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8:48 AM on 04.03.2014

New trailer for Middle-earth: Force Unleashed.

A new trailer for Middle-earth: Force Unleas.., I mean Shadow of Mordor has come to light, and it is one that has got me all skeptical, more than before anyway. It was obvious from the start they are going for a power fantasy Lord of the Rings game here, because no-one is really all that powerful in the actual universe unless you're Sauron, a witch-king or Gandalf the Fricking Gray, or White if you prefer him without the tobacco and awesome hat.

I say Force Unleashed, because judging by the few seconds of combat, it seems on par with the overpowered Jedi you play as in the Star Wars game, and it seems the same thing is happening with Lord of the Rings, except they decided to go with God of War's story, and tailor it to the Lord of the Rings universe. It is such a generic plot used by many games now, especially power fantasy ones, and I doubt this is one would be considered canon, like the plot to Force Unleashed was, even though it was terrible plot-wise however that game was fun, and I hope Shadow of Mordor will be too.

I just hate it when AAA developers put out 'story trailers', because they will likely somewhat spoil it and leave no room for emotional impact when you actually get around to playing the game itself, if you actually give a shit about story in games at all. And this is no narrative-driven game, you can tell that. If you want a power fantasy game where you play as a ranger who secretes glowing blue stuff out of his eyes in Middle-earth, and from the developer of good games like F.E.A.R, Condemned, No One Lives Forever, etc, then you can go no wrong, as long as it is satisfying from a gameplay angle. It has being a while since we have had a half-decent Lord of the Rings title, so I hope Monolith do not balls this one up. It will be a 6/10 experience at least I think, I don't like scores, but that is how skeptical I am of it. You can pre-order it now, although you are a shill if you do so, wait until October, read the reviews and then make your decision, because I intend to.

Just like to make a note: My original intent was just talk about the trailer and what I thought of it, and then look for some images of the game to put in for reference purposes, but then I discovered how similar Shadow of Mordor and Force Unleashed literally were. I found it funny, and here are all the above images I could find showing how 'similar' the two games are and therefore making the 'Force Unleashed' part of the blog title and blog post itself even more relevant. Even Gollum is not impressed.


12:27 PM on 12.06.2013

Starbound Beta - My First Impressions

The beta to Starbound is here, or Terraria...IN SPAAACE for those who have put in a hundred hours into Terraria i.e. me. It is certainly the spiritual successor to it, and you can buy it now via Steam Early Access. I pre-ordered it many months ago and got my key straightaway. I love Terraria and couldn't pass this up. It is not under the same development team however, it under the same artist, and it shows. Have to point out that is this in beta, it is unfinished, it is on Early Access, there are bugs, there are imperfections, etc.

You start the game choosing and customising your character, just like in Terraria, however you can be more than human this time, you can be an alien, or a beep-boop-beep robot. And you get your own space vessel as you can see in the screenshot provided. There is one problem though. You are out of fuel, and you need to beam down onto a planet and gather the necessary resources into refueling your ship and then go off and explore all the random (-ally procedured) planets within this random (-ally procedured) universe has to offer. When Terraria came out, it was accused of being a clone to one of the most successful indie titles of all time i.e. Minecraft. There are mining and crafting elements in Terraria, and Starbound, however they have more of an emphasis on Metroidvania-style gameplay, and are both 2D and pixel-arty. The amount of awesome loot I have found in Terraria, all the bosses and enemies I have slain with the might weapons I have found, and I also have a pink ice castle. The exploration aspect is more apparent in Starbound, since you can explore a number of planets within the particular universe you start off with, I have played the beta for five hours, more or less, and I am nowhere near to getting off this rock I'm on yet. It's a very pretty rock though.

