27 August 2014

Backwards Consideration

PlayStation probably have the highest consideration for their enormous catalogue of games over the last two generations. What they're doing is a streaming service called PlayStation Now.

Its going through Beta at the moment, and they're primarily focusing on PlayStation 3 games. I think that's fair since that will have the largest workload to it for streaming.  Once you have the biggest problem overcome, everything else is a cakewalk.

I watched the video above and I immediately have my problem with it.  Its an online hiring service.  Paying to play a game for a short period.

Its not an unfounded idea. Go down to the local V2 or Blockbuster, and you'll hire out a game for the week (if they offer that, its usually a few days) and for a pretty cheap price too, usually about a fiver.  Then for that period of time, you can play to your hearts content, possibly flogging the shit out of it if it's a big game like Grand Theft Auto.

But there's a physical disc involved. The store needs insurance that it'll come back.  And that sort of thing happens all the time.  Even I'm guilty of that, having been charged a large amount for a game I forgot to return.  So it's fair enough that it can get a bit pricey.

But judging from the prices on Playstation Now, they're expecting you to start reselling the game and making a profit from them!  I'm not the only one who thinks this, I've spied many other articles regarding this saying their largest problem is that the games are simply too expensive for such short time periods that you may as well buy the game itself.

Just to point out the obvious though, this isn't "Send this disc to your front door".  But you don't have to download it either.  It's streamed.  So you send the commands to a server and sends the image back to your console.  It's a fantastic concept.  It saves on having to worry about backwards compatibility hardware, because it's just done from a server room.

But...  it doesn't absolve my biggest worry.  I've purchased a handful of games from Playstation Network.  They're all designed to be played on the Playstation 3.  So what about those purchases?  Will I be able to download and play them?  Would I be able to stream them?

What about my old games?  Could I slot them in and have the system detect what game it is, then stream it from the servers?  Because that is the dream.  To get replace my consoles.  To have a reason to go into a Brick and Mortar Store to get a discount on a new console by handing my old console to them, to send back to Playstation so they can recycle the parts to make more current gen consoles or whatever you can do with them.

And yet, they'll never change.  I'll have museum pieces for years to come because of their inconsideration.  Bastards.

20 August 2014

Airmech Arena

"Transform and Roll Out"
What can I say about Airmech Arena? I keep getting told it's a spiritual Successor to Herzog Zwei, a game that I have heard occasionally throughout my life.

But if I were to describe it, it's like playing Z with a Transformer Commander. Because you don't build structures, you capture them with your Units.  You choose what Units you can build in your encounter, choosing from a variety of Infantry and Vehicles, Gun Emplacements, and Support blocks.

Your Airmech is who you control.  It's your Soldier, your Cursor, and your Transforming source of victory.  You begin with 2 Airmechs but you can purchase more.  They all have a handful of distinct features that will change your playstyle.

I've had so much fun though in the short time between discovering it and now.  I've been blown up by an enormous volley of rockets, shot the ever loving crap out of enemy Airmechs until they begged for submission, and hoped that spamming turrets around a structure meant that no enemy creeps would get anywhere near capturing it.  The last of those ended up being true for the most part...

It's great and quick fun changing up strategy by having different Units to deploy, whether you want an entirely heavy army or pack of specialised robots, and additionally changing your Airmech itself since they all have their own methods too.

If I were to say there was a problem with it, it would be the limitations of the game.  Namely the maps.  There are only a few of them and more of them would be a very appreciated addition to the game.  Not to mention, the option of more players in a Free For All.  That would be fun.

The other thing is that it doesn't seem like you can constantly earn Kudos, the currency of the game.  I've played several games over and over, and I eventually just stopped getting Kudos.  So I don't know what the go is, whether I have to complete quests from now on or what.

I'm going to continue to play the hell out of it.  It's good and cheap fun.  And by cheap, I mean it's a free download and play.  Now I can't wait to see how they expand on it more!

13 August 2014

Speaking Aesthetically...

Gobble Gobble, Bitches
One of the things about games lately is the customisation options. Sure, customise your equipment loadout and such, things that can actually change the way you play the game, but that's not what I'm going to focus on.

Jetpack Joyride has little more to it than it's Gadgets, outfits, and jetpacks. The player can play as much as possible, earning as much coin as possible just for the goal of changing outfits. Then you have the three options of "Random Head", "Random Outfit" and "Random Jetpack". Every time you load it up, you get random options out of what you have purchased.

I like that. I don't particularly care about the Aesthetics of my character, so long as they play that way. I've had Wonder Woman with an Indiana Jones Jacket and Whip with a Golden Pig Jetpack that propels the player with cash.

