Once upon a time, I was a blogger and amateur modder here at ModDB. Now I return, to report on the latest and greatest mods, indies, and anything inbetween. I am a cynic Christian. I try very my best to be honest, no matter the cost. I am now a freelance games journalist but I still do an indie dev gig on the side.
In case anyone missed it before now, my blog is now here: Gameinformer.com
I'd welcome any of my old ModDB readers. It's really just a click away guys, and I've been able to do a great deal more with GI's blogging community. I'm even looking at starting a podcast soon.
It isn't easy to say goodbye to something you've put a lot of time and effort into; but you have to be able to. So, that's what I'm doing now. It's been a good run, I won't forget writing for you guys. I've learned a lot here and I hope that maybe, some day, I'll be humbled from where I started.
6:03 PM, EST
Alright, I'll be starting shortly and I've got more ground rules set up. Every one to two hours I'll be taking a short few minutes to walk around, given that I'll be sitting for so long. I'll also be taking breaks for eating. I will be playing on Survivalist difficulty (I debated playing on Hardcore but I'd prefer if you viewers didn't have to worry about me getting accidentally killed and then having to spend another hour getting back to where I was beforehand). I will be using voice chat, but I will remain silent during cutscenes. The livestream will be on Xfire in its Live Video section. My stream will be named "Fallen's Livestream". You shouldn't need to make an xfire account but you won't be able to use the chat if you lack an account. Setting up an Xfire account is rather simple, for those who want to make one. It's a good service and is very straightforward.
Resident Evil 6 certainly has been getting a lot of attention these days, isn't it? Kotaku's making a tirade against it, Jim Sterling's gone to town criticizing it, and reviews a ranging from high praise to utter hatred. Funny how no one noticed that a similar sort of metacritic was like this for Resident Evil 5. But that's not why we're here today. No, we're here because people just haven't caught on to the simple fact that Resident Evil 6, while definitely rough around the edges, is definitely in response to what fans seem to think it failed to follow in. Resident Evil 4. And the truth is, RE 4 is just RE6 with clunkier controls.
Some may be saying "no way. RE 4 was a survival horror game and RE6 is just an action game in survival horror skin!". Well, actually no it wasn't. I've recently gotten the chance to finally play RE4 and while there's definitely survival horror in there, it's just really got a slower pacing. Similarities include:
Ammo is still just as scarce. Enemies take about as much punishment. Weapons are similar, although there are some new ones added in RE6. You almost immediately into RE4 get a shotgun (essentially the fist of God), yet somehow Leon starting out with similarly powered weapons in the beginning of RE6 is different? Aiming is near the same pace and you can even still use a laser pointer like in the olden day. There are actual sections in RE4 where you are supposed to take cover behind chest high walls while popping up to shoot enemies. The health system in RE6 is actually more efficient and easier to gauge while still requiring proper herb management. The camera has always been that close up since RE4 and if you can't play an over the shoulder game then you might as well never play any third person game beyond something like Heavenly Sword, where the camera pans so far away that you can see several yards away. The camera in RE4-6 works fine so long as you know how to use it and have roughly some situational awareness. This isn't like Human Revolution on Hardest where you have to memorize every enemy movement before you start doing stealth takedowns. Speaking of takedowns, Resident Evil 6's melee takedowns take maybe a second longer than the kick motion in RE4 at best. The enhanced melee actually makes sense considering all of these people are supposedly trained fighters. If Leon can only swipe a knife at a zombie then it's clear he hasn't had that much practice with it. Horror games are about limiting players, but survival games are about just making it hard to stay alive. The latter is something RE6 is still intent on just as much as RE4, and in reality who was honestly scared after they got more than one weapon in RE4? How about after you upgraded them all?
And on specific points about RE6. The movement while aiming is very limited, cover based shooting (from what I've gotten to play) is pretty much only useful in Chris' campaign and Chris' campaign is the worst of the bunch so really its just there if you want to use it. If you actually use the melee and shooting in coordination you can be deadly enough to never have to need cover. The roll function actually is a very handy trick to master. The QTEs they use in this game have been used before not only in RE4 (you wiggle your stick just as much there as in RE6, and it's even worse if you fail) but in many other games. That may not excuse Capcom for using QTEs but at least some of the more scripted moments with them felt like something of Silent Hill; Shattered Memories. Hastily searching for the car keys in Leon's campaign actually amaze me in how tense and dynamic it felt. This is the type of mid-cutscene game play we actually should see more in games. Cutting off zombie's heads so Helena could close a door also was a hell of a lot more interesting than just sitting there watch.
