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So no sooner do I write a piece on how trigger warning culture and how wanting a utopian media is a bad idea than I get a story slid across my digital desk.
So apparently a patch to the Dying Light has removed a small line of dialogue from the game. Doesn't seem too big right ? Well the line of dialogue was about how Troy one of the main characters had acid thrown in her face by her brother when she asked about going to school.
That's the line that's been removed. A line about a very real problem still happening in some parts of the world. An issue very few places will cover. An issue brought to the forefront in recent years when Malala Yousafzai was shot by members of the Taliban while on her school bus.
This is the true danger to gaming that is posed by those claiming context doesn't matter and the mere inclusion of this kind of content shouldn't happen.
You may wonder why I've been so very anti Anita well this kind of thing is the reason why. This is why I've said again and again video games need to be allowed to grow up. This kind of thing is the reason I've been so staunchly against people claiming games shouldn't even try to tackle certain issues.
Someone in reddit summed my feelings on this up perfectly.
This is the kind of stupid crap and feeling the need to "self censor" that I'm really concerned about. Considering the incident with GTA V and considering Anita laid into Dying Light because of it using the damsel in distress trope (completely ignoring the context that the "damsel" starts the game by saving your characters damn life without you having any real agency).
I can just see the claims now "Dying Light promotes violence against women" totally ignoring the context that it actually shows the horrific consequences of such acts.
In a world where context is unimportant everything is offensive. So here's to context and those who actually give two shits about it. Because the true thing people should find offensive is not actions being shown as clearly negative. It's people claiming said content shouldn't be in games to begin with "because um um patriarchy um um normalisation" or claiming that these issus shouldn't be discussed by items of media in some claim it trivialises what is a major and quite taboo thing.
You know rather than makes said subjects less taboo and allows discussion of these kind of things to take place rather than a single person be seen worthy to dictate right and wrong on these things.
If peoeple ever wanted to see the harm out of context claims can and cherry picking can do you can now look at Dying Light a game. That felt the need to self censor to avoid anyone making out of context claims about its content. You know like Anita did about Hitman Absolution and Watch Dogs and has done about many other games.
You want to see the harm, you're seeing it now and the kind of twee person who demands nothing should ever have the power to offend them is the kind of person who is holding video games back. Reducing it to a mere childs toy and refusing to let it progress until creator such up to them (See Towerfall adding a killable Anita Sarkeesian character to the game).
Disclosure: I was given an Evolve T-shirt from the Evolve booth nearly a year ago.
So I wanted to do a review of Evolve but this is a multiplayer game with quite a bit of progression and while I have unlocked and played as every hunter and the first 3 monsters (number 4 coming soon) I still don't feel up to doing a full review not least because it's rather clear the community are still learning the game (as to an extent am I).
I went in blind with Evolve having played the game at a show almost a year ago. I've been playing the PS4 version and so far I'm enjoying it. However before I go into more detail this comes with the plenty of buts.
The best way I can describe Evolve at present or more correctly it's community is the result of a lot of Call Of Duty Players trying to play a MOBA. Evolve's problem is not entirely in the gameplay but in the audience and to an extent the community. I've written about my dislike of Call Of Duty previously and Evolve stands as a testament to everything wrong with Call Of Duty and what the series has taught players. A big problem with Evolve is people not really understanding that they have to play their respective roles or everyone dies. Call of Duty has aimed to let everyone play Rambo. Evolve requires people to want to play as the A Team, everyone doing their role.
My present feelings on the community or at least the matchmaking I summed up in a little image I made.
It's clear plenty of effort has been put into Evolve with lots of little touches. Player characters often talk to one another with a variety of conversation before missions (and these change depending on the characters present) even sometimes in mission such conversations occur.
