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Found 18 results

  1. Blazeknyt

    The Staying Power Of DLC

    After all this time, and despite being mentioned in almost every other entry, I have never written a piece about DLC. So, DLC, here“s your long awaited entry. When DLC first came about, you used to mention DLC and gamers would throw a fit. Extra content after a game is already bought that one has to pay for just didn“t sit well with most people. That would be like buying a chess set, only for there to be special pieces to be sold separately. Some of those pieces could severely alter the game, while others may not. The fear many players have is that the game that you have bought may not be the final product, or the final intended product. Will the DLC provide others that pay for it a heavy advantage over those that don“t? This is the question that many gamers deal with, and that developers must learn to tackle. For example, skins and costumes tend to be favorites, because they don“t alter the gameplay, nor do they provide advantages ready to be abused, plus it“s easier on the developers to make. Now it is a mainstay of the console industry. Over time, DLC has come to be an accepted practice in the industry. This mirrors the MMOs in a sense that a console game can continue to expand, but instead of paying a regular subscription fee (for some MMOs, not all), you pay for the game and then can choose to buy the DLC. This allows for some flexibility as to what is released, but the developers can“t release something that drastically changes the game either. MMOs can get patches that change things, hopefully for the better. It“s possible for console games now, but it may not happen. The big issue with DLC is not so much the fact that there is DLC, but how the DLC is handled. Some reasons to include DLC is that the section was cut in order to meet time constraints, or the section of the game could not be fleshed out while building the game before release. In this way, new DLC that expands upon the game can work out very well. Fans of Walking Dead love each episode that's released. It is also turning out to be one of the better planned DLC releases out there. Gears of War 3 did this as well. Gears of War 3 came out in September of 2011, and the third DLC, with the single player expansion came out in December of the same year. While the content itself is not anything groundbreaking, the game released its DLC while the life of the game was still high. Sometimes a game will receive DLC much later in its lifespan, thus reminding players to pick up the game again, or get more people to buy the game that did not before. (Ok, maybe I just really like single player DLC that expands upon the story I managed to bust my butt to get through) On the other side of the coin is when DLC is released too soon; say a week after the game is released. Then there“s the store pre-order DLC, where stores such as Best Buy and Gamestop offer different things in order to get customer“s attention. The worst of this is on disc DLC. On disc DLC is when you have to pay to unlock something that is already on the disc. In other words, the data for the game was already there, ready to be used, you just could not access said data unless you paid to get a code to unlock that data. This is what gave CAPCOM tremendous backlash when Street Fighter X Tekken was released. The better solution would have been to make these characters regular unlockables just through playing the game. Don“t do something like this again. Gears of War 3 - Raam's Shadow I personally think it“s better to release within a few months of the games release. There“s no need to shoehorn in extra content 2 weeks after the game is released in order to try and get more money. The multiplayer stuff is rather hit or miss, depending on the game.
