Fulltime Journalist for the daily newspaper "Letzebuerger Journal". Worked as a freelance Videogame 'journalist' for that same newspaper for 2 years beforehand. Also, I'm the former News Editor over at www.Sega-Addicts.com. I also wrote a few frontpage stories here on Destructoid....
I also wrote for several weeks for www.Gamersyndrome.com
You can follow me on Twitter, if you want: @SvenWohl
So, hello there! Long time no see, I know. I've been quite busy, thanks to my new job as a full-time journalist. Still, I need to blog from time to time, and as it's the end of the year, I guess I have to pick my games of the year. Since pretty much everyone does that, I'm going to choose some games, that don't land on these lists quite often enough. So, this is my "Games I love that are generally overlooked"-list for 2012.
Super Monday Night Combat
This just had to be on the list. I put over 100 hours into this game, which is amazing considering the fact that I have like zero free time left. Still this interesting Moba-esque Team Fortress-like multiplayer team shooter is a lot of fun, even though it is really hard to get into at first. However, the game is overlooked a lot. I can't quite pin down, why that is, but if I had to guess, it's probably the steep learning curve and the fact that it is quite different from the "normal" Monday Night Combat. Since player numbers are dwindling fast, it has also become quite hard to find games anymore. Which is bad news if you like to play it every now and then.
Civilization V: Gods and Kings
Civilization V is one of my all-time favorite games and it's kind of weird how practically nobody talks about this game. The expansion pack that has been released this year brought many new 'old' things to the table. They are mostly elements, that were in Civ IV and were missing in Civ V, but still, religion and espionage are great fun! Also, some of the new civilizations, like Austria, are really fun to play. If only the multiplayer would work better.
Everything Grasshopper Manufacture made this year
Sure, Lollipop Chainsaw got a fair amount of ads, but in terms of awards, the game hasn't received too many yet. While it isn't a perfect game by any stretch, I feel like it deserved some more praise. Other Grasshopper Manufacture games like 'Sine Mora', 'Liberation maiden' and 'Black Knight Sword' also flew under the radar of most people, which is a shame, since they all are really interesting little games.
So, that's pretty much my selection of overlooked games. I think everyone has a few of those games, that he or she just loves but feels that not enough people got around to play them. The fun thing about these lists is, that they help you to find some hidden gems... If you have any hidden gems of 2012, that you feel are underappreciated, then feel free to share them in the comment section or in a separate C-Blog. And thanks for reading!
One of the weirdest things about hitting your mid-20s is, that you feel young and like a teenager in some areas while fully realizing that you're actually getting old. Not old in objective terms, but you certainly feel a certain disconnect with “young people”, as you've started calling them, or “teenagers”, a word you'll say more and more in the way Max Scoville does. I've already had my fair share of “get off my lawn” moments, so I'm practically there, but looking at the videogames I play right now, I kind of noticed a few things.
First of all: Yep, I'm getting old. It has been 12 years since the last Diablo game and 9 years since the last Max Payne game. What adds to this is that Sega is constantly banging the retro-drum with the latest Sonic games and slowly brings back those Dreamcast games everyone seems to be yelling for. Then there's Kickstarter, where a new Carmageddon is being funded. Carmageddon! I played that when I was a kid!
Which leads me to my second part: Playing the sequels to some of my favorite games when I was a teenager makes me feel younger, at least for a short time. It's not quite on par with what Mega Man 9 or 10 did for me, de facto turning me into a 6-year-old again, but still bringing me back to the days where I was between 14 and 16 years old and playing Diablo 2 all night. What's irritating though, is the fact that I play those games in order to review them for a newspaper, which of course somewhat alters my interaction with those games. Still, the effect is there, and it makes me reconsider my age and feel younger at the same time.
You keep on disappointing me! Not everyone in the industry, mind you, but a select few that make me feel sad on a regular basis create a feeling of distrust and dislike for you as an industry. Maybe I should explain to my dear readers why that is... I'll try to keep this short.
