Its a marathon not a sprint

Often when I play a game its sprint to the finish. Mostly I stick to one game at a time, however due to a current influx in consoles, games and a massive back log its turned in to a marathon of switching between multiple games and finishing them when i can.

Even now I have multiple games on the go; some would call me a bit of a player, jks… please help me.

Currently I’m working through Witcher 3 including all add-ons, FF14, Zelda: Breath of the wild and occasionally a game of Overwatch. My back log, includes Mass Effect Andromeda, Warhammer Total War, Mario Kart, Arms, Splatoon, Draksouls 3 and Dishonoured 2.

Most open world games can drag you in for 100 hours, and some I’m choosing to slow down such as BOTW a game I just don’t want to end. Of cause MMO never end but in this regard i set myself a goal and once its achieved – I quit. Unless its WoW which is basically crack to me.

Its proving more difficult to keep up with gaming the older i get. I think its time to change my mindset and just play what I’m feeling and eventually I’ll work my way through it. And if a game comes out i just want to smash my way through, then thats what I’ll do.

This post was bought to you by: First World Problem.

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2017, predictions in gaming

2017 is starting to look like a good year for games similar to the explosion of quality we received in 2015. It hard for me to choose a GOTY for 2016, simply put i never played allot of new games over the year. However now i have a rather large back log of games from last year, including Deus Ex, Dishonored 2 and Uncharted. Undeterred I’m aiming to blast through them ASAP.

If i had to choose – DOOM won GOTY for 2016 followed by Overwatch and Firewatch. This was picked up by Polygon, but not followed up by the Game Awards who went with Overwatch. Personally I can’t see a purely multiplayer game taking GOTY, but thats the elitist in me who see’s online games as little more than crack and insult generators.

So 2017.

I have a few predictions for this year. Im not going to list all the games coming out, just the ones i feel could be contenders for 2017 GOTY and ones which will amount to nothing, like how No Mans Sky was the best thing since the atom bomb but failed to take off (thats a space joke).

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard: The last 2 Resident Evils have been pretty under whelming. Resident Evil 4 took a different turn and became an instant classic. Five saw you play a steroid addicted beat the shit out of the locals followed by a fight in the a volcano. Six, something happened… but I’m confidant that seven will take the franchise into a different direction and could potentially take GOTY.

Conan: Exiles: This showed up late to my game radar and i predict it going down as a cheap mans Skyrim. But i’m hopeful its more.

For Honor: I’m going to call it now, this is going to be a buggy disappointment. Not only is it made by Ubisoft (boo) its all so hyped up to shit. Personally i hope i’m wrong, but something seems off about this title.

Horizon: Zero Dawn: This game is the reason i bought a PS4 (that and FFXV), I hope it lives up to my expectation. I hope it even goes down as GOTY.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands: This ones here for the bro’s, you know who you are. It’s likely to be a Steam Sale (Origin?) buy for me. I can see the appeal and i hope it does well, but not the game for me and unlikely to be GOTY.

Mass Effect: Andromeda: Its Mass Effect, its going to be good. The gameplay seems to have further evolved from the original cover shooter idea, but in general it seems to be grounded to the originals. People love Mass Effect so i see this doing well and maybe even taking GOTY. On a personal level i felt disappointed by the two and three, I can’t see me being that impressed by the fourth outing.

Prey: Im not entirely sure what i expect from Prey, its definitely not a sequel to the original Prey released in 2006. The game play and media released around it gives off a solid appeal which could do well. Definitely one to look out for.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: You could put a good amount of money on this taking 2017 GOTY. It’s Zelda, it’s Nintendo, it’s taken fucking ages to release. The gameplay released around this title looks polished and i’m generally excited for its release. Zelda being one of a few title i generally give a shit about when it comes to Nintendo. However the constant delay and the over the top hype coming in from the gaming media might see it fall flat on its arse, followed by a large amount of blog post entitled “It’s time to stop over hyping games”.

Read Dead Redemption 2: Another strong contender for GOTY. Unfortunately i see this getting delayed to early 2018. But still i’m hyped. Having not played the original for more than 2 hours i’m looking forward to getting into this sequel.