  2. The next generation of console warfare is finally coming to a boil. We've seen the next Xbox, we can buy the Wii U right now and we've heard about the Playstation 4. Now wait a second... one of those things is not like the others. Of course we know the Playstation 4 is out there - we've seen some of its games and all that. We just haven't seen the console itself. Now why would this really matter? Its taken me a while to form this into words that make sense to more people than just myself, but I think I've finally figured it out. I know how to explain to people why it is so important to show the console itself during these big flashy events, and I think I've also figured out specifically why Sony didn't show theirs a few months back. Let's get to it, shall we? The Problem With Our Silly Brains Imagine this scenario in your head. You're driving your Jalopy down to the soda shop when you hear an announcement over the radio. The man behind the microphone delivers the startling news that a crazed murderer has escaped from prison and is in your general area. He then goes back to the normally broadcasted tunes of Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers. Do you know what the 1950's radio announcer did wrong in the above scenario? He didn't give you any details that would allow your mind to picture the imminent threat in your area. You have nothing to anchor the memory in your mind except for the fact that someone said something over the radio. Sure, at first the word 'MURDERER' would be drilled into your skull and you'll feel hyped up at the thoughts going through your head. Try to talk about a TV show you've never seen before and see how quickly you lose interest But as time passes, you lose the ability to have meaningful discussions about it. You know there is a murderer out there because you heard the announcement, but without any way of actually picturing what this person looks like you're left with a gap in your brain. You have no way to talk about the killer without knowing more details. Without the ability to visualize or even talk about it, you start to lose interest in it. This is kind of the same problem people are having with the Playstation 4. Sure you can imagine what it looks like. As many people have said, its going to be a black box. But at the same time you don't actually know if it'll be a black box or not. You have nothing to attach your memories of the event to and you can't describe what the console really is, so you start to lose your ability to discuss it. Sure we saw some amazing looking games like Infamous: Second Son and Killzone: Shadowfall, but your memories of those games don't remind you of the next Playstation. They remind you of the next Infamous. Of course the next Infamous will then remind you of the next Playstation, but that's where you hit the blank spot. No matter what you try to imagine, you're going to come up blank. The Silver Lining Of Lost Hype Now that a few months have passed without anyone being able to put a picture to the PS4, some people have lost their hype for the next generation console. It isn't a serious loss of hype, but the lack of information or pictures these last few months has caused people to forget the excitement they felt at the Playstation 4 announcement. This gives Sony the chance to rekindle their hype machine like some sort of marketing phoenix out of the ashes. Whatever it looks like, at least it isn't this And that's something they're going to need desperately now that Microsoft has entered the race to the next generation. While Sony has been biding it's time and waiting in the shadows with their system's design after their big reveal, Microsoft will have a direct sprint into E3 right after their announcement. While we have no way of knowing how Microsoft will follow up their announcement, it'll be interesting to see how the lead up to E3 will turn out now that Microsoft has shown it's hand. Sony, What Are You Doing? Sony recently released a teaser trailer on their official Youtube page showing off a Bigfoot quality picture of the Playstation 4. They attached some awe inspiring music and told you to get hyped because come E3, you're going to see the actual Playstation 4 design. While seeing the design is all fine and dandy, how many people are actually excited to see it? It is either a black box or a Sasquatch monster Nobody is going to drool over the console's matte finish or the ridges it may or may not have. We don't want to see the console so we can talk about how cool it looks. We need to see the console so we can put a face to the Playstation 4 name. Without being able to see the console we have nothing to attach our hype to and therefore nothing to hype up. Sony, nobody cares about the design! We just need the design so our brains don't feel so stupid when we try to picture your console. Luckily, we'll get that chance in a few days as we finally see the PS4 unveiled for the first time at Sony's pre-E3 press conference. As always, thank you for reading. And an apology ahead of time if it seemed like I was rambling because this is the closest my brain will get to putting my feelings into words about all this nonsense.
  3. Whether you like it or not, mobile games have come a long way since the first Snake, Tetris, and Breakout clones hit the market. Now we've got a wealth of addicting and sometimes fairly deep, experiences to be had via mobile devices. All the same, the need to have mobile games on a TV set isn't one that particularly needs filling. If anything, it seems the Ouya will soon be filling that niche. There is another company investing in this market - BlueStacks. They are most known for their Android emulation software on PC. Now they're looking to get into the console game with a device called Gamepop. Although it will play mobile games, it will not do so in the same "hack-friendly" fashion of Ouya or other Android/TV hookups. Instead, purchasers must also pay a $7 per month subscription fee. This fee opens up access to all the games on their marketplace. At this time, if you pre-order a console then you actually get the system and its controller for free. Still, the question remains who is ready to pay a subscription fee for the ability to play mobile games on a TV. At least in Ouya's case you are able to access every game in some capacity for free.
