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.