So the new Call of Duty trailer and release date of is out, and, not surprisingly, I’m not impressed. I doesn’t take five seconds to realize Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is going to be, by far, the most grandiose of all of the CoD game to date. With empowering exoskeleton suits, fancy ship cloaking and—let’s not forget—House of Cards’ Kevin Spacey, this new installment to the franchise is gearing up to be a “testosterone filled, action-pumped joy ride to the extreme”.
The DreamCast team has yet to discuss the trailer, but the rest of the guys have never been much for loving this particular gaming series, if anything I’ve been the most supportive of it with a couple of random purchases here and there. There’s no denying that the CoD games are good—great single-player and addictive multi-player tend to do that for a game. The issues stand in the multi-player experience. Many players, including myself, claim that the multi-player side of the game is a rehash installment by installment, logically, issues have arisen as Activision releases one on a yearly basis, but here’s the thing, I don’t blame them.
The FPS genre doesn’t really allow for a huge level of diversity, it always come down to “Have this gun, now go kill something.” Also, the fact is they’re making money, any smart business would continue to milk this as long as there’s a profit involved. Quite frankly I also agree with what the CoD fans that say “if you don’t like it, then don’t buy it.” It really all comes down to preference, CoD is going to keep doing what it does well, shooting stuff and making players rage, and, though I’m not going to dish out $60 for an experience I’ve already had plenty of times, anybody else is welcome to do whatever they want with their money this November 4th, free country and all.
Recently I’ve developed a fear. I’ve been playing video games for a long time and I grew up in a scene where single player and split-screen multiplayer was the go-to experience—presently, it’s not quite like that. Since the advent of the internet the gaming world has changed—admittedly, for the better—and we’ve reached the point where I start to worry, thanks to the Prevalence of MMOs.
MMO’s have been around for a long time (since the 70s to be more precise) and they’ve been a great source of entertainment for many players around the world, and I personally have enjoyed playing them, but MMOs themselves are not the cause of my concern. What has become a problem is major developers turning their unique and amazing singleplayer experiences into a mish mashed MMO shit-storm. One of the most recent examples is The Elder Scroll Online (ESO).
We had a chance to play ESO in two of the recent betas, and we’ll have a lot to say about that later (Let’s just say it was good and bad) and excluding our critique, the game is a perfect example of my particular fear. Now that “Bethesdimax” has turned our beloved Elder Scrolls series into an MMO, will we still see single player games? Will we get to visit the provinces of Tamriel in all of its glory instead of the dumbed down experience MMOs have proven to be? My assumption is, no. Think about it, how could it be good for business?
ESO is supposed to encompass ALL of the world of Tamriel, if Bethesda releases another installment it would basically be saying “I know that ESO is doing great, and is providing a grand scale Elder Scrolls world, but let’s release a much better single player experience” as a long running fan I would simply cut my monthly subscription, and dedicate the next few hundred hours of my life to this game, and sure it’s a temporary loss, but temporary in millions is still “Not good for business”.
Another great example was the disappointment that Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) was. Now, I didn’t quite play this to its finishing point so I can’t say how good or bad it was, but Broseph did and, well, here’s a quote from an upcoming article.
“There was nothing in the game that made me feel accomplished with my character’s advancement. I didn’t feel like an awesome ass Sith Lord, All I felt like was a dual lightsaber wielding lackey going around and doing favors for random people.”
The previous being a sentiment that players of the original Knights of The Old Republic would never share.
I believe that this series would have done better had they taken the single player direction. SWTOR is games were you could strip the multiplayer out and would still be an entirely playable game, albeit a crappy one.
But speaking of a more personal experience, to me the immediate definition of a “Dumbed down single player experience for the sake of multiplayer” is Neverwinter. I played both of the Neverwinter Nights series previous installments (Including an exorbitant amount of mods) and they were amazing top-down RPG games that required strategy, know-how and dedication to triumph over the challenges the game threw at you. Neverwinter, the MMO iteration of the game, is literally a hack-and-slash 3rd person game that as far as I read (I couldn’t bear playing another minute of it without risking permanent life indignation) is entirely soloable, a prospect that only the mad would attempt in the previous entries (especially the second one.)
