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Tarvu's blog

3:55 AM on 02.21.2013

Tarviews: Unsurprising, Undepicted, and it wasn't even the Wii U this time!

I dislike writing shawtblawgs, but it's been a while and there's rarely anything topical worth writing about. Hell, this was a waste of time too. I'm going to go back to bitching about the industry in private until it's good again.

Yesterday, as every extant video game journalism outlet will have let you known, Sony revealed the PS4. This shocked nobody, with even mainstream news reporting that it was exactly what they were doing. They also revealed the new Dualshock, game streaming, that share button that the hermits are already hating and... wait a minute, this all sounds like old news.

I don't care to dissect the PS4 and the announcement event. I only came in halfway through it and found it underwhelming. When you follow the gaming news with some degree of consistency, these sorts of things are just confirmation of what you already know. Why is there no secrecy surrounding these things? Is the industry like the bizarre British political parody program The Thick of It?

Another interesting thing to me about the information expressed during the event was the showing of peripherals but not the console itself. You may recall Nintendo spectacularly cocking up their Wii U reveal by making the majority of viewers unsure as to whether it was a controller or a new console. The PlayStation 4 is obviously going to be a box, but we didn't see it. Now this doesn't really bug me since it is quite an unimportant detail, but most people expected to see it and were irked to be denied that privilege. I happy because it's a good excuse to use Jim Carrey's face for a thing.

Although he is entirely right, we've yet to see how badly Microsoft reveal their hand. Consider my breath bated.   read

10:00 PM on 03.31.2012

Disappointment: Portal 2

It was the winner of multiple game of the year awards and was received with universal acclaim. It was announced following a secretive update to the original game that I loved, and released 10 hours early on PC following the lucrative efforts of Steam gamers lending their time to the GLaDOS@home project. There were no online passes, no shoddy ports and no day one DLCs to be seen on any platform and those buying it for PlayStation 3 even got a Steam copy for free. Portal 2 was an example of how a game should be developed and released. But some people are never entirely satisfied.

I played the first Portal game fairly soon after release, and like most people I was able to buzz through it in one sitting. It was exhilarating, a sucker punch of dark humour wrapped around a fist of perfect puzzle gameplay and clenching the source engine in its palm. I love replaying Portal, in no small part due to the almost sandbox nature of testchambers. Although there are solutions to every room, there is no definitive way to accomplish it and you can cheat within the confines of the game. The game rarely cheats to keep you in check and is in fact going to acknowledge most situations where you break a room.

The cube disappearing from the end corridor of Test Chamber 9 if you're not also in there is the worst case of Portal cheating that I can find right now.

Portal 2 knows what it is doing from the start. The light humorous opening rapidly progresses to a somewhat familiar setting, with the instruction that you're "looking for a gun that makes holes". This is the same facility, the same chambers and soon, the same gun. The environments may have been ravaged by time, but the new version of Source being used makes them all the prettier for it. The testing doesn't really start until GLaDOS is reactivated, and this is where the cracks in the game for me, personally, start to become noticeable. There is joy to be had in solving these rooms you're being presented with. They are mostly enjoyable puzzles. They are also mostly linear puzzles, with few solutions.

Control is taken away from the player in a few ways throughout Portal 2. Assistance is given in Portal placing throughout, often where assisted placement will aid progression to keep in time with the narrative (such as the part where he kills you) but also in some singleplayer and co-op test chambers. Players are restricted from 'breaking' rooms through use of invisible walls preventing game objects (and in co-op, players) from entering certain areas. For example, you cannot throw a cube out of reach near the end of Test Chamber 7. These limitations may not hamper solutions to challenges, but they are a form of control that falls outside of good game design.

A significant amount of time in the game is spent travelling between rooms. These are perhaps the worst parts, with frustrating pathfinding and little character action to offset it. And the characters will make you forget gameplay woes. The exchanges between Wheatley and GLaDOS and their further one-sided conversations with the player make them some of the most well written and enjoyable characters that many gamers will ever be fortunate enough to carry around with them. I cannot deny that Valve have succeeded in creating a true comedy game.

Further to the basic game, Portal was released with six "advanced" versions of the more substantial test chambers in the game and the option to do the vanilla versions with an aim of completing them in as little time or using as few portals or footsteps as possible. Less than a year after it was released with the Orange Box, Portal: Still Alive was released as a standalone game on the Xbox Live Arcade. This release boasted 14 new maps and achievements providing additional challenges to players. Portal 2 has a stunning array of co-op testing chambers but nothing to match them for the solo player. The Peer Review content pack only added time and portal counters to the single player levels, which do not complement the linear maps; With them they become an exercise not in innovation, but in perfecting a known solution.

Portal 2 has a significant focus on cooperative gameplay (quite possibly because there is a "two" in the title) and one might say that the element of gameplay I enjoyed so much in the first game has reappeared there, but it suffers from the same lacking of solution flexibility if not an even more acute onset of it. Once the test chambers for co-op are figured out, the main challenge will come from the coordination of the players in time and space. This can be really difficult if you're playing with a Brazilian.

I really enjoyed playing through both games again whilst writing this. Portal 2 was as worthy a sequel as there could be, rather than playing off the strengths of the first game it developed its very own and is very much better off for it. The technical changes since the first game favour a less technically able game for puzzle platforming but ultimately work in favour it. As much as I love Portal 2 I can't forget the disappointment that a part of me felt over it, and rationalising it as I have tried to doesn't make it any less irrational. If Portal 2 had not made me feel this way, it would not have been such a great game.   read

5:30 PM on 03.25.2012

Tarviews: The Mass Effect Galaxy at War

Since the main meat of Mass Effect 3 is going to remain a touchy subject for the foreseeable future, I would like to take some time to discuss the multiplayer component. I was one of the people who laughed at the the concept of multiplayer in this series, and I laughed even harder when it was confirmed. It just seemed so typical of a game developed under EA to have a pointless multiplayer mode to justify inclusion of an online pass! Contradicting my bias against the publisher and the developer, I got the game on release with the intention of playing it with friends and have spent a fair bit of time doing so. With no further delay, here follows the thoughts on it that have accumulated in my head space.

