Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #330 on: Mar 28th, 2014, 06:06am »
Played some licensed shovelware. Amazing Spikder-Man is a pretty boring mashup; there's the Arkham-like combat, which is relatively broken on in-game mechanics. The city is somewhat okay. That is, as long as you don't go to street level; there it feels lifeless (Broadway is soul-crushing). It looks decent with motion blur from the air. The best part is probably reenacting the last scene in Raimi's Spider-Man (down through the canyon, up to the flagpole; arguably better than the whole of the reboot).
I only managed to play midway through the third mission. Casually dull in the story segments.
The mechanics, combined with the open-world concept versus execution, equate(s) as perfect mediocrity. I may be overhyping it.
The problem with the open-world concept is both how lifeless the city is and how disconnected it is from the character; rather how disconnected the game is from Peter Parker. If Peter is not going to play any role beyond Spider-Man, conceptually I think the game should be fully mission-based.
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #332 on: Mar 31st, 2014, 5:23pm »
I'm still going through Dark Souls II. What an awesome game. Defeating the bosses and co-oping with my brother proves to be a lot of fun yet again. We're not looking anything up online, we're figuring out everything ourselves and it's a blast.
The times that I'm playing alone, I play Final Fantasy X HD. I still love this game even all those years later. I really don't see the flaws other project onto the game: the voice actors sound quirky but fine, the interplay between characters is solid and makes sense (especially knowing what's coming) and the music still stands up to this day.
I gave up on one of the indoor missions, where I was having to use vents to take down a bunch of guys.
The swinging was pretty cool, but the "mid-air" web detracted from the cool camera angle.
Wait. Are you saying the 3rd mission is just repeated over and over again? Well fuck that. The game was making me feel like I had low blood sugar it was so boring. I might as well stare at paint chips or play a F2P gardening sim.
1) sneak into facility. 2) crawl through vents, then find a ceiling. 3) have either a Stealth Room or a Melee Room; the latter feels floaty and broken, the former is nothing more than pressing-a-button-to-watch-the-same-animation-sequence-over-and-over (and over) 4) stilted cut-scene that feels like 2003.
Who's the more obvious chimp in this scenario? The designer or the player?
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #334 on: Apr 8th, 2014, 07:08am »
Online play in Street Fighter X Tekken is a gutter-level lesson in sociology. So, the ranking system. Get a bunch of mindless wins against awful opponents; and there are a lot of them. Problem is it takes forever to rank up.
Then there are the assholes who disconnect right before the second K.O.
Perhaps matched to that, there are the guys who devote their lives to this game. I just played a 'B' rank player...the number he accumulated to achieve that rank was astounding. I got my ass kicked the first time, no surprise. Played again, gave him a fight in the second round...it was close enough that the fucker decided to run the clock.
Hypocrisy is thy name, so I disconnected. I don't really care about the losing, but if ever a mix of time-dump/devotion and the movement of a character avatar screamed "POS!" it was this guy. At the very least, fucking fight.
Yes, further hypocrisy; I could have as easily engaged him...he had the advantage, and was going to milk it for 30 straight seconds. A microcosm for these types of matches. Hypocritical or not I at least felt the need to give him the finger right back...though maybe all did was prove he got to me. How can you have a dick measuring contest over an online fighting game? And when you do, what's the difference between that and tucking it?
That gets to what I hate about High(er)-Level Play in SF: the utter boredom of playing footsie, looking for spacing (I mean *looking* for spacing; e.g. we both move away from each other, while 40 seconds runs off the clock, waiting for the other to make the first wrong move) and dealing with turtles. Ugh.
I don't have the patience for it. I do have the patience, obviously, to bitch about it on here. So...
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #335 on: Apr 14th, 2014, 10:57pm »
I am very excited for the new Smash Bros. It's so odd to see Nintendo actually make a title that appeals to both the regular and the hardcore gamer. The inclusion of For Glory mode is awesome, but weird considering their borderline hatred of the tournament scene for Smash Bros.
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #336 on: Apr 22nd, 2014, 09:00am »
Been dabbling with OG XBox (and its Thompson DVD Drive ). It's a standout piece of hardware, both in the moment and historically, defined by contradictions; a garish, brutish box that was like a tank (rather than a sports car) in the console space, its chassis looked more dated than either the PS2 or GC, with a never-ending sense of Mountain Dew and Slurpee tie-ins, yet from within that selfsame(?) standard of industrial design it was the most forward-looking console of that generation (one of the most prescient designs of any generation, rather) and from the start felt like an Elitist category in console gaming (a leap as far as tech across the board; let the bourgeoisie have their PS2s) . Arguably, it was a generation ahead of both its competition and, unfortunately, market realities.
