Quality vs. Quantity

I have no idea how many new XBox games get released every week, but it must be a lot.  Just have a quick look around CEX and you’ll discover hundreds of games you’d never even heard of.  A lot of them are rubbish, some of them are good and a few are really great.  One thing that always seems to be constant though is the price.  Every time I look at buying a new games it is listed as R.R.P £49.99 , but reduced to somewhere between £37 and £40.  But not all games are equal, so why is the cost of buying them the same?

I was thinking about this whilst driving home today and a thought occurred to me: Why not price games based on the amount of gameplay they have in them?  Surely no-one would object to paying more for a game that lasted twice as long?  As an example, let’s look at my two most recent purchases.  First off is “Bioshock 2”, a game that I thoroughly enjoyed despite what several other WWRSers have said.  I found it engaging, immersive and very beautiful to look at.  However, it was over all too quickly.  In fact I finished it within a week over the course of a few sessions and probably only racked up about 10 hours of play.  In comparison the game I am currently playing is “Fallout: New Vegas”, the follow up to my favourite game of 2009.  In terms of gameplay it is almost identical to its predecessor and they’ve even recycled some of the areas wholesale despite it being set several thousands of miles away.  But it has sill completely sucked me in and I’m fast approaching the 50 hour mark with no end in sight.

So, is it fair that these games both cost the same amount to buy when they came out?  If I hired a tennis court for an afternoon I would expect to play twice as much to play for twice as long, so why is this any different?  Would it not be possible for an independent body (I’ll volunteer mine) to play all games before they’re released and then assign a price based on the time it took them? 

Of course, this only works for relatively linear or mission based games like the ones above.  A game like Fifa 11 couldn’t be categorised in this way so a different method would be needed for them.  There would also need to be some sort of max and minimum limit as otherwise Oblivion would have priced itself outside of anyone’s range.  Finally, it could have some interesting effects on XBox Arcade games.  After all, you can pick up “Defence Grid” from about 800 MS points and I’ve spent more time playing that than Bioshock 1 and 2 combined!  I guess the argument there would be the different amounts of time and effort that went into creating those games.

So clearly it’s not a perfect system but I reckon it might work.  Anyone got any other measures they think would also work?


Published in: on 04/11/2010 at 7:51 pm  Comments (4)  
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[Edited version of a long email i sent.  Trying to make it less current tense while talking about last year! I’ve also put Demon’s Souls in a proper position. It’s a lot higher than it was! Now i know it got a bit of a anti-hardcore backlash from a few dissenters on the internet, but i geniunely enjoyed it. You know you are really deeply into a game when the clock strikes 3am and you’re still gripping the controller with palms sweaty from the tension!]

Last year was a pretty good year for gaming, in spite of the “run away” mentality of almost every publisher at the end of the year, as the assumed omnipotence of Modern Warfare 2 loomed greatly over what could have been a fantastic final few months.  Bioshock 2, Mass Effect 2, Bayonetta, God Of War 3, Split/Second, and many more all turned their tails and bravely run away into 2010.  It means we’ve had a great beginning to this year, but it meant the pickings were a bit thin at the end of last year.  Not that this has stopped lots of great games coming out anyway, just only from the brave, the niche, or those that just knew that they already had a strong enough fan base.

Aside from this, it’s been a year of my gaining two pretty sweet new consoles.  
Nintendo’s DSi came out in April and was a day one purchase for me.  Although some of the new features are pretty easy to ignore, it’s new feel, better ergonomics, and improved online capabilities made it quite desirable to me, in spite of it not really being a massive technological jump.  More dramatic than this was my succumbing to Sony’s charms once more and finally getting a PS3.  When the much smaller slim was announced with a very appealing price drop, the lure of Little Big Planet, God of War 3, and DC Online Universe overwhelmed me, i could resist no longer and i had to get one.  Although i’m still keeping to my “exclusives only” rule, i’m finding that there are plenty of absolutely great games available on it, show casing a greater power when it comes to processing and graphics in some games, as well as an often more enjoyable, and free, online experience.  It is often a fairly lonely one, with very little in the way of comms, but people are generally friendlier and less annoying.

10) Disgaea DS (DS) – A fun, involving, and practically bottom-lessly deep strategy JRPG.  Great, if insane, characters and a fun and easy to use combat system.  The difficult necessitates a lot of grinding, which can get a little dull, but the levelling options are neatly incorporated in the strategy elements.