Ok so let's tackle the elephant in the room first. The DLC. OK firstly all the day 1 DLC at present is purely cosmetic. This means the DLC was made after the game went gold and it's not some huge problem for me. Add to this the idea that new maps and modes are going to be coming and will be free to all users it means the community won't be split. The day 1 DLC is cosmetic made after the game went gold by the art team and does not impact gameplay. The idea of the Monster costing $15 if true is bad and I'm a little iffy over the hunter pricing but I'm waiting to see what comes of them and then I'll buy the season pass later on if it seems worth it. In this sense Evolve continues the Moba feel by having more playable character being released post launch.
At present I've played about 30 hours of the game and reached just over rank 35 with all the creatures and hunters so far unlocked. I am still unlocking more items though and trying to rank up the characters to gain additional benefit from them. This is however where I have to object to the game and it's design. As you play as a hunter or monster more you rank up its abilities over time. Each time you rank up the skills gain more power one way or another be it slightly more ammo or range on a gun or slightly lower cooldowns. Essentially the game punishes new players for having not ranked up their hunters more by forcing them to play a slightly weaker version. Oh and as someone who regularly plays Moba games and can notice the difference even subtle changes make to play I have to say it's is a noticeable change.
Also the progression system for each character rank really needs changing as while some of it is based round encouraging people use their full kit and not simply go full call of duty in every role, it reaches a point where to reach the next rank you often need to play sub optimally. To get the required damage amount done with most of the weapons requires you often ignore your normal abilities and focus on gaining that damage.
In short the character rank progression system while designed to promote good play actually could end up hindering it for some matches as players try to grind out requirements as you need all 3 of the rank requirements to be met to even start on the progress for the next rank even if said requirements change the focus from your role in the team.
I will give the game some credit in trying to teach players with both introduction and advanced tutorials in game for each character and monster (not just each role but each individual character). the game even tries to incentivise the player to view the material with the reward of an achievement or Trophy (depending on what format you play on).
So onto the actual game itself. The standard Skirmish mode is kind of forgettable junk, it's ok if you just want a quick go but it's far from the meat of the game. In the standard Skirmish Hunt mode it's a very simple case of try to track down and find the monster and kill it before it reaches level 3. If it reaches level 3 the monster can win by either killing all the hunters or destroying the power node for the area and the hunters win if the monster takes too long or they kill it. Hunt is more honestly a little dull on it's own as without a good balance of monster and hunters either the monster will hide most of the game or the Hunters will easily trap and kill the monster early on.
Hunt mode is really not what Evolve is about. When evolve truly comes alive is in Evacuation mode which gives a rough storyline to you exploits and adds more reason and motivation to the game. The premise of evacuation is simple. Monsters are taking over the colony and you have 5 days to evacuate the colonists. Each day presents a scenario and the results impact the next day with the hunter team and monster able to switch characters and loadouts between days. Day 1 always starts with a hunt mission and day 5 is always a defence mission. Evacuation also has a balancing system so even with the most incompetent of team vs an amazing monster or as an incompetent monster you'll win at least 1 day or more.
In evacuation on the rest of the days you vote on and select a mission from the two available each day either Hunt, Rescue or Nest. Hunt I've previously talked about as a simple case of track and kill the monster / reach level 3 and kill the hunters or the power node. Rescue revolves around locating survivors from a monster attack and getting them to the evacuation ship before the monster finishes them off. Nest revolves around destroying the monster eggs before the monster kills you or time runs out and the eggs hatch. In next mode the creature can also prematurely hatch an egg to gain an minnion monster which will attack and delay the team however it also means the enemy team doesn't have to travel to destroy that egg it's contents will come to them. On the Final day defence mode sees the hunters defending generators against the Alpha creature and waves of minions, lose 3 generators and it's game over.
The twist in Evacuation are the changes that could occur based on the map choices. Lose at the "Entrepreneur" (Bootlegger) Distillery and their produce infects the water making all wildlife aggressive towards the hunters. However win at this location and the next round your ship will spray "Stank" over the area which prevents the monster using its radar like smell ability. This is one of many different options which include but aren't limited to: Electric force fields to limit the area size and make hinting easier; more dead bodies so more monster food, a permanent minnion with the monster; level shortcuts, extra ways to regain health; more firepower as extra NPCs hunt with you; turrets and plenty more. The only day the advantages are fixed is day 5 where if the monster won day 4 it's minnions do more damage to generators, if the monster lost the turrets do more damage minnions.
