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10:58 PM on 12.17.2009

Modern Warfare 2

I haven't done this in a while, but I do feel the need to rant about this game. First things stated, I own the PC version and I feel it to be a pale shadow of what it could have been. Yes it sold well, but that doesn't necessarily mean they churned out a great multiplayer. The modes work, the leveling works, the balance and lag however - not so much.

I've basically come down to seeing people majorly use only three different weapons, while occasionally i'll get killed by someone who either hasn't learned of the weapons or simply sticks to their preferences. That is great for them by all means, but the change eventually tends to come when you see 8 people in a 12 player map running around with Dual Akimbo 1887's simply for the sake that most maps can sufficiently support them at a range that destroys any other fully automatic weapon.

That being said. I do find it sad. I've been away from the First Person Shooter Multiplayer scene for a while. I did it mostly around the Battlefield and Tribes Series with a bit of Unreal, Team Fortress 2 and Counter Strike mixed in. Never was one for much of the Console FPS games.

And yet I figured, I haven't played an FPS for some time (stopped after 2142, not to down the game - I enjoyed it, I just became bored with FPS games for a while). I purchase Modern Warfare 2, enjoyed the single player. I figured i'd give the Multiplayer a shot. I quite enjoy it, but I occasionally disconnect in sheer disappointment. Not one game has gone by in the hundreds I have played thus far where someone did not whine and complain about SOMETHING.

When it comes to balance or lag issues, I say that doesn't really count in this. No, instead I continuously hear people complaining. Regardless of what shotgun is used, someone dies from it - immediate complaints will rouse about "Shotty Whores". Regardless of accuracy in the shot, complaints will rouse of "Noob Tubers". Regardless of FMJ, it's "Complete Bullshit" to shoot someone who isn't doing a very good job of disguising that gigantic sniper barrel sticking out from behind the tin wall they're next to. Regardless of the fact that it's a damned Riot Shield, complaints will be made that someone can't shoot through it, despite that that is the exact purpose of the weapon.

Every single game, and it does not fail to amaze me at how often whiners in the game appear. I do not know if this is the case on the consoles, and i'd be glad to hear it. As of this typing, I just exited a game after a game of domination, in which the point is to capture and hold 3 points on the map. My team is awkwardly running into the middle of areas and getting killed constantly. I perch myself inside the Estate on the Estate map, guarding Point A. I see an enemy's shadow pass the greenhouse door and lob a semtex toward the corner he was headed to.

He rounds it, I land a lucky semtex stick and he dies. He tries to enter through the front door that I am not watching. However, I can hear his ridiculously loud footsteps as he decides to run around the house carrying what I imagined to sound like a couch. I sneak around, I knife him. He cries out "Fucking noob, stop camping" much to the same whining as his friends try to take A as I diligently continue to swap spots and take them out as they attempt to cap the point.

And after that map, I could hear them vocally in the lobby as I left. I was amazed. I was just on the receiving end of numerous complaints focused on the fact that I was defending a point on a capture and hold map.

I'm amazed I have yet to receive complaints for firing an assault rifle at all.

P.S. When did Destructoid come down with such a 4chan influence? I know I haven't been here for a while, but I don't really understand why more and more people are being influenced by a community with absolutely no connection other than hearsay and merely repeating what another community has either nonsensically rumored or what a reputable source has already reported on. I've seen 4chan simply take the efforts of a publication or a decent reputable gaming blog, read a report, appear on 4chan announcing it - then leading packs of people who appear in commentary claiming 4chan was their source of information.

All of a sudden i'm getting recommendations to update my password so the 4chans don't get me. What the hell has happened around here? Why is this community influencing such a decent site in the first place when, in my opinion, it should be Dtoid influencing THEM. It's just a social community, while Destructoid does seem to occasionally get recognition and interviews with people who actually know what's going on.

I have no problem with 4chan, I should note. It can do whatever it pleases as long as it remains factual toward what they actually are. I've just become annoyed with 4chan users constant claim to origin for numerous findings on the net. And seeing an influence of them on Destructoid was a little disappointing.   read

1:58 PM on 08.07.2009

Is Rage Unique?

