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Anticipation – Jan./Feb. 2010

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

This is the first of a few “Anticipation” posts.  These are some brief highlights of what I am looking forward to going into 2010.  Leave us comments on what you are looking forward to below!!

PS3

Some of these are XBox360 releases as well. I don’t own a 360, but tend to keep up with it, however, I’m not making a list of 360 games.


Darksiders (01-05-10)
You play one of the four horsemen of the apocolypse. I’ve heard it to be a hack-and-slash Zelda’ish hybrid, both genres I’m not a huge fan of but can still enjoy. But if there is plenty of loot, a decently written story, and puzzles that aren’t overly complex (I’m not a puzzle gamer), I think it sounds like a decent way to kick off the new year.


Bayonetta (01-05-10)
Over the top action, Devil May Cry-type gameplay, and a world that was invented by someone on mushrooms, I am solely looking to play this due to hype. It’s made by Platinum Games, who developed Mad World, one of the other reasons I am at least going to give it a try. I was not a HUGE fan of the demo I played, but it was in Japanese. I can say I will probably not like this one, but I am willing to go into it with an open mind.

Dark Void (01-19-10)
THE ROCKETEER!!! I saw this at E3, and there was a quote, “No game has successfully done a jetpack.” It went something like that, and my thought was, “Because jetpacks suck.” But the more I watched them play it, the more it looked appealing. It doesn’t roxxorz my soxxorz or anything, but it looks like a game to check out for sure.


MAG (01-26-10)
Oh, MAG. Or Massive Action Game. No, we will stick with MAG. “MAG: The Shadow War” would of been a much better title, but moving on. I played the beta, was going to preorder this one before playing the beta. And was still stoked a few weeks into the beta. Then I decided to not preorder and rent it instead. It has a lot on its plate, and a lot to live up to. The actual next blog post I type up will be Beta impressions, with a post date of January 26th, so I can compare the two, and see if I was right. A 256-player, online only FPS, with tactical gameplay in mind. Oh, and it’s not bundled with a mic. 😉


Gran Turismo 5 (02-02-10)
Febuary is going to kill me money wise. I will be buying this game, actually preordering this game, and it will eat a lot of my time. Gran Turismo makes it’s real HD debut, but sadly, it has NASCAR.


Alien vs. Predator (02-16-10)
An FPS, developed by the creators of the first AvP game, made for consoles. With three campaigns, I don’t know much about the game, but am a huge fan of the AvP saga, so I am looking to check it out.


Modnation Racers (02-28-10)
In the beta for this one, and the only thing I can say is if they fix ONE little thing, which I’m sure they will, this will knock Mario Kart off the King of Karts status in my book. Great customization, an easy track creator, VOICE CHAT (yeah, you hear that Nintendo), and most importantly, solid kart physics (I’m not saying Mario Kart’s physics are bad, but a lot of kart racers do have bad physics). Another game I am preodering.


Heavy Rain (02-28-10)
Holy crap. The third game I am preordering, and I can’t wait to play this. At first glance, I was like, “WTF, THAT LOOX DUM!”, but at E3 this year, it stole the show for me. Put aside the fact I HATE quick time events, which is a story for another blog, but the storytelling in this just blows me away. I hope it’s written as well as everyone is hyping. I will play this multiple times for different endings, something I have never done before.


PSP
Wow, see this. One game. And I’m not even like, “OMG WOWZORZ” about it. A few others caught my eye, but nothing major.


SOCOM Fireteam Bravo 3 (01-12-10)
I’m not a big SOCOM PSP fan, but being a new-age convert to the SOCOM series, I am willing to give it a go. A former clan mate of mine always talked highly of FTB2, and how he “PWNED AZZ” on it, so I fired it up one day. Ugh, it’s not that hard to get a good amount of kills in this game. Hopefully the controls feel better in this one.


Wii
Nope. Nothing in the first two months. Two games I can assure you are on some peoples radars, but not mine. No More Heroes 2 and Tatsunoko vs. Capcom 2.


DS
Again, nothing. Maybe the new Hello Kitty game. Or another “teach me to cook plz” game. Ragnarok DS would be the only one if I had a DS only.

Review: SOCOM Cold Front DLC

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Note: This review will be featured in an upcoming Gameciety Podcast.  After it is posted, it will be referenced here at the top.  The verbal review will be better.