Some problems with this mode are only apparent through playing it, others require more obscure trains of thought. A small one is that the keybinds for the PC version cannot be different for singleplayer and multiplayer, this annoyed me since Q and E are ideally used for Team member commands in the campaign but are without function on the multiplayer mode and I am terrible at hitting the number keys without looking at them. I accept that this is largely a problem for me as a terribly uncoordinated PC gamer, but I have a similar issue with the Xbox 360 button mapping where one cannot change which of the three buttons (Y, RB, LB) individual powers are mapped to in the multiplayer, a function that is in the campaign mode. It's not ideal for powers mapped to Y which you'd ideally have aim control up to the last moment with, or for characters where you may choose to ignore a power altogether and have a functionless shoulder button.

Talking of buttons, as we were, you had better hope your A button, cross button or spacebar is prepared for some punishment from this game because it only does bloody everything. This is less of a pedantic gripe than most problems I have, as anybody who has gone to revive a squadmate or interact with an objective only to take cover would surely agree. Or anybody who has attempted to run from a scene only to take cover yet again. There are two analog sticks on the console gamepads and an insulting wealth of buttons on a standard keyboard without worthwhile or any assigned function. For example, the ability to run without fear of becoming intimate with the nearest wall should take precedence over moving around corners whilst in cover (the default function of the left thumbstick). One button should not rule them all.

Cover is important on Mass Effect games, it is essentially a cover-based shooter by this point in time! But the multiplayer maps are small and globular, not many areas of cover will be useful for long before flanking attackers force you to reposition. The enemies and mechanics were designed for largely linear missions and not entirely befitting of this hoard mode, and I for one would not hate to see the co-op developed further with potential DLC expansion or even a whole game into a more linear and narrative-driven feature, perhaps included like the three named multiplayer missions were in GTA IV.

No comment.

Although the maps may be lacking in variety of scale and complexity, there is significant difference in the three enemy factions. The Geth are underwhelming and pretty manageable, Cerberus forces are bolstered by a few challenging units and the Reapers bring the hardest enemy to abide to the table in the form of the Banshees. They, along with the other formidable enemies, are capable of engaging close enough players in an automatic kill animation that sadly invalidates them as targets for close-quarters combat. As one would expect from the series the player classes also offer significant variety in gameplay. There are different strengths and tactical advantages strewn across them and between the different races available for them, and for somebody such as myself who has not experimented with classes in the series beforehand it can be quite an eye-opener! Stealthy infiltrators can accomplish objectives and revive squadmates whilst invisible to enemies. Soldiers can wipe out groups of cannon fodder enemies with grenades. Human Vanguards can charge, then nova, then charge, then nova, then charge and then nova until everything is dead. Turian Sentinels can nullify or weaken enemy defenses whilst hammering them with a trusty rifle. Adepts can use dazzling arrays of powers to defeat opponents. Krogans can headbutt the shit out of everything. It's pretty good fun if you're lucky enough to play with people who are competent enough to work with their character's strengths in how they are equipped and leveled... and if you're lucky enough to best the unlock system.

I would not expect these guys to be free of charge.

The unlock system is perhaps the most distasteful thing about the multiplayer mode to me. It has not changed significantly since the demo, and on the PC demo I manipulated the system (coalesced.ini modifications) to get an idea of how unrewarding it can be. Items are purchased in packs from a "store", with packs being increasingly expensive in proportion to what possibilities they offer of getting rarer items. The packs are bought with credits earned from completing games (as well as the experience points that go towards character progression). It wasn't clear in the demo, but this system seems to have been used in favour of simply awarding random items with mission completion so that there was a platform for microtransactions within the game. You'd need to have more money than sense to do it, but you can use your Microsoft points, Bioware points or real money (thanks Sony!) to purchase these unlock packs at a completely unrespectable rate. The silliness doesn't even end once you have bought these packs, as they are completely random (with the solitary exception so far of an equipment pack, at a stupid price for purely common items) you have no control over what you are unlocking. For a mode based on games with character building, you sure don't get a choice about what weapons, upgrades or characters you might be unlocking. You're just as likely to unlock weapons you would never want to use as the ones you would. Your chance of getting any particular item doesn't improve well with time since every weapon unlocked has 9 ranks to potentially unlock, every upgrade has 4 ranks and every character has three or four customisations followed by unlimited experience point boost packs. You may think I am being silly, but blow it your your ass because I still don't have a Krogan.

That's twice as many crushed balls for every Krogan.

The multiplayer is not without its fair share of bugs. Most notable to me are the poorly designed maps which will permit players and AI momentary HUD targeting through walls. Players will barely notice this but enemy AI can often be found attempting to shoot through the scenery. Imperfect game connections seem to be responsible for characters losing their firm grip on the ground and potentially ending up stuck above or below the map without any way out, this may however also be associated with Vanguards being incredibly free from the laws of Physics. Joining games through invites will often cause players to be returned to the front end menu if they are already in multiplayer, which seems unnecessary. The use of EA servers are likely for no more than ensuring that they're making money, and requiring a constant connection to them can be frustrating when you're kicked out of a game for nothing other than losing connection to them. It would not be so bad if rejoining the game you had left returned your previous score, total score for all players is a key factor in how much experience (and credits) everybody receives for a mission. The experience points awarded for missions are the same for every player, which makes playing with high-scorers rewarding if you can bear the shame of your pathetically low score. During missions, points for defeating enemies are fairly distributed between players regardless of who got the killing shot in.

A small praiseworthy aspect of the multiplayer implementation is the minimal impact it makes on the achievements, with only a couple of them requiring the playing of it but with several encouraging the player to try it out. On the flip side, playing the multiplayer is required to get story endings that may be considered more preferable. This would be required every time one wished to replay the game since Galactic readiness decreases over time and during development it had been promised that this would not be the case.

This mode is being supported by the developers with tweaks, challenges and perhaps more. There is chance for improvement even if there is little hope, if there had been more thought and effort thrown at this mode I think it could have been a real dazzler. But then I could say the same about the singleplayer. I guess the multiplayer missions at least have conclusive endings.

That was a joke.   read

4:42 AM on 01.15.2012

What I Want in 2012: South Park

(My Header image for this was lost during the October 2012 site update, blame Niero!)

(Also, it's highly amusing how this is now due out in 2014 and could very well be terrible.)