Evacuation gives a big EXP payout for completing it and this isn't dependent on winning. While winning does give you some extra EXP compared to playing through the full evacuation campaign a match win or loss is negligible. I seriously applaud Turtle Rock for this as it helps foster a community were playing the game is more important than winning or losing.
The different maps are quite varied with each having different quirks to it such as the swamp with acid water or the more jungle like maps with monster that can temporarily poison hunters. Different maps have slight variations on wildlife to content with. Speaking of Wildlife the variety and nuances of them is quite amazing. For example there are the non violent creatures such as the striders the non aggressive creature that will defend themselves like mammoth birds then the always hostile variety including giant sloths and megamouths (an ambush predator that disguises itself as rocks), and this is but a small portion of the wildlife variety.
My biggest complaint in game is in the standard hunt mode it feels like there's very little the hunters can do besides track the monster, and a with a good monster this can be very hard. It feels like there's very little the hunters can do bar for example one hunter having a UAV. All that can be done is try to chase the monster and if you can't, wait for the game to employ one of its many balancing elements. The Monster can accidentally set off carrion birds which give away where it is but many sneaky monsters will dodge these however randomly after the monster kills an animal sometimes carrion birds will flock the location revealing it. Additionally if the monster kills too many creatures there's a chance for the game to spawn rather nasty Trapjaws which cause a fair bit of damage and will fight the monster for its kill. While each Trapper has methods to track the monster each is very specific. Maggie has Daisy who will sniff out the monster, Griffin has sound spike that register when the monster makes a noise (such as even merely walking but this is countered by sneaking monsters) and Abe who can place tracer darks on the monster and the wildlife (which the monster can eat and end up being tracked for a short while by those darts).
Each monster feels quite unique with the Goliath being a hulking brute able to take fights better due to higher armour. The Kraken being an aerial menace flying round the hunter and the Wraith being a more stealth and ambush based monster. A level 3 Goliath will be far easier to spot and find in game but harder to kill while the wraith is hard to track but even at level 3 a well co-ordinated team can take one down.
A game with depth to it
Doesn't push winning as the only acceptable outcome as you can gain significant EXP and progress without a win.
Very well designed environments.
Tries to teach it's mechanics to players and incentivise learning to play.
Nice character to the world and personalities to the hunters beyond them being blank slates.
You need a team really as one bad person not doing their job can turn a match into a long slow loss.
Some possible balance issues with certain hunters and certain monsters on certain maps.
Some bugs and not just silly Ragdoll stuff there's about two crash bugs related somehow to the servers.
Does need a couple more maps to fill it out more.
Definitely needs at least 1 more game mode maybe some kind of defence mode with hunters trying to stop the monster destroying multiple satellite uplinks round the map which could give a 3rd defend bonus with the ship needing the hunters to defend the generators for a longer period.
You have to set aside about 1 hour for play sessions so you can play through the evacuation mode to get the most from the game.
Some match making issues which caused me to rant after being placed as the monster in 5 sessions running despite having monster as my least favourite role because match making
I stand by my claim that Evolve feels very much like a Moba game in terms of learning and complexity despite being an FPS game. Like most Moba games it lives and dies on your team as the hunters and can provide some of the most enjoyable games when you work as a finely tuned machine or the worst experiences as you r team makes run round like headless chickens.
Evolve requires you to put in the work before it really gives back to you rather than providing instant gratification but less feeling of skill progression. It's not a hard game to learn but it does ask you to learn. In the case of teaching the monster it does lack a small amount such that a visit to youtube will vastly improve your monster play.
So the big question.
Can I recommend you buy Evolve at present ?
Yes and No.