Microsoft's ambitions, circa 2001, now dominate the industry: broadband, streaming services, seamless online multiplayer, hard drives and the overall domination of the industry by Western devs (largely accomplished by bringing over so many PC developers, and the synergy between console and PC gaming that has resulted). It was way ahead of its time, and though it was slaughtered in worldwide marketshare, its ethos -- its white paper -- now defines the industry.
In other words I played some games from the early 2000s.
Halo is still a very impressive Campaign experience; which is an indictment on the modern industry, as the the pacing, scope and A.1. shame most of the first person shooters being released today.
Halo 2 has withered. Local multiplayer can't save it from the lack of Live, and the Campaign fails as far as aesthetic, pacing and setpiece value compared to the first game. What made it magic is gone. You could say it's old and be right, but it's also so very modern. It's a game defined by the online experience, which isn't there...like a QB without arms. It's the past, present and, yeah, future: how many PS3 and 360 games are going to lose their feature sets with their servers?
Ninja Gaiden...well, it's on my Vita. I suppose that's blasphemy, since it's Sigma. Still. Might be the greatest 3D action game, so far as the mix of A.I. and fighting mechanics. ever released. Only on XBox. Is that irony or the truth? I never picked up Black; maybe that's the answer.
Panzer Dragoon Orta is the last gasp of Dreamcast era Sega, along with F-Zero GX. I love Zwei and the initial game, but this takes Sega's design philosophy in the genre to its apotheosis...for the only time in the series -- a series defined by its tonality, and its tacit assumption of games-as-art -- the visual beauty conflates with the aural. It matters that one game in the series has the technology to actuate the level design as a seamless experience. Also that Rez level. Playing it high made me wish I'd been around in the late-60s to drop acid while watching 2001 (I suppose I still could, but it wouldn't be the sixties...so what's the point?).
Dead or Alive 3 still looks great. DOA5 on Vita actually looks worse in almost every way. That's its own post.
Anyway. It (XB) got me thinking about Seamus Blackley, who got me thinking about Trespasser, which led me to this article which I only read five or six paragraphs of before cutting and pasting it here:
"One seldom hears the true story of what happened at the place where the world changed. How it began. What were the reasons? What were the costs?" -John Parker Hammond
This quote from Trespasserís intro movie serves just as well to open the real story of a game development teamís struggles to develop a breakthrough dinosaur game as it does to open the fictional story of Hammondís struggle to develop a biotechnological breakthrough and clone dinosaurs. The parallels between the Trespasser project and Hammondís cloning project were numerous: ambitious beginnings, years of arduous labor, and the eventual tragic ending. Hammondís diary, as related in the game itself, dwells on the past and never attempts to explain Hammondís future direction now that he has failed so grandly - this postmortem is intended to be much more forward-looking.
Trespasser was begun by two former employees of Looking Glass Technologies, Seamus Blackley and Austin Grossman. By the time the game was rolling, two more ex-Looking Glass employees would join the team, and our common background was instrumental in setting the direction for the project. Looking Glassís most distinguished products, Underworld I and II and System Shock, are games which in some ways are still ahead of their time, specifically in the areas of object-rich, physics-based environments and emergent gameplay.
Quake did not even ship until after coding on Trespasser had begun, and to the Trespasser team with its founding in Looking Glassís design-focused philosophy, it represented the stagnation of 3D games rather than the step forward it was proclaimed in the press. Quake did nothing to extend the basic first-person shooter game design standards of "find weapons and keys" which id had first created in Wolfenstein 3D, and replaced the fairly-consistent atmospheres of Wolfenstein 3D and Doom with a bizarre mishmash of medieval and science-fiction themes. Trespasser was intended to be a high-technology game where game design and world consistency came first.
The Jurassic Park license was inevitable from the start, for a couple reasons. The obvious reason was that Lost World was on its way and expected to be a gigantic hit, and standard Hollywood thinking dictates that all projected hits be exploited seven ways to Sunday. The less obvious reason was that Seamus had been working on a physically-simulated biped model originally intended for Terra Nova, and had been shopping it around to several movie animation groups working on dinosaurs before ending up at DreamWorks Interactive.
The pie-in-the-sky concept for Trespasser was an outdoor engine with no levels, a complete rigid-body physics simulation, and behaviorally-simulated and physics-modeled dinosaurs. The underlying design goal was to achieve a realistic feel through consistency of looks and behavior. Having an abandoned island setting was a useful way to exclude anything which did not seem possible to simulate, such as flexible solids like cloth and rope, wheeled vehicles, and the effects of burning, cutting, and digging.
The game would play from a first-person perspective, and you would experience the environment through a virtual body to avoid the "floating gun" feeling prevalent in the Wolfenstein breed of first person games. Combat would be less important than in a shooter, and dinosaurs would be much more dangerous than traditional first-person shooter enemies. The point of the game would be exploration and puzzle-solving, and when combat happened, it would more often involve frightening opponents away by inflicting pain than the merciless slaughter of every moving creature.
