October and Expectations

The October game releases is the real budget crisis in my book.  How the hell am I going to afford all the games I want that are coming out in the next few weeks?  Of the long list Fallout 3 and Little Big Planet probably have my attention the most though I have to say I am a little bit concerned...

I think video game PR gig has gotten so good in the past years that it's hard not to hype up a game to a level beyond where it belongs.  I assume it's something related to the potential for the inital week of sales.  I think my biggest fear in this regards is Little Big Planet.  I've seen tons of videos dating back to, what, over a year now.  And I've been excited about it sense then.  But will it deliver in any way like I'm hoping?  Spore comes to mind.  With LBP I'm looking for a solid platformer and a set of tools that I will really enjoy playing around with.  Is that going to be the case?  I guess I just have to wait.

It's not to say I'm worried about the quality of Fallout 3, as I have faith that the Oblivion guys are going to make a solid game.  It just may not be a game I'm totally into.  I'm somewhat worried about Fallout 3.  Do I expect it to be the same game as it's predecesors?  No.  I expect it to be a re-skinned Oblivion.  Of course that's not doing justice to the hard work folks put into making this new game.  I'm sure it was quite a technical feat.  My biggest issue is that I've had my qualms with the Morrowind Series.  It's going back to my whole issue with sand-box style gameplay.

I define a sandbox type game as one where you're placed in a world where, aside from being able to play around with the world (ala getting into a vicious police fight in GTA 4 or finding the tallest structure to jump off of) you can also choose the means by which you complete your missions (like taking out a target in GTA 4 by running them over vs. having a shoot out).  All of this generally progresses through a predetermined path to the ending.  It's quite an impressive goal for a developer to set out and create a world where you can experience things in the way they want to experince them.  One of the defining characteristics of these games is the way the player experiences the story.  Either have a well defined character ( Niko Bellic) or have a complete construct of the player (Oblivion style).  Both of them experience the story and both of them have freedom as to how they can move through the world but from my experience, they have a very different effect on me as I play them.

I had my issues with relating to Nico Bellic, as he was a murderer.  But I did try to put myself in my shoes as often as possible.  Sometimes I was quite distressed by the decisions I had to make, wishing I could just say: "Fuck this, I don't want to do either of these things.  I just want to leave Liberty City altogether, start over again."  Perhaps not that dramatic.  But  I liked that I had that response.  It meant I was invested in Nico's "future" even though I knew it was pre-written by a series of very bright game writers. 

With my character in Oblivion, I had hints of pride as I recieved praise from various NPCs, but I just couldn't really give a shit about it for very long b/c my character wasn't real enough.  I didn't really care what he/she did b/c I couldn't relate to a back story.  It was enough to not make me invest more than 10 hours into the game (I just stopped in the middle of a quest when I couldn't find out where I needed to go).  I guess I don't feel like developers have effectively achieved the level of story telling in video games where they can allow complete character creation and deliver an effective story.

Was the original Fallout more of an Oblivion or a GTA?  Well naturally it comes across as more of an Oblivion, as it had a character creation, and a silent protaganist.  Why then am I complaining? That's just what Oblivion was like...   Am I asking for more close-ended video games? Perhaps I just haven't seen a RPG that conveys a story as well as a more action driven game like GTA 4 or even something like Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. 

Perhaps I need to think about this some more...


X-Com: A Journal

I've decided to actually beat X-Com.  I readily consider it one of my favorite games, but sadly I have never beaten it.  I'm probably going to have to resort to FAQs for strategies, but for now I'm just going to give it a try.   I'm planning on documenting my progress here.  Not every detail, but rather the key moments.  There always seems to be plenty of them with this game.

One of my Favorite Games

Late Night Blog

Xcom is awesome.  Although I have an older CD of the game, I went ahead and bought it  anyway.  I figured, I'd like a shortcut from Steam to launch this amazingly good game.  So...it's still awesome.  I played the hell out of it tonight.  I hope I can function tomorrow.


PixelJunk Eden: First Impressions

I've thus far only played demos of the PixelJunk games, largely because I haven't become sick of Stardust HD yet.  From what I can tell PixelJunk Monsters = Tower Defense and PixelJunk Racer = an odd little twitch racing game ( I didn't care much for it).  PixelJunk Eden on the other hand is not really like anything I have ever played, in a good way. 

PixelJunk Eden

The premise is pretty simple, you are some sort of insect that can only jump and swing from a silk thread.  That's about it.  You're creature attaches to glowing plants that stem from the ground.  Little buds of pollen float around and by hitting them you break them into smaller pollen particles that float around to form other plants.  Sounds strange? It is strange as hell.  But it's completely got my interest.  My wife was asking me something as I booted the game up.  I just kind of nodded and said: "Yeah, sure...".  Not realizing that I was agreeing to work on deck repairs with her.  It's hypnotic.

It's the kind of game I could completly see as a flash game.  Hell, perhaps it is a flash game too (although it does look effin' fabulous in 1080P).  Why pay $X for a flash game you ask?  Well aside from the fact that it's relaxing, hypnotic, and absolutley beautiful, it also happens to be the second PS3 game to feature trophy support.  Perhaps by it's full release I will have gotten all the StarDust HD trophies (yeah right).

MAG: SOCOM meets Planetside meets Battlefield 2

I'm excited about MAG.  I've been dreaming of massive real-time game play for a while now.  Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy the time lagged action found in MMORPG's but I was always under the impression that MMOs were structured that way b/c real time combat wasn't yet feasible with network speeds.  I'm still not certain if MAG will succeed either.  Am I going to to have to get a network cable for my PS3?  It's a ways from my router, that may be a pain in the ass.

Kotaku just had an article about some "insider" information regarding the title.  Apparently, it's going to be a Planetscape meets SOCOM.  I don't know about you folks, but I played Planetscape and it kind of sucked.  It was a wonderful idea, but again, it wasn't realized largely b/c of network speeds.  I really like the idea of the squad structure too.  I just hope they study up on other online squad games such as BF2.  I absolutely loved that game, but I have to say, the squads only worked when I was playing with a group of friends or with an organized clan.  How can the develpoers of MAG make it work?  What kind of ranking system will be fair?  Will there be voice chat?  I can really see this as the type of game where one punk in a higher up rank makes enjoying this game difficult.  But hey, more details about the game would certainly alleviate these concerns.  I guess all we can do is see what happens next.  I'm betting on a Q3 2010 release.