  4. It's been 14 long years since gaming giant Sega released their last console, the Sega Dreamcast, and gamers everywhere have been wishing for them to jump back into the game and release a new console. But the possibility has been extremely unlikely, and the chance of Sega coming back into the console market has declined with every passing year… Until now. Earlier today, Sega president Naoya Tsurumi made a surprising announcement: “When we first shifted over to being a third-party developer, it was always our intention to shift back when the time was right. Now, that time has come. This holiday season, alongside Sony“s and Microsoft“s new consoles, Sega will be re-entering the console market with our first new console in over a decade – The Dreamcast Lucid.†Shortly after the announcement, the console“s official logo was revealed: No console was shown and no specs were released, but Tsurumi promises an in-depth presentation at this year“s E3 that is sure to change the way we think about gaming. Are you excited to see Sega finally re-entering the console market? Will you be purchasing a Dreamcast Lucid when it launches this holiday season?
  5. Jordan Haygood

    Dreamcast lucid

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Sega

  6. If you're a fan of retro systems (or handhelds) then you're probably aware of the Neo Geo X handheld that was recently released. Although it retailed for $200, that was still a fair deal compared to what the home Neo Geo AES console had cost back in the early 90s. Even now, the system retains a great deal of value. So what if I were to tell you that there's an even more expensive way to play Neo Geo games? Well, there is. Analogue Interactive have been making console versions of Neo Geo MVS (arcade) boards for a while now, but have decided to up the ante. Their specialty product sees popularity due to the fact that MVS games are often much cheaper than their AES counterparts, making the initial expense worth it. Also, the consoles came decked in a wooden case which was fairly classy. To further up the ante, they have rolled out a way to dole out even more cash for one of their systems. Affluent gamers can seriously choose their wood for the casing. This might not sound too pricey, but it is when considering the quality and rarity. Honestly, domestic woods cost $1,299 while exotics add on their own hefty surcharges. You've got to wonder who loves wood this much to buy one.
  7. It ain't easy buying video games these days. With home console games costing around $60 at retail, just buying two will cost you well over a hundred buckaroos. And last time I checked, $100+ isn't all that easy to spare for a lot of people. At least, I can rarely spare that much these days... Things get even crazier when you think about how much you'd be spending for, say, 10 home console games. That's over $600 at retail! And let's not forget that the next generation of consoles has begun, with the Wii U already out and the PS4, and possibly the next Xbox, being released by the year's end. So chances are, gaming will be pretty hard on your wallet for a while. And handheld games are no exception. With handheld gaming being a cheaper option, it can still be pretty expensive when things add up, especially if you're spending on home consoles at the same time, which I'm sure most of us are. And while there are plenty of great 3DS and Vita games out there, a lot of people are hesitant about dropping up to $40 for a 3DS game and up to $50 for a Vita game. So basically...those questions up in the poll. I guess I'm fine with the retail price of some games (certainly not all of them), but I would prefer it if they were a bit cheaper. I understand that developers need to make money and all, and that games cost more to make these days than they used to, but do games really have to cost so much to earn devs a profit? My wallet can only take so much abuse...
  8. Are you a gamer who doesn't have enough space to display all their consoles? Or are you one who has unfortunately had to part with childhood gaming consoles to make some money? If any of this applies to you then you may have looked into the world of modern consoles produced to duplicate retro experiences. One such brand is Retron whose main claim to fame is producing multi-cart systems. Today Hyperkin have announced the fourth version of their product which now includes slots for four distinct game cartridges. With a Retron 4, users can play NES, SNES, Genesis, or even GameBoy Advance carts. The Retron 3 ran only NES, SNES, and Genesis. Unlike previous renditions of the system, Retron 4 will also have HDMI output. This is practically unheard of without modding systems yourselves, so it should please retro game enthusiasts. Interestingly, the system also allows for both NTSC (US) and PAL (EU) carts, but not NTSC-J (Japan). Although the system comes with Bluetooth controllers, there are also two ports per home system where players can plug their old controllers into instead.
