Batman: Arkham Origins Thoughts & Impressions


Batman: Arkham Origins Is Raw, Relentless, And Ruthless

Bruce Wayne no longer exists. The person he would have been died along with his parents in that dark alley. Only rage is left. He feels no sympathy. He has become unstoppable and invincible vengeance. Criminals will not get away with the pain they inflict on others. Even the smallest crime is unforgivable as they will only lead to bigger crimes. You have no fear. You are the Batman and no one will escape your wrath.

This was the attitude I had throughout the entire game. And it wasn’t because I chose to feel that way. The opening cinematic drove the attitude into me, and the rest of the game followed suit. I instantly became a feared vigilante and I didn’t just seek justice, I would have it.

Batman has never been more brutal, reckless, and utterly fearless. The portrayal of the character, and the way the story flowed made me feel every impact. When I punched my enemies I wanted them to fear repercussions for their crimes, and they did. It certainly wasn’t the law they feared, as every criminal in Gotham knows that if the cops aren’t already corrupt, they are easily corrupted. There was never a time that I didn’t feel like a complete bad-ass and that every single enemy in the game better fear me or else. The in-game sequences and battles backed the attitude up with ferocity.

batman arkham origins hangin

Musical Score

Of course it wasn’t just the story and combat that brought the attitude on. The music was the very first thing I even noticed upon starting the game. I immediately felt like there was some kind of impending danger – for my enemies. Every second of the opening cinematic was driven not only by the presence of Batman (even when he was off-screen), but music that made me feel like this Christmas night was going to be the end of crime altogether. Without the music I don’t think I would have felt like I was to be both feared and respected.

Gameplay

There’s almost nothing new about the gameplay which I think is both good and bad. It is an Arkham game after all so I suppose it should be familiar. My main issue is that there’s almost zero new animations for Batman. I think I might have spotted two brand new animations during combat. It’s possible there are more that I didn’t catch onto but it’s all so familiar that it was hard to recognize anything as new. Fortunately it still felt more epic than ever due to the general attitude of the game through the plot and music.

The new shock gloves are totally bad-ass. They charge up during combat and when you activate them you can punch through riot shields, and pummel enemies with knives head on. Electricity emanates with every impact.

batman arkham origins detective mode

The newest addition that was very special to me is the Case File System which adds extra depth to detective mode when scanning crime scenes. Someone has been shot for example. You scan for evidence to clue you in on who the killer was. The first piece of evidence leads you to deduct what the final action in the crime scene was. You upload the information to the Bat-computer to analyze the data and recreate the crime scene in front of your eyes in virtual mode. You control the time frame by fast-forwarding and rewinding the scene as it happened to reveal new evidence. Unfortunately it is over simplified. The evidence you are looking for is made very obvious. It’s still a beautiful, fun, and totally cool addition to the original mechanic and I wish there were more crime scenes to do it with.

Even though the police are corrupt I didn’t want to fight them. As much as the story tries to act like Batman is holding back on them, he doesn’t. He’s just as vicious with them as he is with the criminals. The combat is so much fun though that I ended up thinking, “Screw it” and picked fights with the corrupt police anyways. It would have been awesome if the developers had made separate animations for fighting the police and making Batman actually act less violent against them. (If they did, I’m sorry but I did not notice!)

batman arkham origins croc

Boss Fights

The boss fights were epic because of the scene, and the combat itself was different than your regular fights, stepping things up by a lot. I was disappointed that the boss phases barely changed at all. The whole rinse-and-repeat thing brought the epic feeling down a notch, a very small notch but it mattered.  The upside is what Batman does to the regular criminals in the city is nothing compared to what he does to the even bigger and badder enemies he faces.

Open World

There are very cool scripted side missions you can do, but what I really like are the random crime sprees being reported on Batmans police scanner. You can ignore them or go help out. Small riots between the police and criminals break out, or a small gang is attempting to rob a jewelry store or bank.  And of course there’s a ridiculous amount of collectibles.

Personality

An upside to the bosses for me was their personality. I wasn’t intimidated by them but I could tell they were just as fearless as Batman. As powerful as each assassin is, and as much damage as they do to Batman, he shrugs it off like it’s nothing. It’s not because Batman is invincible. It’s because he doesn’t know he isn’t. His rage drives him through things that would normally kill a person, without even flinching.

batman arkham origins joker

The Jokers extreme insanity matches the raw brutality of Batman. Joker does not fear death at all. That said, Joker hasn’t really changed apart from being more insane than usual. It would have been cool to see him act younger. The voice actor does a really great job at making Joker familiar, but I would have preferred them to just use a new voice and not impersonate Mark Hamill.

The Bad

For me this is another one of those things where the good far outweighs the bad. So much so that I can shrug off the games bugs as easily as Batman can shrug off a life-threatening pummeling. Most campaign bugs that I encountered were fixed by a checkpoint restart. Fortunately most of those were not some big leap backwards in the game. There are some terrible bugs but I was able to enjoy the campaign straight through without too much frustration. There are very many issues that other players are having that I was fortunate enough not to encounter. I have submitted a few bugs and feedback on the Batman forums.