I don't see why it can't be implemented into something like Borderlands, where I have dozens of custom aesthetics for my characters, and I don't see why Axton can't rock up in bright Eridian Pink with a Head like the Ravenous Wattle Gobbler.

With something like the Halo series, then sure. It's a fair cop that there isn't a random armour generator since as you gain levels an achievements you unlock pieces, which makes it a sign of achievement. You could still look like a Recruit once you reach Spartan Rank 100, but you can always go ahead and change that look as you please.

But hey, I want randomness. I don't care about what Armour I rock up in. I could be in a Gstring and a smile and it would mean diddly for gameplay because the armour is all aesthetics. So send me in wearing whatever, even if it doesn't match.

Not that anyone can really care anyway, it's not that they're going to look down their Sniper Scope at me and say to their teammates "That chest piece with those leg braces? Bitch please."

06 August 2014

Holy Angry JRPG, Batman!

Dear Diary: The farmer told me I
had a big job ahead of me tomorrow
When I think of Angry Birds, I think of two things.  The gaming tycoon that is Rovio, who are having a lark floggin the this of their avien themed games, and of the classic tactical game Worms.
Why Worms?  Because back when I did little else but play it, I had a grand time firing bazookas at my opponents between Shotgun-Sniping them and shepherding them to their deaths (with Explosive Sheep).  And yes, there's little correlation between having geometrically designed parrots in a slingshot and squadrons of hilarious invertibrates in mortal combat, but it's there.
Getting back on track, the abused horse carcasse that is Angry Birds continues to make games to this day.  And only recently, due to my move to the US which I find rather curious, has it's latest iteration been released: Angry Birds Epic, a fantasy RPG.
The game is simple enough and features everything you'd expect from a Fantasy Role Playing Game.  Alchemy, Blacksmithing, and a number of classes suited to your five heroes, all to suit the same story that is written on the whip used for the flogging: To retrieve the eggs stolen by the Piggies.
This time though, rather than house in ramshackle buildings of any material they stole from a building site, they're every kind of baddie you can think of.  Soldiers, Noblepigs, Skyfarers, Pirates, Jungle Pigmies, Ghosts, Zombies, Ninjas...  Even the Swiss!  There's even an Airship!
Battle itself couldn't be simpler than greasing up a pig and telling 20 lonely farmers to catch it, and it's just as entertaining.  You have five fowl warriors with you, each with up to five classes of their own. Each class has two features, an offensive and a support ability.  The player picks and chooses what they'll use encounter after encounter, changing between hot spots on the map trail.
As is the want of Rovio, being social can be profitable too.  Friends can be requested for help in dungeons, and if you're popular enough to have five friends playing Epic, they can all help you open a friendship gate!  Sadly I don't have that many friends.  Just Richard who I think has gotten himself stuck amongst the Pigmies.
What kind of end is there for this game though?  Will it end up being a continual Pork Grind Fest?  Will I begin a never ending dungeon with no dragon waiting for a chicken dinner?  I may not know for weeks.  I have that with the only other game that contains birds with anger management issues I'm playing is Birzzle Fever.  Because inane tapping games are also my thing, it seems.
Would I recommend this game to friends though?  Certainly.  Not because I want friends to help me out when I want to do a daily dungeon with someone other than Piggy McCool, but because anyone who had a fun time playing Final Fantasy, Wild Arms, or any turn based game in the past 30 years, should give this free game a crack.
And while you're at it, befriend me.  Those gates have some awesome goodies behind them, and I want to save my Gold Snoutlings.

30 July 2014

Borderlands? Brought down to a pithy Bitmap game? PREPOSTUROUS

"The existence of the fizz gland explains why
certain games possess us in an inexplicable way"
Having become absorbed into what can easily be classified as my iPad, I have been playing many different iPad games that ask for regular attention.  Jetpack Joyride, Birzzle Fever, Angry Birds Epic, Clash of Clans, Boom Beach... just to name a few.

With my current Fizzyness with Borderlands and it's upcoming Pre-Sequel, I think about it's iPad game "Borderlands Legends".  A somewhat side story of the Borderlands game that is a bit... cheap and nasty, really.

You get your four characters, each with their specific favoured weapons (Snipers for Mordecai, SMG's for Lylyth, Combat Rifles for Roland, and Shotguns for Brick) and the role of the player is to drag each character into range of enemies that are coming from Ecks Direction.