The positives of RE6 are being ignored simply because it's easier to complain about the faults. It's not a perfect game, that's for sure. I've heard some gripes about it that I agree, and I do genuinely find the wiggle-stick bit annoying in both RE4 and RE6. But this doesn't change the fact that those two games are in fact quite similar to one another. Just because it isn't exactly what you wanted doesn't make a game horrible.
The action focus may genuinely be Capcom being afraid to do its own thing in order to keep itself afloat, and they certainly could do more to make genuine horror games, but there are better ways to make horror than just tank controls. Some games, like Silent Hill; Shattered Memories, are slick in how well they were done while still being scary. You don't have to make a game be crappy in order to scare people, you just have to be better at it. Capcom so far doesn't seem to be, and it's clear that they think this action focus is working since everyone loved it in RE4 and a bunch loved it in RE5. So accept it, and take your money elsewhere if you don't want an action/survival game. There are plenty of indie games waiting. But try to keep everything in perspective about why Capcom did what they did and why they made RE6 be what RE6 is.
Update: After some requests I'll be playing Dead Space 2. I will be playing on Survivalist difficulty or higher.
Hello readers, as you can guess from the title, I'm going to be hosting a live stream of Dead Space 1 and/or 2. It will be on the 26th (Friday if you're in North America). I'm going to be starting at about 1 PM EST. I'll try to keep silent during most cutscenes, but will be able to use my mic to talk to anybody in the chat. I usually get very good video quality and I can run both Dead Space games at above 30 FPS (I think Dead Space 1 runs at about 90). If you have any questions, I'll answer them to the best of my ability.
If you want invited to the livestream by me when it starts, add me on Xfire: Xfire.com
For those who don't, I will update the post with a link on the 26th.
Hi all, I recently got to watch the movie Prometheus. For those of you who don't know (being about 5% of you), it's the prequel to Alien. Really its the start of a prequel series but it does also work as a standalone title.
I walked into this movie expecting the general theme Movie Bob's review described. Which was: God is apparently an alien civilization and as a result is kind of a dick. The reality is, it is as far from that as possible. In fact, the movie goes out of its way to emphasize a superiority in faith and belief over science. Almost everything bad that happens is in the course of scientific discovery whereas everything done by those with faith seems to turn out at least a way that lets them succeed. The heavy metaphors and the deep undertone of "yeah, aliens made humans, but that doesn't make an all powerful creator of the universe a nonexistent entity" is very refreshing. Like with Dead Space, I find that Sci-Fi survival horror is actually a good genre for Christians. Go figure.
The movie itself even without this is brilliant. The three acts do have this awkward sort of feel and there's a few side plot moments that just don't seem to line up but my guess is there's an unspoken reason for it or it's just a heavier handed metaphor misinterpreted. The ending feels appropriate and unlike most viewers I did not feel myself left with more questions than answers. There still are some questions worth answering but I can work with what we've got. Why the Engineers made the Xenomorphs never gets answered but I'm fine with not knowing that. Still, Shaw is a great protagonist and the supporting cast primarily does a good job. Shaw's boyfriend feels a bit one-note (he's so focused on one emotion at every point that it's like he's a five year old), the Weyland executive lady could use more development, and some characters just seem to pop in and out of existence for no reason.
All in all, it's good movie. It's an impress feat and has some of the best camera and effects work I've ever seen. The locations look so familiar yet alien that I had to remind myself that they were on Earth. Also, there isn't really any main antagonistic force -- rather there's just people and they do some good things and some very very bad things. Believe it or not, the Weyland executive is probably a more protagonistic character than the android. David, the android... I wouldn't trust that guy even if my life depended on it.
So yeah, go see Prometheus. And try to read between the lines, Ridley Scott hid that extra subtext there and it's worth finding it.
Hi guys, turns out my cold wasn't over when I planned on it being. Still, someone sent this my way and I'm sending it your way: Youtube.com
It's great to see a voice actor who's actually into games. Plus him pretending to do his dialogue in a parodied manner is hillarious.
I've been sick the past week and a half thanks to both a virus and an excess of pollen this fall, so I'm going to give a brief catch-up.
1. Resident Evil 6 is out now. No one seems to be able to decide if its shit or not. I frankly sit in the "it's not shit, you're just missing the point". And it apparently has at least shipped more copies than any other game in the franchise, so if it doesn't sell well... well, expect lots of discount copies. Also, seriously, if you call that a Michael Bay film in videogame form, you clearly haven't actually had to sit through Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen.