One down-side to the open world is the voices for the criminals and the police are exactly the same from group to group. And the cop says the exact same thing every time you rescue a different group of police.

batman arkham origins city

Final Thoughts

Batman: Arkham Origins is my favorite Arkham game by far. And that’s saying a lot because both Asylum and City were excellent. I did get a little frustrated at how similar this game was to the first two. I wondered how the developers could take credit for what I thought of as copy/pasting the game. They did offer a brand new story and landscapes and a few very minor gadget changes, but it weirded me out. Then in the credits I saw them give what looked like the full team of Rocksteady credit. That gained a huge boost of respect from me and I give them major props for that. Well done Warner Brothers Montreal. I do not mean to undermine what WB Montreal did at all. Origins truly stands out to me.

You can check out many more of my screenshots if you want. Spoiler screenshots are tagged for good reason. I plan to do a separate “review” of the multiplayer in the future.

Possible Spoilers (Extra)

Read on if you would like to know a bit more about my favorite parts of the game. To me these would not be spoilers, but it is highly possible that you would consider the information here a spoiler. Normally I try to write my thoughts on a game with absolutely zero spoilers, so that’s why I’ve headlined this one for you. These are just some really cool things I want to share.

In Batman: Arkham Origins, the Origins key word shines. You may have read about the story and how it’s the early years of Batman. But it’s not just him. You get to see a younger Penguin, Joker, and Harley. I’m not going to spoil the specifics but I will say Jokers origin story blew me away. Unfortunately you don’t get the full story, but what you do see is very special. Better still is that Joker may not fear death, but he is absolutely terrified of Batman.

batman arkham origins mad hatter

Barbara Gordon has a ton of personality in the very few minutes you get to see any interaction with her. You also get to know a little bit more of Harley’s human side.

My favorite parts of the two previous Arkham games were the 2D Scarecrow levels. These have returned but they’re a little bit different. Now it’s in the form of the Mad Hatter and the world is Alice’s Wonderland. And it’s just another thing I wish there was more of in the game.

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The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 – Spoiler Free Thoughts


In The Wolf Among Us, Fables have been exiled from their Homeland and live in the real world using magic called Glamour to hide their true selves from us. Many of the Fables struggle to survive in the real world. Fantasy and happiness are no longer a part of their lives. This is a tale of devastation, sadness, and memories long past.

You play as Sheriff Bigby Wolf, a Fable struggling with his own inner Bad Wolf, who does what he can to keep the Fables from killing each other, and to keep the city safe and make sure that Fables are always in disguise, which often proves troublesome.  Bigby has a bad rep and the other Fables fear him but he’s trying to redeem himself.

I had fallen in love with Telltale Games characters and story-telling in The Walking Dead game, but I am far more interested in the Fables of The Wolf Among Us like Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Ichabod Crane, and more in the first episode alone, than I am in survivors of a zombie apocalypse.

the wolf among us beaten

As you play the game you gain insights into each of the Fabled characters through the “Book of Fables” that tells you more about the characters after you meet them in the game. I thought it was really cool because I never read the Fable comic books so I had no idea what exactly they were about. I had read a tiny bit to know the comics were about famous fabled characters but I didn’t look too deep into it.

Gameplay

Fables are hard to kill, but they aren’t completely invincible. They can still feel pain, and they can still die. A Fable hasn’t died in a very long time though, and The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 jumps us into some quick action before discovering a murder.

The controls are a little weird on the keyboard. There’s just a tiny struggle to walk in a straight line; that can be expected though, can’t it? It isn’t troublesome though because you only use it to navigate your character through the world. It won’t ruin any action scenes and it’s not overly bothersome, it was just noticeable.

the wolf among us c

The thing that stood out to me the most was how well the Quick-Time Events were handled for keyboard users. When prompted with the A, S, D, and W keys, you also see an animated arrow showing the direction you need to move integrated into the button prompt. The visuals on the arrows are not distracting and blend right in but are noticeable enough to follow them perfectly. Thank you so much for that Telltale! I do think developers could get rid of the A, S, D, and W prompts completely and just show the direction arrows. Why do they keep insisting on showing the keys?!

There are a few button masher prompts in the game. Normally these are my most hated QTEs. However, in The Wolf Among Us they actually felt like they mattered. You don’t just mash a button to open a door or something silly like that. When you need to mash a button is when there is an actual struggle going on during the combat scene. Even though I would prefer it not to be there, it felt like it belonged.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of actual interaction… again. This is Tell-A-Tale Games after all. I love the gameplay enough to want more, and they keep disappointing me! Thankfully the rare action scenes you do encounter in The Wolf Among Us Episode 1 are actually pretty action packed!

the wolf among us b

Overall

I’m not going to spoil anything for you. I just want to say that I am completely fascinated by the stories involved in the world of The Wolf Among Us. It makes me want to read the Fables comic book that it is based on. I’ve always loved the Fabled characters, and this is an interesting take on it. Nothing about the original stories are ruined because they haven’t been changed. The characters are now living in our world under real circumstances while their fairy-tale has been long past.

The music is amazing. It sets the mood with the perfect combination of creepy, yet serene.

I wanted to play the episode again immediately after completing it so I could see how the other choices played out.

As for the rest of the game you’ll need to find out for yourself. These lips are sealed. =) Please feel free to check out some more of my screenshots of The Wolf Among Us Episode 1. (Possible spoilers.)