Price: $14.99

Score: A+ (if you own the game, obviously)
Content Included:
5 new maps (3 classic maps redone, 2 all new maps)
New Russian Special Forces
3 new weapons
New Weapon Specialization System

Maps:
The new maps look phenomenal! 4 are in a snowy setting, while one is in a train station. Here’s my thoughts on each map, and what it adds or detracts from the game. Keep in mind, all maps are different for different play styles. I am a very heavy, fast “rusher”. I am the one that generally swoops in from the side, and gets behind the other team.
Blizzard
This is one of the classic maps redone. I personally am not a fan of this map, as everyone seems to sit back and snipe. I kid you not, I have played against teams where 6-8 out of 8 people were sniping. I have played on teams where I was the only one moving. I find this boring. And at night, holy crap, this map is horrible. VERY wide open, and the Commandos starting on a good sniping vantage point that can see damn near the whole map. My least favorite map by far.
Vigilance and Uprising
One of these is another classic, while the other is a new map. Both are fairly similar. Both are set outdoors with plenty of buildings to snipe from, but it’s not to the degree of Blizzard. One has a creek up one side, while one has a sewer ditch down the middle. I love both of these maps, as it offers good balance to all types of players. You can make the map work for you if you find the right route to take.
Night Stalker
Another classic map, this one which resembles Desert Glory in a lot of ways to me. Wide open middle, with a path and a building or two on each side. Don’t get me wrong, there is cover in the middle, it’s just pretty open. I LOVE this map, its one of my favorites actually.
Entrapment
This map is all new, and set inside a train station. It has a small hook that I’ve had the pleasure watching kill people, in that there is an active third rail. If you touch the third rail, you get electrocuted and die. It’s pretty funny actually. This map is an “arena” style map, as well, with a wide open middle, an underground passage, a second “balcony” floor, which gives everyone an opportunity to excel at the map. People first compared it to Quarantine, a map EVERYONE dislikes due to water campers, however, there is no water, so this map is another new favorite of mine.

New Special Forces:
The Russians get the new AG94 assault rifle. It feels similar to the AK-series, which is due to the fact it is a modified AK. Most people don’t really like it, but I have had good fortune with it. It features a double-shot burst instead of a typical three round burst, which makes it great for medium range sniping. Those two bullets hit the same place, not a triangle like the M16. It’s fire rate is slower than the AK-107, but it has a few bars more accuracy. I personally love the gun. The outfits the Russians get are a rolled baklava, and riot head gear. The latter is bulky looking and draws attention to you. I like the emblem they get for Rank, it’s a deep red color, with yellow slashes to indicate rank; while normal members get black background and yellow slashes. Overall, I would say if you prefer the Dutch’s 417 assault rifle, don’t switch.


New Weapons:
One of the new weapons has been talked about, as it is a Russian-specific weapon. But the AK-107 and VAL are the two new assault rifles in the DLC. The AK-107 is a Commando only weapon, while the VAL is Mercenaries only. I haven’t used the AK-107 much, but it’s pretty popular from what I have seen. It fires much quicker than the AG-94 I use, but looses some accuracy. The VAL, however, is the mercenaries answer to the 417. The VAL features a small clip, at only 20 bullets, but is deadly accurate, with a built in silencer and the second highest damage out of all Merc weapons. The included silencer allows you to add a front grip and scope, which is a pleasant feature. However, the drawback of this little beast is it is HORRIBLE at a distance. I quickly jumped back to my trusty AK-47 after awhile, but on small maps, I tend to switch back. Overall, you are getting two great, devastating weapons to use.


Weapon Specializations:
This part will be long. The DLC added a new progression system that allows you to unlock an enhanced version of a gun in that class. You have a primary spec., and a secondary spec. I will use my set up as an example.


I have Assault Rifles as my Primary and Machine Guns as my Secondary. When you get kills with a specific class of weapon, you gain CE; 2 CE for a kill, 1 CE for an assist. If I get 9 kills in a game (5 with assault rifles, 3 with machine guns, and 1 with a grenade), I will get 16 CE at the end of the match. 10 CE will go to AR’s, while the remaining 6 will go to MG’s. It may sound complex, but it’s not at all.


The benefit of gaining CE is you unlock an upgraded universal attachment at 300 CE. At 600 CE, your Primary Specialization gets an enhanced gun, then at 900 CE a Gold Star. Your Secondary only gets the attachment and a Silver Star (reached at 600 CE). The stars are only there for getting a trophy. The enhanced weapon you unlock can be used on both Commando and Mercenary sides, and the attachment you unlock is good for all weapons in that class, case in point, the custom front grip for assault rifles can be placed on an M16, which normally doesn’t get a grip.


