30Dec 12Hey guys welcome back to my review of 2012. Sorry about the delay in making this blog I was distracted by Christmas, my bad. Anyway last time out I talked about how slow the start of the year was for gaming. But I forgot to mention the best thing that happened in March: the Welsh rugby team winning the grand slam for the third time in 7 years. But that has nothing to do with gaming so lets move on.
April is a bit of a confusing month. There were a lot of good releases but none that really stood out. Prototype 2 was April's top seller. An open world action game, Prototype 2 has you play as a new protagonist as you attempt to stop a second Mercer virus outbreak and the evil plot that comes with it. While it was very well received by critics, Prototype 2 didn't gain huge popularity with a broad commercial audience (as stated by publisher Activision) which resulted in Radical entertainment, the games creator, suffering job losses. Tribes Ascend and Blacklight retribution were the years first major free to play games of 2012. Tribes offered a high speed multiplayer experience whereas blacklight gave a more traditional multiplayer experience; both at the low price of £0.00 (Although tribes does offer experience boosts and early unlocks at a cost). Indie game Legends of Grimrock showed us what RPGs are missing today as it gained success using old school mechanics. Other notable releases included Trail: Evolution, a favourite of the gamespot staff, the darkness 2, a very well received sequel which was let down by a short campaign length and a lacklustre multiplayer, and the first episode of the walking dead, a game I'll talk more about in a latter blog. Then there was Kinect Star wars; which I like to think was a warning that Lucas arts were planning on selling the franchise to song and dance loving disney. Otherwise it won't be mentioned again.
May, what can I say about May. We were another month closer to finding out how the awful the opening ceremony of the London Olympics would be, surprisingly good as it turns out, another American pie film graced our cinema screens, this time starring the original cast, and Blizzard finally released Diablo 3. Yes for the second time in as many years Blizzard released a game that wasnt Warcraft related, with the diablo series being the lucky recipient this time out. After being announced four years ago and spending a whopping 11 years in development (that's long even by R* standards) Diablo 3 became one of the most anticipated Pc games of all time as it broke many pre-order records and claimed the record for fastest selling Pc game of all time; selling 3.5 million copies in just one day. The game also received a lot of positive reviews and looked set to oust Skyrim from its throne. So why didnt it?
Three words: Always online DRM. This little feature came under criticism after it was found out that an online connection was required even for the single player campaign. While its nice to know that publishers are doing all they can to fight piracy, it wasn't nice for fans to find out they would not be issued refunds if they were unable to play the game for any reason. This coupled with lag in the campaign, a glitch with the Templars shield, and online PvP not yet being implemented ruined what should've been an amazing experience; especially after having to wait all those years. But for those who dont play Pc games; Dragons dogma offered a great fantasy RPG adventure, great combat, and some marvellous boss battles. Ghost recon: future soldier and Max Payne 3 offered a less fantasy-related experience; with the latter being the better received game.
With June came the biggest gaming event of the year: E3 2012. The show which promises to show us what to expect from the industry in the near future, most of the pre-event talk was about how we were going to be showered in news about the next generation of consoles. While Nintendo gladly spent time showing off the Wii U, it looked like Sony and Microsoft didn't get the memo. They decided to talk about their gimmicks instead. Although they did show us some interesting games being released in 2013: The last of us, Devil may Cry, crysis 3, Dead Space 3, Injustice: Gods Among Us. Looking away from the future and more to the present Junes releases weren't spectacular. Sins of a solar empire: rebellion was an expansion which brought many improvements but didn't add the campaign which most fans were screaming for. Lollipop chainsaw was a typical hack and slash with a half-naked teenager on the box art. Spec ops: the line provided a chilling story but lacked the better gameplay offered by other third person shooters.
July had a console release of Risen2: Dark water, an XBL release of spelunky, and a sequel for indie game orcs muct die! that game one of the Yogscast members made a video series for. Otherwise July wasn't full of inspiring games at all. Which brings me to the end of the blog. Now I did plan for this to be a three part blog series, but after looking at the games released between October and December alone I realised that its going to be impossible without it being a boring read. Anyway thanks again for reading and I'll see you for the next instalment.