Resident Evil Revelations Campaign Completed


Resident Evil Revelations has been a nice surprise. I wasn’t very happy with the demo of the game. There wasn’t a whole lot to go on. I did think it was neat, but I really don’t care for these third-person Resident Evil titles. I miss the first 3 games camera angles so terribly bad. The camera angles in those games are what really gave the survival-horror its true effect.

Revelations managed to make me feel like I was playing the first game again, but in third-person. It surely doesn’t have the same exact feel as the first, but there is a familiarity. The music is good and set the mood nicely, and even some of the dialogue is pretty cheesy (not that I prefer cheesy dialogue). It doesn’t offer the same shock factor as the first three games unfortunately. There are a few really cool spots in the game that made me go “Whoa!” but it’s still not quite the same. The scenery reminds me a lot of the original game too. The areas of the boat you will explore are absolutely gorgeous. It made me think of the Titanic.

resident evil revelations beauty

The game plays out in episodes, which I liked. Each episode has a few chapters, and once you move on to the next episode you get a recap of the most key moments of the previous episode. I liked it a lot since I have a terrible memory. It really helped me maintain the thread of the story.

The game is really linear, but it does reward exploration. There are some little corners and dead-end paths you can explore that can lead to extra ammo, herbs, or weapon upgrades. There are several different types of guns offering a really nice variety to play with. I was surprised at all the weapon types and customization you could do. And none of it distracted me or took me out of the mood of the game. It was comfortable.

My favorite new mechanic was the scanner. The scanner reveals hidden items in rooms and hallways, offering even more extra ammo and weapon upgrades. I thought it was pretty neat, and it also contributed to the games exploration, not a lot of course, but it was a nice addition.

Another thing I really loved was the removal of the insane inventory micro-managing. Oh what a relief that was. Not that I hated it in the original game or anything, but it’s nice to have moved away from that. You don’t have a bottomless inventory, but you don’t need to manage the living crap out of it either.

resident evil revelations sharks

My final favorite new thing was the underwater scenes. The controls kind of sucked on them. You can’t strafe underwater so you have to always center your camera to move forward. It was more annoying than problematic. Control issue aside, swimming was really neat.

The bosses are epic! I had never thought it would be possible to make a grotesque but somehow still sexy zombie. That was definitely aresident evil revelations grotesque sexy highlight, too funny. There was one boss in particular that was pretty silly because you literally don’t move as you fight it. You just stand there and shoot. It was a neat scene, and the creature itself was cool, but the fight was just derp. So other than that one, the bosses were very cool.

There’s a dodge mechanic which is neat, but I never did figure out exactly how it works. Every time I tried to do it when I wanted to, it wouldn’t work, but then it would work when I really didn’t care. Fortunately you can run past enemies and even strafe around them. There were a few fights where I would strafe around the enemy and just keep poking them with my dagger or axe. (You don’t stand in place while melee’ing!) It was funny and fun but certainly not perfect, nor reliable.

Something I really enjoyed that was both funny and annoying was that I could run past enemies into the next door and just completely avoid them. The reason it was funny was because sometimes I could tell the enemies were put there to purposefully force you into killing them. I’d just run right by them anyways. Sometimes enemies would block the next door, and I’d just walk up to them and squeeze myself behind them and walk through it. Other times I was forced into fighting off waves of monsters that pretty much ran me completely out of ammo. I kinda liked those too. I only got annoyed once when I was at a part of the story that I really wanted to continue on with, and got stuck fighting off stupid waves.

I just realized I hadn’t even mentioned the story yet! Without spoilers, it’s a pretty decent conspiracy with a lot of crazy stuff going on. It kept me interested even though it was far from original, and it never really slowed down. Great pacing.

resident evil revelations jessicaA couple of things that were a little off to me – one of the characters Jessica is super hot, but for some reason she’s missing a pant-leg. Why? Not that I mind of course, it was just funny. Second, what’s with all the military story stuff? Just give me something to be scared about! Thankfully the military stuff in this game didn’t bore me like it did in RE5. Now that I’ve played this though, it makes me want to play 5 again. But then I think about how terrible 5 is, and I don’t.

I really liked Revelations. As usual, it has the best version of the Tyrant in the Resident Evil games. (I haven’t played 6). There are a few more cool things I want to tell you about but I would consider them spoilers so I’ve left them out.

My R.I.P.D. Game Review


I’m sorry that I’ll be offering a link to my review, but since I’m writing for ZoKnowsGaming now, we have an agreement that I can’t just copy/paste the same thing elsewhere. Of course I can share it. I think the game is pretty fun so I definitely want people to have a read if they’re interested in it. So check out my review of the R.I.P.D. game! =)

R.I.P.D. cover

Bioshock Infinite: Spoiler Free Thoughts


Elizabeth Is The Star

She is so full of life. She stops to look at everything. She loves life even after being trapped in a tower for most of it. Being free allows her to express her love for life. You can really see it in the way she interacts with the world. Twirling around while admiring the sky, or jumping into a crowd of dancers. And you could hear it in her words, her awe of the beauty in the world. Knowing these things about her, she still remains mysterious which was pretty cool. I knew enough about her to like, and still wanted to know more.

