Archive for January, 2010

I was just thinking – most games today can be bought as classic retail or through a pure digital distribution. So far so good. I usually go with retail, to avoid the countless hours of downloading, before I’m able to play. Since prices are usually the same (or even higher) in Steam, for example, this path is sometimes even out of the question. However, some games get expansions that depend on the former main title. What happens, if a customer owns the retail version, but the expansion is only available as a download?
Steam (is what I’m most familiar with) writes all data in its own folder and I don’t see how that would work. Would it (think Dragon Age: Origins Retail and Awakening through Steam)?
If not, it could become necessary to buy all game components through the same channels, to avoid dead ends. Just something to consider.

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Commander… uhm Dr. Shephard (they are only divided by an H) is “FIGHTING FOR THE LOST” since 2004 and will continue to do so on Feb 3 2010, so I don’t know if it’s the best Mass Effect 2 title they could have thought of. :P

Folks, who are overjoyed for being duped by DLC, belong in the same crowd as masochists, who pay to be beaten by a dominatrix.

Yes, this is really 42.

Players who buy the game new will have a nice surprise on the first day. “Players who access ‘The Cerberus Network’ will receive the first DLC pack on January 26th (launch day in North America) featuring new missions and in-game items,” EA explained. “Included in this pack is a mission that introduces Zaeed, a rugged and deadly gun-for-hire who is recruited to join Commander Shepard’s mission to save mankind.”

ars

This kind of bullshit makes people feel stupid for buying it. Seriously. Nice surprise? No it’s not. Everything, that’s available at the day of the release, could have been shipped with the game in the first place (and was, before the “invention” of DLC). So whatever is so kindly offered for buyers, is not a bonus. It’s an annoyance, it’s something retail customers have to download extra, instead of installing it fast from the data medium along the rest. Additional hassle (if not cost) for the player.
Also, look at the way they try to make it look original, to deliver a character as additional download… Okay, it’s 2 month since Dragon Age: Origins was released, but those who can think back this far, might recall Shale… Thus it can (almost) be considered standard now, that major characters are cut out of the final product (just to be re-added with bugs).

How far can you push this shit, until the full/bought and paid for product resembles a demo? The shareware principle I got, get a part for free and pay for (and if you want) the rest. But this?

BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), today revealed ‘The Cerberus Network’,

teamxbox (highlighting added by adrift)

Always makes me cry a little on the inside, whenever I read this. Doesn’t anybody feel this way?

Elena Effect

Ugh, Drew – if I wanted to be with a girl, I could! Save all the emotional crap for your diary!

– Denise Mahoney

For the first 6 episodes I thought season 9 was rather weak (okay, 8, the last “real” one, was awesome, so continuing this in the same strong fashion wasn’t easy anyway – the loss of janitor alone isn’t something a show can just recover from [although it’s somehow fantastic too, that he vanishes at the same time JD stops being a constant of the show]), but the last 2 got better considerably. Like they found their balance after setting up/establishing the changed scenario. I really hope it’s no coincidence. :P
I’m especially glad they “saved” (some of) the best (new) actors from the last season, where they already introduced several. This was always the strong suit of Scrubs, maybe not everything they do is comedy gold, but (at least) you do like the people. Even Cole (-noscopy), as the “ass” of the new Scrubs season, stays likable, a feat that can’t be easy to accomplish and many other shows fail at (considering they even try). But maybe that’s just the Scrubs formula – you’ll even find the (pseudo-) antagonists endearing (think Kelso).

PS: Yes, I only wrote the text, so I could do the headline… :P

PPS: The security guys really are a weak substitute for Jan I. Tor… Sorry!

“Shocking”

Lost fans promised a ‘shocking finale’

What the hell man… I don’t want it to be shocking! Who wants it shocking? I want it to be GOOD (and satisfying). Though shocking doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it too often means “killing everyone”. Since 24 has overdone this method so horribly, it became just annoying, somewhere along the road (near its start).
The only shocking ending, I could think of, that I would consider awesome, is if they would explain everything. That would be the greatest shock of all! But I hardly expect that this is what was meant by that…
This is why I’m really hoping that was only said for advertising purposes, to raise attention for the show’s (final) return.

