2010 October

October 31, 2010

Unleash Mediocrity…..

Going into this game I had my doubts. The original force unleashed was a good game but had blatant issues that kept it from greatness. Now about two years later we get the sequel that fixes a lot of issues I had with the first game but lacks where the original excelled at.

The plot to TFU2 seems like it was made to bring a sequel to life to make money. Vader goes to Kamino to clone Starkiller and hunt down the newly formed Rebel Alliance that he helped create. You play as clone 14 or some number around there, all the other previous clones have gone mad and Vader had executed them but for some reason you are different, which is never explained. As the game progresses it is continually told to you by General Kota, of whom you run into later in game, that jedi cannot be cloned because they go mad and become unstable nut cases. Well for some reason the clone you play as is totally stable, he just has random flashbacks that activate some force powers you “forgot” and has this undying urge to save Juno Eclipse from a mess he started. This is by far the weakest point of the game, the story of the previous game kept it simple and cohesive and did not seem to be forced, no pun intended.

The game play and the proprietary engine that TFU2 runs on received the most love and care from the dev team. The game is absolutely gorgeous, every animation and texture is something to be seen and hold in the limelight. The game play received a complete overhaul while keeping all the basics of the first game in check. All the force powers return and the duel saber combat is very visceral, the addition of dismemberment was a nice touch and threw me back to the days of Jedi Knight: Jedi Outcast. The powers are still over the top and watching you either crush a Tie Fighter like a beer can or using the mind trick to watch storm troopers take a leap off a ledge to their impending doom never gets old. There are only a few boss battles that are epic but feel a bit undercooked and the repetitive enemy types can get a little annoying. You’ll face about three different storm troopers, some sith trainees that can block force powers or that have light sabers, and three different types of droids that almost all do the same thing. There are some AT-ST spinoffs that are thrown into the mix but enemy variety is not a strong point of the game.

The game is inexcusably short. There are some of the levels that are longer than expected; the final mission on Kamino was a valiant effort to hit the climax of the conclusion. Then you have the Dagobah, which is one of the shortest levels I have ever played in a game, and again it’s unforgivable. You take about 10 steps and that’s the level. You finish the stroll down a small walkway to grab some holocrons, then breaks away to a cut scene. You could finish the game in less than 8 hours and is about half of the length of the first. I understand that some games are short due to having a bevy of multiplayer options, such as Medal of Honor, Halo, or Call of Duty. For a single player game there is no excuse, when you have one of my favorite games of last year and possibly all time Uncharted 2, which was made in 18 months! There was no lack of polish or length and they did it in less time. I understand that Lucas Arts was hit by layoffs after TFU was released, which for a game that sold so well and made a ton of money you would think they would pour more people into developing the sequel. This is not to say that I am disappointed with this sequel, I really enjoyed the time I had with this game and definitely plan on playing through the game a few more times but while playing it I just couldn’t get over the feeling that this was rushed and put together with a barebones dev team. Hopefully they can fix the length issue with DLC or have a sith edition ala TFU and have all the DLC and cut levels in a nice package.

I really wanted to rate this game higher than I am giving it. I really loved the combat, the freefall sections, and the aesthetics but the lack of a good story and indefensible length of the main campaign, these are faults that I cannot look past and really wish I could. I am not trying to make it a point of length over quality, because with the revamp of the game it’s self they did a lot of work in areas that were needed and just let other areas slip. They seemed so concerned with fixing the issues with the first game they failed to keep the strong points consistent. I am eager to see what could be made with the inevitable sequel that the ending hints to. Will they put all of the strong points together and conceive a masterpiece worthy of the original trilogy or will they make a Bantha pile the size of the prequels? I guess we will have to see after the inevitable layoffs and what becomes of the crumbling corpse that is Lucas Arts.

+ Incredible visuals, sound, and voice acting.

+ Combat is satisfying and powers are still over the top.

+ Free fall sections are a fun addition.

–  Short, very short.