 

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The future of gaming

With E32016 now dead in your back garden, its time for the games media to break down what they saw at this glorified sales event. Personally i’m more interested in making wild speculation at what the future of the gaming industry holds for us.

Microsoft made a semi competent appearance at E3 this year despite continuing its down hill spiral of sales against the PS4. With the announcement of a new system “project scorpio” the xbox team is looking to throw themselves back into a loosing war by bringing a bigger gun.

Sony and Microsoft have in my opinion occupied different areas when it comes to exclusive titles. Sony has opted to be a little more experimental with its IP. You can see this in games such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Wild. But they also exploit the nostalgia side of things with the announcement of God of War; which i think is just going to be called “God of War”.

Microsoft tend to stick to tried and tested IP, with the announcement of the new Gears of War and Forza.  All games which sit well with its western audience. Sony are pushing for some new ideas and its looking good.  Of course this isn’t a major criticism of just Microsoft try finding a new idea in the Nintendo camp and you will be left disappointed.

O wait: mecha Kerby?, sure why not.

So what might happen?

One of the biggest things to be announced by Microsoft was that all new Xbox games will be coming to Windows 10 (maybe). Yes that horrible little gremlin that keeps trying to drag you away from your beloved Windows 7. So this triggered a few thoughts in my head.

Its been rumoured for a while now that the new CEO has had little love of the Xbox department and believes that Microsoft should get back to its software roots; something it excels at. With the announcement that all new Xbox titles will come to the PC, we could end up with something similar to the Steam box. Microsoft handles the OS and the games and hardware companies build the boxes to run it – you know; like a PC.

So thats controversial, I essentially said the Xbox will die off – kind of.

Everything’s going to the cloud. Lets be honest the gaming disc is dead. Future consoles will not come with a disc tray. Lets hope you have a solid internet connection because those 40GB games you download now; will be more in like 100GB.

Or we might all be streaming games?

With everything going into the cloud this could lead to a new business model entirely. The idea of monthly subscriptions to get access to the back catalogue of Playstation and Xbox has recently become a thing. So why not take this business model and apply it to new games. You pay a month fee to Sony or Microsoft and you can play any game your heart desires.

Lets not forget our old friends micro-transaction and DLC. You get the core of the game for your monthly fee but extras are going to cost you more.

All this talk of consoles and owning things: not anymore.  Remember OnLive? unfortunately the idea of paying a subscription and playing games over the cloud with just a controlled and a tiny box to communicate to the mothership was a little ahead of its time. I always saw the potential in this idea and once the internet infrastructure finally catches up with demand you might not even have to buy a console anymore. Just a one off fee of £100 and then £25 a month to access unlimited games on your chosen platform.

This is a big old shake up in the way we do things now but its not to far from how other companies have moved away from the expensive per-unit price to an affordable monthly subscription.

It sure would kill of pirating a game, why even bother if the month price is right. It might also cut out all the middlemen in the industry like amazon, but Im sure a deal can be made so amazon can give away a game code for 20% off the price of buying it direct from Sony or Microsoft in exchange for promotional material on their site or through traditional means. Lets be honest that pretty much what they do now anyway.

Game wont be about then so I wont include them.

Despite all this sounding terrible and “No way man your talking smach, I wont do it” its kind of already happening. If you think about it.

Sorry.

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Falling with Style, or That Superhero Feeling

I’ve played a lot of games that tell you you’re a superhero, but Gravity Rush might be the first time I’ve truly felt like one.

It’s easy enough to give the main character a cape, serve up some superpowers, or set a game in a comic book styled universe, but more often than not, its more about presentation wrapped around a generic brawler/adventure/genre-may-vary, and the sense of empowerment is kept in check by the limited scope of conventional game design.

Gravity Rush works so well because you are WAY overpowered in comparison to the slow paced city life around you, and the challenges are designed to test the limits of your unique powers in full flow, not to keep them in check as you are funnelled through levels.

psv-gravity-ss6

Bullet points!

