Siege Breaker Sessions: Trademark This!

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Trademarking something isn’t new. Back when the NBA had its first back to back to back champion the term Three-peat was coined and trademarked. However, when it comes to simple words or phrases that many gamers may use in their streams or videos it can and add become a hot topic with a lot of anger.

We dive into the topic of both Sony and the Fine Brothers trying to trademark terms that could have had a big effect on many gamers. We also talk about some of our finest gaming achievements from days past and Rizim gives us another one of his famous rants.

Warning: The Siege Breakers Sessions Podcast is NSFW and and contains adult language, seriously if you get easily offended stay out.

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Capcom Vs. SNK: Pro

Capcom Vs SNK Pro PS1

Capcom Vs. SNK: Pro

I had played Capcom Vs. SNK 2 EO on Gamecube many years back. I’ve never played the original game though. I was kinda surprised my girlfriend had an old copy of the game. Not terribly excited to play the original, but I’ll give it a shot.
Capcom Vs SNK Pro PS1
The game is basically the same version as the one in the arcade except with a few new features and whatnot. It was a pretty big deal back in the day since it was the first time Ryu could fight Terry Bogard or Chun-Li could fight Mai Shiranui. It offers a suprisngly large cast of characters. I remember being far more disappointed in the original Marvel Vs. Capcom for such a small cast in comparison to the 2nd game.
Capcom Vs SNK Pro PS1
It’s basically what you would expect from Capcom in the past 15 years. Since I already played the 2nd game to death, I was a tad unthrilled at the offerings on the table. I was also mad that they didn’t include analog control even though the PS1 version was released in 2002. I loathe the PS1’s D-pad, and during fighting games my hands feel cramped and the stiff buttons prevent me from reaching my true potential. If you’re not bothered by the PS1/PS2 controller’s D-pad then this a decent fighter, but there’s plenty of better ones to choose from.

Score: 7 out of 10 

Breaking down Everquest Next: The Rallying Call

What if a successful settlement opens an awesome dungeon and within that dungeon is incredible loot. What do you think will happen when some servers have it and others do not?~J.A. Laraque

Everquest Next: The Rallying Call

There is going to be a ton of news about Everquest Next and by now most people even slightly interested in it has read what they game is going to consist of. In all the reading and questioning I have done the one thing I hear the most is how it is supposed to change everything. I guess I could just roll my eyes especially considering the failures Sony has put together over the last several years, but then again Everquest did originally change everything as far as MMO’s. So perhaps the better question is who are they changing it for?

The way I read it, it seems almost as if the aim is to bring back people who loved the original Everquest. You continually hear them talk about the groundbreaking changes in the original and how people enjoyed EQ2. Obviously they are going after disenfranchised World of Warcraft players as well, but is that the right move?

When I asked, are we what is wrong with MMO’s, I talked about the changes within us and how we are different than we were during EQ’s days. Now, even more time has passed by and the question is, how many of us are really looking for something so new and different we will feel like it is 1999 again?

Everquest Next

The Rallying Call

Right away critics broke down all the new ideas that EN is to offer. Now the idea around the rallying call is that a call will go out across the server and everyone can come together to build and defend a new location. So while this new settlement is being built there will be quests and attacks from various monsters and crafting that will need to be done. Now the idea is obviously taken from world events where something big happens and everyone is involved.

Let’s stop there and look at the original EQ. Many will have fond memories of the world events in EQ, but then again many people look back on EQ like they do their early 20’s often making it sound better than it was. I remember a baby dragon event where people disrupted it so badly that the GM stopped the even and left. I also remember another dragon event where one guy stole all the loot and nothing was done about it. If you were that one person or small group that got to be part of the event or got the loot it was fun. For everyone else it was a waste of time and a zone of lag.

Now in games like Guild Wars 2, you have various events where you take down a big monster with everyone in the area. Once the monster dies you get your own points for the encounter and loot to go with it. I found it could be fun, but you also could just run in there and hit the boss once or twice and get the points and loot and still, even with a ton of players there it still did not feel as epic as you expected it to be.

Will the rallying call change this? So when a rallying call goes out it lasts for two months so right away that is different from the world or zone events you are used to. When everything is said and done your world will be changed and from what we here there are many different outcomes based on what happens during those two months. As an example, if you allow too many attacks and there are delays your settlement will be permanently impacted and on a different sever it could be completely different.

So with Cataclysm much of World of Warcraft changed, but every server changed the same way. With EN, sever A should not look like sever B, at least in theory. Now right away the question is asked, how many possible outcomes could Sony put into a specific rallying call? Well, we don’t know and this goes to another point.

I remember after Saturday morning cartoons on WGN in Chicago there was a chance they would show either Soul Train or a G.I. Joe block of cartoons. Now full disclaimer I’m in my 30’s so back then I did not have any guide or knew what was coming up next. I just sat there waiting with anticipation and when a G.I. Joe cartoon came on I was in heaven, it was an awesome feeling.

That is what Sony is going for, that feeling of not knowing that keeps you playing. Also, since the world is permanently changed if you miss it then to bad, you were not there and cannot share in the stories. Now will this make you want to play more and be part of the change? Could it make people feel they missed out like when you opened the doors to AQ in WOW?

Obviously if we are talking about new gamers then it may not matter. New gamers tear up content even faster than we did back in the day and they have a much more robust internet to rely on for it. If they are looking at us old vets then are we really after that kind of experience? Do we want to wander around waiting for what is next or have our lives changed so much that we almost rather have a simple liner world so that it will make our real lives easier?

Now what about the risk? Remember risk vs. reward? That was what was said a lot in the past. Hardcore people wanted real risk in a game and WOW was too easy and it did not matter if you died or not. In EQ it was about losing EXP and finding your body, but honestly new gamers would not tolerate that and most vets cannot deal with that anymore.

Sony said settlements that are successful remain in the game forever, so what happens if you fail? Can you imagine the crying that will go out if you see videos of a successful settlement and you think it is really cool, but on your sever for whatever reason it failed? Would the risk vs. reward people find it cool that it was even possible to fail or will they be mad they have such “terrible players” that they could not even finish the settlement causing issues within that severs community?

You almost have to assume that failing a settlement cannot have that harsh of a penalty. Some people speculated that a settlement could lead to portal points or new dungeons or even races. I just don’t see Sony allowing a server to not have access to something other serves get. What if a successful settlement opens an awesome dungeon and within that dungeon is incredible loot. What do you think will happen when some servers have it and others do not?

I get the feeling either these settlements will not have the impact players are expecting or that there will be multiple settlements or ways so that everyone can access the same thing. It is one thing if a building is a bit different or a city looks different in the end based on failed or successful settlements, but there is no way I can see them making a failed settlement cause you to miss out on something potentially cool and game changing forever. If anything that could tear servers apart and cause people to leave “fail” severs.

So there are a lot of questions about how the rallying call could work. While some players look upon the idea with a smile and think about how someday they can say they helped build Halas or Freeport, I know there are others thinking about the consequences of failure and yes, even a few thinking of how they can grief the whole experience. Anyone that plays MMO’s knows a community can make or kill a game and sometimes more freedom and player control does not equal a fun gaming experience.

In future articles we will be talking more about EN’s new features and their possible impact and target base and we will keep searching for more info on rallying calls. This feature could be a giant turning point for the game. Let’s just hope it proves to be a positive for us gamers.

Next Gen Xbox to play all PlayStation Games

xbox 720

Next Gen Xbox to play all PlayStation Games

In an announcement that will shake the console world Microsoft announced today that the next generation Xbox will play all current and future PlayStation games. “Let’s face it, we are an overpriced Blu-Ray player.” A Sony spokesman said. “Sure, we might feel like Xerox after seeing Windows, but when you are losing to a console named after a bodily function you have to make drastic changes.”

We asked an Xbox rep what game most fans are looking to play from the PlayStation library. “Well I was going to say Uncharted.” The spokesman said. “But then part three came out.” We asked how much will this added feature cost but we could not make out the answer from all the launching.

More not to come.

Happy April Fools.

Doom

So here we have a game that needs no introduction. Every other FPS developer today should have a portrait of this game in their studio. Doom changed the way we looked at FPS and turned out to be a classic for the ages. Is it still fun to this day? Lets find out!
Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot
Doom as very popular for many things and the music was one of them. With such a great soundtrack, the PC version turned out to be the most played shareware ever. This was even before internet became a household name! Turning to the Playstation version, I was shocked that they took out the soundtrack but instead added a very interesting soundtrack. You mostly hear monsters and what not in the background with a mix of environmental music. It’s quite freaky at times especially when you are in very dark rooms. I must say it doesn’t make me miss the PC version’s soundtrack and gives a twist to an already twisted game.
Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

Graphics in this game are everything you could hope for. The blood is there, levels are detailed, and everything looks to be in place. Overall, you have a very fun and viewable version of Doom that will keep you in pace to the finish line. I’m sure you won’t get lost. Also, I’m glad you can still shoot near the acid barrels to blow up your enemies to pieces. That’s always so enjoyable.

Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

The developers of this game were savvy enough to make good use of the Playstation controller. Not only are not going to miss your keyboard but you’ll also have an easy time getting used to the controller. You’ll be using R1 and L1 buttons quite often as they are the ones that make you move left or right in order to dodge your enemies attacks especially those fireballs. You will be able to battle any enemies with easy movement! In the end, this is Doom! You can’t any better than this.

Doom - Sony Playstation - gameplay screenshot

This is probably one of the most replayable FPS games ever. You can go through it, get your password, and continue later. You then finish the game and start the game again. The thing is that this game has such enjoyable gameplay especially with blowing up your enemies that it becomes addictive. You can always go back to this game and replay each level, discover its secrets, and have a great time. You must find all the secrets period!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TYMI6gD19Y[/youtube]

To conclude this entry, the game is a perfect port of the PC version and would be a great addition to any FPS fan especially from the golden age of FPS. You will have lots of endless hours of fun with this one. If you really want to be mega old school, you can always get another Playstation with another TV set and another copy of Doom to play against each other. This is how things were done back then! Hope you enjoyed this week’s pick!

Weird Games: Mister Mosquito

Mister_Mosquito_Coverart

Normally when someone says, “This game sucks,” It is a bad thing. In this case, it is the main goal of a weird PlayStation 2 game that came out in 2002. Mister Mosquito is one of those games that in Japan makes way more sense than in the U.S. In this game, you play as a mosquito that lives in the home of the Yamada family. Your job is to suck and store up blood for the winter by biting the family members on specific parts of their body.

mr-mosquito

Now this might sound easy, but only certain areas are bitable and you must watch your stress meter while sucking blood. If you suck to fast or too slow, you can stress your victim out and if that happens you are dead. (Seriously, I could go so lowbrow with the sucking too fast or too slow, but I will let it be just this once.) In addition, if you are flying around and are spotted you enter a battle mode where you need to avoid being killed while hitting pressure points on your attacker to calm them down. (I wish my mosquitos did this.)

mr-mosquito gameplay

A strange game indeed this is, but for you perverts out there, there is a level where you have to suck blood from a girl in the bathtub. (No, I’m not kidding.) How many of you are going to either go play this or look up Youtube footage right now?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwxwxjpkKkU[/youtube]

You know we got you covered.

SAR: SEARCH AND RESCUE on PlayStation Network

It is always good when classic titles get a re-release and SNK has been releasing a ton of hits and here is another.

Sar - Search and Rescue

From their press release:

SNK PLAYMORE USA CORPORATION  is proud to announce the North & South American release of new nostalgic SNK Arcade Classics “SAR – SEARCH AND RESCUE” as a PlayStation® minis title on PSP, via the “New Releases” category and the “SNK NEOGEO” Featured Publishers page available on the PlayStation®Store, from Tuesday, March 20th, 2012.

The SNK minis titles are a commemorative “retro-arcade emulation” project that allows players to enjoy a grand collection of action, shooting, platform, and action/puzzle titles. Many of these nostalgic, highly innovative arcade classics released during SNK’s Golden Age of action-shooting, etc. during the 80’s, are now exclusively available on PSP and compatible on the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system as well for even greater enjoyment!

The previous sets of titles included some of SNK’s arcade masterpieces such as “ATHENA”, “GUERRILLA WAR”, “IKARI WARRIORS”, “P.O.W. – PRISONERS OF WAR”, “T.N.K. III”, and “VICTORY ROAD” along with a number of lesser known, yet revolutionary titles to be enjoyed by both retro gamers and younger generations of players alike.

SAR = Search And Rescue

 

The government sends down an investigation team to a crashed spaceship that had vanished off its course, in order to determine what actually happened… Infiltrate the spaceship, and battle hordes of alien monsters and robots, in this action-shooting masterpiece of SNK originally released in 1989.

SNK PLAYMORE USA Official Web Site: http://www.snkplaymoreusa.com

Everquest goes Free-To-Play

After 13 years and tons of expansions the game known as Evercrack goes free-to-play.

everquest logo

Hello everyone – I hope you all are doing well early on in the New Year! With an exciting Veil of Alaris expansion just released in November, we’re thrilled to announce the next big adventure for EverQuest®. After listening to your feedback and suggestions over the past few years, I’m happy to announce that in early March 2012, EverQuest will be going free-to-play.

We’re excited to be expanding the EverQuest experience by making the game more accessible to every type of player so that you can choose to play the game in a way that suits you best. Anyone who wishes to start, return or continue to play one of the “Best Games of All-Time” can simply download and play EverQuest on their terms – think of it as Free to Play, Your Way. Recurring subscriptions, non-recurring subscriptions, Silver or Free memberships, item unlockers, and more. The game will now be setup to be flexible so that *you* can decide how much to pay, based on how much fun you’re having.

EverQuest players are some of the most loyal, long-standing players of any MMO in existence. With the gaming landscape changing every day, we want to ensure we continue to evolve the game to keep players engaged and bring in even more new players to further expand the community. With no up-front costs or required membership, we might see a new player or two along the way, and more people is always a good thing!

