Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Steam Free to Play games.

Good news on Steam today. Check out the release Valve put out on their website.
Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today introduced support for Free to Play (F2P) Games on Steam with the launch of five F2P games.

Available immediately, the launch titles are Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, and Alliance of Valliant Arms (AVA).

Beginning tomorrow (Weds) with Spiral Knights and concluding Sunday with AVA, each of the five launch titles will offer exclusive in-game content to those who try the "F2P game of the day" on Steam. In game transactions in all of the titles will be supported by Steam's micro-transaction backend system that is available to Steamworks partners and currently used in Valve's Team Fortress 2.

"The introduction of Free to Play games is another example of the constant evolution of Steam," said Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve. "Free to Play games offer new game genres and game experiences for customers, while offering developers and publishers new revenue opportunities and the ability to reach customers in areas of the world where the traditional packaged goods model is less popular than F2P."

Specific details on the F2P games of the day and their exclusive in-game content will be made available in the coming days.

Steam is a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment serving over 1,500 games to over 30 million active accounts worldwide. For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com.
 If you haven't installed Steam yet, here is a great reason to. I'm installing Champions Online and  Alliance of Valiant Arms to check out. AVA looks to be pretty good. Which ones do you plan on installing? Let me know if you have played any of the games.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In case you missed E3.

Wow, where to begin. I've been busy the past 2 weeks, so I haven't had time to put any new blogs up. My awesome girlfriend and I decided to get a place together. Between packing, moving, and unpacking again, I am just getting back to where I can put some attention into this. I'm just happy that whole moving thing is over with.

Well if you haven't noticed, the past few days there has been an information overload in gaming news. E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, is an annual trade show for the computer and video games industry. It gives companies the chance to showcase the newest upcoming games and hardware.

Over the past few years its turned out to be a competition between companies as they go one by one, and battle, collectively, for who has the best press conference, best booth, the hottest booth babe, best games, and swag to give away.

This years E3 has been the best one yet, hands down. Tons of kick ass stuff was showcased that made gamers mouth's drop, and drool.

Microsoft announced a slew of new Kinect compatible games. A few big names being Mass Effect 3, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, Fable: The Journey, Disney Adventures, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, Star Wars, and Sims all using the Kinect to interact in game.

They are also bringing a lot of new new features to the Xbox 360 Dashboard as well. The console is said to be getting Kinect voice support for music, games, movies, TV shows and sports. YouTube and Bing are finally making their way into the available apps in the dash soon as well.

Now, they just didn't show up with all junk. They did show off a few gems. Modern Warfare 3, Tomb Raider with a young Lara Croft in an "open world", Minecraft is coming exclusively to the Xbox with Kinect support, Gears of War 3, Kinect Star Wars with voice commaned, and of course an all new Halo Trilogy, labeled Halo 4, with 5 and 6 following.

Hopefully this new Halo Series can bring me back to the game that made me fall in love with multiplayer FPS. As the series went on the less and less interest I got with it. Hopefully they revamp the multiplayer, and get rid of the stupid ass power-ups they introduced. Fuck you and your Armor Lock.

Microsoft had the worst showing of everyone. The actors they used to showcase the games out right sucked. It made the whole Kinect thing seem too gimickey. I know its not the right conditions to play the game, but when its so obvious that everything is acted out, it makes you think the product doesn't work. Thats the main reason I'm not a fan of it.

Konami put out they were going to do a Silent Hill HD Collection along with a new Silent Hill, Metal Gear Solid 2/3/Peace Walker Remakes, and Zone of the Enders HD. Blah.

Ubisoft didn't disappoint though. Having been around 25 years now, they know what they are doing. Rayman: Origins, Driver: San Francisco, Brother in Arms: Furious 4, a new Trackmania, Ghost Recon: Future Soilder

I'm a fan of the Far Cry series, so the news that Far Cry 3 was on its way was a pleasant surprise. If you haven't seen the trailer, you need to watch it. It was really well done. I just hope they put a great game together. Far Cry was really good. Far Cry 2 was less of a story game, and the open world, mission scheme got too repetitive. Let hope the throw a mix of Far Cry 1 & 2 together and give us a good game.

Along with Far Cry 3, Assassins Creed: Revelations put out probably the best trailers I have ever seen for a game. Absolutely breath taking. AC: Revelations is going to be a must buy.

EA had an awesome show of games. Mass Effect 3 was back, with a live demo and game play trailer. The Sims always has something new. Need for Speed: The Run was showcased. Its going to have a Autolog system that lets you compare stats with friends. Its also based on the Frostbite 2 engine that Dice is using in Battlefield 3 that looks amazing. More on that later.