Yes if you are willing to put in the time or have played MOBA games before or more in depth class based shooters such as Wolfenstein Enemy Territory or Tribes 2 / similar.
No if you're after COD or Battlefield but with monsters. Or wish to wait for the competence level to rise to avoid really poor matches with incompetent team mates and or wish to prevent your sodium levels from rising as your fucking medic refuses to fucking heal you and tries to fucking 360 no scope the monster as you die.
Unless you're absolutely determined to play it you can wait a month and come to a game with more content, a better community and the last bits of spit and polish applied.
warning the following blog contains capital letters
Problematic, offensive, toxic, harmful. All words that recently have been seeing regular use to describe certain aspects in video games recently. I've been looking into this for a while and I finally realised something weird. Something that turns oh so much of recent events on their side and quite honestly answers a number of questions.
"Video games cause Violence" it's an old thing that keeps being thrown around and I've talk about this nonsense in part before in not one but two posts here. Similar versions of this are being repeated now. The idea of the media teaching people things. People pushing the idea of monkey see monkey do as something that holds eternally through life. Now almost anyone who has even a very basic versing in developmental psychology will be able to point out the formative years are called that for a reason. It's not to say people can't learn new things but our general "Us" our basic functionality and "self" and many ideas about the world are formed by 11 ad only being tested and expanded beyond that point. As such to change this requires said ideas to be challenge. In essence people aren't blank slates that the media constantly writes and re-writes onto. Our entire concept of value doesn't suddenly change every time we partake in media.
Initially this left me trying to understand where certain people were coming from. If even a moron like me can point out how foolish the idea of monkey see monkey do is then why are people laying on academic credentials and claiming to be intellectuals spouting this garbage or similar? I mean do they truly believe it? Well I chose not the write them off as fools and start looking deeper into it. The answer came when I realised many were claiming context didn't matter.
When Anita talks about The Witcher or in her videos where she highlights a sequence as sexist where the protagonist is breaking up a sex trafficking ring I finally realised quite what I'd been missing. It also handily explains the claims that games could teach people etc etc etc.
What is being witnessed is two parts. Firstly it's a fundamental misunderstanding of media. Secondly it's something I'd refer to as protectionism. What all this insanity goes back to is the idea of protecting people and right back to the idea of the trigger warning. For those unfamiliar with the term these are content warnings for people who have suffered traumatic experiences warning them that some of the content may cause them to "re-live" painful memories of have such memories re-surface. Consider it like a car backfiring causing a war veteran to dive for cover in fear. Now while there is a school of psychology that suggests facing said fears and memories and allowing yourself to confront them and move on is a good idea, not everyone is prepared to go through the steps or can go through the steps to deal with said issue hence trigger warnings. Now in recent years the idea of being triggered has been taken up by people for things that really don't seem like they're actually huge traumatic events. For example some-one claiming they got PTSD from twitter. The idea of being triggered changed from actual traumatic experiences and memories coming back that impact lives and debilitate people or cause problems with their day to day functionality to making someone feel a bit bad.
Now because trigger warnings have previously been established as a method of protecting people being exposed to something that would cause trauma. People hearing someone claiming their being triggered automatically assume it relate to some deeply personal trauma that they don't wish to pry into and also will want to avoid doing something to trigger them. What many people don't think of is someone misusing the terms to describe feeling something negative / that they don't want to, that's not triggering that's being human as much as it would be nice to life isn't all roses all the time. In fact some people have claimed the mere existence of something is triggering to them, the idea of merely knowing something exists and thinking about it is triggering even if they don't have to be exposed to it. To give an idea of how crazy this idea is I'll give you a an anecdote: When I was young I got chased round a playground and almost bitten by a dog. Unsurprisingly having almost been bitten I developed a fear of dogs having almost been bitten and having had to run in fear from one. However here in the UK there's a dog show called Crufts. To use the line of thinking that something that could potentially trigger someone shouldn't exist it would be Crufts shouldn't exist because it could trigger me. Now I personally had no problem with Crufts existing I simply didn't go there and avoided going there but the logic being put forwards is stopping or censoring things because of the mere potential for someone to be triggered and as such expecting people to take no personal responsibility for themselves.
