March 20th, 2010

Good show. Third party DRM in Steam games makes no sense.

I could follow my instinct to disbelieve Ubisoft, but I think if Valve were taking a moral stance against DRM by removing games from Steam, they’d do it in all territories.

I clicked this headline in my Google Reader expecting to be taken to an article at The Onion.

$5 per new map? Who else is glad they didn’t buy Modern Warfare 2? Phew.

Good one here; I’ve been enjoying the mini-series. I hope it’s in for as good a run as the Knights of The Old Republic comic was.

Perhaps Microsoft and EA weren’t the villains we thought? Ah, probably they were.

I’m more excited for Skate 3 than ever. Graded challenges, landing feedback, and hardcore mode are longstanding features of the Tony Hawk games. Jason Lee was in the last good one (Project 8), too. They should fit well.

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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July 25th, 2009

This is good news, but it opens an old wound. There was much uncertainty surrounding the PC version of The Force Unleashed; gamers expected it, but Lucas Arts wasn’t talking about it. In May of 2008 producer Cameron Suey addressed the issue saying there would be no PC version of the game. He cited scaling issues:

“The PC being the gaming platform that it is, someone with a $4,000 high-end system would definitely be able to play the Euphoria, the DMM and really technical elements of the game. But someone with a low-end PC would have a watered down experience, they would have to turn all the settings down and it wouldn’t be the same game.”

That line was as much a load of bull then as it is now; if an Xbox 360 can run a game, so can a $500 PC built in the last two years. There’s a reason people are amazed to see CryEngine running on a console while still looking decent. The Force Unleashed is said to be coming this Fall, and I have a feeling I’ll be playing it using the PC I built in January of 2008 for $700.

The fangirl inside me is squealing right now.

“I understand you work for George Lucas, how has that prepared you for this loss here today?”


July 16th, 2009

The PC is treated as a second-rate game platform. This is evidenced most strongly both by game publishers’ treatment of the PC versions of their multi-platform games as well as how the games press covers PC games whether they be multi-platform or exclusive. For roughly the last six years the PC has been perceived as being a dying platform. While some players have definitely shifted from PC to video game consoles during this same time frame, things aren’t that bad; the PC platform’s biggest problem is still the perception that gamers, game makers, and game journalists have of it. This problem, left to fester, has begun to have distinct effects on the way PC games are treated.

Publishers, when they even make a PC version of their game, don’t treat it as well as they do the console versions. Development of the PC version of multi-platform games is often outsourced to a third party, and the quality of the product suffers as a result. But it isn’t always a problem of outsourcing; sometimes developers are simply told to focus their foremost efforts on the console versions. Marketing of the PC version also takes a hit; it is not uncommon for the PC version of a game to be released weeks to months after the console versions. Rarely will the PC version even be mentioned in magazine and comic book ads, much less television adverts; it will just be tossed out and left up to word of mouth and the virtually non-existent retail spaces to sell it to people.
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June 19th, 2009

Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne coverI am not ashamed to say it: I like books based on video game universes. Reading Fall of Reach was integral to my enjoyment of the story told in the Halo trilogy. So too did having read Revelation bolster my appreciation for what occurred in Mass Effect. My want for Mass Effect 2 after reading the second book, Ascension, could not be greater. I don’t need to see trailers or hear about how the graphics engine and gameplay have been changed for the sequel; I’m invested in the fiction. That is all the hype that I need. I was an understandably easy sell, then, when I heard earlier this year that Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, a novel based on Dragon Age: Origins and written by the game’s lead writer David Gaider, would be released.
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March 21st, 2009

All indie games are 33% off on Steam this weekend, many of which have been featured here at DoSu. Pro tip: buy AudioSurf!

Wonderful video here, an obvious homage to “Where The Hell Is Matt?“. It’s hard to believe that it has been ten years since I first played EverQuest. I spent about four years in that game before moving on, but it’s still the most memorable gaming time I’ve had, and I came out of it with many friends with whom I still play games to this day.

Lots of new info and some in-game footage of Alpha Protocol in this episode. It’s sounding like everything I hoped it would be: like Mass Effect, but with spies!

Speaking of Mass Effect, it looks like PC will be getting the sequel at the same time as the Xbox 360 this time around. In 2010.

Dude, yes!

March 7th, 2009

GameTap is going through some major changes, mostly for the better from what I’ve gleaned from these blog posts. The GameTap client can serve as something of a hurdle for people. The ability to use shortcuts or launch from a website will make things much more accessible.

As for the changes, the main link above will give you a high-level description of what will be happening. These supplementary links are to blog posts that give more specific information on how games will download and play, what will happen to your current save states, and new subscription plans. Pay special attention to the subscription post if you’re a current or potential subscriber. I recommend signing up, as I have, for the $60 annual billing so that you lock your account in before the deadline.

I’ve always been more of a Quake man, but I can definitely appreciate what Unreal Tournament has brought to the table. Partly due to its sub-par server browser and interface but mostly due to its lack of a playerbase, I haven’t been able to get into UT3. That all seems to be fixed with Patch 4 and the Titan Pack. They both fix, change, and add a ton of stuff — maybe even an ass-ton. Check the link and decide for yourself. Also check out the new Betrayal mode. It takes one of my favorite things in the world – Instagib – and puts a fun twist on it.

I’ve found that reading these novel tie-ins greatly enhances my experience with the video games. For example, reading Mass Effect: Revelation before playing Mass Effect made me very familiar with the races and key locations in the galaxy, as well as some backstory on the antagonist’s agenda. I also have a greater appreciation for the Halo universe since reading The Fall of Reach. For these reasons, and the reasons mentioned earlier this week, I’m excited to get this Dragon Age fiction into my hands and then into my brain.

It’s about time. For a while there it seemed like EA didn’t want my money, what with the way they didn’t put Burnout on Steam.