When I was a kid, I had an older brother. I still do, but I used to, too. He was a teenager when South Park first became a thing, and having not-terrible tastes, he was a fan of it. He had the first season on VHS. Being like nine years old I was not allowed to watch it and, as you do when you're a kid, I wanted to watch it more because of that. One night back in the early noughties I was left alone in the house with the bad parent and managed to watch the South Park movie like three times in a row. The point is, South Park has been with me for quite a while.

South Park hasn't gone anywhere since then, and doesn't appear to be leaving any time soon either. The show has varied in quality and popularity and has (in my opinion anyway) settled into a formulaic yet watchable (if a bit preachy) show for now. After 15 seasons there is an immense wealth of characters and locations based in the fictional town of South Park yet there has never been a game that could take advantage of it, no games that have been the right genre. The early games didn't have much to go on, and were genre mismatches; the more recent release of South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play! was a tower defense game and the upcoming South Park: Tenorman's Revenge is a platformer. And now set for release in 2012 is the inventively titled South Park: The Game, a fully sized RPG for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Windows!

This game is promising to be everything a South Park game should be, and that's because it is a labor of love from Matt Stone and Trey Parker who have been writing it, voicing it and directing the game based on their personal gaming preferences. If I have learnt anything about these guys over the years it would be that the TV series is one of the least amusing things they have produced, and so I have high hopes for this game. The setting is, as you would expect, the small Colorado town of South Park. However, it appears to be based in the town as imagined by the characters during their fantasy role in the episode titled The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers. The brilliance of this being that you'll be playing a character in a game who is playing a character in a game. Shit's meta. You'll also be playing as your very own silent protagonist which is unsurprising when character generators like this this (or this if you're a Limey) have been around for over a decade.

All the information that has been released since this was announced late last year points to it being the South Park game we deserve and it's exactly the sort of project that we ought to see more of, tie-ins that are made with as much love as the thing they're tying into. Hell, if the game should fail there is at least a place it can be sent to etch out its days free of reviewer mockery...

All images used were taken from the show and not from released game assets. Deal with it.   read

3:32 PM on 12.16.2011

Modifications: Rewriting History

I don't particularly play games with mods, I haven't been a PC gamer for most of the years I have been gaming and in that time I've played with maybe a handful of mods. I'm really more of a PC tweaks kinda guy! However, earlier this year a game was graciously gifted to me, and I found I couldn't play it my way without a modification or two. That game was Sid Meier's Civilization V.

Civ V is a strategy game or something, and the latest installment in a games series that's as young as I am. More importantly, it has Nuclear warfare and Empire building. There is a comprehensive range of options for the game, from graphical to geographical. You can have any combination of Nations on landscape variations but when the maps get large and the AI players number too many the game can chug a little so it's a good thing that you can knock the graphical settings down a great deal, I can barely tell the difference anyway! On top of all this vanilla fidelity there is an in-game mod browser and management system with several hundred community made mods, which is really rather useful should you develop a niche niche in need of scratching.

When I was starting to play the game and learn how much I sucked at it, I was disappointed that there was no option to have realistic starting locations for nations on Earth maps. Luckily, I was pointed in the direction of the Mods and eventually found a simple little one called Yet (not) Another Earth Maps Pack (v.9) and an even more up-to-date version of what I have been using can be found here (eep).

I enjoy this Mod because although I find the game fun in general, I think the homeland of the nations is important and being able to fight Napoleon for control of France or nuke India because Gandhi is a dick adds a level of excitement to it. It's worth mentioning that I really don't play the game for a challenge and that this Mod will let you know where every enemy is (assuming you know basic geography, sorry America) so you can avoid them or attack them with ease as well as colonising huge areas of the World because you know they'll be vacant. As the in-game warning informs you, using mods in this game can be tricksy and for this one in particular you are advised to have a computer with the recommended specifications for the game. Having multiple mods enabled at once can make everything even more unstable too.

The mod is great, it lets me enjoy a genre I don't even like all that much. The latest version of the mod has a Europe-only map. Hot damn I wish I didn't have a hot date this weekend otherwise I'd be rewriting that European history the way it should have been.

I'm going to end on the most indispensable wisdom that has been shared with me regarding this game in the hope that it may help out other people when dealing with the menace of Civ V...

"The biggest thing that stands out about Gandhi is that he has a nuke rating of 12. This is 4 points ahead of the closest leaders (Catherine, Montezuma and Ramesses tied at 8) making him hands down the most nuke prone leader." -- A Brazilian, 1st July, 2011.   read

12:07 PM on 11.01.2011

MMO Stories: Prattle battle

I shall preface this by stating that I am in no way an MMO gamer, nor a fan of them. The few MMOs I have played have not offered up gameplay that I find particularly scintillating and have only really been able to appreciate the ease with which one can play with a group of friends, which is of course how this all began...

The Lord of the Rings Online went free to play around this time last year, and when January came several Dtoiders including myself took an interest in it. The game was free-to-play, not requiring of a powerful machine and set in a fictional world that we were all acquainted with through various degrees of being terrible nerds. We deliberately chose a variety of classes to bolster any teamwork that might happen. I played as a Dwarf Champion, despite how disappointing the lack of female Dwarf characters was to me. The Guy with the Hat played as a Hobbit and spent way too much time tending to root vegetables and making stews.

Over the course of a few weeks we started playing and moved towards coordinating our play sessions and trying to keep at similar levels, most early outings were predominantly spent with people walking great distances just to find one another. The size and faithfulness of the Middle Earth recreation on the game is incredible in my opinion, and one of the most fun times I had on it was in travelling to Rivendell despite being vastly underlevelled just because it was goddamn Rivendell. We even set up a Kinship on the server we were playing, that's how much sheer fun we were having!

Carnies. Circus folk. Nomads, you know. Smell like cabbage. Small hands.

The fun reached climax point when we discovered that you could play music files on your in-game instruments and play time quickly devolved into abuse of this. It would be the end of us.

The thing that happened

On this ominous day, we coalesced in Bree. The Bree area in-game has early story quests found in the Prancing Pony, and it is one of the more interesting places in the region for the amiable atmosphere within. Those who, like us, were hell bent on showcasing our ability to copy files from the Internet into a folder on our computers found a place to do so here. Since the Inn itself was crowded and noisy we eventually went outside to showcase our musics at each others faces.

