Monday, 29 August 2011

Deus Ex = Cranial Sex

Wow wow wow wow wow... I cannot stop playing this awesome game.

The only reason I am not playing it right now is because my PS3 is packed up in a laptop case ready to be taken home. Rest assured however that this game will remain lodged in my disc drive until the final moments of this epic journey... And may remain there further still in order that I can play it through again.

It is so refreshing to have a game force you into thinking. Especially when the main thoughts are... "where is a vent", "did they see me", "what will the consequence be", and my favourite... "can I use the stun gun on them without being spotted 'cuz that thing is so freekin funny!".

If you haven't already... Buy this game! It will consume you but it will be worth every hour you invest. Come 7:00pm or so tomorrow, my evening will be Deus Ex'd until bed time.

sent from iPhone

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A Pledge of Dedication

I've gone through the up and coming pre-orders I have on and have decided thus...

I shall once again complete these games before straying from their side. That's Deus Ex this month, and Battlefield 3 and Assassins Creed Revelations later this year.

I'm not usually good at these kind of promises but by Jove old bean I'll give it a jolly good new go.

And probably fail.

sent from iPhone

Call of Duty Map Packs

Okay... I understand that DLC is big business and is a great way for publishers to continue the life of an existing IP. I've purchased my fair share and even bought GOTY editions to replace my existing games where it makes more economical sense.

However... Come on Activision! Make the map packs cheaper for CoD!

I know it isn't fair to single out Activision on price alone, as both Bioware (Dragon Age: Awakening @ £30) and LucasArts (Force Unleashed 4x 1 level packs @ £8 each) are equally guilty.

The difference with CoD is that they KNOW people will buy those packs. If they were priced lower my guess is that even more people would as well. They look like good fun, expand the playability of the multiplayer, and each pack is a little different in some way. The problem however comes from the latest pack for Black Ops (making it pack number 4) being 4 maps from an old CoD and 1 new map... Yet it is still £12!!!

If I were to purchase all 4 map packs I would be sinking the original RRP into a year old game for the multiplayer alone. It just seems wrong. Luckily CoD has such a massive following I should be able to sit it out until there is a PSN sale on these packs and still know that there will safely be a community of players still there to enjoy them with... I just hope the same DLC strategy isn't in place for MW3.

sent from iPhone

Monday, 22 August 2011

I am a Sports Champion

I recently grabbed Sports Champion for PS3 Move and am LOVING the fun it provides.

It has been out some time and has had the unfortunate "Rockstar" syndrome since launch, in that the price just WON'T come down. Thankfully an eBay seller had it brand new at a nice low price and so it felt the time to snap it up.

It surprised me how a simple game like Bocce (boules/ petang to us Eurotrash) could be so much fun. The other games are also totally kickass! Archery with two controllers makes you feel like Robin Hood in the living room. Duelling is brutally fun. Table tennis is almost as intense as the real thing, and disc golf (frisbee) takes me back to holidays in Cornwall.

The only weak link is Volleyball which feels a little too on rails, and the feebleness of some opponents polino setting in Bocce is laughable.

If you don't have it yet... get it, invite some friends over, and have a whale of a time.

Playstation 3 Cross Game Chat

Today it was announced that cross-game chat will never come to PS3.

Personally - I don't care. If I am playing a game that does not need me to be communicating with a team for strategic reasons then clearly my attention is needed more by the game and actions in hand.

I have tried to talk on Skype when playing games but it just doesn't work... one activity requires more of your brain than the other. You either miss out on a vital plot point or cue to incoming attacks, or you have long silences where you cannot focus on your conversation due to the on screen madness.

I've argued before that there are no tactical players online anymore, and that headsets have become simple conduits to hurl abuse at other gamers. Thankfully cross-game chat is not coming to PS3... It will mean I can have a legitamate reason for focusing on my games and not worrying at all about what other people are doing.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Platinum Trophies are like REALLY good sex

Forgive the bluntness of my title but it is true when you think about it.

Consider your run of the mill bed action and equate that to a Bronze... it's easy, it’s methodical, you don't really mind how it ends up... you are just happy to have got it. Perhaps you aren't really into it just now and so the reward is overlooked.

Suppose then that silver is those occasions when you roll over and feel like it has been a nice work out, a needed bringing together, or a romantic night in... You are hot and sweaty, it felt like a bit more effort than usual went into that activity, but you know what you have under the hood and can do better. You are satisfied, but maybe you could have done it a bit differently to make it more so.

Gold... well now.  Gold is like when something surprising happens that just makes the whole thing feel like a dream. You work hard, but you get rewarded and for the most part these are rare occasions but you will remember them for a while to come. It might take 2 hours, it might take 6 hours. I wouldn't push the comparison to the sometimes 100 hours required to grind but you get the idea. These don't come easy, but they sure as hell are worth the effort.

