Saturday, 20 April 2013

A Note on Kids and Gaming.

Last night my thirteen year old nephew Jack came to stay at my home as he does every Friday night. Almost every week he carries with him a freshly burned disc with a new downloaded game or Half Life 2 mod which he intends to install on my father's desktop. Last night it was a spaceflight simulation game named Kerbal Space Program. Per usual, my nephew rattled off a quick pitch of the game as I greeted him. As this is a weekly thing and I generally don't have a huge amount of interest in Half Life mods or free downloads, I sadly did not give Jack my full attention and only really absorbed the bear essentials of what he was speaking to me about. When he took a brief pause to breath, I wished him a fun time and went back to my own business. 


Later in the evening I was passing by and Jack beckoned me to come over and take a look at how his game was going. He had just launched a small craft into space and was attempting to get the machine into orbit around the Moon. One thing that struck me from the very beginning was just how many dials were on the screen and how (at least at a glance) technical the whole operation was. Jack started a fresh ship and gave me a demonstration of a space launch. He explained to me how he used solid-fueled rockets to give his ship it's initial launch and how he would then eject them in favour of liquid fueled boosters. He told me all about how he needs to angle the ship a certain way on takeoff and then very gently readjust the trajectory as he moved from one type of atmosphere to the next. Then Jack gave me a detailed description of just how he intended to boost the craft away from the Earth and then have it gently fall into the the gravity while maintaining enough momentum to keep the ship from being pulled back in entirely. He joyfully provided anecdotes about how his previous attempts had been unsuccessful and how he had worked out an efficient and successful theory to ensure a successful spaceflight. All this from a kid who only a few years ago was writing letters to Santa Claus. It was unmistakably clear that Jack was taking a huge amount of value from this video game both in terms of education and above all else fun. I even learned a few things myself from his demo.

The point I'm making here is this: Video games, as a medium, get an awful lot of bad publicity, particularly in the western world. There are a huge amount of people out there who believe that games are bad for young people and, in some extreme cases, do lasting damage to children. Personally, I think we don't know the answers just yet (that is a discussion for another day). Jack's time with Kerbal Space Program reminded me that the right kind of video game can be hugely beneficial to a young person, in exactly the same way the right book or television show can be. Every now and again we, as consumers, creators and critics must remind ourselves that while the negative effects of certain video games may or may not be destructive in the wrong hands, it would be a simple waste for us to forget the huge amount of positives games continue to offer the old and young alike.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Loser Score.

Right, I'm meant to be doing college work right now so I'm going to make this damn quick.



Modern Warfare 3 came out the other day. I've yet to play it but I've watched and read some reviews and it's looking like a fine game. Infinity Ward (or whatever is left of it) and Sledgehammer didn't do much with the formula, rather sticking with the what's worked for them this far. I have no doubt that it's a decent game. No it doesn't innovate, no it doesn't change the rules, but it's still a decent game.



When Modern Warfare 2 released, expectations were high. Call of Duty 4 had made a big splash when it released in 2007, snuffing the trend of WWII shooters and instead setting the action in modern day (that's right, there was a time when that was new). Everyone adored CoD4. It was fun and original, it took risks and made no apologies. When Modern Warfare 2 came out . . . I don't know what people actually expected, but it apparently disappointed. I myself purchased the game on the morning of release and had a very good time with it. I even got the Platinum trophy. But wherever I looked online, people were bashing it, even people who were well known for playing it on YouTube. Perhaps it had something to do with dedicated servers, maybe it was the new multiplayer features. Either way, much of the gaming public felt somewhat wronged. Not in a way that a game developer had messed up on them, but instead as if Bobby Kotick walked into their house, poured sour milk on their bed and then punched their new kitten in the nose. So they bitched and moaned, they made little groups called "I'm never going to buy another Call of Duty game" and "Boycott Activision" and blah blah blah blah. But that wasn't all they did . . .