9)   Battlefield 1943 (XBLA) – A much anticipated download that just had a lot of well thought out ideas to make it as fun as possible.  A mixture of vehicles, a basic and easily changed set of classes, and simple combat made this a real blast to play and at very little cost.

8 ) Mario and Luigi in Bowser’s Inside Story (DS) – A curious mixture of Mario platforming and RPG type combat, but a lot of fun with a good story and likeable and often funny characters.  Completely bonkers but absorbing.

7)  Assassin’s Creed 2 (Xbox360) – Such a massive improvement over what was a rather dissappointing first game.  A wealth of new features, much more likeable characters, and a fun world in which to explore.

6)  Batman Arkham Asylum (Xbox360) – Rare is the game that does the right thing with a superhero franchise.  Most just mess it right up with either bad story, improperly used characters, terrible controls, or just rubbish ideas.  Batman Arkham Asylum avoids so many of these problems, creating a likeable Batman voiced by proper voice actors who’ve made the characters their own, a decent story, and a simple but exciting combat system.

5)  Borderlands (Xbox360) – A fun, breezy shooter with absurd weapons, bizarre characters, a well judged difficulty curve, and a unique graphics style.  Nice online co-op as well, if the local co-op is spoilt by a cluttered display.

4)  Killzone 2 (PS3) – When i first booted this up, the graphics blew me away.  It does just look gorgeous, unfortunately the single player campaign is like Gears of Wars’ spoilt idiot son, but don’t let that put you off, the online mutliplayer is excellent.  Huge, gorgeous, interesting matches, and plenty of levelling up to do that’s not just handed to you.  A lot of fun and well worth putting the effort into.

3)  Uncharted 2 (PS3) – I managed to get through the brilliant prequel before this came out and already had a big soft spot for Nathan Drake.  As Bourne is to Bond, Nathan is to Indy.  Aside from a likeable lead, this has a great cast, female characters that approach Alyx Vance in terms of strength and doing good for computer generated Woman-kind, beautiful and exciting set pieces, and a lovely control scheme.  It’s also got a wealth of online modes, with a tonne of free DLC available.  Absolutely awe inspiring and exhilirating.

2) Demon’s Souls (PS3) – This is a curiousity. It’s a game that, well, i really shouldn’t have played when i did. You see, i bought it for myself as a Christmas present. It’s only available on import from the US from what is likely to be a limited run, but the word of mouth and reviews were seriously glowing. Most of it’s praise however, was due to it’s unashamed hardcore nature. Never being one to shy away from some sort of elitist niche 😉 , or at least give it a go, i got it on import. While i was off sick, i was naughty, and in a fit of illness induced self-pity i started playing it. My thinking being, what if it’s just too hardcore for me. What a frustrating dissappointment that would be. I owed it to myself to give it a go. 😉

Well, it is pretty hardcore, but it is definitely fair. In fact, it takes most of the quite unrealistic things from RPGs that help you get by, and gets rid of them. No wolves dropping spoons for you to sell, all monsters are a threat to the unready, carelessness costs you lives, in fact, this is a game that embraces your characters death. At the end of the tutorial there’s boss which is supposed to kill you. Really. (It will kill you on your first playthrough at least.) It will scare you when you see this enormous beast swining a huge axe at you. Then you get to start playing.

You spend most of the game, in soul form, with a depleted health bar, fighting things that can easily kill you with a few well placed blows. There’s a lot to be said about this game, mainly because it’s got a wealth of refreshing and original ideas all packaged up in the unassuming guise of a standard dungeon crawling RPG. For me, it’s the fantastic combat that allows you to be graceful if you can master it, and the fact that every move you make, every step, every retread is filled with intrepidation and fear. Thrilling but demanding and destined to be a classic.

1)  Left 4 Dead 2 (Xbox360) – Bit of a no-brainer.  Very much the social online game as far as i’m concerned the new version adds so much to the game and is definitely much more than just a collection of add-ons to an already excellent game.  With so much done to fix the original, not that it really needed much fixing, this is a game that deserves praise for taking it’s own ideas in exciting new directions.  Also, hurray for Valve, DLC is already planned for next spring, bringing back Zoe, Bill, Francis and Louis for a zombie packed meeting (including a new Campaign for Coop and Versus, Scavenge and Survival) and extra weaponry!