This is why, fair readers, I am afraid. I believe there will be a time where almost every game will incorporate some form of multiplayer, but this is something that I see in the future, where there’s people with better ideas and the tech necessary so that games don’t require getting intensely dumbed down. My greatest hope is that I’m wrong, and that ESO will be an amazing game worthy of the Elders Scrolls name, but quite frankly, I doubt it.
I’ll be honest with you, I suffer from the above mentioned almost on a daily basis, but if you still aren’t sure what I’m referring to, have you ever asked yourself “What the hell am I going to play today?” and had a wall of video games sitting in front of you? It’s the equivalent of a girl with a closet full of clothes going “I don’t have anything to wear tonight!” (Gamer with options = Prissy pretty little girls who don’t know what to wear).
There isn’t a day that goes by were I don’t get precisely this dilemma. My steam account? Not good enough; the gaming console sitting right in front of my TV screen? Won’t cut it. Now, why exactly does this happen? My “theory” is that we’ve become spoiled.
I’ve been playing video games for upwards of 15 years now, and I can still remember the days of my childhood were I would obsess over a single title, and would simply not give up until that one game was beaten, even if I had other games to choose from. Now I look at my Steam library and I can say, with confidence, that half of those games not only have I not played in a while, but are sitting in the last chapter of their story simply because I refuse to play them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the type to leave it hanging forever, but they’re sure as hell going to get postponed until I feel like giving a jolly damn about them.
And it’s all due to a single quality –I have played too many games, and now I appreciate them for their singular qualities. Ironic isn’t it? I’ve played so many games that I can easily classify them, categorize them, and know what game to play for that exact gameplay element I’m looking for. This has become something I call “Daily cravings”. One day I feel like a stealth game, but hey, I don’t have any of those, but wait! I have Witcher 2 and Warframe, but I’m not feeling “Story Driven” or “Competitive” today. Another day I feel like a thrill so I’ll play Team Fortress 2 or Left for Dead, but one too many losses or deaths, and the craving changes entirely, instead for something more relaxed and cooperative. This all eventually devolves into a sort of happy medium that has Minecraft on one monitor screen and You Tube on the other (Multi tasking seems to scratch any itch lately.)
Now, I can’t plainly state that it’s that simple, as I’m aware that a bunch of factors could be involved (Game Preferences, amounts of games owned, game availability, stress tolerance, boredom threshold, economic dispositions, peer preference, etc.) but this is the most general way I could approach the subject without having to don a monocle, and end up writing a thesis about it.
All in all, It’s this kind of situation that has driven me to literally force myself to play the first game that I see, and pressure myself to make notable progress (Even if it’s Dark Souls and I didn’t feel like crying that particular day.)
As a gamer I’ve been allowed choices, and the mere fact that I have these choices have spoiled me into neglecting what is sitting right in front of me. I guess, it’s true what they say “It’s a natural cycle to eventually take for granted the things you love the most” and boy, do I really love Video Games.
I recently realized that it’s been almost three years since one of my favorite games came out, and even further realized that “Holy shit, I’m still playing this game”.
I’m talking about no other than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I know this may not come as a surprise to some, but it does come as a surprise to me.
As much as I love the game I have never consistently kept up or gone back to a game like this unless it was an MMO, and MMOs require to much effort in my mind, so that’s debatable. On the other hand Skyrim has pulled me back EVERY time, and to me it all has to do with immersion.
I’ve been a long running fan of the series and I have to say that this franchise, by far, is my favorite open world environment. To me, no develper has ever achieved the perfect balance between immersion and RPG elements like Bethesda has. The fact that everything that you do feels natural and with purpose is something that I truly admire.
In the previous entry, Oblivion, Leveling up was a little intrusive. It required you to go to bed then pick which stats to level up, and to boot they’d level up depending on which schools/skills leveled up ( I literally had to youtube that, it’s been WAY too long.) This is highly intrusive because you had to constantly be aware of what schools NOT to use so that you could maximize your stat increase –this was a particular annoyance to people who like to branch out their playing style. Skyrim did us a One-UP by scaling down the level up process to two steps: Stat level up –which only three instead of eight– and Perk choosing. This in turn gave it a much better sense of progression and we could stop being concerned about leveling and in turn be concerned with the roads that lie ahead.