Once we go free-to-play, here are some of the upcoming features and events you can expect:

  • On Friday, March 16th, EverQuest becomes a teenager: 13 years old!!! We will be having some extra added events in the game starting that week leading up to that Friday and we’re introducing some new items within POK to let you know what’s in store.
  • With the free-to-play launch, a renovated everquest.com website will be unveiled and after that, we will bring you upgraded EQPlayers pages.
  • We have improved the functionality of our Map system! Some improvements include being able to view appropriate level content for your character on the map, allowing you to find zone lines much easier; and also showing you your wisps on the map to help navigate to where you want to go!

Also at the free-to-play launch, all players will receive a Welcome Pack containing items to add to your gameplay experience. You’ll be able to summon a unique Mercenary to fight by your side and we’re including some Bayle Marks to help pay for the services of your newly summoned Mercenary. A couple of Experience Potions are also included to help you increase your experience gained while adventuring. For all the collectors that like to show off all the great wares to your friends, we’re giving you an item to display in your home and add to your collection. And finally, you’ll be able to customize the appearance of one of your weapons with a Weapon Ornamentation – also included in the Welcome Pack. So be sure to check the claim window for your free gifts.

We, the EverQuest dev team, are very excited about this new flexible system. Free-To-Play is the best fit for EverQuest and we are looking forward to supporting the game and our dedicated fans for years to come. This is a great year for everyone associated with EverQuest and SOE. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what’s coming in 2012.

One last note, we will be doing a Community Webcast on Thursday February 2, 2012 covering all of the exciting free-to-play details. Please be sure to send in any questions you might have via the Facebook page or Twitter so we can respond with answers during the Webcast.

See you in game very soon!

Thom Terrazas
EverQuest Producer
AKA “Phathom”

For more information on the transition to free-to-play please visit the FAQ and free-to-play matrix.

So does anyone see themselves logging in to play?

Crash Bandicoot

Crash-Bandicoot-PS1-Box

Crash Bandicoot was sought out to be the mascot of Sony just like Mario was the mascot of Nintendo. It worked for a while, until the games went down hill. The best part is that you don’t have to hear about the crappy Crash games, I’ll talk about the good ones here yay! Crash Bandicoot is what a platformer can be if done correctly. This game involves Crash who is trying to defeat this scientist yada yada yada doesn’t matter, it’s the gameplay that counts most of the time, then again some games need to give you a reason to keep playing them, err RPGs anyone?

crash_bandicoot_ps1-gameplay-screenshot

Crash Bandicoot gameplay is very simple. There is the jump button and the spinning attack button and well I think that’s pretty much it. Of course you move with your D-pad! From my experience, this game is a lot of fun and also full of secrets. This was a big hit for Sony back in the day and good thing it was, the game and franchise helped them get an image to compete against Sega and Nintendo. Too bad it was fucked up years later on the PS2…..but lets not change the subject again, Crash 1 for the PS1 is full of nostalgia. The game is what you will expect from a platformer, it has interesting levels, secrets, and crazy bosses. There are things here and there that you might not find appealing but good thing there is a sequel.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3Bn4L-FCr4[/youtube]

 

So that should be it for now, the game contains high marks on music, control, graphics, and gameplay. You can’t lose with this one! Pick it up as it’s mad cheap on eBay. Look for it at your local flea markets and thrift stores as well. Until next time!

We called it: DC Universe Online goes free to play

dc universe free to play

DC Universe Online goes free to play

If you are a regular fan of Obsolete Gamer you know about our cold war with Sony and DC Universe Online. It started out with us liking the game, but pleading with them to fix bugs and make changes so the game survives. Next, when we tried to get an interview we were turned down which just pissed us off and from there it was war. At the very beginning we called that the game would soon be headed toward free-to-play and we were right.

Sony will be going the free-to-play route in October for both the PC and Playstation 3 versions. You will be able to download and play the game for free, but there are also addition options for al a carte purchases and subscription plans. You can see the choices here.

“Our philosophy embraces learning from our experience and as a pioneer in the free-to-play space with proven successful games like Free Realms and Clone Wars Adventures, we believe this new model will expand the DCUO experience and offer more options that cater to every type of player so they can play the game in a way that fits them,” John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment, said in a statement. “We’ve listened to our community, and we’ve determined that the free-to-play model is the best fit for DC Universe Online.”

Do we really need to translate this? People were leaving DCUO like Raccoon City and the Mega servers were nothing more than “we have no players on our servers” and now we have to go free to play. However, Sony does know how to market their free-to-play services with games like Everquest 2 and the above mentioned Clone Wars Adventures offering just about everything for sale in their marketplace. Now the question is will this business model work for DCUO, will you now play the game since it is free and has mega servers?

Video of the Day: Game Deaths

Classic video game deaths

This video is just to awesome not to share. This video shows death scenes from various classic games to a great remix tune. Enjoy.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJ6APKIjFQY[/youtube]

(Dir.: Rob Beschizza, BoingBoing. Music is Rob’s MIDI homage to “Mad World,” by Tears for Fears, and you can download the MP3 here:http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/28/game-deaths-mp3.html and buy their original song here [MP3]: http://tinyurl.com/4wzqgry ).

Subscription MMO’s soon to be a thing of the past?

DDO Free-to-play

Is the writing on the wall that paying monthly for MMO’s is soon to be a thing of the past? When some of us started playing text based adventures the idea of paying by the minute for internet service was acceptable, but soon unlimited plans became the way of the land and everyone had to jump on board. Fast forward to the early days of Everquest, when the decision was made to raise the price of their monthly subscription. The player base revolted saying EQ would be done for if this move was made, but as how addiction works, we continued playing.

Perhaps that was a turning point, when these companies knew they could push their customers just far enough if their game was good/addictive enough to keep people from quitting. We learned with games such as Asheron’s Call 2, that if a game sucks people will run away, but we also learned that if a game is good enough one could make money without being number one.

When World of Warcraft exploded the common wisdom was that no other company would dethrone Blizzard anytime soon, but they could offer an alternative, just enough to make a profit. We saw a boom of new MMO’s show up with many I am sure you have never heard of. However, many of these MMO’s were turning a profit, enough to keep going and the industry thought things would level off.

guild-wars

When Guild Wars dumped the idea of monthly subscriptions, many people laughed at the idea. Even after the early failure of Everquest 2, most MMO’s were doing fine even in the large shadow cast by World of Warcraft. Not everyone was laughing because not only was Guild Wars a good game, but there was not a model that could be used that had already been used with many Asian MMO’s.

When we first saw a MMO go free-to-play it was thought that it meant a game was failing and in many cases that was true. Games like Age of Conan saw a mass exodus, but it was still salvageable so going free-to-play made sense. The same happened with Lord of the Rings, less players, but worth keeping up.

When Sony Online Entertainment launched the Everquest 2 free-to-play it became more common place to offer a subscription service alongside a free-to-play where you could sell additional perks and services. Not only did that extra revenue work for the free-to-play side, but for the subscription side as well.

Now seeing MMO’s go free-to-play alongside a subscription service is a normal occurrence. If the game is older, like City of Heroes it may bring in new blood. If the game is newer, like DC Universe Online it may give a dying game some new life. In SOE’s case if nothing else, they can convince their subscribers to go All Access to help pad their subscription numbers.

aoc_free-to-play

Even the MMO superpower World of Warcraft has seen its numbers drop sharply and not just people who stop logging in but keep their account active. Blizzard has been losing subscribers by the boatload and they are not just waiting for the next expansion, they want a new game. On the horizon, we have Old Republic. While it looks as if this game will be a hit so did DCUO.

There are many gamers from the early EQ days that consider themselves retired from MMO’s for a variety of reasons. Some of the newer gamers are burned out and they experienced an over saturation of MMO’s some good, some not so good, but the key was there were too many to subscribe to. Now many people are getting used to the free-to-play model and with W.O.W. perhaps beginning its slide down, the field may open up. Not to one dominate MMO, but a widening choice were you don’t have to slap down $50 plus $14.99 just to see if it makes it past the first month or not.

Studies show that if you charge ten bucks for a 15-episode television show, it may or may not sell well, but if you offer each episode for 99 cents, you will end up making more money in the long run. If you play a game for free and a one-time fee of five bucks gets you that new mount you will feel more inclined to buy it. American’s have run into debt because we don’t realize a three dollar cup of coffee three times a week is four hundred and sixty-eight dollars a year.

everquest 2 free to play

Only time will tell how free-to-play will change the MMO landscape. For those of us who can enjoy a game and walk away it may become a great opportunity to experience many new games. For those that have to have it all, it may start up a new debate about MMO addiction and how people go broke by purchasing a two-dollar sword here and a ten-dollar name change there. Think it cannot happen, look for the headlines on Second Life where people pay two hundred bucks a month for a virtual condo. Kind of makes you wonder why they didn’t think of this sooner.

 

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night gave me a boner

Alright, not really, but after playing through the game again I did realize how much semi-nudity is in the game so let’s just go with that.

Diplocephalus

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night - Diplocephalus
She believes in protection and by protection I mean Holy Water.

I believe this creature was created after someone went on a blind OKCupid date and was fooled by a MySpace angle. This creature is easy to beat and has an attractive upper body and a horrible monster for a lower body. When you hit her and kill her, she turns and moons you and you realize baby’s got back.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fkbD1pl0cY[/youtube]

Venus Weed

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night - Venus Weed
She is wondering why everyone is staring.

My vagina is a flower, an eccentric tulip, the center acute and deep, the scent delicate, the petals gentle but sturdy.

Ya, now you know where they got that from. This is how Poison Ivy sleeps, in the nude and apparently, this creature drinks human blood so it must be someone’s wife. Am I right folks?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVB1VsfKimk[/youtube]

Salome

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night - Salome
She does not sweep with that broom

All your goth and bewitched fantasies all rolled into one. This young female witch turns into a cat when you weaken it and you know I love pussy…cats.

Hunting Girl

Castlevania - Symphony of the Night - Hunting Girl
Look at that pose, yeah, she wants it.

This is for the voyeur in all of us. This is for the guys who use to try and watched porn on a scrambled cable feed. Sure, you can’t really see what Hunting Girl looks like, but she looks like she has a hot frame and those poses she does when you hit her…uh… I just realized this sounds like something that can end me up in prison.

Castlevania Symphony of the Night is one of those games you will play over and over forever and the more you play the more weird things you will take notice of. So did I miss any strangely hot monsters from the game, besides succubus that is which is a given.

 

Cryptic Studio Has Moved On But Have Their Games?: Star Trek Edition


For those of you eagerly waiting for this review after the sudden ending of the previous portion of this two-part article, I apologize. I wasn’t having problems with time or just pure laziness. No, I had problems with how to word my feelings towards Star Trek Online and how best to give an honest review without completely belittling the game. I know, I know. You’re used to that kind of response from me but I decided to be a bit more delicate with how I explain the faults and pluses of STO.

So here goes…

It is laughable to think that Cryptic Studios thinks of STO as an MMORPG. While all the big boys in the room strut their stuff with content, gameplay, character growth, and easily defined instructions, Star Trek Online stumbles and fumbles around the room like a drunk teenage girl at a frat party. At the end of the night, the only ones with a grin on their faces are the real MMOs while STO is dabbing off semen from its face with wet naps.


Wow… I feel uncomfortable reading this. I’m going to just-

What could possess me to attack Star Trek Online in such an unrelenting manner? Is it because I could barely give the game a shot beyond level 4? Yes, it is! I got to level 11 in FF XIV and that game is the equivalent of dining on Indian food , beautiful to look at but horrible to digest. I have never been unable to hit at least level 10 in an MMORPG but Star Trek Online managed to prove me wrong.

That sounds horrible, Mr. Khan! Why was it so god awful?

That’s an easy question to answer, Little Timmy. The game’s initial tutorial manages to be not only fast paced but slow at the same time. There’s a ton of jargon thrown around that doesn’t make sense to begin with and there isn’t much of an explanation as to what any of it means. All I got from the tutorial was that I could shoot lasers and photon torpedoes when I’m in my ship and when I’m on a ground mission I can shoot laser beams and “backstab” the enemy when I attack from their blindside. There really isn’t a clear definition in the beginning what role your class plays or what kind of ships you are able to command. I was certain I was limited to Science Ships since I chose the Scientist profession but I later found out from a friend that I could pilot any ship. Oh, that’s fucking fantastic to know.


For those of you who enjoy looking at your character and face stomping the enemy while adoring how badass you made your Vulcan or Custom Alien, sorry to disappoint but the game is lacking in ground missions and you are spending most of your time viewing the ass tail of your ship. How engrossing! Yes, you can customize your ship but the differences aren’t that vast aside from size. The ship customization is as in-depth as the shape variations presented in a Lego Kit. Everything is a block except some are half a blocks! Whoop-dee-fucking-doo!

From a game with such an absorbing avatar customization, it’s a shame that you spend your time running slow naval circles around enemy space bandits. As far as I could grasp the tactic was to go half speed and adjust your acceleration and deceleration to complete this amazingly slow circle strafe around your enemy to knock out their shields and ass fuck them with photon torpedoes. Combat got repetitive quickly.

The game’s missions were probably the most bland I’ve ever seen in an MMO post 2006. “What was that, Ensign? There’s no one in the quadrant? I guess everything is… Oh my god! Space Bandits out of fucking nowhere!” That was as in depth as the missions got at level 4. They didn’t want to showcase more early on maybe because there wasn’t anything left to show.

The ground missions were probably the worst part about leveling. I should be excited to see my captain running about shooting bitches in the face and parachuting off planet sized drills like in the movie, right? Too bad! I was limited to picking up resources on a planet and randomly getting jumped by “Unknown villain #3” and then transporting back to the ship. Oh wait, I forgot. There were more options. I was able to go to a mining site to speak with a couple of diggers to see how they felt about their jobs and report back to their manager. Yup! They called in the space fleets special forces to settle a dispute about a broken holodeck in the break room.