I had read Game Informer, and a post-up of new screens of Rage had caused me to finally voice out my opinions on Rage.

Of course, there's going to be people who sheerly hate on my opinion simply due to the fact that I am saying an id game is uninnovative - even if it's in terms of attempting to focus on Story. Some people will dislike that commentary, and feel free to voice your opinions - but just know that we're destined to disagree until I see something that is actually new ground.

That being said. My initial impression of Rage was back when we all first saw the video trailer, before we had any sheer attempt to understand what it was. I was confused. I thought "It looks nice, but I have no idea what i'm looking at". There were dune buggies and shacks. People looking weary. I thought it was going to be some story of a far away planet akin to tatooine, taking place in a desert locale.

Then in the recent months, as information has continued to be given. I can honestly say that the game looks great, but what's beyond that? I saw a lot of similarities to games that existed in the past. And I don't mean similarities in just gameplay. That's a given with anything released nowadays - it's almost impossible to release a game that's wholely unique in gameplay.

What I mean is similarities in story. And those similarities come from the entire Fallout universe, which itself has borrowed concepts from other areas for specific details. But the magnitude to which Rage borrows concepts is.. Megaton.

To break it down incase people are unaware. Rage is a game about a character, for sake of similarity we'll call him Stasis-Boy. Stasis-Boy was locked into a bit of technology called an Ark, which were buried as a part of an "Eden Project". Hundreds of them were buried with specific staff, each individual meant - once the Arks were opened, staff brought out of cryo sleep - to use the tools in the Ark and their expertise to rebuild society. This was a necessary act that the government saw coming due to the forthcoming global disaster of an asteroid impact. An Earthquake prematurely opens your characters Ark, everyone in it dead except for you.

Now, that's the jist of it. I immediately saw similarities.

Global Nuclear War was changed to Asteroid Impact. They both resulted in a similar after-effect as far as the environment is concerned, minus the radiation.

The Fallout Universe had the government enacting Project Safehouse, which was intended to not necessarily preserve all of humanity, but to provide the tools for isolation testing and, yes, rebuilding society upon the opening of the Vaults. Rage removes the idea of isolation testing and moves straight to rebuilding society. The Ark in this case, acts not only as a Vault - but also a G.E.C.K.

The rest of the world degenerated as expected, with Raiders and shambled towns. And, for some reason, mutants existing in Rage despite no explanation thus far for their existance save for.. Yes.. For some reason, once your character emerges in Rage, he comes upon a shack next to a swamp which, as explained, "a radioactive green swamp looks to be the only water source for miles around". Why is the water radioactive, I haven't a clue. I wasn't aware dust from a meteor impact could result in turning waters radioactive. I would suppose that it would depend on what the asteroid was constructed of, but it just seems suspicious.

What i'm getting at is that the game is quite plainly borrowing its material. As much as Carmack and Willits are trying to claim they're attempting to "do something different", I remain skeptical and unfooled. It's pretty, i'll give them that. But I do not feel it is unique by any means whatsoever.

Some argue that the games are completely different because id is claiming the game to be a straight and flat "First Person Shooter", while some insist that the fallout universe, including the most recent, is strictly an RPG. I personally could not disagree more. Thus far, id has heavilly suggest a gameplay style that is practically identical to Fallout 3 minus the VATS system, as i'm sure many of you who have played FO3 are well aware that you can play the game like any other traditional FPS. By no means am I saying that FO3 is the origin of what they're doing here. I am merely pointing out that the two games can and likely will play almost entirely similarly.

The only thing thus far that truly sets the two universes apart is the fact that Rage has decided to include vehicular gameplay. While that is different from the two, is it enough to excuse the obvious borrows? Who knows. I personally hope that they don't introduce an asteroid-fragment worshiping cult named Children of the Fallen Star in a city built around said fragment and make the story about Stasis-Boy trying to track down his father's now opened Ark.

I think at this point, the best idea is for id to focus the story completely off of the origin or base of the game. And to completely avoid any possibility of calling Stasis-Boy the "Ark Dweller".   read

11:30 AM on 06.18.2009

A Strange Blend: RPG+

Greetings everyone.

