Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Are The Glory Days Of Exclusive Partnerships Coming To An End?

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Today, Insomniac Games (The guys and gals behind the original Spyro games, Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance series) announced they had made a deal with EA and are going to start developing games for multiplatform release.

As Bungie announced their multiplatform deal with Activision earlier this month, I can’t help but feel that the glory days of exclusive, console specific partnerships are finally coming to an end. But is this necessarily a bad thing?

In today's economic climate, single console companies just can’t make the money they need to continue making games anymore (Bungie being an exception because… well… Halo.) Therefore I just can’t blame them for spreading themselves out a little. Lets face it, if your games available for two consoles you’re going to get more money.

So am I shocked, surprised or angry by Insomniacs deal? I’m sorry to say I’m not. Personally, I wish them good luck and all the best at EA. I’m sure their new IP will be as fun filled, as action packed and as visually impressive as every other high quality title they’ve ever produced.

Just as long as Ratchet & Clank stays on PS3 though.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A Pet Peeve: Credits

You know what I hate? When you’re playing an incredible, generation defining title such as Halo 3 or God of War 3 and you reach a cut scene. An epic event takes place, the action reaches fever pitch, the protagonist / villain says one absolutely awesome line, the music reaches a crescendo and suddenly everything stops. No visuals, no music. Just darkness. You grip the controller, your fingers curl around the important buttons. You’re ready, you’re desperate to continue and then…. Credits.

It’s the worst feeling EVER.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

E3 2010: 15th –17th June

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With E3 only weeks away, I should probably start getting ready to drool over everything that’s about to happen. It’s a dead cert that this is going to be a very interesting year, albeit a year of the sequels. Although it’s going to be amazing watching as this years blockbusters , such as inFamous 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2, are finally revealed but I can’t help but feel there’s not going to be many original IP’s present at this years expo.

I mean, there’s the obvious Bulletstorm but what else? Will Bungie be unveiling their new Activision project? Probably not, especially with Halo Reach being present.

Still, Assassins Creed 3 is all they need to reveal and I’ll be very very very happy indeed.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Viva Piñata

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It’s sad, but I’ve been playing this more than all of the other games I’ve bought these past few weeks. Why? Well… it’s complicated.

First of all it’s colourful.

Second of all, it’s ridiculously fun.

Finally, it’s so addictive it’s became sinister. I’ve been craving this so much lately that whenever I begin playing all of my little Piñata's begin to sneer and laugh at how I’m wasting my life. Yea, you think that’s funny do you? You little “Fudgehog” Bastard? I can kill you. I can kill you with a motherfucking shovel.

Yea, that wiped the smile of your face. Bitch.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Videogame Rap

Two videos in a row? You better believe it. This video was too good not to be posted.

Tomorrow? My opinions on the new Call of Duty Trailer.

As soon as I figure out when it’s exactly set.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Star Wars – Take Me Out

Oh God save me. Save me from the fail.

There are around twenty of these “Video Mods” that were made for MTV of all things :|

No, I don’t know either.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Forza Motorsport 2

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You can probably tell, I’m not a car person.

In fact, I’m pretty oblivious to anything car related. It just means nothing to me.

So why, you’re probably asking, do I own a copy of Forza Motorsport 2? Well dear reader I’ll tell you why. I got it for free along with Viva Piñata, and when life gives you lemons you say thankyou and accept them. That’s my ideology.

Anyway, I booted it up and did the first race. I came first. I was having fun.

Then I tired to do the second one and got completely overwhelmed by…. everything. Vehicle classes? Grades? Anti-lock brakes? Auto… braking… fine tuning… fuck it. I took it right out my XBox and went back to play on Red Faction.

Anyone care to tell me what I’m meant to do? I was racing but I couldn’t physically get into first place. What’s the point?