"Come on, Team! Lets pick up some rocks!"

Now, I understand I have been harsh on the game and there is a reason for that. If STO were a free to play MMORPG, I would dress it with every accolade known in the universe. A free to play space RPG? Sign me up! Let me have fleeting moments of fun!

Unfortunately, the game isn’t F2P. It’s Pay to Play and it’s $15 a fucking month. This game has a huge pair of balls to even consider charging people. Cryptic was fortunate enough that people even purchased fucking the game. It has the depth of a game developed for a smart phone.

STO lacks the environment, quests, gameplay, and depth of games like World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, and even City of Heroes. Quite a bold statement coming from a level 4 Lieutenant, right? That’s why I’m not saying for people to keep away from this game. Play it if you like, it’s your money. I personally don’t see the justification of this game being $15 a month. You’d probably find more fun in Runescape for a cheaper price.

Perfect Worlds purchased this title when they acquired Cryptic Studios. What potential they see in this hunk of shit I will never know. The game is an MMO-abomination and is better served on a free to play model or simply a box sale model like Guild Wars. Then and maybe then it would be worth the time it takes to patch and login. Until that unlikely day comes about, STO will remain uninstalled and far, far away from my computer.

Parappa the Rapper

 

Parappa the Rapper

This time around Parappa the Rapper made the list and why shouldn’t it? It’s an amazing game and very revolutionary for its time. Before the Guitar Hero trend came to place there were very few music genre games out there. There were Parappa the Rapper, Umjammer Lammy, and MTV Music Generator although those two games last mentioned games came out later in the Playstation’s lifetime. Nevertheless, there were very few games using music as the main part of the game. Anyways, Parappa the Rapper made its debut in 1997 which was a really great year for the Playstation with such releases as Breath of Fire 3, Final Fantasy 7, Crash Bandicoot 2, and even Tomb Raider 2. It was pretty much the year of sequels for many franchises so the gaming library was filled with great titles. We also cannot forget about Castlevania Symphony of the Night being released and I’m sure there are others I must have forgotten to mention so I apologize.

Parappa the Rapper

 

Parappa involves into six stages which may sound short but will keep you busy for quite some time. They are fun and great to play through over and over. Even if you don’t like rap you’ll fall in love with this game. The main point of this game is to match the cursor on the top by timing it when it passes through the screen. Make sure you press the right button or you’ll loose your score and become awfully uncool. The game does deliver you difficulty in small dosage as the first level is extremely easy, it’ll become harder and harder as you progress which is very fair and should be implemented in every game. This is what keeps the player coming back for more.

Parappa the Rapper

 

Once you finish the game though, there are many other things you can do like go for the highest score and reach the cool factor. If you do then you’ll be sent to a different style of gameplay opening the possibilities even further. I won’t spoil it for you though, you just gotta believe!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_DYEZGsxX8[/youtube]

E3 2011: Classic Gaming Museum

Classic Gaming Museum - E3 2011

My eyes lit up like a LED screen when I came across this section at E3 2011. Normally, there would be a small section with a few games, but this place was huge. On the back wall were a ton of classic video games from Dig Dug to Killer Instinct and a few even broke down so you know they were authentic.

Classic Gaming Museum - E3 2011

They had what I called a 80’s living room complete with a couch, a radiation level 6 television and an Atari 2600 and best of all you could sit down and play. Now, while I was still just a baby when the 2600 launched I remember setups that looked exactly like this.

Classic Gaming Museum - E3 2011

There were a ton of classic game systems, add-ons and games spread out for display. I recognized many of the systems, but there were a number I did not recognize. I was totally shocked by how huge the cartridge was for Metal Slug. We met a couple of guys from SNK there and they were totally cool so watch for some articles about them coming soon.

Classic Gaming Museum - E3 2011

Not only did they have the boxes and items to view there were many classic game systems setup that you could play for yourself including an Atari 2600, N64, Sega Master System and Intelivision and more.

What classic gaming museum exhibit would complete without music. There were two different bands there that played classic music. We were able to record a bit from 8-bit weapon, a duo that plays classic music from Commodore 64, Gameboy and more.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”480″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM1bmLk5zLI[/youtube]

All in all it was great to see classic gaming displayed in such a way at E3 2011 and we hope we will see more in the future.

Check out all our E3 pictures on our Facebook page.

 

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Pre-E3 2011

E3-2011

This week we had a full house as we went over some of the things we are looking forward to at this year’s E3. We began first with a few news items that were posted on our Facebook page. One of the news items talked about married men divorcing their wives to play World of Warcraft and the other was about Chinese prisoners being forced to play World of Warcraft, we felt marriage, prison and W.O.W. went together perfectly.

We then talked about the rumor that Nintendo is going to announce the Wii 2 at E3 2011 and that it will include a Blu-ray player and be faster than the Playstation 3. We all could see how good Zelda, Kirby and Metroid would look on the new system. We also talked about Sony apologizing to their fans and perhaps giving us something else to talk about. We also spent a hot minute bashing Call of Duty 3.

All in all a great show and we were happy to have Paul and Mark with us. Next week we will be at E3 2011 in L.A. so look for our full E3 2011 podcast coming soon.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: The Pre-E3 2011 Show

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

EQ2 Has The Worst Players On Erf!


Everquest 2, you know I love you girl, but these fools that be playin’ you… damn girl. You are littered with them! Horrible, atrocious, vomit inducing players run amok on the fair lands of Norrath like ticks sucking on, well, their own suck!

Oh boy, here we go! Another biased opinion about a game and the one isolated event that brands an entire community. Go back to WoW, fag! Lolololololol

Shut up, baby doll. Daddy’s talking.

I have played many, many MMORPGs. The kind of person who would rather play solo than mingle with the masses is not how one would describe this guy right here, the Great Umar Khan. Nope. I like to get involved with the community. I like to remember names, experiences, and how well I match with certain people in a team based environment. 1999, fellas! No yearlong breaks from the genre. I’ve slutted my way into many a community with my impeccable social and gaming skills.

You come off as an asshole!

Bollocks, I say!

Back on topic, of all the games I’ve played, loved, and also “hit it and quit it”; Everquest 2 has some of the worst players in any MMORPG. Despite my feelings for EQ2, her only flaw in my eyes are the ones who entertain themselves on a daily basis with her company.

Warcraft has the worst players, you homo!

Quiet, you anti-Semite!

That doesn’t even-

Someone mentioned my name!

I’m not saying that all players in EQ2 are bad. Every game has bad players but EQ2’s players are in a league of their own. Bertoxxulous really outdid himself with his latest plague of stupid and unskillfulness that has infected the playerbase.

 

As a troubadour, should I be out DPSing the wizards? If your answer is a yes with a hint of implied inquiry in the tone then you should understand the absurd level of shock I had leveling my flamboyant bard on the Permafrost server. More often than none was I the top DPS of the group or only outdone by a Shadow Knight tank. Very few came close to my numbers unless I was in the rare group where someone wasn’t busy watching their kids.

House wives, why are they even allowed to be playing EQ2? Shouldn’t they be busy playing Sims and Farmville? They have no place in trying to understand parses and pie charts from ACT. They can barely grasp how a Chocolate Cow in Farmville produces Chocolate Milk. Here’s a hint. IT’S A FUCKING CHOCOLATE COW!

The skillfulness to push buttons in a certain order isn’t even as mind blowing as the level of stupidity that sums up the vastly growing amount of total shit tanks in the level 70 range. How stupid can they be? One occasion I remember better than the others would be of the tank I kept asking to repair. We were at The Estate of Unrest and this gallivanting Berserker of worldly renown (/sarcasm off) had destroyed armor. I don’t know if its because he tried to tank while using a 2handed weapon despite our pleads for mercy or his claims that he could tank Bugaboo notwithstanding numerous attempts ending with the monstrous haunt face planting our tank into an early grave but this underdeveloped Neanderthal stood out like a golden ring at the bottom of a clear riverbed. We were all in the voice chat channel and finally his slack jawed Midwest accent began to wear thin on my patience. Stupidity spewed forth from his mouth like shit from my asshole after eating at Chipotle. How he managed to even understand how to set up his headset astounds me to this day.

“Hey dude, your armor is broken. Go repair. We’ll wait for you.”

“WAH!”

“Multiple pieces are 0%. You can’t tank like that especially when you’re using a two-hander.”

“WAH!”

“Because your durability has gone down the drain. Just go repair. I’ll go with you. I can teleport us back.”

“WAH can’t I tank with a Two-Hander if my armor is broken? I don’t get WAH!”

“Are you fucking with me right now?”

I’m cutting the reiterated blabbering short but to sum it up, I eventually convinced him to go repair after 5-6 minutes.

God, this editorial is getting long and I hope you’re still with me because there is more!

The community in EQ2 believes it to be okay for people to go AFK during a dungeon crawl. I can’t even count with the fingers on my hands and toes on my feet how many times we had an AFK leecher in our group. If it’s a guy, there might be someone bringing up the occasional “lol is this guy coming back?” But Lord forbid if it’s a fucking woman, though! She will AFK the entire session or return right before the boss. She’ll join the fucking group and then say “Hey guys, I’m cooking dinner at the same time. Give me a second.” That second turns to minutes, minutes into hours, hours into days, and days into eons! An exaggeration? Perhaps! But a bitch shouldn’t join a fucking group if she has something else to do! “Oh hey guys! What are we doing? Crushbone? Okay I’ll be the healer. By the way, I gotta drive to the corner market for a second! Don’t kick me :)”

Fuck! There are just so many other instances where this category of shit has happened to me in only EQ2 but I don’t think I can get into all of them with my trademark long winded bantering! Fuck it all to hell!

I know I could easily deny myself of these experiences if I only made my own group and wrote off some of these people with my own iron fist ruling. Trust me, I have! I don’t take shit when I’m group leader. I don’t like having my time wasted while someone is eating shit in real life. This is my break before real life kicks in and you’re ruining those precious few hours I have. There are just sometimes where it’s easier to join an already forming group than taking the reins into your own hands.

Some of you may not agree. You might feel that my little experiences are biased and that I must hate women, that I’m a fat virgin. Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’re wrong. And maybe, just maybe, you’re a cum dumpster too! If that’s the case, EQ2 is the game for you.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: You’re full of Sh*t

full of shit

This week we continued our attack on SOE and the community letter sent out by Lorin Jameson which led to the topic of how game companies and the people that work for them often bullshit us. We also talked about the decision to removed blood and the original fatalities from Mortal Kombat for the SNES. Overall, we spent the time calling people out and had a great time at it.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: You’re full of Sh*t

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

Lorin Jameson: The World’s Worst Bullshitter


In this world there are a special group of individuals who are hired to spit bullshit into the faces of others. These people are normally hired into public relations or in some dire situations they even ascend to an executive ranking. This is the case for Lorin Jameson, the executive producer of DCUO.

What has this personality done to earn the honor of the “World’s Worst Bullshitter”? If you’ve read the recent newsletters that have been put out for DCUO, you’d wholeheartedly understand. Oh don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the dark. Here’s the Producer’s Letter for May 16th.

As RadarX previously announced, we will soon introduce new technology into DC Universe Online which will allow us to combine our current servers into huge MegaServers. I wanted to answer some of the questions that have popped up on the forums and Facebook to better explain what these MegaServers will mean to the game.

Why are you creating MegaServers?

We have a very large and active population in DCUO. As players achieve higher levels, a lot more of the game involves participating in Raids, Arenas, Duos, Alerts, and other queued instances. After examining how the queues were working in detail, we saw our players were spending far too much time waiting and not enough time playing. This just would not do. We wanted an approach that would not only help players waiting for queued content, but ensured that no matter when you play, there are a maximum number of people in the cities as well. MegaServers offers a way to have an incredible experience no matter what your play habits are.

I am on a PvP server. Will I still be with other PvP players when I get to a MegaServer?

Yes! MegaServers use “phasing” technology, meaning there is more than one version, or phase, of Metropolis and Gotham on the server. Players who selected PvP servers when they created their characters will always be in a PvP phase of the shared world with other PvP players. The same goes for PvE players; They will always be placed in PvE phases. However, since the queues will be shared, PvE and PvP players will be able to group up for Alerts, Raids, Duos, etc. greatly increasing the pool of available players for matchmaking. It is a very cool system that really maximizes the people online, and nearby, for you to play with.

Will I still be able to play with my friends?

Yes! We have algorithms that will attempt to place you in the same phase as your friends and League members. Even if you you end up in a different phase, you can almost always phase to your friends. Using the UI, or a command like /phase SooperBFF you will be relocated to SooperBFF’s phase in the same location that you phased from. There will be some limitations on when you can phase based on whether you are in combat, in an Alert or Duo, etc. but I think you will find it is easy to get together with the folks you want to play with.

MegaServers? Why that name?

It just felt big. Putting hundreds of thousands of folks on the same server felt Mega! We considered ‘UberServers’ and ‘MonsterServers’ as well.

We will be rolling out more information in the days ahead. Have a great time playing DCUO!

Lorin ‘DeadMeat’ Jameson

Executive Producer

DC Universe Online

If you read through the whole newsletter, you’re probably disgusted. I’m sure, though, there is a select group of readers who can’t help but breathe from their mouths and not understand why I feel an ulcer building up after reading this letter. Let me break it down for you as easily as I can.

Lorin Jameson thinks you’re an ignoramus, a dimwit, and a nincompoop.

Harsh words, I know, but I didn’t say it. Lorin said it all with this smoothie of diarrhea he calls a Producer’s Letter.

I know it’s a company’s job to always think positively and on the bright side. No doom and gloom here! Always a happy go lucky, we’re still striving kind of attitude. That’s commendable but when you lie to cover up the shortcomings of your product that’s just disgusting when contradictions come into play.

