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9:58 PM on 11.21.2009

Valve plans for original survivors in L4D2?

Spoilers for the "story" of L4D2 included, if you actually care about it (it was over hyped, really) then don't read on.

Talking to a friend (and proof reader of these rants of mine, props for that) we found out that when you search through your L4D2 files, in the "expressions" folder (which is the models folder for the characters) you see four folders for the survivors of L4D2 "coach", "gambler", "mechanic", and "producer". Nothing special there, however alongside those four are four more folders, "biker", "manager", "namvet", and "teenangst", sound like any other Valve group we know?

Well since in my opinion at least that is clear proof of plans for the original four to be included in L4D2, how would they fit in? I know the most obvious answer to this would be DLC, a download to allow you to play as the original 4 in L4D2 (or in L4D2 versions of the original game's campaigns), but since most people are assuming that there will be additional campaigns for L4D2 continuing it's "story", what if they were included somehow in those?

Well finally getting to the point of this blog, the end of L4D2 had the new survivors running across the bridge and being rescued by the military. This in my opinion is a pretty bad place for the new characters since the military guy on the radio who you talked to basically confirmed that the new characters are carriers when he questioned them about if they were immune to the virus and if they came in contact with the zombies. Being in the holding of the military as carriers pretty much means one of three things in my mind, either they're all shot dead and thrown away (not so probable, but makes the most sense), they are quarantined with other carriers in which case they have to break out, or in L4D fashion the pilot suddenly turns into a zombie and they once again crash and fight more zombies. Assuming that the original four are somehow included in all this (they're clearly carriers too), they could by the three ways that I described either also be shot (boo), be in the same carrier camp as you and help you break out, or have something to do with the new campaigns where your helicopter crashes.

Sure all this sounds very unlikely and this whole thing will most likely just end up being DLC to play as them/their original campaigns, but assuming that they ARE in the new campaigns/story somehow, what would you guys like to see/consider as real possibilities?   read

4:04 PM on 08.28.2009

Why I Like The Genre: Fighting Games

What to post on my Dtoid blog has been something I've been contemplating for awhile now. Should I rant about games I like? Should I talk about games I'm looking forward to? Should I explain why I don't like games that everyone else seems to like? Well, no offense to you people who do blog about those, but seeing as you guys all already do that, I don't really see a reason to throw my hat in the same exact ring. Instead I've decided on starting my own series of blogs: "Why I like The Genre", explaining, as a fan of these specific categories of games, why I seem to enjoy them for what they are and what makes them what they are.

First off, what exactly makes a video game a "Fighting Game"? Well, one thing you probably know already is that none of these category titles can be taken literally. Obviously, not every game in which you fight counts as a "Fighting Game". Fighting games, to me at least, are games where two opponents both control one character at a time (Though I'm sure I'm forgetting some indie Fighting game where you control two characters at once somehow), fight with set moves and with set health, and in an even (and often, but not always, unimportant to the gameplay) arena in real time. Sound vague? Well, it is, but that's not because anything can easily fit into the fighting game genre (you don't want to be in the middle of a "are Super Smash Bros games fighting games" debate), but because there's not much to them other than that combat.

I've been an avid fighting game fan since I bought Soul Calibur 2 for the GameCube, the day it came out (yes I'm one of those dirty non purists who believes that 3D fighting games are just as good as 2D ones). I knew nothing about the genre at the time, but I knew that all my friends were buying this game and that it had that dude from the Zelda games in it. In short, it sounded fun. It's been 6 years since that day, and Fighting Games have endeared themselves to me for much, much, more than for having that guy in Zelda in one of them.

Pro Tip: He actually sucks horribly in SC2

The first reason (or atleast, the first I was able to come up with) for why I love these games so much is a rather generic one- it's the competitive nature of the genre. The story modes, arcade modes, and most every other single player mode that the genre has had more or less exist for one reason: to sharpen your skill for player vs. player. Fighting Games are all about competition, they're all about being able to perfect that one move without messing up, giving your opponent an opening in order to tear yourself a new one. They're about knowing what to do against what character and when to do it. They're about all of that, and, of course, the bragging rights you earn after you beat your friends when you've all been training for way too long. Fighting Games, by nature, are all about the combat. The rest is just a side dish, an extra. They are competition at it's truest level- there are no random elements involved, just two players pitting their skills against one another.

