Monday, 28 November 2011

The Old Republic: Wishing I didn’t care.

star-wars-the-old-republic

hex I will be playing the Old Republic at launch. Though I’m not sure that I want to. I have a policy of not playing games at launch or buying full price games. However, with that said I have loved Star Wars since I was a child. In the end my love of Da‘ Wars overcame my gut feeling that this game will be bad.

Star Wars as a franchise has ben ploughed to the point of satire and any respectability the franchise had as a master work of cinema and story telling has been pissed away in the for of Jar Jar Binks plush toys and bad RTS games.

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As you can see above on DVD alone I have given the Star Wars franchise much of my money, I also have it three times on VHS and soon Blu-ray as well (please ignore ‘Easy A’ I don’t own that movie, its a trick of the light)

A few years ago I was thrilled at the sudden influx of random Star Wars merchandise. you could get just about anything with a little Star Wars logo on it. I even had an R2D2 egg cup, Darth Vader straw, cup and fork. I once saw a full size replica of a storm trooper helmet that doubled as a CD player.

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Then ‘it’ happened to me on the 27th of August this year, I remember it well. I had Just been to the Birmingham Comic Show where I had been surrounded by tributes to star wars like cute Ewok paintings, Chewie as Winnie the Pooh. Awesome and epic hand drawings of the battle of Hoth, all mixed in with the superb art and comics of every other genre. Later I found myself standing in my favourite comic shop Nostalgia of Birmingham and I saw a little area for Star Wars. I looked at the Mini Heroes that looked like cartoon storm troopers and realised that it had gone far enough. The core of Star Wars as a story about good and evil has been overshadowed by the toys and trinkets. My childhood fantasy of saving the Princess and training to be a Jedi was shattered by the harsh reality that Star Wars is an industry now and as an industry its soul is gone.

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I still love Star Wars and occasionally see one of those trinkets or toys and know that I simply must have it, but in the case of the Old Republic being developed by a monolith like BioWare and published by a company like EA that has more in common with the empire than the republic I am saddened. When I saw those first in game moments a long time ago now I saw WoW in Space and all I felt felt disappointed.

Classic SW discussions

I love the Star Wars that is discussed in the movie Clerks, I love the passion that those characters had for it. Now I see children with lightsabers thinking its about jar jar and voice changing Vader heads forgetting that its about love and freedom.

NSFW dialogue but still, great.

I miss the Star Wars that I had when I was a kid, but that mind set and culture has been marketed away.

I will play ToR and I will probably love it as a well build MMO that’s based on the universe I loved. It won’t be star wars as I know it but its probably going to be a superb game.

Go and watch the original trilogy again, forget the market machine and watch the movies. I don’t know about you but for me, that what Star Wars is about.

[I did have a Beta invite, i decided not to participate, better wait until its ready i think]

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Second times a charm

 

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fish[2]I am getting married today. No really I am, sigh, no not to Hex (though I met her through Hex), to our very occasional contributor Lady Fleata. Not wishing to get all soppy on you all, just to say I loved her very much. One of the reasons I loved her is that she, like me, is a gamer. Trust me when I say gamer girls are distinctly hard to find, and should you find yourself in a relationship with one, then they are a keeper.

Of course her tastes in games are a little more specific than mine. She adores role play games, though she is only really if she interested if she can play as a female (she is currently hammering Skyrim, which she has been impatiently waiting for). Beyond those, she likes little puzzle/strategy games, so she is not interested in the likes of BF3 or Dawn of War (which she did try at my urging  and didn't like).

What I find interesting is that technically this is not the first time we have gotten married. A few years back we were both into WoW big time and one Sunday afternoon our close knit little guild decided that me and Fleata were to get married.  I have to say that it is one of the weirder gaming experience I have stormwind_cathedralhad. One of the mages used tailoring to whip up a wedding dress and tuxedo and after 10 mintes of broadcasting in Stormwind city we found a priest (the character class, not a literal priest) to perform the ceromony. So there were grouped in the catherdral , my toon in a tux and her’s in a dress, as the priest tried to muddle through a wedding ceromony from bits off TV and films he had seen.

It was all just a bit of a laugh really, but I do distinctly recall feeling reluctant and unwilling to go through with it. Heh lets hope today is not the same.

