Archive for August, 2011

Hawken Story Teaser: Is “Mech-gasm” a word yet?

Hawken Mech Cockpit

There is relatively little known about Adhesive Games‘ new shooter Hawken. What we do know is that firstly, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Second there are mechs. Third the mechs are gorgeous. Fourth and fifth: firefights and fragging. Let’s be honest though, they had us at “mechs”. Look below to get a glimpse of Hawken taken from gameplay footage.

Are you okay? Do you need a minute? I know I had to pause and get some paper towel to mop up the drool. I don’t think we’ve been this excited for a Mech game since MechWarrior 3. Forget any modicum of unbiased. DO WANT. I really quite indifferent what this costs I fully intend to play it. Want me to sell you my house for a copy? Done. I get to keep the dogs though. Now this gameplay trailer only tells us so much. Firstly, we know it’s a FPS. We also learn that this takes place on a desolate mined out planet starving for resources. And there are guns. Big guns mounted on Mechs. Did we mention mechs?

hawken mech combat

He looks like he just needs a hug.

But it’s in the Hawken Website FAQ that we get a little more information. This is a multiplayer mech combat FPS. There are two unique modes (I’m fairly certain one of them will be a resource capture) as well as a free for all deathmatch and team deathmatch. As of right now they want to bring it to PC, PS3, and the Xbox 360, however it appears as though if they do the console version will most likely be a port since it appears that the PC version is looking quite polished.

As far as a price they say that they want a digital release to help keep costs low. This makes me a tad giddy. We’re somewhat hoping that Hawken can see a Steam release. What we do know is that it’s been far too long since we strapped into a mech and caused some serious collateral damage. What? I’m not a good shot. I admit it freely.

Once we learn more about Hawken we will keep you posted.

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Star Wars: The Old Republic Developer Walkthrough of Eternity Vault

Star Wars: The Old Republic Eternity Vault

Oh SWTOR how your wonderful videos seem to always occupy my Fridays. Even on this, the start of PAX I can’t help but me drawn away from all other news and mesmerized by the activation of a lightsaber. In this outing we see a developer walkthrough of the Eternity Vault, something that was showcased not too long ago at Gamescon. In this video we see BioWare’s Dallas Dickenson give us a nice walkthrough of the first pieces of The Eternity Vault in Star Wars: The Old Republic.

What catches my initial attention is that this is not really an optional mission. As stated this is something that happens to you when you hit level 50. While this is not a bad thing I’m more curious as to how this will relate to the rest of the game. What happens if you are engrossed in a quest when you hit that level?

As the trailer progresses we see a battle take place on a capital ship as you work your way to an escape pod as we transition down to the planet and off to the vault. I am a fan of cutscenes that mask the load times between events and areas. It’s a simple an understandable way to totally distract the user from the fact that they are playing a video game and keep them fully engrossed in the world.

From here we simply get a look at how all parties and groups work together to take on some rather large scale bosses. While the battles don’t seem particularly daunting with the right mix of players it begs the question of how you will be paired up when you try to take on the Eternity Vault.

But that’s not the only bit of news we have for you. Over at Metro they recently conducted an interesting interview with one of BioWare lead designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic, Emmanuel Lusinchi. When asked about the rather unusual style of the visuals in the game he responded with:

Okay, so the art style. We do that on purpose because a realistic looking game will look great the first year, will look okay the second year, and look terrible three years later when people make fun of it. While a more abstract style has more longevity. More polygons, better technology, would add nothing to the style we’ve chosen.

We want people to be able to play this game forever, literally.

Did you catch that last sentence? They want people to be able to play Star Wars: The Old Republic forever. “Literally”. While the ability to play an MMO forever is not outside of the realm of possibility with enough writing and timeSWTOR is a bit different. Since this is a story based MMORPG with voice acting and subsequent animations involved this means that the folks over at BioWare are looking to do something rather impressive with this. But let’s say that 5 years down the road you wish to take your Jedi into the Dark Side and become a Sith. I mean hell, Jedi do it right? Vador, Dooku, Revan. Heck Revan flipped, then redeemed himself. He’s all over the board. Metro flat out asked if this was possible.

So, the universe is at war. The Republic and the Empire are mortal enemies, they are in a kind of cold war. And we didn’t think it would make any sense for you to kind of leave one side and go and work for the other. If you don’t like what your government is doing typically you don’t go and join the enemy, you try to change your government. And so that’s what we’ve explored.

So if you’re born in the Sith Empire you’re not necessarily evil, that’s just where you’re born and because there’s a war going on you care about your people and you don’t want them hurt. So you will fight the Republic who are trying to bomb you into oblivion. But you will also fight the government and all the decisions that they are taking that are terrible and very aggressive.

But as a Republic person you will have Light Side and Dark Side choices. You can be a terrible, and I mean terrible, person working for the Republic. A lot like if you think of Knights Of The Old Republic, you were on the Republic’s side at that time although you could be really evil.

It seems that while you can be a Dark Side Jedi or a pretty nice Sith you can’t just walk away from the Republic and become a member of the Sith. Check out more of the interview to learn a little bit more about Star Wars: The Old Repbulic.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive Cross Platform? YES!

Counter Strike Global Offensive

In a move the resulted in ChuckLez and I coming very close to holding hands and jumping up and down like school children shrieking with unbridled joy and glee. The news that it would be coming to consoles as well as PC’s was exciting enough, but now the news that it will feature cross platform play has everyone at Polish the Console excited and talking a little pregame smack. That’s right ChuckLez, you’re gonna get yer ass kicked in an FPS by a console jokey. HOW’S IT FEEL?!?! Before we go more into it check out the trailer below.

