Video Games Genre Improvements You Want to See Made…

Choose...or perish!

I often wonder whether video game makers (if we can call them that at this point) have anything other than the bottom line in mind when they’re busy churning out the next Grand Theft Auto XI / Call of Duty: Modern Warfare VI / Civilization XIV? Are they considering the gaming public at all? For what it’s worth, I think the answer is a qualified “yes” but If I had the ear of a developer working in one of the following genres, here’s what I’d ask them for:

(1) Role Playing: As I mentioned earlier, I hate MMORPGS; I hate them with the fire of a thousand suns. That being said, I LOVE RPGs generally. Favorites include Baldur’s Gate and its sequels, Skyrim of course, and Knights Of The Old Republic (KOTOR!!!). What I really want to see, however, is an open-world RPG, similar to Skyrim, in the Star Wars universe. Now you may say, “But thegreekdog! We have The Old Republic now!” To that I reply, simply, “See above.” Make a free-world Star Wars single player RPG and watch the money flow in. Hell, keep adding DLC and watch the money keep flowing in. Do this now!

(2) Strategy / War Game: Yes, I play strategy games. I’ll play any strategy game that involves something slightly more engrossing than a real-time strategy game. You can have an RTS element, so long as you have the non-RTS element as well (see, e.g. Star Wars: Empire at War which is about as perfect a game as you can get). Hearts of Iron? Great. Civilization? Fantabulous. Medieval: Total War 2? Outstanding (download the Stainless Steel mod and be even happier). The publishers of Total War recently made some 17th and 18th century-type games with grand armies shooting muskets. Okay, the next logical step has to be Civil War: Total War. This is another game that needs to happen… and soon.

(3) Sports: I’m a pretty fanatical sports game player, especially when it comes to two franchises: Madden and MLB2K#. Most people do not like MLB2K#,  mostly because of the gameplay and graphics. Guess what? Graphics never really interested me, so that’s a non-issue. As long as the guys do what they’re supposed to do, I don’t care if Johnny Damon has a beard or not (ed. note: Isn’t that the source of his power?). For those that complain that the gameplay interface is difficult? Well, yeah, it is. But it isn’t broken. Madden, while complex, is enjoyable for me as well. I mostly enjoy the franchise modes in both those games. All that being said, Madden needs competition. MLB2K# has MLB: The Show to compete with (albeit on a different platform). Madden has no competition since the NFL gave EA the sole license to print games. Since then, I’m think that EA’s gotten lazy and not really made any improvements to the franchise.The answer? Madden needs competition!  And competition will breed improvement in Madden (says thegreekdog, Libertarian). For Madden to evolve, we need a competing NFL-licensed football game for all platforms.

(4) First Person Shooter: I generally don’t play shooters, simply because I don’t have the twitchiness for them. I’ve played Star Wars FPS’, I’ve played Halo and others of their ilk. And last year I purchased a Call of Duty box set (starting with II through Modern Warfare II). It was a great investment and I thoroughly enjoyed them. That being said, I think we really need Call of Duty: World War II again. Bring it back. Update the graphics (This is where I  care about graphics). Put us in Africa. Hell, let us fight every major World War II battle.

I sincerely hope some intrepid game designer is reading this and takes these words to heart. Add what improvements in which genres you’re looking in the comments below.

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I F’N KNEW IT a.k.a Proof I’m Not (completely) Crazy

Max Payne 3 ‘Cheater Pool’ is live

While spending some serious time this weekend emptying twin automatic 9mms into punks from Hoboken to Sao Paulo, it struck me that there some insanely frustrating details about Max Payne 3’s multiplayer. For instance:

Situation: I’m going to shoot an enemy, press fire; whoops, guess I’ll just lay down instead. Result: Get shot & die.

Situation: Spot a group of enemies below me, perfect time to throw a grenade! Pull out grenade and instead of throwing it, I’ll just hold on to it.  Result: Get shot & die.

Situation: See an enemy on the other side of a chain link fence, empty two automatic weapons at him. Result:  My guns are ineffective against chain link, yet somehow increase the damage of my enemies gun. Get shot & die.

Situation: Melee an enemy. Enemy does not die. Result: Get melee’d & die.

Situation: Spawn in front of the same enemy repeatedly. Result: Variable: take one step then get shot & die or stand still, get shot & die.

Beyond your run of the mill multiplayer nonsense though, there was a special brand of bullshittery happening and now I’m convinced at least one of my opponents was hacking. How? Well, you’re telling me I can’t kill a guy even though I get the drop on him & hose him down with bullets? That he can shoot through a building to kill me? That I keep spawning in front of him?  This was all in the same game, against the same guy. Aggravating on one hand, controller-throwing blind rage on the other.

But now news today from Rockstar Games, that a playlist has gone live where cheaters can nowonly play with other scum-sucking cheating bastards and can leave us honest grinders alone. I’m beyond glad to see that Rockstar is getting out in front of this issue, unlike Activision with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare & CoD: MW2. Towards the end of CoD4’s lifecycle people were flying. Flying.

Anyway, if you’re on PS3 and want some in Max Payne 3, my screen name is Savage6000. (Yes, my Rockstar Social Club handle is different.  Clearly I have identity issues.)

Max Payne 3 stats

Trailer Park: FPS Trailer Off!

CALL OF DUTY BLACK OPS 2 FACES OFF AGAINST MEDAL OF HONOR WARFIGHTER IN A GRUDGE MATCH YOU WON’T EVEN REMEMBER A YEAR FROM NOW! GRRRR.

