Gamepad: New Year Resolution for Games

newyeareso  It’s that time of the year again and everyone’s anticipating the beginning of next year when they’ll “change everything” and “live life the way they want to” and other crap. So I’ve decided to make a short list of my personal gaming resolutions for the new year.

1.Platinum more than one game.

As a “semi-completionist” I like to collect almost everything and complete most of the challenges of any game I play. It’s not that I set out to not complete every achievement or get all trophies, it’s just that I usually need one or two trophies to fully complete most of my games. The problem is that these trophies are always the hardest thing to do, like survive God-knows-how-many-rounds in Advanced Warfare survival, or finish a raid in Destiny without anyone on the team dying or getting a few kills with a gun in Battlefield that no one tells you requires about a hundred hours to get.

So my first resolution for 2017 is to finally get the platinum trophy on a game, and then get the platinum trophies on more games after that. Basically, become the completionist that I was destined to be.

2.Improve my FPS skills.

This is something all of us gamers aspire to do, especially those of use who fall into the ‘mediocre’ category in first-person shooters, and play the campaigns on recruit “because we want to just see the story”. Those of us who take five or six games in multiplayer to start racking up kills. The problem isn’t that we’re unskilled (God forbid if anyone admits such a sin), no the problem is that the enemy team is too skilled!

So, come 2017 I’ll master FPS games far and wide, across all platforms and earn my seat on the ‘l33t’ table.

3.Get any progress on my backlog.

If you consider yourself a gamer, and are reading this article, you’re probably deep enough into games to know what the dreadful backlog is. The sad place that all unfinished games go to, to die. “I’ll finish it eventually” you keep telling yourself, while adding more and more new additions to it, like a digital laundry basket for all your dirty – games. Not to mention if you’re playing on console, you’re most likely subscribed to Playstation Plus or Xbox Live, and that guarantees about 4-5 games every month that excite you for about an hour tops before they inevitably end up on the backlog.

So starting tomorrow I shall start progress on my backlog of games and even if I don’t get most of the trophies, or complete all of them, I’ll still do my best to finish the games.

Those are my resolutions for 2017. 2016 is just about leaving so fare thee well, and let’s hope next year is just as good for games as this one was (or even better!).

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An Hour With: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty

Another WW2 shooter? Oh joy. But wait, this is an alternate history WW2 shooter? Fair enough then! I thought I’d use this as a way to get through my backlog also, and what better way to do that than to play all the damned shooters I’ve bought.

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Gamepad: Five Annoying Game Design Problems

Bottlenecks.jpg     Games are usually lighthearted and fun, designed to make you spend as much time as possible on them. Some games do it by throwing endless amounts of content at you, others are designed to be difficult on purpose so you don’t steamroll through everything, which is the reason why games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne are so popular, sometimes there are games that have a glitch that screws up your entire progress or makes it impossible to continue. So I’ve decided to make a list of the five bottlenecks you’ll encounter throughout your gaming “career”.

5. Misleading In-game Map

Deus Ex: Human Revolution for having one of the worst maps when it comes to objective tracking. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve gotten stuck because my objective was upstairs instead of downstairs or vice versa.

yg1jn   World of Warcraft is also a culprit in this matter. When completing a quest the map has no indication on where you have to go to deliver it. It has random pointers and you can read the quest log to find your goal, but for a game that’s 12 years old this should have existed since the beginning.

4. Purposefully Difficult Games

Dark Souls I’m looking at you. Now I understand that we’ve kinda become spoiled nowadays when it comes to game difficulty, but I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that Dark Souls’ claim to fame is how hard it is.1192879-ninja-gaiden-backgrounds-for-pc-1920x1080

And it’s not even the hardest game. Ninja Gaiden is a lot more harder than Dark Souls for no apparent reason but to screw with gamers. I like both of these games, but getting killed over and over again is not my thing…

3. The Game is Long, but it’s Not

secrets_of_london_whitechapel_1_map   Assassin’s Creed games are infamous for having a good amount of story, but throwing endless amounts of collectibles and things to upgrade in your way, which is honestly dumb. I enjoyed collecting keys, scrolls and even the shanties, but with every new iteration there are more and more collectibles and even mini-challenges. Collectibles are great, but in moderation. When the game map is covered in tiny icons, then we have a problem.

2. One Bug to Bug them All

Bugs, glitches and every type of programming mistake ever are one of the worst things one encounter while gaming. Sometimes the bugs are small and almost non-existent, some are IN YOUR FACE like the facial glitches in Assassin’s Creed Unity. But the worst of all are the game-breaking ones. Subtle things that make the game crash, not boot up, or even have a point where it constantly crashes and you can’t progress forward.

2732023-289650_screenshots_2014-11-11_00006 Arkham Knight caused quite a controversy over this, on one hand it was a great open world game and ran great on consoles, however the PC port was nigh unplayable and the devs don’t know what to do with the game even a year later.

