Something’s changed

I don’t know what’s different this year. Is it me? Is it the industry? I can’t say one way or the other. I’m just not into E3 this year.

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This whole blog kind of started with my excitement about E3 a few years ago. But this year something is different for me. Part of it, surely, is the lack of anything that was “to be announced” or leaked previous to the event that really caught my interest. Though without fail, something cool will rear its head eventually and probably change my mind to an extent. I mean, I’m not crazy. I’m still hoping for some big reveals and some new info on stuff like Insomniac’s Spider-Man and GoW4.

Though, like I said, I don’t think I can put my finger on any one specific cause – I think I can pick one biggie out. The proliferation of gaming media. Now we don’t have to wait for E3 for announcements and reveals. They’re happening all year long. Most of the stuff we see at E3 now, save for the occasional big reveal, surprise, etc – we already know about it months in advance. Take Assassin’s Creed: Origins, for example. We knew last year there wasn’t going to be a new entry in the Assassin’s Creed series. But I think we could say for certainty that Ubisoft wasn’t going to be holding off for more than a year. And, aside from that, the game had leaked images weeks ago. Far Cry 5 too. Hell, EB Games and Bestbuy both e-mailed me about how “Far Cry comes to America” last week.

Now, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that we get updates on great games and developers all of the time. But it’s kind of like how Christmas changes from when you’re a kid to an adult. All year you wait desperately for that day and then when it comes, you just tear through presents like it’s the last time you’ll get to do it. But as you get older, at least in my case, I tend to just buy the things I want when I want them. So when Christmas comes around, there may be a few cool things under that tree for me – but most of what I wanted, I already have.

It’s a weird transitional phase for me to go through – both personally and professionally (well, at least in terms of this blog because no one is paying me to do it…yet). I want to get jacked up. I want to do like I always did and go and tell the person next to me about how amazing the Bethesda conference was and how excited I am about the reveal of X game. And, of course, to take advantage of all of the amazing pre-order deals out there (though again, this may play into my lack of excitement as a part of my no pre-order pact I made with myself). I just can’t find anything within myself that’s telling me that I need to obsessively pour over everything that’s going on and dissect the minutia of every reveal.

Of course, I’m still going to follow stuff, and I think I’ve already shown that I am. Much like Christmas though, I’m afraid I’ve lost the vigor for it. That being said, it’s possible that this year is an outlier. It definitely didn’t help going into E3 that I knew I wouldn’t see a lot of what I hoped to see. Nothing big from Bethesda (Elder Scrolls, Fallout wise), no Kingdom Hearts release date, etc.

But I’m excited to see everyone’s offerings. So far I like what Bioware is doing with Anthem.

Who knows – as the conference goes on, I may change my tune. The hype train may just roll through this station after all. Forgive the tired cliché, I haven’t written in a while and I’m feeling a little rusty.

All I will say is: If this is what growing up is, I don’t like it.

– The Ego

 

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No More Pre-Orders

My last thoughts, in what has turned out to be an impromptu three-part exposé on the release of unfinished games, turn my attention to the way that we shop for our games.

I am going to come off a bit hypocritical to some who have read this blog for a long time, and more so to those who know me personally. But I’ll say this in my defense: Over time, we all learn and either choose to adapt or continue in our own stasis. The reason for my hypocrisy is that I have been the biggest culprit of the pre-order. In the last few years I’ve been known to pre-order 20+ games during the E3 sales either to accrue extra points or receive steep discounts.

Now this is what I’ll say: I have learned, recently, that pre-ordering is just doing us a disservice. I mean, getting a game day 1 at a discount is great. In theory. In practice, what it means for us as gamers is that we’re adding to the companies bottom line and their brag-rights. Huge titles are almost always going to receive massive day one sales numbers. Why? Because most of us pre-order. Whether to get that discount, some knick-knack or some kind of digital chocolate chip cookie that they entice us with. In time, I have pre-ordered for every one of those reasons.

But what we’re seeing now is games coming out to repudiation of what should be consistent values among us gamers. Expectations of quality are not being met. Instead we’re getting games that become memes and that’s all they end up being known for. But the companies making these games are still seeing mass profits, ignoring user sentiment, and continuing with practices unchanged.