I cared about her throughout the whole game. I wanted to know what she would do next. I was anticipating every single new insight into who she was. I loved how she would react to NPC’s in the game that smoked cigarette’s by coughing. She also has a great sense of humor.

She’s full of tricks and knowledge because she read a lot of books while trapped in a tower. Beauty & the Beast anyone? Still, it gave her a lot of character, and I fell in love with her. I wanted to protect her, but instead, she protected me by supplying me with ammo, health, and salts (mana); all of this while mid-combat. She’d even give me money she found, and picked locks on doors.

Elizabeth reacts to the gruesome deaths of your enemies. She resents you for being a murderer, but she also understands that you’re a protector, that this is what you have to do, maybe just not so violently.

The World

Everywhere I walked in the game had me gaping and saying aloud, “Wow!” To me it was magical to see all the different buildings floating in the sky. Beautiful statues made of gold, also seeming to float in the middle of the air.

Of course, there’s also lots of really beautiful statues that aren’t made of gold. Floating waterfalls where the water rolls over the air and just drops down through the clouds. The game eventually explains how the city floats in the air, it’s pretty neat and I won’t spoil that; just letting you know that it is explained. It’s all so beautiful, and it felt alive. I think that’s mostly due to all the non-player character’s that speak to you as if you were there. When you walk in front of someone they address you as they would anybody walking near them.

Characters that you fight against are strange and wonderful looking. Some are dressed up as minotaur looking creatures, others are dressed as a cupid mixed with a centaur. The whole atmosphere is amazing.

I really love the graphics style. It’s like you’re wandering through a painting. I was very happily pleased that the PS3 version wasn’t a super toned down one. A lot of games lose great graphical fidelity when put on the consoles. I imagine the PC version has some details that are better, but it is definitely gorgeous on the PS3 and I give big props to Irrational Games for making that happen.

“Because it does. Because it has. Because it always will.”

Gameplay

First-person shooter. Really cool power choices. My preference was to summon crows on the enemies, watching them peck out their eyes and swarming their bodies, stunning them as I finish them off with my shotgun. I didn’t really play around with the other powers, I just stuck with what I liked.

The ability to summon up a decoy for enemies to attack was also pretty cool. They’re all cool but the mechanic of the decoy stood out to me. When you select the power, a green colored clone of yourself appears in front of you and allows you to place it wherever you want. It then takes form and looks like an exact replica, without the green color.

The game had noticeably smooth controls. Another thing that was noticeable was when I would collect items from Elizabeth. She would call out to me, I’d hit the command prompt to collect from her, the game automatically turned my character in her direction to collect the item, then it automatically turned back to exactly where I was previously facing. This way, I never got confused by which direction I was facing before. I really loved this small detail.

Another cool thing is that while Elizabeth travels with you everywhere, she stays out of your way. She won’t get you stuck in a doorway by standing in front of you. If she does end up in front of you at some point, as soon as you think “get the f*** out of my way” she’s already moving. It’s kind of funny, and definitely cool.

A noticeable bad thing was having to run back and forth in the same level repeatedly. That always just drives me nuts. While I do appreciate being able to experience the glory of these beautiful levels, I just don’t like running back and forth for tedious tasks that don’t really add anything to the gameplay or the story. This doesn’t happen often though.

Another thing I was annoyed by were parts in the game where you open a tear in the fabric of time and space or whatever. Elizabeth would keep saying “If we go through this, I don’t think we can come back” as if you had a choice. You don’t, you need to go through in order to progress through the game. I suppose it’s a reminder to go loot up whatever treasures you want before moving on. I just thought it was a little silly.

Story

The story is really cool, but it did not drive me through the game. I thought that was pretty disappointing. I was bored through most of it. There’s a mystery behind what your actual goal is, maybe too much mystery. You’re trying to save a girl that you apparently already handed over to some bad dudes as a means to clear a debt. A very interesting aspect of the story is dealing with alternate time-lines, but it never really fully develops. The whole point of the story is to be unknown until the end. But that’s why I was bored by it.

Over-hyped

With how much hype there is over the game I was definitely expecting more and I think that kind of ruined my overall experience. I was expecting the game to be amazing throughout its entirety, but instead it was pretty generic. Kill bad guys over and over with awesome extreme violence.

Much like Halo, by the time I played it I couldn’t believe people were acting like it was the best game ever. It always makes me sad because it really does have an affect on how you experience a game. Expecting it to be as amazing as everyone says it is, then finding out the only thing that sets it apart from other games like it, is the scenery. Please, stop this over-hyping madness!

Final Thoughts

I wouldn’t have cared about the game if it wasn’t for Elizabeth. I probably would have been even more bored if she wasn’t at my side adding in her thoughts on what was happening, and her self discovery as you learn her story. Not that the game isn’t super cool or anything, I just didn’t have anything to care about for a very long time besides Elizabeth. Most of the game was just killing bad guys. Why this matters to me is because the grander scheme had a really great story, it just wasn’t told. You have the basic idea but you never know anything until the end of the game.

Totally Worth It

I’ll tell you this though. If I was a rich gamer, I’d pay $60 just to have experienced the ending of this game. The finale was a decent duration (I believe at least an hour long) and it blew my mind. Mind you, I did not go reading spoilers and reviews for the game. I had read maybe tiny pieces on it, mostly just opinions, and seen some screenshots. I played this game with a completely fresh look that was only ruined by hype. I hope you can do the same. If anything was spoiled for you, you might be even more disappointed than I was.