VS.

Taking bets now on how long & how often I will deny that I am going to buy Black Ops 2 and then break down and eventually buy it.  I think for the original Black Ops it was a week before the release that I still insisted I wasn’t buying it.  But then, like always, I started watching the trailers and the previews and reading the reviews and then, well, tell ’em Fry:Me

The VPH Review: Starhawk (Warhawk…IN….SPAAAAAAAAACE)

ANOTHER mech?Starhawk is a pretty fun game if you’re the kind of person that enjoyed Command & Conquer: Red Alert.  It doesn’t come close to the depth and strategy that C&C embodies, but for a PS3 RTS  Starhawk is a reminder of just how fun games of this ilk are. The only other recent PS3 game I can think of that resembles Starhawk is Brutal Legend.  Brutal Legend was more of a more enjoyable game though because the characters, the story and the hilarious setting really pulled me in. Though considering that Meat Loaf’ s Bat Out of Hell is one of my favorite albums it’s pretty easy to understand my attraction to Brutal Legend.

Starhawk served its purpose for me as a game simply because it was different from what I’ve played for the last six  months: Modern Warfare 3, random sports titles and Skyrim. I picked this game up without knowing much about it, having never played (ed.note: the very excellent) Warhawk. I was pleasantly surprised. The story wasn’t something I could get invested in because it was somewhat bland and formulaic but the gameplay itself I found enjoyable for the 8-10 hours it took to finish. I loved the idea of building defensive structures to stop waves of enemies and the building of offensive units to crush your opponents. Sadly, the single player only touches the surface of the various building possibilities. You’re not going to need to craft more than one of anything as once you do the combat itself is pretty much over. I would have liked to see more of a “castle defense” -esque mode, where you’re constantly building, defending and attacking against waves of enemies.

In my opinion, Starhawk is a nice change of pace for someone who’s been slogging through CoD, Skyrim or Street Fighter X Tekken for the past few months and would instead  like to collaborate with groups of people to build & defend structures then jump in a crazy mech, transform into a jet & fly around the unfriendly skies.

Sony: Selling Things Nobody Really Wants

Nobody wants this

So, Sony is selling a PS3 Call of Duty bundle with…nothing? You get the console, the game and *one* controller for $299? Wha…why? What good does this do anyone? No DLC vouchers, no sneak peek at Black Ops 2, no cool limited edition paint job, just, “here, have this stuff we put in this box”? Sony, I love you but c’mon.

UNRELATED (or is it): Per Kotaku, the Playstation division lost $2.8 billion dollars last year. Which Sony is attributing due to the flooding in Thailand and the PS3 price cut, but definitely not to terrible console bundles.

I Bleed Spent Shell Casings

So despite what I may have written/hinted at/set in stone before, I’ve picked up Modern Warfare 3 again.

“Why, you’re nothing but a liar!” you are saying to yourself.  What happened to those grandiose Space Bastard plans?

What happened is that when it comes right down to it…I just don’t care enough to devote another 60 hours to the last two-thirds of a space trilogy that never really grabbed me in the way that I had been promised.  I love the idea of it all but the execution of it always left me wanting more.

Now, Modern Warfare 3 is no savior either.  But as I confront the ugly fact that I am starting to have less and less time for gaming, I have to decide whether playing tag-with-guns is more enjoyable that waiting for that GODDAMN SCANNER TO LET ME PASS into the Normandy’s command center.

And don’t even get me started on chasing those call signs & badges.

New CoD: MW3 maps! I don’t think I care all that much!

As it turns out, I don’t.  Yes, i did get sucekred into paying for CoD: Elite even though I swore up and down I wouldn’t.  But with it not working for the first two to three weeks after the game launched & clans being nowhere to be found for even longer, it ust didn’t seem worth the extra money.  FREE MAP PACKS THOUGH, you say.  Yes, that is a hook…. for a game I’m still interested in playing.  My attention span and desire for Call of Duty is waning with every iteration of the game.  It certainly didn’t help that Skyrim came out a week later either.

Now I’m not saying I didn’t have fun with CoD: MW3 this go around.  I think it was a much better game than Modern Warfare 2. Yes, the single player is still incomprehensible as far as story goes, but the set pieces are interesting and a breeze to get through.  Nothing struck me as much in this game as did “No Russian” from MW2 or that first mission in MW1 where you’re fighting in Baghdad some unnamed Middle Eastern country.

It’s just that, with no MAJOR changes to the cash cow (and why would they change it? Every year EA has a guaranteed, BILLION dollar blockbuster on their hands.) I can’t stop the thought of “You’ve already played this, many many times” from creeping into my head.  That’s when I start looking around for other games to play, and CoD becomes less attractive to me.

It’s not a skill level issue either; this is the first year I’ve actively tried to get good at using a sniper rifle and I picked it up pretty quickly.  Not quick scoping level good, but being able to lead shots to hit runners and keeping my KD ratio from being embarrassingly bad.  After my first Prestige, I started using the P90 and was an absolute terror.  But now what?  Keep re-prestiging? That seems so sisyphean and again…I could be playing other games.

Two new maps aren’t going to pull me back into the game.  A thoroughly rethought game will put me back in the game.  Time for a bold statement: I will *NOT* be buying CoD: Black Ops 2 this November.  I won’t do it.  I can’t.

Dammit, but I probably will.