I am casual about us all being gamers

 

fish[2]I brought Bejewelled 3 off Steam recently, because it was on sale. Now Popcap make excellent games, and Bejewelled 3 is no exception, taking a fairly basic premise and polishing it until it shines. But Popcap and Bejewelled both have, shall we say a reputation, for being "causal" games.

I hate labels (hell I am not fond of the word game, but that is for another blog), yet we gamers, another label there, have a tendency to look down on these sorts of games. Tetris is one of the best selling games of all time because it bejeweled-shirt-smallis as about accessible and pick up and play as you can imagine. And you sure don't see people criticizing Tetris for it's lack of narrative or it's uncomplicated game mechanic.

I just think that any person playing any game, be it Bejewelled, or World of Warcraft or Modern Warfare should be embraced as a fellow lover of interactive video entertainment, catchy huh, seriously it is going to be a thing. Anything that you can play and enjoy should be considered and embraced. This even goes for those people we all know that year in year out just buy FIFA, or I guess Madden for you Americans, and Call of Duty. Yes it is a little annoying, but all that FIFA money goes towards covering the slightly more risky titles like Bulletstorm or Deathspank.

Actually there is one more word I hate, and that is the word Arcade. This is something that Microsoft coined with the xbox downloadable titles. The very xbla-640x250world implies that the games are to be considered forgettable or of little long term worth. For some of the titles this may well be the case, however the likes of Bastion and Limbo come far closer to what could be considered art than 99% of "larger" titles. One of the things I love about Steam is that it doesn't section off or categorise the smaller titles, in many cases proudly advertising them.
 
Wow haven’t written a rant like that in a while, forgotten how satisfying it is.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Battlefield 3 Patch notes

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hex Battlefield 3 has been patched (21/11/2011) and you can read the FULL patch notes for the PC versions HERE. I have gone through them and pasted a few highlights below.

General performance and loading time improvements: About time! the game runs okay on my machine but only after I got a new graphics card.

Fixed several Crashes when joining MP and Co-Op sessions: We have all had this bug i think, nice to see its a thing of the past now (I assume)

Grenades now drop to ground if you get killed while attempting to throw it: about bloody time. this was one of my major gripes in Bad Company 2 nice to see its not going to continue making me complain in BF3. “before I die I’ll just put the pin back in this grenade” – No!

Ability to share your Profile and Stats pages to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter: good news but seriously worth mentioning in patch notes?

Considering that the game has been out for a new weeks now I personally think that this patch has been a long time coming. Hopefully the game will be smoother for everyone now.

I would say though if you have a problem updating, reload Origin and then click ‘check for updates’ the automated update ‘kick in’ does not work properly (at least for me)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Another game finished, maybe

 

Mario 2 end

fish[2]It's that time of year when people start taking stock of what has happened to them in the last twelve months. Don’t worry I am not going to do one of those best game of the year things (hastily scribbles notes for a best of the year blog). As I look back I find myself considering all the games I have played (i really am obsessed) and more accurately the games I have finished. In the last month I have finished off Dead Island, Fear 3, Battlefield 3, Black Ops,.Modern Warfare 3 and Resistance 2 (for the second time). A quick count up leads me to think that I must have finished at least a dozen games this year, which I think is a very respectable number.


4380c884fce2acc1e98ffe620446c790But maybe I am deluding myself and I haven't truly finished anything. Can I really justify saying I have "finished" a game just because I have seen the ending credits. The shooters I have mentioned all have single player campaigns that can be easily cleared in a handful of hours, and the multiplayer is the meat of it. The only shooter I can say I have really finished is Battlefield 3, as that is the only one I have played any significant amount of multiplayer. But even in BF3 I have yet to get all the unlocks for just one of the four classes, so realistically there is loads left to play, that's neglecting the fact that the Karkand map pack had yet to drop for free as I pre-ordered the game.


Oh crap I haven't even considered DLC. One of the games I finished at the beginning off the year, Enslaved: Odyssey into the West, was a great game, 15409however it had no leader boards, no co-op or indeed any multiplayer of any kind. However can I still count it as finished if I didn't buy and play the, by all accounts, very good DLC? Same goes for Red Dead Redemption. I didn’t really like the multiplayer, however I brought the Undead Nightmare DLC and never finished it because I got stuck. Does that mean that even though I finished the game I can’t count it as I never cleared the DLC.


