Thursday, 27 September 2012

Blogs: Baldur's Gate and Mass Effect 3 DLC

If you haven't been reading Mr. Nash's blog you probably should because he's gone back to Baldur's Gate and he's writing some lengthy commentary on the game as well as how it compares to modern games in the genre:
So, now my party is along the coast, smacking ogres. I haven't had to be too terribly careful with my pulls here, but it's also important not to be careless. At any rate, it's not a bad place to farm up experience, and hopefully level everyone up a few times. Minsc is getting close, and I really want Dynaheir hitting level four as well. She starting to be kinda useful with her magic now. Full article.
And on Aaron's blog, he goes in search of Leviathan in Mass Effect 3's latest DLC. Not only does that form the story arc behind the DLC, it's also a meta game where the player has to figure out how to actually access that DLC content for Leviathan. Full article.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hardware: FPS Freek CQC Signature (KontrolFreek)


It's often the most ridiculous, small thing that makes a difference. Like a $0.23 cotter pin that fails and takes a 60 tonne passenger ferry out of commission for weeks. The FPS Freeks are just like that: little things that make a big difference.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Preview: Resident Evil 6 (360, PC, PS3)

Resident Evil 6 has all the makings of a zombie version of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It seems like the entirety of the Resident Evil pantheon of characters will make some kind of appearance if they're not a playable character outright.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Preview: Assassin's Creed III (Multiplatform)

As far as this writer can tell, Assassin's Creed III's principle goal is to usurp Day of the Tentacle as the best game ever to feature George Washington (notwithstanding the Civilization series).

Oscillating between present day and "Colonial America," Assassin's Creed III looks to break the mold of what gamers expect from the series. Or at least reshape it slightly because it looks like the same kind of acrobatic stealth-ish gameplay is involved for the most part, with some naval combat thrown in just because.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Preview: Far Cry 3 (360, PC, PS3)

Island settings for video games have always seemed a natural fit.

The nature of an island, with its defined borders of water, means the action is easily contained with a natural obstacle, an aspect that is so important to any open world sandbox game. That's why Saints Row: The Third, Dead Island, GTA IV, Just Cause, Crysis, and even the original Far Cry, are all hemmed in by water. It's to the island setting that Far Cry 3 returns, leaving behind the savannah of Far Cry 2.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review: NHL 13 (360)

With the lock out well under-way, NHL 13 is likely to be your only source of NHL hockey this season. (Check your local paper for alternatives, like the AHL or WHL for very high calibre live hockey!) It's fortunate that NHL 13 is as good as it is about simulating so much of what happens on and off the ice -- it's pretty close to being the real thing, as real coffee is to decaffeinated coffee. Not quite the same buzz, but it will fool anyone not paying attention.

Preview: Call of Duty Black Ops II (Multiplatform)

It seems like every year we always get a new version of Call of Duty (COD). Okay, so it doesn't seem like it -- that's what actually happens!

For the last several years I've grown less and less interested every time Activision announces the latest game in the franchise.

My relationship with COD reminds of this one episode of the TV show New Girl (which by the way is a fantastic show!). One of the main characters named Schmidt cannot stand a woman named Gretchen with whom he always ends up going home with for the night whenever they run into each other. The whole experience satisfies his urge at the moment, but leaves him feeling empty inside and regretting his decision the next morning.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

News: BioWare Founders Retire

One of the great success stories in the video games industry has been BioWare, and when talking about BioWare, one is inevitably going to have to mention the two men who've been for all practical purposes the physical embodiment of the company, Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk.

Today, the two doctors from Edmonton who brought their favorite Dungeons & Dragons campaign to life with Baldur's Gate have announced on the BioWare web site that they are retiring from the company.  Dr. Muzyka stated in his farewell blog post that he'll be going into the social impact investment field.  Meanwhile, Dr. Zeschuk has outlined plans for a web interview series relating to craft beer and its brewers. An announcement from General Manager of BioWare Edmonton Aaron Flynn is also up, detailing the official response from within the company.

Thanks for everything you've done, gentlemen.  We won't forget it.

Ray Muzyka's Announcement
Greg Zeschuk's Announcement

Preview: Hitman: Absolution (360, PC, PS3)

In terms of bald anti-heroes, the gaming world doesn't get more of those two descriptors than with Agent 47, protagonist of the long-running Hitman series. He returns this November with Absolution.

News: Hawken Updates Their Site, Gives A Release Date

Hawken was without question one of the coolest new titles at E3 this year.  The F2P multiplayer mech shooter has captured a lot of attention in the press and created a large number of fans hungry for news.