Now last week, I said: what can we do? And I didn’t have an answer then. But I have the semblance of one now. We need to stop pre-ordering games. This isn’t the only thing we can do, and it may not even be the best thing we can do, but I think it’s a good start.

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Look at the boast here. Now, CD Projekt Red and The Witcher are examples to the contrary of what I’ve been discussing lately, but I use the image to make a point. If games are getting a million pre-orders, then it doesn’t really matter what they end up releasing. Because even if it’s bad – if even half of those pre-orders go through as full sales – the company has already made back (a substantial portion at least) it’s initial investment. Meaning, they only see black in the books and whether or not it’s a good game is irrelevant. Companies like Ubisoft seem to be ignoring their user base on titles like For Honor, despite massive boycotts and protests like the one on April 3rd. For a company, I’m sure the comfort of seeing the numbers in the black is huge. And the concerns of fans can be brought up during the PR and marketing campaign for the (pretty much inevitable) sequel.

By avoiding pre-orders and trying to have a wait and see attitude towards all new releases, companies putting out games that are unfinished or inferior will have to take a step back and look at those red numbers for a while longer. And this can only serve to benefit us as the end users. A) We will (hopefully) start to see a change in the way games are released and B) by the time we get around to buying the games they will end up being around the price (in some cases and in others possibly lower) than what the discount we would have seen from a pre-order anyway.

If this post tickled you in all the right places, I fully recommend checking out this article I read on Polygon, that struck me as relevant to the discussion.

As always, let me know what you think in the comments below, or check me out and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

From my time

As a sort of indirect follow up to my last posting regarding unfinished games, I wanted to give a bit of professional perspective to things.

Now, one of the big complaints about a lot of games these days is the lack of QA. Now, for those of you not in the know, QA is Quality Assurance. Every game goes through different levels of QA testing. Be it compliance (making sure that the release meets the standards of the specific platform Sony, Microsoft, etc), localisation (compliant with language standards of the region it’s being released in) and functionality (making sure, you know, that the game works and all).

I used to do QA testing for a living. And before people start getting all “wow playing video games for a living? AWESOME!” It’s not as cushy as it sounds. Don’t get me wrong, the company I worked for is definitely my favourite that I’ve worked for to date, but there is a lot to be said for the actual job. I’m not going to get into this now. If you want to know more, I’m happy to answer questions in comments or you can e-mail (theegogames@gmail.com) or tweet me.

What I want to focus on is how some of the issues we’re seeing become predominant in gaming arise.

The biggest issue, at least in my opinion: not enough time. The last big project I worked on was a AAA title for the PS3. Now, this game was a sequel and what I can tell you is that the original time from from start to release was approximately two years. The development cycle for the game I worked on: Nine months…Now, there are some things to take for granted like the fact that an engine doesn’t need to be developed for the game the second time around. But, where as the first game had a little over a year for testing/development, this one didn’t have anywhere near that kind of time. This one had about six months. Now, as a tester, you’re expected to find tens of thousands of bugs over the course of the project. Which, given how many builds a game goes through, isn’t really a challenge. But it is a challenge for the devs to be able to fix everything. There comes a time in a project, especially when they are rushed, that choices have to be made to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to fix said issue. Now, there are going to be a lot of small things that your average player won’t run into, the issue is when those things you don’t have time for, end up in the forefront. Like it did in AC: Unity, ME: Andromeda, etc.

The other big issue I ran into was devs butting heads with testers. Like any time you’re dealing with other people, you’re going to have clashes over decisions. For me, I can remember a series of what I considered extremely obvious bugs (one being a game breaker if you play like me) just being flat out denied (ignored too, but consciously) by the devs. I had to watch one of them play out during an E3 demo. There seems to be some level of animosity between the two stations, with the devs often feeling superior due to their more “prestigious” placement in the scheme of things. Sometimes the end result of a bug going un-dealt with is simply a matter of opinion or (sometimes) pig-headedness. One such instance I faced, having a background in writing/editing, I pointed out and corrected a number of text issues (grammar, spelling, etc) where rather than just copy/pasting my corrections (as emphasised by my supervisor and the functionality manager of the company) they chose instead to leave the mistakes in place.

Well, that’s a small glimpse behind the curtain and a bit of my experience. It definitely doesn’t answer all of the questions, but I hope it sheds a little light on things.