For those who don't know, Metacritic is a site that aggregates review scores for things such as games and films. If a new game comes out and IGN gives it a ten and Gamespot gives it a five (more possible than you think), Metacritic will give it an average score of seventy five. Simple. On the page there is a separate score for user ratings. People are welcome to sign on to the site and write their own review of the product with their own score out of ten. The user scores are then also aggregated into an easy-to-read score for people who don't fully trust the opinions of professional reviewers.

You may see where I'm about to go with this. When Modern Warfare 2 was unleashed onto the world, reviews were very positive. Sites and magazines applauded Infinity Ward for making yet another solid shooter with an exciting story and colourful characters. I really enjoyed the game, it had me riveted from start to finish. Was it perfect? Hell to the no. The story seemed to be dictated by the missions rather than the other way 'round and it didn't have a bunch of depth. It was an eight out of ten game and I've never regretted the purchase. When I went to take a look at how it was doing on Metacritic, I was both disappointed and irritated. Many, many supposed gamers had taken to the site to voice their opinions on the game. Some left long, almost reasonable posts about how the game doesn't do anything that impressed them while others were just being honest, saying "I'm just rating it low to drop the average". In the end the User Average sat at around three out of ten while the Review Average was in the nine area. I played that game, it wasn't a three. It may not have been a nine but it certainly wasn't a three. Now the same has happened with Modern Warfare 3. At the minute I think the User Score is in the two ballpark. I haven't played the game yet but I know it's better than that, which means someone is essentially trolling the ratings. It's gotten to the point at which developers are asking people on Twitter to go and give their honest opinions of the game. These of course being the people that worked incredibly hard to make this game, giving up time to see their family and friends, working seven days per week. We've all heard stories about how Activision operates, those studios work damn hard.



So, I think this is ridiculous. A grim illustration of just how childish gamers can be these days. When you give a dodgy score for anything it corrupts the whole average. It's a sad way to spend your time. If you want to be annoyed then vote with your wallets, or write directly to Activision or whatever, just do something a little more mature than throwing your toys out of your pram on the internet. Posting a deliberately inaccurate score on a very reputable website says way more about you than it ever will about a game. It's days like this that make me cringe when I tell people that I play video games.

Oh, and all those people who boycotted Modern Warfare 2 . . .


Thursday, 3 November 2011

So About That Grand Theft Auto V Trailer.



Right, for those who haven't been online in the last week or two, Rockstar have announced GTAV (shocker, right?) and dropped a trailer on us. You can find it here. Essentially the trailer tells us that it's going to be set in San Andreas and in modern day. That's the two big questions answered. After watching the trailer a couple of times I have a few more speculations:
  • There'll be multiple playable characters.
  • Animals will feature (that one is pretty much fact).
  • The city will have sparse, open areas akin to Red Dead Redemption.
  • Planes are flyable.
  • There'll be a property market system.
  • Players will be able to exercise (like in GTA: San Andreas).
  • There'll be multiple playable characters.
  • Golf will be a minigame.
  • Players can ride jet skies (again, fact).
  • Convertible cars have been added.
  • Silenced weapons are now usable.  
So it's around here that I'll say that I really liked GTA IV. I thought that it had struck the perfect balance between levity and a serious story about loyalty, revenge and redemption. Graphically it had my jaw on the floor and I felt the new gameplay mechanics were an excellent evolution from the PS2 series. I believe that using an immigrant from Eastern Europe was a brave and rewarding touch to a story that really held onto me until the final act. One of my favourite things about the game was that it had taken a little step back from the, arguably, somewhat bloated San Andreas. Gone were the routine trips to the gym, underwater collectables and burglary mini games. What does any of this have to do with the trailer you've just watched? Well, I worry that that seems to be the place that the series is heading to again. Property markets, sporty minigames, bodybuilding, haven't we been here before? Shall I look forward to tattoos, customisable cars and driving tests in the next one?