I was sitting around today, reminiscing on the games that I miss from my childhood. I played it, it stuck with me and I continue to enjoy it to this very day. It was something that I was not expecting, and something that I cannot say I have truly experienced ever since.

The game was Final Lap Twin, as the image above will show. I played it on my Turbo-Grafx 16. I once wondered what about it made the game so appealing? Was it because the game is a blend of RPG and Racing? Or was it simply that, being an RPG fan, the game had those aspects? Whatever it was, the formula worked for me.

Now, occasionally you'll have a game that experiments in newer realms, briefly touching an RPG aspect, then quickly leaving it. An example would be Gran Turismo 4's director mode, what with its "levelling" AI driver. But no. Despite it being somewhat familiar in terms of minor systems, never did I play another mixture between racing and RPG that actually had an overworld to travel:

Occasionally, while travelling the world - you'll encounter a random battle that ends up in a brief dialogue where you have the option to back out of the race or go straight into a split screen race with your opponent.

While it was a fantastic game, i've been looking for blends of the RPG and another genre ever since. Occasionally i'll find a game that partially does it, like MLB Power Pros. But there's certain things i'm looking for in my ridiculous RPG Blend dreams. One of those things is a certain level of ridiculous power gain. We're talking about throwing flaming fast balls here. The kind of ridiculousness you only see in watching anime or the live action version of Prince of Tennis.

MLB Power pros kind of took it to more of a dating sim with some inclusion of an RPG skill increase system. Which just a skill increase would be right up my alley. But alas, it just didn't sit right with me. I'd train and train and it just wouldn't have that big bang of a visual effect I was looking for. Not like seeing my new top speed in FLT just after i've "equipped" that newest engine I got. Or how responsive my turning has gotten since those new tires.

I am told there is a game to be ported to the US called Inazuma Eleven that might sate my desires. But until then, who is to know - Perhaps i'm destined to only have that same feeling I enjoyed so much with Final Lap Twin.   read

1:30 PM on 06.14.2009

Looking Back: Resident Evil 5

Sitting around today, I wondered what I could do for a blog. And I figured that since I am playing games to 100%, i'll write blogs entries on those games as I see them. Not so much a review as it is a point out of things that I enjoyed, treading into difficult territory. And things that I would inevitably be introduced to as I was going through the list.

I am choosing to call these reports "Looking Back" due to not being able to word it any particular title. Achievements. Trophies. Goals. I figured just titling the blog entries "Looking Back" was the best option.

I completed the primary portion of RE5 on 5/19/2009. I did not purchase Versus, so unfortunately I don't have much of an opinion on that. However, due to the nature of these types of blog entries, there may be spoilers. I'll avoid things like the major story, but any unlocks or additional features on gameplay might be discussed.

My first play through, I took my time with. The game took me nearly 20 hours to complete on my first go, stopping to look around at things. Appreciating the design of the game. I had bought the game on the PS3 and one of the first things that bothered me about it was a common problem with the PS3.

My brother wished to co-op with me, we did so on his account, and unfortunately - since the PS3 does not allow me to sign in my account on this game - it resulted in me having to replay the story over again. However, in the long run - this would not be a problem at all. It is unfortunate that it is an option for developers to allow multi-users locally.

War Hero: Complete all chapters on Professional. This was one of my favorite. The game on my first play through was easy. Of course I had the game set to the lowest setting possible. Following that I went through on Hard and found my experience more or less the same. I enjoyed that the game was actually a very near one-shot kill for myself personally on professional. It gave RE5 a slant of difficulty that it previously lacked.

As with any game that people will inevitably play constantly, you begin memorizing where everything was. I was no different in this game, as I began to clear stages in less than 15 minutes. But what I enjoyed most about Resident Evil 5 was a somewhat uncommon action in games, especially in significant amounts.

What i'm going on about there are bonus unlocks. Some were obvious. Unlimited Ammo, while no reload made the game pretty easy, was probably seen coming a mile away. There were also bonus filters and costumes.