The worst thing that stood out the most to me is that there is no New Game Plus. I mean seriously? Come on! Bastuds.

“City at the bottom of the ocean? pfft Ridiculous.” -Booker

E3 2013 The Little Things That Matter (Pt 2): Mag II Gun


The Mag II Gun works on 95% of PS3, PC and Xbox 360 games, If I remember right, they plan to work an update into the upcoming PS4 and Xbox One consoles also. You can also remap the buttons. What? Yeah, I know! It’s a controller/gun hybrid. I seriously want one, it was the most fun I’ve ever had using a zapper gun and it gave me full control.

Thanks to Angelo Golden (a sales rep) and Vincent NG (one of the developers) for explaining how it works to me. Really nice guys. The creator, Erik Wang, was there but he was in a meeting so I didn’t get to talk with him about it.

It boasts: updateable firmware, high precision, no sensor bar needed, and built in vibration. One of the coolest features that stood out to me was on-the-fly calibration. That’s right, you can be in game playing, notice your calibration is a little off, no enemies around at that moment (preferably), just hold the button in the front of the gun for a couple of seconds, then let go and you are re-calibrated just like that.

You have full controller functionality built right in. I was told a lot of people had a hard time getting used to it. When I tried it, I loved it instantly. It was a little weird to get used to but totally easy to pick up and go. The weight of the gun was pretty light, and super comfortable. It was easy to notice this because of how natural I felt holding it, and it’s not like I hold guns very often. The fact that it’s built for use with two hands made it feel perfect to me. Most of the time when I use a one-handed zapper gun I end up using both hands due to the weight of the gun and my arm getting tired.

With my left hand near the front of the gun I had my thumb over the joystick which controls the character’s movements. My right hand was back, index finger over the trigger and thumb over the control buttons like “jump”, “reload” and so on. It felt so natural, I wanted to take one home.

The gun uses a new technology for this type of peripheral, called “gyroscope”. It doesn’t use a laser. Someone can walk right in front of the screen and not interrupt the gameplay, except for visually of course. Angelo and Vincent demonstrated this for me. Vincent stood in front of the screen and the game still reacted to Angelo shooting at it. I don’t think this feature is that big of a deal but I still thought it was pretty cool. I don’t have people crossing in front of the television very often.

I do have a goofball story to tell about it. When I tried it out, I was having so much fun just being able to control my character and shoot with the gun by itself that I didn’t realize until after I got home that I wasn’t even using it right. My gun was nowhere near the screen. I was basically flailing it around while firing. Of course I started off by pointing the gun at the screen, but whenever I made a big turn, I was moving the gun away from the screen. I had to turn the gun super far past my body to turn in the game; I just didn’t realize it when playing because I was having so much fun. I imagine changing the sensitivity should fix that up. Now that I think back on it, I wonder if the last person using it just had the sensitivity too low.

It’s already available to buy online for $150 at multiple retail stores including Gamestop of course. Check out the official site if you want even more details. The official site states that it only works for PS3 and PC right now, but the website needs to be updated. I saw it being used with Gears of War. Also, a customer review at Gamestop mentioned the firmware update for the 360.

EA’s E3 Press Conference: First Peeks/Summary


EA lightsHave you missed the press conferences so far? No worries! Of course you can scour the internet and find the news about it everywhere! Or you can also get my personal thoughts on it here with key notes that I jotted down about em. There wasn’t actually a lot of info, this was just a peek into what’s gonna be at the main E3 event of course.

First Up: Battlefield 4

BF4 helicopters

Commander Mode

BF4 commander

Apparently you can still be a part of the game while on your tablet by playing in Commander Mode. You’ll have a birds eye view to give your team-mates orders and call in support and air strikes from the look of it.

Interactive Environments

Watching a large skyscraper come falling down was some beautiful destruction to see. A crew of soldiers were underground with a tank above them, they shot down a support beam with a rocket and the tank came crashing down through the roof.

There was a pretty epic scene of soldiers jumping out of a building that was about to explode and pulled the string for their parachute at the last second! It was just for style of course, was pretty awesome looking.

Just a good quote from the end of the trailer, I thought it had a nice effect as the final words: “You’ll back me up right?”

Need For Speed: Rivals

Starts In Single Player, Ends In Multiplayer

This has me super interested. You’re single player is online with the available option to also play offline. It will seamlessly allow you to interact with other players that are online from the middle of your single player racing missions if you want to.

Apparently you can even join in on a tablet as a police officer giving commands to a helicopter in a chase. There were some really cool helicopter chase scenes shown, not from the point of view of the player though. You are also allowed to take the role of the police car to chase players down.

And of course it looks gorgeous visually. The Need For Speed movie was also shown and I think it looks totally badass!

NFS Rivals cop

EA Sports

They emphasized over and over about the small details they’ve worked on to make the games more realistic.

Madden

I haven’t played sports games in quite a long time so I’m just reporting on this for you readers. =)
As always it looks like they did a pretty excellent job with their improvements. They announced True Step which is supposed to give you the ability to foot plant, cut, and shift momentum with precise footwork. The AI has of course also been enhanced to play smarter.