Don't get me wrong, I'm damn glad we're still in modern times here. I know everyone loved Vice City, it was great, reminded them of when they were kids. But it's nearly ten years since those days and players are very much living in the here and now. Nostalgia will sell a lot of games but it sadly it doesn't last forever. I'm really looking forward to seeing more of this new city. Red Dead Redemption gave me a taste for the countryside so I can't wait to nab a truck and make my way up the mountains. San Andreas on the PS2 was massive and I've little doubt they'll be aiming for something similar this time 'round. The multiple playable characters possibility is also very intriguing, opening up a bunch of story possibilities which, let's face it, the series could do with. If Rockstar can skip the whole "I was a bad guy, I wanted to stop being a bad guy, but then I kept being a bad guy" gig for just one game I'll be delighted. Graphically the game looks like it's taken a serious leap forward, and as I mentioned before GTA IV was no slouch. From what I can see they're still working off the same engine but there appears to be way more by way of props and lighting techniques. I think they'd do well to really make an engaging story this time that isn't all that predictable. It's not too much to ask really, in this day and age. I know this game will be good, they've got to grips with the PS3/360 tech now so they've room to experiment, so surprise us! I just hope that, instead of adding on cumbersome bells and whistles, they instead make a solid game with an engaging story, a world with more life than what we've become used to and some new and unpredictable features.

Oh and one more thing, Rockstar announced this game on a regular weekday and then released a trailer just over a week later. They didn't tease it for months, drop hints in magazines or even wait for a big stage show. No, one day there was no GTAV and then the next day there was. I fully applaud Rockstar and Take Two for this. I look forward to E3 as much as any partially closeted nerd but it's really refreshing to see a big publisher just fire out something to get people excited on what seems to be a fairly unspectacular day. Uncharted 3 did a much similar thing last year and it was excellent. Now if Rockstar wanna follow suit and have GTAV out within the next twelve months there'll be no complaints from this guy. 

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Disappointment.


So this here is where my verdict of the Batman: Arkham City Collector's Edition was supposed to go. I was going to post some pictures of it, detailed shots of various bits, maybe even a little video of the art book. I'd give my opinion on all the little pieces and whether the set as a whole was worth the money I had payed for it (it probably wasn't going to be). I'd talk at length about what I'd do to improve it, what I liked about it and probably griped about how annoying it is that the game disc rests in the cover of the art book. But you'll notice that I'm not doing any of those things right now. No, no the universe had other plans . . .

So I strolled into my local HMV a few weeks back to do my annual list of preorders (easily the nerdiest thing about my life, aside from this blog). This being my final year in college the list was incredibly small, Batman: Arkham City and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. As some of you may have read in a previous post, that list used to be about three games heavier but if I want to pass this year than sacrifices need to be made. I always use my local HMV for a couple of reasons.

  • They have the best prices.
  • They're staff are always very friendly and helpful.
  • They're generally well stocked.
  • They've come through for me hundreds of times in the past.
  • They also provide me with music and film.
  • They're not Gamestop of GAME. 
When I was placing the order, the staff member very kindly reminded me that there was a Collector's Edition available and asked if I wanted it. To save face I feigned taking time to consider it for a moment and then nodded at him to save one of those for me. He took my details, took a small deposit and sent me on my way with a receipt and a smile.



