February 18th, 2010

Sarah ShepardI played the original Mass Effect on Xbox 360 in 2007 as a male Infiltrator who followed the Paragon path. This was characteristic of me because I rarely play females and almost always play “good” characters. I think the only time I’ve defected to the dark side was on my third time playing of Knights of The Old Republic. But for the next two years I’d hear praise for female Shepard’s voice performance, and arguments in favor of the Renegade path.

I resolved that, when I played Mass Effect on PC, I would play as female Shepard, and I’d also play as a Renegade. So I created Sarah Shepard; I expected playing her to be fun, but not superior fun. I also expected to hate her. I didn’t like myself as a Dark Jedi in KoTOR. Force Lightning was fun, but I was a selfish asshole. I didn’t save the galaxy, I took it. My choices on Mass Effect’s Renegade path didn’t all result in such extremes, though; I could save the galaxy without having to mollycoddle everyone. I’d do it efficiently, and by my own rules. Playing Paragon or Renegade is analogous to playing as Superman or Batman would — that is, if either approved of killing.
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February 3rd, 2010

I’ve just finished Mass Effect 2 after 36 hours of play spread across seven days. At some point during that, I decided to take screenshots. Not for any specific purpose; I didn’t intend to create a narrative or a photojournal, I only wanted to capture the cool moments I was seeing. Using Fraps and numpad forward slash, I had taken almost 3,000 screenshots when the credits rolled. After sorting — viewing, deleting, saving, converting — I have just over 300 moments to share. This is the first time I’ve taken so many screenshots of a game, and the process was surprisingly noninvasive. I just pressed the capture key whenever I liked something that was happening. You could say I used Fraps to applaud.

Thane and Shepard
If Shepard and Garrus were a band Doing what he does
Posing for a wallpaper

Click here to view a slideshow, or click here for a thumbnail gallery and to download full-size 1680×1050 versions.

January 23rd, 2010

I found this amusing at first, but Joystiq had a follow-up interview with Greg Zeschuk who revealed not all DLC will be restricted to the Cerberus Network. Anything that’s non-free will be sold through the Xbox Marketplace. For a moment I thought someone had finally taken a serious stab at GameStop, but it now seems to be a minor poke at best.

Also, Joystiq missed a headline opportunity: Cerberus Network’s Bark Worse Than Its Bite.

Not only is the game’s premise appealing, but it looks as though spells are cast using mouse gestures, as in Black & White.

All right; done.

It really does look rough. See as Ryan Davis struggles with the controls in Giant Bomb’s Quick Look:


January 20th, 2010

I use this image of stars to symbolize the future even though the light is actually from the distant past. SPACE.To celebrate the beginning of Downloadable Suicide’s third year, I’m looking toward the future and sorting out which of 2010′s games I want to play. Only two games from last year’s post actually came out (Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, Dragon Age: Origins), but I’ve managed to play them both. This time I’ve tried to choose games that I’m pretty sure will launch this year, and I’ve added a section for games that might be announced.
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January 15th, 2010

DICE won’t profit, but that’s not to say EA won’t. Still, I’m not bothered.

Very cool idea. If you haven’t, get Peggle, and then get these levels.

I’m so glad that the girls are back, and with Gail Simone writing them, as it should be. If it’s as good as her previous run was, she’ll be writing the two best team books in comics — one team of heroes, and one of villains.

I told you, I’ve got the hot scoop right here. Where’s my check?

Right. Let’s see some details and gameplay at E3, then.

Never before has using the cliché “don’t judge a book by its cover” felt more appropriate.

Vx6 (as I call it — “VVVVVV” is obnoxious) is a good game. Nearly everyone on the Internet has written about it in the last few days, so I don’t feel a need to (just yet). Do read Kieron Gillen’s article, though. Skip to “When I started playing this” if his massive post is intimidating, or if you already know a bit about the game — that’s where it gets interesting (albeit hard to decipher). Also see Giant Bomb’s Quick Look below.


January 10th, 2010

Most player-owned servers aren’t hosted from their homes, they’re rented from third-party hosting companies. As long as EA and DICE don’t keep dedicated servers first-party, all should be well. EA could still charge an exorbitant licensing fee thereby forcing hosts to raise rental fees, but that’s assuming too much. What’s disturbing is that there won’t be mod tools. These decisions together probably mean that EA plans to sell maps. The situation isn’t ideal, but it’s preferable to the precedent Activision and Infinity Ward have set with Modern Warfare 2.

There have been motion controllers for PCs in the past (Wii remotes can even be made to work), but this one shows promise. A video in the post shows the controller being used to play Left 4 Dead 2 on a mirror.

It’s noteworthy because it’s a good Jim Sterling post.

Although I’ve never had a problem using third-party memory units with my consoles, third party controllers have never felt right. This Razer gamepad, however, may be worth a go, especially if the D-pad feels as good as it looks. I use my Xbox 360 controller on my PC as well, so I welcome more buttons. Engadget has a video.

The most impressive statistic? 45% of Steam users have Direct X 10 cards.

A good, hearty article about making games more intuitive and enjoyable, without designing them for children. My favorite is the bit about “Positive Permanence.”

I’m glad that Ben wants to improve Steam, but his suggestions feel misdirected. Few of the problems he discusses are problems that Valve is in a position to solve.

Third-party DRM is redundant, but licensers, such as Sony with SecuROM, may not allow DRM to be patched out of games at the publisher’s discretion. Steam’s multiplayer API is good, and Valve makes the Steamworks middleware available, but it’s up to publishers and developers to power their multiplayer with it. Even then, do we want all games to require Steam?

I don’t like slow downloads and instability — he’s got me there — but that may be more of a problem with ISPs and the Internet in general than with Valve’s planning. Finally, I don’t know how I feel about selling games. I’m sure it could be structured so both Steam and publishers still profit, but I think it would also put stricter usage rights on games so that trading credentials couldn’t be exploited. It could be the end of Offline Mode.

At any rate, Valve’s listening.

December 12th, 2009

Congratulations to our pal Rob Geboers and his Schnauzer Radio Orchestra for getting onto such a great album.

Worf!

This is a gallery containing issue #1 of the Dante’s Inferno comic book. It helped me realize that my interest in the Dante’s Inferno may not extend past its marketing campaign.

At last; there’s been too much not-Sam-&-Max coming from Tell-Tale for my tastes. I only hope they’ll distribute this new season through GameTap as they did the previous seasons.

Jolicloud is a Linux distribution that is tailored for netbooks. The project’s leader is Tariq Krim, co-founder of Netvibes. If you’re interested in Google’s ChromeOS, give Jolicloud a look; it serves a similar purpose, and it’s available now.

Bill Harris writes about why he loves King’s Bounty: The Legend. I’ve been playing it over the last few months, and I love it as well. I’ve had some technical issues just as Bill did, but nothing that couldn’t be dealt with. Check out his article for a bit about why King’s Bounty is a great game.

This is a pretty nerdy gag for network TV. Kudos to whichever writer on his staff pitched this.