The filters, while nice to add in - wasn't too much of a change to the game in my opinion. But by far, my favorite selection of unlocks were clothing options, as well as the two exclusive weapons for the characters. The Longbow wasn't visually amazing, but aiming it without a visual targeting cursor added a slight difficulty to using it that I appreciated. Humorous it was how something so minor could make the game a little more interesting to play. Chris' Gatling Gun was also fun to use - however I found it to be... Unwieldy. I found it difficult to see around the giant ammo backpack. So despite it being fun to use, it was also somewhat restricting to use.

For the last unlock comment that I have on this game. Playstation Home. I did get the thing there, and I found it fantastic that the game actually unlocked items within Playstation Home as I attained trophies. In total it was 3 figurines and one giant treasure chest. Now, I personally hope that Sony integrates a grid system in Playstation Home's decorating mode, to make it easier to organize items within. Nevertheless, it was nice of Capcom to make that addition.

In the end, I found Resident Evil 5 enjoyable with some great bonus items and abilities to extend gameplay. The story was decent, I thought. But I do have to admit... I did develop the habit of calling it Indiana Redfield and the Evil White People.   read

12:41 PM on 06.14.2009

The Peripheral Left Out

A short background of my experience with gaming peripherals. I was first a major PC gamer before I really considered Consoles to be where I did most of my gaming. These days, they're about even and both had their bonuses. In that time, you could go to numerous stores across the country, probably still can, and you'd find peripherals up the wazoo for optional additions to your gaming on the PC.

As console gaming has continued, we've gone through a series of peripherals, but for any console, most people can readily identify the most common... For my last purchases in those rounds, they were:

The Logitech Driving Force Pro Steering Wheel

And the Street Fighter 4 Fightstick, Tournament Edition

Before that was at least 5 of my favored peripheral on the PC. The Joystick. Sure, there's at least one per console, but they're not really well backed up. You'd occasionally have an aviation game being released, but typically its seen being played with a controller, the Joystick nearly forgotten.

Unfortunately, my last Joystick was back on the original Xbox. I say unfortunately because it was just unfortunate that I haven't felt urged to buy one again since then. Well... At least more reasonably priced. That joystick, or should I say Joysticks, was this:

Steel Battalion:

I don't know what it was about this game, but it was very satisfying to play. I actually enjoyed going through a sequence to start up the machine, and I just had to be ready to eject, as anyone who has played the game would likely be all too familiar with. While not an aviation game, it still was technically my last joystick purchase.

A slight story on that, as i'm sure it was quite strange at the time.. The game's large box looked suspicious to anyone who wasn't familiar with the fact that it was a game. In a paranoid America, in the south, roughly a year after 9/11 - One might say that I was looked at very oddly for marching through a very crowded mall with what appeared to be some kind of ammo box. Thankfully, I was not beaten in the parking lot by any assuming police officers.

So where has the love for Joysticks gone? Sure there's a flight stick available for the 360 and PS3. But I am told it is very poorly made. Why can't I get a Star Wars: Tie Fighter as an XBLA release with heavy suggestion on a very nice joystick? Flying around with a joystick. I miss it... I miss it so much.   read

11:37 PM on 06.10.2009

My Greatest Multiplayer Peeve

I've got to say. I can take the kids that run around screaming "PWNED!", gets on my nerves when it was actually a lucky shot or a near victory. But nosir. My greatest annoyance are foul mouthed kids, particularly when they're playing Mature rated titles. The kind of high pitched shrill of a voice that shouts out over the mic, cursing every other word, or attempting to craft entire sentences out of them.

It's these kinds of kids that make me feel ashamed to be playing a game like Grand Theft Auto 4. I shake my head to great dissapointment, and will often just unplug my mic so I don't have to hear it anymore. And typically, to achieve that connection they were missing beforehand, they'll feel the need to continue their cursing tyrade in some manner of a text message.

What reminded and inspired me for this rant this evening was a kid in a Grand Theft Auto 4. I was getting in some Hangman's NOOSE, furthering my work toward the "Wanted" trophy. Fast method, 2-3 people play, one goes to grab a helicopter while the others defend petrovic and hold off the NOOSE. Helicopter arrives, takes us all to the drop off point.

