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10:40 AM on 11.07.2011

Motion Gaming... The Future?

I heard a rumor stating that the next Microsoft console will be 100% controller free. This means that motion gaming will be a thing of the future via Kinect. What do you gamers think about that? Are we that far into the next generation that youíd be willing to give up controller-based gaming?

Iíll be ready to drop my controller when I can play in something like Stark Trek or Tron. Playing with a controller has dominated the last forty-something years in the business. What if motion gaming took over? To me, it would be something if we could switch over to motion gaming, but weíd have to faze the controller out. It seems as though everyone wants to have some type of motion capability in their games from Forza 4 (Kinect) to Tiger Woods 12 (PS Move), and even in upcoming games like Metal Gear Solid Rising and Mass Effect 3.

Maybe itís not just a bandwagon anymore like I originally thought it would be. Perhaps itís the future of gaming, but how should developers move forward? From the games that have been fitted with motion control, do you think gaming is taking a step into the future or taking a turn for the worse? Thoughts, opinions?   read

6:28 PM on 10.17.2011

DLC... the bane of my gaming existence!

From Red Dead Redemption to Alan Wake; Call of Duty to Halo, downloadable content can be quite irritating. Map-packs and weapon upgrades are a bit understandable, but are extra story missions necessary? Story missions are classified as extra content that tells a part of the story that was originally left out or added to lengthen the main campaign. It seems quite unnecessary, as well as costly. How many gamers have purchased a game and find that they are paying extra just to fill in the gaps? How many times have we been subjected to a full-price game that hasnít been completed?

Any Assassinís Creed title after the first one has at least a few story missions that are released after the actual game. Take AC: 2 for instance. They tell the story of how Ezio Auditore was involved in some influential events in history with Chapters 12 and 13. They also fill in the gaps between Chapters 11 and 14 in the main campaign. My problem with this is that Ubisoft clearly had an idea as to what they wanted to do with the story, yet they couldnít add those two campaign chapters until later on. Wouldnít that mean that the game is incomplete? If I buy a game at full price (games usually sell at $59.99), and play through the entire story mode only to realize that there are pieces missingÖ

Let me put it this way; If a new book came out, and the author chose to withhold three chapters in the hopes that readers will buy the next book just to see what happens; it doesnít seem very cost effective for the reader, especially when the reader has to pay $30 for the initial book. Does that mean that they now have to pay an additional $15 just to flesh out the plot? Iíll continue for those of you who still donít get it.

As many of you know, I love Mass Effect! I live and die by my decked out level 60 Commander Shepard, whom is now a level 30 in Mass Effect 2. But when I play Mass Effect 2, there is something that bothers me all to hell. On Illium, you reunite with Liara Tísoni, your squad mate from the first game. Romantic relationship or not, she needs your help getting information pertinent to finding a spy working for the Shadow Broker.

I donít know about everybody else, but I absolutely despised that terminal-hacking mission. The strategy guide says that whomever Liara kills isnít the spy reporting back to the Shadow Broker. Itís her assistant! While I think itís an interesting twist for Liaraís part in the game, but there was no closure on it until the DLC pack was released almost seven months after the actual game. This lets you actually join Liara on her journey to get revenge on her enemy and rescue a long-lost friend. It was a great addition to the game, and it definitely filled in some holes in Liaraís plotline. But did it have to be left out?

And donít even get me started on how the Arrival DLC pack should have been included in the game from the start. It plays a gigantic part in the unraveling plot, and takes place smack in the middle of the game. Not to mention the fact that the repercussions from the DLC pack serve as the baseline for the opening of Mass Effect 3. How can you honestly say that itís right to release a DLC pack that has a direct tie-in to the next game after the title has already been release? What if you didnít play the Arrival DLC pack? Bioware is known for their outstanding stories, but players wonít know whatís happening in the beginning of Mass Effect 3 if they havenít played it. Letís just say that your actions caused a lot of people to die, and citizens of the galaxy want your head on a pike!

Hereís the kicker. Depending on the size and length of the downloadable content, the price can range anywhere from $2-25. I paid a total of $9 for both DLC packs for Assassinís Creed 2. The Mass Effect 2 packs cost me a little over $30, including the appearance packs. Thatís a decent amount of extra dough on top of the full price I paid for the game.

With all that said, if developers need to take extra time to polish the game with all of its story elements intact, I will gladly wait the few extra months it might take to do so. Actually, if all the content is ready by the gameís release date, they should package it altogether and charge the total amount. For example, if a game costs $60 at release, and the DLC costs $30, I would rather pay the $90 upfront. I know the developers have to make their money somehow, there is no sense in making me jump through hoops just to see what Ezio did in the ten years between Chapters 11 and 14. Make sense?   read

7:47 PM on 09.19.2011

Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3... Yes or No?