Just to be clear no I'm not comparing me having a phobia of dogs due to an unpleasant event to the scale or magnitude of trauma someone with actual PTSD will have experienced. Also to stop people posting loads of dogs in the comments as a joke I'm no longer phobic of dogs, long story short my ex girlfriend really really wanted to go to Crufts and guess who ended up going with her if nothing else it shows how effective overloading a person's fear response can be to get them over it. Oh and mark my words if I hadn't loved her as much as I did there's no way in hell I'd have stepped within 10 miles of the Crufts show.
So onto the media aspect and how all this relates to media and in particular video games. So I'd like to tell you a little story.
Ashley went to the shops. Squee had a good time there, nothing happened to 's there really. After that Squee went home. The End.
Not exactly the most compelling story is it? Now what if the story ended with "Game Over You Win"? It would be pretty disappointing right? Well this is where suddenly so much makes sense. You see many people see media as the black mirror. The black mirror analogy is that media reflects society and media often highlights and plays on the darker aspects of society, showing not only societies good points but also often reflecting the ills of society.
What is being pushed is the idea media should be some idealistic utopian vision for what society can or should be like in some people's eyes. The simple truth is sexism, racism and many other forms of discrimination exist in reality. In most media it's portrayed as a bad thing: it's the villains in Double Dragon that punch the women; it's one of the villains in Red Dead Redemption that kicks a woman. It's the bad guys the people portrayed as evil that you don't want to be like and you spend the game trying to kill / defeat. In short video games show quite literally show people fighting against societies problem or at least people very visibly displaying them. So what possible problem could certain moral authoritarians and SJWs have with this idea? Why would an SJW want media to be like my little story above? It's simple, it's the reason people truly tried to have GTA V stopped from sale in Australia and Canda. It's the same reason Media Watch in the UK tried to have Madworld banned on the Wii. To create a safe space.
It sounds all well and good doesn't it, the idea of creating a safe space? I mean you don't want to hurt people right? You don't want to trigger them right? This is where the problem comes in regarding the SJW mindset and one of their ideas of empathy. However this isn't merely empathy as in trying to understand and feel bad for said person this is Hyper empathy to the extent they are spurred to action. This is protectionism. Rather than have people take some level of personal responsibility SJWs want the rest of the world to take responsibility. Rather than a person choosing to experience something potentially triggering the claim is that said triggering content shouldn't be there.
So the issues with the mentality of having video games and their stories as some safe place or utopia are two fold. Firstly they deny people's right to choose, even those who could be triggered . Secondly and most importantly though they deny a key part of what makes stories work. Stories need obstacles, they need adversity which the protagonist overcomes and progresses. The idea of games being required to be some utopian idea requires them to have no aspects truly reflecting reality in them. With games you explore different worlds you don't explore perfect worlds without fault. These faults are what SJWs have a problem with because games will trigger people because people can be triggered regardless of context. Just because Saving Private Ryan shows war as hell doesn't mean it couldn't trigger people. So this finally explains this. So an elf being discriminated against in Dragon Age could trigger someone's own memories of discrimination they suffered.
The idea coming from people claiming to be triggered merely due to something existing even if they won't be exposed to it. This is the reason Anita regularly brings up rape and domestic abuse statistics in real life. It's not the idea that games cause this somehow that Anita is seemingly attempting to show. It's attempting to suggest the content shouldn't exist because it could trigger these people.
So I say that maybe we're better off with the imperfect fantasy worlds of video games. As was said in the film "The Matrix" Humanity has a problem with perfection, with worlds created without flaws as without adversity there is nothing to overcome. Without odds there is nothing to beat. Without something to fight against or work towards there is no challenge. Because in the end Utopia wouldn't be no fun and would welcome a trigger man to provide adversity. If you delve into the dark waters of Tumblr you can find people who claim almost anything triggers them even capital letters.