Alas. Here comes the kid, who has opted to fly the helicopter destroys the thing for two games straight. Begins cursing at everyone else for being "stupid noobs" and then going on slew of curses. He goes through us one by one until finally - hearing no one say a word - I respond with telling him that there was no sense in anyone listing to a foul mouthed brat who can't accomplish the simplest of tasks and take responsibility for his own screw ups. What followed were the rest of the players in the game saying they were abandoning the kid for being a jackass, much to his shrills and cries.

As with most things, I have to step back and wonder why kids like this get me fumed so much. I think after some pondering i've gone and figured it out. I was born in California, but didn't experience much of my childhood there. Instead, I grew up in the south. Where, apparently, it's typical for parents to not discipline their children and bend to their every demand.

Why, I remember when I was a young child, a kid I knew - lived in my neighborhood - would often scream at his mother demanding some manner of drink or snack and end it with a curse. I'd look down awkwardly and shake my head expecting to hear him getting beat down any second. And it never happened. Not throught all my childhood was this guy ever beat down. I stopped talking to him and things continued as they go. Not a day goes by when I travel out into some shopping area that I don't see some kid around the ages of 8 to 12 that remind me of this guy.

Maybe that's just not how childhood is anymore. Maybe that's not how being a teenager is meant to be anymore. But when I was growing up, despite that maybe you slept around or occasionally got in a spot of trouble, you at least showed respect and generally acted like a normal person without severe anger issues.

And that, is my greatest multiplayer peeve. I can't stand foul mouthed people who think being this way will get them anywhere, or will cause me to suddenly do them any favors.

That being said, I give to you all my 360 and PS3 information. I consider Destructoid to be a great group of people, and it would be fantastic to have some folks to group up with from time to time. Work on some achievements or trophies, get some party games running and so on.

360: DennenTheHidden
PS3: Dennen   read

2:15 AM on 06.10.2009

Trophies: Addiction and Bad Implementation

What's up everyone. At first I figured i'd post something in the manner of this rant on the forum. But seeing as how blogs seem to be the thing to do around here lately, I figured what the hell and i'll just make my first blog entry, which is aptly titled and rather straight to the point.

A few weeks ago, I had the thought of rather than buying a new game, i'd focus on what I already had. I never was huge into Gamescore, and while I had gotten the random trophy here and there, the Level system didn't truly seem any different to me. I began thinking on "What exactly drives my ambition to get Achievements?" I saw nothing. Rarely you'll get the occasional game such as Dead Rising that actually offers something as a bonus, coinciding with the unlock of a trophy, such as the below.

It's fantastic. I score a ridiculously tedious trophy, and I get rewarded for it. I have a purpose to do the achievement. Being someone who isn't influenced by Gamerscore, however, I don't have that to fuel my need to get more. I only am fueled by additional bonuses, like Dead Rising gave me. I then had somewhat of a falling out with Achievements. I found that I played my Xbox 360 games and enjoyed them, but I never tried anything that was particularly hard. Achievements began to blend. What difference did it make to me between the 10th achievement worth 15 gamerscore, and the 25th achievement that i'd actually have to work for that gave 20 gamerscore and nothing else? That new Extreme difficulty mode I just unlocked? I couldn't find myself to care enough to bother loading it a single time. There was no will! I had seen the story, there was no bonus at the end, no additional "congratulations".

Then came Trophies. For this case, i'll be using Resident Evil 5, my first game i've gotten to Platinum.

As I was playing through Resident Evil 5, I did so without the intention of going for the Platinum. I enjoyed my game experience as I always did. Then I noticed that little meter slowly filling further and further as I unlocked things on my first play through. I became curious and decided to inspect the list to find a strange additional achievement. The Platinum Trophy. As I continued my play through, slightly annoyed at having co-opted this entire game with my brother, only to have to do it again because of the on-again-off-again selection as to whether or not a developer wants to go through additional coding to offer a second player to play locally on their own account, such as I hear you can do with Little Big Planet. I continued through nevertheless.