DCUO has a very large and active population? Don’t fucking lie. Everyone I know that is still playing says it’s a ghost town and I was stilling playing two months after release and things were already getting dramatically scarce. If you don’t want people to think you’re a fucking liar, don’t even mention the population! No one asked how big the population was! How can there be a very active and large population when Lorin later states people are spending too much time waiting and not enough time playing? It contradicts itself!

That horrible method of delivering his bullshit isn’t even the worst part. It’s how he brands these consolidated servers as MegaServers. Every MMORPG in the history of MMORPGs that has had a dwindling population have consolidated their dying servers by merging them together. Everything Lorin Jameson said after “very large and active population” opposes that very statement.

Another small peeve I had was when he answered the question as to whether people will be able to play with their friends still. He answers with “algorithms”. That’s fucking swell, Lorin. They don’t give a fuck about your “phasing” technology and algorithms. You’re throwing around terms like they’re fascinating and new; as if gamers have no fucking idea what you’re talking about. Just say “Yeah you’ll be able to play with your friends! We have it set up so everything works just as it should!” Don’t act like you’re the first MMO to merge servers and you’re light years ahead of the rest of the world with your fucking algorithms.

Oh, wait I’m not done with this fucking letter. At the fucking end he then responds to the question pondering why they chose to name it MegaServers. He mentions how it felt Mega putting hundreds of thousands of folks on the same server. The only Mega thing I can think of when I read his description for MegaServers were Mega pellets of brown hail pelting me to death from the bullshit storm he is spewing all over the place.

Sony has had some really shitty people speak for them but Lorin Jameson just takes the fucking cake. Go eat a dick, Lorin Jameson.

Oh by the way, what happened to those monthly content updates and that Green Lantern content? Not making it in time for the movie? That just shows how incompetent SOE is to gain back some subscribers following this summer’s super hero movie craze.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Your MMO Blueprint Sucks

Atari and Cryptic Logo

This week Ignacio and I asked for some topic recommendations via our Facebook fan page. We began the show talking about Ignacio’s continuing addiction to League of Legends and then moved into the  topic of Atari dumping Cryptic like a ugly prom date. In addition, we covered some of the ongoing Sony troubles after being hacked and the future of MMO’s and the fact that the days if pumping out tons of MMO’s to make millions looks to be over.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Your MMO Blueprint Sucks

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

The Unsurprising Incompetence of Sony


We all know what’s going on with Sony. For those of you who don’t know, you either don’t game or you live under a rock. The greatest hacking escapade of 2011 has left the company’s loyal consumers hanging on the sideline while they hope to the heavens that their credit card info hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder. If you haven’t cancelled your credit card, asked for a new number, or put out a fraud alert by now it’s best advised you do so now.

What I really wanted to get into with this article isn’t Sony’s time and time again ability to completely fuck up everything they touch. I want to know why anyone would even remain loyal to this colossal abortion of a company?

Because Microsoft is the devil, Umar!

Microsoft can be whatever you want to call it but Xbox Live has provided some of the best online multiplayer entertainment compared to their other console rivals. True, the Xbox live community is immature at best. Again, it is true, most of the games that come out for Xbox are also available on the PC but this isn’t just about comparing PSN to Xbox Live.

I don’t care about the other consoles. Disregard the Wii, Xbox, or the PC in this decision. Why should someone remain devoted to Sony games or devices? If you can’t get past that, you’re missing the point entirely.

What is the point then, you fat asshole?

The point is, as a customer, why should you remain with a company that can’t protect your CC information? Why remain with a company who has been so crippled by the attack they have yet to restart their service? Why remain with a company that markets with an asshat like Kevin Butler? Why remain with a company that barely has anything to show at E3 time and time again and when they do manage to reveal something it becomes an internet meme?

And this is just with their Playstation portion of the company. They recently announced and moved forward with the shutting down of all Sony Online Entertainment games due to this “intrusion”. That means games like Everquest 2, Everquest… and what other games would be affected by this? Didn’t they seize operations on a huge plethora of their games? I know they have DCUO but how many customers can you upset by bringing that game down? Their ten remaining customers? Big deal. If this assault doesn’t put the nail in the coffin for DCUO then its loyal subscribers are used to be being screwed over and over again.

For a company that is already struggling to breathe in the MMO market, this setback is going to draw more players to WoW, LOTRO, and/or Rift. How can they recoup their losses? Offer a free month for the month they’re already going to lose? Give away 700 Station Points?
Thanks for the piece of mind, Sony. I’ll enjoy these small tokens of your appreciation for my loyalty while some criminal abuses the shit out of my credit.

Face it, loyal Sony fanboys. You’re on the Titantic and you can get off the ship and survive or freeze to death in the piercing icy waters of Hell. You aren’t Rose. No one wants to draw you naked. You won’t live through this.

I know a couple of people who are still riding on Sony’s cock. To them I say you’re a complete moron. Enjoy lubing up your ass with olive oil while this company and its attackers continue to fuck you from behind.

Now I want to hear from you, the reader. I want to know why on God’s green and polluted Earth would you want to stay with Sony?

Mega64: Heavy Rain

[youtube id=”dP30WYgYiUI” width=”633″ height=”356″]

Mega64: Heavy Rain

mega64-heavy-rain

These guys make excellent parody videos where they take what you would do in a game and act it out in real life.
Here is their latest video on the game, Heavy Rain.

 

David Hasselhoff: Jump In My Car

david-hasselhoff-jump-in-my-car

This video is just creepy. The Hoff pulls up in his super K.I.T car trying to pick up women, but it more looks like he is some weird kidnapper not some cool due. I think everyone will appreciate the background images like the Wonder Woman stars. I guess in the end Dave realizes he doesn’t really like women and boots her out ejection seat style.


At 0:32 tell me what you think she says.

Rift Q and A

Rift Logo

Unless you have been underground or on another planet you have undoubtedly heard of the latest MMO that is taking gamers by storm. Rift launched a few weeks ago offering gamers massive dynamic battles, the ability to build your own class and a Pvp combat system unlike any other. A lot of the Obsolete Game staff have been playing this game and slowing down our productivity, but it is totally worth it. We recently had a chance to talk with Scott Hartsman, Executive Producer for Rift about the game and the future of MMO’s.

Will you offer end game content at the time of release and if so can you tell us a bit about it?

Scott Hartsman: These days a game can’t be called AAA unless it has both advancement content as well as a healthy end-game.  The trick is finding the right balance between time spent leveling up and everything that comes later.

Once you turn level 50, there’s two new group instances waiting for you, then two tiers of expert modes for all the instances in the game to date (11 instances) which unlock new bosses and areas and advance the instance’s story.

There are also level 50 zone events in the high level zones (and more will be added constantly).  Initially, one 20-player raid instance has been released (with more coming over time).  There are crafting recipes to continue to collect.  Artifact collections to continue completing.  Achievements to obtain.  Rare crafting recipes to be discovered. Then there’s the level 50 PvP warfront (The Battle for Port Scion), the PvP Prestige leveling system, and so on.

What is your plan for rolling out content patches big or small?

Scott Hartsman: A week after launch, we released the first four of the 10 man raid rift encounters.

Our major update schedule (approximately every 4-8 weeks) contains new zone events, full world events that last for days, new encounters, entire new types of content, as well as entirely new zones and instances, and of course constant feature addition and refinement.

We’re doing our best to make sure that there’s always a good reason to come back and see what’s new.

Are you afraid of cookie cutter builds that can end up plaguing the game?

Scott Hartsman: We’re always keeping an eye on it, but so far it’s not a big concern.  Different builds have different strengths and the spread we’re seeing is very encouraging.  Our system is built more around the idea of bringing the player, not bringing the perfect spec.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 1

When creating a MMO even if you have the lore and a vision in place there must be some things you look to add, take away or modify from other MMO’s or games, was that the case with members of the Rift team and if so can you tell us about that?

Scott Hartsman: For us it was mostly about making sure we had enough ways to express the story beyond having interminable walls of text.  Our event content became a great way to introduce notable characters and give them a personality.  We did evaluate our use of voice toward the end, and added enough to give the characters flavor, without over-voicing everything.

What kind of PvP mechanics do they have in mind for servers where the population is unbalanced and a faction needs a leg up to compete?

Scott Hartsman: Our PvP isn’t really about having to have perfect population balance at the shard level.  If we get into more mechanics that do require balance in the shared world, we do have a few ideas for ways we’d go about combating that. 🙂

Your ads mention that the players “are not in Azeroth” anymore. Beyond that, what are some of the differences someone may find in a game like Telara environment-wise?

Scott Hartsman: In terms of the environment, the biggest, most obvious evolution is the world full of event content of all sizes.

“Events” in our system range from a single NPC doing something out of the ordinary, to public events like Rifts and Invasions aimed at solo and group players, to massive full zone and world events where hundreds of people are teaming up in multiple raids to defend the world.

It brings a level of excitement and urgency that I’d be hard pressed to compare to what’s around in any other MMO.  The dynamic events are the main idea – The static content and quests are the backdrop where the events take place.  Flipping the idea of game content around like that takes a bit of time for some people to wrap their heads around, but once they do, they tend to have a hard time imagining going back to a game where they’re not always happening.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 2

For a startup company, you guys are pulling out the big guns in regards to advertising. Not many MMO companies take this approach. What made you decide to televise commercials for the game?

Scott Hartsman: We genuinely believe that we have a pretty great game here.  Throughout all of our betas (through game metrics, retention, polling, you name it), we learned that people thought so as well.

All of our tests proved that the more people who tried it, the more people who walked away with a positive impression of it.  Not all games work out like that.  When you do see it happen, you double-down the bet. Expanding the awareness of RIFT via TV is one small part of that.

What are some of the mechanics that you feel make Telara stand out on its own in a sea of new MMOs?

Scott Hartsman: The biggest one that people encounter within their first seconds of landing in Rift is the soul system.

You choose your Calling right off the bat, then you have multiple souls to play with within the first few minutes of the game.  We’re finding that this ability to customize yourself and collect up to 9 souls currently, across 4 specs, is turning into one of the biggest systems attractions in the game, as some people frequently do nothing but play with creating new builds for themselves.

Most importantly, more groups form much more easily.  When more people can heal or tank or provide support if they choose to, but don’t feel they’re forced to all the time, it’s great for the overall grouping environment.

How much focus will you put on hardcore players giving feedback on what should be changed within Rift, will the community as a whole have a say on what changes may come about?

Scott Hartsman: Hardcore players tend to spot the more subtle flaws in any system, as they’re the ones who spend as much time analyzing games as the designers themselves, and a fresh perspective from smart people can be a great source of new enlightenment.  The hardcore folks also tend to be the first to experience anything, so they tend to spot issues before anyone else.

Other than that, there’s no difference between the way hardcore or casual feedback is treated.  We have more avenues to be reached than any other MMO that I’m aware of, and we pay attention to all of it as best as we can.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 3

From what we’ve heard, Rift is turning out to be one of the most polished MMORPGs to release in a while. How do you feel about some games out there that decide to release early riddled with bugs? Do you feel it is a slap to the face of the players?

Scott Hartsman: Not at all – As a player myself, I get as angry as the next guy when I’ve paid for something and it’s either not stable or not finished, but I also sympathize with the teams of developers whom I can easily imagine watching their game launch, wishing they had more months to polish or finish it.   No one ever sets out to make a bad game.  When it happens, it tends to be a function of having bitten off more work scope than the budget will allow, or more than is technically possible to ship.

A lot of the lore seems a bit more in favor of making the Defiant seem like not only the rebels but also the heroes. Do you feel this could lead to a large population imbalance as one faction seems more intriguing than the other?

Scott Hartsman: Interesting – What we’re seeing is that the Defiant are being treated as the rebels, and the Guardians are being treated as the heroes.  (Even though heroic Defiant and rebellious Guardians do exist both in the lore and in game.)

It’s led to a level of balance that’s even surprised us (the ratio was within +/- 0.1% the last time I checked a week or so ago).

What RPG’s and MMO’s did you and members of the Rift team play?

Scott Hartsman: We have a pretty huge team (120+), with tastes all across the board, and the vast majority of us are gamers ourselves.  I’d say the challenge would be more about finding RPGs and MMOs that people hadn’t played.

Rift - Gamplay Screenshot 4

Do you guys at some point want to include an in-game marketplace for vanity items akin to Sony’s Marketplace in EQ2?

Scott Hartsman: Right now, we’re 100% focused on making the Rift that is out there as good as it can possibly be via constant content and feature updates.   New types of in-game store functionality isn’t something that’s really on our radar for the moment.   If enough people like the idea, it could be something we talk about in the future.

The only store-type conversations we’ve had lately have been around working out a path to hardware authentication devices, and other merch like hats and t-shirts.  T-shirts and sweatshirts?  Now THOSE we get a lot of requests for.  🙂

You can check out all the information on Rift on their Official Website and picture up the game here.

 

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Fan Q and A

Q and A session

This week on the Obsolete Gamer Show we turned to our fans to answer their questions from our Facebook Fan page. We had our good friend Tom in the studio and was able to get though most of the questions.

Here is a list of the questions we answered.

Why did bloody EA have to buy Criterion Software and shag up the Burnout series?

What is the most unusual game console you ever had the opportunity to play?

How long before sony gets serious about their portables?

What are your favorites quotes taken from games and why?

Which chips challenge do you prefer and why?

What is Batman’s stance on legalizing marijuana?

Who would win out of Sonic and Mario in a Hell in the Cell match?

For those questions we did not get to don’t worry, we will add a question of the day part to our show to answer your questions.

In the meantime, have a listen and leave us some feedback.

The Obsolete Gamer Show: Q and A

Or have a listen on our official OGS page and let us know what you think.

