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Let's Game!

Omar: I'll do what I can to help y'all. But, the game's out there, and it's play or get played. That simple.

Dennis 'Cutty' Wise: The game done changed...
Slim Charles: Game's the same, just got more fierce.

The FOD Scheduler, Timezones, and Live Status

The Evolution of Evolve –– Part 1: Asymmetric Multiplayer Design & Big Alpha

October 28, 2014
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Adam Sessler interviews Evolve devs.  Part 1.  Go Turtle Rock!  Masters of Asymmetric MP!

Shut up and take my money.

Not So Sneaky Move, Sis!

October 27, 2014

For those of you on the fence about getting the additional One for your living room, or an extra for your bedroom, wait a couple of days. As of November 2nd until the beginning of January, the One Bundles(!) will be $349. Isn’t that the same price as the 360 right now, at least at some of the stores!? For the One, it is a good deal whether you like the hardware or not. Does this mean early adopters are screwed? Not at all. We all bought knowing the risks, 1) that hardware hasn’t been tested and it might have to go through some iterations before all the kinks are worked out – fortunately, it looks like there are none (Kenny was right), 2) bundles will be made and prices may even drop. Both happened. Had we waited until now, 4GN could buy 4 for the price of three and have two handfuls of games to go with them, plus $100! Shoot! Still, it is what it is. Early adopters pay for the thrill of owning the cool new thing.

A brief analysis of the move is that this is what I said they should do back in February. Offer the non-Kinect, price reduced version, and pull their pants back up to their knees at least. It is a smart bluff on Microsoft’s part. I say “bluff” because if Sony decides they want to match MS’s prices, Sony won’t be able to keep PS4s on the shelf for the second Christmas in a row, even without a pack in game. Were I running Sony, dropping the price is exactly what I would do. Slam that door! What is 50 bucks on a console, when it gets you into living rooms where a single downloaded HD movie costs 24.99? Not to mention the subscription fees to any of the other tens of services they offer. That is why it is a complete no-brainer for MS to offer this deal in the first place. I hope Sony’s hubris and short-sightedness keeps them from price matching, and that MS sells everything they have on store shelves, and everything they can ship through the holidays. I want gamers to play against in my MPvs adventures – populate those lobbies.  Game Informer also has their own analysis (which I didn’t read until after writing this).  Basically, gamers win.

And, I am going to just add this.  I was wrong about Brink and have often admitted such.  But I was bang on regarding the negative impact of the Kinect, the unbundling, and the price drops.  I called that shit in private and in public from before launch until March of this year.  What feels good about being right is that it is still early enough for Microsoft to build a healthy install base regardless of losing this gen’s rights to the number one title.  This is one of the few options left for them to do so.

By the way, Sunset Overdrive is getting solid reviews. It is Insomniac going back to what they do best, colorful, humorous, platform-shooter fun where wacky guns are appropriate. Even if fifty bucks seems high, that price shared between friends isn’t.

Sunset Overdrive is not the best game I’ve played on Xbox One, it’s the best game I’ve played all year. From start to as finished as an open world game can get, the game keeps you engaged, dangles carrots enough to keep you motivated, and injects such a fulfillment of power fantasy that the game sticks with you. Sunset Overdrive energizes, and proves that giving an extremely talented studio like Insomniac the trust and funds to do what they creatively envision on a new IP is a huge bet, but one that Microsoft saw value in. This bet pays off in the best way imaginable.  Examiner

Outside of the mission monotony, Sunset Overdrive is an immensely rewarding experience that has a look and style all its own and a great gameplay package to complement it. It’s a colorful return to form for Insomniac games, and a hell of an exclusive for Xbox One.
Game Informer

 

Quantum Break 16 Minutes of Gameplay

October 25, 2014
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You know, what they really need to do is allow you to replay the sequence from the perspective of the enemies, so that you can see how bad ass you are as you disappear and then reappear on their flank, taking them out. Anyway, the game looks very Remedy.

