Delayed Responsibility

I Shouldn't Be Gaming Right Now… But I Am!

Archive for August, 2008

Fallout 3 Just Got Amazing

Posted by deckard47 on August 29, 2008

Check this out. NOW.

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Maybe I’m just easily impressed, but that video makes my much less worried about Fallout 3. If there’s one thing they’ve got right, it’s the look and feel of a fallout world. And I don’t mean Fallout. It’s obvious that they have their own version of Fallout, and it may look a lot like the old games, but in many ways, it’s their game. The music and feel are all right, and the atmosphere in this video made me forget about some of those recent previews that said the game was boring or drab, or whatever. Maybe I’ll feel differently after having played it for a while, but I think they’ve struck a good balance between nuclear fallout brown and other, subtle shades. I’m not so sure about the combat yet, but this video has convinced me on the setting, at least. There’s a bunch of them up at Gametrailers, I’d recommend checking them out.

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Finally some more David Boreanaz!

Posted by deckard47 on August 25, 2008

Arkham Horror! I played it a bunch this weekend with Owen and my better half (although, honestly, everyone knows I’m better than everyone), and it was a ton of fun. We’ve definitely got the hang of rocking out some fast games (beat Yig last night in less than 2 1/2 hours). I really want to find a bargain bin with Call of Cthulhu now, for PC preferably.

Unfortunately, I can’t do any of these things right now, because I’m sitting in a coffee shop while New Haven lightnings and thunders and shits all over me. Arg. Oh, and you know what? It’s warm rain! Aaaaagh! Seriously? If I wanted to live in the tropics I’d go there. Not to fret though, because Owen and I are making lentils tonight. That’s right, I just took this shit to the next level. Lentils. Try not to get too excited, I know I will (or won’t). I’m getting into Red Mars pretty seriously now, it’s quite an interesting book, especially when compared to the other book I’ve almost finished by him, The Years of Rice and Salt. If you aren’t sure who I’m talking about, his name is Kim Stanley Robinson, and he’s an awesome writer.

Ah, now I’m back in the apartment, and let me tell you, walking through weirdly tropical New Haven is as bad as it sounds. Blech. Just watched an episode of Bones, and I have a few notes: It is amazing how similar (and noticeable) Emily Deschanel’s eyes are to her sister’s. Also… I kinda like her more. Second, the conspiracy theory kid is annoying as hell. Third, David Boreanaz weirds me out as a man over the age of 30. There’s something wrong with him being old. Dunno what. Anyway, it’s silly, and silly, and then some more silly. But I like it. Oh well, it’ll keep me going until Dollhouse and Terminator start up!

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A New Kind of Game….

Posted by deckard47 on August 23, 2008

The above should be read or spoken in the movie guy (smokes 100 packs a day!) voice, I think. I’ll have a new entry into the extremely irregular “Not Video Games” section soon: Arkham Horror. For the uninitiated, it’s a board game based entirely on works by H. P. Lovecraft. It’s pretty sweet, and to be honest it’s better than reading his books (sorry). Aside from that, I just got Jade Empire working, because I kick that kind of ass. So it’s going to be Bioware and Lovecraft for a while here. Oh, and you know what? I’m going to make pesto tonight. For real.

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Hype/Videos/Screens: Scary Dark Blood Guys + Amazing Looking Games

Posted by deckard47 on August 22, 2008

I’ve been watching the new Dead Space media pretty closely (here’s all of the videos), and whenever I don’t have to watch the developers tell me how dark and scary it’s going to be, I see a pretty interesting game. The time slowing thingie (what is that exactly), the different weapons and grips, the dismemberment, it all looks interesting, tense, and fun. There are three videos up from the Conference, showing combat, combat, and zero-G combat. The last looks especially cool, with its floating limbs and wall-hopping gameplay. I must sound like the biggest hypocrite when I write about this game, I’m hot then I’m cold (like that awful Kate Perry song!).

I am still annoyed by their webcomic/tv show thing, which continues to be formulaic, silly, and self-important. Do all of the characters need to swear like junior high schoolers? Where’s the adult to tell these people that you can be cool and not say fuck all of the time!? For real! Also, it has become apparent that this prequel thing is a way of borrowing some exposition from the bad Resident Evil movie: dead tissue gets reanimated. The religioin, beacon, and other bullshit looks like it will mean nothing. I guess we’ll have to wait and see on this one (duh).

