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urahara's blog

4:36 PM on 09.05.2011

How to fix Origin

Who here dislikes Origin? Well instead of just moaning about it lets try to fix it. It is still in beta so we might as well give some reasonable suggestions.

1) Improve the Profile Pics.

Let people use their own pics, or if EA is blocking it to stop the thousands of penis pics etc, then use an avatar creator so every person has their own personality. Maybe even use Screenshots of games that you can crop to make the idea pic. Dragon Age lets you choose your profile pic in it and using that pic rather than a pic of a Geth or exploding car would be more unique and make me feel more interested in Origin than the rubbish pic I choose.

2) Make the community a big part of it. The best part of Destructoid is the community. On a console its hard to do blogs, forums etc because typing with a gamepad is annoying. (Typing a 25 character password is a nuisance let alone the epic retelling of that clan match you just had on Battlefield). The PC is perfect for this, and you can use clans' reports to highlight the best matches around to watch. Plus with feedback from players and hints on which games to watch for player tactics, developers can release DLC that fixes problems, improves gameplay, or make awards that highlight achievements they wouldn't have otherwise thought of.

3) Fix the Shop

This one is a big part of it. You cant see if you own a game on the store page even though you cannot gift items. It does stop you repurchasing items but why not have a warning on the item's page.

Maybe they could fix the store search, so if you search for The Sims 3 and press enter you get all the Sims 3 stuff instead of the first automatic suggestion. Less useful for Mass Effect etc where there is little DLC on the store, but for The Sims with its stupid amounts of expansions and credits, this could make EA more money. Think how many times in a shop you give up on buying something just because you cant find it easily. Ease of searching = EA profit and happier customers.

Put all the DLC on Origin in fact. I would rather have a one-stop shop for DLC than having to look around the various EA sites for it. Make Origin feel like a worthwhile addition to my programs list by making it simplier to use it than not use it.

Highlight deals. If you learnt one thing from Steam is that people spend money on games they wouldn't have otherwise because a deal is one. Customers like an offer and if a game is on offer I might buy it now rather than wait and decide against it later.

Oh and offer other peoples products eventually. It has worked for Microsoft and Valve, why not Origin/EA? Plus you can try get new indie developers involved with EA...the next big game could be involve these guys.

OK most of these so far seem like Im helping EA make a profit, but just because an improvement makes a company a profit doesnt mean it isnt good.

4) Don't be evil with it.

Seriously. Trawling my PC for data just means that I will reduce Origin's running time as much as possible. Yes you may have miswritten your EULA but being a dick does mean I will buy games I would have brought anyway, but wont try new ones. So from EA's side of the coin, they still get my ME3 money, but Im less likely to try Battlefield 3 instead of Call of Duty.

Any other ideas people, or if some of mine are stupid reply below and hopefully the PC can have another semi-decent download service.   read

1:31 PM on 04.19.2011

Portal 2: Urahara's review

Is Portal 2 as good as Portal? The beloved game of the orange box outshining Half-life 2 in places.

Testing Commences...

First the single-player. A lot of the beginning has been shown in videos already, but the humour even when you know its coming still works. If you haven't played Portal, a few of the references to the game might go over your head, but the game doesnt dwell on past successes. No this is Cave Johnson's Aperature Science, where Science not only brings you the game on time, it releases it more that 3 days early (unless you are a UK retailer that is).

The new characters bring depth to the backstory, and with both the writing and voice-acting being spot on. Wheatley, and Cave help expand what we know of the facility, both whats happening now, plus how Aperature Science began. Even why you are tested so much in Portal 1.

The disrepair and plant life makes the scenery look lush, and you are as often behind the scenes of the test chambers as in them. The two worlds of the broken down behind and the perfectly clean test chambers is even greater, and shows the facitlities main focus.

As you are brought through the facility, each new trick is given to you, building up through the game as each new trick is learnt and understood. For veterns of Portal 1, this style of play should be familar, but expect to be find the first few levels far too easy. The new tools added to the game, like the thermal discouragement cube, suction funnels, and gels each add their own challenges, and have added to the enjoyment of Portal. The only missing thing from the first game is the Ion ball things that frankly were a nuisance when they bounced off the wrong wall. If something doesnt go right now, its because you didnt solve the puzzle not that you were hit by a bouncing ball of death from an unseen angle.

It is definitely worth buying Portal 2 just for the singleplayer, and the co-op is just as good. The co-op follows P-Body and Atlas, two testing robots running through GLaDOS' testing chambers. With Co-op the chance of killing yourself or your team-mate is alot higher. However as the robots are just that, you will end up just moments behind, unfortunately without your previous portals. Interactions between players including pointing exactly where you want them to play portals, and timers so you can do things at the same time. The pointer is the most useful, but I suggest us a microphone for plans, too often did I feel I had to type out the solution.