Outside the Prancing Pony... there is a rock.

And on it, we played.

And we saw everything that we had played, and, behold, it was very good.

However, we were not the only ones who favoured this polygon podium. A handful of members of a certain Kinship on the server were also present and after a while a discourse broke out between our parties in the local chat. It was a lackluster battle of the bands if there ever were one. Despite the amicable nature of the situation, the interlopers were genuinely displeased with our presence there. Sexual advances were made and improbable implications were made, yet these so called gamers would not warm to us. They went running to a moderator and got one of us banned. Clearly, bias and a surgically removed sense of humour and of social grace were on the cards that day. We found the whole situation funny as hell and haven't really bothered with the game since.

Enjoy your rock, assholes.

I know this isn't much of a story, and it has been so long since the event that we can barely remember it, but it has nonetheless left an unfortunate impression of MMO gamers with us. These games must rely on and facilitate interaction and cooperation, and promote friendship between players, more than any other genre of game. I am sure there are less sucky players for every group such as we encountered, but I'm not going to waste a single iota of time looking for them. For me personally the most illuminating and important feeling to take away from this is the contentment in not need strangers to play with. As annoying as it can be when a group of friends only have a few games in common, I'd rather have those games and friends than deal with people who can't share a fake fucking rock.   read

10:31 PM on 10.10.2011

Tarviews: Onlive (and) kicking

It's been two years since the announcement of Onlive, and late in September they rolled the service out to the UK with a heavy presence at the Eurogamer Expo and an introductory offer of only paying 1 (buck fiddy) for your first game. Since I'm on a low budget right now and have too much spare time on my hands I purchased Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine on the system, or should I say I purchased the right to stream it. The idea of streaming current generation games has been something I have considered current broadband standards simply not good enough for and with this venture into new territory I planned to develop a more solid feel for it.

Since I wasn't dedicated enough to be one of the thousands who queued for hours to pick up an Onlive microconsole on the Eurogamer Expo showroom floor, I played the game on my PC which is a horrifically noisy and rapidly degenerating beast of a machine running 32 bit Windows 7 Home Premium with an AMD Phenom II dual core 3.00 GHz processor and a second hand ATI Radeon HD 4800 series graphics card. But then of course that should not factor hugely in the experience. My internet connection is with UK ISP TalkTalk, I do not know the speeds we should be getting but can tell me what we are getting, which is a downstream connection peaking at just over 12 Mbps and around 0.8 Mbps upstream, with a ping of ~50ms to servers in London.

Click for larger image.

Before buying the game, I used most of the trial time I had for the game in a preliminary test. Trial time with Onlive games is spent playing the full version of the game, I assume because it's easier to stream it to you than to host a demo alongside the full game. The graphics were neither unplayable nor perfect, and the game responded well. I used an Xbox 360 wireless pad to play the game, rather than learn different controls to what I had played of the demo on Xbox 360. In the entire time playing the trial I only had one momentary issue which was caused by Skype crashing and taking Windows explorer down with it. At least one person spectated my session, every game you or anybody else plays on the service can be found on the seemingly infinite wall of screens in the Arena part of the Onlive dashboard. I find this feature quite damn impressive myself and you can choose to talk to the player and fellow spectators with the voice chat (currently in beta).

Click for larger image.

As I said previously, the game is not pretty within the confines of being playable, but at times there were graphical glitches when quickly turning around. The service itself never taxed my connection, my download rate never exceeding 800 KB/s and sitting under 400 KB/s when not actively playing a game, upload fluctuating and generally not exceeding 25 KB/s. Noticeability of latency issues varied, infrequently being almost nonexistent, but when playing with a controller were hard to detect overall. I was able to play on the normal difficulty as proficiently as I had done on the Xbox 360. One last thing I'd like to comment is one property of the Onlive service on PC, being able to easily set the window to any desired size whilst locking aspect ratio, since I often have a sea of windows and I am content to play games in the corner of my screen.

Click for larger image.

An interesting thing to note is the total lack of multiplayer for this game, with the implication that it is only not available yet. The game retails for 35 on the service, which, like most games on there, is similar or an exact parallel to the pricing on services such as Steam. I find paying the same price to only stream a game rather than play it in better quality locally to be fitting for a rather niche audience, if any audience at all. The saving grace is that many games on the service can have passes bought for them that last usually 3 or 5 days for under a fiver, and over a hundred games on the service are fully accessible as part of a 7 per month deal that also grants a 30% cost reduction on everything else on the service.

To conclude, Onlive functions well enough to play games. Something not relying on reactions or brilliant graphics would likely be perfect for the service. It's definitely worth checking out in this country with the introductory offer and so you can oggle the games of complete strangers playing BioShock and Batman: Arkham Asylum. Most people out there, especially those who would call themselves PC gamers, are likely going to want to ignore this for now since installing their games and playing them in beautiful quality is their bag. Those who can snag a microconsole however would likely be pleasantly surprised by what the little box can do for them, just don't go playing it on the largest TV you can find. Last of all, playing a game such as Space Marine can use in the region of 2GB of downstream data per hour of play, so it is not a better option than download services for those on a download limit.   read

6:52 PM on 09.29.2011

Tarviews: Eurogamer 2011

Eurogamer is getting bigger and better. Whereas last year it occupied the Brompton Hall area of the Earl's Court complex, this year it had the considerably larger area of Earl's Court 1 and a whole host of premier games and exclusives to fill it. I've written this piece to recap what I did on the show floor and to highlight how much better your Eurogamer weekend can be when combined with Destructoid's UK community!

I attended the Eurogamer Expo on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday this year, and each day started the same way; Upon arrival I was hit with the realisation that I had no particular interest in any games, no plans of what to play and no future purchasing decisions depending any of it. This, if anything, gave me amazing freedom since it caused me to spend most of my time just wondering around until something caught my eye, enjoying the atmosphere, occasionally running into a friendly face and exchanging experiences. The first area to interest me was the retro games zone, where I assume almost every gaming platform to date could be found running a classic game. Not being particularly old school (and not being able to find an Xbox running Halo CE) this zone didn't stir nostalgic sentiment within me, but it did look fantastic and I love seeing these areas at events and this one was particularly more hands-on than the retro showcase at Gamescom this year.