2. Minecraft is getting a longer documentary. Yes there was an earlier one, look it up on Penny Arcade.
3. Just Cause 2's multiplayer is big enough that there may be more players in some areas than there are NPCs. And they aren't even done increasing the player cap. What happens when you eject from a plane, and then land on five thousand versions of yourself walking around beneath you? I wonder how long until we find out.
4. Terraria is on consoles. Terraria fans get in outrage over nothing changing whatsoever other than console players getting a chance to play a game that could be run on a DS at 20 FPS.
5. Bioware is having a mass exodus. I wonder if that's a sign that maybe internally the company isn't so much like what it used to be and maybe anyone with common sense is looking elsewhere. Or maybe it's just a coincidence. I mean it's not like one of the most heralded RPG developers is making a F2P Command & Conquer game that has story and singleplayer as its least important priorities.
6. Mirror's Edge 2 still might exist at some point. I bet if they ever do, the pre-order bonus will include a "Yep, we seriously even managed to release this game before Half-Life 3 and Beyond Good and Evil 2. We're just as amazed as you are!" t-shirt.
7. Game Informer has begun regularly doing livestreams. In other news, Game Informer is still clearly learning how to do livestreams. In other other news, Game Informer thinks its a funny idea to make trivia questions about Football, MMA, and Metal Gear during a livestream for Borderlands 2, a game that has nothing to do with -any- of those things. No Minecraft or Dark Souls Trivia, even though those actually get clearly referenced in the game, but sure, Football, a sport that, based on the chat stream, maybe 15% of your audience knew something about, and about 5% of them knew the actual answers.
8. Mass Effect 3 has new DLC coming out. Retaliation, in which some how magically Collectors come back to life for payback. Not only is there this but two knew characters will be unlocked -- effectively giving Turians every class but Vanguard and Adept. The characters be unlocked "through the week", so in other words they haven't even finished working them out and are buying time. On the upside, something genuinely new to shoot in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. In fact, we should encourage this strategy from Bioware. Maybe next, make the Hurlocks from Dragon Age be an enemy since we're already taking from Mass Effect 2 and the Geth from Mass Effect 1. Maybe throw in the generic mercs from KotOR with the generic mercs in Mass Effect 1-2 to make them be a "Super Merc" faction? Oooh, and then make a Sith faction. And as a pre-order bonus for Dead Space 3 -- Necromorph faction.*
*I'm serious about that last one. Give me a few DS unlockable weapons for my characters and a necromorph faction, and I will be a happy man.
9. Speaking of Dead Space, a new 17 minute long dev walkthrough showed gameplay and some of the story. Confusingly, unlike the E3 trailer, now Isaac seems to in fact not be in charge of the group looking to find a way to stop the Markers permanently. There's horrific things, and there's solid gameplay, even if the guy playing in the walkthrough clearly couldn't beat the second half of Dead Space 2 on casual difficulty. Idea, why not actually try offering a full blown co-op specific campaign as DLC or an expansion pack. I'm thinking along the lines of something like Extraction or Dead Space Mobile. Also, where the hell is that horde mode from the mobile game? If Iron Monkeys (now Fire Monkeys) can do it, I bet a team with a far larger budget and staff can.
10. Sony has officially bundled every franchise besides Uncharted (although technically you can get the first two bundled together) and Crash Bandicoot. Rachet&Clank, Jak&Daxter, Resistance, Killzone, InFamous, and Kratos' Mass Murdering Rampage are all available between twenty and forty dollars. As someone you has a few of the games in these collections (besides GoW), they are worth it. Sony may make tediously frustrating hardware decisions, but they do always fund good exclusives. Also, most of these games come with strong singleplayer components so if you're one of those "offline only" types of gamers, then you're in luck.
11. Someone's seriously making a game that comes with a PSP and Vita version. Yeah, I don't know what to tell you and they've barely released anything but a long name.
12. X-Com the shooter is still alive. It's probably going to be third person and looks like it'll have more in common with Mass Effect than Bioshock now. It also may turn out to be a 30 dollar budget title for download. I can't really make a joke about this because everyone has thrown so much hate at the game, I'm just happy its still alive.
13. Game Informer called the fact that you can't pause when opening a menu in Resident Evil 6 a "weird Japanese developer" thing. Because we all know Dead Space, which has the same thing, was developed in Japan and that whole thing about EA Redwood in California making it was just a rumor.