At some point you have to turn round and say you can't protect everyone for everything and at some point people have to take some responsibility for their own well being art of any kind isn't and shouldn't be about making you feel comfortable and safe all the time. In the end there's a big difference between understanding someones problems and helping with them and expecting the entire world to be responsible for it and to change to remove any level of responsibility.
In the end this is the same old "Won't someone think of the children" except now those children are not children but adults. So maybe it's about time we stop chastising games for "trivialising serius issues" because maybe rather than trivialising it they're allowing discussions to be had about these aspects which previously were considered taboo subjects.
Next blog hopefully something a little less deep or controversial. Maybe talking about how Evolve shows the flaws in the Call of Duty age of gaming.
Minecraft. A hugely successful extremely popular sandbox video game. Also one of the most exclusionary and toxic games there is.
Don't believe me ?
Well let's stat off with the basic problematic elements and work from there. The default player character is male. The game gives you no initial choice and requires you to go into the menu and change your skin and even then on the console versions unless you pay there are not female skins by default. In fact even in the skin packs less than 50% of the skins are female.
So as if that level of sexism wasn't enough players are encouraged to kill female characters in game to gain items. It's this violence against Women that is potentially going to lead to Minecraft being banned in Turkey for normalising such behaviours. As this totally legitimate piece of research conclusively proves people gain their ideas of normalcy from media they consume.
Add to that how Minecraft promotes violence offering no peaceful solution to conflict resolution. It normalises violent acts and a violent mindset being presented in this way. At no point does Minecraft actively promote co-operation and friendship. With the game also promoting players to kill endangered animals simply for trinkets in the form of the ender dragon.
Lets also not forget how exclusionary Minecraft is forcing people to learn how to play. Not only must people learn how to control the game either using a controller or keyboard and mouse but they must also learn to play the game. As Polygon have previously pointed out this kind of exclusionary attitude is damaging to the media. What other media forces people to learn, I mean it's not like you have to learn to read books we're all magically able to do that from birth as everyone knows.
Then there's how Minecraft Promotes Satanism by having players brew "magical potions" or use enchanting tables to gain supernatural powers. Even at times harvesting demons and monsters to add to the players own power.
Oh and it should go without saying Minecraft is also hugely Racist. I mean what other game would have you viciously attacked by an angry black person simply for looking at them the wrong way.
We must all take a stand and push for games not to promote such harmful toxic values and these or we might never seen society progress. So people I ask you to stand with me.
OK if you couldn't tell already I'm at that stage where I start to take the piss out of certain rather prevalent aspects of the gaming press now. Be it asking why there isn't 50% women in Evolve, I mean why isn't there a male option in Tomb Raider you oppressive fuckwads...... That's the level of stupid this is getting to. I'm really having to question quite where some people are coming from. Should I be offended that in Portal 1 and 2, Primal, Mirrors Edge, Beyond Good and Evil and Tomb Raider games that I didn't get the option to play Larry Croft? What the hell has got into people recently where somehow every game must let you play as some exact copy of you? In any number of books is the main character just like you? We're at at stage where people are legitimately complaining that Dragon Age Inquisition was offensive because there weren't enough exclusively gay characters.
Thats the romance chart for Dragon Age Inquisition for those who care. We're at a stage where people are offended, by a game daring to actually target a gay audience. A game by a gay developer with an almost exclusively gay cast is being condemned as homophobic because it's not the right kind of gay. At some point we've got to stop this madness and understand that while representation in video games should be worked on it's a Macro scale problem not some issues that can be solved by constantly yelling at developers for not adhering to some quotas. People should be allowed to make the characters they want be it ones that look like Bratz Dolls or be it white guys with beards or what ever they want to.
This idea of constantly needing to push games to appeal to a broader and broader audience forgetting entirely about the idea of demographics is what will slowly kill the games industry. Or trying to merely appeal to some perceived "new Gamers" who certain people seem so intent on telling everyone would play games it's just you know things make them feel excluded like having to learn to play and use an controller, or games not meeting some arbitrary quotas.