  9. According to the website of their parent company ZeniMax Media, Bethesda Game Studios appears to be looking for programmers for an unknown upcoming project for next-gen consoles. Bethesda is, of course, responsible for such classics as Fallout 3 and the Elder Scrolls series, so it's possible that this could be in one of those universes. This could even support hints of a possible Fallout 4 being in the works, for all we know. The job listing on ZeniMax Media's website calls for a "Future Generation Console Programmer," and they will be looking for "experienced programmers to work on cutting-edge technology for an unannounced game on future-generation consoles." Anyone who wishes to apply must have no less than five years of game development experience, must have shipped several games, and must have "extensive experience" with PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Aside from that, having worked with DirectX 11 and spent some time with Bethesda's own games will really help your chances. With rumors of Sony's and Microsoft's next-gen consoles flying around in swarms, and with an upcoming PlayStation event expected to involve the announcement of the PS4, such a job listing can only make gamers more anxious for the arrival of these companies' new consoles to the next-gen party. What do you hope this unannounced game is? Fallout 4? Elder Scrolls VI? Or perhaps a new IP?
  10. You know how you build your character to specialize in something (magic for example), and the character eventually becomes so good at that one thing, that he/she just uses their special thing all day and destroys opponents? Well, video game consoles did the reverse of that. They went from specializing in one thing, to gaining more skills, but while still specializing in playing video games (that is what the consoles are made for after all). Just how much stuff can this thing do? Video game consoles are a piece of technology, so as technology got better, the consoles have grown to be more than that. Video game consoles pretty much went through the same process that cell phones did in becoming smart phones. Video game consoles went from specifically being able to play video games as their only function, to being able to do many things that computers are able to do. Consoles are still made to play video games above all other functions, but the other functions play a key part in the systems capabilities and marketability. In essence, the growth of the power of the consoles can not only be credited to the evolution of technology, but the broad definition of the word “entertainmentâ€. Keep in mind that video game consoles are also called “entertainment systemsâ€. The original Nintendo“s full name is the Nintendo Entertainment System. It“s just that it only managed one form of entertainment: Video games. The current generation of systems is now capable of more forms of entertainment. You can go on the internet, watch, upload, or download videos, store pictures, and even make play your own music while playing a game. The praise ends up going to Sony, back when the Playstation was released. The Playstation could not only play video games, but it could play music CDs. This may have been the start of the multi-functioning video game console. When the Playstation 2 was released, it was able to play DVDs. The Xbox could play customized music instead of the game“s music. Now the main consoles, including the handhelds are borderline computers optimized for video games. Consoles have only grown more impressive to this day. The start of the multifunction game consoles The question is, what comes next?
  11. Jordan Haygood

    A Wii U Price Cut is Not in the Cards

    After Nintendo's recent financial report, which showed an overall profit but an operational loss, company president Satoru Iwata wanted to make one thing abundantly clear: there are no price cuts planned for the console. During a briefing following the announcement of their financial results, Iwata addressed certain issues regarding his company. The Wii U was brought up a lot during that briefing, with Iwata presenting data showing an initial burst of momentum for the console, followed by a rapid loss of momentum. For this reason, Nintendo has changed their forecast, predicting just one million worldwide sales from January to the end of March. You will no doubt remember that Nintendo's current handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, received a price cut due to poor sales very soon after its initial release. The Wii U, however, will not be receiving such a price cut anytime soon. Iwata stated that the console's value needed enhancements from the upcoming system updates, along with games, and that they need to actually convince more consumers why they should want one instead of lowering the price. Here is a full statement from Iwata: "While it was pointed out that, unlike in the case of Wii, it was difficult to instantly understand the appeal of Wii U, those who purchased it, although there are issues to be addressed, have shown a certain degree of satisfaction with our product value, but since its value by nature is something that takes time to appreciate and hence cannot be spread amongst society instantly, we have yet to communicate its value to the wider public. To put it another way, we delivered Wii U to those consumers who we