  • You first enter the city in a plaza next to a flashing tutorial icon, but it is entirely feasible to ignore this and launch yourself into the air and explore every peak and depth of the city before even starting the first mission.
  • I launched myself to the top of the tallest tower I could see (clumsily, due to the newness of my powers) before jumping off into the plaza, faceplanting amongst terrified citizens.
  • You are so damn powerful you can completely wreck yourself through throwing yourself around so much, but this is made all the more satisfying by the thrill of pulling off awesome superhero landings that look just right once it’s all clicked into place.
  • So much collateral damage! People and property routinely get displaced and shoved aside by the high level superheroing taking place.
  • Oh yeah, upgrade your speed attribute just by a single initial level and you can already fly so fast that Kat creates a sonic boom in her wake.
  • Your partner is a cat made out of OUTER SPACE.
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Fallout over Game’s farce with the Pipboy Release

Today is the big release day for Fallout 4. Months ago I made a quick post about how my fiancé and I, like many of our friends, had pre-ordered the Pip Boy edition, exclusively sold in the UK by Game.

What we didn’t realise was that we would be entering essentially a Lucky Dip as to whether or not we would get it, and at the price we expected.

Straight away I feel like I should point out that luckily we have received our confirmation email that our copy will be delivered this afternoon, so a tiny part of me feels a little unqualified to comment on this farce that is Game’s exclusive. However, this morning I had a conversation with a very good friend of mine who had gone so far as to book a week’s holiday in order to immerse herself and enjoy the game she pre-ordered 5 months ago. She was charged by Game not for 1, but 2 copies of the game (despite not ordering that many), and today she was heartbroken to find out that despite this, and despite so many phonecalls to their ‘customer service’, she would not be receiving a copy of her game on time, and possibly not at all due to their incompetence at recording her address.

Unsurprisingly she’s pissed, and I would be too if I were in her position. And infuriatingly she isn’t alone. If you search the hashtag #pipboyedition on Twitter you’ll find complaints from upset gamers wondering why their orders got cancelled. Accusations of trickery, incompetence, downright theft – and yet amongst all of this you also see tweets and pictures of Game selling copies of the sold out Pipboy edition in store as part of the midnight release. No wonder #BoycottGameUk is also on Twitter.

Rubbing salt in the wound
Rubbing salt in the wound

So is this Game’s first attempt at a massive UK exclusive and it just happens to have gone wrong? Sadly no – its not even as if they have a good history of these kind of releases and this is just the first one to fail this year. Just a few months ago there was the colossal cock-up with people that pre-ordered copies of Mario Maker getting double-charged. Further back in 2012 with the release of ME 3, there was the blunder of Game not sorting out their stock ready for the release day – resulting in them being unable to fulfil orders that were made months in advance (Reference: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-02-29-game-not-stocking-mass-effect-3-or-ea-games-past-ssx)

Game Rage

So what can people do if they’ve been shafted? Going back to the story of my friend, she was gutted to realise she wouldn’t be receiving her game. She had tried getting into contact with them to sort things out but felt like she was going nowhere. I suggested she contacted the ombudsman to get it resolved, and she had never heard about them so I felt like it was something I should share with you guys.

So what is an ombudsman? Here is the definition taken from Ombudsman Services:

“Ombudsman Services is here to give independent and impartial decisions on complaints. Our service is free for consumers to use. We operate under appropriate legislation and with the approval of regulatory authorities and trade bodies. We are not a watchdog or a regulator – our job is to resolve complaints, not punish the companies we resolve complaints about. We are independent so we do not take sides.” 

Essentially – if you have made a complaint to the company and you are not happy with their attempt to resolve it, the ombudsman is there to provide an impartial ruling for both sides. They investigate your case and find out whether or not you are due additional compensation, or if there is anything that can be done to resolve your problem another way.

Below is the link for the Consumer Ombudsman. I highly recommend contacting them if you have been on the receiving end of this epic screw-up, and feel like Game are not taking your complaint seriously. You will need to make a formal complaint to Game first, so I suggest writing a letter and making sure you keep copies of any communications you send/receive.

http://www.consumer-ombudsman.org/

People are also setting up petitions to stop Game getting exclusives on game content, creating essentially a monopoly. If you feel strongly about this I recommend finding and signing one of these petitions. Search on places like change.org. If you want to voice your frustrations but don’t wish to sign petitions, use social media! Hashtags such as the ones I’ve already mentioned are in full use – join in with your experiences!

Let us stop retailers having sole exclusives on major game releases, because it’s becoming clear that they are just not up to the job.

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