And so I sit here, writing, staving off my horrible, minimal workload. To aid me in my struggle, I recently picked up a copy of 1701 A.D., a very excellent (so far) strategy game. Of course, like many games, it overheats my computer, causing it to crash regularly (I’m not even idding, it’s awful). I’m also trying to play Twilight Imperium with mes freres, but it’s hard to get everybody together in the same room. Of course, the reason for the recent shortage in posting can be explained: travel, arriving home and being obliged to be all sociable. Thank God I am stopping that last part as fast as possible. Back to gaming! Anyway, if I can ever play either of the previously mentioned games for longer than 30 minutes, I’ll write something about them, I hope. Until then, it’s time for more exciting online applications!
Archive for December, 2008
Posted by deckard47 on December 14, 2008
A) The soundtrack to Slumdog Millionaire is kind of really sweet and awesome. Guess what… It’s in town, and I’ll be seeing it tomorrow or I’ll be damned.
B) The Legend of the Seeker is amazing. I guess it’s a bit like Xena and Hercules? I don’t know what that means, but this show rocks my world. They’ve taken out most of the creepy women are EVIL parts of the books, and replaced it with hilarious awesome. Oh, and not only does the Richard actor spend most of his time shirtless and sweaty (like a lot of time), but he looks like a really young Nathan Fillion combined with A bit of Karl Urban. Every time I watch the show it takes me a second to realize it isn’t Malcolm Reynolds being all awesome. If only it were! Oh, and the woman playing the Kahlan part is like the woman who plays Marion on the bad BBC Robin Hood, except she isn’t wearing anachronistic camo pants, and she’s way better. Oh well, we can only have so many things in life, right?
In case you weren’t aware, what I mean is this show is silly, in all the right ways. Trust me, it will change your life.
Did you need a reason to watch this show? Say no more:
Posted by deckard47 on December 13, 2008
Welcome, welcome to Blog Banter, the monthly blogging extravaganza headed by bs angel! 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 deeply insightful to ROFLMAO. Any questions about Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!
So here’s the topic…
If you could ask for one thing this year from the gaming industry as a whole, what would it be and why?
This is actually an incredibly hard question, because I’d like to ask for a million things, some small, some large. I could ask for the misogyny, homophobia and racism in games to be cut out, something that would make a huge percentage of games much more playable. I could ask for developers to treat stories and writing as an element of game design (as they are starting to do), and not as an afterthought. I could also ask for games that focus on older, less cutting edge gameplay mechanics or tropes, games that aren’t afraid to live in the past. It’s ok for games to do this in some ways (the aforementioned cultural and sexual intolerance and bad writing), but not in other ways (deep, complicated stories like those found in Baldur’s Gate, overly complicated interfaces like those in System Shock 2 or Dues Ex).
So I want things to move forward, all while retaining what I enjoy about older games. Obviously the industry is way ahead of me, they just want to retain things I hate, and push things I care less about. We can keep Marcus, Dom, and Col Train (Really Epic? What decade is it?), but let’s not be too hasty with those non-hypersexualized women.
After careful and long consideration (almost two paragraphs worth), I think I’d like for the industry to be more self-aware. This would help address so many problems that plague us today, from those I mentioned, to how we’re perceived by non-gamers, to how we develop as an industry, as an art form, and as a community. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by deckard47 on December 13, 2008
I just found out that Hulu has the first 7 episodes of some show called “Legends of the Seeker” up. You know what that show is? It’s a TV version of Terry Goodkind’s awful “The Sword of Truth” series. Shit. My day just got 7 episodes busier. If you haven’t read them (don’t!), they’re typical creepy fantasy, full of weird woman-hating/exploiting S&M softcore porn/magic/fighting. It makes Robert Jordan look like a visionary.
Anyway, now that I can think clearly again, I need to talk to you about the Prince! I’m surprised more people aren’t blown away by this game. It seems to me that a lot of the criticims comes from two areas. One, the Prince’s voice and dialogue are annoying (and far more important to some people), not in keeping with the rest of the game’s tone. An interesting claim, and one that I feel is rather fallible, but onward. Number two, they don’t like that combat and gameplay don’t evolve past what is initially shown to you (despite the addition of the jump pads, which realy don’t change the game too much).
I really don’t understand either of these arguments, and I’ll post at length about number one, soon. Number two though… Didn’t we already discuss this? I mean, are we not content to play games that are fun and well made and consistently well-written (yes, well-written)? I haven’t loved a game this much in years. I’m depressed now that it’s done, I feel like I won’t be able to find anything to replace it. Ok, time to watch bad TV, but we’ll discuss Nathan Drake-Prince soon.