thought would be the first to buy it, but information has not successfully been passed on to those consumers who we think will be the next people to buy it. This must be one big factor with which Wii U could not maintain its momentum. "People always try to compare the sales of Wii U with that of Wii, but the current situation is requiring us to focus upon how to reenergize Wii U sales irrespective of any comparisons with the previous platforms. "With Wii U, we have taken a rather resolute stance in pricing it below its manufacturing cost, so we are not planning to perform a markdown. I would like to make this point absolutely clear. We are putting our lessons from Nintendo 3DS to good use, as I have already publicly stated. However, given that it has now become clear that we have not yet fully communicated the value of our product, we will try to do so before the software lineup is enhanced and at the same time work to enrich the software lineup which could make consumers understand the appeal of Wii U." After Nintendo cut the price for the 3DS, the company suffered quite a bit financially, with employees cutting their salary to accommodate, including Iwata himself. This is a testament to its pricey financial cost, and with the current price of the Wii U being lower than its manufacturing cost, refusing a price cut is more than understandable. Once the console receives a more impressive software line-up and some system-enhancing updates, more people are bound to see the true beauty of the console. What do you think about all this? Source: Nintendo Life
  12. With the Wii-U releasing this year and the next generation of PlayStation and XBOX consoles estimated for release next year I've begun questioning the tight-rope each company must walk to get the most mileage out of their hardware while mitigating risks of it overstaying its welcome or being undercut by alternative means of gaming. I think over the last couple of years, we've all heard our friends and the game media in general pay less and less attention to the Wii. Development and strong titles dwindled and more and more users were defecting to the HD counterparts provided by Sony and Microsoft that had become more reasoanble in price and offered a strong catalogue of games for any who were Wii only gamers. The fascination with the "waggle" wore off and Nintendo lost ground with respect to the other consoles. This is no doubt simplified through my experience, but I think it's fair to say that for many of us who game on a daily basis, our Wii is collecting dust at this point. Now, again from discussions with friends, listening to podcasts, and reading articles from games media, I get the sense that gamers are and have been defecting to PC gaming in increasing amounts. For those of us who have been console/couch gamers for as long as we can remember, there's some fairly substantial initial investment in getting a PC suitable for getting the most out of newly released games, and some headaches that come along with hardware-software compatibility. But the payoff is substantial now. Experiencing multi-platform games with significantly richer visual graphics and significantly lower load times is a big draw. And with PC gaming working hard to ensure controller integration in most games, frequence sales on digital goods, and Valve debuing "Big Picture Mode" to try and bring PC gaming to your TV and couch, there's less incentive to keep that PS3 or 360 of yours dust free. The biggest variable in this is really each individual's brand loyalty. For someone who had a Wii exclusivly for a while because it was within my budget and has subsequently betrayed it for the now reasonably priced HD consoles, I can say my Nintendo loyalty was not strong enough to have me intrigued by a Wii-U. PS3 and 360 however have worked hard to provide value and communities it may be harder to divorce yourself from. 360 is usually offered as the exemplarly model for the community and your friends list, while PS3 uped the ante this year with the PS+ instant game collection which is particularly valuable to late adopters to the console who may have missed many of these titles the first time around. On the other hand, while there may be some gamer attrition factor for a long console cycle, there is also the obvious benefits that come with developer's ever increasing familiarity with the hardware and programming suites. We keep seeing new releases that extract more out of the hardware that we thought possible years ago. From beautiful set pieces and textures to enormous open world games, developers are continually can more efficiently work within an environment the have extensive prior experience with already. So we have the juxtaposition of increasing efficiency in development and lower costs with the competition between media that may offer a better cutting edge experience. With next year's presumed console launches this generation is heading to a close and we'll see next year whether how the market share fairs for each company. Sound off in the comments below with your brand loyalty, excitement for new consoles, or thoughts on this topic. Has Sony and Microsoft pushed there luck with the age of their consoles? Are you dreading new hardware and would prefer to see continued life from your current console? Is the timing about right and you'll just happily upgrade next year?
