Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What I'm Playing?

Well, seems I've been spending a lot of my free time lately snuggling up to my Xbox 360 with one recent exception. So here's the list and my impressions:

LA. Noire (Xbox 360)

I'm to a true fan of GTA. I usually buy it, then run around doing tons of shit only to find out that I've done absolutely nothing and quit. I even tried Red Dead Redemption with the same results. If the world is an open sandbox with tons of stuff to do, I find that I never get any of the main story done, therefore, never actually finishing the game. Well, this time is going to be different.

L.A Noire is a crime solving game set in the post WW2 atmosphere of Los Angeles. Your character is a vet, who has decided the best way to server his country now is to be a be a crime stopper. You start out as a beat cop but as you solve cases, you get promoted. Currently I'm a Homicide Detective who's partner would rather be bellying up to a bar than solving a case, but you just have to cope. The game looks gorgeous and the mechanics are pretty great as well. You get to locate and shift through clues left at each crime scene. You eventually get to question possible eye witnesses as well as suspects, using the clues discovered to ferret out their correct answers.

I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys crime shows, its worth it.. And not to be over optimistic, I think I may actually finish this game, which is saying a lot since I don't think I've ever finished a game to date.

Crysis 2 (Xbox 360)

Hearing all kinds of good reviews from friends I decided to give this one a try. Usually I go straight for the multi-playing aspect of any First Person Shooter, but this time, I decided to dive into the single player since I'd heard great things. I have to say I'm really impressed. The story is a little weak and hard to follow at first, but it does start to fill in the holes as you start making your way through the game. I'm still not 100% sure what the suit is I'm wearing that gives me all this incredible power and stealth ability, but as long as keep getting to kill people, I really don't care. The game is very beautiful and the mobility of the character, which includes being able to power slide under low obstacles as well as being able to grab ledges and pull myself up, is a lot of fun.

I've dabbled with the multi player part a bit but nothing to really give an honest review about. Its similar to most other FPS online aspects already on the market. You start off with a limited number of load outs and as you level up, you get to unlock different guns, attachments and perks to your power suit. My first attempt at online play was very unsatisfactory, due to the learning curve. There apparently is a trick to using your armor boost and your stealth abilities at the right times, otherwise you get pwned like an ant under a magnifying glass. However, as you learn the strategies for each map, the online play becomes a lot more fun, unlike my first 2 hours. The real secret is getting over those first 2 hours of failure and forcing yourself to continue.

I ended up purchasing this game at Best Buy for $40.00, which is well worth the price. I can actually see myself finishing this game and from what I understand, I'm almost to the half way point after 6 hours.

Terraria (PC/Steam)

I picked this little game up for two reasons, the price, $10.00 and its a 2d version of Minecraft. Actually there is a third reason, a lot of people I follow on Twitter are also playing it. Curse you friend's lists. To say this game is addictive is an understatement. I found myself over the weekend, playing this game well into the wee hours of the A.M.

Basically, its a 2d version of minecraft. You start off with a pick and an ax. You fight slimes during the day, which provide you with ooze that is needed to create torches. At night, you fight zombies and flying eyeballs. The game play is that simple.

Its just like minecraft. I actually think in a few respects its easier and more accessible than minecraft. The game automatically gives you recipes for items once you've acquired the necessary materials, unlike minecraft where you have to do it by trial and error. As you build certain work stations, i.e work table, kiln, and anvil, it opens up more recipes. The trick is to have the right materials in your inventory. There is a lot more combat in this game, since your having to defend yourself night and day, but armor and weaponry are very easy to come by. Eventually, after you build up your shelter a bit by adding few torches, a table and a couple of chairs, you might be surprised when a merchant moves in.

The game is a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone who's been wanting to try minecraft or to even those who own it. Beware, the game is very addictive.

As a side note:

I did purchase Brink (Xbox 360). I didn't add it to the above games because well, I'm not really playing it. Upon release the game was pretty buggy and laggy. The learning curve was very steep even for average fps players, that of course is my opinion. The game doesn't seem to be able to deliver on its much anticipated hype. Yes, it has some pretty interesting game play mechanics, but Crysis 2 does a better implementation of a similar movement style.

To start with, there really is no single player game to speak of. The single player "story" is broken up into separate maps that are objective based. You can do the maps either as Security or Rebels with the same objectives. The maps or "matches" are team based and they don't really propel the story forward well at all. Single player is multi-player with bots. If the bots were decent that would be one thing, but your team mate bots are stupid and the opposing teams bots are hard as hell to crack, unless you set them on stupid. The game isn't what was promised, at least not in my eyes. Section 8: Prejudice a XBLA $15.00 game is a much better purchase and way cheaper and has objective based multi player.

The developers of Brink are trying to make things right with the community by continuing to update and patch the game to alleviate some of the issues with lag and graphic card compatibility on the PC side. My issue with all this is, why wasn't this tested before release? How can you release a game without testing the online lag or graphic card compatibility? That's just a huge misstep in my book. Its like walking out side without realizing your naked, who does that? Oh yea, crazy people.

When a person puts down $60.00 of hard earned cash, it completely destroys their confidence in developers when they can't deliver the goods. The only reason I've not traded the game in, is because I have three friends who want to at least try the multi player to see how destroyed it really is. I'm convinced that once this happens the game will be traded in a matter of hours.

And that's what I have and have not been playing.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Let your mind go blank!

Why do people buy games?

What motivates certain purchase over others, especially in the same genre?

Why buy one FPS, MMO or RTS game over another? Is it devotion? The fanboy issue where one franchise or developer is better than another?

What drives the consumer to spend hard earned cash on a $60 game?

My theory? It's mass hypnosis.

Developers want your money, whether they put out a good product or not. But how do they get players to part with cash?

First, they put a good bit of money in the commercials. Make the game look like it's going to visually rock their world. If players ask for actual game footage, well, just video a few scenes produced under controlled situations with very low lag on super computers. I mean how is a player to know differently, especially with disclaimers on the box that say "your online play may vary", meaning "we don't really know how this game will play once thousands of users log into our tiny servers, but that's not our fault that, you bought a beta, sucker."

They use post hypnotic suggestions like "stunning graphics" or "new control schemes". Maybe they say "WoW killer" and poof people are spending money and clearing shelf space.

Demos do nothing more than make us cluck like a chicken with delight. We can't possibly know what a game will be like from a 10 minute tease or a 20 level beta.

Developers have their hands in our pockets and we are so blind we can't see it. If we aren't hypnotized explain to me why 90% of the games released get a patch on the first week and we are happy about it?

"Man lag was bad till they patched it, but now I'm having a blast. I still can't access my bags or bank but I hear they are working on another patch, hope that fixes it", he says with great enthusiasm

If we bought a defective car would we be so happy about them giving us a new part 7 days after purchase? Would we return it if we found out it had 2 hamsters on a wheel instead of an engine?

I ask this, if it's not hypnosis what is it? Mass stupidity?

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What sucks?


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