A Personal MMO Retrospective.
Part 3 of…. meow?
Now for the time I got shit on by a few games. I mean covered in smelly walrus dung. Not literally of course, that would be weird and gross. (more…)
A Personal MMO Retrospective.
Part 1 of…. I dunno?
My history with Massively Multiplayer Online games is torrid and vast. It involves thousands of hours lived richly in another world, or wasted in endless doldrums. I thought I’d dig deep into the bowels of gaming history and talk about every MMO I have had some kind of experience with. Now, I haven’t tried them all, so I did miss out on some gems like Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot, but this is a personal retrospective, not a history lesson. So, let’s go back in time a bit… (more…)
So, last week saw the return of the Third Reich and the Wolfenstein license for the first time since 2009, and ever since I’ve been playing and replaying the game to try and work out exactly how I feel about the return of the franchise, and moreover the first major release from Machine Games.
On the one hand, it’s awesome to see a new studio given a shot on a popular (or once popular) license like Wolfenstein. They had an opportunity to test themselves, carve out a name for their little studio, and break new ground with a familiar face masked over top.
On the other hand, we’re dealing with a franchise with what I would regard as a somewhat checkered past. For some of us, it was bigger than Doom back in the day (I’m referring to myself personally; I definitely spent more time with the original Wolfenstein then I did Doom). But in more recent adaptations it’s gone the route of discount bin knock-off titles. It’s a once glorious franchise that’s relegated itself to sub-par shooters that most will ignore and the rest will quickly forget.
In a similar conflict, I wanted to give these guys the benefit of the doubt. For a first outing, and a new-ish studio, this game should be considered a great success. It doesn’t have any major bugs, it plays solidly, the story is interesting enough, and the game’s pacing and level design are interesting enough to consider this a fully fleshed out game.
But instead of taking a new approach to gaming, developing something entirely new (or at least tweaking the formula of the title to make it their own), at the end of the day it feels a lot more like a mod for Dishonored.
Wolfenstein’s gameplay offers a customizable character that you can ‘upgrade’ throughout the game by playing in one of their four core game styles: Stealth, Assault, Demolitions, or Tactical. Each provides a ‘unique’ take on FPS action by letting you make your way through 1960s German-run Europe via sneaking and stabbing, running and gunning, or just lobbing a f*ckton of grenades.
Personally I will always head down the stealth route given the option, thanks to my Metal Gear upbringing, which is why I referenced earlier that this feels a lot like Dishonored.
Sure, there’s no magic abilities that allow you to teleport around, or possess animals … but the way the character moves, the need to be constantly crouching to be in ‘stealth mode’, the way the idle animations deal with holding a blade (or two), all feel exactly like Dishonored. It was a feeling I was never able to shake, try as I might, over several play sessions last week and again this weekend.
To be clear, plenty of people enjoyed Dishonored. It was a well-received game, and it’s not that I’m trying to imply that developers shouldn’t be taking notes on its design to create their own titles … to some level. It’s just that when a new studio comes crashing out of the gate, storied license in hand, you expect something either entirely unique, or utter trash (like the movie tie-in games for example).
A middling example of a game that already exists, and already published by the same label (Bethesda), feels like a massive let down.
Overall, I enjoyed Wolfenstein … but in the same way that I enjoy watching Sylvester Stallone movies these days. There’s a morbid curiosity wrapped in a desire to just muddle through something you don’t need to think too much about.
I will say this for the game’s Dishonored-esque gameplay style though: it feels like it offers a little more variety in how things are approached. In Dishonored it was extremely easy to break the game; leveling up the right stats made you a God by the second level. In Wolfenstein you’ll become better equipped to handle the madness of the Nazi global threat, but you’re still always relying on your own skill at the end of the day.
If you’re looking for a game with an interesting enough B-movie plot line about an alternate history where the Nazis win and carry their victory (via ancient technologies, mechs, and robot dogs), that offers variance in game play ranging from dual-wielding assault rifles, hosing down hallways of ‘ze Germans’, to speedy stealth that will having you tossing out knives from the shadows à la Bullseye, then this is definitely a title worth checking out… I’d probably just wait until it drops another $20.
This review is based on a retail download code provided by the publisher, Bethesda, for the Xbox One.
Admittedly I haven’t been the biggest fan of the series reboot. Spider-Man was my first real comic book love, and it’s been a hard thing to see the film franchises leave out so much of the personality of Peter Parker that I fell in love with all those years ago (and continue to over and over again to this day).
The one bright shining star for us Spider-fans has, on occasion, been the video games that were turned out. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is easily one of the best superhero games ever made, and I’m sure that you’d see Ultimate Spider-Man appear somewhere on that list as well (if you’re doing it right).
However, like most other film properties with a video game tie-in, there’s always plenty of room for things to go wrong, and most often (when rushing a game to time with the release of a movie) they do.
So it’s no surprise that, while there are some brief flashes of genius in the new Spider-Man game (for virtually every gaming platform currently in existence), The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Game winds up feeling pretty middling. (more…)
As one the newest members of the Living Myth family, I was invited down to check out the scene at Fan Expo this week and see what there was in the realm of gaming at the show. The answer, unfortunately, is short and bitter: not much.
As an attendee of the show for its last two years in Vancouver, I have to say I’m a little disappointed by the lack of love for the gaming community at this year’s show in particular. Gaming is part of the fandom. Just look at the cosplayers!
This isn’t about sounding like a cynic or someone that just ‘missed the meaning of the con.’ This article’s intent is merely to spotlight some areas of improvement that could be made for next year’s show; I only want to make it more inclusive for the nerd-population of Vancouver, especially considering we have so many local game studios and development companies in our neck of the woods. (more…)
The year was 2013. September was beginning and my friends and I were sitting down at EXP Restaurant on a Sunday morning to watch the finals of the International Dota 2 Tournament in Seattle. Navi had clinched the final spot and would face Alliance. It was a fun event and a lot of beer and nachos were consumed. This led to my friends getting some ideas, “Hey, why don’t we play Dota 2 in a tournament? We’re pretty good!” When you’ve had three pitchers of Pilsner anything seems like a good idea to a group of young to middle aged men.
The thought percolated in my brain for a while and then a few weeks later I saw it. Ancient Trials, a locally sponsored Dota 2 tournament administered by Heartless Gerbils Entertainment Limited.
And so my rise to pro gaming stardom began. (more…)