  13. Jared

    Wii U

  14. The Binding of Isaac hit Steam a little over a year ago and was a pretty successful game. It may have not enthralled gamers in quite the same way as Edmund McMillen's previous Super Meat Boy, but it had its audience excited. Although the idea for console versions loomed, only Valve were ready to host a "blasphemous" game. McMillen wrote a postmortem for the game on Gamasura that ends with an interesting twist in the world of The Binding of Isaac. He has revealed that developer Nicalis will be remaking and porting the game to consoles. There are many things that are being changed about this version of the game, titled The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. For one, this version will have to include the second expansion which McMillen planned on doing, but was unable to within Flash. The graphics themselves will be redone in 16-bit style but still retain the aesthetics of the existing game. It is also set to feature local co-op play. McMillen chose Nicalis because they offered to take care of it all. After his inability to get the game on Nintendo 3DS, McMillen is done with personally handling these aspects. As such, Nicalis are also going to work out all the business between console companies and getting the game to their digital distribution services. Currently no consoles were confirmed for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, but McMillen is hopeful that Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo will play ball this time around. Update: As of today, it has been confirmed that Rebirth will be coming to PS3 and Vita via PSN. Nicalis is also talking to Microsoft and Nintendo although nothing is confirmed for those platforms yet.
  15. Harrison Lee

    Review: Dragon's Dogma

    Developer: Capcom Publisher: Capcom Platform: PS3, Xbox 360 ESRB: M for Mature Release Date: Out Now This review is based on the PS3 version of the game The sandy beaches of Cassardis, a local seaport in Gransys, are beautiful. As fishermen walk the streets of the town and seagulls fly far overhead, it's hard not to want to take a stroll through the picturesque town. Enjoy this wonderful view while it lasts. In the first few minutes of Dragon's Dogma, a huge dragon tears your hometown apart, kills a bunch of people, and rips out your heart for consumption. Oh yeah, it's payback time. Dragon's Dogma wastes little time in getting you off on your way to slay the evil wyrm. The first thing you get to do as an Arisen (a super-legendary dragon hunter) is build your character's body and general vocation. The three starting vocations - the Mage, Strider, and Fighter - are basically the bread and butter of RPG tropes. It may not sound like much to choose from, but each combat-specific vocation will entirely change how you engage in the game's deep combat system. Each vocation also has an expert and hybrid type, so trying out the different playstyles will help acclimate new players to the more complex classes available later on. For my dragon hunt, I started out as a Strider. The Strider is a dagger-wielding archer, capable of lightning-fast combos and long-range kills and is also quite vulnerable, favoring speed over armor. After having my heart ripped out, I head out from Cassardis, but not before I'm handed a random support Pawn. This guy, who happens to be a Mage, is from a race of beings known as Pawns, slaves to the will of their masters. The only ones who can command these will-free, nomadic warriors are the Arisen. Players will get to create their own Main Pawn who levels up at the same time with the player and will be the Arisen's constant companion. The Main Pawn can also be 'rented' by players from other dimensions. While away, the Pawn will learn information about new enemies and undiscovered (loot) locations for your game. While the Pawn never truly leaves your side, you'll reap items and Rift Crystals once your Pawn 'returns' from another player's game. The process of renting Pawns comes courtesy of the Rift Stones, where you can spend Rift Crystals to buy powerful Support Pawns. These Pawns are typically player-created Main Pawns that can't be leveled up in your game; any equipment they wear or are gifted is permanently locked in their inventory. The great thing about Support Pawns is that you can hire up to two at a time, creating a total party of four members. I created a basic setup with my Strider, two Mages, and a Warrior. We worked well as a team, tearing through goblin hordes like crazy. Once I got tired of my party setup, I simply swapped in two higher-level, new Support Pawns and resumed monster-hunting. The Pawn system is a fun way to experiment with different play-styles and is one of Dragon's Dogma's most unique features. Dragon's Dogma is also unique in its approach to combat. While this may be a Western action-RPG, the combat system is unlike anything seen in an RPG. Take Skyrim, for example. Everyone said the improved combat was a big plus, with brutal melee finishers and exciting battles against massive dragons. Dragon's Dogma takes that one step further and creates an action-centric hack n' slasher that has grapples, powerful sword slices, walls of explosive fire, and more. The combat is a joy to watch thanks to the great effects system