Sigh wish I had never started thinking about this, I started out positive and now I am wondering if I have properly finished 2 or 3 games. I mean where do I draw the line? If a single player is good but a multiplayer I don’t like, can I count that? And imageswhat about the likes of Bulletstorm and Dead Space 2, both of which had surprisingly good 4 player co-op multiplayer (in dead space 2 case 4 versus 4, not dissimilar to Left 4 Dead). These are great multiplayer experiences that I just never got around to playing as much of as I would like, though I fairness to Dead Space 2 the multiplayer was a lot more scary than the single player (I am a self confessed wuss).


Though realistically who has time to play a dozen hours of each and every game’s multiplayer. If I did that I would never finish any game. Ah crap I have gone around in a circle. This is going to get worse and worse as developer increasingly try and encouraging us to keep playing their games. As in the case of Battlefield 3 and their free maps, or adding on a multiplayer component to absolutely every new game, even if it doesn’t really work that well and is unneeded (yes I am looking at you two, Bioshock 2 and Uncharted 2).


I guess what I am saying that, for me, I complete a game when I have enjoyed it but don’t want to see or do any more. So I can say that i have finished Bad Company 2 after 130 odd hours, because I now have Battlefield 3 to play. Or in the case of Black Ops I finished it in 6 hours, 5 and half hours of “OK” single player and half an hour of terrible multiplayer. I think as a rule of thumb that’s not a bad one.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Looks its the QHNARL (that’s a thing now!)

QuestHard QHNARL

hex I don't write reviews. No one at Qest Hard ever really writes reviews. We write over opinionated rambles with little to no point at the end. It’s an art form that we have honed down to an artisan still set.

Recently I have been somewhat bathed in the glory of wondrous games a plenty. So, I have decided to consolidate opinions and thoughts about my recent play list and make you what I am calling the “Quest Hard Not A Review List”. This epic work is as follows (in brackets is the platform I played it on, not always the definitive version) also, its worth mentioning that this list is in the order they come into my mind.

rage-for-android-id-software

RAGE (PC): Its fun and puts as little as possible in the way of experiencing the joy of murder while ensuring it gives you a ‘reason’ for the bloodshed. however it has consolitis really bad and should have been a far better game than it actually was.

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Xenoblade (Wii): The new king of the JRPG, the best single played focused game i have played this year by far. its just fantastic!

 

 

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Battlefield 3 (PC): The Origin service as well as battlelog are plagued with problems but once you get into the actual multiplayer game its about as much fun as a human can have alone at his keyboard. The single player is ‘meh!’ but has a good opening level.

 

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MW3 (Wii): This is a solid multiplayer shooter on the Wii and probably the best one while not the best looking.

 

mineCapture

Minecraft (PC/Android): Minecraft is the joy of creation brought to the gamer mind-set, its fun and silly and finally getting out of Beta, the Android version is stripped down vastly but still keeps the core fun. Benefits from a hugely likable developer. (its an older game now but its on the list because of how addicted i am the the PE version)

 

GR_590x230 Gemini Rue (PC): its a really intriguing and dark throwback to the classic adventure game, i like what I've played but don’t want to delve too deep until I finish the other RPG I’m playing – its good though!

 

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Sanctum (PC): this is a first person tower defence game and while trying to do something clever its repetitive and boring. Something of a let-down if I am honest.

 

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Terraria (PC): 2D Minecraft…. I already have 3D Minecraft.

 

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Kill Zone 2 (PS3): Lot’s of fun in a refreshing Sci-fi setting, some how manages to play like a real world shooter and provide space ships. – winning!

 

 

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Resistance 3 (PS3): It baffles my mind, its basically a shooter set in the past but with mutant alien things and guns that shoot through walls. It has a fantastic magnum with remote detonated bullets. yeah, I like it.

 

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Spiral Knights (Steam version, PC): I played Spiral knights again fairly recently, i really like it but I’m confused as to its purpose, is it an MMO or a social dungeon crawler? its free to play fun for sure though.

 

dredlaunchDungeons of Dredmor (PC): yes, it does look like it was created by the game developer version of a ‘special school’ but it is also challenging and honest. its really fun and that's what counts, for me at least.