– Throw away story.

– Dagabah level is useless

– Yoda and Boba Fett cameos are disappointing

Final Score – 7/10

October 28, 2010

F.E.A.R 3 New Release Date and Trailers

F.E.A.R 3 is coming to you this coming spring in March 2011.  The game was originally slated to be rleased this holiday season but it was delayed for unspecified reasons.  The third chapter in the F.E.A.R trilogy will be avialable for the PC, PS3 and Xbox.  Below you can check out some trailers for the creepy game. 

 

October 25, 2010

Steam Surpasses 30 Million Account Mark

Steam announced a week ago that they had passed the 30 million account mark for their service.  Steam logs a massive 6 million unique login’s a day.  These are pretty impressive numbers from a platform that is supposedly on it’s death knell.   Steams account mark surpasses xbox live with a current user base of 23 million.  You can read the rest of the statement below:

“Leading Platform for PC & Mac Games Continues Massive Growth

October 18, 2010 – Valve® today announced the latest growth data for Steam, a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment, revealing new account growth of 178%, sales growth of over 200%, over 200 Steamworks games shipped to date, and more.

During the past 12 months the platform had year-over-year new user growth of 178%, pushing the total number of active accounts to over 30 million, with over 1,200 games now offered. Peak simultaneous player numbers were also up to over three million, with over six million unique gamers accessing Steam each day.

In addition to new user growth, Steam sales during the trailing 12 months increased by more than 200%, putting it on track for a sixth straight year of realizing over 100% year-over-year growth in unit sales. To meet this demand, the Steam infrastructure has been increased and now has ability to run at 400Gps, enough bandwidth to ship a digitized version of the Oxford English Dictionary 92.6 times per second.

The period also realized continued adoption of the Steamworks suite of publishing services in tangible and electronic versions of today’s popular games. Included in many of the year’s biggest releases — such as Sid Meier’s Civilization V, Just Cause 2, and R.U.S.E., with more to come during the holiday season — Steamworks has now shipped in over 200 since the suite of services was released two years ago. In addition, the Steam Cloud (introduced in Spring 2008) has surpassed the 100 million files saved milestone.

“Steam is on track to record the biggest year in its six year history,” said Gabe Newell, president of Valve. “The year has marked major development advances to the platform with the introduction of support for Mac titles, the Steam Wallet and in-game item buying support, and more. We believe the growth in accounts, sales, and player numbers is completely tied to this work and we plan to continue to develop the platform to offer more marketing, sales, and design tools for developers and publishers of games and digital entertainment” “

October 23, 2010

Dungeon Siege III

This seemed to slip throught the cracks this year.  I didn’t even know about it until I accidentaly stumbled upon it while browsing through Steams game store.  Dungeon Siege III is going to be released for the Xbox, PS3 and PC.  I was a huge fan of the original game and look forward to this one.  Below is a trailer of the upcoming release.  What do you guys think?  Are you looking forward to this game as well? 

 

October 21, 2010

Come get you protest on….

Hey everyone I am finally back on the site after a little moving hiatus, but now since the house and job are secure I will be back to posting as always. GamerChat will return I am trying to smooth out some technical difficulties and as soon are those are fixed it will be back. But let’s talk games because that is why we are here. Today the Electronic Consumers Association has planned to do a demonstration up on capital hill, on the morning of November 2nd. This is the same day that the Supreme Court will hear the California Law on regulating violent video games. Kotaku broke word of this demonstration this morning here is what ECA had to say in their article.

“This will be a historic day for gamers and the video game industry as a whole, and we greatly appreciate everyone who has taken action on this pivotal issue,” said Jennifer Mercurio, Vice President and General Counsel for the ECA said in an official statement. “Video games, like any other form of entertainment, should be protected under our First Amendment and now is the time to stand up and let our collective voices be heard.”

