The NEW Generation

Is it fair to stop calling it the “Next Generation”? The PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One have been out for over two months and the WiiU (if you want to include it in this generation) has been out over a year. It deserves to be called “Current Generation” but to be fair to those people that haven’t gone out and gotten a PS4 or XboxO, we’ll call the “New Generation”.

One thing that has been on a lot of gamers’ minds has been what about this console lineup makes it Next Gen? So far all we’ve really seen is a slight improvement in graphics, nothing about the environments has done a whole lot of wooing and the size of games aren’t considerably larger either. Last generation had interactive sidelines (I’m looking at you Madden) and the end of last generation had 30-40 Gigabyte downloadable games (to be fair this generation does include a few 50 Gigabyte games thus far). So what about all this makes it Next Gen? Is it the home entertainment system aspects? improved camera features? more dynamic online interactivity?

Well, so far it is all of that. But there’s not much more you can say about this generation, SO FAR. The things that make it Next Gen won’t be seen for about a year, maybe more. Developers need time to learn how to optimize their content on the new systems. Compare GTA:  V or The Last of Us to launch games from the PS4 or Xbox 360 like Resistance: Fall of Man. The differences are drastic. And I don’t use this example arbitrarily.

Resistance: Fall of Man gameplay

Last of Us gameplay

Back in ’06 I was at a friend’s house that just got his hands on Resistance: Fall of Man and we proceeded to beat the campaign on co-op mode (which by the way needs to be re-introduced games). During this marathon gaming session, at one point after we killed an enemy chimera my friend proceeded to unload his magazine into our fallen foe, like any good teenage gamer. He apparently hit one of the tubes on the dead chimera and it reacted to the bullet, proceeding to break and gush air. He turned to me in astonishment, “Look how detailed this dead one looks, I don’t know how much more realistic games can get.” And I agreed with him. There was little room to improve graphics in my mind. I was young at the time but no gamer, regardless of age, can say there wasn’t a point at which they looked at a game’s graphics in complete disbelief, only to have that bar shattered in two months.

The point of that tangent was that the Next Gen-y aspects of the New Generation are coming, just give it some time. Resistance: Fall of Man (Killzone: Shadow Fall/Ryse: Son of Rome) will eventually become The Last of Us or GTA: V (???), patience my friends.

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Assassins Creed III

Hey guys I apologize for the time away. I had a camping trip with the family that I needed to attend along with a hectic few weeks getting ready for my next year at college. I promise I’ll be back to posting on a regular basis.

So without further ado… a preview for the newest addition to the epic Assassins Creed franchise, Assassins Creed III.

The last game the Assassins Creed franchise concluded the story of the Italian pretty boy Ezio Auditore. The story of Ezio was a trilogy starting with Assassins Creed II, released in November of 2009, continued to Assassins Creed Brotherhood, released in November of 2010, and finally wrapping up with Assassins Creed Revelation in November of 2011. Assassins Creed III has been in work since the release of Assassins Creed II, way back in 2009. The size of the game is enormous and the game is far more ambitious than any of the previous titles.

The game takes place in the United States during the American Revolution. You are a half Native American half British assassin known as Connor. The main areas of battle are on the frontier, in Boston, and in New York. The game is much more of an RPG compared to the previous titles. Made possible by the powerful engine.

All the hype points to this being the biggest leap of the franchise. We’ll have to wait to see if the story-line and character development prove to be up to par, but the game play and graphics are easily the best of the series. If you are a fan of the series its a no-brainer to go get the game, I’d recommend reserving a copy. If you haven’t played any of the previous installments or are skeptical due to flaws in the preceding titles I’d still make it a priority keep an eye on it and get a general feeling of the game after it is released.

What do you guys think? Are you going to get this game? How do you feel about the previous Assassin Creed Games?

Wild, crazy, fun!

Borderlands 2 is one of the most anticipated games coming out this fall. The first installment in the series was known for its wild antics, crazy humor, and all-around fun action. The question is can Borderlands 2 live up to this and exceed it?

