There is a house but it's not in New Orleans, it's called the Dying Sun and it's been the ruin of many a Space Fighter pilot and God I know I'm one. Today The After Action Report does a brief walk through of the first few missions of House of the Dying Sun in VR. Get a taste of this Homeworld inspired and Warhammer 40k flavoured space sim.
Today is Sunday and that means VR Funday! We tried out the Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality game on our Oculus Rift full room setup. Come, watch the video. See my cat get confused, hear me breath heavily and watch me murder many Mr. Meeseeks. This is my first attempt at capturing VR video but more are to come. Enjoy!
Between October 21st and November 4th we saw the release of three big first person shooter franchises nearly back to back, previously we had two big tent pole titles from the big two publishers. Electronic Arts’ Battlefield series as made by DICE and Activision’s Call of Duty series which rotates between studios. This year we also saw the release of Titanfall 2 by Respawn a team consisting of former members of Infinity Ward the developers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and this time published by Electronic Arts.
You couldn’t ask for three more different experiences, this is the first year in a long time where we saw no contemporary settings in our annual shooter titles. Possibly the industry is reading a tiredness of the genre with generic bad guys in slightly fictionalized conflicts. Maybe it’s the fact that the news is reading more and more like one of their games and they need to push into the realm of fantasy or historical realism to provide us with our distractions but this is a big change since the initial release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare in 2007 (though Infinite Warfare does release with a remastered copy of the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare).
After a largely story free release with Titanfall Respawn decided to include a robust and full featured story mode in Titanfall 2. This created an interesting juxtaposition of story and technique. I’m going to try and explore the three very different stories and how they compare before briefly speaking on their multiplayer components.
I have finally finished Assassin’s Creed Unity and if the amount of time it has taken me to get here is any indication you are in for quite a ride. The Assassin’s Creed series is marked by a wide free ranging adventure and massive scope in their open world environments but that’s not why it took me from November until today to get this done. The reasons for that are more frustrating but even the most frustrating road travelled is not without its rewards.
Pathfinder Unchained is to Pathfinder what Unearthed Arcana was to 3.5e Dungeons & Dragons, and yet it is also more than that. It contains both refinements of existing systems and classes alongside total overhauls of systems. As a continuation of my first article, “Pathfinder Unchained: Staying Classy”, I am going to take a look at Pathfinder Unchained’s second chapter; Skills and Options. This chapter contains variant rules for Pathfinder’s skill system as well as a variant to Pathfinder’s multiclass system.
Nothing says a wholesome good time like a video game in which you murder and abuse just about everyone you encounter. I mean, look at the box cover, “the most violent adventure game of all time”! And it is a game that is determined to live up to that statement. Welcome, my friends, to Harvest.
In the seventh generation of consoles Sony’s hallmark was set piece gaming with Naughty Dog leading the charge. Titles like the Uncharted series and Last of Us showed a layer of polish and professionalism from start to finish that was seldom seen in other games. Titles like Heavy Rain, Killzone and Resistance all featured incredibly lush visuals but really failed to live up to the level of immersion that the Naughty Dog titles provided.
This is where we find The Order 1886, an incredibly lush and developed world it is like someone took their World of Darkness campaign, rolled it in sticky Arthurian Legend and dipped it in tub of Steampunk. Then liberally sprinkle real world personalities like Darwin and Arthur Conan Doyle and serve. Like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup this sounds like something that could be a delicious treat, and it is, but imagine it as one of those one pack Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup packs, enough to remind you of how delicious something is, but leaving you annoyed at how little you got.
I like to play games over and over, trying to find all the secrets. A game series that makes that really hard is Elder Scrolls. That didn't stop me from trying! Though it would have been easier, and I think many gamers would agree with me, is if these games were co-op. Having a friend help you find all the secrets and going into those dark dungeons with you... After spending hours upon hours wishing for this, we were given it!
This is the first Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game in the Elder Scrolls series. Elder Scrolls Online. ESO, was developed by ZeniMax Online Studios and published by Bethesda Studios. Released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Steam in 2014, it made its console debut in 2015 on both Xbox One and PS4.