I really hope this goes well for the industry, it’s not about restricting sales to minors. It’s about California having the right to deem what is violent and what is not; which is taking away are right as Americans. It is up the parents of these minors to determine for themselves what is too violent and make the choice to purchase the game. No other art form or media is censored, you can go on Deviantart.com and find full frontal nudity but since it is considered art, no one can touch it. In this editors opinion, games need to be protected by the amendment just as movies, books, an music are. It is a form of speech and needs the rights as such. Are there some games that are tasteless, yes. Are there some that push what he deem as decent just for the sake of seeing how far they can go, of course. But all of this falls on to the parents and they need to be more involved with their children and if they want to let them play these games, let them but have repect for the material. Ok I will put the soapbox away for now, but I will definitly be thinking about taking the day off to head down and rally for the medium we all love and love to write about, anyone want to roadtrip with me for the day?

October 14, 2010

Pre-Orders…. a bad idea?

In recent years there has been a major push by publishers, encouraging you to pre-order your games before they are released in stores or online.  Is pre-ordering a game really necessary and can it be harmful to you as the consumer?  The most common arguments for pre-ordering a title are a.)  You don’t ahve to wait in line or the game or even risk not being able to get it on day one of release b.) You will be given a couple special in game items such as extra weapons, pets, or maybe even a map c.) A discounted rate on the game if you purchase the title early. 

Having said this let’s take a look at some of the reasoning for preordering starting with getting your title on day one.    Halo3 for example, was released at midnight at a local Best Buy here in Lincoln, NE, people were lined up outside the store for the game.  The following day I went to pick up a copy of the title half expecting it to be sold out… much to my surprise their was stand after stand stocked full of Halo 3 copies.   While this may not be true at EVERY best buy across the country I tend to think that it’s a fairly common trend anymore for major releases for retailers to order large amounts of stock so they don’t miss out on any sales.  Publishers also give you extra in game items such as a pet, extra maps, early beta access to upcoming title or even special weapons.  I have found in most cases the extra in game items you are given tend to be worthless and don’t get used at all during the course of the game.  There are some cases where you might actually get a discount if you pre-order.  You don’t generally see this for console titles but you tend to see it more for digitally distributed games. 

The biggest problem with pre-ordering however isn’t with the items listed above.  The biggest problem is… What if the game sucks?  We have all done it at some point… we have been following a game that we have been excited about for months and then when it finally is available for pre-order you pounce on it.  The time for release comes and you go to read the reviews for the game and it is a complete let down, glitch graphics, sub par game play and has absolutely no redeeming qualities about it.  You get home with the game hoping that all of it is lies and you install it to find out the reviews were wrong… the game is actually far worse then they said it was.  Within a month the game is in the $5 bargain bin and you had just one month earlier paid $60 for it.  You try to play through it but you just can’t and you reluctantly remove it from your PC, Xbox or PS3 and put it on the shelf to never touch it again. There are several games that have followed this exact trend: Medal of Honor, Space Siege, Goldeneye: Nightfire, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and the list goes on.  Does this mean pre-ordering is bad?  No.  But it is something to consider before you go blindly buying something before you know if it’s any good or not.

October 14, 2010

Map Pack for Halo: Reach

Halo: Reach will get its first downloadable content on November 30th. “Noble Pack”, as it’s being called, will contain 3 new maps and new achievements worth 250 gamerscore points. Micrsoft gave a little insight to the upcoming maps.

Tempest – “Though we may never fully understand these devices, it is not our nature to leave ancient stones unturned.” This abandoned shoreline facility bends both sea and sky to an unnatural purpose, but the ground itself has quickly become another all too familiar battlefield. Though the two opposing symmetrical bases may never reveal their ancient purpose, both now offer makeshift shelter and access to strategic routes perfectly suited for small and large scale skirmishes alike. Tempest supports 8 – 16 players and offers a variety of modes including Free for All, Team Slayer, Team Objective and Big Team Battle. Tempest also provides players with a huge Forge palette, allowing them to create new custom map variants that can be shared with the community-at-large.