Published in: on 29/03/2010 at 9:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Prototype Review

(This is quite late.  I’ve been sitting on this review waiting for the breathing space to actually upload since mid-August.  Better late than never though eh?  It’s probably available quite cheaply now as well.)

It’s no secret, but i quite like super-powered characters.  I’ve been a fairly avid comic book collector for many years now, and one of the key draws for me has been super-powered characters.  I think it’s the “what if…” that always rings most true to me.  What if someone could fly?  What if someone could control things with their mind?  What if someone became a lethal, sentient, super-disease?  And that’s really what you get to have a go at in Prototype.

From the same people – Radical Entertainment, who gave me one of my favourite Superhero gaming experiences to date in Incredible Hulk : Ultimate Destruction – comes a game with a very similarly powered character.  In fact, with several notable exceptions, you could practically play the game and pretend you were the Hulk.  You can throw cars around, deliver deadly shockwave-style attacks, even give yourself a pair Hulk fists. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if what they wanted was to just make a next-gen Hulk game, but lost out to some other developer.

You control Alex Mercer, and to start off with you are pretty powerful.  This is a flash-forward to what will be and gives you a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come.  Then it goes back to the beginning.  A city on the verge of an epidemic that would belittle even real world tabloids’ paroxysms of apocalyptic hyperbole.  With no memory and the interest of some zealous military types, you are on the run, in the big city.  Slowly piecing together the events that brought you to where you are.

Unlike most games the story is something you have to actively seek, this is done by absorbing specific characters and it is the absorbing that also provides you with some upgrades and new abilities.  I found absorbing to gain the story was interesting, but made the story a little piecemeal.  Possibly this was due to my not finding the people to absorb, but it did become a little hard to keep track of, especially as the story was basically made up of snippets of experiences taken from hundreds of people.

Whether it’s a Hulk wannabe or not, the game’s still got plenty of other gameplay mechanics to offer.  As mentioned before you can absorb people to gain memories and skills, the same mechanic also awards you with the appearance of whoever you last absorbed.  This means you can use it to help you evade capture and also to infiltrate bases.  When running parkour style about the city a leap of a building can be followed by a glide, you can take over tanks and helicopters and commandeer these, you can call in artillery strikes on targets, pick up guns and rocket launchers, and generally bring about as much havok as you feel comfortable.

For the most part it’s pretty good fun being the most destructive force around, only problem is to counteract your super-ness, the game just really stacks the odds against you.  In fact if ever there was a game that i’ve played this year that induced a lot of swearing it was definitely this one.  Swarms of enemies with lots of knockback attacks and explosions and unstoppable combos really can be a bit much, even if you’re in control of a supposed power house. 

But this isn’t my biggest gripe with the game.  Over the course of the “story”, Alex never really sits easy with any particular type of morality.  He’s not really either good or evil, which is fine, the grey area is a place that most game characters find themselves in.  It’s more that when you find out what actually happened, well it made Alex seem like, at the very best, a malicious idiot.  His moral standing, or lack thereof, was irrelevant.  I felt an odd shame of being in control of him the whole time. 

Still if you can get over this, then there’s a quite a lot to do, and it often looks and feels cool to be doing it.  If a dislike of the character you are controlling is still a problem, then you can just pretend you’re a slim-line Hulk in a hoodie.

Published in: on 22/10/2009 at 2:03 pm  Comments (3)  
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Bob’s 2009 gaming wishlist – Revisited

A while back i posted a list of hopes and dreams of games to come.  As time has passed five of them i’ve picked up (Batman Arkham Asylum, Prototype, Scribblenauts, Moving Notepad, and Sacred 2), one of them i became a lot less interested in when i had a chance to play (Ghostbusters) and one of them is due out in a few weeks time (Modern Warfare 2).  The remaining five have all slipped back to next year.

I’m pretty sure that two of these have made the move because of Modern Warfare 2 (Bioshock 2 and Red Dead Redemption).  DC Universe Online and Final Fantasy XIII are more likely to have been the victim of over-expectant development schedules, and Infinite Space is most likely fallen foul of the difficulty with which niche JRPG’s have in finding Western publishers.  (Something which is annoyingly keeping Demon’s Souls from having a European release although it’s reviews and demand is exceptional.)

Unusually for this time of year, the actual crop of games due for your release has diminished, with many blaming the assumed might of Modern Warfare 2 causing many publishers to shy away to the start of next year.  To be honest, i’m not too bothered by this.  Yes it gives me the task of avoiding buying some games so that there’s something to want for Christmas, but there’s still one or two gems to come.