That's all well and good, but for a US$7 game, I would've expected something a bit more in-depth than random occurances of enemies walking from offscreen on a randomly chosen Bitmap environment, between buying items from a Bitmap Vending Machine so you can do it all again.  So it makes me think of what I would do to make for a better Borderlands themed iPad game.

First of all, I would change the format.  Rather than a top-down-drag-click shooter, make it a Turn Based Tactical game.  Grid based?  Maybe.  It could be somewhat original to have a free movement tactical style.  Either way, cover would be of importance as it should always be in a tactical game, and in most Borderlands games too.

Units would be more than just a handful of, but not limited to, Vault Hunters themselves.  Get some generic units, like Ex-Atlas Soldiers and scrapped Robots.  I'm sure there would be characters from town that would throw in their 2 bucks worth as well.

Equip them as normal, giving them two, or even four, weapons to choose from on top of their shields and grenade mods.  Would there be Artifacts or Class Mods to choose from?  What about a new item to throw in the mix?

Then there's skill trees.  Vault Hunters, and maybe just named characters, could have the same options as usual, three distinct trees to change their playstyle.  Between fights you can reassign them as you would in Borderlands, paying to refund your skill points which would allow players to adjust whomever for and upcoming mission.

Currency would be pretty much the same as usual, your dosh as your base, make Eridium your secondary, and then something like Seraph crystals as your rare or trade in currency.

Generic Characters can have a single skill tree which players can pick and choose to customise said soldier as they see fit until they reach a saturation point, where they can maybe upgrade to become something like a Vault Hunter of their own right?  Or maybe just an upgraded version of their own class?  Or maybe they can have three trees as well to change what kind of soldier they are.  Atlas had a wide choice, after all.

Then we go onto the Pre-battle view.  You have your scene, a large map across a segment of Pandora, with Trails and Locations that the player can pick and choose to progress through.  Each battle containing individual bosses, or hordes of enemies, and the player would be required to wade their way through and progress along until they've done accomplished a feat of some sort in the encounter.

The missions may have some longevity, rather than just being one after another they may have to move on through a large corridor, or circle their way around an industrial site, picking up items dropped from enemies such as health packs and being that little bit cautious so that when they reach the final encounter they will be worn down or fully capable.

Have daily missions, where a player can go back and pick up some money or run through a dungeon or something for a chance at a super rare weapon from a boss.  Have previously cleared missions be raided by Bandits, or taken by a chosen enemy corporation/s that have been elected for the story.

Story?  Now that's a tough one.  I would like to warrant that it would be after Borderlands 1, just to keep with the setting of the devastation Dahl has wreaked upon Pandora and the Populace.  Possibly around the Pre-Sequel time?  While the Vault Hunters are going mad on the Moon, this game could cover the events on the Mainland, where Hyperion is taking over everything and Eridium is becoming a Commodity.

The game could eventually expand on to the events in Borderlands 2, the turn of the tide against Hyperion and the rise of the new Vault Hunters.  Further on, as more games come out, another update coinciding with them, featuring side encounters and possibly game linking.  What with this Shift Rewards setup, you could earn Badass Points in all three games and benefit from them, unless they drastically change the Borderlands series after the Pre-sequel.

It's an idea.  A pretty straight forward idea, but it's an idea none the less, and a better idea than what they had for Borderlands Legends.

While I'm on the subject of Borderlands, I read an article about how Gearbox are thinking about releasing the Pre-Sequel for the current generation consoles (Xbone, PS4 and WiiU presumably).  This calls for an update and remake for the previous games.  One thing I know about the Pre-Gen games I have is that they don't display as well as the PC versions do.  And while it's a little petty, I would really enjoy seeing the game get that little bit prettier.

But what I really want is a Borderlands 1 improvement.  While there are some good features to it, there are still so many simple improvements they made for Borderlands 2, such as the AI for enemies, the weapon cards, the general interface. Keep a similar style, by all means, but make those minor improvements that make Borderlands 2 such a massive improvement over it's predecessor.

I know this is a dinky little gamers bog, with little rhyme or reason to the thought process of the majority of it's posts, but damnit wouldn't I love to see those simple features implemented into that first game.

23 July 2014

Halo Tetralogy

I remember Halo: Combat Evolved.  It was fun, using a pistol until someone got a tank and then running for your life because the cheeky bastard has also gotten the Rocket Launcher, the perfect Rock to their 90mm Tungsten Shells.

Uhh, I mean Scissors.

It was a cool game though.  We had plenty of fun, whether we were walking around Blood Gulch with Permanent Invisibility and Sniper Rifles, or playing the Master Chief campaign, taking on everything with just the Pistol.  That is until we ran out of the Ammunition, then we howled in disappointment and put the little hand cannon down and moved on.

