Tuesday, April 30, 2013

News Filter: Grand Theft Auto V Third Trailer

  • Honestly, as long as Rockstar wants to keep making these trailers, I'll keep posting then. Damn, I'm looking forward to this game.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Random Shots: The Forever Endgame

  • Note: I was writing this post about how MMOs shutting down would be some terrible thing, but I can't bring myself to finish it. Not on this day of all days. It seems so inconsequential. Hug the ones you love.

  • Tina Amini from Kotaku wrote last Tuesday about one of the most harrowing experiences you can have as a gamer. She lost her Mass Effect 3 save game to a glitch. Okay, that's hyperbolic, but I understand why she would give up on a game after losing fifteen hours of progress.

  • I haven't faced losing a save game since the battery went dead in my copy of Baseball Stars for the NES. Even then, it wasn't that big of a blow. I was never very good at the games, so I just moved on. I'm not that attached to my save games because, once the game is over, the story stays with me. Like Tina, Commander Shepard is special to me. But even then, I probably won't be visiting her again. Her story came to an end.

  • MMOs are different, though. There is not just one story that I experience. Each of these games is an entire world that my avatars live in. And I assume that they go on living there even when I'm not logged in. Or at least, that the world goes on.

  • Losing an MMO character is something entirely different.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Random Shots: Always Online, If You Bother To Buy One

  • If you have been anywhere near the internet last week, there was no way for you to miss this Twitter exchange about the potential that the next Xbox console will require and always on internet connection:
  • There has since been an explanation, an apology, and the privacy block, but the flames have already been fanned. Since the PS4 announcement, we have been met by a cold wall of silence from Microsoft. Everyone knows, or thinks they know, certain things about the next Xbox, but the silence continues.

  • Always on is going to be a dealbreaker for some people. Even though some people have the privilege of one hundred percent internet uptime, that is not the experience for everyone. I live in a decent sized Southern California city, and even I have experienced serious internet problems from time to time. When that happens, I would like to be able to count on my console still behaving.

  • That is where Microsoft's silence has been a problem. Maybe it's not true at all. Maybe it is true, but there are contingencies that would allow offline play. Maybe it is true and we just have to deal with it. But until we know, it is natural to fear the worst.

  • I've been saving money for the eventual new console release. I'm sure there is some nostalgia about console generations past, but I'm really looking forward to playing game on new hardware. Up until this year, I would have bet money that I would be first in line for a new Xbox. But with everything we have heard from Sony and what we haven't heard from Microsoft, it is no longer a sure thing. Always online won't be a dealbreaker for me, but it will absolutely fall heavily in the con list when I weigh my choices.

  • There is still time, of course. Any console release is still more than half a year away and that is forever in consumer electronics. But Microsoft had better get its act together because my purchase is looking more and more like a foregone conclusion to me.

  • Coda: I can't help but think this tweet sums things up perfectly.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Played Lately: Bioshock Infinite

  • I'm going to lead this post with a word of warning: don't try to play Bioshock Infinite while you're running a 101 degree fever. It is a very unpleasant experience.

  • I did not intend to buy Bioshock Infinite. I never intend to, but things happen. Things like great reviews. Things like getting caught up in the excitement. That's how I found myself preordering exactly one hour before it was scheduled to unlock on Steam.

  • The first moments are dark and mysterious, a perfect setup for the inevitable journey to Columbia. Infinite's city in the sky is a sight to behold when you first walk through its sunlit streets. The turn of the century architecture, music, and costuming made me feel like I had been taken to some early 20th century concept of utopia. There seems to be something to find in every corner, whether that's a new sight or conversation or some little collectibles.

  • Probably the best part of the game is Booker's interactions with Elizabeth. She comes across at first as a naive, sheltered young woman. But over the course of the game, she learns about the world outside of her cage very fast. Her attitude shifts as she learns more about Booker, herself, and the world she has grown up in. Those shifts are very effective at changing the tone of the story. Her voice actress, Courtnee Draper, brings such life to the character along with the animation and art.

  • But then there is the part where this is all a game. There are long corridors to travel down. Sometimes you can turn back. Sometimes you can look in side pockets. You need to if you want to find all of the trashcan and desks full of money and candy and audio logs.

  • But it's not just a game; it's a shooter. You might be playing the game to follow the story, but that story involves killing hundreds of dudes. There is a good story reason for Booker to be a crazy remorseless killer. But it gets so monotonous after awhile.I ended up playing the game on Easy because I didn't want to beat my head against the difficulty wall. Even then, I'm such a poor shooter player that I still found it challenging. I don't hold that against the game because I did like the combat. I just wish it was not quite so extensive, though.

  • I could nitpick a lot about the game, but the one thing I didn't have any trouble with was the story. I enjoyed the arc of the story and I liked the ending. And I understood the ending quite well. (I can't figure out why people have so many questions. They seem to lay it out quite plainly.)

  • I can't say that Bioshock Infinite will be my favorite game of the year. But I'm really glad that I experienced this world.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.