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:


December 9th, 2009

Tesla towers are neatThe Tower Defense genre is regarded by many gamers as a grotesque derivation of the Real-Time Strategy genre; a genre replete with common contributions unworthy of attention. They’re right, of course — there are a lot of bad Tower Defense games. Hidden Path Entertainment’s Defense Grid: The Awakening, however, represents the genre’s potential.

There’s an archetype that Tower Defense games adhere to, and Defense Grid is no exception. Waves of enemy units travel unimpeded along a path until players build towers to suppress them. Strategy is called for by the stipulation that, while towers can be built to redirect the enemy’s path (“mazing,” colloquially), towers can’t outright block the enemy’s path. Both units and towers have their respective strengths and weaknesses, so tower selection matters as much as tower placement.
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November 6th, 2009

My Cup Runneth Over by Flickr user kmevansI commonly experience flashes of euphoria for which I have no account. What I’ve felt over the last several weeks, however, is something different. It’s a sustained state of contentment — something that I can account for. It’s a feeling of fullness, and it’s because of video games.

I am full because of Brutal Legend. This game was almost perfect, from its story, its humor, and Jack Black’s performance, to its RTS and driving systems, and even its side missions — but I did say almost. The rate at which new Solos unlocked disappointed me; I think it was poor design to have four at the beginning, four at the end, but none in the middle. Still, I loved this game. I bought it on release day, and I finished all the missions by the end of the next. I never do that.

I am full because of Defense Grid: The Awakening. Tower Defense is a genre that gets a lot of flack — and it’s true, there are a lot of bad games out there — but if there’s a game that the skeptics should play, it’s Defense Grid. Its difficulty curve is fair, and its challenge modes suit it for repeat play. It even has character, an uncharacteristic attribute for a Tower Defense game that isn’t based on a license.
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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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July 11th, 2009

I am ambivalent to this bit of news. It would be unfortunate if Microsoft decides not to bring Alan Wake to PC, but I can’t say that I would be surprised. Very little concerning Alan Wake’s very existence was anywhere near set in stone until this year’s E3, after all.

No, wait. Come back; this is a top 10 list that isn’t terrible.

I got a big kick out of this article. Enjoy.

June 20th, 2009

Ooh! fanboy fodder! Really, though, this is a good thing. Activision won’t seriously ever stop supporting Sony consoles. This is actually one of the least-evil things they’ve done or said lately. It’s a fact that the Playstation 3 is too expensive. Most gamers agree, most of the press agrees, and the sales numbers of multiplatform games make developers inclined to agree. Any other day I’d be jumping at the chance to hate on Activision, but as a person who wants to play some PS3 games, but doesn’t have a PS3, they’re right; that machine’s too expensive.

It’s going to be great when we no longer need to ask questions like this.

Yes, you read it right. The Ghostbusters developers didn’t include multiplayer in the PC version so that they could make the console versions better. Meaning the Xbox 360 version, apparently, since the Playstation 3 version renders at a lower resolution and has lower resolution textures. To be fair, the PC version is $30 instead of $50, but I’d rather have more co-op and less $20.