Sunday, 16 May 2010

What I’ve Playing Lately

I’ve actually been playing games recently. REAL GAMES. First time since around March! Here’s what I’ve been busying myself with:

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Red Faction Guerrilla 

Got it for the PC for only a fiver (bargain) and I’m having so much fun with it. It’s one of those games where the game play is so good it can make the game worth playing purely on it’s own. Everything else is depressingly mediocre, but who cares? You can blow anything up! How is that not appealing? Defiantly my most played at the moment.

 

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Pokémon Heart Gold

When I’m not doing anything, I’ll play Pokémon. So far, I’ve played it for twelve hours which is… impressive to be honest especially seeing as I only bought it a fortnight ago and I still have no intention of stopping. Possibly the best handheld game I’ve played since the original. I’ve given up on the Pokéwalker though. Too much effort.

 

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 Viva Piñata / Forza Motorsport 2

Seeing as though my PS3 is still broke, I’ve taken to buying ridiculously cheap Xbox games in an effort to keep myself entertained. This week, I bought a double pack of Forza and Viva Pinata for £6. Score! Both good, but I much prefer Forza, even though I’m not a racing fan unless the drivers are… well…. Mario characters.

 

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Team Fortress 2

I’ve finally gotten back into Tf2 again for the eight millionth time. I swear to God, every time I start playing it again it should be referred to as a relapse. Anyway, now that the Soilder / Demoman update is a distant memory the merry world for Fort warfare is back to it’s normal, utterly brilliant self.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Two Years and Seven Months Later, Is Team Fortress 2 Still Worth Your Time?

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Team Fortress 2, Valves massive cartoon shooter, turned two years (and seven months) old on Monday. For most gamers, this would mean that TF2 can now be classed as “Old”. The only ones who are normally left playing by this point are the hardcore fanatics (clan members, forum goers, modders etc.) or people who have picked the game up cheap from a bargain basket. But Team Fortress 2 still boasts a very high player count, and this made me think. Why is it still worth playing after all this time?

Not all games die after a few years. World of Warcraft grows by the day and even the original Call of Duty’s are still played fanatically by fans on the PC. You only have to look at Halo 3 to realise even console gamers can love a game for years and let’s not even get started on Diablo 2. When a game is good, it remains good. It stands the test of time and can be played every day for years and years without getting boring. That’s the theory anyway.

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What specifically makes these games worth playing then? Well where to begin? There’s three reasons that I can think of (correct me if I’m wrong, that’s what the comments section is for after all) that keep gamers coming back day after day. A lot of games are popular because of a combination of these features.

The game was damn good to start with.

Diablo 2, World of Warcaft, Call of Duty… These games nailed the perfect formula. They are gaming gold. Everyone has a book you can read over and over, a film that never grows old and a game that never gets boring all because of one simple reason. They are perfect. To a lot of people, their choice is very personal. For example my all time favourite game is probably inFamous because not only is it a damn fine game but I completed it during possibly one of the best times of my life. However, 90% of people have a favourite game that is shared by millions. Warcraft. Halo. They’re classed as “best thing ever” by a lot of people, and it’s easy to see why. Let’s face it, how many people do you know that consider Shawshank their favourite film of all time? Exactly, and it’s the same for games. When something's good, it’s good for a lot of people. Therefore, they’re still played by a huge number of people four, five years after their initial release dates for the simple reason that they’re classics.

The game keeps getting better.

WoW keeps getting expansions, Halo 3 keeps getting map packs… in a modern gaming age, DLC can be shipped out every day if a developer so wishes. Whether it’s for a price or for free, developers ensure that it’s audience physically can’t stop playing a game. Regardless of whether it’s either down to people needing achievements/trophies or simply due to the fact that the game keeps on getting better, it certainly extends the lifespan of a game because let’s face it. Gamers love new content. Especially if it’s free. Oh, and when the player count drops after a couple of months? Release a retail copy with all the updates on. SORTED! Am I right Bethesda?

The modders ensure that the game keeps getting better.

