30 September 2015

The Wolf, the Hunter, and the Soldier

It's true!  Red Bull gives you wings!  And Cyberpowers!
I've heard nothing but good things about Wolfenstein: The New Order since it came out.  From great advertising to reviews with little criticisms on it.  But eventually the hype died out and that's usually the time I get my hands on such gems, because like every joke about Australia, I am a few years behind on "the times".

It was one of my Numerous Birthday presents and I was excited to crack it open, but I did what was sensible and said I would play all the other games that are on my Xbox 360 first so that I may one day put that away and focus on my PS4.

So I played a bunch of Terraria, half heartedly since I want to get it on Playstation now, and unwrapped the Nazi killing Bastard from his airtight plastic cage and entered him into the vague, featureless Brick that is apparently called a Playstation 4.

After the initial hazing normally involved with putting a game into your console these days I was finally thrown into the frying pan, or at least a big plane with a Pom and a bunch of other soldiers headed towards a new enemy: General Deathshead.

He's a creepy bastard.  My first encounter with Herr General had me staring at him through wire glass as he closed the walls in on me and my comrades.  I stared into his unflinching, smiling, scarred face as he watched everyone else panic, not even bothering to help them try and get out of this predicament.

I played on, shooting and slashing up Nazi's between avoiding Panzerhunds and pissing off Cyborgs.  It was a good time.  And the more I went on the more I got into the setting, reading news articles about the fall of Britain, the surrender of the United States, and the treatment of citizens and their 'impurities'.

Then, as I was exploring around the secret headquarters of the Resistance, I found a mattress tucked away in a high corner with a little interactive option saying "Nightmare!"

Lo and Behold, I was transported back to Wolfenstein 3D.  I was still Blazkowicz, pistol detailed as ever, but everything else was exactly as it was back in 1992.  It was fun and it made me think how much the game has changed since when ID software first made it.

And every time I think of ID Software, I think about two other games.  Doom and Quake, their two other flagship games.  I have Doom and Wolfenstein 3D on my Xbox 360 and spent so many hours collecting achievements and completing them as a whole.  Especially Doom since as soon as you finished the game you got the Doomguy outfit for your Xbox Avatar which I have accessorised and kept ever since.

With all the fun I've had with Classic Doom I cant wait for New Doom (TM) coming from Bethesda who, conveniently, had a hand in Wolfenstein: The New Order, something Im reminded of every time I load the game.  And every video I've watched of New Doom (TM) has been a fantastic and entertaining bloodbath of gunfire, action kills, and frantic running about.  Frankly only one step up from Classic Doom, because they didn't have action kills that involve pushing in Imp eyes until the skull explodes.

But Doom isn't my favourite.  And neither is Wolfenstein.  My favourite is Quake II, and I can't really tell you why.  It could be that I feel like a God running around dodging everything and exploring these long, dirty, rusted, grimy corridors shooting down strange Alien Cyborgs on their home planet.  I worked alone, finding comrades driven to madness from experimentation and torture; discovering strange works of art in grandiose cathedral fortresses; destroying strange machinations determined to do one thing: Kill You.

So I am going to really enjoy Wolfenstein: The New Order because not only is it a fun game, it is a deep game.  You find news articles about how the tide remained in the Nazi's favour and they continued the tidal wave across the world, and then fifteen years on they were settled everywhere with an Iron Grip.

And in knowing that I look forward to the possibility of a New Quake whether it continues the war against the Strogg, throwing you straight back into the midst of it, or just creating a whole new story with you forming an entire new front against this horrific enemy.

Inappropriate Kanye is Inappropriate

23 September 2015

Blood sin is too explicit for Disney I'm guessing?

When I was doing the Backward Compatibility post the other week I kept thinking back to a game that I come back to occasionally: Vagrant Story.

It's one of the coolest games I've ever played.  The themes, the art, the style, the gameplay... it was all fantastic, and difficult, and complicated.  For the longest time, I couldn't get through it.  Only person I knew who did was my friend Ben, who subsequently played the game until it broke.

Now it's going to be difficult to get back into that because PS4 shenanigans, but the need will find a way.  I can only imagine that I would get a taste of it somehow, like in the biggest crossover game I enjoy: Kingdom Hearts.

The third iteration is coming.  When, I don't know.  I've been waiting patiently for it and though a general date has been released, I'm ignoring it and sticking with the "It'll happen when it happens".

But the main premise of Kingdom Hearts is that it's a crossover of Disney and Final Fantasy characters and themes.  You've got Donald and Goofy fighting alongside Sora, the main character, then Cloud and Sephiroth across the bar waiting for their arena challenges to come on.

Vagrant Story has a loose connection to Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy Tactics, buried in amongst the lore with some vague mentions of Lea Monde and Riskbreakers.  So while it's only vague, it would be amazing to see Ashley Riot, the protagonist, the Rood Inverse tattoo'd/scarred into his back and running around with his Fandango, chain attacking enemies while casting dark, evil spells, and generally being the badass I remember him being as I reclaimed the city of Lea Monde.

02 September 2015

Still Talking Aesthetics

Please wait; Shader loading
The more I play games, the more I find superfluous features.  Take my latest obsession, Destiny.  There are more Aesthetics than there really needs to be in a Halo MMO that focuses on grinding out your equipment, and the developers saw that.
They looked at it all and said "why dont we actually do something about this junk and give it purpose?"  Or, more likely, the players said that and Bungie said "Oh, yeah, alright."
Ghosts will be getting a bunch of ShelÅ‚s that will provide subtle bonuses, for example.  Thats pretty huge on its own, especially if youre getting a bit more dosh as you pound your way through the cut and past characters you repeatedly mow down day after day.
Same witth Class Marks, usually only having the purpose of looking pretty, or showing your faction allegiance as you gain reputation with them.
But what will never change is shaders.  They will always be as simple as they sound, only changing by being removed as an Inventory Item and placed in a Kiosk for you to select at your choice.  What would be cool though is having a random option.  I mean that every time your character loads into a game, they are wearing a different shader.  One stroll through Venus will have you working for the Future War Cult, and then when you reach Mars you'll be Dead Orbit's personal mascot.
But why stop there?  That's not the only thing you have that serves little purpose no matter how different it is.  You also have your Ships and Sparrows!  So why not throw them in the random mix?!
I don't know if they'll be removed as an inventory Item like the Shaders, but damnit I don't see why they shouldn't be.  One doesn't find any difference in Ships, and sparrows have little differences in them in any case, so shove them all in the Kiosk, I say!  Let the shit sort itself out, and let me transmat onto any vehicle that the vendor decides!
Just like the Matrix it's all digital anyway, right?
Additional: I found that there is a new function called Emotes in Destiny.  Tack that on the list of random things when triggered.