Gears of War To Return to Darker Themes?

October 23, 2014
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Rod Fergusson tweeted a short article on IGN, where he and Phil Spencer discuss the next iteration of the Gears of War series. You can find the whole article here .

Here are some snip-its I found interesting/promising:

In the beginning, Spencer loved the “epic scale, the settings that I was in, the massive destruction moments. It was more what I would call soulful and maybe even a little dark.” The Head of Xbox told IGN that, in discussions with Rod Fergusson, who’s in charge of Gears of War at Black Tusk Studios, he’s talked about Gears of War becoming “a parody of itself” over time. “Not for any horrible reasons,” but because managing success over time is challenging.

“I think we can continue, but we also have a new team. Rod’s there to really help with the continuity. We can really invest in this thing for the next decade, which is how I want to think about it.”

Darker themes is one of the things that made the original Gears stand out so much. I believe Spencer’s insight is also very true regarding the series becoming a parody of itself.

So far, Spencer and the new GOW both seem promising.

You Haven’t Aged a Day!

October 22, 2014

I cannot think of a movie that has aged as well as this.

And for those of you who embrace your Kinect, you may as well get the one piece, yes, the single piece of software for which it is instrumental (no pun intended) as a game peripheral. Fantasia: Combat Music Evolved. It is getting solid reviews, including glowing praise from PA.

The Stranded 5Th Anniversary

October 21, 2014

funny-memes

Yesterday marked five years since I made an account on WordPress and wrote my first post here.  Fittingly, it was on pinball.  Within a couple of weeks, a bunch of us were hangin’ out here, waiting with open arms to welcome the Charger, the Spitter, and the “I’m weiner-ed!” Jockey in the L4D sequel. 

Lots has happened since then.  Gears of War Three was released to much hype and expectation, and by Christmas, only two months later, no one was playing it except for Kenny and Zender.  I guess that single dedicated server in CliffyB’s closet wasn’t the panel van of candy he was hoping for. 

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 took everyone by surprise, especially me.  I thought the Frostbite engine with its cel-shading effect was ugly, until I played the demo (with paddles unlocked).  I ended up playing that demo more than I have played most of the games on my shelf.  The game proper came shortly after, and even with the stink of EA’s “VIP Pass”, most of us continued to play it.  Indeed, one of my all time favorite gaming memories is playing BF:BC2 and running up the jungle road on Laguna Presa with ELEVEN other green and blue nametags flashing above the soldiers’ heads, all of whom were friends. Such an epic moment in Stranded gaming.

Since then, I wrote my piece on the Gamer Appeal Profile, something I am still proud of and completely convinced of its relevance to getting and keeping gamers playing a single title. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is the most recent example of wide-appeal design. Even a gamer with a greatly impoverished sense of humor and gaming skills can have fun.

Some other great moments here include Blankman’s trips to Comic Con and E3 and his holding Rod Eff up to the flames of accountability.

Grymm’s output has slowed of late, but he has also kept us entertained with his videos and music.

And, of course, there was a wedding, in fact, there were two. But facebook stole most of that thunder, as it continues to do with most events, including the addition of a very short person this past year.

(I don’t say that bitterly. The benefits of not being on facebook so outweigh the good that could ever come of “being networked”, it is a price I am and will be willing to pay daily for the rest of my life. It reminds me of the scene in Band of Brothers when the old man interviewed says 50 years after the fact, “I still wake up glad I am not in the (frozen) forests of Bastogne”.)

Over the years, there have been many epic posts and comments, but the one I remember best is from Kenai in response to the announcement of the Vietnam Expansion for BC2:

Oh…. We ARE buying these maps!
I play like… 4 games
BC2, Reach, Gears and Left 4 Dead.
I BUY maps. I just do.

Every time the boys and I are tottering on the fence about a game related purchase, someone says, “I buy maps. I just do.” That, or they start using “Kenny Math”, “I had a coupon, and two gift certificates, so it only cost me 6 dollars!”