So I counted the days down until the calender told me it was October 21st. This being one of my most anticipated games of the year, I decided to take the day off college and enjoy me new game for the day. Waking up at around nine o'clock, I wasted no time in getting myself to HMV. As I drove in to the shopping centre, I got a funny feeling that this wasn't going to go smoothly. A memory of a previous experience with Modern Warfare 2 flashed before my eyes. A memory of me being met with confused and somewhat irritated looks when asking for my Special Edition. I disregarded this as a fleeting thought and tried to find a parking space. I arrived in HMV to notice that it was almost empty, this boded well for me as I wanted to minimise the amount of witnesses seeing me buy a Special Edition of a Batman game. I wasted no time in getting to the counter and slapping down the deposit receipt I had been given before. I immediately noticed that it was a different staff member today, one I don't think I'd dealt with before. He took a second to go over the piece of paper and then asked "Collector's Edition yeah?" I replied with an enthusiastic "yes please" and silently drummed my fingers on the counter. The staff member (who we'll refer to as Tony) did a three hundred and sixty rotation around the till area expecting what I can only guess was for a copy of my game to jump up and shout at him. He halfheartedly glanced around and slightly moved some boxes, then gave me a quick "back in a minute, Scott yeah?" and ran down to the store room at the other end of the shop. In the three or more minutes he was off the floor a rather sizable queue formed behind me. Sadly he also seemed to be the only staff member in the place so there was no way anyone was going to get served until I got out of there. I was both confused and somewhat irritated to see him roll back up to the till with a black t-shirt wrapped up in his hands. He popped said t-shirt onto the counter in front of me, gave one more half hearted look around the till area and then threw up a regular non-collectory version of Arkham City onto the desk. Once again trying to appear more like a regular Joe Soap, I used the price difference as my way of saying "where there hell's my collector's edition?!" and said "sorry, but was the version I preordered not (pause for effect) like seventy euro?" He hesitated for a moment and then said "Um, yeah, there was only one of those in the back and it didn't have your name on it, sorry" and continued to process the sale. This is where I hit a crossroads, do I press the matter? Do I stay silent and walk away? Do I make a scene? I was very conscious that there was a line of people behind me, that I had been at the desk a while, that it was a special edition of a video game. I took the easy way out, gave my money, said a polite "thank you very much, have a good one" and left with my peasant edition of Batman.

So, what's my beef? What's the big deal? Why am I writing about this? Because, people, pre-orders and special editions are a big deal these days. HMV, Gamestop and other such establishments place a crapload of emphasis on this stuff. Publishers, who are losing serious amounts of money to Gamestop are still giving them the best, most extravagant special editions of their games. There is no way they're sitting around a table in Ubisoft and going "y'know what? Let's give Gamestop the Ultra Super Amazing edition of Assassin's Creed 2.99 to Gamestop". No, I'd wager that Gamestop pays quite a lot of money for that little privilege. And I'd say they pay quite a bit. You may notice that when you walk into a store that sells games they practically stop you in the aisles and beg for your pre-orders. A pre-order to these guys is a guaranteed sale before the product has even been released, with a deposit. This helps to control stock, looks good to the shareholders and is way easier to sell on the basis that you don't need to pay for the item when you order it. I'd be fairly confident in guessing that these retailers are competing heavily for these pre-orders, they have to deliver.

Now, there's a few things I need to stress here. For one thing, the staff member was perfectly polite at all times and apologised for the mix up, and it's not something I particularly stress about. It was not a particularly responsible use of money and I really don't want to go in that much for the snazzy editions of games. However, there was every chance I could been one of the people who queues up at nine in the morning waiting for the store to open. I could have shouted the place down demanding the edition of the game that I had been guaranteed, that I had paid a deposit for, was placed on the counter in front of me. And I do believe I would have been somewhat within my rights to do that. But I'm a little less wired (or ignorant than that). Also, yeah the dude was courteous, but he certainly wasn't too professional. I may have played a little casual about the whole deal but that didn't warrant him to try and pass me off without saying anything. I've done my time in retail, he should have opened with an apology, moved straight on over to an explanation as to why there was a problem and then concluded with his three step plan to fix everything. I understand working in retail sucks (trust me) but the guy was simply doing it wrong.

So, maybe in future I'll order online like most others, or take my business to a different retailer. I like HMV, for many reasons, but they fucked up this time and seriously left me hanging. What irritates me is that I had a feeling they would, and I don't really know why. If you're going to make such a stupidly big deal out of pre-orders and special editions, you best deliver, or else you might seriously piss of a good customer.

P.S. Sorry for the massive inactivity of late. I'm working incredibly hard in college and just don't have the time to write or even play games at the minute. I fully intend to be more active in the future though so please keep swinging by and thanks for looking today. Peace. 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Alliances.