For a start Borderlands is out on Friday.  With it’s local co-op splitscreen and absurd, and supposedly neatly distinct and varied, range of weapons counting the “Bazillions”.  I’ve been keen on this for a while, and the unique selling point of “Bazillions” of weapons seems to be holding out quite well.  I would have liked to have been able to customise them to my liking rather than having the random, RPG-esque loot drops, yet i’m still pretty psyched about it’s arrival.

Then there’s the almighty L4D2, with a whole host of new special infected, weapons, additional gameplay modes, alledgedly more dynamic AI director, and stronger – although that might just mean existent – story line.  This was shamefully missing from my original 2009 wishlist – possibly not announced at that point – but has been the cause of much excitement and expectation.  Roll on the demo! 🙂

Published in: on 22/10/2009 at 1:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Diary Of A Dead XBox Owner * (Updated)

(* It’s the XBox that is dead, not the owner!)

Sunday 12th July – Today at midday my XBox died.  Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.  Spent a few hours on the internet trying to work out if I could fix it myself but then gave in and sent off e-mail to Microsoft support.  Watched 2 DVDs and played Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 on the PC for the rest of the day to keep myself occupied.  My roller coasters also broke. Typical.

Monday 13th July – Got reply back from Microsoft while I was at work but decided to wait until I got home to read it as I’m not supposed to check web e-mail in the office.  Spent extra long in the gym after work as no need to rush home. Tried to use the shoulder press machine but the seat broke when I sat on it.  *Sigh*  Went home and read e-mail from Microsoft and discovered I needed a printer to print out a label, so decided I would have to do it work after all.  Played more Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Tuesday 14th July – Got into work early and went onto the Xbox website to sort out the repair before other people got in and started asking questions.  Discovered that the website is blocked by my company’s web filter.  Arse.  Decided to do some work instead but then had power cut which meant my computer didn’t work for the rest of the day even though everyone else in the office seemed to be okay.  I’m starting to wonder if I’ve enraged some gypsy women or something.  Back at home I managed to complete the Xbox registration and log my repair request, at which point I discovered that the thing I needed to print would be e-mailed me to, so I could have done that on the Monday night after all.  Ho hum.  Went to football, scored 2 goals (both in the right goal) and didn’t break anything.

Wednesday 15th July – Got into work and thankfully the UPS website isn’t blocked so I printed out my UPS label.  Discovered that Sam still had the box they sent his Xbox back in so went round after work and pinched that.  When I got home I packaged everything up and then watched “Vicky Christina Barcelona”.  The only thing that broke was my heart when I realised Scarlett Johansen will never go out with me.  Damn that Ryan Reynolds!

Thursday 16th July – Took my packaged XBox to the UPS depot this morning to drop it off.  Turns out that it was the wrong depot thanks to some dodgy directions from their website.  Finally found the right one, the guy behind the desk took one look at me as I walked in and said “XBox?” So much for Microsoft’s cunning plan of ensuring it remains unrecognisable during transit.  Still, it’s on its way now.  Went to the gym after work again, burnt off another 1000 calories on the cardio machines and then worked the guns.  Went home and watched “Redbelt” which was excellent, thinking about signing up for Jui Jitsu lessons.

Friday 17th July – Turns out it wasn’t on its way after all.  Checked UPS tracking site this morning and it didn’t leave Crawley until 7.45pm last night, 11 hours after I dropped it off.  An hour and a half later it arrived in Barking.  My geography isn’t great, but isn’t that in the opposite direction to Frankfurt?  It then left Barking at 7.26am this morning and is due to arrive in Frankfurt on, wait for it….  Monday!!  I could go out right now and pinch a bike from the bike sheds and I’d be in Frankfurt before then!!!  Rubbish.  Never mind, I had a very good night at The Glamorgan celebrating Mik’s pre-Stag Do Do.

Saturday 18th July – My head felt a little broken this morning but not enough to stop me from heading off to the Open Air Theatre in Regents Park to see “The Importance Of Being Earnest”.  It was a very good day, with upside down squirrels and rather spicy curries and nothing at all broken.  Result.