The official site recently underwent a redesign and new forums have been deployed.  Additionally, a counter up at the top of the page is counting down to a launch date of December 11 of this year.  Naturally, this is always subject to change without notice, but it could be a very mech-y Christmas this year for a lot of gamers.

Review: Killing Floor - Gold Edition (PC)

Some multiplayer shooters have a certain stickiness to them and long after the official release the online community remains strong. Counter-Strike is a good example.

Originally released back in 2000 as a Half-Life mod, there are strong communities still around playing the original Counter-Strike. In fact, any time there's an update or patch the online community goes a bit bonkers because "upsets the balance" or "forces new strategies.". That level of community involvement is rare for multiplayer shooters nowadays. One of those titles is Killing Floor.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Preview: BioShock Infinite (360, PC, PS3)

It's the goal of this preview that you should know as much about BioShock Infinite as you already do. If you actually come out of the experience knowing less then I think I've done you a service.

News: Wii U Release Date; List of "Launch Window" Games

The Wii U "Basic Set"

At a special event held in New York this morning, Nintendo finally announced the pricing and release date for their upcoming Wii U console: $299.99 (for the Basic Set) and $349.99 (for the Deluxe Set), both available November 18, 2012. And the likes of Assassin's Creed III, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be available in the "launch window."

Review: Tony Hawk HD (360)

To say that a significant amount of my downtime in college was spent playing Tony Hawk would be a gross understatement. The pick up and play nature of the game was tailor made for a 3 minute micro-break or the "see if you can beat that" group play with friends.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Preview: Marvel Avengers: The Battle for Earth (360, Wii U)

The Marvel Universe and video games go hand-in-glove. Besides the usual iterations of Marvel vs. Capcom games, there's been plenty of other properties that have had digital iterations like The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, Captain America: The First Avenger, the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Iron Man, and, of course, Spider-Man.

Monday, 10 September 2012

News: Chris Roberts Returns, Promises New Space Sim

A few years ago, there was an editorial focusing on Chris Roberts, formerly of Origin and Digital Anvil, and his connection to bad movie adaptations of video games (You can read it here).  It seems that Mr. Roberts has decided to return to the game space with a new company and what is suspected to be a new space sim in the vein of Wing Commander or Privateer.  Details are understandably scarce at this particular moment but even the teaser images suggest something striking.  More information can be found on the Roberts Space Industries website. 

News: Ubisoft Scraps "Always On" DRM

In what has to be one of the more excruciating interviews in recent memory, Ubisoft formally acknowledged that they have abandoned their "always on" DRM scheme.  According to Stephanie Perrotti, a director of online games at Ubisoft, the policy was discontinued in June of last year and has been replaced by the more common scheme of a single Internet verification check.  The interview conducted by Rock, Paper, Shotgun is informative on a number of levels, despite the attempts of the interviewees to obfuscate, deflect, and actively avoid any admission of responsibility.  However, one point of information that is not mentioned is whether Ubisoft will be working to patch out the "always on" scheme from titles released prior to June of last year.  More on this as it develops.

Preview: PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3, PSVita)

It's understandable that many understood the initial announcement of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale as Super Smash Bros.: Sony Edition because that's the easiest comparison to make. In short, Battle Royale is a Sony mascot brawler, in the same way Super Smash Bros. showcases its pantheon of characters and memorable environments.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Preview: Company of Heroes 2 (PC)

A long time coming, Company of Heroes 2 looks to outdo its preprocessor in all respects and claim the throne (again) of real-time tactical strategy games. Careful advancement, and planning are required for success. Looping a swathe of units and throwing them at the enemy will merely kill them all. The original game and it's expansions showcased a much more deliberate and chance-driven strategy game, where the tides could be turned if players were smart enough (and maybe a little lucky) rather than simply having more armour than their opponent.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: Madden NFL 13 (360)

While the venerable sports franchise, Madden NFL, has maintained its immense popularity as it heads into its nearly third decade, the recent criticism has been that the franchise hasn't innovated over the previous year’s version, giving gamers nothing more than a new roster update. Electronic Arts took some of that criticism seriously for Madden NFL 13, and has included some innovation to the gameplay engine that toughens and smartens up the artificial intelligence, improves the way players react when moving, and upgrades the game’s passing. For the Xbox 360 version, EA has also integrated the Kinect to allow for audible adjustments on both sides of the ball.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Review: The Walking Dead: Long Road Ahead (PC)

If this review was an interpretive dance it would consist solely of a half-dozen biker-types curled in the fetal position screaming for their mamas.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Review: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)

Moving at a slower step than most third-person shooters, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier rewards caution and scouting, setting up dominoes of perfect head shots, and team collaboration. Occasionally, the system branches into straight-up gun battles and on-rails blasting but that's more the exception than the rule.