Or download our podcast from Itunes

 

The Whine List

whine motivational poster

Gaming forums are not a good place for the faint-hearted, but just recently there seems to have been a lot of whining and misplaced angst. While there are easy targets – Sony’s poor handling of the PSP Go – there have been some misguided campaigns of hate that deserve to be shot down in flames, ridiculed and dispatched to the darkest corners of the Internet.

Nintendo have regularly been updating the system firmware of the Wii, most notably to include SD card support (a feature the gaming community was calling for, no less). But when the most recent update was found to “brick” a small number of consoles, even rabid Nintendo fans were up in arms. “How can they do this to us?” came the protests, as the update designed to prevent homebrew and such esoteric mods as the USB loader working took hold. While I applaud the ingenuity of the hackers, the fact remains – modifying a console like this is illegal and opens up the possibility of piracy. Obviously Nintendo cannot allow that, and are well within their rights to stop modified machines working in a way they were never intended to. This was a cheap whine.

Similarly, I read a plea to get rid of software licensing agreements and to stop people having to click/push buttons to get past them “because no-one ever reads them”. Again, the companies would be within their rights to prosecute someone modifying their software or making illegal copies. More fool you if you fail to read the small print. (It does remind of a bizarre paragraph in a standardised licensing agreement that told me not to use graphics editing software for the Commodore 64 in the running of a nuclear power station, but I digress…)  This is a low-quality whine, blended from different varieties of gamer.

When Valve announced a sequel to the best-selling Left 4 Dead, you would imagine that the fans would be ecstatic. But no, a developer once renowned for being slow was putting out a sequel too quickly, and worst of all was the perception it would be “abandoning” the original and plans to release new content for it. Signing a virtual petition against Left 4 Dead 2 was a daft idea. But the campaign hit new lows when two leading objectors were given the chance to see the game at Valve’s headquarters – suddenly the two in question were “traitors” and Valve was brainwashing them into liking the game. This is vintage whine, distilled from the finest sour grapes and labelled fact-free.

For those who do not keep up with gaming forums, for a long time EA were the baddies. Now it seems the focus has switched to Activision, thanks in no small measure to the press statements of Bobby Kotich. After the rumoured pull-out from PS3 development (which never happened, given the recent PS3 price cut, and was unlikely anyway), further statements about what fans would buy and the future for the company after its merger with Blizzard did little to quell the online flames. Another bizarre boycott, asking fans to only buy Activision’s games second-hand, would seem to do more harm to the gamers themselves than to the company.

Sure, the price point for certain peripheral-based titles may seem high. The bizarre Modern Warfare 2 bundle with night vision goggles comes across as a company expecting fans to buy anything because of the name on the box (and the game it contains… hopefully). But, like EA before them, Activision are a company that have given a lot more than they take. Few could argue that the Guitar Hero games do not give hours and hours of gameplay for the money. And while it may seem strange to launch more expensive games in the midst of a recession, that money is going back to a company that works well with developers. So, this is another vintage whine, one that should be put on the shelf and left until there is genuinely something to complain about.

 

Portable problems

PSP - Playstation Portable

Sony had the chance to shake up the portable console market and to maintain its grip on gaming. Somewhere along the line things went wrong after such initial promise. The latest iteration, the PSP Go, has boosted sales but does it have a long-term future?

When Sony announced a portable Playstation the specs were interesting, promising PS2-quality games in the palm of your hand, wireless multiplayer and much more on a clear, wide screen. Many experts did see a potential flaw in the plan, Sony’s new UMD format. The much-maligned optical disk brought technical problems and slow access, and the film companies did not fall in line to support it.

Sony also fought a running battle with the hackers and the homebrew specialists. The processing power gave the chance for great emulation, and the use of memory sticks opened the door to illegal downloads. Firmware updates were met with fast responses from the hackers, the process aided by replacement batteries and other hardware hacks.

Giving the console a make-over quickly proved both a good idea and a drawback for Sony. The PSP Slim models (the 2000 and 3000) both gave a brief increase in sales but made very little real change to the hardware. Sales of games slowed whatever the model, with many stores discounting them and UMD movies soon after release.

More problems hit Sony as its marketing plans backfired. Graffiti ads in America caused controversy, ads for the white PSP were considered racist and the “All I Want for Christmas is a PSP” campaign was embarrassing. The ad company started blogs and put up supposedly amateur videos of kids who wanted the machine for Christmas – only for the gaming community to pour scorn on the whole thing.

One of the biggest problems for Sony was tailoring games to the handheld console. Too often developers tried to shoe-horn a large game more suited to playing at home into a UMD. Gems such as Loco Roco and Patapon were hard to find among the predictable movie licenses and multi-format failures. The Monster Hunter series did wonders in Japan but was slow to propagate worldwide. Gamers bemoaned the lack of a second analogue stick, but did appreciate the ability to download old PS1 games.

The PSP Go was a badly guarded secret that was finally given substance at E3 in 2009. Gone was the UMD drive and in came a new wave of games. The likes of Rock Band Unplugged and LittleBigPlanet showed some ambition. There was still no second stick, the screen was smaller and the sliding mechanism (to hide the controls) seemed like a gimmick too far. Another nail in the coffin came from retailers who refused to stock it due to the lack of additional game sales – since all the games have to be downloaded from the PSN. Room (the PSP equivalent of Home) may just be another bad move. Will existing owners upgrade? Sony threw another spanner in the works by announcing plans for users to trade in UMDs, only to cancel the idea and generate a lot more bad press.

So does the PSP have a future? It will be up to gamers to provide it, but Sony needs to look carefully at its strategy.

 

Bust a Move 2

Bust A Move 2 - Playstation Box

There were a lot of new finds to choose the retro game of the week pick but Bust a Move 2 took the cake this time around. Not only is this game addictive, but it also has a real good soundtrack. The difficulty is there as well as you’ll be failing a lot of times going against the machine before you are successful. Of course, if you are already familiar with these series then you shouldn’t have any problem mastering it quick but do yourself a favor and play the game in expert for a truer experience. The game cover art is just blah, probably Americanized due to the audience and what not, but what does a dude with little toothpicks in his eyes has to do with the game? Not sure, and also what is this about saying “so addictive it should be illegal” That can’t help raise sales you know. What if a parent went ahead and was checking out different titles for their kids and saw the cover and read that? The parent would probably never pick it up unless he/she didn’t give a shit about what the cover says.

Bust A Move 2 - Gameplay Screenshot

Furthermore, the game is just amazing from beginning to end. The player vs player mode also makes things real fun and it’s a great choice for multiplayer gaming sessions. The game tends to get easy to difficult at certain levels. For example, you will have no problem beating levels one and two but once you get to level three, the cunt you go up against with is tough! This little bitch will beat you to the ground if you don’t come up with a strategy. After level three, you’ll have a lot more easier rivals until you finally reach the tougher stages in the game.

So that should be it for this pick, the game is fun and makes you come back for more but it’s not so addictive it should be illegal. Games like these are a little hard to come by so get ready to spend some cash(around 10-20 dollars) but not much to make you go broke.

Games coming out in March 2011 for Consoles

Crysis 2 wallpaper

It is March Madness and I am not just talking the NCAA. There are a number of good games coming out this March so I hope you have paid off all of your x-mas debt because it is time to open that wallet or purse.

Dragon Age II – Mar 8th


BioWare is back for the next full chapter in the Dragon Age series. This RPG will feature updated graphics and gameplay and a continuing storyline.

Major League Baseball 2K11 – Mar 8th


I got some feedback for not mentioning sports games so here It is. We know 2K sports does it well and even if you are an EA fan you know 2K will make a good game and it looks as if MLB 2K11 will live up to the legacy.

Homefront – Mar 15th


PS3 fans rejoice because now you have a chance to play this story-driven first-person shooter set in the year 2027.

Top Spin 4 – Mar 15th


I was always a fan of the Top Spin tennis series and it is good to see it back for the next gen consoles. You can select over 25 pros and play in a ton of stadiums around the world and even create your own tennis star. Another hit from 2K Sports.

Crysis 2 – Mar 22nd


Remember the benchmarking game called Crysis? Okay, it was not a benchmarking game, but it did make a ton of people upgrade their computers. For us console owners this first-person shooter returns powered by the CryEngine 3 and looks as incredible as ever.

LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars – March 22nd


You have to give it up to the Lego series, even if you were not a fan of the Indian Jones and Batman Lego games the Star Wars series has always been fun to play. This time we enter the clone wars with overhauled visuals and new gameplay including cooperative action.

Shift 2 Unleashed: Need for Speed – Mar 29th


The unleashed series combines what we love the most about racing, fast cars and crashes. It is this mix of racing and violence that made Burnout fun and looks like it works for the Need for Speed series as well.

 

 

WWE All Stars – Mar 29th


One large complaint from the Smackdown versus Raw series was the fact that you could not play many of the classic stars from the WWE’s past. With WWE All Star the entire game is dedicated to the legends of the wrestling world and you can pit them against todays superstars.

Parasite Eve: The 3rd Birthday – Mar 29th


Yes, this is a PSP game and yes it takes the Parasite Eve series and makes it more like a shooter than an RPG, but there are some redeeming elements including story that makes this game worth the buy if you already own a PSP.

The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings – Mar 29th


The Witcher 2 is a direct sequel to developer CD Projekt’s mature-themed fantasy role-playing game based on the works of author Andrzej Sap.

Back in Debt

There you have it, our list of worthwhile games to check out and perhaps buy. We will be back next month with a brand new list and trailers on games to buy, obsolete gamer style.

 

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday Trailer

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

In this latest trailer from Sqaure Enix we begin with Aye laying just outside of a church bloodied wearing a wedding dress. We then dive into gameplay footage once again showing that this game is more run and gun, action oriented than the previous PE’s that were more action RPG related. Switching back to CG the trailer shows that Aye has to remember how it all started. Perhaps we will learn more about the backstory of PE. Keep in mind the Parasite Eve series began as a follow-up to a novel.

So for those who spent the cash on a PSP and are fans of the Parasite Eve series this game could still be worth the purchase.

Chronos

Chronos (1987)
By: Mastertronic Genre: Shooting Players: 1 Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Featured Version: ZX Spectrum First Day Score: 36,950
Also Available For: Amstrad CPC

Chronos title

Back in gaming’s distant past, a phenomenon known as budget games was born. Budget games were something that, until Sony came along and introduced their ‘Platinum’ range of older titles, had never graced the console market – they were restricted to the now-classic home computers of the day. They were at their most successful during the days of the battle for 8-bit computer supremacy and, at this time, they usually cost £1.99 or £2.99. They included, either top-selling titles which had been on release at full price for a while already (much like the Platinum range), or they were original but often somewhat limited games whose developers felt wouldn’t shift many units at full price, and thus released them for a knock-down price. Some budget games were indeed substandard, or even mind-numbingly crap, but there were also many better than average, or even awesome titles available too. Chronos was among these.

Chronos screenshot

Even in its day, Chronos was one of the most basic shoot ’em ups seen for years. It’s a horizontally scrolling affair spread over six fairly long levels. It features no power-ups, very basic and repetitive enemies, and little else. It should be complete crap, but for reasons I find myself completely unable to explain, it’s not! The first level features two kinds of enemies. The first are flying aircraft things which fly in a straight line and explode, either when you shoot them or when they hit part of the scenery. The second kind is a simple sphere which does much the same thing, but doesn’t move as quickly. The level is over when you reach the ‘Chronos Zone End’ marker, at which point the next level begins and the monochrome graphics change colour. Each new level brings with it a new kind of enemy. Level two for instance, sees the introduction of the ‘tumbling’ squares. These erratic fiends are much harder to avoid or shoot due to their unpredictable flight path and they often seem to lie in wait, popping up at the most inconvenient moments! All the enemies seem to appear randomly too, and often in or from rather strange parts of the levels.

Chronos screenshotThe levels themselves are quite interesting. They feature an abundance of scenery – some of it along the top and bottom of the screen, as is standard, some of it simply floating in the middle of the screen, and much of it pretty sizeable and arranged in such a way that you’re rarely able to fly along in a straight line. At a few points it even offers two different routes, but one of them generally ends in a dead-end! Amusingly, many parts of the scenery also display various non-game-related messages, presumably as a result of the programmer larking around while writing it! This doesn’t represent the extent of the levels’ features either. The first of the obstacles you’ll encounter are segmented barriers, which can be destroyed a section at a time by shooting them. They are numerous and appear in all sorts of locations – sometimes they are only one or two sections high inside a tunnel or small gap in the scenery, other times they appear screen high (on the rare occasion that’s possible). They are replaced by honeycomb-like barriers in later levels too, which effectively do the same thing. There are also energy barriers which span the distance between the top and bottom of the scenery. These are taken out by shooting them at the top or bottom which disables the beam. A more aggressive feature, which can be found increasingly frequently as the game wears on, are the gun emplacements. They are usually found near the bottom of the screen and shoot directly upwards. Just about the only other feature of note is the bonus letters which appear every now and then. They gradually spell out B-O-N-U-S (what else) and give you extra points.

Chronos screenshot

There’s not a lot more to it that that. Chronos is a basic shooter to say the least, but it unquestionably has a certain something. But what is the hook? One of the most appealing things about it is its appearance. Each level is presented in a monochrome style – one colour for the space background, which is littered with stars moving at different speeds, and the other colour for everything else. The first level features a black background with yellow scenery and sprites for instance. While technically far from the pinnacle of Spectrum achievements, Chronos’ graphics are very neat and suit the game well. The only bad point here is the somewhat jerky scrolling. Like many Speccy games, the sound is far less impressive, however. The only tune in the game is present on the title screen and during play there are all of three sound effects – your ship’s shooting noise, explosions, and when you collect the bonus letters.