People don’t play the original maps on Half Life 2: Deathmatch. They just don’t do it. Why should they? They’re boring, outdated. The killboxes on the other hand are fun. Very fun. It’s the same on Counter Strike: Source (excluding Dust). If a modding community is passionate enough about a game, it will simply never stop being played until they physically can’t do anything more with it. Take Garry’s Mod for example. Shouldn’t that have been dead by now? I’ll be honest with you, I think it would have been years ago if it wasn’t for such a creative community. The game thrives on it. An active community distributing fresh original content ensures that a game will live on until… well until the sequel comes out.

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So where does this leave Team Fortress 2? I’ll tell you where. It leaves it hanging between all three. Awkwardly.

Team Fortress 2 was a classic from the word go. A flawless formula, a gameplay style unrivalled by anything else, more depth than a… really deep PC FPS and, of course, more beauty than Finding Nemo in HD. TF2 was the shit, to put it simply, and it was no wonder that when the Orange Box was first released people flocked to the world of Red Vs. Blu in their thousands. It was the freshest thing Valve had made in years, and they’d done a damn good job of it to boot.

Then the inevitable happened. People began to leave. Admittedly, they had all enjoyed themselves more than they conventionally did on other games, but left they did for that is how FPS’s work. Some stay for the glory, some stay for the fun. The latter always leave. Valve, clearly feeling very clever, then decided to pull out what it thought was it’s ace in the hole. Regular, game changing, DLC packs.

Six updates later (seven if you include the classless update) and what has became of TF2? It’s a mixed opinion. Unlike other popular games that feature regular updates such as World of Warcraft, TF2 becomes more and more distant from it’s original formula with every new addition. New weapons, new items, new maps, new game modes and of course the inclusion of hats, badges, crafting and user created content. What was originally a relaxed, fun shooter is now a frantic, ultra competitive grind fest. When I first played TF2 I was taken back by it’s pick up and play simplicity entwined with it’s deep class based system. If I was to pick up the current version for the first time, I would be confused. Very confused. TF2 is no longer a clean shaven FPS that appeals to everyone. It’s an achievement festival for MMO players. It’s became mainstream, and it was never even casual in the first place.

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But does this mean that Team Fortress 2 is no longer worth your time and effort? I know a lot of people that would say yes. All of the new content is overwhelming not only for first time players but for those who just haven’t played the game in a few months and it can be said that the perfect balance between classes that was achieved before launch has been completely tipped over onto it’s back due to the inclusion of the ridiculous new weapons alone. If you were a hardcore TF2 nut before, you’re gonna hate what’s happened to your baby. Hell, even if you just loved it for what it was back in 2007, I would keep those memories and throw away Steam. TF2 is no longer something you will enjoy experiencing again.

However, if you’re the type of gamer that just likes to kick back and enjoy yourself then you’re going to love what they’ve done to the place since you were away (and if you’re a first time gamer, welcome to the nut house). First of all, the weapons are great. They really work, and they’ve all been developed in a way that means they could have replaced the originals. They’re that good (and that stylised!). Secondly, all of the new hats and achievements are not only a laugh to collect but it feels good that TF2 finally has something to achieve rather than bragging rights. Some hats carry with them a huge amount of respect, and Valve are doing a great job of just dropping in some ridiculous headgear on a regular basis for everyone to unlock. It’s fun, and at the same time there’s an extra layer of depth that’s been placed quite snugly over the top of the original version. It’s a welcome addition, regardless of what other people say, and it improves the game tenfold.Not only that, but the community have also finally found themselves, with a massive amount of servers being dedicated to some quite frankly superb map ideas. They’re certainly better than some of the arse attempts you find on other games (Yes Deathmatch, we’re looking at you). A lot of people will disagree with me, and I would completely understand if they did, but if you look at TF2 in it’s current form as something completely different to the vanilla version, then it could well give it some major competition. Primarily in the hat department.