I’ve been playing a lot of a PC game called Massive Chalice lately. The primary resource in the game is time; it takes time to research, time to breed new heroes, time for them to grow up, and surviving until the time runs out is the ultimate goal. The primary antagonist in the game is the Cadence, a word meaning both rhythm and also finality in a piece of music. All together this creates a very strong theme of time in the game, and this has got me thinking about time in tabletop RPGs. Not round by round time, not the time the players play, but specifically the time they do not. When the dragon is dead, when the villagers are safe, what are the player characters doing?
We’ve all played plenty of systems with rules for aging, but hoSw many of us have played a campaign where enough time passed that it was relevant? How many of us have played games where the time between dungeon crawls has been measured in days, not weeks? I don’t know about you, but I’d fear for the mental wellbeing of people delving the depths of antediluvian dungeons as often as you or I go to work. Are these people sentient, living creatures with psychologies or are they combinations of stats and classes that can face undead horrors five times a week without breaking a sweat?
This year was an interesting one for E3, we had pre-show events by new players including Oculus showing off the consumer version of the Rift for the first time to the public and Bathesda with their very first event wowing the crowds with Doom, Dishonoured and Fallout 4 announcements including a Pipboy edition that interfaces with your smart phone and an iOS game launching that very day. In many ways this has been the most exciting E3 in years.
If I was going to cover every announcement and every scrap of news this would take thousands upon thousands of words and dozens of paragraphs instead I’m going to focus on the press conferences of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony) and the eventual takeaway for all three. The “Big three” have settled in to a pattern with Microsoft doing a Monday morning event, Sony doing a Monday night event and Nintendo doing a Tuesday event. This pattern has served them well with the various players being able to either “get the drop” or counter-act the announcements of the others. The addition of a PC Show by AMD was interesting but with its very AMD focused content and sprawling multi-hour presentation until it’s a more concise and focused event it’s not really something that can be compared to the other shows.
Well, it’s been a long time since I posted anything here and for that I apologize. I succumbed to the demands of two jobs, going to school and attempting to get my health in order (nothing big just started going to the gym to try and take better care of myself which eats in to valuable windmill tilting time). We hope to be getting back to regular content creation and more interesting and varied material. So keep coming back but in the handful of intervening months what has happened?
Well there have been a few games released, some good, some bad and others just plain disappointing. Agent Carter wrapped up and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. returned to air which I’m behind on, some awesome movies came out and Joss Whedon quit twitter which is alternately because of “evil feminists” or needing to get in a writing head space and wanting “time away”. (I personally believe it was the later because if I had to deal with the craziness that man would have to deal with I’d probably hide under a rock except for brief forays to forage for food and drink.)
In short, not a lot has changed, and since nothing has really changed it means a certain Gated community continues to dominate many of the conversations about one of my favourite hobbies (and has in fact spread to infect Gencon as well as entrenching in Comic Fandom). Both those guarding the Gate and those trying to storm them and force them open have claimed victory but ultimately any victories either side has claimed are hollow at best and pyrrhic at worst. I’m not going to comment on any of these struggles in particular here because it is ultimately pointless and I have nothing to add. I can’t change the outcomes and I can’t add anything that has not already been said.
Dr. Strangethumb over at our friends Twinstiq have posted an article exploring the recent decision by Valve to charge for mods. It's an interesting dissection of Gaben's latest plan on how to get blood from stones. Check it out here at Twinstiq.
I was recently contacted by Jennifer Zhang a producer, host and the head of Twin Galaxies Live who recently became aware of our September 13th, 2014 editorial More than one voice regarding the solicitation by Erik Johnson (aka “8-bit”) of a variety of talent for a project. Ms. Zhang explained Mr. Johnson did not clear his intentions to change the agreed upon direction of his programming (a “Let’s Play” style presentation featuring himself and his dog) to the format mentioned in the Craigslist posting highlighted in our editorial. She further stated that if he had brought something like that to the network they would not have green lit the project. After a short period of time (unaware of the intended tonal shift of his program) they felt that Mr. Johnson’s material did not fit with the direction the network and parted amicably.