I have said this several times already, but I think I can say it again, with newly gained trust behind my words: I don't get Nintendo! So, Reggie comes on stage during E3 saying that they'll do everything to get the Hardcore gamers back. Heck, when didn't they make that promise, actually? A few weeks later, there's this Operation Rainfall campaign, so that the Wii can be more than some Netflix-box or an overprized paperweight. I live in Europe, so I shouldn't actually care about this, but still, I think Nintendo's behavior just downright sucks when it comes to releasing games. If that is your attitude when it comes to localization, don't be such dicks and make your consoles AND handhelds region locked! You're just begging hackers to take your systems apart!
And I still want my Fatal Frame 4!
Don't get me started on the 3DS either. Say what you want about the system, it just wasn't ready when it was kicked out of the door! No e-shop, almost no games worth mentioning in the first few months... heck, if you take away the Nintendo-64 ports, it's actually worse than the initial Nintendo DS library! The 3DS is running on ports right now: Street Fighter 4, Dead or Alive, Ocarina of time, Starfox... where are the original games? WHERE?
Sale-figures or 'What the heck are people buying??'
Duke Nukem Forever sold 700k units up until now. Shadows of the Damned 60k. Don't get me started on No More Heroes for the PS3, which is out in Japan and Europe. I'm just wondering what kind of logic operates here. Because, at the moment, I think people want Duke Nukem Forever 2 and Goichi Suda to be a homeless bum. Is 'Quality Control' something that really exists? Or is it just a myth, that you choose what games will be produced by choosing which games to buy right now? I heard a lot of people disliked Duke Nukem Forever and liked Shadows of the Damned. What is going on here? Speaking of games being produced...
Mega Man Legend 3 cancelled...
… and you know what's the sad part about this? The Dev team that worked on that will probably move on to make another Resident Evil or Street Fighter game. Because there aren't enough of those and they aren't totally stagnant by now! It's not only that, but also the fact that after all these months of teasing us and involving fans in the development process, the game just gets canned. What kind of relationship do you have with you fanbase? One coming straight from your local S/M-Club I'd assume...
The industry makes me sad, because it constantly disappoints me in so many ways. There are a lot of decisions being taken that don't make much sense or just show that an industry that brought so much magic into my childhood actually just is a huge, money-making machine, run by people who don't really get their target audience...
Hello there, it's me. Yes, I know, I have been gone for quite some time now, haven't I? Why? I was kind of busy working for a gaming website and now I'm working for another Gaming Website, that focuses on Sega and thus gives me some time to write about other games on my personal blog here. Who do I write for now? Oh silly you, check the sidebar! Because everything else would be shameless advertising and as we all know, this community does not take kindly on shameless self-promotion!
Now, this is a blog dedicated to Josmeister, who became my 100th follower on Twitter and thus had the opportunity to choose the topic of a blog-post. Guess what, he wanted me to write about videogames and movies, so I did! Here we go!
'Videogames need to be more like movies'
This sentence is something that quite some people have been yelling repeatedly in random intervals for a lot of reasons. But let's focus on one of the most prominent loud persons in the videogame business to utter this sentence: David Cage.
Now don't get me wrong: I like David Cage! He's a guy with a vision and he tries really hard to fulfill that vision, which is something I can fully understand and actually get behind of. Unfortunately, his games are, in my honest opinion, lacking. There are many arguments for why they don't deliver, but my guess is that since you're reading this on Destructoid, you've all heard about what's wrong about these games.
However, I don't think that his initial claim is invalidated by his poor delivery. It's just that I don't think that he means the same thing as I do when I read that sentence. He seems to think: 'Games need to have long cut-scenes and a lot of dialogue in order to get their story across etc.' and I think: 'Games and movies should be able to be about the same things'.
So, his approach is more about the 'how' of storytelling in videogames while my standpoint is more about the 'what' of storytelling. Now, granted, this is a bit exaggerated, because on the 'what'-side of things, David Cage and I are pretty much on the same page: Games also should be about something different than violence. This is not to say that we should get rid of all our nice, little FPSes or God of Wars. Nope! This is about diversification!
