Crispy Gamer

Crispy Gamer | Blogs

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    Earlier this week 2k Marin, the game developer studio that brought us Bioshock 2, announced that they have no idea what the hell they’re doing. In an earlier post, I asked the question “Is it possible for a new X-Com game to not suck?”  Well the answer apparently, is no.

    2k Games has announced that while they’re finally going to release a remake/sequel of X-Com, one of the most beloved and well thought of PC games of all time, they’re also going to do everything in their power to make it suck

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen, X-Com will be a FPS, a first person shooter. Take that...

  • TV has become stale with chronological trickery. You know the trope: an episode starts right in the middle of a hostage stand-off. The hero is pointing a gun at someone you thought was an ally, who is, in turn, forcefully restraining a woman you thought was an enemy. The world is upside down and you have no idea why. Then, up comes the black screen and letters reading "24 hours earlier..."
     
    Unfortunately for TV land, that device has been used to exhaustion, such that its shock value is almost on empty. Video games, however, remain virgin ground for such story-telling mechanisms. Enter Sam and Max Season 3, Episode 1: The Penal Zone. I have never seen the above device used for such hilarity before. You start at the end of the story, trapped on the big baddie's hovering space ship while he blows apart the city, leaving the no-nonsense dog and psychotic rabbit crime fighters helpless as they watch from inside a cage. The...
  • Am I the only one that gets giddy when interactive toruture is mentioned? Now obviously I know that compelling inquiry and assesment of any source will yield deeper insight of the concerned subject matter, but haven't you ever wanted to just impale the source with a flag pole, or smash it's head through an occupied bathroom stall door? Inquiry and assesment going on while it chokes up, I mean "yields" that deep insight in a bloody and loosened tooth mess? I guess Splinter Cell Conviction started off well for me, this being one of the reasons. I don't think I'll be able to look at research the same way again.

    I instantly recognized a shift in the direction of the the Splinter Cell series; Ubisoft has moved more towards the action aspect of the game, but not so much that SCC forgets it's heritage. It's a healthy change that blends great stealth and high caliber action. I've been able to just sneak my way...

  • NOTE: The italicized sections of this review are taken from actual play. While they are intended to give you some insight into the game, they may also contain certain spoilers. Should you wish to encounter all of the fantastic sights of the game firsthand for yourself, then you may want to avoid reading them.

    Greetings, ugly meat bucket. I am Expert Kisser Captain Thaddeus Gorfboggle, Eighth in the line of illustrious Gorfboggles. I am the first Expert Kisser, however, and for that, I am proud.

    We Gorfboggles seem to suffer from a hereditary disease, which strikes at around the same time in our lives, consistently. Its onset is signaled by the purchase of two missile destroyers from the nearby shipyard. Once we have done this, we know that we have only 7 months left to live. So why would we remain on our crappy, agrarian homeworld, "Tutorial?" I mean...it's crappy. You wouldn't want to live your last 7 months there, and no...

  • Since we started voicing our opinions we've tried to shape them into a mathematical figure. Thus we deviced scores made up of fractions 7/10, letters B+, and stars.
     
    Star rating systems are typically based around a four or five star max. Movies frequently follow the x/4, while music albumns are typically x/5. In Rock Band, there are five starts to achieve. If you do really well (on expert) you get five gold stars.
     
     
    If you do a really bad job, you get three stars. But unlike in Guitar Hero, where three starts was the bare minimum, you can actually get two, one, or even zero stars in Rock Band. Here’s how.*
     
    The technique:
    Getting a low star rating...
  • I hated Fallout 3. Hated, hated, and hated it (here’s my old review of it over at Table Salt Games). I also play it over and over and over again every which way possible. I bought all the DLC, and I even did a tiny bit of amateurish modding (I got the PC version for just that reason). So why, you may rightly ask, was I so idiotically obsessed with this game if I hated it so much? Simple answer, I love the series. I bought and played every Fallout game up till that point, including the abomination that was Fallout: Brotherhood of Steel. I even wrote up an entire D20 setting based on it and ran a campaign one summer in college. So I was damned if I was going to let crappy game design ruin Fallout 3 for me (edit: fine, fine, crappy game design “In my opinion”). The mod community for Fallout 3 did...