She stressed that as the head of Twin Galaxies Live she and the owner of Twin Galaxies Jace Hall (film, television and video game producer associated with Monolith Productions Inc., WBIE and HDFilms, Inc. and currently producing The Jace Hall Show) have a strong female positive environment with individuals in both creative and talent based roles.
3/2/2015: Ms. Molly McIsaac who's tweet inspired the editorial has reached out and indicated she has had a positive relationship with Twin Galaxies and initially reached out to warn them that one of their employees was acting in a way that did not reflect well on the organization and was sure they would want to be notified. This tweet was a warning from a friend of the organization who felt that Mr. Johnson's behaviour was out of character for the type of behaviour Twin Galaxies would expect from their representatives.
Another week has come and gone so without any further ado we get in to the week’s news.
Of course they did: Harmonix created the game Guitar Hero for Activision before departing to branch out on their own leaving it to the studio’s other in house teams to make future follow-ups to the title which they beat to death. Given the announcement last week that Rock Band may be coming back (with rumours circulating about old content and peripherals being compatible) it is hardly a shock that Activision are saying Guitar Hero will be making a comeback on the new consoles. No news of any former music migrating with it (given the short life of the DLC support for Guitar Hero as opposed to Harmonix’s long lived DLC store that recently came back from the grave) it’s highly unlikely that they maintain rights and further given some of the rocky relationships Activision have had with licensees they may struggle to get bands on board but time will tell. (Source Engadget)
"I keep telling my men to shot those things in the head. Head... dead. Anyplace else, those things just twitch." Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Left 4 Dead 2 was released by the good folks at Valve Corporation on November 17, 2009. It's much improved over the original game Left 4 Dead and easy controls make this a "no brainer" to pick up.
There are four new characters that must work together to fight the Zombie hoards to make it to the Safe Houses aka Checkpoints. Each have their own personalities and dialogue which is much improved over the first one. The game delivers five new campaigns, each compose of three to five levels. The final level is where the survivors call for help, then wait as the hordes of enemies swarm. As your and your team as try to fight them off until your pick up finally arrives. A nice touch is the fake credits rolling afterwards and the different character statistics are displayed on the screen. Anyone who has the misfortune not make the exit is also mentioned in the credits.
There is something to be said for playing a game without any information on it when you start. There is a confusion when a game begins and you don't know what to expect. What the hell is going to happen and when will I figure it out? There is also something to be said for the feeling you get when you return to your childhood home as an adult for the first time. It is a comforting and alienating experience all in one. Let's go home again, kids, and take a look at Gone Home.
We are in the death throws of February and winter is finally setting in in earnest. As we bundle up this week settling in to our couches to watch the amazing NPH sing and dance his little heart out on the Oscars or re-watch last week end’s Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary to see Kanye bristle under the barrage of jokes at his expense (all the while performing in a manner that is even funnier than the comedians gags directed at him) we have a lot that has gone on in the past week that needs recapping.
Rock On: While most developers don’t comment on rumour or speculation, as enthusiast press that is our job. Nay, it is our duty, so with great excitement I say unto you that according to Bloomberg MAYBE Rock band will be coming back. A few weeks back we saw a survey asking people registered with Harmonix what they would be looking for in a new Rock band title (including potential treats like their catalogue carrying over or even backwards compatibility with their old Rock band instruments). Well, apparently someone told someone who told Danielle Burger over at Bloomberg Business and this news made its way in to the ether so here’s fingers crossed that we’ll be rocking out in our living rooms sometime soon. (Source Polygon and Bloomberg Business)
noun eco·sys·tem \-ˌsis-təm\
The complex of a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit
One of the defining attributes of the 8th generation of consoles is the push not for simply creating cool devices (which arguably all three platform holders have done) but also creating rich ecosystems where multiple devices are able to cohabitate and contribute to one another. Two of these ecosystems are functionally complete with Nintendo’s Wii U and 3DS platforms cross pollinating between one another and Sony’s much broader platform which includes phones, televisions, PS Vita, PS TV and the PS4 itself. The last ecosystem is Microsoft’s Xbox environment which looks like it will finally burst forth from its chrysalis with the launch of Windows 10. We will break out the qualities of these three platforms in more detail over the course of several articles (the Windows article will truly have to wait until the launch of Windows 10) and try to explore the benefits of these devices.