So there you have it. My opinion on TF2 2010. Agree with me or not, Valve certainly have taken a huge risk in introducing such drastic changes on such a regular basis. It certainly makes it feel less stale than the likes of Counter Strike, but then again, how long can this last?

Until then, people will play and play until the next big thing comes along that catches their eye. At the end of the day, all great things must come to an end. Even you Warcraft. Even you.

If you enjoyed reading this article, I would love it if you could pass the link on to your mates through some method or another. Failing that, just comment below. Comments really do make me want to write more like this, and I’m sure you prefer these lovely long articles to my usual “lol look what I found” blog posts. Amrite?

Monday, 10 May 2010

The Humble Indie Bundle

Ok, I only checked this out today and I wish I’d done it sooner if I’m honest with you as there’s now only 21 hours left to take advantage of this offer… Woops xD

Anyway, this website is offering a lovely little package called “The Humble Indie Bundle”. They’re offering five of the best indie games of the past few years for… any price you want to offer. From a penny all the way up to a million squid (slight exaggeration but you get my point). The games themselves are charming and very playable.

The best part of this deal is that you get to choose where the money goes. You can either send it to a specified charity or to the developers of the indie games themselves. Personally, I gave them four pound and gave it all to charity. It’s not a lot to ask, especially when a lot of the money will, I presume, go straight to charity.

Please make sure to check this out. It’s worth it for World of Goo alone!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

LittleBigPlanet 2 Confirmed – First Details Make Me Drool

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LittleBigPlanet 2 was confirmed yesterday. It’s nothing really surprising, seeing as though it’s one of the biggest selling games on the PS3. However, what is surprising is the improvements the developers are promising over the original.

Media Molecule are basically saying that in LittleBigPlanet 2 you won’t be limited to making levels. Instead, you’ll be able to make entire games from scratch using the in-game editor. Sound exciting? You bet it does. Apparently one Dev has made a Sackboy version of Command and Conquer. Oh yes ladies and nerds, it’s no longer just a platformer.

I love the sound of this. Even the cynic inside of me is agreeing that Media Molecule will deliver. LittleBigPlanet is still one of the most original games I’ve played in the past five years, so I’m literally gagging for the sequel.

No, I’m not going to comment on the Playstaton Move support because I don’t care about it.

A Boring Few Days For Games

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I haven’t blogged in a while and there’s been a reason for this.

 

Nothing has really been happening that’s been worth talking about. Personally and in the industry.

 

The only thing I think worth mentioning is that Modnation Racers is probably going to be my next purchase. You know, when i get my PS3 fixed.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Oh Boy! New Fallout Screens!

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New Fallout: New Vegas shots are in and it looks tasty. It also looks different, but not graphically. You vain little thing.

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There’s certainly more inspiration from the originals present here. The robots in the first screen adhere to this theory. I mean look at them. They’re humorous. But not in a subtle, satirical way. They’re just funny lookin’. Is this a good thing? Well… to be honest with you probably not no. Fallout 3 oozed charm, satire and black humour. This looks like Fallout put it’s silly hat on and walked down the road with it’s willy out. Also, it’s the same engine as Fallout 3 as well. Easily forgivable of course, it’s a fantastic engine that serves it’s purpose. However it is two years old, and if you’re only going to make minor gameplay changes and ruin the entire feel of the game? Then… well. You’re not getting a purchase off me.

However, it could easily be a return to form. A true, 1950’s view of apocalyptic America that remains faithful to the original vision while exploiting all of the best bits from Fallout 3. If it’s the latter, then I have an erection.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Halo 3: Why?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

God of Phwoarrrr

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God of War 3 is possibly the best looking thing I’ve ever seen.

Seriously.

It’s just wow. I don't know how anyone can make games this fantastic. It's not even the graphics that are jaw dropping either. The gameplay, characters, locations and story are all of a cinematic quality. It's like one long cutscene. A bloody good cutscene.

Shame I can't play it though. Bloody PS3.