Chronos screenshotAs far as the gameplay is concerned Chronos should be a bit of a stinker, but for some reason it’s not. I’m not sure why this is but I’ve always enjoyed playing it, from right back in 1987 when I first got it up until this very day. I think at least part of this is down to the highly imaginitive scenery. Shooting the aliens almost takes a back-seat at times to navigating your way around the screen, down tunnels, and taking out or avoiding obstructions – the game always keeps you on your toes. The six levels won’t challenge you forever and I’ve finished this game several times, but it’s a good game to return to due to its high-score potential. There are a fair few enemies on the screen at any time and you can’t cover the entire screen the whole time. Therefore, if you can’t destroy all of them, the possibility to improve your score will always exist, as there are always points missed.

Chronos screenshot

When you see Chronos in action for the first time, you’d know it’s a budget game. It doesn’t have the ‘presence’ of a full-price title, but the truth is I’ve spent far more time playing this than I have almost all other Speccy shooters, full-price or otherwise. But at the same time, it would be slightly unjust to give this game a huge score, due mainly to the existence of far more polished Spectrum shooters such as R-Type, Side Arms, Salamander, and Flying Shark. The mere mention of those titanic games should see this game immediately fade into obscurity, but for some reason I can’t stop myself from liking this cheap and cheerful, but highly enjoyable little game.

RKS Score: 8/10

On a footnote, such is the love for Chronos, there’s a decent PC remake available. Download it from the excellent World of Spectrum remakes page, here.

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

Bat Family DCUO screenshot
Bat Family DCUO screenshot

DCUO: Qualms With The Game And A Plea For Fixes

This is a copy/pasta of a post I made on the DCUO official forums.

I am writing this in hopes that SOE sees this and takes the time to actually start some sort of plan to save their latest MMO DC Universe Online. I am not calling in the apocalypse of this game but I am simply stating that right now it has been poisoned by bugs. I have played many MMORPGs and since World of Warcraft’s release there haven’t been many AAA MMO launches. Many games falter in their idea to cash in on the WoW craze and create clones and other games try mechanics that just seem to fall flat because they failed to fix game breaking bugs before release. I don’t have much faith in many of the MMO’s coming out in 2011 but I did feel and still do feel that DCUO was going to be the one to stand with the greatest potential.

Lawl? Did u not hear of Star Wars TOR, newb?

Okay, fellow forum readers. Yes I’ve heard of Star Wars but I do not have high hopes for that game as I generally don’t see things with rose tinted glasses. But this is besides the point. I don’t want to banter SOE with “IM GUNNA QUIT AND GO TO ” bull. I don’t want to put out an angry, unproductive statement out that does nothing but sound like another QQ fest. I want to state what I think they need to fix in order to prevent this game to going into a crippling decline.

People in my guild r already leaving, newb! Dis gaem is a failure.

I understand that people are leaving but people always leave MMO’s in their first month. It’s a common thing to see a mass exodus of people leave one game, talk highly of the new toy, and then pinch a loaf all over that toy, and go back to another game that presents the same grind or what not. That isn’t a great argument at this point as it is a common thing amongst MMO gamers.

Now that I have the generic forum responses out of the way, let me get into my issues with the game and why they are stunting to its growth.

League Chat Breaking

Never have I played a game where a chat is broken. Shout is never broken, yet somehow, some way, League chat breaks. How are groups of people supposed to connect to enjoy the game together? No one plays an MMO to play it in solidarity for everlasting months. The thing that keeps people playing is 1) Yes, content, but we’ll get into that later and 2) the ability to form bonds with fellow server mates for an enjoyable experience.

Those of you who have spent time with guildies or leaguers and just goofed off racing around cities, griefing someone as a group, or just doing something pointless can attest to the good times that can be had with friends and clansmen. Even without additional content, good friends can make a game last awhile, probably not as long as a game with constant content, but they’ll last longer than the average solo king player.

League Chat breaking over and over seems like an easy bug to fix as most MMO’s don’t seem to screw up their chat systems. This is the first time I’ve ever witnessed this kind of issue in anything ever. Without League chat, what’s the point of a League? How can people communicate or introduce themselves to one another? No bonds are made thus no establishment is set into the game’s community causing a rift of players to either leave to where they came from or hold out until the next MMO that will save them.

Queues Breaking

I can see how this is an issue that can take awhile to resolve but it should have been resolved early on towards the end of beta. Some sort of contingency plan should have been brought up to fix the issue if queuing loads being too dramatically hectic is causing them to shatter. If it isn’t the load of players using the queuing system that is breaking it, then what is it? What is so difficult to fix that it has taken two weeks for someone to still not figure out?

A lot of games have a ton of levels for you to grind through so it takes awhile for major sums of their player base to hit the endgame cap. DCUO makes you super right away by making hitting 30  a quick and easy thing to do. This is mostly because most of the content is for level 30 characters. That is great but when most of this content is governed by the queue system, well that is where the main focal point of the game’s design seems to get blinded.

How is a game that promotes fast leveling and quick end game experience supposed to last when their main method of entering these adventures is blocked by a queue system that breaks too often. PvP queues, Duo queues, Alert queues, all broken. The only queue that seems to work is The Vault and that is completely aside from anything else as it just teleports you to a single player map.

But OP! You can run to Arkham, Containment Facilities, and many more!

That’s true, poster. You could run to those instances. I, for one, have been. I refuse to allow a broken queue to stop me but when I can’t do my duos or get into certain instances, I feel like I’m being cheated. I’m not saying that SOE owes me Marks of Triumph (though, that’d be pretty nice.) but I do feel like I’m paying $15 a month to be blocked out of content I was able to play earlier in the week.

Watchtower Crashes

This bug personally hasn’t affected me but I can see where the issue can bother some people. In WoW, when Eastern Kingdoms or Kalimdor crashed, you couldn’t get on your character in that continent. However, there was another continent always available for both factions.

When Watchtower is down, you’re locking out a good chunk of one faction while the other isn’t hindered at all. This is an increasingly difficult issue because if queues aren’t working, and Watchtower is down, so goes your cross city travel system.

Bugs I Can Deal WIth For Now

There are certain bugs I can handle right now because there are work arounds for them, but that doesn’t mean to ignore them.

I can deal with the platform in Star Labs arena being exploited by flying enemies contesting the node from underneath since I’m a pro and took grounding abilities.

I can deal with the loot bug at the end of an alert where if I hit L before seeing the “overall data” chart  I won’t get to roll on the item. I already know to wait but I can see where a ton of people would be having an issue over this. (Protip: Leave the instance and you can still hit need out of the alert and the item will go to you and show up in your bag.)

You Sound Mad, Bro! Do You Like Anything About This Game?

Yes, I like this game and unlike many people I have faith in SOE. I know EQ2 was a pile of garbage but they really turned that game around. If it released maybe 2-3 years ago instead of 6 it could have been a contender, it could have been a somebody! They dish out content in that game constantly and it’s great to see a company throwing resources into a dying game like that (though they probably wouldn’t admit EQ2 is suffering.).

Of the MMO’s I’ve played at release, this game is pretty solid and enjoyable. I know they’ll keep pushing out content because they understand how big DC is right now with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, the upcoming Green Lantern,  the role DC heroes play in children’s media, the announcement of the new Superman flick, and the success of Smallville.

The combat system isn’t something you find in any MMORPG to date and it works out for the action packed fluidity of the comic book genre. I never thought the class system in this game would work because class systems tend to fail in most Super Hero MMO attempts but I think this is probably one of the best implementations out there and I have no issues with the balance of paper, rock, scissors. I enjoy the three class trinity synergy and the ability for anyone to DPS.

The excitement of being able to fight side by side with notable characters, heroes and villains alike, adds to the feel of the game. The voice work is grand and I hope they can keep it up, unlike in EQ2 where they stopped their voice acting in newer installments of content. With Time Warner having some role over the development of this game, though, and their ability to profit from it as well, I can see the voice acting remaining relevant  if the game remains a standing contender in the current 2011 MMO battle.

So as you can see, I am satisfied with the game. I am still hyped up and enjoying everything I possibly can right now with DCUO. It’s fresh, different, and exciting especially with friends. I would like to keep it that way.

I know that SOE is planning a huge update of content in February but please do try to fix the bugs as well first or simultaneously. Additional content is useless with a dwindling player base.

 

MMO’s Coming Out In 2011 Are Already Behind The Curve

2011 sure seemed like a year that would be promising us some exciting upcoming titles in the MMORPG world. With Star Wars: The Old Republic, Rifts of Telara, and DC Universe Online it appeared at first glance that there finally would be some promising games out there which fought back against the monster known as World of Warcraft. I, for one, was in this crowd of believers looking forward to something fresh and a chance to move onto to greener fields.

Rift MMO plant
Rift MMO plant

Unfortunately, from my time playing the beta for some of these games and then also playing World of Warcraft’s latest expansion Cataclysm, I have to say that World of Warcraft has trumped the genre yet again.

But Umar, how can you say that? Those games are in beta and things always change!

Yeah, okay. People said that about Final Fantasy XIV, Age Of Conan, Warhammer Online, and Champions Online. Where are they now? Age of Conan is struggling to show some respectable numbers while being considered another tally of fuck ups by Funcom, discussions about putting FFXIV on a free to play model are on the table with Square-Enix already boasting a whopping 2 million active characters (look closely at the bolded word), Mythic is essentially dissolving with employee blogs ranting about the horribly typical EA experience they are suffering from (WAR really needs a F2P model if it’s going to stand up ever again), and Champions is already on a F2P market and is shitting bricks from the upcoming DC title.

Beta did not change those games. They have remained garbage and will never be something worth a purchase.

It’s time to take off those rosy glasses of hope and look at reality for a minute. Nothing has come to close to taking a slice of this market no matter how much you whine.
For the longest time, you’d hear me complaining about World of Warcraft and its flaws and its lack of this and that, but those were the days of Burning Crusade. The game has progressed leaps and bounds from release. I honestly have no qualms about it. What were the typical issues people had with WoW?
It’s too easy, Umar!

Okay, you nerdy Sephiroth cosplaying queer. Have you played Cataclysm? A PUG can barely clear a heroic now if most of the people you group with have downs. Oh, and don’t say “The WoW community is filled with bad players.” That’s easy to say. Most people I know that say that and then either play WoW or another MMO with me are usually just as bad as any other idiot I could PUG with.

WoW’s graphics are out of date!

Yeah, they are but it works with their art style. You need things to look pretty to have fun? Plants VS Zombies wasn’t enjoyable? Mario Kart isn’t fun? Let’s go play something pretty like Final Fantasy XIV. I’m sure that’ll be a great experience. Or let’s play Age of Conan where even the most high end computers at the time were struggling to display some of the graphics. Graphics shouldn’t be on the top of your list for playability as opposed to the actual style of the game.

I think you’re stupid and gay, Umar! Star Wars is going to be awesome!

Thanks, asshole. Enjoy Star Wars then. I’m not telling people to not play it as much as I’m saying that future upcoming MMORPGs are already behind what Cataclysm has presented. Star Wars will have what? Epic dialogue and a story? That is fantastic. Cataclysm already makes your character feel like they were part of a story, maybe not on the scale of Star Wars with all the cinematics, camera angles, and voice acting, but they did make your character more involved in the storyline.

Bioware already claimed that they won’t have much endgame and that they encourage people to roll alts to see the story from a different perspective. This is a “Choose your destiny” book in virtual form. All you’re getting is a story and not many innovative mechanics. They barely ever talk about actual gameplay and mechanics as much as they talk about the story portion of the game and the classes. “Hey guys we’ve got spaceships and Jedi! Cool shit, huh?” This is a niche game and once your story is over that’s it. Bioware isn’t known for making difficult games that require strategy and skill. Putting Mass Effect 2 on harder difficulties just meant you took more damage. Wowzers!

Rifts of Telara has already thrown in the towel by conceding the fact their game is more like Vanilla WoW than WoW in its current state. Vanilla WoW was one of the most raw and broken starts to an MMO. Gamers today are crying for innovation and polish. Not a throwback to olden times. Rifts is going to be what Vanguard was to Everquest 1. An old school reincarnation that will fall flat in the present.

The only game I think that can even grab a slice of the MMO market is DCUO. I’m not talking about a game that will take subs from World of Warcraft but a game that can fill that super hero niche that Champions failed to quench. City of Heroes is already too old school and bland even with all their amazing patches. DCUO has that opportunity to grab the market from those games and even pull in more people who cream to “Smallville” and “The Dark Knight”. It isn’t competing against the elephant in the room but against the carrion dogs roaming about.

If you don’t agree with me, that’s fine. You can think what you want and I can still think you’re a bag of dicks. What am I saying is going to come to true because my word is not only correct but absolute. These MMOs will fall flat with the exception of DCUO if Sony actually markets a game this time. Time will allow you to see the truth and your bottled-up, unbridled nerd pride will nourish me when you fail to accept my prophecy.

CES Report 2011: CES 2011 is not ready yet

After a day of taking in the Vegas strip and eating at a pretty awesome place called the Rock Bar it was time to get to the business at hand. I needed to pick up my press badge and check out a booth my friend is working at. It was then I realized that the people at the convention center (and there were a ton) would be working all night to get that place ready.

The convention area is massive; you really need to have comfy shoes or a segway or something because you will be doing a ton of walking. There were a lot of booths and areas that were not yet complete. Tons of boxes and pallets lined the hallways with massive equipment being moved from one place to another. It was like watching a movie set being built because you could see what is going to be an awesome booth being constructed.

Everyone was busy… from the booth builders yelling orders to the guys and girls in suits making sure everything will be done on time. However, some people were already done. Over at the Sony booth they were having a little meet and greet with the press, they had a bar with various drinks and right outside shuttles busing in more employees.

I admit I am glad I am not one of the people having to put together a booth. While some areas were almost done and just needed a bit of polish, other areas had a long way to go. I could bet that many people will be spending a long night getting ready. It was nice to see what will be soon all pretty and clean, all raw and unkempt. Seeing that is one of perks of getting in behind the scenes.