22Dec 12Hey there people and welcome to another one of my blogs. Seeing as its nearly the end of the year I've decided I should probably knuckle down and write my thoughts of 2012. First of I'd like to start by saying Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all and I hope that the New Year will be an amazing year for all of you.
Now I found 2012 to be a year that took a while to get started. To be fair I think a lot of gamers were still in skyrim fever until the end of January, I know I was, so any major releases would've probably have had a Fus ro dah to the knee from consumers (that was the on-going skyrim joke, right) anyway it wasn't until February that we saw the first contender for skyrims throne: Kingdoms of Amalur. While it had good gameplay its world was not as gripping as skyrims. More sadly its developer, 38 studios, went bankrupt only three months later. This was only the start of the doom and gloom.
As we arrived in March, so did mass effect 3. A game which promised gamers a thrilling conclusion to Shepards trilogy, that every in-game decision made would affect the games numerous outcomes, and so on. But this contender turned out to be a false pretender. From my experience of the game it had great gameplay and its story started off well, but it soon became long winded. The online was fun at first but then it got very repetitive, making me wonder if ME 3 really needed an online mode. Overall I thought it was a good game; it made improvements from its predecessor but it also took a few steps back. But thats just my opinion and the gaming community definitely had a different one. As it happened ME 3s ending was the most controversial subject of the gaming year; as Im sure most of you remember. Most who played the game found the three ending to be very similar and none of them made true the promises made by Bioware. Most importantly the endings lacked proper closure for the player. This sparked fan outrage unlike anything Ive ever seen and caused Bioware to release a free dlc which expanded on the three endings. But the damage was done and ME 3 will always be remembered for the amount of controversy it caused.
Mass effect 3 was not the only game to disappoint. Both Silent Hill: downpour and RE: operation racoon city received mixed to negative reviews. Neither game, both of which were the latest instalments of successful horror series, was able to scare gamers enough to keep their thoughts away from the ME 3 scandal. TW: Shogun 2: fall of the samurai and Tekken X Street Fighter fared much better; but a surprise package was able to take the gaming world by storm: Journey. Made by thatgamecompany, Journey stole the hearts of gamers by taking them on a spiritual adventure of the senses; if that makes sense. Rather than use recognised gameplay; Journey used landscapes, music, and the sense of wonder to craft a unique and fascinating experience for players. I believe that journeys biggest achievement, however, was showing us that unique ideas can create prosperous gameplay and that moving away from the norm can be a fruitful endeavour. For these reasons Journey proved to be the standout game of the beginning of 2012 and definitely the most serious contender for GOTY.
And that concludes part 1 of my end of year blog. The next instalment will take us from April through till July or August. I have more things to talk about in the next blog, not just games, anyways thank you for reading and see you for part 2.
17Nov 12Hey people it's been a long time since I blogged, or spent any proper time on this website, so I just thought I'd let you know why I haven't posted on pretty much anything lately. It all started a few weeks ago when I started to get bored of using gamespot. After spending a few months on the forums I started to realize that the threads all followed a similar pattern, with a few exceptions, Start select was all but cancelled and its replacement, feedbackzilla, hasn't really appealed to me, my blog series never took off, I stopped playing minecraft a few days after deciding to start it and I couldn't find a way to make reading a guide very interesting or entertaining, and the unions which I was a part of started to become barren except the UEU and the randomness union (which itself presented a bigger problem of having conversations that were hard to follow). The final straw which pushed me away though was fuse breaking down again. Not being able to access notifications took all the fun out of using fuse and made it pointless posting on other peoples statuses. So after all that I decided to actually do what most other people on this site do, play games. So I took a break and bought empire total war, a game I knew was going to keep me preoccupied for days on end and I devoted most of my time I'd spend on gamespot playing it instead (and trust me its been time well spent) but I still checked in every other day to see what was going on, which is when I noticed that the universal entertainment union started to get more posters, big yay, and the randomness union evolved into a truly mad and random place while sport spot remained rather empty, big nay. So this brings me to why I'm here writing this blog, because I've decided to devote more time to the UEU and to get sport spot back up and running. But its not all good news because I've decided to leave the RNU, I had a great time with you guys but I think the union has moved on and doesn't need me spamming "Vote for me" anymore.