What's funny is very few people will realise Evolve did make changes to its Default "showcase" line up to attempt to show better representation at least in marketing just take a look at the original trailer.
Since then they've switched out the Trapper and moved him from being the default and in his place put a different Trapper.
I think it's time for a very serious debate about quite what purpose the games media should have. If it's really about chastising developers to fail to meet some arbitrary quota that even puts the Bechdel test to shame in terms of how arbitrary it is. My Ex Boyfriend the Space Tryant is sexist because it features almost an entirely male cast, if we're going to be playing this game. It's also a "Gay adventure game" aimed at gay men. If people would rather keep talking about how games oppress people and are so exclusionary then I'll happily oblige and stop writing about neat and interesting little indie games and write more pieces like this one or my previous one saying how I am Bread is oppressive for promoting a glutonormative agenda.
So is this really what people want from the games media all the time ?
So I wrote a nice happy blog about a game I liked coming out on PS4 so now while I wait for a response from certain companies which would allow me to write my next happy blog, it’s time a middling one that’s not quite so happy.
It wasn’t long ago in video games when people mocked the idea of horse armour being added to Oblivion. Little did I know back then that now I’d actually be wishing more companies were doing that and not what is now happening. You see AAA companies have pushed again.
According to the Spanish publication Mundogamers Resident Evil Revelations 2 will contain microtransactions. No big deal you might think I mean maybe a few costumes etc. Well turns out it far worse than many might thing. According to the article in an interview with some of the producers this was said in response to questions about microtransactions.
Yes, Revelations 2 will have microtransactions. You can buy, with real money: weapons, skills and life crystals. You can buy weapons and skills within the Assault mode with both objects as you getting playing with your real money, so that nobody has to pay anything unless you want to. If for some reason you want to pay for the weapons, there is the option.
Now Kotaku (*shudders*) asked for clarification on this and did get a response which detailed how you could buy life crystals (oddly no word on weapons or skills)
That’s right you can buy life crystals (which allow you to instantly revive rather than restore from a checkpoint) in the new raid mode. Each day you can earn free blue life crystals which do the same thing however if you run out you can buy red left crystals to top this up (the game prioritises the free crystals being used first).
I don’t know where to start, I really don’t with this one. So lets start with the system. It’s pretty clear that Capcom is copying a mobile app style system here. People playing a bit every day and paying for more play time in the raid mode, sounds all very mobile game doesn’t it ? It’s designing a system to maximise profit out of the title and to prologue the titles play life and help prevent it being traded in.
Now this is the point I’ll say I’ll give Capcom some credit. They at least have had the decency not to charge full price for this game pricing it at what I’d consider a budget game release price of £20 here in the UK (for all episodes) or £30 if you want all the DLC too.
Now it remains to be seen if all the DLC is going to be day 1 DLC and having been content cut from the game (but at £30 that is less than many new games so for the other content I’m kind of less inclined to be angry).
The game is also going to see an episodic release. I’m assuming you’ll be able to buy the episodes individually and this isn’t simply buy the full game and then wait as episodes are slowly released, you know like an early access style title and not like most other episodic games do.
On one hand I look at the game as almost a testament to consumer choice you can buy episodes, you can chose what to get and how much and the full price game is cheaper than many AAA games but those microtransactions. Something about that idea just rubs me up the wrong way even if it’s not a full priced title. I like the idea of Microtransactions despite what it might look like to many based on a couple of my previous blogs here but in this case the idea is sending shivers down my spine for all the wrong reason a for a horror game. Don’t get me wrong I can appreciate a cheaper gaming experience and the idea of microtransactions being the substitute but with certain methods of implementing microtransaction I really do question if it will lead to a lesser experience.
With Assassins Creed Unity adding microtransactions to single player and Dead space 3 having the same at least Capcom had the respect for consumers to not charge full price this time and also no pre-order bonus so that’s a plus.