The console wars, to me, have always been about the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3. The Nintendo Wii cornered off it's own market on day one and never really felt the need to compete with the other two giants. In my opinion the consoles themselves are just another piece on the board. I strongly believe that it's exclusives that sell consoles, and without talented developers you have no exclusives, studios like Naughty Dog or Turn 10. Sony seem to be all about hanging on to these studios, as can be seen by their acquisition of Sucker Punch in August, less than two months after the very successful launch of the PS3 exclusive inFamous 2. A quick Wikipedia search will show the Sony has numerous successful studios in it's pocket, and is still hiring. Microsoft on the other hand seem to prefer to keep their developers at arm's length, choosing rather to pay developers for console exclusivity rather than buying out studios themselves. I honestly don't know which method is better, I'm sure both have their pros and cons. But exclusive studios are not really what I'm here to talk about today, rather publishers.



Over the last while I've noticed certain publishers giving better treatment to one console over the other. Of course when I say "giving better treatment" I mean "selling better treatment". It's been clear for years that Microsoft is prepared to pay top dollar to stay in bed with Activision. At E3 2010 they made the rather terrifying announcement that they had entered into a three year agreement with Activision which meant they'd get timed exclusivity of any downloadable content for Call of Duty until the end of 2012 (note: "timed exclusivity" means that it releases on one console before it releases on another). That might not sound so special to you but a few weeks is a long long time in the world of video games and that time does not come cheap. It's also worth taking note that when Bungie (developer of giant Xbox series Halo) flew the nest from Microsoft they landed snugly in the warm embrace of Activision, a company not known for it's hospitality. And lest we forget Bobby Kotick (CEO of Activision and the Darth Sidious of the video game universe) threatening to stop supporting Sony consoles back in 2009. Of course it didn't happen, nobody thought it would, but it was still a noisy move and raised quite a few eyebrows. That exclusivity deal on Call of Duty ends in December of next year, I'll be very interested to see what happens next. 
EA and Sony seem to be going down a slightly different road with each other, a road full of extra games included in the package. Like, full games. Medal of Honor (Yank spelling of "Honour") had a voucher for the PS2 classic Medal of Honour: Frontline included as standard when it released in Europe last year. Not a big deal in the nickels and cents of things but it certainly pleased some of my gamer friends. This move was outdone by another big EA release less than three months later when Dead Space 2 had a port of the previously Wii exclusive Dead Space: Extraction on the disk! This got my attention because Extraction was the only attractive game in the Wii library to me. This union was further solidified at E3 2011 when Sony and EA announced a spate of new PS3 exclusive deals, the largest of which the inclusion of Battlefield 1943 in Battlefield 3. To put that in perspective, Battlefield 3 is arguably the biggest game of this year, whether you want to measure that in preorders, forecast sales or even budget, it's huge. And 1943? That only holds the distinction of being the fastest selling downloadable game of all time. 

So what does all this mean? It's kinda hard to tell. One might predict that this will escalate until full alliances are formed. I myself don't see this happening, it just doesn't seem cost effective to me in the long run, for anyone. I definitely see this as being the beginning of something, something that might turn into a really big deal when the next generation of consoles roll out. This also might be a fatal mistake on the part of one of the publishers, as the console war between Playstation and Xbox might come to a head in the next three or four years and I know neither Activision or EA want to be on a sinking ship. Maybe this is the natural progression of things. Or maybe, just maybe, this is what will bring an end to this console war. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Christmas 2011 Sequel Thoughts.

So we're getting close to the concluding months of 2011 which means we're about to get a slew of blockbuster releases in time for Christmas, and college deadlines. I find that every year this gaming orgy gets a little bigger and this year is most certainly sticking to tradition. This of course being my final, and busiest year of college, it's only natural that most of the games are must-haves for me, and coincidentally, sequels. There are plenty of giant games coming out this Christmas but I've decided to focus on a small few that I'll most likely have no choice but to pick up on release day.