Madden in game clear

NBA Live

They had a pretty big focus on realistic dribbling. With “bounceTek” they separate the ball from the hand with every single dribbling animation. Player statistics will be updated within an hour after they change in real life.

NBA

FIFA

Four times more calculations and hundreds of new skills.

Fifa

UFC

Bruce Buffer gave a beautiful performance of announcing the head of EA sports, the president of the UFC and a couple UFC champs to talk about the game. Even I was hyped up from his announcement and I don’t care at all about UFC. lol

UFC kick

Ground breaking features include: “A new MMAI system that lets fighters organically alter their strategies throughout the fight.” Full Body Deformation, a visual enhancement to let you see the effects of real life fighting.

Mirror’s Edge!

We got a sneak peak at Mirror’s Edge! Apparently it’s going to be a reboot and not a sequel though. Don’t know all the facts yet, we just got a quick look at it and it was beautiful!

Mirror's Edge bam

Mirror's Edge grapple

They also showed off quite a bit of Titanfall, that game looks incredible and I’m going to see if I can make a dedicated post on that alone, that’s how impressed I was.

This was all we saw:

star wars battlefront

Game on!

Video Games: Why Graphics Matter To Me


AMRH

I’m An Artist

I am a “graphics whore.” I think that may be partly due to the fact that I spent many years as an artist. I loved to draw, rarely still do, but for years now I spend more time playing video games than I do drawing. And when I did draw, I would copy stuff, not trace, but copy. So I don’t have enough motivation to draw my own stuff because my own stuff is quite horrible. I notice the finer details, I love them, I appreciate them, and I want more finer details. It’s like the first time I ever finally learned how to add shadows to my drawings, that small extra detail made such a vast improvement.

A problem I run into because of my love for the finer details is that I simply cannot afford a PC to get the best out of it, dangit! But I will push my PC to get everything I can out of it even if I have to run at lower frame-rates, which is actually pretty normal for me. =p

If you’re curious about why I’m talking about PC and not consoles, it’s simply due to playing more often on my PC lately than my consoles, that is all. A huge reason for that is the price of games. If you want, you can read more on what I think about the price of games and my buying habits. Graphics still matter to me even on consoles. =p

Why I’m A Graphics Whore

The main reason to being a graphics whore, I believe, is just simply due to the evolution of video games. I started with Atari, moved to nintendo, genesis, super nintendo, sega cd, skipped over a few consoles that my mom couldn’t afford to keep up with. I did play every single system, if I didn’t have it, my friends did, and being the little greedy gamer that I am, I played everything I could get my hands on. I had played the Turbo GFX16? I think that’s what the name was. Out of all my friends and all the people I ever heard about, one single kid had the Neo Geo. lol Man that thing was expensive. Who remembers the CD-I? I wanted that just for the Zelda game! Never did play it tho. I think that was probably the one system I never actually touched.

I Agree, Graphics Do Not “Make A Game”

So, back to the whole “graphics whore” thing. Since I’ve played all these old games and been through all the advancements of video games through the years, I care about graphics. Do I think graphics “make a game?” Of course not, but that’s far from the same thing as if they matter or not. They do matter. They might not matter to someone who’s just started gaming and doesn’t actually see the difference because they haven’t spent the time going through all the stages of video games evolution. But to someone like me, they very well matter.

I enjoy games like Hotline Miami and They Bleed Pixels and those graphics look old to me, I do consider them “bad” compared to today’s standards of course, I think it’s silly not to. It’s like going back to the Nintendo. Some people are into that, I am not, I’ve already been there. If I’m in the mood to “go retro” and play some of my favorite classic games, then I’m going to play my favorite classic games. I’m not going to look at a game made in the 2000’s that looks like something I played twenty-plus years ago and be like “oh wow!” That does not mean I don’t enjoy them. However, they certainly won’t be at the top of my play list. This does not mean I think it’s a bad game, I cannot re-iterate that enough.

I’ll use Renegade Ops as an example. This is a top down view where you drive a car and blow stuff up. Real simple, this is a classic style game, this is stuff we played on our Nintendo’s and Genesis’s. The graphics are today’s though, they are absolutely gorgeous. If I’m going to have a choice between a beautiful game of today and a game that looks like something I played twenty years ago, there’s simply no competition. I’ll likely ignore the game with graphics like that. Not because it’s bad, but simply because I have hundreds of better looking games I’ll enjoy just as much and probably more-so.

“Graphics Don’t Matter”

When gamers say “graphics don’t matter,” not only can I not help and think to myself “a real gamer would not say that” (while I know some people think the opposite) but it’s also an insult to the game designers and artists. These people are artists, they whip up these incredible gorgeous looking games and then you want to say “graphics don’t matter?” lol I’ll be honest here, every single time I see anybody with an opinion of that, they’re opinion is meaningless to me and I simply don’t care what else they have to say.

I don’t mean to be rude tho. It’s along the same lines if someone doesn’t like a game that I really, truly enjoy, then their opinion means nothing to me. Am I going to listen to someone’s recommendation of a game right after they just completely trashed a game I love and called me an idiot for loving it? lol No. But that’s where I seem to be different from so many gamers. I just love almost every game I play. So that seems to be a problem when I’m dealing with the gaming community. If you’re interested, here’s a more detailed post about my general passion for video games.