On to the next topic. I’ve never played Indigo Prophecy, but I’ve read that it’s a very interesting game, with regards to its narrative and gameplay. It also featured some jarring and stupid plot possibilities (people changing their sexual preferences because the hero wants to have sex with them, as I recall), but was generally regarded as unique and better than its faults might have indicated. Anyway, the people who made Indigo Prophecy are gearing up to deliver Heavy Rain, a game in the same vein which also has absolutely amazing graphics.

That? That’s in-game. Pretty amazing huh? The game sounds really interesting, but I’d have to play its predecessor (apparently the gameplay will be pretty similar) to comment on how good it could be. Regardless, I’m up for a serious, dark, choice-heavy game with interesting protagonists, as long as the rest of you are. Check out the 1up writeup, it’s worth a read.

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Back to My Dragon Age

Posted by deckard47 on August 22, 2008

There’s a new Dragon Age interview up at Eurogamer, I suggest you check it out as it’s interesting and varied. Things you might want to know (if you’re too lazy to read it): Dragon Age will be coming out for consoles, at some undetermined time after the PC version comes out. For all of you like me who have a next-gen console but don’t have a fancy PC, this is great news. It might not be as hardcore as the PC version, but I’ll still get to play my favorite company’s new game in all of its almost glory. Nice.

Next, it turns out that the “Origins” in the title is for reals. The first two hours of the game will be spent telling your character’s “Origins” story. This means each character will start in different cities, have different friends and enemies, and complete different quests. I can’t tell you how excited this makes me. I was just playing through Mass Effect again, with a Sole Survivor Colonist. I found new quest, where I had to convince a woman not to kill herself (she had been enslaved by the Batarians). If Bioware can take that kind of personal touch and make it apply to two whole hours of gameplay, I may never nead another RPG.

Those are the two things that really stuck out for me, but I’d still go take a look at it. It’s interesting (as always) how actual game info is combined with meaningless PR speak. Rockin.

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Dead Rising… Not Again!

Posted by deckard47 on August 21, 2008

I know that Blog Banter just hit, and a lot of people are busy reading those truly excellent articles, but I had a little annoyance/question I wanted to get out there, before I forget about it. I’ve been following the news on the Wii version of Dead Rising, not because I want to buy it, but because it puzzles me. I know that Capcom likes money, and I know Wii owners deserve an awesome sandbox zombie game (everyone does!). But Dead Rising is the wrong game. Somewhere recently, I read a post that said something to the effect that Dead Rising was one of the only actual “next-Gen” games. Why? Because it was the only games that actually required the changes made in the 360 to run. The world of Dead Rising would have been impossible without the 360’s power, as would its teeming hoards of the undead.

So here’s my problem. The Wii version of Dead Rising is going to cut down on this one thing that made Dead Rising special. I’m sure you could make an awesome, long, intense zombie game (did somebody say RE4?) on old systems, but what you can’t do is create a large mall full (and I mean full) of zombies, and create a zillion ways of interacting with it. The Wii version will be fun, it can’t help it, I’m sure, but it won’t be special, not in quite the same way. Maybe I’m wrong, but I feel like this is like making Wii fit for the 360 and playing it with a standard controller. That’s not what makes Wii Fit cool. I’m going to buy Dead Rising 2 for next-gen consoles the second it hits (if it gets handed off to a good company), but I won’t get this game. It might get rid of the annoying timer from the first game, but it also gets rid of that special feeling you get when you look out at the mall promenade and see a couple hundred zombies milling around. And who wants to miss that?

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Blog Banter: Give me fun, not Grade-A

Posted by deckard47 on August 20, 2008

Welcome to the latest installment of Blog Banter, the monthly blogging extravaganza created by bs angel and coordinated by Game Couch. Blog Banter involves our cozy community of enthusiastic gaming bloggers, a common topic, and a week to post articles pertaining to said topic. The results are quite entertaining and can range from deep insight to ROFLMAO. Any questions about Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This Blog Banter’s topic is as follows: Does every game need to be a grade-A blockbuster title? Would you be willing to play more average games or should every game shoot for the 10.0 rating?

This question is interesting, because I think that a “grade-A” game is much different from a “blockbuster,” or a “AAA” title, or even just plain awesome. Unfortunately, grade-A often gets mixed up with these other terms. It really depends on how you define said terms, so I’m going to go ahead and do that. A grade-A title is a combination of brilliant game and great production values, to most people. Most of the time, people don’t care to specify to this level. Grade-A titles (for a lot of people) are games that made it into the spotlight (and your living room) through a good deal of money and “pedigree.” They call them “AAA” games, and the confusion between grade-A and AAA can get pretty bad. Plenty of “grade-A” titles that are “good” suck. I’m going to go ahead and do two things: make a list, and make some enemies. Games like Metal Gear Solid 4 (and 1-3), Halo 3, Crysis, Unreal Tournament 3, Resistance, and Doom 3 are all games that receive a little extra slack. Sure, they have their good qualities, but if it weren’t for their names (and thus the baggage that they bring with them), they would never be “AAA” titles.