1. Premium Content in Premium Content

I bought your game once, why do you still want me to give money for it? Oh, but you don’t have to – these items are for the people that want to speed their progress. LIES! Supply drops, helix credits, silver, constant equipment DLC. These are all crappy ideas that were once akin to freemium games, but have managed to crawl themselves inside of AAA titles as well. I hate the fact that Call of Duty’s best guns come from Supply Drops or that I have the option to buy customization options and whatnot for my Assassins, or the fact that Overwatch has loot boxes which you can earn, but you’re heavily encouraged to buy them. I know that developing games is costly, but I’m starting to feel like I’m being nickled and dimed in every game.

maxresdefault   And I hate the argument “It’s just for cosmetic purposes, it has no impact on your game”. First of all, buyable skins were the step before CoD got supply drops and secondly, IT’S STILL PART OF THE GAME! No matter how puny and unnecessary it may seem, there is an incentive to buy it, nonetheless. And I want it for goodness’ sake.

Gamepad: Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed and the Dangers of Prejudice in Games

ACCOD    We hear the same things every year: the new CoD will be just another cash grab, the new Assassin’s Creed game will suck (again), EA will come up with new ways to scam you into buying DLC again, game journalists are secretly paid by developers to overhype bad games, and that all the good games seem to be gone. However, I had a very recent epiphany, so let me tell you a short story…

November 2015, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate was released with mostly positive reviews. Now, yours truly decided to skip it, because at the time it didn’t seem appealing enough to spend 60 bucks on it. Of course I decided to not spoil the story of the game to myself, avoiding any spoilers if I ever decided to buy the game for myself.

Skip to half a year later, my local games retailer offered a discounted version of the game, so I decided what better time to get the game than now, after all my exams were over, and I had a ton of free time to spend on collecting the numerous items scattered throughout Victorian London. However, upon putting the disc in my trusty PS4, I suddenly discovered I’m throwing myself into a game blindly, I had no expectations whatsoever, and I had to get used to the whole ”assassin thing” again. This is when it hit me: Syndicate is actually a very good game, the main characters – the Frye twins have fantastic chemistry between them and feel unique and realistic, not to mention the fact that we have a very diverse cast of characters good and bad this time around. The thing is, I wasn’t expecting the game to be that good, in other words I wasn’t prejudiced…

We can all agree that Unity caused many problems for Ubisoft, with its numerous bugs and glitches, so before Syndicate was released everyone was crying ”graphics downgrade” and ”another re-hash” and preparing for another fiasco from Ubisoft, but that didn’t happen, there was a different problem here. The problem is that it didn’t sell well, mainly because of the problems with Unity -a game that doesn’t share much with its successor. But that didn’t mean crap for the average player / consumer, so even though Syndicate was a great game, it was ultimately doomed to fail due to gamers’ prejudice.

The same trend is visible in this year’s CoD. As one YouTube comment puts it: ”the CoD community is a joke, we’re talking about fans who turned their backs on their favorite franchise over a TRAILER, so the dislikes don’t mean anything” and I couldn’t agree more. Looking back at things, the year Advanced Warfare was released, based on the new schedule for CoD games, Infinite Warfare was already a full year in development, so they couldn’t just scrap 12 months of hard work in favor of a different game. I mean we’re talking about a time when Kevin Spacey in a video game was ”the hot topic” and Black Ops 3’s Snapchat campaign was still on the whiteboard of some PR guy, so it’s no surprise that the developers thought the game’s future setting would be received well, after all CoD is the same thing every year and 12 year olds on the internet know their stuff…

BUT NO! We see the Call of Duty brand try to distance itself from present day and World War settings, because people were crying at Activision that every new CoD is just a ”re-hash” (sound familiar?) and so the publisher came up with this kind-of-complex-but-not-really plan for giving the rights to three studios who can have three years for development for their game in order to increase the quality, while still being able to release Call of Duty games annually. While not perfect, the games were not a huge disappointment with Ghosts being the most disliked one. Speaking of dislikes the ”controversial” Infinite Warfare reveal trailer sits at 2,800 000 dislikes (as of the writing of this article). The comments there are a circle-jerk of people trying to say clever and cleverer things, while the positive comments are drowned in the sea of negativity. We’re experiencing the ”Cool Kids Table Syndrome” (as it shall be known from now on!). Out of the almost 3 million dislikes I can almost GUARANTEE, AT LEAST a million and a half are due to “children” (actual or otherwise juvenile) who want to feel accepted by the herd of idiots mindlessly disliking the trailer. I went and did my homework comparing all of the new CoD trailers from Ghost to IW and there seems to be a  pretty interesting statistic. So apparently the IW reveal trailer has the most likes out of any of the new games with Black Ops 3 sitting behind it. It’s also the third most viewed trailer out of the four and strangely enough Ghosts has the least disliked trailer of the four (and look how that turned out). So if anything, you can’t really trust YouTube statistics. I’m not saying that they don’t mean anything, but out of 100 000 comments saying they won’t buy the game, 60 000 had probably made their mind before the trailer even came out.