Over in the 18+ area, the queuing for and playing of Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 dominated at opposite ends. Since I don't understand wasting time for a game that came out in 2007 and a game with a public beta out within a week, I was very happy to have all those silly people out of my way. I picked up a controller to play a co-op game of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North partially out of sympathy for the guy already playing it by himself, and found we were facing enemies vastly more powerful than I was used to in video game adaptions of the fiction, even for a mighty Dwarf such as myself. My Elvish friend and I were overwhelmed by big bastarding Uruks, and I left it at that. I found a 5v5 game of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier set up and elected to throw down with some randoms. Having spent the whole game sat in cover on a bridge near where our team spawned and doing nothing but pepper enemy craniums with bullets, I couldn't help but feel I missed the point of the game, even if I came out on top of the winning team.

There were several big hitters out on display, not least of all there was Skyrim. I have conflicting feelings for this game because although it is going to be fantastic I don't feel I'd enjoy it for the same reasons I enjoyed Oblivion (I liked breaking it). The people playing the game were out in the open so one could easily watch others playing it, it looks very pretty but I didn't see any dragons. Another game I didn't queue for just to play, but that I am sure I want to put inside me is Batman: Arkham City which after some cancellations also was showcased in a few developer sessions over the course of the Expo and I was lucky enough to be in one of them! The delightfully wacky Sarah Wellock took to the stage and talked the crowd through a playthrough of the showfloor demo (operated by a mostly capable test lead) and then gave an exclusive first look at some of the Riddler's new tricks and traps. This game is looking brilliant, the city itself which you'll be traversing as Batman is large, complex and jaw dropping (in the sense that my jaw dropped like so many chumps who felt the pugilistic rage of Batman during the session). And talking of Bat-justice, we were promised the chance to beat the shit out of the Riddler at some point in the game, so that'll be nice. They ended on showing off some challenge maps, using Batman and then Catwoman for a combat challenge and then a Predator challenge for Batman before having two audience members compete for a prize. The combat has been shifted up a fair bit with new moves (double takedowns, this is like Assassins Creed II all over again) and looks as great as ever.

It's worth saying that I played Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, despite my complete disliking of the series, just to get swag. I came away with two large t-shirts and two codes for the PC beta and shall be trying my best to get rid of them.

Do you know what is fantastic? Shut up, I'll tell you. It's watching Jurassic Park on the biggest cinema screen in the UK, which is what many members of Dtoid UK were doing on Friday night thanks to NikMonroe's addiction to cinema and just generally being awesome. And writing of awesome, on the Saturday night we were on the guest list for a party hosted by StickTwiddlers to celebrate and contribute towards the efforts of the charity SpecialEffect. The party was a great success and it was said that about one in every ten people there was a Dtoider, so at least ten percent of the people there were awesome yet I'd wager that most people there were. These two events aside, there was plenty of pubbing and general tomfoolery all weekend, as well as eating in excellent establishments and drinking delicious coctails.

I won't lie, I wouldn't go to Eurogamer just for the show alone. The community presence there is strong in numbers and in affection, and thoroughly welcoming towards everybody. I would strongly encourage any British Dtoider to get involved and Eurogamer is the perfect time to do it, my first experience with the community was at last year's expo where I also convinced Beccy (Panchromatic) to get involved (and oh boy is she getting involved!) and with her came Adam (DeathByLumber) and I can't imagine how dull life would be if they hadn't. Walking around the expo this year in a Dtoid tee was C-blogger Discarded Couch Sandwich, and I hope he appreciated the benefits of wearing such amiably recognisable apparel.

Returning to the games, I almost missed it but I eventually found Starhawk, much to my delight. I was a big fan of Warhawk and eager to see how the sequel is matching up to my expectations. I found it disconcerting that they chose to show off a single-player demo when the previous game was exclusively multiplayer action, but even more unsettling to me was the lack of weapon variety both on foot and during the small amount of time spent in an actual Starhawk. As much as I liked the feel of the old game, this demo did feel good. The sniper rifle gave a lovely HEADSHOT celebration when appropriate, the shotguns packed a punch and the building creation mechanism worked well even if I didn't understand why I was doing it (the subtitles were not working, lolalphabuilds). The almost cartoon-like graphics of Warhawk seemed to have been lost in this demo under a thick coat of brown realism. The Starhawks handled well enough, but I found the weapons difficult initially, as I had hoped for it to be like playing the previous game.

The Indie games arcade present at the show was busy when I wondered through, but I managed to get some time on two of the games in there. Blocks That Matter is a game combining platforming and puzzle gaming based around your ability as Tetrobot to destroy and place 4 blocks at one time, with different blocks you can place having different properties. The rules for placement and acquisition of blocks result in an intriguing, challenging experience and the game is available to demo and purchase on Steam now. I also had a try at playing Molecat Twist, which I found considerably more difficult. A puzzle game not too dissimilar from Lemmings, the blocks of the game world can be rotated by your direct actions and indirect actions via the molecats that you're (hopefully) directing. I felt that the attention and thought I'd need to give the game to even complete the level was a little too much for the time and place, and fled the terminal rather quickly.

Having seen the Mega64 advert for it, I was delighted to find Rise of Nightmares playable with a very small crowd around it. The control mechanisms were briefly explained to me and I found it easy to jump into. Movement is controller using the right leg (forwards or backwards depending on your desired direction of travel) and shoulders (they turn, and you turn). Raising both hands puts you into a fighting stance where both can be used to attack enemies (whom you automatically lock onto) along with kicks. The left hand by itself can be used to interact with items such as picking up weapons for fighting the undead enemies and opening doors. The right hand can be held in the air to automatically move towards your current objective without achieving tasks for you. The only problem I experienced was being unsure where to stand and having the console complain at me occasionally, but that was just my fault for being too poor for Kinect.

I also got to play on a single player level of The Adventures of Tintin: The Game, despite being a movie tie-in I enjoyed the level. There were three co-op levels and two single player levels available to play, it looked amicably like the film and had fun and easy platforming action. Probably a great game for kids, personally I look forward to the film more even if only for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost playing Thompson and Thompson.

We had our group photo taken on a fucking Tank. See y'all same time next year. <3   read

12:00 PM on 08.07.2011

Destructoid's Unofficial Steam Group, 4 Years on.