So far indications are yes it will live up to the title and will most definitely exceed the wild, crazy, fun of Borderlands. The success of the previous games allowed the makers to go after ambitious goals and have a larger budget. The game is still a first person shooter but now has more RPG elements weaved into the game. There are far more side-quests, more enemies, and more ways to customize your appearance and guns. The game still takes place on the desolate wasteland of Pandora and many of the same enemies reappear in the sequel.

For those of you who have not played the first game of the series, Borderlands was a first-person shooter with a few RPG elements. The graphics are more cartoon-ish than most games and the story isn’t terribly deep. Yet the humor, great action, and all-around bad-ass feeling of the game made it one of the most surprising titles a few years back. It is extremely well made and anyone who plays it will have a ton of fun.

This game will no doubt be a best-seller this year. The first game was so good I will undoubtedly be buying the second.

How about you, will you buying Borderlands 2? What’d you think of Borderlands?

NCAA Football 13

Another year another set of EA sports games.  There are many reasons to hate this company for how they handle the games and many reasons to love them. Every year they come out with the same game as the previous with a few tweaks. Yet the familiarity and simple controls keep us buying it year after year. People are frustrated when companies don’t change-up what they come out with yet get angry with companies who change and don’t stick to “what works” (see Bioware and Dragon Age). It’s a tough situation to be in as a company.

So how did EA do with NCAA Football 13? Surprisingly very well. NCAA Football has been year in and year out a well-presented and interesting video game with all the different game modes like dynasty and road to glory. Yet this year they added to it with the Heisman Challenge mode. In this mode you get to play as one of ten selected previous Heisman winners on any team the player wishes for one season. The mode has its flaws such as the announcers don’t acknowledge their names but overall its pretty fun and interesting. Definitely a welcome addition to the game

The game play also got a little more intriguing with Reaction Time. Reaction Time enables a player to slow the game down during a play to avoid defenders or to make a tackle. The player only has a limited amount depending on how good they are and their experience. It adds a little flavor to the game play which resembles every other football game out there.

There were a lot of issues not fixed in this years game though. You’ll probably here most of everything the announcers will say with in two games, the Road to Glory mode is far too easy, and recruiting in dynasty mode is still an annoying, time-consuming, pain in the ass. Players still put their arms and shoulder through the ball or another persons body and tight-end streaks are nearly unguard-able. One of thing I am very happy with though that they did fix is that you can’t run twenty feet backwards, throw off your back foot and throw a perfect ball to a receiver fifty yards down field. A very welcomed change.

Overall the game is a better improvement than you will get with most sport video games. I don’t advise getting the same sports video game two years in a row but if you’re going to get NCAA Football any year, it’s this one.

If any of you have already played the game, what do you think? If not, will you be buying this? What have your previous experiences with NCAA Football been like?

An End Once And For All

Now this is old news and if you do not like discussing the ending of Mass Effect, please do us all a favor and do not continue reading then complain that the subject has been beaten to death.

Mass Effect is the greatest story the media of video games has to offer. The amount of information presented to the player that provides the lore to the game is unparalleled. The amount of time put into the personality, background, and overall like-ability of every character in the series makes even the most hardened of men care about their fate. The story consumes the player and makes it feel as though they are truly apart of the narrative. The tale of Commander Shepard is an epic one, used in both the current meaning of amazing and the Greek form of a tale. Unfortunately in a sense, the latter can be said about the series as a whole as well.

Mass Effect 3, the last installment of the Mass Effect series, concluded one of the greatest stories of all time. Unfortunately it didn’t end like the one of the most incredible stories ever told. The ending was surrounded in so much controversy that even the Penn State athletic department would feel sorry for Bioware.

For any of you who have not played the series, the best comparison I’ve ever heard to this ending was: Imagine in Harry Potter that the real enemy wasn’t Voldemort, the true mastermind behind all that evil was Dudley. But that’s not all, the only way to stop Dudley is for Harry to destroy the magical world. And to top icing on the cake, every character you’ve come to know is probably dead (Ron, Hermione, George, Fred, etc..).