Madden 12 was there. A new SSX reboot. FIFA 12 was shown off. They had a commercial featuring Drake and Lil Wayne that won over a lot of people. I've been a fan of FIFA for a while. The FIFA team did such a good job with the animations of the characters, that Dice was interested in using it in them in the Frostbite 2 engine.

Sony was a big contender this year. They had a strong showing of games, and new hardware. With the production of the PSP over with, it was no surprise that they revealed their new hand held. The PS Vita. A serious contender to the Nintendo 3DS. The $250 model is wifi only, and for $300 you can walk away with the 3G version and play online on the go. It has a 4 core ARM A9 CPU, 5" OLED Multi touch screen, Rear capacitive multi touch pad, Front and Rear cameras, built-in speakers and microphone, six-axis motion sensing (three-axis gyro, three-axis accelerometer), Three-axis compass, GPS, Dual analog sticks, and  plethora of buttons.

I haven't been a fan of hand held much. I had a few, and usually found myself on my console more than anything. This thing seriously has me changing my mind. The graphics are somewhere between PS2 and PS3. The games look really good. There is going to be lots of games day 1. Modnation Racers will get all the tracks from PS3 on release day. Street Fighter vs. Tekken featuring Cole from Infamous will be available.

It has lots of features. I'm sure the modders will make it even better. If they can get homebrew running on it, this will make its way onto my Christmas or Birthday list. Wink Wink, Hint Hint.

Sony also showed off some sick games. Uncharted 3, God of War Collection in 3D, Infamous 2, Resistance 3 bundle with move for $150, Starhawk, Sly 4, Dust 514, Bioshock Infinite will get Bioshock 1 for free on PS3, Battlefield 3 comes with Battlefield 1943 on PS3, Need for Speed: The Run comes with 7 addition cars, SSX Mount Fuji exclusive level only on PS3, and a Star Trek co-op prequel game, along with a new Star Trek phaser move peripheral to name a few.

Sony had a good showing despite all the bad news they have had recently.

Nintendo, in my opinion, had the best showing of all the other companies there. I'm totally on board with their new console. The Wii U is finally worthy enough to sit next to my Xbox 360 and PS3. I didn't get a Wii, because it was a little too kiddish for my style. This new console has it all though. Great graphics. The controller is an awesome ideal. I'm glad that they are finally trying to take a stab at the hardcore gamer market. They already make games they everyone loves, but the Wii was lacking the power visually that it needed to compete with the same niche market that the PS3 and Xbox do.

1080p, 1080i, 720p, 720i, 480p, 480i compatible. It has a IBM Power-based mulit-core CPU, internal flash memory, along with the option to use SD memory card, or USB hard disk. It supports all the old controllers. 4 USB 2.0 ports, and the new console is backward compatible with Wii games and Wii accessories. No Blu-Ray, but that isn't a deal breaker. Did I mention that the Zelda game comes with each system? Wayne and Garth would say, " Schwwwing." to that.

This console has the balls to get things done. You can tell by the name of some of the games they plan on releasing. EA said they were going to develop with the Wii U in mind so expect their sports games with that. Some big name games also to be released like Battlefield, Arkham City, Assasssins Creed, Ghost Recon Online, DiRT, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Metro Last Night, Tekken, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razors Edge, Driver, and Rhythm Heaven.

Nintendo also had a healthy stable of games in its arsenal. Mario Kart 3D, Luigi's Mansion 2 for 3DS, Starfox 64 3D, Super Mario 3D, Kid Icarus: Uprising, Resident Evil: Revelations, Snake Eater 3D, Tekken 3D, and Mario + Sonic at the Olympic games lead the way. And not to mention Super Smash brothers for Wii U that will interact with the 3DS.

All in all, it was an spectacular showing of games and hardware the past couple days. I'm happy with what was shown, and feel like gaming is heading in the right direction. I didn't get to touch on a lot of things, but I wanted to be able to save some stuff for other posts. So if you don't see something here expect a write up in the next few days.

What did you think of E3? What was your favorite thing? Anything your not excited about?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Portal OCD.

If you played Portal 2, you know that you did this also. If you haven't this white paint looking stuff is Conversion Gel. In the game its the paint that is used with the portal gun, that  the portals actually stick to. As you're playing you spend 90% of your time looking for the little patches of white paint.

In this particular spot, the gel starts out in one little spot, and you have to spread it around to make your way further thru the level. It glad that I'm not the only one who took the time to paint the whole level, even though its quite obvious where you are have to get the gel sprayed. I think we all have a mild case of OCD when it stuff like this.