"Limited but rich" was a phrase which was used often early in Trespasserís development. This phrase describes a game design philosophy consisting of choosing a reduced feature set, but putting more sophistication into each feature. Although solid-body physics based entirely on box-shaped solids might seem like only a rough approximation of the real world, the thinking was that a perfect simulation of solid boxes would be so much more flexible than the emulated physics of previous games that our gameplay would be deep and absorbing.
Which leads me back to the Halo: Combat Evolved irony: games aren't just getting prettier, they're getting dumber. Budgets get bigger and the need for mass appeal becomes a far bigger issue than ambitions in world-building.
When you get games as ambitious as Trespasser, they often end in complete disaster. Somehow it's disappointing that we see fewer of those, now.
Perhaps that's as big a legacy for XBox as Live: the rise/renaissance of the West also led to the obsession with AAA budgets or nothing.
Then again, it's not like Japan does a hell of a lot in the category of innovation. Rather, as their global reach has lessened, they've simply become dated and irrelevant in game design. Somehow even this post is about Nintendo.
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #338 on: May 20th, 2014, 06:15am »
Xbox is a less interesting technology argument without Kinect. But instead of executing the vision Mattrick et al. almost executed the console -- the NSA tie-in marketing plan remains unbelievably tone-deaf. Of course there's the side-loaded irony -- we're all basically living in Minority Report's invasive advertising scheme vis a vis our smartphones. And we seem to think that's just fine. Timing and the right snake oil messiah make all the difference.
As far as exclusive IP as drivers, Microsoft is in decent shape. Depending on the collection's multiplayer, Halo may push me to buy one.
The Batman: Arkham Knight trailer left me unmoved so I won't get a PS4 for that. (I got my PS3 for Batman: Arkham Asylum.)
It's a blockbuster. I was going to ask, rhetorically, what that implies...but is implication even allowed? There's Batman's OTT Giger/Bay nightmare of a car blowing a bunch of shit up.
I'd be happier with an expansion of the sneaking elements and a true introduction of Batman's detective skills. But who would care about that? How do you build a trailer around it?
PS4 is in a typical spot for first-year Sony hardware. The exceptions are PS-X and PSP. But PS4 is looking like the PS2 and PS3 -- all three, from my perspective, with a pretty rough opening 12 on software releases.
Sony's doing better at retail but, right now, I'm more excited about the One's lineup. Can excitement be relative? Because, if not, I'm pretty bored by both.
E3 will be interesting. The lead-in looks better for Microsoft this year on software; I just get the feeling that they'll have the better release list for the backend of this year.
It's a good thing that Xbox brand is poison in, what, 2/3rds of the world? Or SCE might be as bad off as Sony Corp. as a whole.
Hypocritically, or just personally, the Halo: MC Collection interests me. But the rest of these HD rereleases are boring the hell out of me. It's a question of time and budget: where' the effect from cause? Remember the Cerny argument; re: time to triangle being cut down to PS-X levels?
That was largely a pipe dream. Thinking about, team size and prep time vitiate most of that advantage, even if it exists. I mean (surely) it easier to program (than PS2/3), but as the projects continue to grow exponentially in scale, how much of that is being seen rather than swallowed? It's the argument of mitigation: it's as bad as ever, maybe a bit worse, but it could be so much more awful.
Was Sony surprised by the PS4's success? Were third parties? Most are hedging their bets, which is arguably why so many releases have felt underwhelming: too much cross-gen development. I've been as bored by the technological leap this gen as I was when the 360 released.
The idea of a surprise hit -- and I'm not talking shoestring buget indies -- seems less likely all the time. Does anyone believe that the PS4 or X1 will have a GTA III, ala PS2, this year? A blockbuster is one thing, but a surprise blockbuster? Without midtier studios it seems like fait accompli: the line between profit forecasts, hitting them or missing them, period.
What would a breakout title look like? The market is becoming more caste-like than the film industry. What happened to the competent 3D action game for $25 million?
Which is why we keep getting franchise entries and HD remakes. And here I am, getting excited about one of them. Meh.
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #341 on: Jun 11th, 2014, 07:53am »
I liked MS's conference. I liked Sony's. I don't know which was better.
I *love* how SCEA has never acknowledged Vita on-stage since its launch. Yeah, the Vita's main reason to exist has, marginally, proven out -- the Japanese market -- and we're left with scraps. I get that as far as marketing on tv, but why can't this over-hyped, over-powered handheld get a couple minutes at an E3 show? Why can't it get one or two original western games from Sony per year?
That's too much? That's pathetic. Really. I say that as someone who expected the device's imminent death when I bought it. Water's wet, you know? Vita would be the ultimate example of "truth" in advertising, except it never had any.