Take Heavy Rain as example! Here, David Cage tried (and I chose that word for many reasons) to deliver a story about fatherhood. Sure, there is violence, but it is somewhat diminished if compared to other games. Or let's take L.A. Noire! Yes, yes, I know, also violence, but just think about the many stories this game is telling you in a rather well done way. Thematically speaking, these games are way more diversified than what we're normally used to. Sure, there are the Cooking Mamas and Trauma Centers, but they are not huge Triple A titles that get a lot of mainstream attention. A title like L.A. Noire on the other hand, does. This is of course no reason to claim only Triple A titles matter, just wanted to point out, that they have a more widespread recognition.
This, as far as I'm concerned, is pretty much the only point, where videogames should try to imitate other narrative media. In terms of delivery, I wouldn't say that it would be a good idea to look too much to other media, since one key component of videogames, interactivity, is not present there, at least for the most part.
So, I guess I made my point here, nice and clean. Hope you liked it, hope I didn't steal away too much of your time and thank you for reading. I'm happy about any kind of feedback!
Holy Crap, I haven't done this in quite some time. I sure hope I'm not too much out of shape.
So, EUFNF is a thing that happens every Friday. People from all over Europe or indeed anywhere join up in order to shoot, punch and do other stuff to each other in order for their personal amusement. There are games played on every major platform (including the brand-new 3DS) and some people have terrible accents that will make your ears bleed.
So these are the games for tonight:
Platform: PC/Mac, Steam.
Game: Whatever you can get people to play. Steamtoid is a fun hangout.
Join the Steam group chat to find us!
Time: Anytime. All of the time.
Game: Super Street Fighter 4 3D
Gamers: Subenu (3523-2055-2417)
Time: 20.00 CET | 19.00 GMT | 14.00 EST
Platform: Playstation 3
Game: Red Dead Redemption (Vanilla)
Gamers: Ramalhera, jjMccallum, juani-arg, aurain, Foolishbean69
Time: 21.00 CET | 20.00 GMT | 15.00 EST
Platform: Playstation 3
Game: Socom beta
Time: 21.00 CET | 20.00 GMT | 15.00 EST
Platform: Xbox 360
Games: Halo Reach, BF1943, L4D, Rapelay 2, ODST, Halo Wars. Basically, TBA.
Gamers: Tarvu (The Kinky Ninja), The Guy with the Hat, Subenu, Death by Lumber
Time: 21.00 CET | 20.00 GMT | 15.00 EST
Civilization has been one of those series that never left my side since I first started playing them. I think I was 12 when I started playing the second one, with its somewhat simplistic graphics and unbalanced gameplay. It was terribly hard to get into at first: Mechanisms seemed complex and mystifying, but the appeal of leading your own civilization through time was so great, that I was able to surpass those starting problems.
That's what Civ 2 looked like, back in the day. Simple, but very easy on your CPU/GPU, unlike the newer ones...
Many years later, I got my first hours on Civilization 5 as part of a review I had to write on it for the newspaper I do my reviews for. I was quite skeptical in my review back then, stating that I was worried that the simplified mechanics led to an overly superficial gameplay experience. I wrote that review after 25 hours of gameplay, but I was not sure, if I my impression of it, as mixed as it was, actually holds true after more time. So, what are my conclusions after 100 hours of gameplay?
First of all, yes, mechanics have been trimmed down quite a bit, in order to make the game accessible. Of course, that is not a bad thing at all. Does it really reduce my enjoyment of the game? Not really. Or rather, not anymore. One thing I had to get used to is, that I need to set up a higher difficulty for the game, to find it as entertaining as I found the fourth game. The AI in the game isn't really the brightest up until Prince difficulty. If it came to a war, I had absolutely no problem defeating three different opponents at the same time and getting huge deals out of those following peace treaties. That was way too unchallenging, and made Dominance Victories too easy to achieve.
Alternative victories are way more interesting in that perspective. While a cultural victory is just a grind-fest, political victories are the most interesting and hard to achieve ones of the bunch. Countless options and the new DLC help a lot to keep the motivation high, and there are mods, conveniently placed into a separate mode. It's no stretch for me to assume that I am going to arrive at 200 hours playtime too. All in all, I am surprised how well the game keeps up, even after those difficulties at the beginning.