and stellar monster and human animation. Having a troll realistically cover its eye as I fired arrows straight into it helped to ground the creature in reality. It felt like I was really tearing this beast apart piece by bloody piece, and the procedural damage (like severing horns and appendages) really cements the concept of visceral, exciting combat. While the human models aren't quite as impressively detailed, the landscape certainly is pretty. It lacks the visual variety of Skyrim's world but more than makes up for it in scale and sheer beauty. Dragon's Dogma almost has a painterly look to it, and I dig the visual artistry at work. The audio is fairly strong but if you don't like chatty Cathys accompanying you on 40-50+ hour journeys, you may have a problem. The Pawns just don't shut up. Ever. Even if they've said the same line 30 times already. Imagine, if you will, a fish swimming about the castle. It passes a point of interest and notes it with an, "Ah! That's cool!" Then it proceeds to do so every time it passes said point. The Pawns are exactly like the fish, though their vocal input can prove useful when facing tough enemies. However, the musical score here is serviceable, if typical RPG fare. Nothing revolutionary, but it does kick in at just the right times to add a touch of atmosphere. This is one of the most engaging, action-packed RPGs I've played in a long time. But Dragon's Dogma isn't without a few flaws that may turn off newcomers. The first issue is the lack of a fast-travel system. While I have no problem with hoofing it to locations, some gamers may lament the fact that there is no affordable way to travel between discovered locations. The only (effective) system in place is the Warpstone, an expensive item which transports you back to the Capital. While I found them easy enough to obtain with enough credits, it still stinks that I can't choose where to go. Again, I had no problems with this as I enjoyed taking in Gransys's sights and sounds. Others, however, may be turned off by the hardcore style of the game. The other issue is the organic nature of monster hunting. Since encounters are, for the most part, location-based you'd expect to have a good idea of how difficult it is to kill a beast. Not so. Traveling to a dangerous location known as the Shadow Fort, I easily rended goblins to pieces. Just a scant 100 yards from the fort's entrance was a drake, a relative of the dragon. Since there was no indication of just how infuriatingly powerful and difficult to kill the drake was, I moseyed on over and plucked an arrow into it. Big mistake. Needless to say, stumbling into unresolvable danger is quite easy since Dragon's Dogma is all about limiting on-screen RPG tropes like enemy levels and detailed stats. Rather, the screen is filled with buttons that point out how to tear a monster in half. While I typically figured out how best to approach each encounter after trial and error, it can still be frustrating when I'm plucked 600 feet in the air to my death, with nary a chance to kill my attacker because the enemy is 20 times stronger than I am. But this is likely in tune with Capcom's laborious approach to Dragon's Dogma; in order to beat this game, you have to earn it. In the grand scheme of things, these complaints are only minor. I've been drawn back to Gransys time and time again to harvest more ore, slay more bandits, and hunt more chimeras. The reward of loot, gold, and rift crystals makes the exploration and combat worth it. Dragon's Dogma is always throwing things to kill and collect at you; all you have to do is embrace the dogma of Capcom's action-RPG and you'll find a lot to love in this massive package. Above all, surrender yourself and let the game take you on the journey it wants to take you. While the narrative may be as cliched as they come, few games offer experiences as engaging and entertaining as Dragon's Dogma. With rewarding loot and plenty of craftable items to be harvested, Gransys is a world you'll want to lose yourself in. Constantly upgrading weapons and armor with the bones of griffins and ogres is addicting; you can feel the progress you've made when you wade into battle with a griffin-claw enhanced sword. Likewise, earning enough gold to completely outfit you and your Main Pawn to your liking allows you to become attached to the avatars. This is a game that really grabs hold of you and doesn't let go. Capcom has crafted a wonderful new IP in Dragon's Dogma. While it's practically brimming with all of the normal RPG tropes and elements you've come to expect, it also shakes he genre up with a full-fledged combat system and great party mechanics. The plot won't win any awards but the game is fun to watch in motion. It has that epic, grand feeling missing from so many titles. Don't miss Dragon's Dogma if you're a fan of RPGs and, well, good action games! Pros: + Strong, deep combat system + The brilliant use of the Pawn System + Great amount of loot to reap and sell + Killing the monsters + Strong artistic style and great animations Cons: - Travel can take a long time - Easy to wander into deadly situations - The Pawns never shut up.... Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great There's a lot to love in this slick, deep open-world action RPG!