Parasite Eve: The Third Birthday

Parasite Eve The Third Birthday
Parasite Eve The Third Birthday

Oh look, another game from a series we love on a game system we don’t. While it was true many fans of the Parasite Eve series did not think part two was a proper follow-up they were still chomping at the bit for another installment. Unfortunately, the next PE is only going to be available on the PlayStation Portable and to add to that the game is going through some… changes.

The story this time starts with an assault on Manhattan by creatures the police call the Twisted. Within a year a task force called CTI or Counter Twister Investigation is formed and our favorite supernatural superpower heroine is part of that squad.

The gameplay will have a bit more third person shooting elements, but will still have a little survive horror and RPG aspects to it. You will have a number of new abilities including one called Overdrive which allows you to not only control team members, but jump into the minds of the Twisted to do some major damage.

As you can see in the video most of the gameplay is from a behind the back or over the shoulder view and you spend most of your time running and gunning which could turn off fans of the slower but more interesting RPG and puzzle style. Most of Aye’s power-ups will be there including liberation which gives her a burst of super energy to mow down her enemies.

Personally, I am torn because while a run and gun game can be fun it is not Parasite Eve. Yes, there was a lot of action and shooting in PE, but the RPG aspect of the game really made it worth a purchase for me. In addition, being forced to buy a PSP just leaves a sour taste in my mouth and it is the reason I did not buy the latest Final Fantasy 7 game.

Sony needs to wake up and realize that while the PSP is not a bad system it is not a winning system and they should spend their time focusing on the PS3. If you want to go the Nintendo route and release new versions of fan favorites fine, but do so for your main console and stop trying to ram this system down our throats.

The Third Birthday is set to release today in Japan and Q1 in the US and EU.

Martyn Brown: Team 17 Software

Team 17 logo
Team 17 logo

Name: Martyn Brown

Company: Team17 Software Ltd.

Profession: Everything over the years, currently heading up business development at Team17.

Favorite Classic Game: Football Manager (ZX Spectrum, circa 1983)

Quote: “I openly admit hiding behind the sofa, not able to look, when I guided the mighty Lincoln City to Wembley.”

Bio: I co-founded Team17 in 1990 and have been here for 20yrs. Recent releases in 2010 for Team17 have been Worms Reloaded on Steam for PC,  Alien Breed: Impact on Steam and PlayStation Network for PS3, Alien Breed 2: Assault on XBLA and Steam, Worms 2: Armageddon on PlayStation Network for PS3 and also on iPhone and iPad. Forthcoming releases include Alien Breed 2: Assault on PSN, Alien Breed 3: Descent for XBLA, Steam and PSN and also Worms: Battle Islands for PSP from PlayStation Network as well.

Motivational Monday: Boss Battles

Trustworthiness demotivational poster
Trustworthiness demotivational poster

Motivational Monday: Boss Battles

Remember those crappy action movies of the 90’s where the good guy would have to plow through hundreds of bad guys and then fight some super tough lieutenant  of the leader only to find out the leader himself was a complete pushover?  That just pissed me off because I always felt if you led a group of bad asses then you better be a really bad ass. Thank goodness in most video games the boss is pretty tough though it is true that some games did have a pretty weak final boss, Fable 2 comes to mind. Also for the most part there was an earlier end boss that was harder to beat than the final boss.

However, what makes final bosses cool is the intro, the setup. These fights should feel final, the curtain has been drawn and it’s just you versus him, her or it. There are many games that have captured this pretty well.

Final Fantasy 7: Sephiroth

I get it, a lot of people are tired of the FF7 talk, but you have to give them credit for presenting the final Sephiroth fight in a grand manner. Sure, Final Fantasy has used angel themed bosses many times, but the mix of the long intro, the orchestra music and his presentation makes you feel like this is it. Unfortunately, with just a few items it is incredibly easy to not only beat Sephiroth, but to neutralize almost all of his attacks, but hey how about that cool music.

God of War: Ares

Don’t you hate it when your father doesn’t acknowledge your accomplishments? While the build up to this specific fight wasn’t as epic as some of the others the fact remains that you are going up against the God of War. After opening Pandora’s Box and going all “E-nuck-chuck” it’s battle time.

Castlevania: Symphony of the Night – Dracula (Richter)

Dracula is just too cool. I mean he knows even if he’s killed he will be back and ever though Richter has been tearing a hole through his castle to get to him he’s just chilling on his thrown having a drink. He doesn’t even want to fight. Hell he didn’t want to wake up it was those damn presents that woke him.

Ok, so this isn’t a final boss fight per say but is was to represent the end of the previous Castlevania and honestly whenever you go up against Dracula it’s a final boss fight.

P.S. I love his laugh while when he disappears.

Super Ghouls n’ Ghosts – Final boss

This is why I don’t wear my suit of golden armor while writing it just slows me down too much. You have to appreciate an accommodating boss that gives you platforms to jump on to help kill him. What was the grand setup for this boss fight you might ask? Well you had to beat the entire game again to get to him so that’s a cry inducing setup if I ever saw one.

P.S. He looks like Papa Smurf on steroids.

Silent Hill: Final Boss

It’s the power of the womb with that crazy woman with the Mother Teresa scarf on. At the time I thought the cinematic’s for Silent Hill was so cool and now the dialog and voice acting just makes me a sad panda. I love how the cop stands there with her gun pointed for like five minutes before yelling “freeze” then somehow she flies onto her back.

The setup is slow, as slow as the bottle flying through the air, but the point is you finally get to punch someone’s face in for putting you in this nightmare. Then she turns into the man-bat form the Batman cartoons and its battle time.

Super Mario Bros. 2 – Wart

First things first, would you really jump in the mouth of a headless eagle after beating it down? We know a few things about Wart. One, he likes platforms. Two, he likes organ pipes that spit out vegetables. Three, he has nasty acid reflux disease.

Why would you stand in a room with a machine that pumps out things that can kill you? That would be like me keeping a swimming pool of peanut butter next to my bed so I can roll out and into it in the morning and kill myself.

Poor Wart was a bad design from the start being a mix between Bowser and Kermit the frog, but I liked the ending even though it was just all a dream. See, that’s what happens when you OD on mushrooms.

Oh there will be a part 2

There are a ton of awesome boss fights and we promise to get to them. In the meantime if you have an opinion on an awesome boss fight let us know and we will profile it.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: NOV 2nd 2010

vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros
vote McCain Obama Super Mario Bros

Hey, its election time and you have the awesome choice between spineless yes men and tea baggers, why not skip all that and play some video games instead. Okay, fine. MTV told me to rock the vote so how about you game the vote. While you are out picking up these games stop over at your local voting station and get your democracy on.

God of War: The Ghost of Sparta

I have a love hate relationship with the PlayStation portable. I like the games and all, but why all the remakes and such like Final Fantasy and Parasite Eve being PSP only? Oh, well in GOW Sparta we follow the events of our hero between the story from GOW 1 and GOW2. This story takes place during Kratos visit to Atlantis and if it wasn’t sunk before we now know how it got that way. The game is the second to find its way onto the PSP and has all the brutality it did before and stunning visuals to boot. One thing we know for sure, he really dislikes King Midas.

Golden Eye 007 – Wii

Hey, pop quiz, how do you get people to keep playing the Wii, answer, you remake games that were awesome on previous consoles. Yes, my Wii hate runs read, but my love for Golden Eye never dies. It was one the best console shooters of all time and even ranks up high for all-time best FPS shooters. Now those of you with the Wii gathering dust have a reason to celebrate as a remake of this classic is coming to you Nov 2nd.

Now the game is new meaning new graphics and even a new bond as you play as Daniel Craig, but all the classic gameplay that made it great is still there. You can still decide how you want to finish missions going in Rambo style or playing it like Bond really would being stealthy and cool. Multiplayer is back with a four person split screen tons of modes and support for the Wii and classic remote, nunchuk and even the zapper. Will I be buying a Wii to play this, no. Will I get my friend to buy it and camp his house, yes.

What about the Kinect Games?

Yeah, about that, as I said this list is for games I would buy and this week these two are the only ones I would consider. However there is also the new Sonic Free Riders and Dragon Ball Raging Blast 2 that look good. However, I need to be a little more hash and this week you only get two from me. Next, week we will be back for our countdown to black Friday report so stay tuned and until then keep the spending to a minimum.

GAMES COMING OUT FOR CONSOLES: OCT 26TH 2010

Video Game store
Video Game store

There are way too many good games coming out this month. Next week the pain continues so head over to Goggle and search for “Dollar Grocery Store”, cancel the Direct TV subscription and open a window because this is gaming season and we’re just getting started.

Fable III

The revolution will not be televised, but you can be part of it in Fable 3. This time the hero’s goal is to overthrow the evil King Logan who rules with an iron fist. How bad is this guy? Well he taxes people to hell, makes kids work in factories and kills people who don’t agree with him (sounds like the Bush administration am I right folks?) I kid, I kid.

You may be offspring of a great family, but that doesn’t mean you can effect change on your own. You need followers and you do this by completing missions and getting people to join you. Now you can go good or evil and your weapon changes depending on which path you choose. In the end will you be a kind and giving king or will your rule make Logan’s look like a day at Candyland?

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

What happens when a cloned Jedi with incredible force abilities lets loose? You get one hell of a game. Star Wars, the force unleashed 2 takes place right where part one left off. Starkiller betrayed Vader and tried to off the emperor but was killed. Vader created another clone of Starkiller and locked him away.

Starkiller is plagued by visions of his former self to which Vader explains it is just a side effect of the cloning process. However, Starkiller doesn’t accept that and breaks out and from there the real adventure and revenge begins.

WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011

It’s all about the gameplay when it comes to wrestling games and every game will be compared to the N64 title which is heralded by fans as the best of the best. This year SvR returns with a brand new physics engine that boasts to be the most realistic ever. This means the chair shots will look more real. The tables will break properly and they are unlimited and the ladders collapse as they should.

It is also about presentation and with the updated character models and grapple moves your focus will remain on the fun not a glitch in the game. Add to that the largest roster on a SvR game and we might just have a contender.

Overdraft Incoming

Now don’t go complaining that I didn’t mention Rock Band 3 or Sim’s 3. Yes, these are fun games, but how much more can be said. We know they have their market and will do will. Also, we don’t want you to go too far into debt there are more games coming out with week of Nov 2nd.

Games Coming out for Consoles: Oct 17th 2010

people buying nintendo wii
people buying nintendo wii

As you get ready for all the Halloween parties and Saw 13 you might want to set aside some money for console games. Sure, you could buy winter clothes or get that root canal you’ve needed for some time, but that won’t add to your collection of games now will it. It doesn’t matter if you have a Playstation 3, X-Box 360 or that awful Wii there is something for everyone this week.

Fallout: New Vegas


What goes better with nuclear waste than a $2.99 steak buffet. Fallout New Vegas features the Fallout 3 engine and was developed with members of the Fallout 1 and 2 team. It’s time to shine up your Pip-boy and load your weapons for some post-apocalyptic mutant hunting.

We got to see this in action at E3 and it looks really good. The art direction and style of Old Vegas mixed in with the lore of Fallout. You know the story and side quests are going to be fun and when you blast a mutant from miles away with the hunters riffle you will feel right at home.

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2


Now if you haven’t heard of Naruto it started as a Manga character from the Shonen Jump magazine. From there it ventured out into Anime and video games and more. Naruto follows the story of a boy ninja who was ostracized as a kid and because of that acted out and got into lots of trouble, but in time he became a great ninja, or and he has a demon sealed inside of him.

Many of the previous games followed the story from the Anime with extra missions and side quests thrown in. In Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 the story picks up at the beginning of the Shippuden run with Naruto returning to the village about three years older after training with his master. From there he takes on new missions with his team and reconnects with friends from the village,

We played this game at E3 and it was really fun and looked just like the Anime. The fighting styles are great and you can pull off a ton of special moves that look awesome. In addition to the mission levels you can fight against each other in versus matches and there are over 42 characters to choose from. Honestly even if you aren’t into Naruto specifically, if you like a good story adventure game with great fighting mixed in then this is worth a look.

 

 

EA Sports MMA


Forget the WWE it’s all about MMA now and that means real fights, real blood and that EA will make a game for it. Mixed Marital arts is big and this game showcases some of the best fighters in MMA.

The game looks real good and it has a cool career feature where you can customize you fighter from his looks to his gear. From there you have starting skill points but must train in them all to be the best. Over time by winning fights you earn money to improve your training as well as gear and then move up to be fights from all around the world.

It has a ton of names from the world of MMA and a well-designed and fun to play versus system. Hey, if you bought Fight Night might as well give this a try too.

Next Time

There are a few more games coming out next week, but if I had the time and the cash I would pick these up. Next week the wallet onslaught continues with a new list of upcoming games worth buying. Until then claim your weeks and start taking under the table jobs.

Gabe Gonzales: MoneyPlum Media

monkey plum media logo

Name: Gabe Gonzalez

Profession: CMO of MonkeyPlum Media, and self-appointed leader of the agency revolution

Favorite classic game: Metal Gear Solid (Sony Playstation)

Quote: I never played another game that had the attention to detail, amazing environments, quirky sense of humor, and was able to suck me into another reality like MGS. “Huh!? Who’s footprints are these?” that was awesome.