“The Villain”

Has strong convictions, his actions are often dictated by principles (mostly won under extraordinary circumstances). He can usually explain his motivations in great detail. He has his reasons, knows why he’s doing what. He is ready for sacrifices, when necessary.

“Every villain is someone else’s hero.”

“The Hero”

Gets often “dragged in” (the action) by total coincidence. Someone who just wants to “get by” (a bystander who’s forced to discontinue passivity, if you want). Despite common misinterpretation, his core motivation actually is to just get back to his familiar daily routine, as if nothing happened. I guess that kinda makes him a conservative. Many times he’s only called hero, because his point of view gets the focus.

He sounds like a total douche.

Crap Booms

Zum ersten Mal seit 2002 haben US-Verbraucher im vergangenen Jahr wieder mehr Geld für Kinokarten ausgegeben als für Filme auf DVD

[…]

Für den Boom an der Kinokasse sorgten Blockbuster wie die Transformers-Fortsetzung, die Animationsfilme Up und Ice Age 3 sowie die letzte Harry-Potter-Verfilmung.

heise.de

Only real if there’s not a single watchable movie in the mix!^^

Prey

I’m amongst those who just bought the game during recent “holiday sales” (which once again further exposed the stupidity of censorship, with Prey being uncensored, while Max Payne isn’t for sale at all – keeping in mind, that both are comparable in violence). But it wasn’t just the price that sold this game to me, rather that I always wanted to play it and only didn’t cause the sheer mass of titles let it slip through my fingers. There is no such thing as a downtime for good games (even considering one continuously invests enough time in playing and feels like it) – I would even claim that there are now only lots of mediocre games with a few genre giants (and very few horrible products), instead of many bad games players can pass over easily (deciding what to play and what to ignore thus becomes a sad necessity). A possible byproduct of so few gaming companies still around (compared to the nineteen-ninties, where “every title” came from another joint), although those seasoned developers, that keep games from sucking completely, probably also introduced the spreading of more generic game experiences.
However, back to Prey… This action title IMHO really puts the 3D in 3D-shooter, much more than the usual ego perspective game does.

The surroundings often feature walkways on the opposite wall the player is currently walking on and there really is no longer a single walkable path in maps (at least in several places). Even those ideas are maxed out! Gravity walkways need to be powered and are often deactivated at first, until the player pushes a button. As soon as the player moved a certain distance on them, new enemies can show up and will power down the path again, making the player fall down, back to the former level. Prey really let’s the player quickly evolve beyond disorientation from such events, just the fun stays at the same high.
Apart from the mentioned walkways, which are still (through their location) somewhat fixated, some areas have “gravity switches”. By firing upon those, the player is relocated (by falling) to their gravitational alignment. Now imagine a room with gravity switches on ALL walls! Situations can arise, in which the player is attacked from the (current) roof, the side walls and the “normal” floor…

More conventional, but still nicely done, are portals (yes, before Portal really made those a killer app!) and crates (when walking up to them, it’s possible to look through AND past them at the same time…), that classically teleport the PC wherever…

Shuttles, small player-controlled crafts complement this intense atmosphere; not all areas can be reached on foot.
As if this wasn’t enough, to set this game apart from elements players are used to, Tommy (the PC) has the ability to become an astral spirit which is often needed to access seemingly unreachable places (and is always accompanied by talon). This is also frequently used for small riddles, when 2 buttons have to be pushed almost at the same time (the body stays where the player went astral).

Though the game (after the great intro) is mostly reduced to a normal shooter, when it comes to story development, Tommy finds monitors receiving radio programs from earth and the moderator has interesting and funny talks with his callers… I always stayed there to listen to them in full length.
All in all I gotta say, that Prey is the best game (I know of) done in the Doom 3 engine. Oh, and – as in many games, it pays off again, to wait out the entire outro/credits at the end.
There was only one thing that… uh – blew my mind: Who had the idea to build in these “door thingies”, which seemed to be of the kind that would bleed (like every month or so)… Yeah, and there you thought I wouldn’t have the nerve to address this… WRONG!