But enough about technicalities, let’s get to the fun stuff. The major reason why I still play Skyrim, and many of you will agree, is MODS. Every combination of mods makes the game a totally different experience adding to the immersion factor. My most recent combination is precisely aimed at immersion. It’s a world where you have to protect yourself from the chilling cold and the blinding snowstorms by hunting, and creating capes and pelts that serve as a flimsy second skin; a place were mere bandits are no longer sword fodder, but rather people hardened by the wild and ready to mercilessly eviscerate you in combat; a domain were every step you take is calculated, and were you take every advantage that you can so that you may avoid meeting your demise at the hands of traps or the marauders that lurk around the corner.
All in all I’ve created my own Skyrim experience, something that I can say I’m proud of and I still look for excuses to go back and play as often as I can. Bethesda made one hell of a game, and though it wasn’t perfect, this series has a large enough community of dedicated modders and players to make a it a new experience every time.
And even though we here at the DreamCast aren’t very exited for The Elder Scrolls Online, like Broseph said in his article “Only time will tell.” Maybe ESO is truly the multiplier experience we’ve all been yearning for?
What about you? Is there any one game in particular that after years you’re still not able to let go? What’s the experience like looking back to when you first played it?
GameStop’s stock (GME) dropped yesterday a total of 19.88% –a number not to be scoffed at considering the company was worth 5 billion dollars and is currently worth 4.21 billion– when it announced that sales of new software fell by 23%.
Some of this news may not come as a surprise to many gamers considering the many new platforms that have risen that allow us to buy games like Steam and GOG, not to mention GamesStop hasn’t developed the best reputation among the crowd it relies on either.
The future may not hold so well for them either with big companies like Valve making it’s big move with the Steam Machine that will focus on their steam sale platform, and Sony (SNE) with Playstation now, an online rental game service immediately accessible from your living room.
As posted in one of our previous entries, Minecraft created a gaming revolution that allowed gamers all around the world to expand their creative spirits above and beyond, but there’s an even more curious event happening. Minecraft set course to OFFICIALLY start a new genre, now I accentuate the word officially with an unnecessary level of capitalization because I am aware that games like Minecraft have existed previous to it –there’s one in particular that is rather infamous– but Minecraft opened course for games of this breed to be made of triple-A quality.
Now, before I get to listing games of a similar breed to the jolly buildtastic bonanza that Minecraft is, I’d like to get clear that Minecraft exists under the Genre brand as an “Indie Sandbox,” but Indie Sandbox is something that is as defining as it is obscure. If I were to walk up to someone and tried to describe the game simply by it’s label I would get nowhere, especially considering that in today’s gaming generation many games are trying to implement sandbox elements. So, what exactly is a Sandbox game then? Well, here’s a definition by Technopedia.
“A sandbox is a style of game in which minimal character limitations are placed on the gamer, allowing the gamer to roam and change a virtual world at will. In contrast to a progression-style game, a sandbox game emphasizes roaming and allows a gamer to select tasks. Instead of featuring segmented areas or numbered levels, a sandbox game usually occurs in a “world” to which the gamer has full access from start to finish.
A sandbox game is also known as an open-world or free-roaming game.”
I think it’s pretty clear that there are elements missing to simply classify Minecraft under this, especially since it’s missing the games greatest element: Creation. Then, what should it’s true classification be?
**Read the following in an elderly mans voice or as an epic mountain man!**
I christen thee, Creation Sandbox! (I like to call them Craftbox games for short.)
But, how has Minecraft finalized the creation of this genre then?
Well, I’ll give you evidence with games.
Space Engineers, though still in the development stages, is worth mentioning because of the sheer level of potential of the game. It’s pretty basic idea, a high quality space world where you can create anything your “space-savvy” mind can imagine. Want a massive space station? Done; Want an asteroid swallowing mining drill? check; Want to traverse the universe raining hell on innocent space goers? It’s there.
This is one game I’m particularly exited for, unfortunately the game is still in very early stages and though there are many promised features that are teased through the game itself with creation mode, “survival” mode is still in the works.