I thought "Well, this will take me a week or two. But I think I can get it" I started going through it. And it was through this that I actually found difficulty in Resident Evil 5. My first play through was a bit of a wobbly effect, mostly the game was easy, the only real difficulty being not entirely sure how to defeat some creatures:

Once I got over that and began my quest for the Platinum, I found that actually playing the game on the hardest difficulty was satisfying. I actually found the game to be a challenge. I spent more time with it until I finally landed the platinum, and I felt a sense of satisfaction at seeing the trophy, not only appear - but also having a permanent small icon next to my trophy list. An easy way for anyone to see that I have at least enough skill in the game to accomplish a platinum trophy.

That led me to analysis as to why I felt satisfaction and an urge to finish the game to 100% of retail release trophies. And why I didn't have that same urge with Xbox 360 games. As I type this, I have a couple games on the 360 that I am extremely near "100%ing" yet I have no drive to complete it. "But why?" I thought. I found out over the following days that it's because of the same reason I started this blog. There's no reward. There's no congratulations. I feel this is one aspect that Sony greatly improved the Achievement system. Sure, they've claimed that we'll eventually get prizes for being platinum gamers, even a trophy room so we can show off our victories:

Where has the concept gone? Who is to know. I'm slightly disappointed it hasn't truly been spoken of since, but I don't feel it will be much more than a minor aesthetic value. What I prize most is simply the fact that I am acknowledged for having completed everything in a game, at least as far as retail is concerned. If you were to pop on and check out someones Street Fighter 4 trophy list, for example. And see that they have a platinum trophy there, you know that this is someone who is very likely going to be able to put up quite a fight.

This led to my eventual long shot and self set disappointment at E3. I was hoping, since my Xbox 360 library is much larger than my PS3's, that Microsoft would announce their equivalent of Platinum trophies. A small announcement, compared to many of the other things that would have been announced, but essential to sate my growing addiction. But I cannot express much in words how excited I would be to, say, turn on the Xbox 360. Whoosh goes the logo, out pops my avatar with an "Achievement" NXE theme. My avatar shows a symbol across his ID showcasing how many games i've 100%ed. Score an achievement or eight. Pop back to the NXE Dash at the end of the day to see a few icons drop down from the sky to join the growing pile in the background. Sky aflutter with the occasional symbol for a particular game i've maxed out. A shirt for my Avatar displaying my number of caps. A person can dream.

Suddenly it's no longer about "my gamerscore is bigger than yours". You can have 80,000 gamerscore (figuratively speaking), but still be a noob. But now, you'd have a way to actually gauge someone's true skill. Gamerscore does not reflect this. Nor can the PS3's Level system. Only a larger range system that covers even the most difficult achievements can be used to display someones prowess at a game.

I end this note on my frustration however. And that's if you're still with me, as I do have a tendency to ramble. I was working on the Grand Theft Auto 4 trophies. Having completed this game pre-trophy patch. There I was, a couple weeks in. And I suddenly received word that there is a slight. Slight possibility that the platinum trophy may take me months to gain.

That reason was simple. A bug occurred somewhere in the system. Hundreds of counts all over the place of people completing the requirements for online trophies of particular difficulty. Completing all modes of the multiplayer portion, as well as every map on both races (108 total races). Only to accomplish all this and find out "I didn't get it. Why didn't I get it?" Rockstar remains silent on the issue while all this seems to stem from slow implementation of the trophy system. Is it Rockstar's fault? Maybe. Is it Sony's fault? Maybe.

The only thing i'm sure of is that I want it. I've completed the requirements for it. And now i'm disappointed. Nevertheless, I will work and work at it until a solution is found. And when that day comes, I will jump for joy and giggle like a school girl. And likely as things will go, i'll move on to my next platinum trophy.

P.S. Microsoft. I'm lookin' at you, man. All I want is a congratulations at the end of that long tunnel. All I want is something to say "Oy, this guy cannot be doubted, he definitely knows how to play this game". Is it so much to ask? Is it?   read

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