Sunday 19th July – Checked the UPS website this morning and they said that my XBox had been delivered to Frankfurt yesterday, 2 days ahead of schedule.  Excellent!  Went onto the Microsoft site and got really excited for a brief moment until I realised that where it said “Your XBox has been fixed and shipped back to you” was just an explanation of the different stages of the process and not the status of mine.  In fact they were still saying that mine hadn’t arrived yet so I’m not sure where UPS have delivered it to.  Decided to play on my PC for a bit only to discover that my DVD ROM drive had, you guessed it, broken!  What is going on in my flat?!?  So I decided to take the opportunity to have a bit of a clean and tidy up and even put up a mirror which I’ve had sitting around for 6 months.  Went round to my Dad’s for lunch and then watched “Get Smart” with Sam and Georgie in the afternoon, which was really nice.  On a tip-off from Sam I sent a text to Colin to see if he had a spare DVD drive lying about which I could buy but sadly he said he hadn’t.  However, later on that day he contacted me again to say that he’d been round to his Dad’s in the afternoon and learnt that he was throwing out his old computer which had a fully functioning DVD re-writer that I could have.  Woo hoo!  Picked it up on my way home and then spent an hour trying to fit it due to a series of mishaps.  First of all the screw holding the old one in sheared off so I couldn’t take it out, so instead I decided to put the new one in a different slot.  Then it turned out that as well as the plastic shielding there was a metal plate across each slot which I had to poke out and for some bizarre reason they had been screwed to the frame in such a way that you couldn’t get to the screws without taking apart the whole case!  Eventually I got there, put it all back together, turned it on and realised I had plugged the old one back in.  D’oh!  At about 10.30pm I finally got there and it seems to be working fine, huzzah.  I wonder what treats the next week will hold.

Stay tuned for further updates.

Published in: on 17/07/2009 at 10:49 am  Comments (7)  
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In my flat, no-one can hear me scream (hopefully!)

In my previous post I talked about games based on films and films based on games, which leads quite nicely into this post about the game “Dead Space”.  Strictly speaking it is not directly related to a film yet it feels very much like playing through an amalgamation of several sci-fi and horror films, most notably “Event Horizon” and “Aliens”. In addition the developers actually released a full length animated film at the same time which I believe explains events leading up to the game, but I’ve not seen it.  There’s even an animated comic you can download for free on XBox Live so they’ve really made an effort to try and immerse you in the game universe, and immerse you it does!  Not since “Bioshock” have I found myself getting so sucked in to a linear shooter and the two games certainly have a lot in common.

So what is it all about?  You play a slightly mysterious character called Isaac Clarke who, during the game intro, is identified as being the “Systems Expert” on a spaceship investigating a distress call from a mining operation on a remote planet.  Things start to go awry very quickly and the rescue ship crashes into the mining craft orbiting the planet, leaving you and the rest of the crew stranded on the seemingly deserted, floating city with lots of unanswered questions.  Where are the hundreds of crew members?  What happened to the colony on the planet?  Why are whole sections of the ship quarantined?  There’s only one way to find out, but it’s not going to be easy…

To say much more would spoil the story so instead I’ll concentrate on the gameplay.  First off it’s worth saying that playing through the whole game on Medium difficulty took me 13-14 hours.  When you compare it to an open-world game like Fallout 3 or GTA it doesn’t seem very long, but for a linear game that seems to be pretty standard and puts it on a par with Bioshock, Halo and the Gears of War games.  Like GoW it is a Third Person Shooter (TPS) but it lacks any kind of dynamic cover system and so plays more in the sideways strafing style of Halo and L4D.  What does make the combat different, however, is that rather than the traditional head and body shots you are forced to lop off arms, legs, tentacles and other appendages instead. As a result the weapons you get are made up of various cutting implements, from lasers to circular saws which you can control remotely.  You also get equipped with a rather nifty stasis weapon which lets you slow down advancing enemies and a kinesis device which let’s you grab hold of distant objects in a Jedi stylee.  The addition of some occasional zero gravity set pieces also mixes things up a bit. While all that stuff is groovy the thing that grabbed me most was, as I said before, how immersive the game is. It makes great use of surround sound (if you’ve got it) and there were a few horrible moments when I suddenly heard something gurgling behind me and nearly leapt off the sofa.  It was also able to make me freeze to the spot by simply turning out the lights and leaving me in the pitch black with only some unerving sounds for company.