I've also decided not to write the minecraft blog series but I have decided to spend my time writing a different kind of series. What is it you ask? well I'm not going to say but I will tell you that it has a lot to do with TES 4 but will not only contain content from that game... confusing right.
Anyways hope you enjoyed that read, sorry for the bad grammar and if you have any thoughts please write them below. See you guys around
17Sep 12Hi there, pretty much I'm writing this blog cause there are a few things I thought I should let you guys know about and I have a few questions as well. So with out wasting too much of your gaming time lets get started.
The first thing I thought I should bring up is my site activity. I'm starting my second year of uni in two weeks time, finally, which means I'll be spending a lot less time on here starting from this week (I have to get things sorted ready and get some practice in for the practical part of my course). For the most part I can't see my fuse and union activity to be affected too much, I'm not the most active person when it comes to those, but I'll definitely be spending a lot less time on the fuse chat. I might be over reacting but I thought I should say just in case.
Second thing is warcraft 3 and Kotor have been playing me up lately. A few weeks ago my laptop crashed and the only thing that was missing was Kotor. After redownloading it and not playing it for a while I tried it again last night. This morning when I turned my laptop on I had to restore it again because it apparently crashed. Now I'm not saying Kotor was the cause, but its looking like the most likely culprit, which is really annoying because I have barely gotten into the game, in fact I'm pretty sure most of the three hours of gametime was spent talking. Anyway what I actually want to know is would steam give me a refund, or atleast let me re-sell them the game for some of my money back? Warcraft 3 on the other hand won't load up any campaign levels, they just go to a blank screen. I haven't really looked into this problem because I'm bored of actually bored of warcraft and this kotor thing is bugging me a lot more. But if you had this problem on warcraft, or the same problem on a different game, and managed to fix it please post a comment and let me know, it would be much appreciated.
The final thing I wanted to bring up is that I'm planning on starting a blog series. I, rather remarkably, managed to get featured on chalk talk and its left me with an appetite to write a lot more. I would carry on writing for chalk talk but its hard to get featured more then once and I don't get to choose the topic I write about. So for now I'm going to chalk talk aside and maybe come back to it in a few month and move on with my own blog series. Now I've come up with two ideas. The first is a review of the Cardiff blues (rugby team) performance from their last outing. It would be a weekly blog, unless I'm unable to watch the game, and is one I'd really want to do so long as somebody would read it. The other Idea I had was a minecraft technic pack tutorial . The tutorial would just involve me explaining how each new item included in the mod pack works, how to set them up, etc. My only problem with writing a tutorial is that the internet is flooded with them, albeit not a lot of very good ones, and I'd be shocked if their wasn't someone else on gamespot who's already made a bunch of them. But its really up to you guys what I write about, so please let me know what blog you'd prefer to see, or if you have a better idea then either of these please let me know, and if you'd rather me not fill this site full of my bad writing and spelling leave a link to a picture of a cow in the comments.
Anyway thanks for reading
31Aug 12As a child I always viewed myself as a competitive gamer. I would stay up at night thinking of tactics to win at Warcraft 3. I would be constantly chopping and changing my Pokemon line-up to get the most versatile fighting team. Id fight dozens of matches on Street Fighter and Tekken to find the characters who suited my style the best. All this training came with one intention, to be the best gamer out of my friends. This competitive spirit also acted as fuel for my dream: to be a professional gamer. I wanted gaming to be my breadbasket. I would compete at multiple tournaments, each a different game and come out on top. I wanted the crowds to roar my name in excitement and for my competitors to whisper it in envy. I would be a gaming celebrity, with a grand lifestyle to go with it.