This one’s for those with an itchy trigger finger. Ever wanted to create a BFG of your own? Here’s your chance! It’s the perfect combination of your usual FPS, Minecraft and crazy party game elements.
You’re able to create your own weapons as well as customized stages that you can later use in the varied and similarly creative game modes, which include from the simplest like Team Deathmatch, to the more unpredictable Lava Survival.
If you’ve ever wanted to shoot your best buddy’s face with a phallic organ shaped gun, here’s your chance! Then… you’ll just get banned. TOTALLY WORTH IT, RIGHT?!
7 Days to Die
This one is considerably different to the previous few mentioned in that it’s focused on survival rather than the creation aspect, but creation is still very prevalent. Your job is to survive the apocalypse by scavenging run-down buildings, killing zombies and making shelter for the night (Dem zombies get stupid fast once the moon rises). Be aware though that, much like the rest of the games on this list, this game is early alpha. Thankfully enough it offers a plethora of content a la Minecraft with crafting, farming and general survival, especially since you can die of hunger or thirst. If you’re looking for a very raw survival-craft- zombie riddled-not DayZ experience, this is your game!
Out of all of the games listed I’d say Cube World fits the mold of “Creative Sandbox” the least simply because it’s so focused on the Adventure RPG side of things.
Cube world is an open world action/adventure RPG that harkens back to games like Zelda, Secret of Mana, and Monster Hunter. So where’s the relation to Minecraft? Well, for one the world is produced much in the same way and can be equally as infinite; you are also able to customize your weapons and armor “Voxel by Voxel” (Think pixels) though to a certain degree of limitation.
The reason why I listed the game is simply due to it’s sheer potential. The classic and fun RPG elements are there, all it needs is to allow more of the “Creativity” aspect.
This one is quite a bit like 7 Days to Die, in fact it’s pretty much the same thing with two mayor differences: Player Kills and No block crafting. 7 Days to Die has a world that you can shape an shift much like in Minecraft, on the other hand Rust doesn’t have this, in exchange it has a deep inventory crafting system. Rust relies more on the creation of items for your survival –including housing that you can majestically forge with your bare hands– rather than shifting the world to your advantage. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier, quite the contrary, I’d easily rank this as the hardest of all of the game on this list for a singular difference: Players.
If you play Rust you’ll get the full experience from the get-go by joining one of the plethora of servers currently available were you’ll need to be aware that people want to kill you… Kill you for your stuff (If you get teabagged, that was probably me.) Thankfully enough this isn’t always the case, but if you’ve played enough Day Z you’ll know that your best chances of survival are “Shoot first, ask questions later”.
So, in summary, contrary to 7 Days to Die Rust is survival-craft-zombie-riddled-DayZ type game. Enjoy.
The image you see to the left is just a fraction of what this games capable of. This is a world were everybody has the liberty to create and almost everything IS created by the players, and different to Minecraft it has a Top-Down perspective so you can take in all of the beauty. In fact this world is so big that there a map that you can access directly from your browser at their website (Click this if you want your mind BLOWN… Stop being nasty!) so that you can see what all of the players have been up too creation wise.
Another upside is that the game has more to it than just world creation with it’s simplistic yet entertaining combat/quest system. There is a level up system and a considerable level of depth to the quest systems since you don’t come into the world ready to build. You need to equip yourself with the blocks necessary to build something which requires gold, and quests lead to gold.
Though like almost ALL of the games mentioned before this one is still in development and constantly being updated so for now it’s a very simple FREE java game that you can play either through your browser or through steam to have fun with your friends, and the thousands of players online.
More Craftbox Games
Also, there’s about a billion games that end with the suffix craft… Just Google that. The End.
So, It’s been a while since any of us have made a post, but do not fret friends, we’ve not left the scene of blogging, rather we have only been momentarily impeded progress by an all too familiar enemy: College.
We’re all college students here and the semester has hit it’s stride this month, and boy has it hit hard. It’s been project after project after presentation and as I’m sure you all know it take a great deal of red bull and all nighters.
Considering all of this we don’t want this blog to seem abandoned so we’ve decided to take a little bit of time to work on some good content that’s in the works and this post here. So, to keep hopes running here’s a little bit of rough art.
Stay tuned friends. We have some big surprises in store.