The fact that the competition is the meat of the genre doesn't mean that nothing else is enjoyable about the games. Otherwise, I wouldn't have spent all that time on them when my friends weren't around, or when they had moved onto a new game. Now everyone knows that the Fighting Game genre has some of the absurd and ridiculous plots in all of video game history. It's just a fact that its fan have to deal with. While some of the more zealous fans will fight with everyone to the death about how if you read every piece of information ever given by the creators of the game, and every little note put into the special edition and the non canon comic books, you can put together an intriguing story and prove that the characters are fully dimensiona. I don't buy that. In fact, I revel in the comically bad stories that story modes this genre's games attempt to put together. It's kind of like those really badly dubbed old kung-fu movies, where you can laugh and enjoy just how nonsensical it is while being awed the over the top action, which is always prevalent.

Somewhere between the countless hours perfecting your strategy and the 10th playthrough of the short story mode for you main character you endure because you haven't gotten it quite perfect just yet, something magical happens- you start to actually like the cast. Okay, from an objective point of view- looking at what's in the games and nothing else (not counting the comics, animes, movies, and everything else that no normal person bothers to see)- there's hardly anything to the characters. Sure, they all tend to look really good, but that's just a cheap selling point of the genre, and doesn't make them good characters in any sense of the phrase. Despite that, if, in a room full of fighting game fans, you yell out "RYU!", most will instantly think "EPIC BAMF" (or "OMG BROKEN" if they were just beaten by a Ryu player). There might not be a whole lot to these people, but as you find out when you play a fighting game for a long time, their personalities are really shown by their fighting style. So, no matter how much it baffles people who don't get the genre, through the fierce competition that these games create, through all of the time spent practicing, and through the character's own unique styles that only become apparent as you spend more time on them, you really do end up liking them.

Fighting Games are a genre unlike the rest. They don't rely on epic stories or explosive action to rack up the sales, they have all they need- fantastic base combat. This is, in my opinion, the biggest pull for the fans. It's the hardest thing to overcome for those not already affiliated with the genre, and it's the reason Fighting Games will always hold a special place in my heart.   read

12:55 PM on 08.13.2009

Morality, the swingingest new fad

I played the original Army of 2 when my friend rented it and came over one day, it was a fun experience but the whole game also lasted a pathetic 4 hours. Throughout that game it was basically one of the biggest power fantasies I've ever seen in a video game, two mercenary friends who mow down all other forms of soldiers with ease, guys who take grenades to the face and are more or less fine, you go "back 2 back" and kill everything in sight while in slow mo, and worst of all you "bling" out your guns by encrusting them with diamonds and replacing basically every part with gold or platinum. It was pretty much the most brain dead thing I've ever played, but it was forgivable because the game knew and accepted what it was, a stupid quick fps that you play with a friend and just blow everything up in.

And then I heard that the squeal will have points with morality..... WHAT? I couldn't believe it when I first read the article, I actually thought the writer was pulling some cruel joke on us. But no, the BACK 2 BACK, BLING OUT YO GUNZ, while mowing down everyone who isn't you is going to be taking on the hard issue of morality.

Pictured: Video games for the cool kids

Has morality become nothing but the cool new thing for mainstream games to dabble in? Maybe the Army of 2 Gears of War crowd is secretly starved for the contemplation of the mortality of the modern man as they chainsaw aliens in half. Or maybe the success of a game like Bioshock in the mainstream has simply caused big publishers to think "hey, we can do that too!" I know that's how capitalism works and all, if something gets money then do it more, but is this really how weak the video game forum is? When we finally get something that at least tries to take the depth of games to a new level (I know most people dislike how it's been implemented so far though) it gets turned into a cash cow at the slightest hint of the possibility of money? I guess the short answer to that is "of course" but either way in my opinion this doesn't say great things for the future or games when it comes to that whole "games are art" debate.

You could say "hey at least they're trying" but they're not really, it's just a new fad, and somehow I doubt that "Army of 2: The 40th Day" will bring any new levels of depth to the inclusion of morality in video games.   read

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