– The Ego

So, this is it then?

Say what you will about old games and the improvements in technology that the gaming industry has made over the last decade or so, but one thing seems to be turning into a constant: we are waiting for months after release for “finished games”.

Now, I don’t mean episodic games. I’m talking about release a full priced, AAA (often) game that comes out and is either missing a chunk of the story that was pulled to be included as DLC or games that just didn’t get the polish they deserved.

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As an aside, I don’t have a problem with DLC as a concept. Because, I’m sure most of you have been gaming long enough to remember, DLC used to be something to extend the life of a game. When fans were clamouring for more after the ending, sometimes they’d get a smaller nugget as DLC, like Bioshock’s Burial At Sea. Now, DLC is used to fill in purposely created gaps in a lot of narratives to be able to get a little extra on top of the title price.

I could probably fill up a Simpsons/Family Guy rolling credits list of games that would make a list of the kind of games I would describe, but for the sake of your eyes and my fingers, I’ll pass for now.

But let’s look at some of the major offenders here:

No Man’s Sky: This game is going to forever live in infamy. Released actually unfinished. The game lacked the lion’s share of features that the developers had touted. It received a recent update, seven months (approximately) after initial release and we’re just starting to get (what I feel) is close to what the game’s original concept was meant to include.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Can’t say I made the wrong choice in cancelling my pre-order here. The thing that makes this a real debacle is that BioWare is one of those studios who I feel (and I’m sure many would agree) was great because they showed serious attention to detail in their games. And then this happened. Now they’re releasing updates (granted in a timely manner) that are meant to fix and “tweak” the animation issues and increase customisation options. Good for you BioWare. Too bad you didn’t think about this, I don’t know, before selling it?

Destiny: I won’t over scrutinize Destiny. If you read me regularly, you know how I feel about the lackluster release that Destiny received.

So, now we ask: Why?

Well, the simple answer is money. The companies that own these studios want to see results in their quarterly profit reports, and sometimes that means shoehorning in a game to a release date it isn’t in any way prepared to meet. I know this is a business. I’m in no way naive. But when the companies do this, when they release unfinished, terrible looking games – it isn’t just the companies at fault. There is a level of complicity among us as well.

In some cases, like ME: A, how could we know? People take for granted that BioWare produces excellent games, especially for a series that is more or less beyond reproach. And then it ends up having serious issues. But in cases of games like Destiny, we know. We know what the first game was. We know it came out unfinished and missing a lot. But I guarantee, even for a lot of people who complained about it, they will be on the front lines to pre-order and pick it up day one same as the last. And in that, we show our complicity in this crime against the medium.

So what’s the answer? I’m not sure. I know that we need to find some way to make it clear to companies that we won’t be apart of the cycle any more. Whether it means boycotts or at least turning every game into a “wait and see”, something has to change and hurting the profit margin is all they understand.

– The Ego

Cut me in half and count the rings

So I was online the other day, and I got invited into a chat party on my PS4 while I was playing Overwatch. These guys, who I’d never played with before, started talking to me and asking me questions. One of them was: “How old are you?”

To wit, I responded: “Old”.

Now, in context – it was true. Turned out I had nearly a decade on most of them, and an actual decade on one of them. But, in reality, I’m not that old. I’m currently (shudder) in my early thirties. But, in terms of the demographic, I guess I am old.

I later related this story to my wife, who guessed that they were quite a bit younger than me, and we got to talking about gaming as it relates to age. Which made me wonder – is there an age where people say “I’m too old for this”?

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True story: My grandmother is probably as old or older than this lady, and she still games on her NES/SNES. She’s a Donkey Kong Country boss. You need to know where a hidden banana coin is – she knows.

On point: I can’t say that there is a time in my life where I think I will no longer be interested in gaming. And thankfully, I failed 5/5 on this Cracked list of reasons you’re too old for gaming. So there’s that.

But the truth is – it’s pretty rare that I find myself playing with anyone older than me. In the last ten years, I can only think of two times where I was surprised to find out the age of someone I was playing with. One being a 70+ year old who was in my first WoW guild. And, strangely enough, the other guy was someone I regularly played Diablo 3 with. Maybe there is some corollary between Blizzard games and elderly gamers…But I digress.