And this last one's a spoiler and a little behind but I'm betting some of you still haven't gotten it yet, so:
14. Mass Effect Leviathan. To paraphrase Batman Beyond: And kind of like a kid who peaks at his Christmas presents, I must admit it's sadly anti-climatic. Behind all the broken memories and whispers and backwards talk, all you Reapers are is a bunch of egotistical robots who can't stand something stepping out of line because you think you are doing what you were told to do and you can't think of anything else. It would be funny if it weren't so pathetically cliche. Oh what the heck, I'll laugh anyway.
Yeah... that's the big plot twist. The Reapers were made to keep the galaxy in "order". Just like CLU. Just like the robots in I,Robot (the movie), and just like in so many other stories. Ten dollars for that.
Okay, glad to have those bases covered. I've unfortunately been having a bit of a writer's block (for some reason specifically when trying to write stories) but I am hoping that once the last bits of sickness pass that I'll be able to get back to it.
Previously posted on GameInformer.com
So, who here's heard about XCOM? Who here has heard about the latest FPS spin-off, a tactical FPS that is set at the dawn of the agency's existence. Who here has heard anyone say anything positive about the FPS spin-off? Chances are, probably not a lot. Especially not from people who are fans of the original games.
Why is this? Why is it suddenly that, without even having gotten a proper release, the new XCOM FPS is declared a waste of time and money by fans? Oh, because it's an FPS. How in the hell does that make sense? By that definition, I should be utterly repulsed if they made an RTS based off of Killzone, no matter how well designed it might actually be. Why? Well because nostalgia dictates we must be like the games beforehand, but better, and we must never deviate from the genre we started in or fear the wrath of the internet.
Let me show you an even earlier example of nostalgia killing a perfectly fine game. Syndicate -- probably one of my favorite FPS games. It sold pretty badly. I think they might be nearing over 70,000 units now, maybe not, I'm not sure. What I do know is, there's three reasons given for why the game didn't review great everywhere, and I'll write them in order of on-going opinion:
1. It's not a strategy game like the originals, so of course it can't possibly be good
2. Deus Ex was a Cyberpunk shooter game thing and it had open world environments and everything*
3. The gameplay isn't that interesting
Now the third one is a matter of opinion. Some people claim that Spec Ops has badly aged controls but I find them mostly to be some of the most fluid shooting in the market -- but I say that with the grain of salt that I also find Timesplitters: Future Perfect to be one of the better FPS games that's ever been developed. I frankly find Syndicate's gameplay and all it's neat little tweaks (the weapon mods you can unlock, the surprisingly well done difficulty setting variations, the chip abilities that are often multi-purpose, the Dart 6 overlay), but that doesn't mean it is perfect. HOWEVER...
No one should have expected EA to produce a strategy game. They're EA, people. Get that into your head. Accept that they prefer action games, and no matter how hard we yell, money will often more likely state your opinion. So buy lots of stuff in the new F2P C&C game, then they'll respond. However, Starbreeze is known for making polished shooters that have a few new ripples to the FPS frame while leaving most of it firmly intact. They did it with Butcher Bay, they did it with Darkness, and they did it with Syndicate. They even cut the competitive multiplayer in order to better focus on co-op and singleplayer. But that apparently doesn't matter, because it wasn't strategy, and its name was Syndicate, so therefore it was thus damned from the beginning. There is absolutely no reason for this other than people being blinded by nostalgia for a series so old that you could play them on a PS1.
And for the people who say "well Deus Ex Human Revolution was totally a better Cyberpunk game" -- they're practically in two separate genres. Human Revolution is another favorite game of mine, but I played it for entirely different reason than when I play Syndicate. I play Human Revolution for the morality, the story, the details they sneak for the observant, the brilliant dialogue boss fights. I play Syndicate to blow people's heads away with a semi-automatic sniper rifle and alternating to my dual fire mode shotgun to take out anyone who gets too close. I play it for the crazy boss fights against opposing agents. I play it because it feels like Mirror's Edge if Mirror's Edge actually had an easy mode. I play it because it's like that one great moment in the Matrix that everyone knows because it's probably why Drake in Uncharted is always given the option to carry a Micro SMG. So stop comparing, the only thing they have in common are brooding protagonists and the general cyberpunk universe standards we all know and love or hate.
I for one am looking forward to hearing more about XCOM the FPS. And I am still, with plenty of joy, playing Syndicate on my PC, even if it means I have to play by myself. I'm getting quite good at it in fact, I can solo some missions on Hard, in a game where you're supposed to have four people. Except, because no one dare upset nostalgia, only usually three people at a time are in a match, because if there were a full game Starbreeze might get the idea someone actually gave a crap about their game. And we clearly wouldn't want that, would we?