Since this month’s Blog Banter is meant to be a response to an article about rising production costs and casual games and gamers, I feel like this is a good place to voice my preference. I like games with big budgets and enough money to throw around to make a noticeable difference. For all of the games above (and the other games I didn’t mention, that put immense financial backing together with good credentials), there can still be games like Uncharted, Half Life 2 Ratchet and Clank: ToD, CoD4, Mass Effect, and other brilliant, big-budget games. Still, I’d be the first to say that the dearth (or even unpopularity) of such extravaganzas can be a very good thing. It’s very hard to make a grade-A game. It takes an amazing amount of time, money, and other resources. The problem arises when smaller companies are forced to live up to this ideal. Often, these companies have a good game to make, and have little choice but to ape or reference their wealthier brethren.

This is an especially alarming situation, because when companies focus on what they want, amazing results can occur. Sure, these games may not be AAA material at all, and they may not even be good. Sometimes, they still produce amazing experiences and ideas, kernels of beauty in an otherwise mediocre or unpleasant product. Vampire Bloodlines had some great ideas, which were done a disservice by the company’s decision to hop on the Source wagon (you could argue that the same happened to Dark Messiah, although that game was silly and offensive for many reasons, much like Bloodlines). Another game by the same studio, Arcanum, was a combination of incredible story and ideas, and truly awful interface and production. I’m only talking about big name (essentially) products here. These games fall harder because people expect more (and because Troika was a master at such beautiful failures).

What if developers didn’t have to make a huge profit on every game, because the game didn’t cost a hideous amount of money to make? I love mediocre or flawed games like Darkstar One, Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, The Witcher (which was brilliant, but awfully, awfully translated and distributed), Gothic 3, Two Worlds, and others. They still cost an arm and a leg, I’m sure, but only sometimes do such games collapse under their own expectations and lack of funding. Many of these games are still expected to be AAA titles (Gothic 3 and Two Worlds both got hit by the Oblivion comparison pretty hard), despite the fact that they are made by smaller development houses. I love casual games, small games, silly games, and often-bad games. If these games aren’t made, there will be no room to innovate, to see what a great, good, middling or bad games can do, despite its flaws. Without variety, the industry will stagnate, as it already does, within certain genres or areas. For fighting games you have childishly rendered big-breasted assailants, for shooters you have space marines and WWII platoons, and for RPGs you have badly-written overwrought Tolkein rip-offs and boring man-child quandaries. The reason that these themes are so annoyingly reproduced is because big-name games thrive on them. When a game like The Witcher, Braid, and Arcanum, find something fun or original among all of this sameness it’s always welcome. How much will that kind of surprise occur, if games stay big, and budgets follow suit? Innovation happens at all levels of the game development economic ladder, but if you cut off a large portion of that ladder, how can you expect the same results as you would have gotten before? I’ll keep playing mediocre, fun games, and hopefully people will keep on making them.
Participants : Zath!, Delayed Responsibility, Silvercublogger, weblog.probablynot.com, Crazy Kinux, Gamer-Unit, Unfettered Blather, MasterKitty, XboxOZ360, Omnivangelist, Lou Chou Loves You, Game Couch

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New MobyGames Articles!

Posted by deckard47 on August 20, 2008

In a quick and terribly exciting update, I’ve updated the MobyGames page of le blog, which you can see up there on the left, next to “About Me.” Exciting, I know. If you want to read reviews of Rock Band (which I just accidentally spelled “Orc Band,” which would be an amazing game), Mass Effect, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb and other games, head over there and check out the links. One of my reviews got like 5 stars. Amazing. Speaking of changing the subject, I watched a few episodes of Newport Harbor last night. Oh. My. God. That shit is crazy. I’ll write more about it later, but it’s amazing.