The bottom line is this: we have seen less than 3 minutes of this year’s Call of Duty, and all of a sudden people are calling it quits, while jumping ship to Battlefield which would apparently take place in WW1 now. I have zero interest in a past setting and have already made my choice, and even though Infinite Warfare may be a bad game, it may even be Game of the Year (the same could happen to Battlefield). All I’m saying is that we should wait and see the actual quality of the game instead of bashing it because of a few minutes of cinematics and a David Bowie cover. Time and again we’ve seen that the Call of Duty community has become too hard to please, demanding new and exciting things, then complaining they don’t get a World War setting. So let’s just wait and see how Infinite Warfare turns out, alright?

DOOM: The Review. Modern Classic or Just Another Shooter?

Titles that refuse to admit they are sequels must be the “self-titled white album” trend of the gaming industry. Xbox One, Tomb Raider, and now DOOM. Bethesda and id have had a pretty good track record when it comes to keeping an older series alive. Fallout, The Elder Scrolls and Wolfenstein are both great examples of taking franchises in exciting new directions and succeeding. Fallout and TES became the most popular and celebrated first person exploration/RPG games on the market, and Wolfenstein found its niche by being a FPS that stood out from the rest with a very unique story and unique gameplay/stealth mechanics. While these games have found a foothold in the modern gaming market, they did so by changing very fundamental pieces of the games in big ways. Players of the original Interplay Fallout games or even the 90’s Elder Scrolls games often find that the newer additions to their beloved franchises aren’t at all the same games they once were, relying more on combat and severely limiting dialogue when compared to the older games. This worked out pretty well, since it turns out mainstream gamers enjoy looking at pretty landscapes and shooting bad guys a bit more than engaging in tribal politics. With DOOM though, they took one of the biggest, baddest, most violent and most fast paced games ever made, and simply made a new, even more violent and still fast paced game where the goal is basically “shoot everything until it dies”. So, with a studio that has lost most of the minds that helped create the original, a poor showing at last years e3, and abysmal reception to the multiplayer beta, expectations were low and DOOM seemed, well, doomed (I’m so sorry). However, it’s finally here so we can answer the question, “Were they able to create a game worthy of it’s own name?”. Continue reading

An Hour With: Dungeon Siege III

I’ve always enjoyed writing these posts, I get to play games I bought a while ago and never got round to playing. Not this time, this was free with Games with Gold. I just didn’t get round to playing it. Anyway, is it worth playing if you downloaded it for free, or is it worth buying? Or not. That’s the question I’m going to answer when I stop upping the word count for this article in the first paragraph. Maybe I’ll put a read more tag in the middle of this sen

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Gamepad: The Destiny April Update Is Amazing

destiny-taken-king-april-update.jpg

Pardon me for being so blunt with the title of this post, but there are so many thoughts racing through my head right now. So first things first, Destiny received a major update a few days ago, which among other things, re-introduced Prison of Elders, an end-game activity from the previous expansion: House of Wolves. And it’s just so tasty!

Let’s not pretend that Bungie doesn’t feel somewhat threatened by ‘The Division’. After all, Ubisoft’s online shooter came at a time when ‘Destiny’ wasn’t doing so great, in fact it was doing awful. So the live-team (the team responsible for supporting ‘Destiny’ at the moment) came up with a few ways to give the game a much needed refreshment, and I’ll admit that we’re in the “Honeymoon phase” as a famous face of the ‘Destiny’community put it, and we’re overlooking many problems and hiccups right now (like the new exotics that were removed from the armory after the update went live) but I have to say that I’m enjoying the game in a way that I haven’t felt in a long time. Why? Well to be honest, even though the update is all around an activity we’re already used to, it’s refreshed in a new and exciting way, along with quality of live improvements and whatnot. But as a whole, it turned the game into a much more rewarding experience and I feel like every minute I spend is not in vain.

If you’re unfamiliar with Prison of Elders (or PoE) it’s a round based survival mode in ‘Destiny’, and the goal is to beat round 4, then you can enter the Queen’s treasury and claim your reward… if you have a key…flash forward about a year and the key system’s removed, the PoE is brought to year 2 standards meaning that it’s a level 41 activity, and there’s also a new mode called ‘Challenge of the Elders’ which from now on will have different modifiers each week. First week’s modifiers are pretty easy, primary weapon damage is increased, and precision shots score more points. Ah, right! THE POINTS! So, Challenge of the Elders is based around scoring points, you buy a token each week and it requires you to score 30 000 points and get to 90 000. At 30k you get a guaranteed weapon drop, and at 90k you get an armor piece. Now let me tell you why that’s awesome. ‘Guaranteed’ is a word that makes ‘Destiny’ players shiver with excitement because a lot of the game is based on RNG (Random-Number-Generation) and many times you’re stuck with items you don’t really need, that often have to be destroyed for materials and whatnot. Now with the new guaranteed drops every week it changes the game A LOT! I’m actually excited about drops.

Now combine this with improvement in exotic items’ light level – they drop at a much higher rate, there are now reputation boosters for both PvP and PvE, reputation gain has been increased across the board, and faction package rewards almost always contain something cool. All of that turns ‘Destiny’ into the loot-shooter it is…pardon the pun…destined to be. Sure, we’re soon going to discover new problems and things to complain about, but for now, the experience is pretty amazing and I can’t get enough of the game.