Yeah, it was that bad. The things that I explained earlier that made Mass Effect great were completely abandoned in the final moments of the game, the most important moment in the series. They lost narrative coherence, continuity, and the main character lost the things that made him great. Everything you know about the Reapers seemed to be uprooted in the final moments of the game with the introduction of the “AI Star-Child”. The continuity of the story seemed to be lost when some characters magically appeared on the Normandy or the Citadel. Shepard also seemingly loses the ability to gather information to make an informed decision. Much of the controversy that surrounded it had to do with players making the most important decision of the series near-blind.  They completely destroyed the lore of the series in the final moments of the game as well with the destruction of the Mass Relays.

All of this could have been forgiven if Bioware did what they said they were going to do from the beginning, allow decisions that were made through out the series change the outcome of the ending, an interactive ending that told YOUR story. They always talked about how Commander Shepard’s story is the player’s story. Hell they even said it wouldn’t even be a simple A, B, C choice. (Actually you’re right it was Red, Blue, Green). Part of the problem had to do with the great expectations Bioware fed their audience.

It was bad, but that’s not what this post is about.

Bioware heard our complaints and acted, something people do not give them enough credit for. They accepted that the ending wasn’t satisfactory and tried to fix it. They didn’t owe the fans anything, they could have left the game as is. Yet they manned up and took responsibility. Hell, who really knows if it was even their fault? One only has to look at the destruction EA causes wherever they go to see that there may have been a bigger bully rushing/changing the project. In any case though they changed the ending with the extended cut DLC.

The extended cut fixed many of the things previously stated – narrative coherence, plot holes, destruction of lore, too many questions, not enough closure, and so on. They fixed it, and while some may argue that the concept of the ending wasn’t well thought out (I would be one), one can at least accept the new ending presented. If this had been the ending they had originally presented to us many would have not have been mad and the public outrage would have never of happened. In fact most would have been content with the ending and it probably would have been acclaimed to be one of the greatest finishes in gaming history.

There was too much right in this series for it to go that horribly wrong in the end. I’m glad they came out with the extended cut DLC, and although the bitter taste from the original ending still lingers, I can truly be happy with the ending and can move on with gaming.

What do you guys think? Did you like the series? What about the endings-original/extended? What were your favorite moments of the series?

Side Note: the music to the ending was spectacular in both endings. Original= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5JvbD2Zc9I Extended = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLxv_g_zQkY

Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale

Big in news lately has been a new Super-Smash Brothers-esque game set to release on the Playstation 3 on October 23 called Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. Left with speculating based on only a few films online it seems to have an eerily similar design and gameplay to that of the Super Smash Bros series (2D levels, interactive background, outrageous animation to simple moves, and cool special moves available to each characters).

The current characters have been plucked from different series for this game and include: Big Daddies from the Bioshock series, Colonel Mael Radec from the Killzone series, Fat Princess from Fat Princess, Kratos from the God of War series, Heihachi Mishima from Tekken, Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, PaRappa from the PaRappa the Rapper series, Sly Cooper from the Sly Cooper series, Sweet Tooth from the Twisted Metal series, and Toro (Japanese mascot for Playstation). Two characters unconfirmed but highly likely to be playable characters: Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series, and Cole MacGrath from the Infamous series. There is also other rumors include: Ezio from Assassins Creed, Ratchet from Ratchet and Clank, Sackboy from Little Big Planet, and James Bond.

This is a wide range of characters and touches base with a wide range of gamers. It’s great in getting everyone involved with this game, along with the homey feeling of the eerily similar game play to Super Smash Brothers this game is bound to be a huge success. There are some characters I do and don’t like in the game.

Big Daddies- Love it. Each characters abilities are tailored to what they’re like in their own games. Having a big bruiser our there in a Big Daddy is sure to please anyone who wants to lay down powerful blows. It adds diversity to the game seeing as he seems to be alone in the “Big Bruiser” type role.