  • As a game designer I'm well aware of one of the most fundamental rules of creating games: simplicity is everything. It's all too easy to get carried away and add game systems on top of game systems; developers love to throw on things like cover systems, combos and multipliers into a game that may not need them at all. Likewise, games love to utilize lots of buttons for gameplay; Street Fighter 4 has three different buttons just for punching (three for kicking as well). While it could be argued that certain designs demand more button utilization, I think there is a certain aesthetic beauty to a design that minimizes the variety of user input while keeping the interaction space as open as possible. The pinnacle examples of this, or course, are games that require but a single button for the player to press.


    Before I list them, let me define a one-button game...

  • My roommate and I just finished our first playthrough of Borderlands. We managed to do every single quest in the main story netting us a good chunk of PS3 trophies. We are now on our second run through and now we love this game even more.

    Even simple skags in one of the first areas of the game have been proving difficult for my level 38 Brick and his level 38 Mordecai. We’ve only played the game split-screen, meaning we haven’t gotten the best loot or weapons. However, Mordecai does have x4 incendiary sniper and I have an x3 Explosive shotgun; both do massive damage.

    The story in Borderlands is atrociously bad but, the gameplay and the gun fights are so much fun that I just don’t care. I adore almost any split-screen game but I truly feel that Borderlands may be one of the best split-screen experiences I have ever had. Menu navigation is...

  • So, I recently watched an episode of Modern Family, which if you've missed it, is this generation's Brady Bunch. The episode centered on one of the father character's (Phil's) obsession with always getting the latest new technology as soon as it comes out. In this case, the device happens to be the iPad. Now, I've always really despised Apple, mostly for their business model. If we were to put it on a "personal freedom" scale, it would look something like this (and remember, when it comes to consumer benefit, anarchy is tantamount to perfection):
    This crude scrawling is why I have a problem with Apple. They love the word "proprietary". It means "we retain control over every aspect of how...
  • Starved for anything even remotely RPG-related after finishing Risen a while back (if you haven't played it, you need to), I decided to gamble on a little "under the radar" game that had no demo but promised an interesting gameplay mechanic: the RPG/Town Builder hybrid. That game is called Hinterland.
     
    Now, I've always been a fan of this concept. I remember playing Secret of the Stars on the Super Nintendo and instantly falling in love with the fact that as you progress through the game, your home town grew in buildings and town members. You had no control over this and it served only as a plot device, but I still got a kick out of it. Since then, I've always wished that someone would expand...
  • To the first game that treats me as an equal instead of a button-pressing fool, I shall give the prize. It's probably not the kind of prize that you'd want; indeed, the term “prize” may be something that really should not apply. Nonetheless, it is the pride associated with earning my alleged “prize” that a game designer should be interested in. 

     

    This is in no possible way a representation of the prize that you can win.

     

    I once had a discussion with another gamer during which he claimed he wanted less control in his games. He wanted to...


  • In grappling with Alex Di Stasi's blog post, Don't Hate On Ubisoft For DRM Issues, Hate Pirates, I had to admit that a lot of the points he brings up are valid, and even correct. But while we could haggle over the details (I'm more than happy to do so), principles are what matters. And in a debate such as this, you can't afford to operate with an "ends justify the means" mentality. 
     
    I'll take Alex's arguments point by point. Firstly, he refers to World of Goo, which supposedly lost most of its profits to piracy. I'd like to point out that we don't even have accurate metrics for top selling games, much less metrics for sales vs. piracy. Steam doesn't release their sales numbers and neither does Direct-2-Drive. The calculations that people throw out are...
  • As I walked past my gaming retail chain’s local instance I felt something stir within me.  Wouldn’t it be great to pick up a new game?  I haven’t done that in months!  I changed direction and veered towards their menacing Bioshock 2 window display.
     
    Wait a minute, what am I talking about?  I download a new game or two every week.  Heck, my computer’s downloading Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising at this very moment!  I don’t need (read: “can’t afford”) any new games!
     