 

frozen-synapse-logo-miniFrozen Synapse (PC): My Co-blogging-hetro-life buddy got me this as a gift a while back. I really want to like it and i think i do but the problem is that I'm just not smart enough to really excel at it, or even work the controls if I'm honest. If you have an education then I am sure you will really like it.

 

fat-princess-20090622035759657Fat Princess (PS3): Lol, giggle, silly snigger. this game is a cleaver psudo-top-down class based capture the flag arena thing. and its about making a pretty girl really fat by feeding her cake. i like it. I really do.

 

AresExtinctionAgenda_200_headerA.R.E.S (PC): This game is bad.

Well, that’s it. that right there is the list of games i have played recently, complete with ‘not review’ comments. you will notice that i have not supplied links with each title. that's because i have every confidence that you, our readers are not idiots and are capable of using Google t find game information.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Don’t F3AR the reaper (sorry, couldn’t resist)

 

fear-3_4b4o

fish[2]I have just finished playing Fear 3 on my PS3, which I got on rental service. First things first, I am not going to refer to it as F3AR, because that it's blatantly stupid. However I guess if the name fits, which it kind of does, use it. Fear 3 is another one of those action packed first person shooter, much like Modern Warfare 3, which I have also just finished. Not much sets Fear 3 apart from the norm, it has a slowmo system, which works well, and it tries to be scary, which it largely fails at.

So both Fear 3 and Modern Warfare 3's single player are fairly generic and uninspired, not to mention pretty damn ridiculous in terms of story. In fact the stories in both are so bad, I just wouldn’t have put up with it in any other game type. So what is it about the single player first person shooter that just satisfies me. I think it is the almost grind like joy of progressing through levels, shooting anything that moves. I know that sounds pretty fucked up, but what can I say, I finding it very relaxing.
 
Seriously the plot is as stupid as it seems.

I love multiplayer shooter , but they are not relaxing to me. I have to focus on what I am doing, where i am heading and more importantly what the opposition are doing. Whereas in single player shooters, especially the mediocre ones, I am waiting for a stupid AI enemy to stick his head back out from cover, so I can blow it off.

Some people play puzzle games to relax, others like the simple joys of a platformer. Personally i am most contented when mowing down poorly coded bots with an AK-47.

I hate you Hollywood!

pissed-off

hex Today, as Reddit has been offline I have ventured to Kotaku for my gaming news fix and stumbled over a Video of a semi-likeable dude from GamerZone interviewing celebrities at the Skyrim launch party, that video is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KDJzAzztHb8 (see how that’s a link not embedded due to GamerZones Youtube channel being a Nazi)

The first people he interviews in the video are called 'the all American rejects’ I have no idea who they are. I assume they are musicians from the crap name. They genuinely appeared to think the idea of being asked “Are you gamers?” was ridiculous and proceeded to squirm and giggle claiming they had their ‘fill’ on the NES showing no respect for the very art form they where there to promote.

618px-JeanLucPicardFacepalm

later in the video was a guy who said he was a gamer and was ‘the Wii tennis champion of his house’ every other gamer who watched this, I assume, like me face palmed at the notion that any ‘gamer’ could use Wii tennis as an example of E-peen size or skill.

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I am not sure why game developers and publishers try to promote games through these Hollywood style launch parties when the very people they have there have no idea what it is.

The fact that those reject people think that gaming is funny is an example of why you should not try to make gaming like the move business.

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Gamers can smell another gamer a mile away and a fake from ten miles away. You can not fake a love of gaming, you either get it or you don’t. why not launch the games with celebrities that matter to gamers like developers, voice actors, You-tubers and Olivia Munn (just saying) people who really love games and want to be part of a launch not fake assholes like actors and singers.

 

TL DR: Fuck you Hollywood.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Haxor n00b–The Steam crisis?

haxor

hex I have a few (186) games on steam. So, the other day when I read that Steam had been hacked, I had what you could describe as something of a freak-out. As it turns out Valve are only willing to say that there have been a few accounts compromised and are playing down the issue.