I love this fan art for Portal. Its mixed up with Mortal Kombat. Portal Kombat. If you haven't play Portal 1 &2 yet, do you self a favor and pick them up at some point. It really is a must play series. What do you think?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'm back.

Sorry I've been busy the past couple days. So I didn't get a chance to update much. That combined with blogger being down, lets just say I've missed a few days.

In the mean time, there have been quite a few things I want to touch on. So first I'm going to start with the release of the Modern Warfare 3 teaser trailer.

There is just a hint that some of the game will take place in New York City. Thats about it. Like I said, just a teaser. I've always been a Call of Duty fan. So without a doubt, I will be getting this game. If you want check out some leaked info on guns, maps, missions, and more, head over and check out this Kotaku article.

I don't see the need of trying to argue over which will be better. Modern Warfare 3 or Battlefield 3. Both games will be good. Each game has their own style. MW3 has a faster paced, arcade run and gun style. Battlefield 3 will play more on the realism side. I personally like both, so whatever. I'm just a FPS shooter fan in general. So this MW3 news makes me happy, while making fan boys go nuts.

Also wanted to mention this video I saw of a Zombie Apocalypse Simulation game, that uses a TrackIR head tracking device for head movement.

I'm going to get me one of these for my PC pretty soon. I've been a fan of the TrackIR device for a while now. I've seen it used in a few flight simulation, and racing games. Here it is being used to in a FPS setting. Looking around in real life, translates into movements in the game.

Being a big zombie fan in general, this game looks to be really fun with the TrackIR system. From looking behind you for zombies, to looking out windows of vehicles, or looking for zombies to kill with missiles  from your jet.

The newest model TrackIR cost about $150. Its kind of a novelty item, but a really cool one. It adds another element that makes you feel like your more in the game. Its a must buy if you are a Simulation game player.

Well thats all I got to say today. I'll be back more often now. Let me know what you think about MW3 or what you think about the TrackIR system used in the zombie video.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brink released with some mixed reviews.

Well thought I would update with a few different things today. Tuesdays are awesome. New games and movies always come out on Tuesdays. With that being said, a game I mentioned a few days finally came out. Brink.

Now I didn't pick this game up right away because I've noticed that the past few games that I bought recently went on sale on Amazon, K-Mart, Best Buy, and a few other places a week or two after the game came out. For instance Portal 2 in on sale a lot of places for $30. So I was going to wait til this one hit that sub $30 before picking it up.

I'm glad that I waited because the reviews that came out, made me glad that I didn't pay full price for the game. Listen to some of the big name site are saying.

Brink is unfinished. And that doesn't mean it's full of technical problems. Well, it's got those too. But mostly, it's just an unpolished, poorly executed mess of ideas. Wait, let me temper that. There are times when Brink looks like it's going to break out of its shell. There are times where the fairly interesting and cool (honestly!) ideas seem to be just about to bubble up and make the game worth playing. And then, suddenly and without warning, they're pushed back into the murky depths under the boot of poor design choices and lack of polish. It's exceedingly disappointing. Of course, for a game to be truly disappointing, it has to have potential. And Brink has more potential than it knows what to do with. (Note: Metacritic converts 1UP's D letter grade to a score of 25)

Here's one of the first major problems with Brink's objective-based structure: Each level that a player earns lets them unlock a new ability. Though there are a few permanent boosts the player can spend their unlocks on, most of these abilities are class-specific, meaning eventually, you're going to find a class you like and spend most of your points on it. Naturally, you'll have a predilection to play as that class — but should you refuse to switch your class to suit the objective, you're going to feel like your services aren't really required three-quarters of the time.

My central beef here is that anemic feel to the action. I love complexity in games like this, and strategizing how to utilize the varying skills of the different player classes to achieve your goals. But when the core action doesn't feel good, it kind of weakens the entire venture. When I shoot an enemy, especially in the head, I want them dead. Not laying on the ground waiting for a medic to revive them, dead. Especially when I pop someone in the head. If there is a cardinal rule of shooters, it should be that no one survives headshots. No one.

While some of the levels have a more even chance of success for either side, I have a feeling there are certain stages that players are going to eventually refuse to play, rage-quitting should they find themselves on the wrong side. Had Brink employed something similar to Killzone 3 — where objectives constantly shift and are evenly split between teams — it might have worked. Instead, the game has a totally bizarre flow where even if a team is dominating an enemy and wins two objectives, they can still lose a hard-fought match because they failed the third imbalanced requirement.