Anchor 9 – “Orbital dockyards provide rapid refueling and repairs for a variety of UNSC vessels.” Within the confines of this low orbit dry-dock, UNSC craft undergo rapid repair and rearmament in support of the enduring war effort. But for the small squads of infantry who now fight over the mirrored interior hallways and open central hangar bay, this platform no longer provides any safe harbor – whether the close quarters combat is occurring inside or out of its artificial gravitational field. Anchor 9 allows 2-8 players to face off in game variants including Free for All, Team Slayer and Team Objective.

Breakpoint –“ONI officials believe the data buried within this artifact is key to our survival.” Atop this icy precipice, the Invasion continues. These modular archaeological labs were never intended to withstand such a large scale onslaught of Covenant military power, but the information being extracted here may prove vital to humanity’s survival. In response to the imminent Covenant threat, UNSC ground and air assets have been deployed to bolster entrenched Spartan countermeasures. This dig site must yield salvation, or it will become a grave. Breakpoint offers multiplayer mayhem for 8-16 players, and supports the Invasion and Big Team Battle game variants.

October 8, 2010

The PS3 debate…..

Well this is the weekend that I will be moving back to the great white north (white as in that cold white shit that falls from the sky) and this is my last post that I will be doing in Pensacola. But I would like to end my weekend post with something of a debate I had while packing up my beloved consoles, thoughts started running through my head; I really like the old design of PS3 more than the new slimmer model. How about you guys? New, old, or both; let me know what you guys think in the comments below and I will see you guys next week.

October 7, 2010

GamersChat for the week of 10/7

This weeks gamerchat was very interesting to record and put up here. AceOfNades came on the show and we had a good show including, news, the Medal of Honor debate, and the California game law that will be heard by the Supreme Court next month, enjoy. If anyone would like to hear a topic on the show just shoot it in the comments. Thanks for taking the time to listen.

 httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkJaRpwlZfU

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxm6WFzVBVc

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qAvZMVs2Co

October 4, 2010

Holy delayed release Batman!

Sony Online Entertainment annouced today that DC Universe will be pushed back to early 2011. Here is their statement below.

“SOE is dedicated to delivering the highest quality game experiences possible,” says John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment. “‘DC Universe Online’ is the first game of its kind, and a truly massive undertaking — the first action MMO set in the DC Universe, the first MMO on the PlayStation 3, and the first time the entire DC Universe will be accessible to the millions of fans who are eagerly anticipating its release. As the game heads into external beta testing, this extra time will allow us to address community feedback in a meaningful way. When we get deeper into external beta, we’ll be able to share more information regarding the new launch date.”

SOE has also revealed new details regarding the beta program. Players with VIP key cards and those having registered at the DCUO website will receive access on a priority basis starting as early as next week. As an added thank you, everyone that has already pre-ordered the game, and those who do so by November 15, 2010, are assured access to beta by November 30 (North America only).

Anyone pre-ordering the game after November 15 will gain beta access one week prior to the launch date and will be able to participate in the special beta ending event entitled Battle of the Legends with the rest of the beta participants. As an additional bonus, all beta participants will be recognized post release with a special emblem for their character when the game goes live.  Beginning October 7, 2010, instructions on how to qualify and receive your pre-order beta key, visit: www.dcuniverseonline.com/betakey.

Those wishing to register for beta without pre-ordering have until 11:59pm PST tonight. This is a general queue and does not assure access.

Lastly, due to overwhelming demand from the community, SOE is pleased to announce that a Collector’s Edition for the PlayStation 3 will also be released (North America only), which includes the same items contained in the PC version announced earlier this year – the DCUO Batman statue, the limited edition Art of DC Universe Online art book, the DCUO Legends Issue #0 comic book with a Jim Lee variant cover, the DCUO Prestige comic presentation of the DCUO back-story and the limited edition Jim Lee-drawn poster Version of the Issue #0 comic book variant cover.

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