Monthly Archives: August 2013

Programming Note for August 22 – 27

Hi folks. I have a quick PSA for the rest of the week.

I’m off for the rest of the week and into next week so the blog will be going quiet for the next few days. Unfortunately, this means that I won’t be covering any of the big news from Gamescom as it happens. I’ll do a wrap up of the biggest announcements and stories next week.

Expect normal programming to resume next Wednesday.


Building (Critical) Consensus: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

tom-clancys-splinter-cell-blacklist-box-artI’ve never really been a fan of stealth games. Apart from Mark of the Ninja, I’ve never played a stealth game or a stealth level in a game that left me so angry at the game and its mechanics that I usually found myself rage quitting rather than gritting it out for a 20th time.

The Splinter Cell franchise has one that has traditionally been based on stealth gameplay so you can probably understand why I haven’t picked up any games in the franchise. The reviews are very positive for Blacklist but not the aggregated scores aren’t the best in the franchise’s history. Unless you’re Joystiq who calls it the best game in Splinter Cell history.

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Building (Critical) Consensus: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

the-bureau-xcom-declassified-box-artXCOM has had a rather interesting path from when it was first conceived in 2006 to its release yesterday. It started as a first-person survival horror shooter before being redesigned as a third-person tactical squad-based shooter. XCOM was originally an Irrational Games project before getting moved to 2K Marin. And it was delayed from its original release date of 2011 to the same day on 2013 that Saints Row IV and Splinter Cell: Blacklist were released. Not exactly what one would call a promising history.

Well, Jim Sterling’s leaked review on Destructoid wasn’t exactly a harbinger of reviews to come for The Bureau. It might be the lowest review but nobody’s given this game higher than 80% either which is kind of low by today’s gaming critic standards. The critics all seem to agree that the game’s tactical squad-based combat is in need of some polish but it’s executed well enough to be different from the other myriad of third-person shooters. We’re supposed to be getting our own review copy from 2K so I’ll let you know what I think soon.

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Gamescom 2013: PlayStation Reminds You That It’s About the Games

playstation-4-gamescom-2013-bannerAs has been their modus operandi for 2013, where Microsoft has some good news, Sony is not far behind to say “anything you can do, I can do better.” That includes during Gamescom with Sony’s keynote address in which they found a way to trump Microsoft’s earlier presser in nearly every possible way. It wasn’t quite the massacre that E3 was but Sony still came out guns a-blazing.

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Gamescom 2013: Xbox Opens Up to Indies and Gears Up to Launch

xbox-one-presentation-bannerEurope’s big video game convention kicked off with a bang as Microsoft was the first big player to hold a keynote presentation. With the Xbox One steadily gaining ground in the PR game after doing enough policy 180s that you could call it the Xbox 720, Microsoft still had some things to say to get people hyped about their next-gen console.

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Comic Book Pull List for August 21, 2013

justice-league-trinity-war-directors-cut-1If you’re into DC Comics’ Trinity War, there’s two comics for you to pick up. First is the second-to-last issue in the Trinity War. It’s part five of six in Justice League Dark #23. If you want something closer to a collector issue, DC has Justice League Trinity War Directors Cut #1 which features Geoff Johns’ original script and Ivan Reis’ artwork presented in pencil. I’m actually going to try to get my hands on that one.

Outside of DC’s New 52 universe, the folks at Valiant explore the origin of Bloodshot in Bloodshot #0. And the women of X-Men continue their story in X-Men #4.

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Building (Critical) Consensus: Disney Infinity

disney-infinity-box-artGiven the fact that Skylanders has made Activision over $1 billion in gross revenue since it was first launched, you knew that it was a matter of time before someone else jumped on the bandwagon. In this case, it’s Disney who have opened up their vast vault of characters for their own video game slash action figure collecting game Disney Infinity. Who knew that South Park’s Chinpokomon episode would prove hauntingly accurate of today’s video game industry? But that’s probably just me being cynical.

Beware when buying this game for consoles other than the Xbox 360. Reports say that the PS3 version is plagued with online and offline play issues . The Wii U version doesn’t seem to be compatible with the Classic and Pro controllers. And Wii owners have found out that their system’s version of the game doesn’t have a local co-op adventure mode. There’s a billion dollars waiting for Disney with this launch. No wonder why they seemed to rush it.

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Dragon Age Gets a Free-to-Play Mobile Spin-off

heroes-of-dragon-age-screenshot-01There’s nothing a franchise’s fans like to hear more than free-to-play mobile game. Just ask Final Fantasy fans, especially those who actually spend money on All The Bravest.

Not one to learn what damage you can do to a franchise with a terrible F2P cash-in, EA is taking Dragon Age to mobile devices. However, rather than put DA:O on iPad like they did with KOTOR, EA is releasing a combat-based F2P Dragon Age game because we can’t learn from Square’s mistakes.

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EA Launches Refunds for Origin Store Digital Downloads

ea-origin-bannerIt’s something we’ve been advocating for over the last few months and it looks like EA is going to be the first ones to make a move to improve game customer rights.

EA has announced that it will begin offering refunds on EA games purchased as digital downloads on Origin.

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Games Criticism, Censorship and Artistic Integrity

hotline-miami-headerDid I miss the memo? I’m convinced that there is a missive sent out to video games writers with talking points that we’re all supposed to stick to for a year.

Last year, it was that the vision of a developer should never be questioned. Look at the uproar over Mass Effect 3’s ending. Despite the plot holes and inconsistencies in the ending sequence, many members of the media defended BioWare by saying that this was BioWare’s vision and it shouldn’t be compromised because we shouldn’t compromise the developer’s “artistic integrity.”

This year, artistic integrity is no longer an applicable concept when talking about the contents of a game. Now, if a writer feels that the majority of people should be offended by something, it should be changed. In twelve months, we’ve gone from a developer having unassailable artistic integrity to a press corps getting dangerously close to censorship.

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