Another week has come and gone and we’ve had a lot of shakeups in the world of gaming and geek. Layoffs at the newly formed Daybreak Studios, embarrassments over at 22Cans studio, Law & Order’s GamerGate episode and the release of Evolve and the New 3DS XL in North America. Let’s get started with our week in review.
Rumours of the demise of consoles are greatly exaggerated: With the launch of the 8th generation of consoles the buzz on the street was that the new platforms were not selling as well as prior generations. Many analysts were saying that this was the “death of the console” but now a little over a year in to the 8th generation we have are getting some sales numbers in and an entirely different story emerges. Recent NPD Group sales numbers show that the install base for the 8th generation of consoles is 60% higher than the 7th generation of consoles over the same period of time. It would appear that sales are far more robust than previously expected. (Source Polygon)
Right now everyone is either playing a 30 foot tall Bugs Bunny or doing a jet pack wearing gatling gun wielding Elmer Fudd impersonation with 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios recently released Evolve. The game itself has received fairly positive initial reviews but with multi-player titles such as these it’s the first week that really tells how stable the servers are and how good the balance is. After multiple betas expanding and refining the gameplay but having only played through two betas and cut my teeth on the tutorials and a couple of quick bot missions today I’m not talking about that game. Instead I’m focusing on 2K’s other title the grammatically questionable Hunters Quest by Cat Daddy Games. Soft launched in Canada during the last round of beta this is the official companion to Evolve.
Due to an over abundent schedule the news in review is going to focus on the top ten stories of the week as selected by us. This means a lot of news we would normally cover will get missed but feel free to chime in in the comments if there is anything you want to share the news about. We will be returning to our regular volume as soon as possible.
The King is dead, long live the King: This week saw several venerable AOL blogs fade off in to the sunset but two of the more popular blogs Joystiq and WoW Insider have found some longevity. Joystiq has been folded in to a new gaming channel associated with Engadget called Joystiq X Engadget. Yeah it’s a bit X-TREME a name and it’s a much reduced staff but it’s better than nothing. More can be found here about Joystiq. The resurrection of WoW Insider is a much different proposition, renamed Blizzard Watch using crowd funding via Patreon WoW Insider’s staff have started their new site. You can find their Patreon account here but they currently have secured 13,000 dollars monthly funding. (Source Engadget and The Verge)
Here we are again. I promise this will be my last BioWare review for awhile. Well, I promise to try to promise... Alright, I promise nothing! Now that I've set the bar incredibly low, let us examine Dragon Age 2!
Another week has passed and while we’ve seen some great ups like the release of the re-mastered classic Grim Fandango we’ve also seen some terrible losses. So without any further ado we get into the week in review.
First with the bad: This was a bad week for fans of the website Joystiq in a matter of a couple of days we saw the announcement that AOL would be shutting down most of their blogs including the 10 year old Joystiq. The shutdown will result in the loss of 150 jobs, Joystiq may continue in some form folded in as a channel within the Engadget blog but the vibrant and at times raucous community will be lost. If this wasn’t bad enough, beloved former Joystiq writer Andrew Yoon recently turned game designer with the impressive title Divorce! The Card Game successfully funded and on its way to release this month and the award winning GXDev 2015 title Cactus Seeking Hug was found drowned at McKinney State Falls Park in Austin. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to the families and loved ones of Andrew and those who lost their jobs at AOL. (Source Games Industry and Joystiq)
“My mama always told me someday I'd be good at something. Who'd a guessed that something'd be zombie-killing?”
- Zombieland (2009)
In High School I was voted the most likely to survive a zombie invasion. Which I gotta say is pretty strange but in some ways is pretty F*ing awesome!! Maybe it’s my tendency to play games for hours on end, order delivery food and watch people walk by on the street from the fish bowl of my windows, or it’s the fact I have an 6 foot Bastard Sword hanging on my wall? I am pretty sure the gamer population would actually prosper during such an event...as long as we could still get food delivery and power. Let face it do you want a wimpy windbag backing you up or someone that has the skills to work outside the box, thinks quick and looks for solutions not problems.