But that was just a dream. As I grew older my gaming style became more relaxed. I would choose to play more non-competitive single player game. I opted for games which offered a vast open ended world; filled with lore and adventure. Along with this came a new drive for me to get top grades at school, which left me with a lot less time to spend gaming. In the end my dream of becoming a professional gamer died and was replaced by a more realistic and achievable life goals. But I cant help but wonder how real could my dream have been. What life could I expect if I packed in and tried to go pro? What are the truths behind the myths surrounding the professional game?
The first thing I came across was that the lavish lifestyle was exaggerated. A professional gamers lifestyle is more akin to that of athletes. They spend weeks at a time in training, honing their skills to be best prepared for any competitive situation. They are expected to prove themselves at lesser meets to earn the right to compete at the top end of competitions. This expectation also comes with a tough training regime. A professional gamer will spend most of their days playing dozens of competitive matches. Analysing replays to look for and improve upon any weaknesses in their game. Winning soon becomes less important than losing, as winning does not offer the same information as losing does. The fun of gaming soon becomes a harsh routine.
But what did these games have to show for their efforts. For a while after I lost my competitive spirit I thought that pro-gaming was a lost cause. I believed that not only would society label them an outcast, but also the gaming community viewed them as arrogant. Most importantly I thought they did not receive any recognition for their efforts. But those were just misguided assumptions. Major tournaments like the MLG are televised all over the world on streaming and games websites. Youtube celebrities such as totalbiscuit made their name by competing in starcraft tournaments. Youtube itself has allowed individual members of the gaming community to show off their own PvP skills. All of these assure me that competitive gamers do receive credit for their efforts. They arent the celebrities which I thought they would be, but at least they have the chance to earn the respect or envy of the community.
All in all, my dream was very different to reality. The more I look into the topic, the more I get put off. Professional gaming is a hard lifestyle. To get to the top you have to mould yourself into a formidable opponent. You sacrifice gaming as a hobby and turn it into a deadly skill. As I child I wouldnt have comprehended this. But as I grew older I realised that nobody in life becomes good at something without working towards it, especially when money becomes involved. Finally, to round off this article, what do you think? Did you aspire to be a pro-gamer? What put you off turning your hobby into work? Do you have a whole different view altogether? Please share your thoughts below.
2Aug 12Yeah I just feel like blogging so I'm going to write about my minecraft world. I've roughly been playing minecraft for a month now, most of my time has been spent trying to conquer the technic pack. In fact other then attempting to befriend a sheep I've not touched my unmodded minecraft world since I first downloaded it. So what have I got to show off, because thats the point of minecraft: to build something amazing and gain the envy of your friends and the minecraft community. I've got nothing!!
You see it all started with my first technic world, Tazz inc. Everything was going to plan, I had the basic industrial craft set up, I'd built a quarry and had set about tearing apart the world, and I was finalysing my plans to build a huge weapons factory. But, as the saying goes "all the best laid plans o'mice an' men go astray." ( note I changed the quote so the english would make sense). One day I decided to try out the zepling and millienaire mods. To cut a long story short I built a massive airship to fly me to the nearest millienaire villiage which caaused my world to lag, heavily. Along with this two wood blocks, which I thaught were attached to the ship but weren't, obstructed my ship and wouldn't allow me to switch the airship off. In a paniking frenzy I spawned in lava to destroy these blocks but this only obstructed my ship further and blocked my path back to the controles. With little else to do I had to delete the world. I left my first world with only the thoughts that if I had recorded myself I would've had a hilarious video to put on youtube. My second world fell victim to an update which deleted all my technic items, leaving me with next to nothing and another failed world.