Impressive Indie Games

Here’s a list of Indie games that show me these designers and developers really put their heart and soul into the games and obviously far more time and effort than someone that put together a game that looks like it belongs on the Atari. Or they simply have more experience and it shows. Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that games with “bad” graphics are made by people that don’t care. To me, those are people that are testing themselves and getting into the line of work. Keep it up guys, you freakin rock! This is my opinion, I’m not offering it up as fact.

In alphabetical order, these all stand out to me:

Afterfall
Alan Wake
Anomaly 1 & 2
Bastion
Deadlight
Dear Esther
Dreadout
Dreamkiller
Forge
Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise
Mark of the Ninja
Orcs Must Die 1 & 2
Sanctum 1 & 2
Shad’O
Shank 1 & 2
Sine Mora
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing
The Showdown Effect
The Swapper
Whispered World (not my kind of game but beautiful graphics and art)
Zeno Clash

That’s not counting the one’s I probably forgot (these are off the top of my head) or haven’t discovered, and also ignoring Free2Play games.

Graphic’s Options?

I don’t know any technical specifics. When I talk about graphics for video games I’m not talking about SA, AA, PhysX or whatever that stuff is… I don’t even know what any of that means. I just hope my computer will pull it off. I am interested in learning the technical stuff but then when I try to it’s just so boring!

Basically good graphics to me is this, “ooh shiny!” But I definitely notice the details, the small intricate details that show off the beauty of these illusions and dreams, these creations. The way sunlight beams down through tree’s, glimmering deep colors that splash… I see it all. I often talk to other gamers that continue to insist that they don’t need those extra details and this is why “graphics don’t matter.” Not for me. They do matter and I truly appreciate the work that the designers and artists put into these games.

Immersion

As I’ve said, I don’t know the technical stuff. I don’t study the science of games, I just love playing them. Another argument for “graphics matter” is one I do come across from other gamers. They seem to be in the vocal minority, makes me laugh. The argument is immersion. You are dang right, my friends. Of course, you don’t need high end graphics to be immersed into a game. You certainly won’t be immersed into a game on graphics alone. Story is a huge deal, but not only that, music and sound effects.

Battlefield 3: I’m not a huge fan of shooting games, I love them just like I love others but they’re not on the top of my list of favorites as far as genres go. Some of them stand out, and this is one of them. The graphics and music of Battlefield 3 had me fully immersed, and I give a lot of credit to that musical score. It was beautiful, soft yet hard, and put me in the freakin mood! And the graphics are gorgeous! The story wasn’t super great, but I did like it enough.

I completed this game around at least four months ago if not longer and I can still picture my first time on the aircraft carrier in the game. I didn’t realize I was on one cuz I think I was distracted by something else in real life at that point in the game. Walking along talking to my superior or whoever, getting my orders, getting to the door and it opening into the top deck of the carrier. The sunlight, the surrounding battleships, jets taking off and flying by. The wind, the epic music along with that wind. Climbing into my jet, checking my flaps, taking off. I was freakin nervous man. I seriously got nervous. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that experience, it was incredible.

Would I have been immersed just as much in an older looking game? Maybe, as long as the music and sound effects were just as good and the way the game took me through all these actions still happened, but the graphics sure do help make it an even more incredible experience.

And as I’ve said before, if I have a choice between a game that has worse graphics or better graphics but offers the same experience, there’s no competition, graphics win. I’ll still play them both tho. =)

If Graphics Didn’t Matter…

Even the developers wouldn’t bother improving them. I mean come on now. Over all these years of playing video games if graphics didn’t matter they wouldn’t have gone through this amazing evolution over time. This is art, and its beautiful. I wish you would appreciate it more.

Game on! =)

Being A Cheap Gamer: New Game Sales, Not Used


I love video games! So much so that I want them all, seriously. I’ve been that way since I was five years old and played my first video game ever. I was hooked the second I saw a friend of my mom’s playing one. They let me play and I didn’t ever want to stop and i pretty much haven’t since.

The Price Of Games

Video games are expensive tho, especially now. $40 was expensive, $60 is just insane, then you top that off with DLC and the normal push of Season Passes now that brings a game to a bare minimum of $90. Don’t buy three to five games and you can buy a whole new console, that’s pretty ridiculous and that’s of course if you can even afford that $90 per game.

This brings up used games. I don’t trust used games anymore, times are of course different and systems can read scratched up discs better than they could twenty years ago but I still don’t trust buying them. That aside, even used game prices aren’t that great. $35-$40 for a used game? You could wait a month for that same price of a new one on sale. Of course that’s hard to do when you want to jump right into the game when the multiplayer is most popular. I tend to wait a year for games to drop in price to $20 and that really sucks if I want to play a multiplayer game. Some big name titles like CoD and Battlefield’s multiplayer are still quite lively after a year but smaller titles don’t last much longer than its first month which is very sad.
I know that not all used games sell for $35-$40, let’s not pretend that isn’t the normal used price for newer games tho.