Just this weekend, Cornie started listing the number of games 2GN has already bought on their Ones. A few more and it will be in the double digits. Not bad for a crew that didn’t plan on buying more than two or three games a year.

The new consoles finally came out. With the latest update, the One OS is finally nearing the place where the 360 left off. Admittedly, things can get crazy (good) from here on out because of the foundational architecture. Remember Apple abandoning OS9 and changing to NeXT with OSX? 12 years and they haven’t looked back once.

I do have a single concern about this Next Gen, however. With the flood of new games, and all the non-gaming options available, are the communities going to be large enough to support the plethora of MPvs lobbies? Seriously, for those who think the 100+ maps for the Master Chief Collection is going to be awesome, you might want to be sure that you have another 7 friends buying the game. Halo games have never had bots…only quitters. LOL (sorry, I couldn’t resist). On the other hand, if you have a crew to play with, set up the private lobbies and don’t come out till The Division is released.

There have been some disappointments. In fact, there have been so many, that I am no longer the angry gamer I once was (NextGen Hardware rants aside).

Caveat emptor and all that.

Still, after what Gearbox, Overkill, and Splash Damage did to A:CM, Payday 2, and Brink, respectively, I suspect I won’t be buying any more games from those specific “developers”.

AT the other end of the spectrum there is Diablo 3, and while that may hold more sway for some than others, there is no denying the longevity of that polished gem. I am genuinely happy for Blankman because it is a system seller. It is literally worth the price of the One for just that game. (I was wishing BF4 would have been that for me.)

For movies, there really hasn’t been anything in the last five years that made me want to buy a DVD, but in TV, we saw AMC’s Breaking Bad. There was a rumor started this weekend that a Sixth Season was in the works, and what surprised me was my willingness to change the ending of the 5th in my head so that a 6th would actually be possible. So great was my desire to see Jesse and Walt again. (The rumor was ridiculous to begin with, but was also immediately nuked, from orbit, just to be sure.)

What will the next five years bring? Well, certainly graduation for a number of our children. It may even bring some more weddings, and/or children! It only takes an instant to fall in love, and it only takes nine months to have a bouncing baby boy or girl!

As for games, there are some really shiny prospects: The Division, Rainbow Six:Siege, and Evolve to name the soonish ones. Halo 5 might deliver as might Gears of War Four. 343 has proven that fans can make a better product than the original creators.

Tonight, we did our part to let Microsoft know that they want to support digital pre-order downloading. Sunset Overdrive is pre-installed on two of our machines, ready to be played as soon as it is unlocked. The day J&T leave for Canada, C is having a friend over and they are gonna play all night. For those who liked Tony Hawk games, it seems like a no brainer.

Here’s to an even better five more years! Catch you in the party!

The Marcus Fenix Collection Rumor

October 18, 2014
by

Marcus Fenix Tweet
As someone pointed out in Skype chat last night, GoW:Judgment won’t make it to the party because Marcus wasn’t in it, which is too bad because the campaign was a lot of fun and Overrun is a great gametype. Having said that, being able to play Gears One on dedicated servers has me smiling. If no one has to host, we can play 4v4 house rules and enjoy the shenanigans. I would also like to see the Gears Two Dark Corners Map Pack that I was never able to download due to region blocking, which some said were the best Gears MP maps ever made. I am curious about the details for this. And the details for Gears 4 – specifically, will they bring back the Locusts? For the Marcus Fenix Collection, which version of each game will be included – before or after the stun grenade was nerfed etc. etc.? Will Black Tusk Studios take some liberties of their own with the tweaking? Even if we could just play Gears One weapons/movement etc. on all maps. I’m sure BTS won’t do anything like that because they don’t want to open that can of worms. Once they touch any of it, people will hound them to death to continue patching it. As is, but prettier, without disc swapping, and with non-player servers. That’s ok too, though.

Via EvAv.

OT And in other Monsters Under The Bed news, here is a look at the Savage Goliath that comes with pre-orders of Evolve.

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