Upon logging into steam next you will be greeted with a very well written letter like this one:

 steam fail

Every steam user out there should change their password right now and make sure that steam guard is active on their account (its in preferences) I would also change your e-mail password to something that's not connected to your steam account (I used an automatically generated one from Last Pass, its so secure that even I don’t know what it is)

It maybe my fan boy mind-set at play here but I’m not concerned. I think Valve have a good security system with steam guard and I can’t see how anyone will be able to get into my account or to my credit card information without also having access to my e-mail address (and if those passwords are the same then you are an idiot).

I will be interested to see how Valve handle this situation, lets hope they fair better than Sony did

TL DR: Steam got hacked, go change your passwords dumb ass.

MW3–we know about it

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hex I have to be brief with this write-up because I have to play some Battlefield 3. As a dedicated gamer who runs a gaming website (this one, with Mr @Hangmansj0e) I felt that not mentioning MW2 MW3 was a crime against our readers.

I have a PC, PS3 and a Wii. I needed to play some MW2 MW3 so I could write about it; so, I chose to pick up the version I wanted most. The Wii version.

The Wii is starved of quality shooters so when I had the chance to play MW2 MW3 on it I was a little excited, not because its MW2 MW3 and I’m supposed to feel like that but because i like the Wii and having a title of this size on it means good things right? no, wrong. MW3 graphically looks like Counterstike and has none of the more advanced graphics that we can see the Wii perform in titles like Conduit 2 or Metroid. I did expect a lack of graphical effort though as Black Ops on the Wii is a similarly bland experience.

What did shock me though is how fluid the online multiplayer is. Even though the game looks like the love child of Counterstrike and Minecraft (everyone is Steve, lol) it plays as well as I expect any game to play. I used the Classic Controller Pro (CCP) for three rounds and had a pretty good time.

Reluctantly I have to admit that MW3 plays better than any other competitive shooter on the Wii however I’m not sure i would be as impressed with the PC or PS3 versions as there are already many shooters to choose from (like BF3) but if you (like me) have some real love for the Wii and the CCP then surprisingly, i have to recommend it, its really good.

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The game supports the little advertised headset for the COD series and as far as i can tell (i don’t have one) people who are using it think its as awesome as the snowmans cold bits.

As Activision have not been advertising the Wii version in any real way i had difficulty finding any screenshots so i added this video i found on youtube:

Great video, just gameplay.

Anyway, this has been a small write-up but im sure if you really want MW3 news there are one or two other sites covering it.


TL DR: I actually have nothing bad to say about this version of the game at least

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Runes foretell of change, but I am not listening.

 

runes-of-magic-vs-allods-online

fish[2]Mmo’s are constantly evolving, changing and updating. But how many of us are willing to go back and reassess a mmo we had previously discounted. I played the betas of both Runes of Magic and Allods Online. There were things about both games that I liked a lot, but was put off by the very grindy nature of their gameplay. But in mmo’s 18 month is potentially a long time for changes and tweaks to occur.

Improvements after 1 year
It did cross my mind that it would be interesting to see how Runes duel class system or Allods island hopping world had evolved, I can’t quite bring myself to play them. All the bad design choices, poor quests and awkward play styles that I remember keep putting me off. My question is are all these negatives a thing of the past, and am I missing out on some spectacular gaming because I can’t bring up the enthusiasm to reinstall Runes of Magic.

I wonder if the whole idea of “open betas'” are a good idea. Lets be honest, we all know that these days betas are being dealt with more as extended demos than actual testing tools. Some games certainly seem to benefit from it, Rift sold very well, I think in part off people playing the beta. I won my copy of Rift, which i s ironic as the beta had pretty much made me decide that I didn’t want to buy the game.

Perhaps it is for the best that I have decided not to try and get into The Old Republic beta, and leave trying it until a couple of months after launch. I suspect that should I play the beta of TOR, it would suffer a similar fate to Runes and Allods, for me at least.

Oh how it has changed, I assume.

I know that the aim is to get people into your game (and to open their wallets) as soon as possible. And that early players (payers) support the improvements that follow, that might make the game palatable to those who try it later on. I am wondering how many games are still going purely down to a core thousand or so people who are willing to spend money on a game regularly. I have nothing against the free to play model, but for me to put a lot of money into a game, I would have to seriously and whole heartedly love the game with a burning passion.

Humm I am drawing a line in the sand. No more beta’s for me. Who’s with me? Hello, is anybody there? anyone?