Unlike in Terraria, you actually get a tutorial in form of little fetch quests, very similar to what Minecraft did eventually during the many updates it had. And the crafting system and UI also are very Minecraft-esque. Not complaining though, as it makes me more familiar with the game mechanically. Not sure about the hunger system though, it pops up when you are feeling peckish, literally, whenever it feels like, luckily it's very easy to gather food to replenish that hunger, you just have to kill enemies with your bow, so you better be a good shot or it will get tedious. There's also a sanity meter, and it dips and dips the more time you spend time outside away from a light source, or a campfire in which it sends your sanity all the way back up. These become news to you after playing with certain items, because the game doesn't actually tell you about them, yet, and especially with regarding to healing yourself. It took me a while to figure that one out whenever I took constant damage from those enemies I fought. I found out I needed 'this' to craft 'that', and use 'that' to craft bandages, and they give you a small amount of health. Only took me four hours after many deaths to find that out.

I have died...a lot. It was annoying. There's not much of a death penalty though; you lose some 'pixels', which acts as your in-game currency and a crafting ingredient for many items, and you beam back onto your ship after some little ten-second death animation, which I haven't figured out how to skip yet. Once you know how to craft weapons and armour, combat then becomes easier as you would expect it to, and that's a good thing as the game felt very unforgiving to start off in. Like in Terraria, there is that 'grind', where you feel like you're spending over ten hours finding rare ores through mining, and you only find enough just make a copper armour set, which is better than nothing I guess, but in Starbound, finding certain ores has proven to be more difficult, for me anyway. Everyone's world is different to one another as it is all random, so some probably have it easy, but not by too much hopefully.

I am having fun, not on the same level of fun I have had with Terraria however, it is early days though, and beta is beta. That certainly is the case, because the game has crashed a few times, and some of the gameplay either doesn't work to its full extent, or not at all, however that can be fixed in the next update easily. And the developer says they will update it constantly, which is noble of them, and it is their job after-all. One thing I will highly praise during its current state now would be the wonderful the music it has. You can listen to their tunes for free on the Starbound website if you don't take my word for it. Do it. You know you want to. Or just give the beta a go, you can buy it on the Starbound website or on Steam Early Access. The game has multiplayer as well, so buy it and play with friends. Expect horrible latency issues, but have fun nonetheless.   read

11:17 AM on 12.02.2013

Steam Sale Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Be Conservative

Another holiday, another season, another Steam Sale, has arrived. The time of year you impulsively buy many PC games at ridiculously low prices. I am guilty of this. Apparently I own over seven hundred games on Steam, and I am sure I have only completed about 10% of them, more of less, possibly less. Why? We are terrible consumers that's why! Not this time though, I will beat you Steam! Yes, your sales are to die for, and is one of the many reasons why I love the PC space, but luckily for me who already owns a shit-tonne of games, there's not a whole lot to grab my attention this time around, thankfully.

I'm abiding by rules this time around, like only buying a game that is on my wishlist, is at least 66% off, and costing 5 or less, unless it's Shadow Warrior, dammit, I failed already. With that exception, I have only bought one game so far, which was Ms. Splosion Man, and it was 75% off. I have a few games on my wishlist, some being new releases like State of Decay, a Day-Z-esque zombie game I've wanted to try out for a while, I could have bought it for 7.49, but I said, "Nope!" If I wait another month, it is bound to go even lower, and that's usually the case with many PC games.

You can buy games like Skyrim and Dishonored for like 4/$6.50 now! The Steam Autumn sale ends pretty soon, and it is very likely I will be a less financially-retarded consumer this time around. Once the last day approaches and if none of the games on my wishlist goes above 50% off, I have to carefully consider what I want to buy, and most of them are under 5 luckily, so Christmas for me has pretty much already sorted it out in my favour.

What have you bought in the Steam Autumn Sale? What haven't you bought in the Steam Autumn Sale? How fat is your wallet? How virtually-drained is your wallet? What Steam game will you be playing this holiday season? Share your Steam-related thoughts, woes, or anything down below.   read

7:38 AM on 12.02.2013

Console War - Operation Steam Box.