With my new world I decided to take a different direction. This time I'm building myself a palace as a base of operations, copied from a minecraft lab youtube video, and I will be tekking it up. The zepling Mod has been removed from the technic pack so I won't lose my world through that and maybe in a few days I might post pictures my finished tekkit palace.
Above are two articles in which EA and ubisoft both express their intentions of capitalising on the free to play market. Why not. With more and more people, especially children, starting to use smartphones and setting up accounts on social networking sites there is ample opportunities for publishers to release cheap, addictive, browser games which will keep people entertained for hours, with a small percentage even willing to pay for extra content. But is there something more sinister being planned. Below is a link to a very interesting article:
(note this article should be taken with a pinch of salt as it only gives the financial ins and outs for the last year) As you can gather, one of the biggest earners was a used games seller, so could this move to free to play be the opportunity publishers have been looking for to get their profits back from used game sellers? There are many sides to this argument so what do you think, are these companies being greedy or is it well within their rights as it was they who developed the game in the first place?
8Jul 12Bored. Bad brittish weather getting you down. Feel like you might resort to playing CALL OF DUTY. Well don't worry folks I have your miracle cure "Theme park". Yes thats right theme park, bullfrogs 1994 masterpiece. Feel the bad thoughts slip away when you take charge of building, planning, and maitaining your park. Start from the ground up or with a bit of "bovine" intervention, build the park of your dreams. So line up and get the best thing gaming-madical science has to offer. Hurry while sticks last!
Warning: Miracle cure has no medicinal benafits. Side effects may include bad graphics, frustration at park visitors walking on grass and into walls, cleaning staff circling only one park of your park, over realance on bovine cheat, and nausia and vomiting.
Yeah this is just a dig at the weather XD
25Jun 12Recently crytek, the developers of the crisis series, have announced that all games developed after crisis 3 are switching to a free to play model. To back this up crytek announced that they already started developing their first free to play game, called war. And now with EA talking about microtransductions being the future for all games, it looks like the future is set in stone. The real question is what will that future be like and will there be anything I can do to stop it? The free to play model is a very hypocritical model, mainly because its anything but free. It could be argued that there are completely free IOS and browser games, but these are games lack any substance which would allow them to be considered proper games. Instead youll have to look at games such as tribes ascend and management games found on IOS devices, e.g smurf village, restaurant story, and theme park (not bulldogs masterpiece). Without going into gameplay details, these games can be played without spending a penny. But, especially with the mobile games, they usually have a mechanic which can make them unbearable to play. Take smurf village as an example, the aim of the game is to build and manage a village full of smurfs. Buildings are constructed in real time and can take hours, possibly days, to complete. To get around this you need smurf berries, an in game item which can be purchased for real money and is used to speed up construction. Of course by speed up I mean instantly build a building. A few smurf berries cost 69P, a price of most full games, while thousands can be bought foe £60. In my opinion this is insane and I would rather pay full price for the game with instant building.
Tribes ascend gives a more accurate look at how free games could turn out. After downloading this game is fully playable, no gimmicks like limited ammo or spawns per round. Classes and weapons are all available to the player but they have to be unlocked with experience points, earned by playing the game. For the impatient gamer, however, these can be unlocked instantly by paying for them. Along with this players who make a paid transaction are granted an experience boost. So how does this game get as unbearable as smurf village, well in truth it doesnt but it can get frustrating. Theres always the chance that when you log into a game you can be the only player who hasnt paid for early unlocks and, if you are a newcomer to the game, you can easily get killed over and over which for a while will sour the experience. But this happens all the time in games like call of duty, or any other game with online multiplayer and through persevering you will soon improve and playing will become fun again.
So back to my original question if future free to play games turn out like smurf village, then I would suggest taking your pitchforks to crytek and destroying their studio before they can carry out their master plan. If future games turn out like tribes: ascend then the future will be a bit more bearable, although without a doubt nearly all free to play games will be first person shooters. What do you think, will your crystal ball show you the future of the games industry and will you let you tell me what it has shown you?? Your thoughts below please.