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I Will Folow You Into the Dark (Jade Empire Hates Me)

Posted by deckard47 on August 20, 2008

Things are still going slowly here, but not so slowly that I shouldn’t be gaming/writing. Most annoyingly, I’ve been trying to redownload my copy of Jade Empire for Steam. I think my connection is fine, but maybe Steam is having difficulties? Is this a big release week for them or something? I don’t think so, but it’s driving me crazy, I really want to actually get somewhere in that game. A lot of stuff has happened recently, so I’ll cover what interested me the most, and maybe a bit of what didn’t

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As you can see from the above video, it turns out that Far Cry 2 (for consoles) will have an absolutely amazing map editor. Check this shit out. If any of you ever played the Timesplitters games on the Cube or PS2, you’ll know that Far Cry 2 makes that game’s map creator look like nothing. I remember making bizarrely complex cube maps with different lights, and Guillaume and I would fight each other in them, trying to convince ourselves that this was fun (and then just go back to having a blast in co-op and monkey attack modes). Seriously, when this comes out, I may have to build some maps and hit Live up for some multiplayer, if it’s as good as it promises to be. Check this out, another in-game trailer for Far Cry 2. Keep your fingers crossed, I guess? Oh, and if you’re interested (I was!), the awesome music in that trailer is from the Black Hawk Down soundtrack (no, seriously). It rocks, all over. Anyway, I will be able to run this (damn you Crysis) on my consoles, and the gameplay looks solid. They have the awesome free range tactics and combat of Far Cry, combined with a new equally interesting setting. Plus, if we’re lucky, there won’t be “Tri-gens” or aliens or any shit like that. Way to go Ubisoft.

I guess the new TF2 update is out (or about to be out)? The heavy gets a new gun, and a health-giving sandwich… I really should get back in to this, I’m such a loser. The new maps that are coming actually look really sweet, with one of them actually having green stuff in it! Check this one out, I really dig that giant mountain in the background on the second one, it looks so perfect:

Oh, quick update, head over to Gametrailers if you want to see a ton of Leipzig videos. They’ve got RE5 (boo), some Tom Clancy shit, Velvet Assassin, Need for Speed: Undercover (please tell me the whole thing isn’t about how hot Maggie Q is?) and Dark Void (which I ‘ve never actually watched a video for, but it looks interesting).

Ahah, now we’re getting somewhere: The Seksy new version of the Witcher (entitled The Witcher: Enhanced Edition) has a trailer that has almost no content. That’s ok, they’ve sold this to who they need to sell it to, no one’s going to complain about the hugest free update ever, right? Good for CD Projekt. Now maybe Geralt’s mouth will move when he talks, huh?

In two bits of Force Unleashed related news, Gametrailers has about a billion videos of them trashing stormtroopers, and some new story cutscenes. Here is the page where it all is, I’d recommend checking a bunch of it out, it’s all pretty cool. Almost cooler than that (no! Is it possible?) is this collection of screens that come from some kind of awesome Force Unleashed art book, which will be coming out soon. It features cool art, interesting insights into the design process and story, and again, cool art. Check it out.

Here we have the newest Tomb Raider: Underworld gameplay trailer. It all looks pretty solid, especially the animation and graphical updates. I know that Drake’s Fortune basically set the bar for adventure game graphics, so I don’t think Lara will be kicking Nathan’s ass any time soon, but it still looks good. Oh, and when it comes to gameplay we’re still basically in the dark. I trust Crystal Dynamics, having been a big fan of their two previous TR games, I just hope that they realize that raiding tombs is fun, and that we don’t need clunky motorcycle interludes to make things more “interesting.” Oh, and does anyone else find it really creepy that the Underworld game box cuts Lara’s face off? Isn’t that really weird? Like, why is her face not there? Please tell me we’re better than that. On another note, when I first saw this trailer, the Death Cab song ” I will follow you into the dark” started playing along with the trailer. I was completely fucking blown away. I mean, I’ve seen the Drake’s Fortune Massive Attack trailer, and the above Far Cry 2 trailer, but this was just amazing. What a cool choice of a soundtrack, right? I was trying to figure out what the song meant in terms of the trailer, when I realized that it had played cause my Itunes was on shuffle. Such a letdown. Next time, maybe.

I suppose that’s all for now. I have actual stuff I need to get done today, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to wrangle with Jade Empire. I might just boot up another RPG I never finished (Dungeon Seige 2, possibly), and suck it up. Damn you Steam.

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Gaming Again

Posted by deckard47 on August 14, 2008

So now that I am about half moved in, the games are once more being spun in their trays. I’ve taken a look at Burnout again, and looked longingly at Alone in the Dark, but so far the two games I have played seriously have been Braid and Eschalon Book I (from Basilisk Games). Braid is pretty fantastic, despite few issues. It blows your fucking mind, and (amusingly) takes a postmodern approach to the old princess rescuing game mechanic/story. It works, mostly, and everyone should play it. Maybe more on that later (although I hope to turn it into an actual article, so who knows). Also, the next Blog Banter is a pretty neat topic, I think, so I hope you all check out my posts and everybody else’s.