Brink deserves to be ranked among the finest co-op games available. As a multiplayer experience, it is exquisite. But as mentioned earlier, it falters if played solo. While all the modes can be played in single-player, the bots that act as stand-ins for other players are a poor replacement. It certainly isn't the case that gamers who buy Brink will feel ripped off if they don't have access to their console's (or PC's) online network. But until you've fought both with and against living opponents in Brink, you have yet to sample the best of what it has to offer.

Brink's one shining aspect is SMART (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). Using SMART, holding a single button lets you navigate up walls, over obstacles, and through the game world. Depending on your body size, you can do more or less with movement, but overall this finesse is fantastic. Nothing in Brink feels quite as good as sliding under gunfire into someone, taking them out with a shotgun. However, it's easy to forget which size your character is in first-person perspective, as movement abilities don't change dramatically. While the Large size allows miniguns and shotguns, they still move only slightly slower than the Medium size. Only Small characters can really burst through levels, leaping off of walls and finding clever passageways.

Without a doubt, Splash Damage and Bethesda will listen to what people are saying. I would expect to see a patch to fix some of the technical issues people are talking about in the next week or two.

On a totally different note, the developers also took a shot at console gamers and their lack of teamwork.

Implying that console gamers aren't going out of their way to help out with objectives. I agree. While playing on the console, I normally stuck to more objective based games. In Call of Duty I preferred Search and Destroy and Headquarters. I bought Battlefield: Bad Company 2 originally on the XBox 360. I stopped playing because I would end up raging at teammate. Snipers that wouldn't leave their hiding spot to help capture a point, or medics that would revive you in the line of fire, only to let you die 2 or 3 more times so he can get the points for reviving you.

After finally building a gaming PC I bought Bad Company 2 on the PC. I immediately found a new love for the game. People working together. Using chat. Spotting people. Actual teamwork. I was glad that I decided to give the multiplayer a second chance. It was clear that the PC crowd took winning more seriously than their K/D ratio.

A while back, the Bad Company team even held a contest on the three different platforms, to see who complete a set amount of team actions to get a set of maps unlocked early. Want to guess who won?

Anyways thats enough rambling in this post. Let me know if you got Brink and what you think of it. What are your feelings on K/D ratio and teamwork in games?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

EA Week: Medal of Honor & Battlefield Day

Okay, so this week EA games have been on sale on Steam. Some of the games I just wouldn't play, Need for Speed Day, and some of the games I already have, Mass Effect Day, Crysis Day, Dead Space Day. So I haven't really been posting about this sale. Today you need to bust out your wallet though.

Then the Medal of Honor and Battlefield Day come along and I decided that you should know about this. If you don't already have Battlefield: Bad Company 2 yet, you should pick it up today. Its on sale for $6.80. The PC version comes with all of the VIP maps for free. The game is extremely fun, once you get a feel for all the maps and classes. As long as you play your role, stick with team mates, and don't run around without cover, you will have a blast playing while winning.

The Vietnam expansion is also on sale for $7.49. The Vietnam expansion offers a whole different set of guns and maps that add many hours of fun. I was getting tired of Bad Company 2 and found this on sale a while and picked it up with no regrets. You can pick the both up for less than $15. Very good deal. If you are a Call of Duty fan boy and are planning on getting Battlefield 3 but haven't played any of the Battlefield games, here is your chance.

Also on sale is Battlefield 2 and Medal of Honor. I picked up Battlefield 2 for $5 today because I didn't have it. I plan on getting the Project Reality Mod for Battlefield 2. This on top of the game itself will provide many hours of fun for the low price. I would say skip Medal of Honor with its $14.99 price. Its as if they took Bad Company 2 and tried to merge it with Modern Warfare 2. Its an okay game, but you would be way more happy with Bad Company 2 for the price. I'd say wait for it to go on sale for $9.99 but at that point, Battlefield 3 will be out and the MoH servers will probably all be empty.

Anyways. Let me know if you plan on getting any of these games.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Age of Empires Online: Open Beta

If you happen to be a fan on real-time strategy games, then you have probably heard of Age of Empires. But what you may not know is, that they have a new game coming out this fall and its in open beta right now. Age of Empires Online, is going with the free-to-play model. This will probably make the more casual RTS players, like me, more prone to playing. Its unclear at this point though how much they plan on charging for the content.

The game has a cartoon style which I think goes together really well. Everything looks really well done in game. The buildings have a unique style. The animations are really smooth. The environment in the game has a really fun feel to it. Its not overdone to the point where it feels like a kiddie game. Overall the game is fun to play if you were a fan of any of the previous Age of Empires. It takes a little getting used to, but I found that I like playing the game just as much as I did with the previous ones.

