back. There was no single reason, it was an accumulation of reasons. The community had gone to crap, Cataclysm felt like a half-baked expansion at the time, and I was burned out from trying to manage raiding for my guild. As you might have guessed from the title of the post, that resolve only lasted about six months.
It wasn't my first six month hiatus. I took a similar break before The Wrath of the Lich King came out. Maybe I just need to do it before major expansions. Either way, I'm back and actually enjoying Cataclysm. I've done 100% of my leveling so far solely by questing, which really says something about the quality of the content. I hold the GM spot for our guild, but that only means I'm the person that pushes the buttons. We really don't have a formal leader. The original intent for this guild was to be completely casual, though we got away from that a bit with planned raiding. This time the rule is simple: no planned raiding. We got burned by that before, and we're not doing it again. Dungeons? Most definitely. Heroic dungeons? Most likely, once we get enough people with the gear to do them.
I paid for three months, so I'm definitely going to have a go at it again. This time I'm going to hold the guild to its name. We are the Elitist Slackers of Ysera, and we aim to be as lazy as possible.