This whole system, while I feel was rushed and could be a WHOLE lot more fleshed out, is just a trial in my opinion. Some complain it breaks the game, however, the enhanced guns are only SLIGHLY better than there normal counterparts. If anything ruins this game, it’s the slew of new snipers now that the thermal scope is available (also in the DLC). Hopefully, this dies down, but that’s another topic.


Buy or Don’t Buy:


If you own SOCOM, even if you don’t play it often, or haven’t played in awhile, BUY this DLC. It
virtually doubles the map content, adds a few solid weapon choices, and adds a progressive system (which some argue “isn’t SOCOM!!!!!”, but it’s a healthy addition). And if you think $15 is to much, slap yourself. Activision gets off on making people pay $10 for 3 maps and a new zombie map. Did you not just read what $15 gets you? The 5 maps alone are worth $15, but add everything else and wow. Bargain much?

The Sense of Progression

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Games have evolved so much over the years. This piece is not to discuss the good and bad things about that evolution. Instead, it’s something one Justin McElroy mentioned in the last episode of the Joystiq Podcast. “The sense of progression.” I feel much the same, whereas I want something to (no pun intended) progress towards. It goes both ways, in online multiplayer games, and single player games.

pro*gre*sion
[pruh-gresh-uhn]
-noun
1. The act of progressin; forward or onward movement

In a single player game, progression is generally moving forward with the story. But moving away from story driven games, you have your arcade games, such as Namco Collection. The progression there is more or less defined by a “high score chase”. I still see that as a form of progression, as you are moving up the leaderboard the better you get at the game.

However, using a game I personally like and an example they used on their podcast, Pixeljunk Eden, there is no real sense of progression there. Since there is no story, you are merely unlocking new areas to play in. Again, I love that game, but without a sense of progression, I have no drive to play it anymore. I got past the halfway point, then moved on to another game. Is not beating the game enough anymore? I could go back and play the game for trophies, but there are just to many games out there that I have had no interest in playing the game again. Again, it is not a bad game. I explained it as a “chill out game”. Of course, the further you get, the more stressful the game becomes, and it looses that charm. Did they really need to ramp up the difficulty that much? I realize some people wanted a challenge, but the game was shown and everyone was like, “no, you have to try this game. It is the ultimate relaxation game”, but it’s not really. It starts that way, but it quickly becomes a hassle.

So what it is to make a “casual” one player game? Let me quickly say, I don’t mean that term how most use it. I mean, how do you make a less-story driven game addicting? The aforementioned “high score chase” is one way. But something that has started to become standard in a lot of games is customization. Unlocking new parts, clothes, colors, weapons, upgrades, etc. This works especially well if you show people what they are working towards.

Which brings me to Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game that seemingly revolutionized online gaming. Adding perks, unlockable weapons, attatchments.. this is all stuff that has become standard to most games now. Of course, every game has their own way of going about it, but the backbone is virtually the same. You kill things, you get XP, you unlock new thing. Simple, yes? It is the very basics of an RPG, the “grinding” process, but put into the context of a shooter. This simple sense of progression, or leveling up, is what keeps you playing these multiplayer games hours on end. “Oh, just one more level and I’m done for the ni- OMG, I unlock that in 2 levels? SWEET!” I can’t count how many times I have said that while playing an FPS. But it’s things like this that draw you in and keep you coming back. Which is what a game should do.

In closing, the opinion here is my own, as with every article I write. You may be a different type of gamer than me. You may not need the “sense of progression” to keep playing a game. You may be content with endless side quests, that is fine. I am not saying you are wrong, and that I am write. We are gamers; we all have opinions, likes, and dislikes. 🙂

Go play some games.

-Sobær

Life as a Trophy Junkie

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Trophies are something I have come to love. Boosting that count is a lot of fun, and hell, even just seeing the little picture and hearing that sound when you get one, very good feeling.


There is nothing new, or innovative about the idea of an in game goal. Games have been doing this for years. Honestly, I have never been a fan of those things, which is why I never thought I would be “into” trophies. Not to mention the fact that just a year prior to me getting a PS3, I was confused with all the fuss about “Achievement Whores”. Then it started. My trophy count kept going up, I was trying things in the games I normally wouldn’t have, and I was comparing my trophy count to friends. By no means am I a “bragger”, someone who thinks a higher trophy count makes you a better gaming, that’s just silly and dumb. But I do compare my progress in games with friends who have the same game, or just trophy count in general with people I know have one around the same range as me.