We have entered the next generation of videogames, apparently. I hardly call it 'next-gen' and more like a cynical extension of the previous generation i.e. the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii era. I do no own an Xbox One, or PS4, or a Wii U even, because a) I am not made of money b) I have a high-end gaming PC with a ridiculous amount of games bound to me like a positively-masochistic ball and chain c) The PS3 and Xbox 360 are still viable gaming options.

You can argue and say that you can play games at 1080p, except not all the launch titles can even achieve that, or 60FPS even. If I didn't transcend into a fully-fledged PC gamer a while back, I would have been okay with 30 frames-per-second, however playing game regularly at 1080p at 60FPS now, you really notice the difference and thus, experience a whole new and much smoother level of gameplay, and afterall, we just want to play games and have a fun experience right, no matter the platform. I do not want to go all 'PC-master-race' on console gamers, as I was pretty much a console gamer for three-quarters of my life, but this generation of videogames is not all that interesting...yet.

The Steam Box - bringing PC games to your living room. The Steam box is a neat concept, not for me personally as I already have a gaming PC approximately worth 1200 and in which I built myself. I can understand some gamers not wanting to build their own PC, as it is a very tedious process, albeit a rewarding one. However, I can also understand gamers wanting to buy a PC outright with less hassle, and this is where the Steam Box comes in.

Valve are pretty much offering a gaming PC to naive console gamers who want to get into PC gaming, with a console and controller they will immediately feel familiar with except they will playing among the hugest library of games out there, the PC games library. Thousands of AAA and indie titles, old and new, at their disposal and apparently the Steam Box controller will be fully supported on all them. The latter is speculative, but would be impressive if pulled off successfully. PC games are generally played with keyboard and mouse, but having a controller for certain games is a viable option too. The Steam Box is going to be a more of an investment compared to the current consoles, however it has a lot more to offer in the long run.

If you already own an Xbox 360 or PS3, and already play games on them, unless you are a huge fan of a certain series of games e.g. Infamous, then buying a PS4 right now wouldn't be necessary, as the next Infamous title is not out yet, and if you bought a PS4 now, you would be investing into a bunch of mediocre launch titles, the same with the Xbox One, and neither justify the price you would be willing to pay for them. The Wii U however, being in the game for about a year now, is starting to show some excellent titles like Mario and Zelda, etc, although it is lacking on the third-party support front. It is much cheaper than the other two consoles and Nintendo has always been about gaming, and the Wii U is actually backwards-compatible unlike the other two. I'll be buying a Wii U when Bayonetta 2 releases, because the first game is one of the best videogames ever created, and so was Super Mario Galaxy, the best game of the last generation in my opinion even, and that would be my perfect excuse for the using the backwards-compatibility when owning a Wii U.

You could also go down the straight-up PC gamer route, and if you already did your research and you want to build your own PC with your own parts, go for it, I implore you to do so. I can even help you with that, send me a private message and I can tell you what my set up is and how much I spent on it, etc. If you are lazy however and want to possibly spend less, wait until Valve gives you the decision to look and choose among a selection of PC builds, because there will be more than one Steam Box. As of now, play some games on PSN or Xbox because you probably own them already. In fact, sign up to PlayStation Plus if you haven't already, because you get an excellent amount of free games for a very low monthly/annual cost, and if you do decide to get a PS4 for that Infamous title, it will carry over. Overall, you can either buy a Wii U for Christmas, consider buying the PS4 and Xbox One next spring, or do none of the above and join the glorious PC master-race sometime next year. Colon followed by capital-P.

Disclaimer: This is the very first blog I've ever written on Destructoid Community Blogs, and would appreciate some constructive feedback, or some discussions about videogames even, because you know, videogames are cool. You can also find me on Twitter - @Gazernator, Gazanator101 - PSN, gazanator - Steam.   read

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