The thing I find strange is this: to be an avid gamer is really a young man’s game. Mostly due to the kind of time requirements involved. Obviously, responsibilities and priorities change as we age. Significant others and kids, etc get in the way of the 10 hour/full weekend gaming binges we once knew. Though, I can also recall a couple I played WoW with who would parent while raiding high-level content. But, that may not be the best idea. The time constraints of life definitely factor out people after a certain age. I can even see this happening to me.

Simultaneously, though, having the kind of disposable income to keep oneself in games and new consoles is certainly the privilege of the otherwise employed. When I was a student, my gaming library was quite a bit more sparse. Thinking back to…2003/4 I certainly didn’t have much going on in the gaming department. I had my PS2, which I had gotten as a Christmas gift when I was still in high school, a Gamecube I got on sale for a whopping 99$ and maybe 10 games between the two of them before WoW came out. Then my gaming money went to the whopping 15$ monthly.

So, there must be a sweet spot somewhere in there for the ideal gaming age. But again, I digress.

Is there a time where we have to say “I’m too old for this”? I say no. Because I will always love games the same way I will always love movies. Do I foresee a point where I have to step back a little to focus on other things? Sadly, yes. But stepping back isn’t stepping away. Quitting gaming, for me, would be denying a part of my personality. It would be saying goodbye to something that makes me me. So, I won’t be doing that. Besides, giving up now would mean I would never get to use the Holodeck. Yes, that’s where I see things goes. And I won’t miss out.

What do you think? Will you ever throw in the towel? Are you already too old? Let me know below.

– The Ego

Buy, Buy, Buy

Has gaming gotten too commercial?

I mean, at its core, obviously the industry is a business. With making money as its key component. I personally have never been one to shy away from a good collector’s edition and I can say for certain, I have more than a few gaming collectibles about my house. But the question I’m asking myself, and you, is: is there a line in the sand?

I’m not even sure that the auxiliaries are necessarily the problem. Expanding the market on an already commercial product is pretty much a given. I mean, if there is a way that a company can make up for a loss in profit or a short fall from one title in order to shore up a studio, make sure that quality games are still seeing the light of day, then I’m all for all of the licensed extras. Even if I don’t personally partake.

No, I think the problem – assuming there is one – lies in the development process itself. If companies start looking at games solely as vehicles for quarterly profits, then we start to see issues. Namely – because we start to see games that are rough around the edges, at best, and at worst – incomplete games.

I think that’s the central thesis here.

And I don’t necessarily just mean games full of bugs. Though – we have sure seen our fair share of those over the last few years.

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Having worked QA testing for a bigger release I can say this: Sometimes it’s just not possible to attend to all bugs. Game release schedules are much tighter, budgets are lower and staff expectations are higher. That being said – I think we would all like to see less of things like this.

However, when I say incomplete games, I mean incomplete. As in, you get to reel three of the movie and all it says is “Reel Missing”.

I think of games like Fable 3 – if you’ll be so kind as to let me dredge up the past. I mean, that game had a huge following and made big promises. Now, I’m less concerned (for the purposes of this post) with the broken promises. But what I can say was missing was any kind of discernible plot. The game’s first half basically had you working towards dethroning the king. Once you accomplished that, it was preperation for the war to come. But then it came, and there was really no explanation as to why or what it was you were fighting. The game just comes to a crashing halt as you battle this ignominious enemy.

Or, if you want a more recent example – the much vilified No Man’s Sky jumps right to the forefront.

Now, at it’s core, I still think No Man’s Sky is a pretty good game. And, admittedly I haven’t played it since the “update”, it is supposed to be better.

But the idea that this game – devoid of the majority of its features, would actually launch, is a special kind of deviousness. Seeing this is the perfect example to me that the industry’s commercial interests have become pervasive. It tells me that the industry doesn’t care enough about consumers that they’ll just release whatever and hope we don’t stir up a fuss.

Worse yet, it’s a sign that they think we are placated enough that the majority of people will just buy. Regardless the quality of the product. And sadly, in some ways, we’ve proven them right. That’s not to say some fuss isn’t put up and there isn’t the occasional backlash. But there is a lot of complacency on the part of the consumer as well.