Quick Note: I'm aware that these are all incredibly western and mainstream and all feature male protagonists with big muscles and American accents. Sadly "Flower 2" or "Return to Limbo" doesn't scream "preorder!" so forgive me for being a conformist, I just like playing games. 




Assassin's Creed: Revelations
Yet another installment from what I believe to be the most franchised game series in history (seriously, look it up on Wikipedia, comics, films, hoodies, everything!) and once again noticeably missing a "3" at the end of it. This is a game that I don't believe needed to happen, and I said that about Brotherhood as well. I get it though, Ubisoft wants to release the final chapter in 2012 as that's an important time in the Assassin's Creed mythology (therefore marketing gold), but selling us a "major installment" every year in between is a bit much. Brotherhood didn't really feature enough new bells or whistles to really justify itself and this looks like it's bringing even less new stuff to the table. If Brotherhood was Assassin's Creed 2.5 (and it was) then that would really make this AC2.75, and nobody likes that many decimal points in their game titles. I mean, do we really need to play again as Ezio? Or Altair?! Is a new zipline really a back-of-the-box feature? Do I care that Ezio is getting old? I admit I did when Solid Snake was on the home stretch but I'd known him a lot more than two years. I'm going to pick up this game because I really dig the story and want to see where it's going, and I guess I know what I'm getting in terms of gameplay as well. But man, AC3 better deliver after all this foreplay or else I'm going to be seriously peeved.


Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception
Ah Uncharted. You've never done me wrong, have you? This is the sort of game that's going to have me texting everyone in my phonebook on release day and excitedly saying "Happy Uncharted 3 day!". This  game has so much to live up to. For those who don't know, Uncharted 2 was massive. It changed the way AAA developers approach sequels. Just look at games like inFamous 2 or Dead Space 2, more emphasis on story, character development, set pieces, quality. I'm very interested to see if Uncharted 3 affects how developers look at the famously challenging third installment. So far it's looking great, loads of emphasis has been placed on online gameplay this time around, possibly with an eye to challenging games like Call of Duty or Halo. Somehow they're still managing to improve on graphics and  lighting on the PS3 and pushing themselves in regard to animation and production. There's also water gameplay (something I was hoping for) and seemingly a bunch of new locales to host Drake's new adventure. Concerns? Few and far between. With such a successful game in Uncharted 2, topping their own success if going to be very difficult for Naughty Dog. The story and gameplay improvements need to be pretty big to justify another installment, rather than just making Uncharted 3 to cash in on the brand. I know for the fact this will be a great game, I just hope it manages to surpass even my expectations.


Batman: Arkham City
Man, did anybody see Arkham Asylum being the instant classic that it was? I sure didn't. I took one look at the screenshots and the developer and said "that looks cool, shame it's going to be crap" and boy was I wrong. Loaded with atmosphere, great gameplay and a noticeable amount of care, it was very clear that Rocksteady took the job seriously and delivered what was arguably the best comic book game in the history of video games. So how do you follow it up? Rocksteady's answer appears to be "build on it". They've kept everything we've loved about Arkham Asylum and added a bunch of new features and characters. Having already proved themselves at adapting characters we've known and loved since we were kids, it's exciting to see them dipping again into the archives to bring some fresh blood into the world of Arkham City. So far we've seen Two Face, Mr. Freeze, Talia al Ghul among many others and I've no doubt we'll see a few more in the final game. I'm also really pleased to see the inclusion of Robin and Catwoman as playable characters, it should add a little spice to the campaign.  The change of setting is also a brave move in my opinion. It'd have been easy to stick to what they know and do another round on Arkham Island but instead the developers jumped out of their comfort zone once again and moved to the more urban setting of Gotham City (although, thankfully, they've seemingly left out the ability to drive the Batmobile). One thing that pleases me to no end is that they have completely left out online multiplayer. As someone who buys games for their single player features, I appreciate that the developers have decided to focus entirely on that rather than trying to stick on a superfluous multiplayer component (I'm looking at you, Assassin's Creed). I can't wait for this one.