If the game has got a fault it’s that the combat can become a little bit repetitive if you stick to the same weapon all the time, which I admit I found myself doing. It also isn’t particularly challenging mentally so I never really got stuck trying to work anything out like I have done on the Resident Evil games, something which might have increased the playing time.  Finally, it hasn’t got any multi-player mode or any other play modes at all, so once you’ve completed the story that’s it.  Your only option is to play it through again trying to get some of the achievements you missed the first time, which I’ve just started doing.  Overall though, it’s definitely worth a play through if, like me, you can borrow a copy or pick one up cheap second hand and especially if you’re a fan of sci-fi and horror films.

Published in: on 29/06/2009 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Hate 4 the Dead

Left 4 Dead 2 has caused quite a stir it seems. With much vitriol being directed at Valve for potentially splitting the gaming community and not delivering on the promises they made when Left 4 Dead originally came out.

I do believe that we’ve not been delivered as much content as they could have done.  Survival mode is more a fun distration then a full blown attraction and the extra versus maps feel like they could’ve been included at the beginning. I still have hope that the Left 4 Dead 2 will deliver more than a mod of Left 4 Dead.

If Valve are to believed then this time around, the game will be more than just more of the same. With a plot – a frequent criticism of the first game, proper melee weapons, more varieities of infected, a whole new gaming mode, more maps, and substantial changes to the core gameplay.  Thinking about it, if each of these things had come out individually as paid for DLC over the course of a year – even at the bargain price of 400 gamer points a shot – you could be looking at the cost of a whole new game anyway?

Besides hasn’t the likes of Call of Duty done basically the same thing? With new variations on a theme coming out once every year since 2005 and with all add-ons paid for anyway?  Is the problem not so much that this has happened at all, but rather that Valve has spoilt it’s fan-base with extras that they now believe is their right to always get?

Published in: on 07/06/2009 at 12:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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Trailer for Left 4 Dead 2

Amongst my group of gaming friends, the build-up and chat about “Left 4 Dead” started several months before it was released and it became one of the first times I can remember where a large proportion of people got excited about the same game.  However, I couldn’t have predicted just how much of an effect it would have on our gaming lives.  In the 6 months since it came out we’ve played almost nothing else over XBox Live and at least 3 people I know have signed up for accounts and bought headsets purely to play this one game.  Okay, so the Survivor Mode DLC didn’t turn out to be the revelation that I thought it might be and I’ve started to find myself getting a little tired of playing the same levels and same characters over and over again,  so what better time to get sent the trailer for Left 4 Dead 2:


Only 5 months to wait!

Posted by Si.

Published in: on 02/06/2009 at 8:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Playing with randoms

I reckon my first ever online gaming experiences came playing MUD’s (Multi user dungeons) at university.  Way back in the glory days of 1993/4 the internet was something not many people had really heard about.  You could tell by the type of people who you found playing MUD’s back then.  Mostly helpful and keen to enjoy the shared experience, other players you met within would tend to be there for the game.  Yes, the odd noob would show up and just cluelessly ruin things for a while, but usually an admin would be nearby, and they would swiftly issue a kicking or banning. 

It was a short-lived experience.  I moved away from the gaming to making friends with random people across the globe in IRC, taking full advantage of the social experience offered to a typically shy guy by anonimity.  Then, as time went by at University, i became more likely to be in a pub or club than in the computer room, but that’s another story.  (Which some of you may well feel like you’ve lived through as well.) 😉

The next time i returned to the online experience was playing Socom 3 on my PS2.  Aside from the fact that i did myself no favours, by going in having just about scraped through the first level in single player, playing online was VERY different.  Gone were the helpful others.   Gone were admins regulating the gameplay and looking out for others.  What you got instead was inane chatter, swearing, verbal abuse, glitching and far too many pre-pubescent, self-proclaimed “experts”

I stuck with it and after a while i was rewarded for my perserverance.  It did take a long time.  It did take a lot of hate from fellow players.  Yet, i started to find that just by focusing on the game above all else, i could start to win or at least assume fairly commanding ranks in the games i played.  The strangest form of abuse i found was from people who just plain didn’t like my choice of weapons.  If i was playing a long range game (note : I hate sniping and snipers) i would change to heavy machine guns – hated for their rates of fire, strength of firepower, and large clips – and for the close, something light but with a high rate of fire. 

I knew what it was that drew so much ire.  They were the weapons that were believed to make playing the game easy.  What i didn’t understand was that these weapons were available to everyone.  If you wanted to get revenge, then you could use them yourself.  If you couldn’t beat them, then you just weren’t as good as you thought you were.  Did these people believe that in the proper warfare that was supposed to be simulated, soldiers would hurl abuse at each other if they had an unfair technological advantage?  No.  You just work out how to deal with it.