This is all to say that there is a level of acceptance on both sides that has become unacceptable. Though the responsibility still lies mostly on the corporate culture side of things. But we, as consumers (and gamers) need to hold everyone accountable and be willing to forgo the latest game if it’s being produced poorly.

– The Ego

Switch it up

Ok, I’ve had a few days to sit and organise my thoughts on the subject, so let’s dive in shall we?

I won’t go into why I’m not pre-ordering the console. I made that pretty apparent on Friday. What I do want to talk about is the presentation and it’s effectiveness and some general stuff about the console as a concept.

Let’s start where the show succeeded:

I think that the console itself is a great idea. I think that Nintendo has shown a real flare for creating a mobile product – with the 3DS’ obvious success at destroying the competition being it’s main claim to fame – so creating a home console that can be taken anywhere and you still get to play titles that are generally considered “home” games is pretty fantastic. I also think they’ve solved the issue of having portable games that you want to be able to play with friends. The Joycons are smart and (granted I haven’t held one so I can’t say this with total authority) well designed. I love the idea of being able to bring everything over to a friends or to a family event in one small, convenient package with no wires. Hauling the Wii around – despite being quite small, was always a pain because it came with controllers, 3 wires for AV/power/sensor, the sensor, plus big disc cases.

I also think the presentation was rather effective because in some ways I think they did exactly what they needed to do. They showed several big games for the launch/first year line-up. They showed a Zelda, Mario, Mario Kart (technically) and a huge 3rd party game – Skyrim. I think in this way, they definitely learned from the mistakes of the Wii U. Oh, I didn’t mention it initially – but Bomberman! Not that I know 7 other people who will buy a Switch, but the idea of playing 8 people side-by-side Bomberman is pretty awesome.

Where it failed:

Conversely – there were a lot of announcements that I thought were lacking. I mean, this was Nintendo’s chance to really wow the world. And there were a lot of big franchises missing. For one – Nothing on Pokemon! I mean, we know they have Stars in development! And even though it isn’t the Pokemon game we really want, it’s what we know is coming. Beyond that: No Metroid, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, Smash Bros or a new Mario Kart. Also – the 3rd party line-up aside from Skyrim was…well bad. I mean, a few games looked cool like the oddly named Square Enix project.

The other big blemish for me is Nintendo’s insistence on including their proprietary kookiness. Arms and 1-2-Switch are just straight up weird. I get that Nintendo still wants to be the family console – that’s fine. But there are other ways.

The overall tone of the presentation was good. I think Nintendo having some different faces out there, now that they are down a major player, is important. And I know Japanese culture is very different from North America – but they need to find some more charismatic showmen for something of this magnitude.

Also – if they’re going to copy the pay subscription of the other guys – you have to be willing to match it all. Not being able to keep your monthly games is a deal breaker.

For me, here are the two biggest drawbacks of the Switch: Price and memory. See, I like good graphics, but I have a PS4 and an Xbone Elite, so I don’t care too much what Nintendo’s graphics card/capabilities are. Battery life is about where I expected it. But the price is off the charts. Considering there is no 3D tech – this should have come in somewhere closer to the price of the 3DS.

So far as memory – starting with 32GB, expandable to 2TB, when installs are going to be 14GB for bigger games – unacceptable. The cost for a reasonable sized SDXC cards are over 100$. Adding even more incentive towards waiting out the price drop.

– The Ego

Switch to 2017

Happy new year readers.

I hope everyone got all of the games they were hoping for, and took some time to play through some of their backlog. I took some time off to recharge my batteries as far as keeping this up, so I appreciate you picking back up with me.

As I’m sure many of you were, I eagerly anticpated the Nintendo Switch announcement. So, I’m sort of live-blogging while they live reveal. I’ll share with you some of my initial impressions:

Let’s get the facts out of the way:

We’re looking at a March 3rd release date and an intial price of 300$ in NA (I’m assuming more in Canada). It will have two configurations, one with standard grey controllers and one with a red and blue – no games included in either bundle. Apparently we will be getting a system with a portable battery life between 2-6 hours, and I’m assuming that depends on network connectivitiy. Local multiplayer matches will take place over WiFi, rather than Bluetooth, with the ability to connect up to 8 consoles at a time. And, for the first time, we will get a competitive online service, which Nintendo is offering for free until fall 2017, and then will switch to a pay-to-use system afterwards.