It was four years ago this very day that sexy community member Yashoki started a group for this website's community on Steam. I joined the chat regulars around mid-2009, they haven't been able to get rid of me since and it is an important part of how I came to be part of the community. The existence of a group on steam for a gaming community makes sense, and joining it is as simple as having a Steam account and joining the group. Aside from you being able to feature the group on your profile page and look cool, being in the group allows you to receive relevant announcements to your interests, courtesy of a professional and mature admin team.

And partake in group chat with community members across the globe in an environment which facilitates the playing of games together, which is rather convenient. Throughout the years popular games have come and gone in popularity within the group; There is such a mix of gamers that you're almost always going to find somebody interested in a certain game. Games that encourage collective creativity such as Minecraft have often been used for fun times and sometimes the results make it onto the blogs and forums.

Dem hats.

The rising popularity of Minecraft in the last year also led to a group member hosting a server for it in the last year, it is no longer running but in the time it was up there were several iterations and many man-hours spent making things which were awesome.

From humble beginnings... to megalomania.

At least it wasn't full of chill bros.

Steamtoid is definitely a great place to be to discuss PC and non-PC gaming news, with live discussions during keynotes at E3 and other major gaming events, a frenzied amassing of people before the posting of deals during sales who are also friendly enough to gift or trade games. You can also organise events and have announcements posted on the group if you ask an admin nicely, it's your community Steam group; If you have a server or Dtoid related steam group that you'd like mentioned on the page, just go ahead and ask!   read

12:07 PM on 07.01.2011

EUFNF July 1st - Red Dead Gandhi edition

"The biggest thing that stands out about Gandhi is that he has a nuke rating of 12. This is 4 points ahead of the closest leaders (Catherine, Montezuma and Ramesses tied at 8) making him hands down the most nuke prone leader." -- Ramalho, 1st July, 2011.

This weekend, you get quadruple experience in Red Dead Redemption, and of course TF2 is free to play if you can find a server with room. Some people will just want to watch the world burn though, as always.

Every Friday, a bunch of people pretend to play games. Nobody really plays games because they are lame and we're all liars. You should join us, because we have plans of world domination and/or eating burgers in Mexican restaurants in Germany. Maybe. Shit, I don't know, I was having a Nam' flashback. Play games! We list what we're doing here, you can join us or try to make us join you (good luck, we don't play games).

Team Fortress 2, Whatever else.
20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST

Civilisation V
20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST

Playstation 3
Red Dead Redemption
Dtoiders/PSN IDs:
20.00 CET | 19.00 BST | 14.00 EST

Don't forget the Destructoid Steam group is nearly always populated with people that sometimes play games! Steamtoid is a fun hangout. Join the Steam group chat to find them!


1:57 PM on 06.07.2011

Tarviews: Wii U, Our Bodies were ready... they f*cked our brains instead.

I didn't think much of the Nintendo keynote, aside from stating the obvious and showing old news they managed to really mess with me. I'm talking about how they managed to announce everything about their new console except the console itself. Nintendo presented an incohesive assortment of information pertaining to their new home console without explicitly revealing the console itself.

Apparently, this is it.

From what I gather, they left the vast majority of viewers confused even after the show had concluded. Was Wii U just a peripheral expansion for the Wii? Was the new controller a new console in itself? Their decision to only show the tablet device being used with games that were not graphically demanding and later promise a dazzling array of games that were rather graphically advanced doesn't seem to have helped. They should have shown those games being played and what the tablet controller could bring to those, since they would need a good reason to boast about releasing Arkham City on it a year after current gaming platforms.

Promising such an array of games for Wii U will be sure to interest the gaming demographic Nintendo lost out on with the Wii, but if they hope to get gamers interested in playing them on the Wii U I think they will need to focus a little more on peripheral function with those games. That tablet is going to need to do some pretty amazing things for somebody to pick one up over their controllers or keyboard and mouse. Or, they could support various peripherals.

It's been suggested that it wasn't important to feature the console, since it's just a box of crap that could change before release. But since they have a model to show off, why didn't they? Clearly the console they have planned is going to have some decent power and online capabilities to match, I think focusing on everything but the box was rather silly of them. If it is because they're not ready to discuss it they should have left it at home this year.   read

2:16 AM on 04.10.2011

Sims 3 played like an RPG by a strange persontoid.

One of the things that amused me overnight in Superior Skypetoid was a certain member who shall remain nameless playing Sims 3 after a recent attempt by Juani to simulate 8 of us living together, having made a sim that perfectly represented him he proceeded to live out his life through the game...


[1:08:37 AM] Skypetoider: I am so popular the town has elected me to Governor of the State without me running for election, HOW DOES THAT EVEN WORK

[1:11:19 AM] Skypetoider: got my lifetime wish done before being an adult, awesoooome

[1:11:56 AM] Skypetoider: idk if I should break this girl's marriage and then marry her, or if I should break her marriage and then break up with her after some sex

[1:14:26 AM] Skypetoider: I got my lifetime wish by sucking up to the boss which is one of my many best friends
[1:15:49 AM] Skypetoider: this fat bitch keeps ending our relationship

[1:21:56 AM] Skypetoider: I just came back from home from a speech I gave in the hospital
[1:22:01 AM] Skypetoider: I was shirtless the whole time

[1:25:04 AM] Skypetoider: I am now the Vice President you guys

[1:27:53 AM] Skypetoider: oh shit, I just asked the married doctor to "stay over"

[1:28:19 AM] Skypetoider: oh shit I just got denied =(

[1:29:52 AM] Skypetoider: ok this is fucked up

[1:30:09 AM] Skypetoider: this married chick is sleeping with me on her undies on a saturday night, nothing is going on though

[1:31:14 AM] Skypetoider: very very shirtless of course

[1:31:36 AM] Skypetoider: cause I made Sully have sex with Sam
[1:31:38 AM] Skypetoider: oops

[1:35:51 AM] Skypetoider: AND IT'S ALL OKAY WTF

[1:41:06 AM] Skypetoider: hah, broke them up, am hooking up now

[2:00:35 AM] Skypetoider: damn crazy bitch is playing the guitar on her undies in the bathroom

[2:01:35 AM] Skypetoider: now I'm gonna cheat on my girl
[2:01:43 AM] Skypetoider: with her ex-best friend
[2:03:36 AM] Skypetoider: yep, hooked up with her
[2:03:46 AM] Skypetoider: in front of the hot blonde maid in a french made costume

[2:05:10 AM] Skypetoider: I am going to ask my current girl to marry me when she comes back home from her work, she's a paramedic btw

[2:05:28 AM] Skypetoider: I shall see if it's possible to keep fucking with her ex best friend behind her back

[2:06:50 AM] Skypetoider: okay
[2:06:56 AM] Skypetoider: is my sim a massive douche?