As soon as I see Gamefly has shipped a game, I check the trophy list. I look to see if they are going to be “impossible”, a pain in the ass, or just time consuming. I prefer the latter. Borderlands is a good example. The “hardest” trophy in that game is probably get to level 50. Very time consuming, but that just keeps you playing. Which is yet another thing I love about trophies. They extend the game play past that initial play through. I’m not saying I would stop playing a kick ass game like Borderlands if it didn’t have trophies, but it defiantly drives you to play more. “Oh look, only a few more levels till I get that trophy.” Trophies like, “Get a killstreak of 15 without reloading, and only using 1 grenade, but not killing multiple enemies with the grenade”, are not cool.


Do I rent games based on trophies alone? No, otherwise I would of rented Hannah Montana already. But I am more open to try more games for the sake of, “Well, I can at least get a few trophies from it, and if I don’t like it, oh well.”

– Sobær

Gaming Awards Voting

December 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Ok, I know this looks daunting.  I really do.  But it shouldn’t be that bad.  I wanted it to be more fleshed out than last year’s.  I thought about doing “pick a b c or d” type voting.  If people would prefer it that way, I’m sure I can see what I can do.  However, as it stands, this is it.  Take a deep breath..

But first, let me explain something.  If you haven’t played a game, on, say the 360, but think it would probably be a good nominee, by all means, put it down, just write “partial” or “not played” next to it.  I count those as partials.  Sounds complicated, but it’s really not.  You’d have to listen to last years awards to understand, but it works, I promise.  So here it, another deep breath.

Worst Game of the Year :
Most Surprisingly Good Game :
“Storyteller Award” :
“Technically Graphical Award” :
“Artistically Correct Award” (best artistic graphics):
Best New Character :
“Expansion Award” :
Best Family Game :
Best DLC :
Most Immersive Atmosphere :
Best Sound / Music (original) :
Best Cooperative Multiplayer :
Best Competitive Multiplayer :
“A Refreshing Sequel Award” :
“Rehashed, Refried Sequel” :
Most Innovative Game :
Best Original IP :
Most Disappointing Game :
Best Action Game :
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Fighting Game :
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Music/Rhythm Game :
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Platform Game
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Racing / Driving Game
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best RPG
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Shooting Game
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Sports Game :
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Strategy Game
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Best Puzzle Game
                Xbox360 :
                Playstation 3 :
                Wii :
                Overall Console :
                PSP :
                DS :
                Overall Handheld :
                PC :
Xbox 360 Game of the Year :
Playstation 3 Game of the Year :
Wii Game of the Year :
Console Game of the Year :
DS Game of the Year :
PSP Game of the Year :
Handheld Game of the Year :
PC Game of the Year :
Best Wiiware / Virtual Console Game :
Best Playstation Network Game :
Best Xbox Live Arcade Game :
THE Game of the Year :

Life in a Beta

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

Being in a beta (open, closed, private, or whatever) has its perks. In a way, it’s an extended demo, with around ten times the content of a normal demo. I’ve been in three beta’s now for Playstation 3. I can openly talk about one of those now, but the other two I can’t. Which is my problem with being in a beta.

  Read more…

The One With the Return!

December 7, 2009 Leave a comment

The Gameciety blog is back up! Not sure for how long this time, but make sure to bookmark it, or follow me on Twitter @Sobaer. The purpose? I’ll try to build a better community by writing “articles”, or thoughts as I like to call them, on news pieces, or reviews. People can comment of course, which is something I encourage.

I will try to write quick reviews, as well. Why quick? I don’t know about you, but some reviews just go on and on and on. I prefer to read shorter reviews that are to the point. Why do I want to read, in detail, about how the graphics in Uncharted 2 are awesome, with a scene-by-scene recap? No, I don’t need to read that. So I will keep the reviews to the point, things I like and dislike, things I think are fundamentally wrong, and of course, a score. If you listen to the podcast (http://gameciety.podomatic.com), you’ll know I score games on the school letter grade.

Quick breakdown:
A+ = AWESOME!
A = WOW!
A- = MUST PLAY!
B+ = GREAT GAME!
B = VERY GOOD!
B – = Good
C+ = Above average
C = Average
C – = Below average
D + = Meh
D = Ugh, really?
D – = Why was this made?
F = Someone should be fired

Of course, as with every review, and “article” for that matter, is my opinion. Something everyone has. 🙂

Enjoy and stay tuned!!!

– Sobær