My impressions so far:

  • The new HD rumble seems like it’ll be pretty cool. Though they could have done a much better job explaining it. I feel like a lot of info was lost in translation. Oh, and speaking of translation: Nintendo needs to hire some better translators. The guys tasked with it were appalling at best. Boring, no personality and the guy translating for the weirdo from Grasshopper just needs to stop.
  • And on the note of the Grasshopper – that guy was too much.
  • 1-2 switch and Arms look super hokey. Even for tech demos. I was hoping Nintendo was going to forgo that kind of thing this time around and focus on a solid gaming platform – but they had to go that way I guess. They make the VR tech demos look well thought out.
  • When Reggie Fils-Amie is the most charismatic at your press conference – you done fucked up.
  • I did like how the explanation of the origin Switch talked about the DNA taken from all of Nintendo’s consoles throughout the years.
  • ZELDA LAUNCH TITLE!

Ok, now that it’s over I’ll try and organise my thoughts a little bit better.

So overall I thought it was a pretty good presentation.

There were a lot of ups and downs over the course of the conference. The 3rd party announcements were weird. Octopath Traveller looked great and was a pretty old school/new school Square Enix title. Some of the others though…can’t say I’ll be jumping on any of them.

The first party announcements were good. No Pokemon announcements kind of let me down. I was hoping to see something. Oh, and no Mario Kart either? Meh. The new Mario looks fun, but super gimmicky. I mean, his hat is alive. And he can throw it. Not sure what to say about that…

Hardware-wise: I think it’s exactly what I expected it to be. The graphics are about where I generally place Nintendo. The controllers look cool, but they also look really small. The new HD rumble is a feature I didn’t expect to hear so much about. I mean, it’s great. I think it’ll improve  the tactile experience.

One thing, from the hardware perspective, that they didn’t go into was hard drive size. They did mention the ability to take pictures and eventually video – so that is going to be something I’m eagerly awaiting to find out. Not that I expect I’ll be recording much Mario.

I guess I’ll leave it with this: I went into the announcement thinking that the Switch would be a day one purchase for me. Today I’m a little more on the fence. Though I really, really want to get the Zelda game as soon as possible. It’ll take some thought.

– The Ego

Rebuttle

Ok, so this post is a response to the following article I read on IGN last week (PSX and GOTY took precedence over me writing this counter-argument). I recommend reading it before reading this.

Here’s the link.

First off, in case this hasn’t become abundantly clear through my use of u’s in my words, I am Canadian. So I won’t be addressing the American Dream/American conflict aspects of the article. I am, however, going to break down the three aspects of the argument where I think the piece falls apart.

Guns sell/Sex Sells

Yes, of course this is true. People love to be excited and titillated. And, just like sex in games and movies, if it’s just shoe-horned in there for no other reason than because ‘who doesn’t like a bunch of violence and some fucking?’ – then I agree it’s stupid and it’s hindering the game. I’m no prude or violence abolitionist – but when something is there for no reason but to serve itself (like 90% of the sex in shows like True Blood) – it annoys me. And in those cases, I would agree that it is just a hindrance. It won’t further serve the art form, and it won’t lead to more great games being made. But one could easily make that argument for a number of things that hold the medium back. Once again – there is no one thing that is stopping the progression of games from getting better.

The Bioshock Paradox

So, the “ludonarrative dissonance” mentioned as the main issue with the series is mistaken, flat out. The whole thing about Bioshock is it’s a morality tale in story and in play. Put a man in a chaotic situation and make him fend for his life – and survival instincts are going to kick in. But where the “dissonance” fails to rear its head is in the choices you make – slaughter the Little Sisters for power and become a monster. Save them, and be a hero. And this choice has nothing to do with guns. The Last of Us is a perfect game to go hand-in-hand with Bioshock on this point. Is there combat? Yes, but it’s presence is not the aspect of the game anyone is (necessarily) praising it for. The guns in this game are simply a vehicle. A mechanic to push the story forward in order to get the story out of it. Could you do it without the guns? Definitely. And it would make a great movie. Does the action/inclusion of guns as a medium hinder the actual story or the message that Ken Levine is trying to get across? Not in the least. If anything, I would argue that the gameplay, in this case, is the most minor part of the series.