Who'd have thought we'd all look back fondly on the days when Horse armour was the most ridiculous we thought gaming would go.
So APB was a game a long time ago I had a lot of interest in. I got into the Beta and played a bit many years ago. The big problem was my laptop isn’t really the most powerful and as such the game handled fairly badly. Then APB died as Realtime Worlds went under and the project was taken over and became APB reloaded, a free to play game.
Originally APB had planned to be sort of a subscription based MMO style game but weird stuff happened such that you didn’t buy a subscription but time cards or something. Anyway because of this and Realtime Worlds going broke APB never made it onto the Xbox 360 as it was originally planned. I did eventually go in and play it a bit on PC and it wasn’t bad, it was quite good actually. I mean my computer still couldn’t handle it too well but I had fun and put in some time in the game. I did enjoy my time but my computer was really what held be back from really loving the game.
Now with it coming to consoles. I’m actually excited again for the game. What I can best describe the game as is everything GTA online is but way better. The big difference is that you can make a choice from the start as to which side you’re on. Unlike GTA online, APB lets you play as the law enforcement.
The missions themselves are generated in the open world itself and not placing done by moving you to a separate lobby. As such it means you can have very interesting things happen. For example if the police forces are destroying one of the gangs the gang can phone for back up, this puts out a call to other gang members in the area allowing them to be pulled into the mission. When this happens or if the police are outgunned they too can call for backup and bring in more law enforcement into a mission. You’d think this would be a simple small thing but what can start out as a simple drugs bust could quickly turn into a server wide war as more and more people get pulled into the mission as people call for backup.
What APB got right and I still feel GTA Online got wrong was how fluid and open the world feels in terms of slipping in and out of missions. As the law enforcement you can have the scanners open for crimes in progress or if you don’t feel like responding to regular alerts you can drive round and try to prevent crimes. The interesting feature being in APB Reloaded that if you see a criminal committing a crime you can call it in and engage and take action. See a criminal jacking a car you can chase them down. See a criminal ram raiding a store, radio it in and stop them being able to offload their haul. Heck you can even work crime clean up crew as any stolen vehicles need taking back to the impound lot to wait to be claimed by their real owners.
Do well, play lots of missions and you'll get a name for yourself on that server that day. What this means is you become a target. Criminals become a target for other criminals and enforcers ans top enforcers have a nice bounty placed on them by the crimelords so you'll have to trust your allies and hope you can survive.
APB reloaded even got round the big problem of lack of people willing to play the police compared to the criminals. Not all crime events end up with the police knowing about it and as such some missions pitted the two main crime gangs against one another.
Having played the game the shooting works well enough and there is some difference between the law enforcement and criminal sides with Law Enforcement being allowed to use non lethal weapons. As this is a game most mission are based round achieving a certain task while the opposition tries to prevent it and as you’d expect people can respawn. The game offers an unusual balance as non lethal weapons are weaker but the payoff being nearly doubling the enemies respawn time if the enforcers can pull off an arrest.
In terms of the free to play style of the game there’s not a huge amount locked off. You can pay to get boosts, pay to permanently unlock weapons and get certain cosmetic weapon mods (such as green neon bullets) and some of the cosmetic options such as car chassis mods and layered clothing decals. As a free to play person you don’t buy weapons outright you rent them using in game cash but it’s not too hard to get the weapon you want and cover the costs with a few missions. I used to regularly have about 3 rented fairly high end weapons out at a time and still didn’t feel too pressured. Oh and as you’d expect you can buy more character slots etc.
When you’re finally got bored of playing cops and robbers you could retire to the social district with shops, marketplace access and of course your faction clubs with both public and faction members only lounges to let you relax and socialise or you could upload your own music (no copyrighted stuff) and have the club DJs give your work a play. Or you could go into the design suite and make some clothing styles or vehicle designs or even play about in the music creator in game. Quite how much of the customisation will come to the Ps4 version is yet to be seen though.
So yeh Gimme dat APB Reloaded