What about a Minecraft bundle?
To top off the bitching, or make it more rounded, the opening of Microsoft's conference almost made me puke before passing out. I really don't like Call of Duty. I'm so sick of these set-piece games -- in other words, The Narrative. Hardly any interactivity compounded by drone A.I.
It looked nice. The urban environment was decent if derivative. But it's a just-barely-interactive showpiece. How depressing to again note that as these games look exponentially better they have gameplay that is less rewarding and complex than Galaga.
So, it was a bad start. (I'd say the same things about The Order; oh, guess I did)
Go make a damned film if that's what you dream about. Games should be aiming for something other than scripting that Akiva Goldsman would -- rightfully -- laugh at. What does it say about this industry that its main talent pool seems to be film school rejects or cultural retards? If you can't see how much more is possible through A.I. and environmental interaction, you're an idiot. Worst of all, you're typical for this industry.
Then there's this: Ori was more evocative and thus adept as narrative-construct than anything in the overblown trailers mentioned. All without a single line of dialogue.
I also liked Entwined. Rez meets Brothers and, probably, a few dozen dual-stick arcade shooters I never played.
Bloodborne was another in the long line of non-gameplay trailers. I have a lot more interest in it than I do The Order, even though they tread on bizarrely similar ground..
Sunset Overdrive could sell an Xbox 1. It could sell one to me. Jet Set Radio meets the TPS/TPA. Taking the piss out of third-person shooters so far as scale (color!)-- tonal and interactive -- looks like it could be a big leap. I loved the trailer and the gameplay.
Both had the same message: kill the cover shooter. Not a bad idea at all.
I suppose you could call Halo a cover shooter. You could also just call it an FPS. But no. It's Halo. Halo CE-4 all running at 1080p/60? 100 multiplayer maps? $60?!!
I would say this makes the other remasters look pathetic, but most of them looked that way before this showed up.
Scalebound...another trailer. First thought was "DMC4".
Phantom Dust. As awesome as it is, the response to it was about as tepid as the reveal of a $600 indie. It's a nice gesture on Microsoft's part that will only resonate with people who had OG Xbox's. I'd be very happy if X-1 could be like that in general...
It's a remaster. But it's a remaster of a game from the early 2000s. That's a bit more justifiable, and ambiguous, than remasters of games from 2013.
LBP3 was the most charming demo of either conference. And now Nintendo's ripping it off with Mario Maker. But what's Project Spark? Minecraft meets LBP. Then again, Doom was doing this in 1996.
Microsoft did really well with software that interested me. But Sony now has the multiplat advantage...Xbox One can never be the Original Xbox confirmed.
Or just upgrade the PC. Then buy another PC within the next 2-3 years. But that's what's hilarious about the current generation: both consoles are PCs from the last 5 years and, compounded, 90% (exaggeration..?) of their software is cross-gen. It's literally the PC gaming scene 5 years late (minus mods...which is, what, more than half the point?) -- long story short, a bunch of higher resolution PS3 games with better effects. I guess we have Microsoft to thank...blame...thank...for this.
Re: The Video Games Thread
« Reply #342 on: Jul 5th, 2014, 07:42am »
I've spent a long time lamenting the region locking of the WiiU due to the fact that Scribblenauts: Unmasked remains unreleased in the UK. Fuck knows why, no excuse is good enough. Supposedly it's something to do with not releasing it until it has been fully translated into all languages, again, no excuse is good enough considering we could happily just have the US version, maybe with a few minor language tweaks into England English.
What surprised me is that the game has been out in Australia all along! So import it I did. I've just spent my first hour with it. So far so good, except for it seems it isn't quite as hardcore as it was said to be. Every website that covered it said how they had included nearly every DC character in history. But without even trying to be obscure, these are the ones I've discovered not in the game so far:
Simon Dark Lehah / Biis Lilhy Kathy Kane / Ba-Woman (Kate Batwoman is there) Betty Kane / Bat-Girl (Bette Kane Flamebird is there) Flamingo (strange because Pyg is there) Thomas Wayne Jr / Black Glove (CORRECTION - Is there as Simon Hurt) James Gordon Jr Nyssa Al Ghul Holly Robinson (Come on, the girl was bloody Catwoman) Bridget Clancy Amygdala Peyton Riley Ventriloquist Ted from Tenses (Ok that is obscure, but articles said they had random one panel characters from the 1950s so Ted is less obscure than that!)
Ones that are more limited that expected: Nightwing (Only Reboot 1st red costume, although your character can unlock Reboot 2nd to wear) Supergirl (Reboot only)
I might edit in more later. Overall my disappointment is small, I never expected everything. But articles led me to believe there was more. Any game that gives me both Stephanie Brown Batgirl AND Robin deserves praise though.