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Just a guy in the Seattle area who loves a good game. I'm a trained artist and computer programmer working on several prototype strategy games.
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Haunt the House (PlayStation Mobile) $3.49

Cute game, and I adore the concept. You play as a troubled spirit that can't rest simply because everyone in the entire town, in every building even, are having a party and making too much noise. The game can be fun the first time through, but I beat the entire game (all 4 buildings) in 34 minutes on my first run. This sucks, since the game has almost zero replayability. At its current price you may as well just skip it.


Need for Speed: Most Wanted $39.99

This game is one of the worst racing games I've ever played. Most of the time the only indicator of what is and is not the track is your minimap; unless you stare at it you will likely fly right past every turn you're supposed to take. The framerate is atrocious, dipping into COUNTABLE territory way too often. Good time waster, appalling racing game. Even the iPhone/iPad/Android version is a better racer.


Gravity Rush $35.99, free with PlayStation Plus

One of my favorite games for the platform and something that goes beyond what I would call a "platformer". The story is a bit nonsensical and disjointed, but the cel-shaded art style and jazz/orchestral soundtrack are fantastic. The controls feel a bit loose, something I hope is taken care of in any future installments. The game has a good length to it, and some of the side missions are actually enough fun to go back and try to beat your best scores. Definitely the first must-buy for a Vita owner.


WipEout 2048 $17.99, free with PlayStation Plus

Probably the best racer on the platform, though that really isn't saying much right now. Capable of playing cross-platform with the PS3 and actually has a great assortment of tracks, my biggest complaint is the framerate. 30 FPS doesn't kill a game for me, but this is a racing game. 30 FPS would be fine if the game always ran like that, but it dips so often and each dip feels like you've lost control of your ship until the framerate goes back up. Free with PlayStation Plus, so I guess I can't complain.


Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus $34.99, free with PlayStation Plus

Bad Camera Angles: The Game. Seriously, this could be a really fun game if I had a good view of what I was doing at least half of the time I spent playing it. I've spent hours in the Ninja Trials mode just fighting enemies in closed-off arenas and had a blast, but the camera absolutely ruins everything else. I missed one jump in the story mode at least 4 times because I couldn't even get the camera to look at the platform I was jumping to. Again, free with PlayStation Plus, so I got what I paid for.


LittleBigPlanet PS Vita $35.99

The second on the "must buy" list. This is probably the best LittleBigPlanet thus far. While I would rather play the story mode of LittleBigPlanet 2, this had it beat in terms of what you can do with the level creator. Having a built-in microphone and keyboard is great for playing online, which also works pretty well. I love this game.


Frobisher Says! (free)

It's WarioWare for the PS Vita. That's really all I can say. It's a collection of super-short minigames that get faster and harder the longer you can go without losing one. You can pass the vita around as a fun party game. It's FREE!


Retro City Rampage $14.99, free with PlayStation Plus

The final "must buy" game of this list. It's a top-down 8-bit action homage to the 80's and it is fantastic. The storyline is funny, and even after you beat it the game is a great time waster that feels like it was made specifically with quick, mobile play sessions in mind. The only problem is you have to actually close the game and re-open it if you enter a cheat code, since it disables saving until you do. What the hell.




That's all for now, I may or may not keep this coming.








One thing I consistently wonder is why some people just don't like Crysis or it's "expanshalone" Warhead. They are both very good games! The gameplay is very unique, particularly if you are playing on the higher difficulties which pretty much force you to come up with new strategies involving the nanosuit. It's incredibly rewarding to duck behind cover to let your suit recharge, then bust into speed mode to zip behind your enemies, drop a grenade at their feet, and run away. You could grab a guy in a squad, use them as a human shield and, when you are done with your victim, toss him at other enemies, knocking them down to be finished off.

Crysis' gameplay is the most flexible I've seen in years. You can play it by going in with guns blazing, you can infiltrate and strike quickly, and hell, sneaking around to find targets, planning the attack and following through with it, only to vanish again is one of the things being hyped about Splinter Cell: Conviction. What game lets you do that, again? Oh right, Crysis.

Perhaps what upsets me the most are the people who haven't even played it, spreading around how it is "unoriginal and not too special". An editor by the name of Shamus Young over at The Escapist put the game in a very bad light with his article "10 ways to fight piracy". In response to errors in his article, he said "I didn't buy Crysis myself, and based my statements on what I'd found in Google". His articles go under the name "Experienced Points". He initially made false claims about the game regarding it's demo and the fact that when the game launched, the only DRM present was a disk-check. Many people read his article, what most got, if the reactions of friends I asked to read it are any indication, was "Let's use Crysis as an example of how people can fuck something up".

Enough of my ranting, if you haven't played it yet, why not try out the fairly long demo?








This is directed at the people asking "Why the hell are people making such a huge deal about this?", and even moreso at the people saying "You really have no good, justifiable reason to be upset". Dedicated servers offer more to the player than peer-to-peer networking can provide.

Reliability

In a multiplayer game where one player is the host, reliability is a large concern. You can't expect the host's internet connection to remain stable throughout the duration of the session. If the host's connection begins to falter at all or perhaps somebody using the same internet connection decides to watch a video on youtube, every player begins to lag. Dedicated servers are independent machines that often have their own dedicated connection, meaning their connection is far less likely to experience issues.

Framerate is another concern, as the lower the framerate of the host machine, the less accurate things like hit detection will be (assuming the netcode is handled in a way to combat cheating and lag using a method such as Source's). A dedicated server doesn't have to perform any sort of video output, meaning that while a player may be experiencing 10 frames per second due to 4 smoke grenades going off in front of them, the server is keeping a nice steady framerate, as all it has to do is keep track of the grenades.

Choice

If you've played a game like Team Fortress 2 on the PC, you've undoubtedly noticed how many servers actually dedicate themselves to one specific thing. There are an incredible number of servers running 24/7 CP_Dustbowl, 2Fort, Arena, ETC. While Modern Warfare smartly allows the player to select what gametype they want to play, they can't do that with maps, they instead are at the mercy of chance and of the party they join. It's frustrating to never get to play your favorite map, or worse, to have the people you're playing with vote to have it skipped.

Equality

Host advantage. I'm going to assume you've heard that before. Whoever is host will never lag, and compared to what every other player is seeing, plays a few moments in the future. 50 milliseconds of lag means that for half a second, a host moving around a corner to shoot another player has half a second before that action even happens on his opponent's screen. Even if his opponent manages to shoot him after that delay, the message has to travel back to the host, which takes another 50 milliseconds.

What does this mean? It means that the host has roughly 1 second of invincibility against the other player. A dedicated server puts players on more equal footing.

The player's experience

Every once in a while, you might find a server that has a great connection, a lot of regular players who are all kick-ass and fun to play the game with, and the server's rules are exactly the way you think that they should be. A lot of game communities form around exactly this. Removing dedicated servers takes the player's ability to enter a game knowing that it will be an enjoyable experience with players they are used to playing with.

Final Thoughts:

I am a PC gamer first and foremost, and I am seemingly in the minority when I say that I am the legitimate customer. I have never pirated games, and I have no intention of ever doing so. It seems that when people talk about Infinity Ward's decision to axe dedicated servers, the conversation moves to "This is how they are going to combat piracy" or something of that nature. Personally, I just don't care about pirates, they hold no value in my eyes, positive or negative, they simply are. Personally, I believe the only way to combat piracy is to simply give customers what they want, instead of pissing them off.