Posted by deckard47 on December 10, 2008
So I know I shouldn’t have done it, in fact it would have been easier to wait until tomorrow (and by that I mean tonight) night to do it, but I couldn’t wait: I beat Prince of Persia, and it was pretty fucking amazing. Not wholly surprising, but in a way, not quite what I expected either. What it really was, was extremely satisfying and (here’s the surprise) moving. I mean it, the story in Sands of Time was pretty good, but it didn’t quite have this impact. That’s what having a companion who is integral to every aspect of the game does: it creates an actual emotional bond between player and character something many games claim to do, and most games fail to do. Maybe the Half Life episodes come close, but I’m nots so sure. Much more to say, obviously, but for now, wow, Ubisoft, I salute you. Oh, and please make a sequel soon. Please?
Posted by deckard47 on December 9, 2008
Let me just say that while the Prince’s demeanor can be rather annoying, the way he utters the above word reminds me of a dashing space smuggler who I’m rather fond of. I’m pretty sure that was their intent (I mean, how could you not be aware of that as you wrote that kind of dialogue), and it helps soften the blow of the constant “sexy priestess” jokes. No, I’m not kidding. Owen was on the way out the door today, and he expressed interest in the music I was listening to, which happened to be Kajra Re. I think this means I am totally within my rights to make him watch the whole movie. I’m a cruel man, what can I say. But back to business. Playing as the Prince, I’m amazed by the number of interesting and inventive elements that the game continually produces. It’s the kind of game that I could find a million things to say about, and all of them would be different. It’s strangely different than Sacred II, say, a game I very much enjoyed but am having trouble expressing my feelings about. Crazy! Ok, I have to beat Prince before 4pm today, so I have to get back to work.
Oh, and I watched Resident Evil: Degeneration last night. Did I know it would be that bad? I think so. It was worse than the games, strangely. Anyway, an enjoyably schlocky experience was had, mostly because of the shoulder eyeball attack, and the fact that there was some kind of Eastern European general who was constantly referred to as “General Grande.” No really, it was like they were talking about drink or food sizes, like he was a latte or a burritto or something. General Burritto, the most dangerous kind of assailant! Although the movie did make me wonder just how badly RE5 is going to impress itself upon my senses… Maybe I’ll just never find out. Back to the Prince!
Posted by deckard47 on December 8, 2008
So I’ve freed a couple of the “fertile grounds” (as suggested, they are hilariously pronounced and too often mentioned), and I guess I thought I’d write a couple of things down. First, I am pretty sure that the guy playing the Prince is the same guy who voices Nathan Drake. Now, I like this actor, but he’s out of place here. He’s too brash, too confident, and (especially strange given the game’s title), he sounds quite American. Then again, the Sands of Time Prince just sounded faux-English, but at least he didn’t sound like a water polo player up for some crazy hijinks. Second, the game is absolutely beautiful, and it’s incredibly fun. People are saying its easy, but as I play it, what I’m thinking is that it’s easy enough for me to enjoy it unmolested by challenges (like Dead Space‘s stupid unkillable slashy guy). It’s nice to play a game where the point is to experience something cool or beautiful or interesting, not be bashed over the head by how “fun” and “challenging” the difficulty level is. Finally, and this is the most welcome part of the game so far, the dialogue is pretty impressive. Strangely, you don’t have to explore all of the banter, exposition and small talk, but it’s very interesting to do so. There’s a lot of silly stuff (look, the Prince is a bit of a dick about women, what a cad!) but overall it’s deep and interesting. Someone really took the time to write hundreds of lines of dialogue, ranging from the Prince’s and Elika’s different pasts, to the Prince’s version of I Spy, to other amusing and interesting topics. It’s better written than most games, and its just one more reason why I am completely in love with this game. Time to go play a bit more, I think.
Posted by deckard47 on December 5, 2008
So here I am, waiting for the mail to arrive. And waiting for work to start (I have to leave the house by 1pm). Awful. I’m hoping that Prince of Persia will arrive, because I’m extremely excited by its look and story, despite the fact that it is being hailed as “easy” by just abut everybody. To be honest, I guess I don’t really care. As a person who loathed the peculiar difficulty of Two Thrones (remeber how if you fucked up that first lightning stealth kill you would have a 2o minute fight on your hands? That was always me!), I welcome a game that lets me flow through it, experiencing its story and feel without being caught up on not being good enough. I thought Mirror’s Edge would be that way, and it was full of moments that stopped me and threw me out of the flow. I keep on thinking of Half Life 2, a game that very rarely made me unhappy due to its difficulty. I can count on one hand the number of times I had to replay a certain part of that game more than once or twice, and as a result it was a very smooth, natural, unhindered experience for me (and you can play HL2 on some hard-ass difficulties, by the way). Why can’t this be a thing that we enjoy as gamers? I like a challenge, but I also like my fun to come from somewhere not challenge-oriented.