Sales

Move to PC gaming. New games tend to be about the same price as console games for PC but the sales are incredibly better, there’s a huge noticeable difference. For several months now you can buy a game like Batman Arkham City for $7.50 on PC, not only that but you get the GOTY version which includes all DLC. This is something I didn’t even know about until about two years ago. Mostly because I spent several years playing MMORPG’s and not bothering with single player games as a result of having to choose one game but also because I loved playing them and love playing online.

The average price drop for console games is $20 which is fine, it’s not bad or anything. It’s rare for a console game to be spotted anywhere from $10-$15 so if you see a game you wanted that cheap you should probably pick it up.

PC game sales are all “new” games. Of course it isn’t exactly the same, you can’t get scratched discs or anything and there’s no packaging required. Buying games anywhere from $2.50-$15 is amazing for sure, those prices are hard to pass up for any game.

Cheap Games Worth It?

A problem I have seen is that some gamers seem to think the low price of the game reflects the quality. For example the new Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I’ve seen tons of posts by people asking why it’s so cheap, insinuating that it’s not worth it which blows my mind and I want to slap them. People are judging the “worth” of a game by its price? No wonder publishers have such an easy time pushing them around.
If you are this type of gamer you have no idea what you’re missing out on. You should be watching gameplay videos and judging it off that, or even play demo’s. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to judge a game based on its price.

That said, I do seem to be different than most gamers, I love all games for different reasons, I just can’t help it. I end up in arguments with people over almost every video game because I enjoy them all.

Empty Wallet

I don’t want to be cheap, I have to be. I want every game tho so that makes it much harder to even be able to look at games on release day. I want to give these developers as much money as they deserve, I do, I just simply cant. So every time I see a game I want on some super cheap sale I snag it up and then I go send a message to them (hoping they’ll even have a chance to see it) thanking them for allowing me to experience their incredible product for such a cheap price. And I do apologize that I couldn’t spend more on it. Sometimes I get a response and it’s nice, most times I don’t which is fine.

Again, I’m not cheap because I want to be, I really am grateful every single time I see a $60 game go on sale for $5-$15 months later. Even tho these price drops are regular and expected I still appreciate them.

Game Choice

Could I choose to be more picky with my video games? It’s possible but I am so incredibly passionate about the genre that it’s not something I want to do. Could I buy used games? Yes. But since I follow sales relentlessly I usually don’t see the point of buying used when I can just buy new for the same price, and usually cheaper.

There have been a few times where I played a single game for three to six years, Diablo 1 and 2, Everquest, and of course World of Warcraft. It is possible to play a single game for so long but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to play others also.
Thinking about it that way it suddenly became hard for me to make this argument. lol Yeah, I can pick one game and stick to it, but do I want to? Of course not.
Also if I were to pick one game and stick to it that would just mean even at super cheap prices the devs wouldn’t be getting my money for those other games. Do I think that’s a valid argument? No, but I do think it’s a valid point.

I’m Just Broke Man! Thank You For Sales

When I look at it from the point of view of the poor person that I am, sticking to one game makes sense and I have been happily forced through it. It’s not like I hated playing Diablo 2 for five years or World of Warcraft for six years, I loved them. It’s just that when I finally saw that I could get games at a much more affordable price it plopped me right back into the wider world of which I love, the world of gaming.

My Impressions of the Call of Duty: Ghosts, All Access


perfect header

I was a couple of minutes late to the live stream. The reason I watched it is because this is a game I simply don’t mind spoilers for. I hate spoilers! Even the small ones, for most games that is. Shooters? I’m usually ok with spoilers, especially when it’s one that’s part of a very long series of familiar games.

Shooting Underwater!

So I jump into the stream and what’s the first thing I see? Swimming underwater. Even I was like “How many times are we going to see this opening?” They’re really cool but I mean come on.
But then bullets started flying! Or swimming? Ok, it’s not super unique or anything but that was damn cool! Definitely better than just watching your character in a scuba suit start underwater and come out of it as an opening scene.
Actual interaction while under water? Nice! Thank you! A lot of the underwater scenes were so incredibly gorgeous that I can’t help but think a lot of them were cinematics, but the in-game scenes that were shown were also beautiful.

gorgeous underwater scene

Riley, The Dog

I don’t really care about the dog too much but I do think it’ll be a cool element. I’m not quite sure if you actually take control of the dog but that’s what it looked like. I do think it’s silly to take control of the dog, cool gameplay aspect, but then he might as well just be a drone. I did think it was cool that the dogs barks will pull enemies out of hiding to investigate or distract them.

The dogs name is now confirmed to be Riley. Congrats to the winner of that guessing contest! What was really cool was to see Riley bursting through a door attached to enemies.

great dog shot

The City At Night

I loved the skyscraper scenes, just gorgeous. Nothing new with the whole bursting through window action but it was definitely pretty and still totally badass. I loved the part where the building is tearing apart and falling over and the Ghosts (I assume) are sliding down the inside of it and then out! Super cool. I wish I was able to snag more screenshots of the scenes.

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It Looks Cool

I’m not a super major fan and follower of the series or anything but I enjoy all video games. I really liked the campaign for Black Ops, and Modern Warfare 3 had some pretty epic scenes but the story wasn’t as good as Black Ops to me. The multiplayer is fantastic of course. The graphics are looking pretty impressive. I really love the lighting effects. =)

These are my personal screenshots that I took while watching the stream. =)