  16. Blazeknyt

    Downloadble Consoles

    In my last post, I mentioned some technological jumps the gaming industry has made, specifically about the mobile gaming industry. The most prominent one for mobile games and the handhelds is that touchscreen controls are being utilized. Well, while those 2 genres were being innovative with the touchscreen controls, consoles went to a different gaming platform to help them out: PC games. Specifically, the console market has been taking pages from MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) in the form of downloadable content (or DLC). I will keep expanding...FOREVER. MMOs are well-known for having never-ending and ever expanding content. While there is a story that holds the universe of the game together, the game itself never ends unless the player wants it to end (by not playing the game). Since there is no actual ending to the game, there is always more items to get, or something you haven't done, even if you hit the current end game section. New content and bug fixes are done through patches. Basically, more coding to expand on the game that already exist. With the current consoles having the power to do just that, developers are using it to their advantage to produce more content to please (or potentially displease) the fans. With technology moving at the pace it does, it was only matter of time before downloadable content came about for the consoles. Console games are built with an ending in sight. They always tell a story that conclusively ends in some way, even if the game ends with a cliffhanger. There may be lots of optional content, but the content is already included in the game. Obviously, the big component downloadable content allows for console games, is that the games can be patched, fixed, and expanded upon just like MMOs. You no longer have to be stuck with a game with a certain glitch (unless you want to use the glitch yourself). Universes can be expanded upon through single player experiences, like what Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow did. This is the kind of DLC that many would want. It expands on the single player experience for a game that has been out for a little bit of time. Imagine if the Gears of War example was used on even older games. While Gears of War 3 provides a good example of expanded single player content, there are times where consumers feel cheated out of good DLC. PLAY AS ME! The backlash CAPCOM received from leaving Jill Valentine and Shuma-Gorath as DLC was incredibly strong. The reason for the intense backlash was that the coding for the characters was already on the disc. The two characters could have been regular unlockables, but CAPCOM decided to just lock the character data unless you paid for it. By locking what could have been regular unlockable content, the player is left with an incomplete game. Another strong example of unnecessary DLC includes the Batman Arkham City challenge maps that include Nightwing. It would have been great to see Nightwing's challenge maps, which were released soon after Arkham City, to have been regular rewards for completing other parts of the main game. Lastly, there are the game of the year editions that are released at discounted prices with DLC included, and lots of the single player games include multiplayer DLC. Games that focus on multiplayer, such as Call of Duty and Street Fighter IV, are able to capitalize on downloadable content more. Although Call of Duty has the potential to release single player expansions, the market the game caters to is multiplayer, so they end up offering lots of multiplayer expansion packs. Street Fighter IV just offers some fun costumes. The new and offered content only helps to keep the game's fire lasting longer. The extra content does not come off as something that is necessary. It would be nice to play in Cody's revamped classic outfit, but you don't need it in order to enjoy the game. Cody's original outfit (top) and one of his many downloadable ones (bottom). Which one do you want to use? While DLC certainly has lots to offer, it needs to be done right in order to make the best of it. Companies are going to use DLC in any way they can. DLC is certainly here to stay, and it's a great way to keep the life of a game going. Just remember that DLC is always optional, no one is forcing you to buy it.