Playing it Safe

Is there laziness in the gaming industry? Fuck yes. Like any industry. Sometimes it’s just easier to make another game where you just shoot a bunch of dudes and forget about it. Where the story is just a reason to shoot more people. I get that. The same way the music industry pawns off derivative clones of pop music stars whose albums are nigh-indistinguishable. And there are times where the guns are there for no other reason than people like shooting people in games. I do agree, in a sense, that FPS games like Doom, CoD, etc are safe AAA games to make. They have a following, and they don’t require much in the way of “creativity” to an extent. But the genre of gun-heavy games compared to the rest of the industry is a relatively small number. For every CoD there is a Portal, Skyrim, Diablo, Final Fantasy, Heavy Rain and the list goes on.

So, thesis statement: Are guns holding the medium back? No. Are there numerous games with heavy-handed (gun) violence shoe-horned in to create appeal? Definitely. But the medium, as stated, is in its infancy and it is already proving that it is more than a one trick pony.

– The Ego

The Candy Man can

My, oh my.

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What can I say about the PSX 2016? Well, a lot actually:

Let’s start with Marvel Vs Capcom: Infinite. Another game surrounding the Infinity Gems just sounds amazing. I know it’s going to focus pretty heavily on the MCU properties, which means a lot of movie heroes (and probably their likenesses). But that seems to be upsetting a lot of people. Here’s the thing: I’m reading a lot of what people are saying about the game and there is so much concern over the inclusion of the X-Men. Now, I get it. Wolverine (especially) is a staple in the series. Seeing him going head to head with Ryu is gratifying in every way possible. But seeing comments like “Marvel’s B-List” fighters just upsets me. There are tons of great characters in the MCU and comic universe that aren’t mutants. And, frankly, what people should be concerned about is how Capcom abused that property (and frankly most of their IPs). I want this game, but I’ll wait for the Fantastic Super Ultra Mega Deluxe Complete DLC Collector’s Edition MvC4…

The Last of Us Part 2: Oh man…The song in the trailer was so good I want to make it my ringtone (Edit: Done). Now, Last of Us was a great game. I didn’t fall in love with it the way that everyone else seemed to (especially IGN who for some reason gave it a 10/10). Granted, part of the reason I didn’t fall in love may have been how frustrating I found the hardest mode. But the story was incredible. And this one looks like it’s going to be even better. If there is one thing that Naughty Dog does well, it’s a story. I’m curious to see where they’re going to take Joel and Ellie next. I think the part I found the most gratifying was watching the reveal at the expo, and hearing everyone else freak out at the parts that gave me goosebumps.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game just needs to come out already. Seriously. Stop teasing me. I remember when I was working retail and seeing the original trailer for this game posted side by side with ReCore. And I was excited for both games. Well, I’ve played ReCore. So give me Horizon! Everything about this game looks stunning and innovative. It seemingly offers the same ambitious prospects games like Assassin’s Creed 3 did, but this one looks like it will actually pay off. I cannot wait to take down a mech T-Rex with a spear while riding a mech caribou.

Honourable mention goes to Bulletstorm re-master. I absolutely loved this game. The story was amusing, the characters and writing in general were funny. But what made this game great is the trick shots. The one thing I didn’t get a chance to do was try the multiplayer. By the time I had gotten around to it on the PS3, nobody was playing this game any more. So, being able to play it in 1080p, and get a chance to pull off some of those tricks with friends – count me in once again.

Finally, some thoughts on the the rest of what I saw:

Power Rangers Mega: Putty sounds are great, but half of the game is apparently avoiding minivans.

Wipeout: Right…Wipeout. Totally looking forward to that…

Ni No Kuni 2: I have brought dishonour on my family by never having played the original despite it being on my shelf…

Resident Evil 7: Gods help me, but I might actually buy this game.

Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 PS4: Yet another way for Cashcom to rake it in from that one game. Enough is enough already. Stop. Milking. It.

Knack 2: The sequel no one asked for.

Let me know what you thought of things. You can post a comment here, follow me on Twitter and post in the Facebook page I set up. And as always, let me know if there’s something you’d like me to discuss.

As always – your Playstation loving blogger.

– The Ego