The Co-op has a basic story line, and is split into 5 sets of chambers, which once you have played a level once, you can replay it again without having to play the previous levels in a set. Useful if your partner has to leave midgame. You can also bring someone new to the co-op to the very last level straight away if you so wish (after you both have completely the basic co-op tutorial). This has the advantage that if you are with someone else you can play any test chamber you wish (as long as one of you has unlocked it), but could spoil the fun if someone is under prepared for the challenges, or ruin the basic plotline of the co-op campaign. Replaying a level with someone isnt as fun, as you already know the solution to the test chambers. Part of the fun is from finding out what to do, and when you can "accidently" muck up just to drop them in a pile of goo.

Overall both the singleplayer and co-op is fantastic, and makes it worth playing, but dont be surprised if you have to take a break from the co-op ... unless more test chambers appear.

Test End.

(Reviewed on a PC)   read

9:39 AM on 09.16.2010

EA Made more money on FIFA DLC than the actual game

We all know DLC is a big thing for game developers, but during a recent Technology Conference in San Francisco, Eric Brown (the CFO of EA) announced "FIFA 10 generated just over $30m in gross DLC sales – so that'd be above and beyond the revenue that we made just selling the physical disc". It gets better as he then gleefully announced "Now that still represents a single digit uptake on revenue, but if we can take it from single digit to 20 percent or so of the full franchise in the mid-term, that revenue on the margin is very profitable to us” (Glee may or may not be heard, felt or otherwise involved). In other words, he expects the amount of profit on the DLC already released to reach over £60 Million dollars.

Not finished there, he carried on to say "Instead of selling one product with a unified $60 price point we see people buying a $60 disc and then bolting on hundreds of dollars of DLC. We're happy to have $500 worth of extra content to sell.” To be honest the Sims already is reaching that sort of price for extra content each game, so if anyone was surprised at the true cost of the complete package reach $500 go sit in a corner.

Finally on Gamespot, normally the arch-rival to every developer ever, he remarked "There'll generally be half a dozen different pieces of DLC available for a title, and GameStop's in a really good position to explain to the customer what the DLC is, what pack number one and five and four and six provides, because they have a staffing model and a customer service model geared exclusively to games. So we view them as a very important current and future market partner for all forms of DLC.” So as EA is moving more and more to DLC driving the profits, and the $10 second-hand fee for gamers, EA at least doesnt seem to care quite as much that the disc itself might be sold multiple times and they didn't receive a profit.   read

7:43 PM on 08.06.2009

I suck at games: RPG

Actually before I continue we all do. Ok that was a bit harsh, 99.9% of us do. Sure we save the world, stop evil's plan, and manage to get our characters home. However most of us suck.

Firstly, I have completed alot of RPGs and everytime I do something wrong. Its not cheating, its not having to respawn because my level is too low. No its the opposite. I grind my levels.

Now most the time this is fine no problem, it makes sense. However how many of you (and I definitely do it), grind your levels whilst the threat of evil looms overhead. I'm currently playing Super Paper Mario, and the whole universe is at peril from the get go. There is no time to waste! So I go down to the extra dungeon and grind my levels. I could be there for weeks, not caring about the universe, but just about my characters' level.

That black stuff, that isn't good, but who cares I want to be stronger than anything else in this universe....the quickly disappearing one that is.

Who hasn't played an RPG where the main boss has captured the princess/girl/king/boy and is going to use their power to unlease hell upon the land, and decided actually I'm not strong enough give me 2 hours and I'll come and fight you. If I was an RPG boss I'll have defeated good once and for all within that amount of time.

Even Fallout, which had a time limit for the game, I did this with. Not with the main objective (only because you lose if you don't complete it within the time limit). I did that, but then I grinded my levels when I should have been running to the rescue.

So next time the world/girl/city needs saving, dont wait and grind your levels, play the game properly and rush in. The world needs you.   read

4:07 PM on 05.04.2009

Other Worlds than these: Spira

Most games have a world to fit the story, a world that couldn't survive without the hero. Spira could and has. Sure Sin wouldn't be defeated, sure the Besaid Aurochs would lose Blitzball, but the world could survive.

If Tidus hadn't turned up, Yuna would have become High Summoner and another character would have become Sin and the cycle of evil would have continued. Peace would have reign for a short while and people would have built houses lived their lives out. Most other world without the Hero the world would be destroyed or the evil empire would have taken over. Not so here.

Even if you died against the first monster, you could see another saving the world, for once you arent the only hope but just the one that works.

The monsters of the world also seem fitting for the world, and the way they dissolve into spiritual mist makes sense in a world that the dead can be found again, or turn into aeons of mass power. The way that to stop the dead turning into these same monsters needs a Summoner who can perform a Sending and send them to the Farplane for eternal rest.

The people living in the world, focusing on how their Blitzball team is doing, living according to the main religion, or just trying to survive in the fact of Sin. Each of these parts makes the world of Spira more and more real.

Whats more you can see what happens to a world after you save it. The aftermath of the Hero's story. What happens when the world has had time to realise that the world is safe again. Although most of the world is the same, some towns are larger, rebuilt in a way that couldnt be done before. For the first time ever for these people they can start to think about their house being there for decades to come not just months. People realising that they had been tricked before, but not knowing who to trust now.

You asked for a world other than this one. I give you Spira a world that could survive easily without our Hero, maybe not happily but at least it could survive. What more could you ask for another world.   read

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