Anyway. I also just watched this cool trailer for Dragon Age: Origins, which shows off how certain characters may treat you differently due to your character’s origin (race, profession, etc.). It’s pretty cool, its up over at Gamespot, of all places, and it makes me want this game again. I mean, if this (and by this I mean other elves comiserate with you and help you and humans act mistreat and derride you) kind of thing happens because you’re an elf mage, then think of the many different possibilities the other races and classes will provide. It’s enough to make the wait till next year seem even longer than it’s going to be. Oh, and WordPress doesn’t recognize “mage” as a word. Silly WordPress.
Posted by deckard47 on December 4, 2008
So I was reading some comments on that Dead Space article I wrote over at GSW, and one of the comments caught my eye. In that article, I asserted that Dead Space made up for its lack of substance (which I defined as depth, complexity and originality of narrative, character definition and presentation, and story) with its flair and style (which I defined as its interface, level design, graphics and gameplay). This commentor took umbrage with my conclusion, saying that
Style over substance? What you just described is a game you enjoyed for its satisfying gameplay despite disliking the dialogue, characters and plot. Gameplay is substance. Plot is style. The lesson here is that only gameplay matters.
This is both an interesting and a problematic assertion. Of course, it would be hard to disagree with a person who says that gameplay, fun gameplay is the only truly necessary thing for a good game. After all, we’ve seen time and again what happens when a story, character roster or narrative device is emphasized at the expense of gameplay. The results can range from the excellent (Mass Effect, which is still one of the most criminally designed games I’ve recently played when it comes to interface and other minor elements) to the awful (any number of bad, big RPGs comes to mind, Lost Odyssey being one I’m very familiar with).
Still, this philosophy cannot be what guides our desires for the future of video games. If we value gameplay above the rest of a game, always, we will continue to produce games like Gears of War, God of War, and Halo. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by deckard47 on December 4, 2008
I’m having trouble remembering when it was that I saw a game that looked this fluid and assured of itself in motion. As far as I can remember it was when I first sat down and played Call of Duty 4, but even that game lacked something that I’m seeing in these trailers. I’m not sure what it is, but it definitely has to do with the sense of momentum that things and people have in the world, and their reaction to stimuli. Just watching the way your rifle moves is enough to convince me that these guys are on to something.
However. I don’t know how I’ll be able to relate to this game on more than a very basic level. I had the same problem with CoD4. There wasn’t much reason to care about the goings on (ooh, they’re attacking a boat. So what), but then CoD introduced me to scenes and situations that were surprisingly well written and moving, and I changed my tune. Can Killzone 2 pull off the same feat? I’d love for them to, I’d love to have another great shooter to play (especially considering CoD4 is still the only online shooter I play). We’ll just have to cross our fingers, I suppose.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Posted by deckard47 on December 3, 2008
If you don’t know where the above line comes from, you haven’t enjoyed enough of the “inspired by” rock tracks that shipped with The Witcher: Enhanced Edition. But that’s not the point of this post, sadly. No, I just wanted to point you to this badass (amusingly so) trailer for the console version of The Witcher. Also, I wantedto show you this new shot of the game, proving that I might get to play it in a pretty format some day.
Also, I neglected to post this absolutely fabulous news yesterday, so here it is. Atari is apparently doing alright now (I wonder which Witching we have to thank for that?), so they have announced that they’ll be producing sequels to several games. Who cares about the rest, they say they’re going to make another Baldur’s Gate game. Shit. You know who could do that? The guys who made that game up above. Maybe?
Posted by deckard47 on December 2, 2008
Yes, that’s right, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (excellent, right where he should be) is coming out, some day, and we have a brand new trailer here to prove it.
Yes! Look at the sexy beard! Look at those sleeves. I cannot wait for this. Apparently he goes after Marco Polo’s something-or-other. Exctiting, yes? This really makes my day, I can’t wait until they show more (December 14th, it looks like). Rocking.
Posted by deckard47 on December 1, 2008
So, in a return to blogging (which was cut short by lots of things), I find several terribly exciting bits of news to throw at you.
First (and try not to cry for this one). EA is giving what is essentially the entire Dungeon Keeper world to another company to make a China-only MMOG. Wtf right? Here’s all of the official blather, but I guess we’ll have to hope that somebody decides to port it over here. Because this might be good, it might be amazing.
The second, amazing thing is this: they may be making a console version of The Witcher, which will feature
extensive use of motion-capture for the character animations, have better lighting and environmental effects, improved enemy AI and full achievement and trophy support
I could care less about the trophies, but the rest sounds sweet. I don’t think they realize this over at CD Projekt, but I will buy every version of this game that they produce, except the kart racing strategy version. Exciting!
Finally, a fancy-schmancy video for Black Mesa, the Source engine total conversion/recreation of HL1. Very cool.
In actual gaming that I’m doing news, Sacred 2 is kind of sweet. It’s like Titan Quest but less flabby, it knows what you want and delivers. And by that I mean it delivers a talking deadly robot dog avatar. Sweet.