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Worth Reading: 11/09/12

This week, we've got a controversial take on Halo 4, a web browser game that doesn't suck, a fan who's trying to remake Aliens vs. Predator, and your usual assortment of links to fill the weekend.

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If all goes according to plan, I’ll pull the trigger on ordering parts for my computer over the weekend, and finally put into motion an idea I’ve been kicking around for a couple of years now. It’s been so, so long since I’ve built a PC, though, so I’ve forgotten...everything. I’ve heard your requests, too, and we’ll probably film putting it together and bringing it to life. Nothing can go wrong with that, right?

As mentioned in the last episode of Spookin’ With Scoops, where we played the first hour or so of System Shock 2, that feature will take a rest until the PC comes together, which means it probably won’t come back until after Thanksgiving. Even with a powerful PC, that doesn’t mean we’ll leave behind a return to Lone Survivor, System Shock 2, or even Friday the 13th and Clock Tower for SNES. It will, however, mean closing out episodes with Slender won’t look like a total trainwreck.

A few weeks away from horror will do my heart some good, too. You can only take so much.

Hey, You Should Play This

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It’s early days for browser games, but Save the Day, a fast-paced action game in which players fly a helicopter and save people from imminent disaster, make a solid case for what’s possible when competent developers are in the drivers seat. It doesn’t have to be all exploitative free-to-play games that are more about wasting time than they are about learning and enjoying game mechanics. Let’s also remember Supergiant Games managed to port Bastion to Chrome’s app store on HTML5. It’ll be some time before we’re seeing a game like Bastion made from the ground up for a browser, but the potential audience is enormous, and it’s only a matter of time before someone makes a killing.

There are also two other games I’m going to link to below, and I’ll say nothing more about them.

And You Should Read These, Too

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What do you want from your reviews? Do you want someone to reaffirm your preconceived notions about a game, or do you want to be challenged, and look at a game in a new light? Tom Chick’s review of Halo 4 would probably do a better job of accomplishing the latter if a score wasn’t attached, but the score is what made his review a lightning rod. Chick is used to being the industry’s punching bag, and publishing contradictory opinions is nothing new. I haven’t yet played Halo 4, so I can’t say whether or not I agree with his conclusions about the latest entry, but it’s a well articulated argument, and definitely an outlier from the general consensus. Does that make it wrong? (Hint: no.)

This is Halo 4. A shiny old dog without any new tricks. I got more out of the Halo 1 remake, which at least had the appeal of nostalgia. Playing through an updated version of the original Halo was at times tired or tedious. But it was also a reminder of the raw genius that launched the series. There is none of that in Halo 4, which is a drawn-out retread without any fresh perspective or energy, and furthermore missing a lot of what I need to pull me through a Halo game. Halo 4 demonstrates that if there’s one thing worse than more of the same, it’s less of the same.
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Games have trouble keeping secrets these days, and whatever you think of Assassin’s Creed III, it’s admirable the company was able to keep a lid on a particularly cool twist that comes early in the game. If you haven’t played Assassin’s Creed III, you should not click this link, but if you have, Ars Technica has talked to Ubisoft about the process of keeping a secret over a three-year development cycle and huge amounts of marketing. Not easy!

May says he didn't even discuss the big reveal with his closest friends or family—he just "couldn't take the risk." While he could talk about [CENSORED] with other members of the development team, that didn't really relieve the stress. "All we would end up doing was riling ourselves up. We were on thisthing, and we were all having the same fears and anxious nervous anticipation. That didn't make it any easier."

If You Click It, It Will Play

I Don’t Know About This Kickstarter Thing, But These Projects Seem Pretty Cool

  • Elite is the latest classic trying to come back. Would be nice if they showed, uh, anything about it.
  • We need more physical spaces to show off video games. L.A. Game Space could be terrific.
  • Wait, is Distance a spiritual successor to San Francisco Rush?

The Latest Assassin's Creed is Out, And There Are Mixed Opinions

Valve Just Launched Greenlight, So Here’s Some Games That Don’t Look Terrible

  • Dark Rain looks awfully early, but an open world horror game with a day/night cycle? Yes.
  • Draw a Stickman has players getting involved by actually drawing objects into the world.
  • Sapience is a modern attempt to create a DOOM-style sci-fi RPG. Those are golden words.

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+