Fat Princess- Eh. It helps expand the game to wider range of players so that’s a positive. Her moves seem artificial. Like in the way in Super Smash Bros when DK plays the bongos it does damage. Doesn’t really make sense. I probably won’t be using her much but I’m not against having her included.

Colonel Mael Radec- Not a fan. He doesn’t really add much to the game other than the sniper rifle he seems to be carrying around everywhere. His moves seem unimaginative and his suit of armor isn’t even cool compared to some of the other characters.

Kratos- Love it. The fighting mechanics in the God of War series are so good its hard to imagine that fans of the series won’t be a little of upset with the downgrade but I’m excited they added him. He has such a combination of strength and speed it seems like he probably should be unfair to play with. Yet remember that God of War was almost strictly a brawler so he may have a disadvantage from range.

Sly Cooper- Like it. Bringing back a fan favorite. He could be cool to play with, using some type of stealth in the game. Yet he seems to be at such a disadvantage it may make me question how a Big Daddy just got K.O.ed by a punch from Sly.

PaRappa- Hate it. Who even played those games honestly? I never even heard of them before I looked it up when I first saw the previews. He’ll use weird moves like rapping and skateboarding which I hate. He doesn’t offer much either. No, just no. Wasting space for another cooler, character to use.

Heihachi Mashimi- No. If I wanted to play Tekken, I’d play Tekken. He doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Classical fighter, uses a combination of strength and speed. Space waster. Old character used in similar game. Yawn…

Sweet Tooth- I never played the Twisted Metal series but I’m going to have to say yes. His crazy personality combined with that creepy clown face add some to the series. His obsession with fire seems like it could be cool and I want to see this ice cream truck used some how.

Nathan Drake- Eh. I really like the Uncharted series but Nathan just doesn’t really add much. No special powers, no insane abilities. Unfortunately he probably is a space waster.

Toro- I personally am opposed, but that’s probably not the case if you went to Japan. He could be kind of cool but I’d definitely rather have a similar character to him that I know, like Sackboy.

Snake- For all intents and purposes he’s in the game. Like it. Personally never played Metal Gear Solid series. But it is considered to be one of the best game series of all time. If it’s that good he’ll definitely have some cool moves so Snake gets the thumbs up.

Cole MacGrath- Love it. I only played the first inFAMOUS but I’m already pumped for his electrical moves. Brings something new to the table. To me Cole personally is a little bit of a flat character but his moves make up for it.

Ezio- Please be in the game, please be in the game. This guy would be so hype jumping from platforms stabbing people. He might not bring something insanely new to the table but he seems to be on a completely different level then all the previous characters for agility so that could be cool.

Sackboy- As much as I’ve been hating on the younger audience characters i love Sackboy. He never really brawls or fights anything in Little Big Planet, so it’ll be interesting to see what he does. It will also be awesome to see that little creepy stitched in smile after he K.O.’s someone.

James Bond- No. He’s not really a game character. Doesn’t bring much new to the table. Would be space waster.

Ratchet- Never played Ratchet and Clank so undecided here.

Players I would like to see

Commander Shepard- Biotics could a nice addition to the game. Along with help from some of his squad in his power moves. He makes for an interesting character. Also the reapers shooting a giant laser into the game would be a nice interactive background.

Chimeran Hybrid- His moves probably wouldn’t bring much new to the table but his look will help create diversity. Plus Resistance is a Playstation exclusive so give the nod to those guys.

Deathclaw- This would be interesting. Give something to rival Kratos’ brawling ability. No special powers, just strength and speed.

The Dohvakiin- Thu’ums would be awesome to use in gameplay. Very unlikely though because each character in Skyrim is unique to the player. An interactive background with dragons would be a nice touch as well.

Player I DO NOT want to see

Isaac Clarke- Hated Dead Space series. No attachment to what’s going on, just run around and do this type of thing. Anyway, doesn’t bring anything unique to table. Rumored to be in it, will be disappointed if he is.

Anyone from COD, Battlefield, or Medal of Honor- No explanation needed

So what do you guys think? Will you be getting the game? What do you think of the current and rumored characters? Also let me know what characters you guys want and why.