This brings us to Platinum. Most often, that niggling little added bonus that confirms your 100% Godly aptitude for PS3 gaming comes from getting that final Gold trophy, so in terms of the type of sex... it is pretty much the same. The difference however is in how you feel about when you are done.

You aren't thinking about just that time, just that moment, not even just the last few times... No... Your mind thinks back to those first awkward Bronze moments, those few Silver nights and the rare Gold experiences, before finally settling on what you have just achieved with that final home stretch towards "completion". You are satisfied, perhaps elated and overall in a very happy place... You aren't sure what that little extra thing was, and don't feel the need to go looking for it. All you know is that you want that same feeling again someday.

Most of all however, you just want to roll over and get some much needed sleep to rest your tired hands, joints and head, ready to start the path to the next Platinum... however long that may take, and how ever many are just within reach.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Sandbox Freedom

What was going to be my first attempt at a podcast is actually easier to blog about. Not least of all because (like sandbox games themselves) once on topic it can take me hours to pick apart the narrative required for the topic.

The first sandbox game that I can remember playing was GTA3. It was an entirely new sensation at the time, offering a 3D world in which to "live" as the games silent character. Hours could be spent away between missions just driving around Liberty City.

Rockstar put out newer and grander sandbox games under the GTA label on the PS2, and an epic re-imagining of Liberty City for the next gen era in GTA IV. Each new game brought with it a new and greater sense of freedom, through vehicular and activity based advances.

Then came the sandbox boom on consoles... They had more power, more disc space and with that, game worlds became mass expanses in which to play around on. I'm by no means insinuating that GTA was a leader and all else are mindless unimaginative clones however. In fact, PC gamers had The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion long before GTA IV was out.

The sandbox catalogue contains some great games that truly play to sandbox strengths, both in FPS and 3rd person mechanics. I guess the easiest thing to do here is list what is good, bad or limiting about sandboxes. However that simply won't work either. Top 3 good and bad would read identical...
Time out from story
Non linear exploration
Immersive living worlds

A podcast is still on the cards and would love to get friends involved - but if topics like this come up, I fear we may have to have people check in on us to make sure we haven't talked ourselves to death.

sent from iPhone

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Bumper to Bumper Grinding

I hate grinding, but I love my trophies. What a conundrum to be stuck in!

Here I am just two levels away from Platinum for NFS: HP and my mind just keeps on saying... "Your grinding - why do this to yourself over computer code and meaningless numbers?!?"

Some time back I pondered what it was that drove gamers/ people to complete anything to any degree and I could only surmise that it is the self congratulatory feeling of elation and being able to tell oneself  "That was me! I did THAT!!" which drives 90% of motivation to complete a task/ game/ objective. With my only trophies for NFS: HP being the cop based levels of 19 & 20 I have no choice but to grind if I want that Platinum (taking my total to 3).

It is the same sad story still with Fallout 3... just 4 trophies based on karma until "bling" number 4, and Uncharted is just one away (damn Hardcore modes... Grr).

At the end of the day they are just computer codes, but when it dangles in front of my eyes like some forbidden cookie jar on a just out of reach shelf it makes me want them EVEN more.

Oh well... not much I can do now until I get home from my 9to5, gym, doctors and dinner... Bring it on!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Tier 1 or Veteran?

Those of you familiar with the FPS genre will know what the veteran setting is... For the less learned it is the hardest difficulty available on Call of Duty games. Essentially it is another label for HARD!!!

EA games revival of Medal of Honor brought with it its own version of HARD by introducing Tier 1 mode where everything will kill you if given half a chance and there are no checkpoints. It's a cruel and unforgiving speed-run mode that rewards good aim and shuns the jam smeared face that is patiently sucking their thumb whilst their health comes back.

But which one makes for a better experience for the best of players? And which one makes you a better player?

Tier 1 mode certainly requires the flawless aptitude that the SAS and Tier 1 Marines require in order to live, but the checkpoint ability within Veteran mode is allowing players to continue from where it went wrong and learn by their multiple mistakes. In terms of reward... It must be satisfying to complete a Tier 1 mode level (I wouldn't know... I keep dying) but the psychological value in completing a Veteran Mode level after the 50th attempt at progressing 10 meters to the level end point (where you die anyway!) is also validly making people learn from their immediate mistakes.

All I know is that having speed run the gauntlet in MW2 in less than 30 seconds the feeling of being worthy of the games appraisal that I CAN do veteran rather than simply choose to do it is enough for me.

sent from iPhone

Playstation 3 Trophies