    At this moment I was struck with a wave of nostalgia.  While I’ve steadily fed my appetite for new video games over the last several months, I haven’t exchanged paper currency for game software laser-etched onto thin, some might even say “compact,”...
  • For the life of me, I can't understand the mindset of Ubisoft. They were (and perhaps still are), one of the only major competitors of the EA juggernaut, and yet they decide, for whatever reason, to actively destroy their brand name on PCs. Their "always connected to the Ubi-servers" DRM will probably go down in the annals of history right alongside New Coke as a "what were they thinking?" self-destructive period. Perhaps it's the French's historically feeble attempts at proper capitalism, but they just don't seem to understand the relationship of trust that needs to exist between consumer and producer. It takes a long time and lots of effort for a company to be so widely respected that people will buy from it without a second thought. Once that reputation is established, it takes a colossal fool to throw it away.

     
         Piracy is the oft...
  • Let me tell you a secret: I love making avatars. I routinelymess with the outfit of my my rock band avatar, and Spend half an hour per Sim when starting a new family (okay, so I only spent that much time on my Sim, and less on others).

    As a lover of creating virtual people, I have to wonder:what game offers the best virtual people creation. And what makes virtualpeople creation the best. Is it the best outfits? The best personality? Or is it the ability to look at “Crystal” and feel like it’s just the tiniest bitpossible you somehow got sucked into the computer or TV screen?

    Now, three epic battles and one over all victor.

    Mass Effect vs. The Sims 3 

      

    While Mass Effectmay not be...

  • I never know quite how I feel when a game tells me I suck. Okay, that's not true. I feel bad. Real bad. Shamed, you could say.

    I know, you're surprised that a game could have the gall to tell the player that he or she sucks. I mean, maybe you're not surprised. Maybe you know I'm actually a pretty sucky gamer. Although I doubt it, what with my status as a cipher to all known identification agencies, after the events of February 23, 2005...a dark day, especially for that poor dachshund. 

    Oh, you glorious, kielbasa-shaped canine...what did I do to you?

    Anyways. This game told me I suck. And it did so with an annoying stone trophy of a fat man falling onto his rotund buttocks. What are you trying to say, game? That...

  • As a gamer I’ve always had mixed feelings about April Fools day. It seems that April 1st is always the day that gaming magazines, websites and all the rest, go out of their way to do something silly. Sometimes these gags are pretty damned obvious and they produce little more than a chuckle. However, every now and then someone will go to great effort to pull off a rather impressive feat.

         Back in 2008 IGN produced a trailer for a live action Legend of Zelda movie thatfilled many a nerds hearts will love and anticipation right up to the point they remembered the date. And just incase you missed the joke and forgot what day it was, the trailer ended with the line “Coming April 1st 2009”. While I thought that trailer was remarkably well done and the whole joke was an award...

  • With the sellout new Green Day: Rock Band coming out in May, many people on the internet have revived the "the music game genre is DYING!!!" sentiment going around. It started thanks to the over-saturation of the genre from Activision, releasing no more than five Guitar Hero games in the past year (Guitar Hero 5Band HeroGuitar Hero: Van Halen, ...

  • I have a sort of mildly like/indifference relationship with The Sims. Whenever I boot it up after a period of months (or years), I am always eager to create my new character and assigning traits in The Sims 3 is almost as fun as assigning weapon skill points in an RPG. Once inside the game proper, however, my interest quickly fades as it occurs to me, yet again, that playing The Sims is like working a job. Grinding for skills, juggling relationships, work-sleep-work-sleep schedules...I just usually just turn it off and uninstall 30 minutes in.

         This time (why do I never learn my lesson?), I noticed the mooch trait and instead of regarding it as just another funny social interaction, I wondered if mooching could be a way of life. I decided that, in the interests of playing for more than an hour this time, I would try to make the ultimate hobo.

         First I needed a good look. I wanted my guy (named Ron Wilson, as it...

  • With all due respect to my new colleague, Crystal Kaba, I'm afraid I have to disagree with almost everything she wrote in her article Why I (Almost) Never Care About Video Game Storylines. I contend that story is not just a nice feature for a game to have, it's almost always essential. Without narrative, games are just pretty sandboxes that leave your memory as soon as you put the controller down.

         Let me start by saying that Crystal brought up some great points. Computer graphic cut scenes are, by and large, stupendously problematic devices in today's gaming landscape. The original motivation to include these CG mini-movies is noble, but their time is long since past. In the days following the era of Super Nintendo, developers became interested in pushing the boundaries of game narrative...