In the end I think one too many spawn-campers and glitchers made me give up on it, but i’m still glad to have had that particularly lawless right-of-passage to console gaming. 

I don’t tend to play with randoms that much any more.  With a group of fellow gamers to go online with, there’s usually someone else who has the same game who’ll be willing to play a friendly versus or co-op game.  Oddly, i do miss the days of struggling against the odds, fighting against those who just take the easiest route or are in it for the griefing or bragging.  The fact is, although the affectionately named “randoms” are often irritating and sometimes just plain offensive, i find struggling against the odds and eventually coming out on top is far more satisfying than any number of achievements.

Posted by Bob

Published in: on 21/05/2009 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bob’s 2009 gaming wish list

Si asked for it and here it is.  I’ve always got my finger on the gaming pulse and this year there’s plenty to throb for!  (By which i obviously mean your pulse.)

Batman : Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360) – If the videos are anything to go by this could well be the definitive Batman game.  There haven’t been many good ones, although the one on the Amiga was alright, but this has got everything.  A nigh on perfect voice cast (Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy provide the voices for Joker and Batman as per all decent animated versions of the two characters from the last two decades), gorgeous looking graphics, some very exciting looking gameplay, and a great back story (based on the Arkham Asylum graphic novel).

Prototype (Xbox 360) – Fighting as an amnesiac, genetically modified, free running killing machine in a busy city sounds like a lot of other games. Looking at it the protaganist resembles Altair from Assassin’s Creed, but his powers are like nothing i’ve seen in a game before.  A glorious looking mash-up of Incredible Hulk : Ultimate Destruction, GTA IV and Assassin’s Creed.

Bioshock 2 (Xbox 360) – All it needed was to just sound as good as the first one, but it looks like Bioshock 2 could be even better.  Playing as the prototype Big Daddy this time fighting against a grown-up little sister/uber Big Daddy with the added joy of mix and match plasmids!  Also, online multiplayer!!! Woo hoo!

Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360) – From Rockstar comes another massive world to explore, this time set in the (wicky wah wah) Wild West.  Looks gorgeous and hopefully will play great as well.

Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360) – Although probably restricted and on multiple disks on the Xbox 360, if it’s anywhere near as awesome as Final Fantasy X on the PS2 was, then this will be a joy.  Early FMV footage looks INCREDIBLE.

DC Universe Online (PC) – Fight alongside Batman against Lex Luthor.  Use super speed to run up a building to join Superman in a fight against Doomsday.  This might be the first MMO i get.  Maybe.

Ghostbusters (Xbox 360) – With a story penned by the original cast, starring the original cast – except Sigourney – and with hopefully good online co-op and a good gameplay mechanics, it could be a unique movie/gaming crossover experience.

Call Of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 (Xbox 360) – Little is known of this, except that some of it’s likely to be set in snowy conditions judging by early footage.  Hopefully it will have the same great online gameplay and maybe some online co-op as well.

Infinite space (DS) – A DS game that sounds like it ticks many of the right boxes for me.  A space strategy JRPG with a wealth of customisability in terms of both the ship you fly and the crew you lead spanning two galaxies there should be plenty to do.  No idea what the gameplay mechanic will be like, but i’m hoping for something that will make good use of the stylus and maybe be in realtime.

Scribblenauts (DS) – If you can think of it, and it isn’t rude, you can use it in this game.  Solve puzzles your own way.  Brilliantly playing to the DS’ strongest points, a very simple and potentially endless puzzle solving game.

Moving Notepad (DSi Ware) – Not really a game but a free application exclusively for DSi.  Unfortunately we’re still waiting for Nintendo Europe to get their act together and set up the infrastructure for it, but this is a basic tool that sounds like a lot of fun.  It’s just a basic animation package and it’s free.  Hopefully when we get it, there’ll also be the feature to send your animations to people as well as to post them to the online theatre! 🙂

[Edit]  Sacred 2 : Fallen Angel – This game moved onto my gaming radar recently.  It’s reviews aren’t great but it falls into a category that i’m fairly sure will make it a win for both myself and Michelle.  Local co-op.  Not only that but with a relatively decent camera – ish – and plenty of hack’n’slash action.  It’s also got local co-op online, if you know what i mean, which opens the window to further winnery.


Posted by Bob

Published in: on 13/05/2009 at 6:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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