If you want to get check out the open beta check yourself head over to the Games for Windows Live page and download the game. If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

Friday, May 6, 2011

From Dust - Dev Diary 2: The Art Direction

From Dust is a sandbox simulation game currently in development. It puts the player in a god-like perspective, with the main goal of the game keeping the inhabitants of your land safe from the harm that nature can cause. Using the tools provided, you need to use sand, laval, water, and vegetation to help your inhabitants survive.

In the latest developers diary, they showcase the art direction of the game. The team has a done a good job researching and traveling around the world to study different environments, and tribes. The look of some the scenes are breathtaking. The games engine reminds me a lot of Just Cause 2 in some parts. This game being released as a digital download available on Xbox, PS3, and in Steam. So for not being full disc release the game looks incredible. You'd have to be blind to deny that.

Judging from what I've already seen, I'll be picking this game up. Especially with its low price on release day. What do you think? Worth it or skip it?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mass Effect 3 Delayed

The announcement came from Biowares Facebook page.

"Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations." - Casey Hudson, Executive Producer Mass Effect series

There are quite a few big name games coming out this holiday season, so to have someone delay their game to give some breather room from competition and sales isn't uncommon. It looks as if though they are going to be using the extra time wisely though.  EA boss John Riccitiello said, "Essentially, step by step, [BioWare is] adjusting some of the gameplay mechanics and some of the features that you'll see at E3 that can put this into a genre equivalent of shooter-meets-RPG, and essentially address a far larger market opportunity than Mass Effect 1 did and Mass Effect 2 began to approach." This is great news. When Bioware is on, they can make abso-fucking-lutely incredible game, but Dragon Age II showed what happens when they rush development. I would  rather wait a few more months and have Mass Effect 3 be incredible.

A little bittersweet but overall better than expected news.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Brink. 5/10/11

Brink has been a game I have been excited about for a while now. This game isn't getting the attention that it deserves. I love games that enforce teamwork. Ones that make you to work together to get things done. I personally enjoy an objective based game type over a team deathmatch. At that is what Brink is trying to do. There isn't even a deathmatch option in this game. There are only team based objective matches.

Brink features a S.M.A.R.T. movement system. Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain. Which means the whole environment is at you disposal to move around. So you pick your path and the movement system evaluates where you are trying to get to and makes it happen. Whether that is by vaulting, mantling, climbing, or sliding. So it imagine a mixture between Mirrors Edge, with some Assassins Creed free running mixed in, designed around a heavier old-school FPS foundation with modern graphics and engine. Brink is designed to be more of an arcade-y shooter as an alternative to the spate of realistic shooters dominating the recent FPS landscape. The exaggerated art style, extensive HUD elements, emphasis on hipfire, integrated drop-in/drop-out play, etc.

 This games roots comes from old school Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory style of play. This game basically takes those fundamentals that so many people already loved, and added their own modern twist. I'm hoping that  this game will get that appreciation that it deserves. The developers support the modding community and listen to what the players have to say. So I think I'm going to pick this game up on day one just to show some support. What do you guys think of the game?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The countdown for DiRT3 starts.

If you're like me then you are waiting on DiRT3 to come out also. I didn't play the first DiRT, but I did happen to pick up DiRT2 after playing a few other Codemaster's racing games, like Grid. I've been a fan of racing games for a long time. I recently picked up three 22" LED LCD's and setup an NVidia 2D Surround on my PC. I immediately wanted to try out a racing game. I knew at that point it was DiRT2, because I knew it supported 3 screens natively. I was totally impressed. The immersion that the screens give you takes the game to the next level.

So I have been playing DiRT2 for a while, waiting on DiRT3. I've been waiting to play the Gymkhana mode in the game. I loved drifting parts in Grid, and the off road rally racing of DiRT. So I can tell that DiRT3 is taking the best parts of the 2 games and bringing it into one solid made game. Bust out your steering wheels and pedals, because DiRT3 will be here May 24th.

Changed my Mind.

I changed my mind. I wanted a general gaming news blog. I was going to do just a Battlefield 3 blog, but I found out pretty quick, that it was too specific for me to stay interested. So now look forward to posts about games I'm interested in. Thanks for the understanding.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Twitter Scams are rampant.

There are tons of people out there trying to scam people on twitter with the lure of getting into the Battlefield 3 Beta. So if you think your getting into the beta without having the Medal of Honor entry, I would think again. Don't be a fool and fall for this.

High Resolution Shots from the Battlefield 3 Trailer

Listen, if you aren't excited for this game then there is something wrong with you. This is no doubt going to be the biggest game of the year. These screen shots only make me more excited. The view from the jet cockpit looks insane! In the view from the tank, the environment looks amazing. The Frostbite 2 engine looks very polished. What do you think?