[2:21:47 AM] Skypetoider: I GOT MY LOVER PREGNANT

[2:27:37 AM] Skypetoider: made the lady catch me cheating
[2:27:55 AM] Skypetoider: apologized
[2:27:46 AM] Skypetoider: gonna try and ask her to marrry me tomorrow

[2:28:01 AM] Skypetoider: I want to see how far I can take this
[2:28:02 AM] Skypetoider: into madness

[2:29:18 AM] Skypetoider: oh fuck, I was busy having sex and destrying two girls lifes forever and forgot to attend an important work related party

[2:30:22 AM] Skypetoider: OH SHIT
[2:30:24 AM] Skypetoider: MY LOVER HAD A CHILD

[2:30:49 AM] Skypetoider: it's named Claude, that's french, I must throw it down a flight of stairs

[2:36:16 AM] Skypetoider: I'm never calling this chick or her child ever again
[2:36:25 AM] Skypetoider: she's calling me, I'm not answering

[2:37:34 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to get this chick's trust back
[2:37:37 AM] Skypetoider: and then i'm going to fuck her some
[2:37:45 AM] Skypetoider: get her pregnant
[2:37:50 AM] Skypetoider: and break up with her too

[2:38:07 AM] Skypetoider: fuck getting married now, this relationship was tainted by my cock that wouldn't keep still

[2:40:08 AM] Skypetoider: I should get it on with the maid too

[2:43:26 AM] Skypetoider: THE MAID STOLE MY STEREO

[2:52:04 AM] Skypetoider: OOOOOH SO THAT'S WHAT I DID WRONG
[2:52:07 AM] Skypetoider: I DIDN'T USE A CONDOM
[2:52:08 AM] Skypetoider: FUCK

[2:52:47 AM] Skypetoider: FUCK YOU AND YOUR MAGIC CUNT

[2:53:05 AM] Skypetoider: well this is stupid

[2:53:19 AM] Skypetoider: how am I supposed to know Woo Hoo means sex?

[2:53:25 AM] Skypetoider: I asked her to try for a baby

[2:53:30 AM] Skypetoider: and the bitch didn't say a thing
[2:53:56 AM] Skypetoider: I didn't know I could use a condom, I thought it was some kind of gamble you know
[2:54:03 AM] Skypetoider: like a game of blackjack
[2:54:07 AM] Skypetoider: but inside her uterus

[3:05:25 AM] Skypetoider: I'm trying to trick this silly woman into having children and then leaving her

[3:27:19 AM] Skypetoider: I'm having trouble with this lady, she's a doctor so she works for insane amounts of time

[3:45:35 AM] Skypetoider: holy shit why is there a random person in my game:?
[3:45:41 AM] Skypetoider: from the internets
[3:45:46 AM] Skypetoider: is he gonna fuck my girl?

[3:46:03 AM] Skypetoider: I'm gonna insult him
[3:46:06 AM] Skypetoider: his name is cyclon3
[3:46:26 AM] Skypetoider: automated spell checker checker is his job?
[3:46:27 AM] Skypetoider: wut?
[3:46:29 AM] Skypetoider: fuck him
[3:46:47 AM] Skypetoider: cyl0n3 sw0rd to be accurate
[3:47:04 AM] Skypetoider: WHAT HE INSULTED ME

[3:49:28 AM] Skypetoider: ATTENTION ALL
[3:49:58 AM] Skypetoider: SAVING LIVES
[3:51:05 AM] Skypetoider: what, my girl was observing that while pretending to sleep? is that what just happened
[3:51:22 AM] Skypetoider: is she going to get revenge on me or something?
[3:52:00 AM] Skypetoider: I can't sleep in the bed?
[3:52:11 AM] Skypetoider: guess it's the sofa then
[3:52:16 AM] Skypetoider: fucking bitch, this is my house
[3:52:18 AM] Skypetoider: not hers
[3:52:28 AM] Skypetoider: I should get her pregnant and leave her just like I did with her ex bff
[3:53:09 AM] Skypetoider: oh look, she woke up pregnant
[3:53:29 AM] Skypetoider: she's smelling and wanting to play computer games already, fucking nerd
[3:55:24 AM] Skypetoider: I'm argueing with her
[3:55:26 AM] Skypetoider: and I broke up with her
[3:55:36 AM] Skypetoider: but she's still living with me
[3:55:52 AM] Skypetoider: I tried to compliment her but I insulted her instead
[3:55:59 AM] Skypetoider: dude
[3:56:06 AM] Skypetoider: this is going to turn out into great sitcom
[3:56:36 AM] Skypetoider: I just declared her my nemesis
[3:57:13 AM] Skypetoider: hah, she hates me and we're sleeping in the same bed
[3:57:27 AM] Skypetoider: what, my dude won't sleep on her bed?
[3:57:37 AM] Skypetoider: I'm throwing this bitch and her magic pussy out of here
[3:57:43 AM] Skypetoider: I'm the Leader of the Free World damnit
[3:59:40 AM] Skypetoider: okay she told me she's pregnant, my dude ran away to work, I'm sure it has to do with him being late for it though

[4:12:48 AM] Skypetoider: well I can't kick her out what is this

[4:18:15 AM] Skypetoider: great I have another son
[4:18:29 AM] Skypetoider: called Einstein
[4:22:56 AM] Skypetoider: just fucked this maid chick
[4:23:02 AM] Skypetoider: I didn't know she was maid
[4:23:04 AM] Skypetoider: she just happened to be

[4:25:14 AM] Skypetoider: should my sim marry and have kids?
[4:25:16 AM] Skypetoider: so I can continue his epic quest?

