How Much Stuff Can They Cram Into These Things?

Monday, February 27, 2012 at 10:00 am


There is a conversation that I have quite often with a fellow gamer wherein we discuss what we like and dislike about the current state of gaming, with primary focus being on content, and the composition of that content. When it comes to content in games, I like to focus on presentation, the narrative, the music, and the overall length of the game. Length is one thing that I've often felt that current games are lacking. I suppose I was spoiled by the Playstation 2 for so long with its general length of at least 12 - 15 hours at the minimum for a first time play through that I've come to view the present standard of 6 - 8 hours as almost insulting. For what I pay when it comes to a new game, I expect a little more than a workday's worth of content.


So imagine my sheer joy when Skyrim hit late last year and promised something close to 300 hours of content for one run through. A few months later, I heard promise of another new game with close to 200 hours of potential content, and my giddiness knew no boundaries. Hallelujah, I thought, the amount of money put into this game for just the bare bones game will be well satisfied by 200 hours of potential game play. This is cause for celebration.


Then I got the game, and... well, needless to say, I'm a bit overwhelmed. 200 hours? 300 hours? It sounds great in theory, but in practice it's a bit daunting.


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Skyrim's Unnecessary Bleeping Makes Me Bleeping Laugh

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Yeah, we've seen the Count from Sesame Street do this before. It is a very simple trick, but so so good. Sometimes it works perfectly. This is one of those times.

I implore you to check it out. And click through at the end because there's a lot more Unnecessary Censorship where this comes from. And you'll bleep until you bleep your bleeping pants until you die from bleep-loss. 

Word to the Normal Difficulty crew for making me real happy.

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier Just Tactically Executed My Interest

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I almost hate to talk shit about the Ghost Recon franchise, because I've long been a fan of the series, but this is Episode 1 (of 3) trailer exemplifies exactly what I loathe about the state of video games. More particularly, the modern shooter genre. Let me explain.

I have ranted about how only the convenient, comfortable realism makes its way into "realistic" shooters. I've extolled at length about how game developers no longer try and create powerful, differentiating experiences, but try to "win" market share by eating into their competitors. I've talked about how there is plenty of usable, potent material that gets neglected in the genre because it is too edgy and complicated. Call of Duty and Battlefield are guilty of these three charges. Now, so is Ghost Recon. This is "Is it real or is it Battlefield?" on angeldust.

And "Only the dead fight fair" is one of the most idiotic and nonsensical attempts at waxing philosophical I've ever heard. How about I run this one up the flagpole, guys:

"Only the video game industry uses dead soldiers as marketing tools."

I Fought the Hype and the Hype Won

Friday, February 24, 2012 at 10:00 am
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Sometimes my resolve just isn't as strong as I would like to believe. I make a concrete, unflinching, definite decision on something, and then I take the exact opposite course of action.

Last week I made the claim that I did not own a PlayStation Vita, nor did I plan on picking one up anytime soon. This was not a decision I came to lightly, but rather something I had been debating since the handheld console's announcement over a year ago.

As of last week I had finally decided that I would not be investing in a Vita. Period. The end. There was no need to argue about it because my mind was firmly made up.

As I sit writing this, the Vita is less than a day away from its wide release here in the States and, honestly, there is a damn good chance I'll be beating down the door of my local Target come 8 a.m., eager to claim one of the shiny bits of goodness for my very own.

If asked why I am having this sudden change of heart, the only response I could possibly give (Other than "I'm weak. Don't judge me!") would be "I couldn't fight the hype."

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The Achievement Hunter Case #3: The Lord of the Rings - War in the North

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 4:00 pm

There's just something about The Lord of the Rings that gets my nerd engine revving. As a kid I read the books countless times. As an adult, I watched the movies in the theater, bought the DVDs, bought the Extended Edition DVDs, bought the Blu-Rays, and then bought the Extended Edition Blu-Rays (OK, I may have a problem). I also delved headfirst into the games. The past few years haven't seen too many LOTR games, but the ones that have come out I've spent an embarrassing amount of time with.