                                                         
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
No game splits a room like Call of Duty. Many gamers love it, many think it's everything that's wrong with the game industry. Many people were shooting this down long before there was any information released about it simply because MW2 wasn't the cancer curing, girlfriend producing, body toning happy pill that we all built it up to be. MW2 was far from perfect but it was still a thoroughly entertaining ride that did everything I expected from it. I see this as being no different. It's a bit prettier and the story has predictably gotten huge and ridiculous but that's what I play Call of Duty for. If I want to play something that's actually going to make me think or feel something then I'll dig out Metal Gear Solid or Heavy Rain. From what I've seen it looks like a tonne of new bits have been added to the multiplayer, this is sure to please many but I think the whole thing is starting to get a little busy. I'm hoping for a nice conclusion to Soap and Price's story with some epic twists and turns along the way. Jaw dropping set pieces are sure to be included in this, but I'd be a very happy player if they managed to fit in some less Micheal Bay-esque sections too, just a tiny bit of contrast to all the explosions. That would be sweet. I'm pretty sure that I'll get my money's worth with this, but I'm not expecting this to change my life like many others did with MW2. Will this be a contender for Game of the Year? I doubt it. But believe me, this is going to outsell everything else by quite a huge amount. Including . . .

Battlefield 3
This, for many, is The Big One. The knight in shining armour that's going to dethrone Call of Duty (the evil emperor of gaming legend). I don't believe any other game this Christmas has expectations as high as this one. EA and Dice have made it very clear that their out for blood with this. They want to destroy Call of Duty and salt the ground it grew from. I think they could make a game that made you more attractive the more you played and it still wouldn't outsell CoD but it's great to see some competition at the top. And believe me, competition is what breeds good games. I remember the days when Medal of Honour was the big seller and Call of Duty was hacking at it's ankles, it's funny how circular the game industry is at times. The game itself is shaping up to be stellar, Dice are really putting their best foot forward and it shows. The graphics are incredible (on the PC anyway) and I'm really digging how cinematic the campaign is looking. With this I want something a little grittier and more realistic than CoD. I have zero doubt the multiplayer is going to be amazing. It's great so see jets back in the game and I'm looking forward to seeing all the new weapons and equipment that's in store. I think it's probably going to be a better game overall than CoD but I strongly believe that they both can coexist as long as they both maintain quality. CoD has it's popcorn market and Battlefield can aim for the Generation Kill fans out there. I'll be picking up a copy of both this year and if you enjoy your first person shooters, I suggest you do the same.

So those are the games I'm certain to pick up. I want to say I'll keep an eye out for more, but as I say this is my last year and I've a film to make. You're more than welcome to comment and perhaps share the games you can't wait for. 

Saturday, 20 August 2011

My Problems With Tekken 6 (In Less Than Sixty Seconds).

I'm actually okay with the fight system itself, it's solid. Everything else needs to go at this stage. The art direction's a joke, there's just too many characters (quality, not quantity), the story is rapidly falling apart, the loading times are far too long, they replaced the rather nice story mode with a ridiculous campaign mode, they continue to push their stupid customisation feature, the final boss, Azazel, is the worst designed thing in any thing I've ever seen, the music is terrible, the menus are bad, any single player mode is badly disguised to make you feel as if you're playing online, it took forever to come out on consoles, the trophy set actually has "Trophy Set" written in it, many of the stages are really cramped, both Azazel and that stupid giant robot are entirely pointless and add nothing but pure frustration to the game, the characters are overdesigned to the point at which they look like caricatures of their former selves, and the gameplay does have a problem with it, a pointless and rather clumsy "Rage Mode" . . . I won't even go into this. They need to shave everything back to Tekken Tag Tournament and start again, because they've gone terribly terribly wrong somewhere.

Azazel is such a mess that this is still the only
official image of him I can find online.