Eschalon is an old school RPG that Tycho (PA guy) recommended a couple of days ago in a post. They’re selling it through their Steam-like Greenhouse website. It’s an interesting game, and it tickles that old RPG fan in me, the one who I let out for Fallout and BG2 runs every once in a while. I’d say check out the demo, if you’ve ever wanted to turn the clock back to before Bioware and Black Isle ruled the Western RPG. In the game, you have awesome stats, amnesia, and guys are out to get you. Cool stuff.

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Ah, New Haven

Posted by deckard47 on August 11, 2008

I have finally arrived in New Haven, or rather I should say I arrived on Saturday and have only just now set up my internet. No gaming has occurred, aside from some frustrating bouts of Trauma Center (DS). Guillaume is a fiend at the game, having beaten it yesterday. He was able to complete most of it while I drove. The fact that he could draw imaginary incisions while we traversed the hideous, badly paved Interstates amazes me to no end. I suppose there will be posts soon, concerning job status, gaming, cooking (yes!), and my new existence in New Haven (not so many of those?). As it is, I look forward to playing a bit more of Burnout, and to starting Alone in the Dark, when I get my systems set up. Until then, later

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Road Trip!

Posted by deckard47 on August 5, 2008

Time to head out. I’m making it to New Haven, CT, in 5 days (getting there on Saturday night, cross your fingers), hopefully. See you all on the other side.

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Where the Grass is Green…

Posted by deckard47 on August 1, 2008

After the disappointment of Soul Calibur, I was hoping that my Gamefly queue would pull out a winner, and it has. By the way, isn’t it annoying how you never know what’s going to show up, because half of the games are on crazy availability, half are on medium availability, and half are on NEVER availability (like ICO!)? Yes, it is annoying.

Still, Burnout: Paradise rocks. It really does. It’s everything I’d hoped it would be, a combination of Burnout and Midtown Madness that soothes the soul. I’ve unlocked around 10 cars, I htink, and there are 75 total to find, so I still have a ways to go. The jumps are cool, the crashes are absolutely amazing (no really, they’re fabulous, they’re ridiculously fun), and the ability to explore a (mostly) open city is great. The cars handle differently, even within their respective classes. Personally, I like the Road Rage challenges the best: take down as many cars as you can. I do find it annoying that there isn’t an instant restart option for failed races. It sucks having to drive back to that distant street light to start the race over. Still, no matter where you stop, there’s bound to be a jump or race you can find nearby. You know how you’re supposed to get distracted in GTA and have trouble finishing the game? That actually happens in Paradise. Oh, and the graphics (on my PS3 version)? Really sweet. I could watch tiny bits of glass fly from my broken windshield over and over, and not get tired of it. This game rocks, and if you haven’t rented it, rent it (or buy it). I think it is highly unlikely that you will be disappointed.

On a side note, my brother recently bought me three games as presents: God of War 2, Star Wars Battlefront 2 (is that it’s name?) and Okami, all for PS2. I’ll have to check them all out, but I need to beat God of War first. I gave it a try last night, and I remember why it attracts and repels me better now: the gameplay is solid (yes, better than Heavenly Sword), the puzzles are pretty good, and the setting is pretty interesting. On the other hand, the story is silly (shit, he’s evil…! But he feels bad! But he’s evil! Aaaaaah, moral conundrum!), and the game is just so over-the-top violent/sadistic. Look, a helpless guard in a cage… Burn him! I guess I accept evil gameplay in Bioware games because the point of the game is to force you to make interesting decisions and then show you the consequences. In God of War, you murder people because that shit is cool. Errr, I mean it’s part of the nuanced story. About murdering being cool shit. Also, it’s so weirdly brutal and violent. I was talking with Owen about this, and he was commenting on the way that video games are so slavishly violent. Gears of War 2 and Dead Space are good examples of this. He picked up a GamePro (I think) for me at the airport, and we were both struck by how the coverage of these games is always: “well, you can dismember him in 50 ways,” and then the magazine treats this like an amazing selling point, you know, like I might tell you “and then, you realize that the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies have huge chunks of peanuts and peanut butter, and you fucking lose it.” Really, why so violent? There are so many other gimmicks, but this is the one that is trundled out for all to see, time and again. To be honest, I feel that it’s necessary/appropriate sometimes (Dead Rising), but I’m a callow youth, weaned on violence, sex, and high-resmolution video games. More on the graphic violence later, I guess.

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