So, when Warner Bros. announced The Lord of the Rings: War in the North, my heart palpitated. What was this - a game that combined my obsessive love of LOTR with my OCD tendencies to get completely ruined by hack 'n slash role-playing games? And, it has achievements? I'm happier than Samwise Gamgee stuffing his fat hobbit face with food!

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New Borderlands 2: Doomsday Trailer Is Right Here

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

This trailer showcases some seriously goofy characters, raunchy enemies, lush landscapes, and visual opulence of the upcoming first-person shooter Borderlands 2. Oh, and the release date, which is September 2012.

So sit back, relax, and enjoy three minutes of ridiculousity, a lot of guns, a sophisticated upgrading system, and oodles of mayhem. Also notice that Split-Screen isn't as dorky as in the original game, so that's an automatic plus. And call a few friends to go ahead and black out every weekend in September.

Alan Wake's American Nightmare: A Waking Dream - Review

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm
There is a mental state between the border of wakefulness and sleep known as hypnagogia, during which phenomena such as lucid dreaming, hallucination and sleep paralysis most often manifest. This is the stock and trade of the Alan Wake games, which are built around a distorted and often flexible view of reality. The original Alan Wake tasked the titular protagonist with unraveling the mystery of his own writings, which seemed to come to life around him. For Alan Wake's kinda-sorta sequel, kinda-sorta standalone game Alan Wake's American Nightmare, he's facing off with an evil version of himself called Mr. Scratch.

Sound like the stuff of dreams to you?

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Amnesia: The Dark Descent Gets Its Follow-Up

Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 10:00 am
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I loved playing through Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Though, I think unlike a lot of other people who loved it, the atmosphere and imagery inside that game wasn't all that scary to me. I'm not being litotical, either. The game did something parallel to scare me - it made me feel superficially bad and uneasy. It hit me in that specific way that only video games can -- I was open to feeling bad and uneasy, I welcomed it and propelled it by continuing to play.

I felt that release when I finished the game because it meant that I was delivered the (wholly) satisfying experience of playing it, and yet that experience would be relegated to only Frictional's games, if they decided to pursue more games like it.

Which they are. And here's the news, folks. Amnesia is getting a spiritual successor, called A Machine for Pigs, and Frictional Games touts that it will hit PCs in the autumn of 2012. Very soon, which is welcome in the frenetic, oft-extended world of video game publishing. 

We'll see turn-of-the-20th-century Mexico in A Machine for Pigs, as we follow a sick industrialist on his mental adventures during a bout of frightful dreams about machines. And that's all I have now -- hopefully enough to whet your appetite.

Join Our Typo-Riddled Transcript on Survival-Horror Narratives

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm
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Typos are as scary as Dead Space.

The half-brains behind JD's "Unraveling Yarns" series recently had a bout on Google Chat, rambling about zombies and the power of survival-horror video games. Consider this riffage streaming from the mind to the page, and feel welcome to join in - typo free or not.

Seriously, tell us about your favorite zombie narratives.
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Team Ico Hasn't Promised That The Last Guardian Won't Suck

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm
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The Last Guardian is a lot like Half-Life 3 and Beyond Good & Evil 2. It just won't come the hell out, and any news we hear about it is generally wishy-washy political bologna that equates to "don't forget about our game, but also we have no new information for you." It's opaque, with hot air leaks. We have every reason to forget about those games.

But they keep teasing us because they know we loved their games in the past. In an interview with Wired, Grand Poobah of Sony Worldwide Entertainment Shuhei Yoshida confirmed that dev teams from all over the world are pitching in to help Fumito Ueda and the Ico crew get this game finished. The've got U.K. and Santa Monica all over this title right now, along with the Japanese studio -- making this production one big adorable Benneton-ad lookin', Unite the World project.

Cheering? Yeah, I thought you would be. They promise it will come out, they promise they've got talent on it, but I have a distinct feeling this is going to feel like Duke Nukem Forever when it comes out (except without the rape jokes...hopefully). Can't promise me it won't suck, buddies, so I am not longer going to file this in the "I'm excited" section of my life. I am officially apathetic. The lead producer already called it quasi-quits, the game has been pulled from all sorts of conventions, and there hasn't been a whiff of anything but dissent and inaction for years now.