Not only will Mass Effect 3 sport voice recognition via Kinect, but it is rumored to be equipped with a multiplayer option. I've also been hearing that it will be based on a type of four-player horde mode.

Itís common knowledge nowadays that Bioware wants to continue making games based in the Mass Effect universe. It has even been suggested that the next ME game will be an MMO, which would be perfect in this particular universe. Playing as a Turian assassin would be a delight, and it goes without saying that it would satiate the majority of the Mass Effect fanbase.

However, is it necessary to have multiplayer options in Mass Effect 3? Creating your own version of Commander Sheppard and making galaxy-shaping moral choices are a big part of the play-your-way option that is so popular in the series. The developers put a lot of time into creating a carefully woven story with different scenarios and outcomes that everyone can experience. But itís always done well as a single player experience. Is Bioware trying to add something new to the game because they really think it will enhance game play or are they trying to compete with the plethora of games that have such an addition?

The reason why Batman: Arkham Asylum was so successful was because they focused on the combat, graphics, dialogue, and most importantly, the story. Rocksteady put so much effort into crafting one of the best Batman games in a very long time (if not EVER), and they did it without implementing multiplayer. In fact, they added challenge modes to fool around with when they finished the campaign. It was fun to dedicate some time toward achieving a fifty-hit combo.

In Dead Space 2, the story was quite long, and it scared the life out of some. At its core, it is more of an action game with a scary twist, but it was still quite terrifying. Then, they added cooperative multiplayer to the third person shooter, and it turns out that itís not as desirable as Visceral Games would have hoped. One side has a completely unfair advantage over the other, and itís incredibly dark throughout game play.

Digressing to the main point, Mass Effect 3 is one of Biowareís best games. Wouldnít it be more appropriate to wait until their unannounced MMO to add multiplayer? I'm afraid that this added feature will detract from the main story and overall game because itís something that hasnít been tried in the series before. It's my belief that any given game takes the player through a campaign-long tutorial, training the player on how to defeat the final boss or escape the suicide mission with your entire crew intact. You spend all game developing these skills, upgrading weapons, and building an arsenal that would make Hitler roll in his grave. But multiplayer doesn't require use of any of those skills. It's more of a 'blow the messy mess out of the opposing players' experience. That sounds great, but I can't see it doing well in Mass Effect 3. Do I need to open my mind and be more flexible?   read

3:20 AM on 09.17.2011

Red Dead Redemption GOTY... finally!

Since the announcement of a Game of the Year strategy guide surfaced for Red Dead Redemption, I've been waiting patiently for the game version to follow. My wait is finally over now that Rockstar has officially announced Red Dead Redemption: Game of the Year Edition. To be released in about a month, Rockstar compiles all the redemption-rific add-ons and such to rope in the core audience, as well as newcomers. This edition will include all current DLC, including:

-Legends and Killers
-Undead Nightmare
-Liars and Cheats
-Outlaws to the End
-Solomonís Folly
-A new hardcore mode to make the west more treacherous

Priced at $50, it will bring all the gamers to the yard and realize itís better than yours. This edition will drop on October 14, and Rockstar implores you to heavily consider purchasing it for you collection. Keep in mind that for me, it's been hard for me to get into Rockstar titles such as Grand Theft Auto. Sure, I spent a lot of afternoons running people over in San Andreas while Snoop Dogg bumped on the radio. I might have stomped a few pedestrians to death, beat and robbed some hookers, and gotten all the way up to five stars in an epic gun battle with the SWAT team... but that doesn't mean I was enthralled in the likes of the game.

I've always gotten tired with the game very quickly, and developed a dislike for the game because I wasn't sure that being a flat-out criminal was right for me and my cerebral development. I guess my point is... what's the point? Red Dead Redemption is similar in gameplay type and gives me that same unaccomplished feeling that GTA did. I know in my heart that John Marston is a great character in a great game, but why can't I bring myself to love a game that has earned Game of the Year? Actually, Fallout 3 won Game of the Year, but don't get me started on why I can't stand that title.

When Red Dead first dropped, I played for an hour and rode my horse out into the wild only to get lost. While lost, I decided to shoot some desert animals, getting off my noble steed to line up some shots. Little did I know how treacherous the wild west could be in a video game. Some bum ran up and stole my horse! I was already a bit bored with it, but at that point, I gave up on it. Since then, I've borrowed the game, but have had no desire to play it again. Maybe I'm just being a weirdo, or maybe I'm the only sane one this side of the computer screen. Either way, I'm considering trying it again... any tips?   read

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