My friends and I have kept playing the Campaign as the game continued releasing sequels.  Halo 2, 3, 4, Halo Reach.  I think the only game we didn't Coop was Halo ODST, and that's a bit of a shame.

So hearing about the Halo: Anniversary Edition, I got a little excited.  I picked it up and thought "Yeah!  This'll be great!  Halo 1 updated!"  I was wrong, but I still had fun for what it was, which was simply a much prettier game from back in the day.

Sadly though, I suspect it'll be the same thing for the Halo Master Chief Collection coming out for the Xbone later this year.  Which is a shame.  I would love to see the game updated with all the little tweaks that have been implemented in the series, from AI to the effect of weapons, to action items.

But that's something I doubt will be implemented, since each of the games are very different in their own ways.  Any new players to the series would be able to fully experience the stories and evolution of the game from day dot to it's current iteration, but I have my doubts about whether they really want that.

In which case, I'm tired of the old staying old and just being prettier.  So I may end up saving myself a few bucks in that.

Cross Generation Gaming

And the lesson here is not to force the issue.
Especially Poo jokes.
We are in an age of technology where everything is thought ahead.  Gaming consoles have done exactly that with the current and last generations of consoles, namely with online communication.

I can happily sign into my Xbox 360 and start talking with my Xbox One friends, simply because it was thought ahead when the 360 was made.  The same goes with Playstation 3 and 4.

Because of that, I look forward to games that will play across Generations.

I've always liked the idea of Cross Platform gameplay, because I look at most consoles and see them as the same turd rolled in different glitter.  But because of that glitter they can't communicate, putting an immodium on the plan of cross platform gaming regardless of whether it's the same piece of corn in the captains log.

Cross Generation seems much more capable feature.  One turd might be smoother, but given what's essentially the same cob of corn, the glitter would make little to no difference.

But to stop myself from getting a haemorrhoid, because I'm straining the analogy, I want to get into what brought this up.

Destiny, an MMO-esque shooter coming out for current and last gen consoles.  It was said that they wanted to implement Cross Generation gameplay, but just recently announced that it wasn't going to happen.

The way it began was poor.  One of the reps said that the reason was, and I'm paraphrasing, "current generation consoles have the advantage when sniping, because they can see the target clearer than someone with a last generation console, due to resolution limits."

Essentially, a previous generation console can see two pixels, and the next gen can see four.  And that is entirely unfair.

I flew into a rage.  It was the most pathetic reason I had ever heard.  Two fucking pixels?  You PC Cultured Knob Jockeys.  You make a game and balance the entire system to give a player the same experience across four consoles, and you nullify half the fucking point by cancelling it over TWO FUCKING PIXELS?!

It was something from a culture of PC gamers who can't go a week without having to buy a new graphics card in case they fell behind on their Battlefield Ranks.

Then came another article.  An article that didn't sound so petty, though they still defended the Pixels.  But more significantly, there is actually a technological problem.  Lag times between consoles, and comparable hardware processing.

Yes, the excuses are still a little thin, but it's better than Two Fucking Pixels.  Either way, I do have to be picky with what consoles I get it for.  I'll be getting it for PS4, there's no doubt about that as my Australian friends will have it in that time.  Would it be worth it to buy it on Xbox 360?  If I convince my 'Murican friends to get it, then sure thing.  Even more so if I convince my Australia friends to get it too.

Then there are other games I would like to play Cross-Generation.  Like Skylanders: Trap Team.  If I get mum to bring over some select figures from the enormous collection I left there for the Niece and Nephew to play with when they visit Grandma, then I could be well prepared with Trap Team.  And playing with my Pseudo-Nephew Alex would be fantastic.  I could set aside a morning to let him tell me all of his new favourite skills and abilities while playing missions.

What about Mass Effect?  They're bringing a new series into the current Generation (and possibly remaking the first trilogy too) and there's always the possibility it'll have some sort of multiplayer.  Given that they might make versions for the last gen, there's a chance for Cross Gen again.

Turning the tables, Xbox 360 might get a chip into the next Gears of War series.  Both Scotts I know have Xbones, and if they both get it I'll get excluded if they want to be technologically superior to me.

There's game after game that I want to have a piece of, and two generations of consoles that I have to think about.  I don't want to have four consoles to play.  I hardly want two, but I can live with that.

Maybe next generation, possibly 10 years from now, everything will be more considerate.  Yes the consoles will be 10 years old, which is like comparing the culture of 1788 to now, but it's still something they should consider when the time comes.