A game that truly has replay value, even to this day. Even if to just remember and relive my first time with MGS

It’s such a beautifully built game that I want to see its environments everywhere, so I created Shadow Moses Island for L4D and L4D2. Surprisingly the map made it into the pages of PGGamer’s top 10 L4d Mods. I have to finish them, but I seem to have builder’s block. I can assure you the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th maps are progressively (to-the-tenth-power) better than the 1st map…now if I can only focus on finishing them, it will be epic. Thank you Kojima. I heart you…


What went wrong with The Matrix Online

The Matrix Online
The Matrix Online

SOE has closed the door on The Matrix Online for a while now and most likely deleted all records of its existence from its database. Normally I would not bother talking about a game that is no longer in existence, but Matrix was different. It was not that I thought the movies were a cinematic masterpiece, but I loved them for what they were. I did not get into debates about the differences between Matrix 1, 2 & 3 choosing to walk away knowing I enjoyed the series. So when I heard about an online game I figured it should be fun because how could you mess up a game with kung-fu, computer hacking and cool shades?

Mission Failure

The Matrix Online
The Matrix Online

When games like Everquest came out many of had to learn that when creating an MMO you had to expect a lot of fixes and patches during the first few months of a game. However, once you have a good number of titles released and you are calling yourself a MMO conglomerate you would think you would be able to release games with less and less bugs and flaws at release. While this is not specific to Matrix Online they were pretty bad at release with the bugs, worse yet, months later many where still there.

One particular place where bugs seriously irked the player base was in missions. One of the most frustrating bugs was found in rescue missions where you would find the guy only to be attacked by agents. You would think you could run with the guy to the exit, but no. He or she would wait until you killed every agent before following you. It gets worse. Sometimes even after you killed every agent the NPC would not recognize that you had done so and so he or she would never move and your mission failed.

In other missions you would be sent into areas with NPC’s who could one shot you. It seems either your mission NPC’s thought you were the next Neo or mistakenly thought you slept with his virtual wife and wanted revenge. Either way a simple mission would turn into Saving Private Ryan as you were thrown deep into the shit.

A kick to the face

The Matrix Online facekick
The Matrix Online facekick

I was playing City of Heroes at the time I came across this game and I noticed it had something in common with it, no real content. I wished it also had something else in common with it, the combat system. Sadly, it did not.

Matrix Online had two types of combat, ranged, with weapons or hacking (magic) or close quarters combat. Personally, I played because I wanted to do some cool kung-fu moves and the way the hacking animation and graphics looked I did not want to shoot that crap out of my hands because it looked way to stupid.

So close quarters it was. MO used a system called interlock. When engaged, you are linked to your opponent with the battle arranged into rounds like rolls of the dice in D&D. In each round you and your opponent decide which attack you’re using for that period, after which the statistics of each are compared, a random element added and somebody wins, damaging the loser. This was done so you could see counters and blocks and all those cool choreographed moved you saw in the movies, but, just like the missions, it was buggy and flawed.

First off sometimes the interlock did not work correctly and you ended up facing away from each other but still performing the moves. This looks especially silly if you were jumping off a building. Another, more upsetting flaw, was that if you were fighting more than one NPC at a time you could be blasted from range unable to do anything because you were locked in close combat with your interlocked opponent.

Now you could disengage but this took Inner Strength (mana) and some moves could prevent you from using the escape option. So not only did it take time to try and escape, it could be blocked and there was also a lag when you did escape. When this occurred you could either be spun around or get re-interlocked by one of the ranged mobs. This led to a ton of frustration a lots and lots of death.

The human factor

Christine Carkner
Christine Carkner

While not plagued with hacks and bots and cheats like Aion, Matrix Online had its share of community leaches which helped to make the playing experience less than enjoyable. Early on there was a leveling bug which allowed many players to outpace the server level by a mile. There were also bugged missions which you could exploit and places on the map where you could trap a NPC or a fellow player.

When SOE took over the ship had already sailed. Developers were dropping left and right. Though they had a small strong community the word from above was that the game would soon be shut down permanently.

I did not play MO too much because it just did not live up to the lowest standards I gave MMO’s at the time. Strangely enough there were a good number of people upset to see the game go, but like television shows, a small group of loyal fans normally cannot save a failing product. One would have hopped that if anything other MMO developers would have learned from MO, but as we have seen with games like Warhammer, Conan and Aion, any lesson has fallen on deaf ears.

Games coming out Oct 10th for Consoles

Video Games funny poster
Video Games funny poster

I hope you either have rich parents, a good job or the unemployment check can be diverted from being used for Ramen noodles to video games because the week of October 10th has some great cash draining games.

Medal of Honor

War is hell; war in Medal of Honor is beautiful. When you have the perfect mix of exciting gameplay and incredible graphics then you have a winner. MOH has come back in 2010 with engaging missions, intense firefights and state of the art sound and graphics that puts you right in the game. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true. Check out the video from the helicopter mission.

Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode

There is not much more I can say that wasn’t covered in our preview of the game, but while this is a download title, for Sonic fans it’s a slice of heaven. True enough this is not breaking new stuff and some even feel it is nothing more than a Sonic Rush rehash, but the gameplay is fun, the visuals are a prefect mix of classic and modern and the music… well the music needs work, but hey its only fifteen bucks.

Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring

We got to look at this game while at E3 and if you are a wrestling fan in the very least then this title is worth taking a look at. Lucha Libre is Mexican style wrestling and that means high-flying stunts and crazy insane costumes. Pretty much it’s like playing a highlight reel of the WWE or TNA, on crack. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are stunning so if you need a break from the normal step into the ring with the Lucha Libre’s

So there you are three titles worth checking out next week and since one is a download it shouldn’t break your bank too much. I’ll be back next with a look at the games coming out for consoles the week of Oct 17th. Until then go make some extra cash.

Alex Kutsenok: Dreamspike Studios

Dreamspike Studios logo

Name:Alex Kutsenok

Company: Dreamspike Studios

Profession: Project Manager

Favorite Classic Game: Everquest

Quote: I got into Everquest as a sophomore in high school. It was my first MMORPG, and the level of immersion was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I also appreciated that there was a real consequence to death. It meant you lost a ton of experience and had to track across the world to retrieve your stuff. That kind of consequence made the adventure more real and exciting because you knew that there was always something at stake. Finally, I liked the freedom that came from choosing where you wanted to hunt. You didn’t need to worry about compeleting repetitive quests and could level in any number of zones.


Everquest II Extended Free to Play Beta

EverQuest II Extended BETA free adventures logo
EverQuest II Extended BETA free adventures logo

Starting today players can create new free to play accounts for Sony online entertainments Everquest 2. No credit card is required and there are additional tiers of membership upgrades you can take advantage of. Here is a look at their pricing plan.

Everquest 2 extended membership plans
Everquest 2 extended membership plans

Here is the official press release:

WHAT: Starting today, players can experience the dark and dangerous depths of Norrath without a subscription with the release of SOE’s new free adventure service, EverQuest® II Extended! SOE has liberated portions of the critically acclaimed PC franchise, EverQuest II, including five plus years of impressive, award-winning content, for free. EverQuest II Extended joins the highly successful EverQuest II live subscription service, and together they provide EQII players with a choice of either a subscription-based or free-to-play business model, thus offering two distinct experiences operating in parallel, which is a first in the MMO industry. EverQuest II Extended players can login now and experience the unmatched content and adventure that no other free to play massively multiplayer online game can offer! To sign up, players should visit http://everquest2.com/free_to_play.

ABOUT EXTENDED: Extended also provides players with quick and convenient game access through a new web-based streaming download application that lets players get into the game quicker than ever before. Extended also includes the recently improved EQII user-interface and Golden Path progression system!

Extended offers multiple tiers of membership upgrade options that allow players to customize their gaming experience to fit their needs. Details of these options can be found athttp://everquest2.com/_themes/default/images/extended/membershipMatrix.jpg.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures Public Beta

Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures logo
Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures logo

While at E3 earlier this year I got a chance to play Clone Wars Adventures and while it is true the game was made for a younger audience it was a fun play. Currently you can give it a try by heading over to their Public Beta page and signing up.

Here is their press release:

Sony Online Entertainment and LucasArts are looking for video game enthusiasts of all ages and fans of the Star Wars®: The Clone WarsTM animated television series on Cartoon Network to be the first to get hands-on in the open BETA testing that begins today for Star Wars®: Clone Wars AdventuresTM. Get a sneak peak of the highly anticipated free-to-play online virtual world and provide feedback to help put the finishing touches on the final game scheduled to be released later this year on September 15th.

The ultimate virtual destination for a new generation of Star Wars fans, Clone Wars Adventures is an action-packed virtual world where players can go online to experience fun minigames, daily activities, events, rewards, lively social environments and competition. Clone Wars Adventures lets players duel iconic adversaries with their own custom Lightsaber, speed through the galaxy in a custom Starfighter, defeat enemies and take down starships.

Clone Wars Adventures is a free-to-play game, but players who want to take the galactic action to the next level can purchase a monthly Membership subscription for $5.99, while a variety of epic items can also be purchased through Station Cash® micro-transactions. The Clone Wars Adventures Galactic Passport is scheduled to be available at thousands of retail locations in North America later this fall and will include a 90-day membership, 500 Station Cash, the ability to unlock the Togruta playable character, a Yoda monitor topper, and more.

Obscure Gamer – False Start

Playstation 3
The race to the next generation of consoles may have already started, but how certain are the predictions? First it was David Reeves of Capcom with his suggestion of two to three years. Now Murray Pannel, head of marketing for Ubisoft has predicted a similar time scale.

To a large extent this would make sense. Previous hardware generations have been about five years, and there has often been an advantage for the machine to launch first. However, once the design of a new machine has been started, technology can overtake what has been put together.

There is a very large counter-argument that the next generation is further away, and that is the strategy of both Sony and Microsoft to produce new add-ons for their current consoles. The “slim” SKU’s for both were a stop-gap, a way of improving the quality of the base machine, although for Sony fans the removal of backwards compatibility is a sharp pain that can only be eased by the rumoured “HD Classics” range. But Kinect and Move are both aimed at expanding the potential audience and creating a new wave of software that will last for years.

Sony confidently predicted a ten-year lifespan for the PS2, and that has come to pass. They are now suggesting a similar tenure for the PS3, and it could be to their advantage. This year has been a strong one for Sony with exclusives and good sales on the back of the PS3 Slim, and another good Christmas with interest in Move could push it further. Meanwhile, Kinect is going after the Wii’s audience to a large extent. Microsoft still has the edge in online gaming for many with Live, but the gap has narrowed. Moving on from the 360 may not suit Microsoft either, now that is making good profit and building its user base.

So where does Nintendo fit into this? The 3DS is clearly one important part of its strategy, but rumours of an HD Wii or Wii 2 refuse to go away. Could the big N once again pull a surprise out of its sleeve, continuing its “disruptive” policy? And will the familiar franchises keep the hardcore gamers satisfied alongside the new and expanded audience?

There is another joker in the form of the cloud gaming systems, OnLive and Gaikai. While OnLive has now launched in the USA to a mixed response, the news that games from Electronic Arts will be available on Gaikai is a major coup. These devices will, however almost certainly be fixed technology with frequent updates of the firmware, relying on a fast broadband connection to provide both the data and much of the processing power. It remains to be seen how they cope under the huge stresses of multiplayer gaming.

Whatever, the outcome will be good for gamers. Competition promotes development and innovation, whether it’s the mobile games on the touchscreen of an iPhone or the complexities of a PC strategy game. Next year, or maybe the year after, the real race will start.

False Start

ps3 slim
The race to the next generation of consoles may have already started, but how certain are the predictions? First it was David Reeves of Capcom with his suggestion of two to three years. Now Murray Pannel, head of marketing for Ubisoft has predicted a similar time scale.

To a large extent this would make sense. Previous hardware generations have been about five years, and there has often been an advantage for the machine to launch first. However, once the design of a new machine has been started, technology can overtake what has been put together.

There is a very large counter-argument that the next generation is further away, and that is the strategy of both Sony and Microsoft to produce new add-ons for their current consoles. The “slim” SKU’s for both were a stop-gap, a way of improving the quality of the base machine, although for Sony fans the removal of backwards compatibility is a sharp pain that can only be eased by the rumoured “HD Classics” range. But Kinect and Move are both aimed at expanding the potential audience and creating a new wave of software that will last for years.

Sony confidently predicted a ten-year lifespan for the PS2, and that has come to pass. They are now suggesting a similar tenure for the PS3, and it could be to their advantage. This year has been a strong one for Sony with exclusives and good sales on the back of the PS3 Slim, and another good Christmas with interest in Move could push it further. Meanwhile, Kinect is going after the Wii’s audience to a large extent. Microsoft still has the edge in online gaming for many with Live, but the gap has narrowed. Moving on from the 360 may not suit Microsoft either, now that is making good profit and building its user base.

So where does Nintendo fit into this? The 3DS is clearly one important part of its strategy, but rumours of an HD Wii or Wii 2 refuse to go away. Could the big N once again pull a surprise out of its sleeve, continuing its “disruptive” policy? And will the familiar franchises keep the hardcore gamers satisfied alongside the new and expanded audience?

There is another joker in the form of the cloud gaming systems, OnLive and Gaikai. While OnLive has now launched in the USA to a mixed response, the news that games from Electronic Arts will be available on Gaikai is a major coup. These devices will, however almost certainly be fixed technology with frequent updates of the firmware, relying on a fast broadband connection to provide both the data and much of the processing power. It remains to be seen how they cope under the huge stresses of multiplayer gaming.

Whatever, the outcome will be good for gamers. Competition promotes development and innovation, whether it’s the mobile games on the touchscreen of an iPhone or the complexities of a PC strategy game. Next year, or maybe the year after, the real race will start.

Hardcore

Hardcore start menu
Hardcore start menu

Hardcore, unreleased Genesis/Mega Drive Game by Digital Illusions

Hardcore was an unreleased Sega Genesis/Mega Drive game created by Digital Illusions in 1994-1995. The rights of the game ended up being owned by Psygnosis, which Sony owns, and they had by that time killed all development and releases for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive.

The game reminds me of the Turrican games and Abuse.

Check out a video of what the game would have been like below:

Thanks to Tobias Sixx Bergeld for the heads-up on this video.