[4:26:42 AM] Skypetoider: yeah I'm going to know her traits
[4:26:52 AM] Skypetoider: and then see if she's appropriate genetic material for my amazing child
[4:27:03 AM] Skypetoider: I have two bastard sons already and one of them is a couch potato, urg
[4:28:01 AM] Skypetoider: the other is athletic and artistic so I guess I can accept him as my child
[4:28:37 AM] Ivor: not proud of your couch potato son?
[4:28:49 AM] Skypetoider: no fuck him
[4:29:03 AM] Skypetoider: and he's also "good"

[4:32:01 AM] Skypetoider: man there's nothing for my sim to do right now
[4:32:14 AM] Skypetoider: he's just woke up and worked out
[4:32:28 AM] Skypetoider: I wish there were prostitutes in this game
[4:34:50 AM] Skypetoider: I just bought the book place
[4:35:29 AM] Skypetoider: and I'm going to rename it to something awesome
[4:35:32 AM] Skypetoider: any suggestions?
[4:36:01 AM] Skypetoider: I'm thinking of "Jizz Worthy Literature" to be classy you know

[4:36:58 AM] Skypetoider: how about "Reading is Like Butt Rape But More Unforgettable"?
[4:37:14 AM] Skypetoider: oh well, it doesn't fit
[4:37:18 AM] Skypetoider: like butt rape
[4:37:20 AM] Skypetoider: haaah
[4:37:23 AM] Skypetoider: still, it doesn't fit

[4:38:51 AM] Skypetoider: Cocksmashing Literature since 1921 is an option guys
[4:38:53 AM] Skypetoider: should I take it?

[4:39:44 AM] Skypetoider: I KNOW
[4:40:36 AM] Skypetoider: not enough money, but enough money to have a share of it
[4:40:39 AM] Skypetoider: soon I will fire the bitch
[4:41:07 AM] Skypetoider: and change the hospital's name to "Morgana You Are Fired"
[4:41:17 AM] Skypetoider: or maybe to "Morgana I Never Loved You"
[4:41:26 AM] Skypetoider: which should I pick?
[4:41:42 AM] Skypetoider: oh I just met some chick
[4:41:52 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to trick her into bed with me too
[4:42:01 AM] Skypetoider: oh fuck she has a boyfriend?
[4:42:04 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to make them break up
[4:42:24 AM] Skypetoider: hopefully a bastard son don't come out of that relationship like last time

[4:45:35 AM] Skypetoider: should I have a child with the maid?

[4:47:48 AM] Skypetoider: I am thinking of them
[4:47:56 AM] Skypetoider: of how many I can collect before dying
[4:49:57 AM] Skypetoider: not in a bad way
[4:50:19 AM] Skypetoider: I'm not trying to collect their bodies, just trying to father the most amount of children I can before I pass away

[4:51:32 AM] Skypetoider: ok
[4:51:34 AM] Skypetoider: here is the thing
[4:51:39 AM] Skypetoider: I was already the ceo of a great org
[4:51:44 AM] Skypetoider: and the president of the fucking world
[4:51:49 AM] Skypetoider: I'm thinking of taking another job
[4:52:39 AM] Skypetoider: I'm thinking of being a professional football player

[4:53:44 AM] Skypetoider: professional thief or something?

[4:53:57 AM] Skypetoider: wait since when is my sim friends with a little boy?

[4:56:18 AM] Skypetoider: is it wrong that before I had sex with the maid I paid her daily salary?

[4:56:50 AM] Skypetoider: well
[4:56:57 AM] Skypetoider: she's cleaning the house now
[4:57:45 AM] Skypetoider: and now she left cause I had to go to work

[5:00:32 AM] Skypetoider: I-I'm no longer friends with my son?
[5:00:43 AM] Juan: D:
[5:00:47 AM] Juan: Which one of them all?
[5:01:37 AM] Skypetoider: the fuck if I know
[5:01:56 AM] Skypetoider: the non imbecile one
[5:02:01 AM] Skypetoider: I mean, french

[5:24:56 AM] Skypetoider: I can't have babies with the maid cause she's latina and there are too many people in her house
[5:26:10 AM] Skypetoider: so I'm tring to impregnate this chick who used to be slutty teen
[5:26:21 AM] Skypetoider: and apparently her boyfriend is still a teenager in high school
[5:26:38 AM] Skypetoider: so I'm going to strike while the iron is hot and pounce on that ridiculous relationship
[5:26:49 AM] Skypetoider: I'll also introduce her to The Cock

[5:29:05 AM] Skypetoider: my lifetime wish was completed in 20 minutes of gaming
[5:29:09 AM] Skypetoider: so I started metaing
[5:29:44 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to write a novel
[5:29:51 AM] Skypetoider: it's a science fiction novel
[5:30:59 AM] Skypetoider: it's going to be named "Crotch Planet: A Tale of Evolution"
[5:30:39 AM] Skypetoider: it's about penises and vagina shaped animals in a planet
[5:31:02 AM] Ivor: so you decided on a writer for your profession?
[5:31:04 AM] Skypetoider: it's a skypetoid reference
[5:31:09 AM] Skypetoider: nah
[5:31:27 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to be a superstar football player
[5:31:39 AM] Skypetoider: but I'm going to write novels on my days off

[5:31:56 AM] Skypetoider: I used to be a CEO of a big company
[5:32:03 AM] Skypetoider: and then became the leader of the free world
[5:32:17 AM] Skypetoider: and now I want to be a professional ball player
[5:32:23 AM] Skypetoider: and a writer on the side
[5:32:31 AM] Skypetoider: I'm also going to own all the buildings in this place
[5:32:36 AM] Skypetoider: and leave children around the place
[5:32:46 AM] Skypetoider: I'm going to die in a military career
[5:32:49 AM] Skypetoider: like a warrior

[5:49:39 AM] Skypetoider: Crotch Planet 2 flopped in the book stores all over murica
[5:58:17 AM] Skypetoider: why are all maids kleptomaniacs in this game?

[6:05:51 AM] Skypetoider: my sim wished to be mean to his ex
[6:05:57 AM] Skypetoider: which is also the mother of his child
[6:06:03 AM] Skypetoider: he's learning
[6:06:17 AM] Skypetoider: he's still not an adult yet wut?
[6:06:20 AM] Skypetoider: still a young adult
[6:08:02 AM] Skypetoider: my sim isn't even flirty dude

#Brazil   read

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