Now it should be pointed out that you’re not going to be getting an all new offering. They are going to be beefing up the visuals to some of the old maps as well as including a few new ones as well as some new game modes. So those of you who haven’t played in a while may want to fire it back up and get ready for carnage.

However the inclusion of cross platform play is something we have been wanting out of a video game for years. Let’s face it when we can all play together we all win. Counter Strike: Global Offensive can help to bridge the gap of fanboys, platform debates, and elitism by just saying “now you can all play together”.  It’s somewhat fitting that Counter Strike is the game that helps grow the cross platform play given the impact that it had on multiplayer FPS in general. But now the question that you’re undoubtedly asking yourself is “What is new in Counter Strike: Global Offensive? What’s the Same?”

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Game Modes

Bomb/Diffuse mode is making a comeback which excites me because that was the only one I was ever good at. Don’t know why I just never got the hang of anything else. Hostage mode is also making a comeback in Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

However they are also bringing in a Casual game mode which will appeal to the new comers. This is a mode where you can buy whatever weapons you want each round and not worry about the cost. In this mode voice chat is open to all teams and spectators. ChuckLez heard this and began salivating. It was a little awkward.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Maps

Dust, Inferno, Aztek, Nuke and Train are all making a comeback in Counter Strike: Global Offensive and they are saying that there are changes ranging from minor to major. What these changes are this stage are up in the air but we do know that the overall layouts are being left untouched. Perhaps a level of interactivity will be added in addition to a visual overhaul of them. Once we know more and can get ChuckLez to stop polishing his mouse and muttering while glaring at everyone we’ll keep you in the loop.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Weapons and Equipment

What interested me most about the new weapons and equipment was that armor was no longer purchased but given at the start of every round. I mean, I understand, this is a way to help level the playing field and I’m totally okay with it. I was just quite surprised by it. With this we’re also getting some new weapons like a heavy machine gun, new pistols and a new shotgun. But that doesn’t mean the current standards are going unchanged. Submachine guns are getting a damage increase while pistols’ damage is getting taken down a peg or two.

But then there is the equipment. We get a decoy grenade, molotov cocktails, and taser and some interesting Bomb Diffusal Kit changes. This is no longer a buyable item. It is given at the start of the match and is dropped on death and has to be picked up by another teammate. This will surely add a more interesting dynamic to the match.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Control Upgrade

They aren’t just stopping at making the visuals get an improvement. The biggest complaint of PC gamers is that FPS console’s don’t allow for the control and precision of a PC keyboard and mouse. Well it seems that Counter Strike: GO will. Since the PS3 supports USB keyboard and mouse use Valve is looking to capitalize on this to help make things even between platforms.  While few games in the PS3 lineup actually cater to this capability it’s nice to see Valve taking advantage of it.

However they aren’t just stopping there. They are going to offer numerous variations on the standard controller setup for the PS3 as well ass offer Playstation Move support for Counter Strike: GO. This adds a whole new element of precision and speed to the gameplay as well as making it more accessible to a broader range of users. Well played Valve, well played.

In any event Counter Strike: Global Offensive will be out on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3 in early 2012.

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Hey Dark Souls – Challenge Accepted

Dark Souls - Wolf with Sword

It’s not every day that a video game comes out and blatantly calls you out. It’s not every day that a video game steps up and says “Hey you. Yeah, you. I’m going to kill you. Over, and over, and over, and over. My sole purpose here is to punish you, but at the same time make you think that you enjoy it.” Dark Souls did just that.

Did you see what I saw? There are two things in this world I’m afraid of. 1.) Closets 2.) Oversize animals wielding obscenely large and deadly weaponry. Well lookie what we have here. A big damn wolf with an oversize claymore. Well shit. I mean how is that even going to possibly be a fair fight. To start with the wolf looks to be about four times your size. Add into that the fact that the sword he’s holding is something that could be used as a sled for the entire Griswold family, INCLUDING cousin Eddie’s brood.

I feel that the ending of the video appropriately summarizes what my October will like. When it flashes the word “fight” you’re inclined to think “oh how bad could it be?” If you’ve played Demon’s Souls then the next flash of “struggle” will make you think “okay yeah, pretty damn bad. Dark Souls isn’t totally heartless. It throws the word “endure” up there to give all video gamers hope. It’s like it’s saying “You can do it!” But it’s the final verb of  “suffer” that really pisses me off.

I grew up in a family where the phrase “give in” doesn’t ever come about. The words “work with what you have” and “one way or the other its going to get done,” come up. But in my house the phrase you can’t do it is a challenge. The phrase “you’re not going to suffer” is a challenge that you can’t smile you ass off the whole way through. Well Dark Souls I was already going to play you. Hell I’m counting down the days. But now you’ve given me a new challenge. Smile my ginger ass off while doing it. No no, you go right ahead and have flaming spider try to walk down those stairs at 0:46 all slow and menacing. I don’t care Dark Souls. You go right ahead and have your leaping, screaming, pike wielding dragons, Dark Souls. I’m gonna come at ’em ’till they fall. Shouting all of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” the entire damn time. Hell, I might make a club. The “We Shouted Louis Armstrong Lyrics While We Beat Dark Souls” club. May even make bad ass crushed velvet jackets for it. That’s right Dark Souls, crushed goddamn velvet. Nothing says bad ass like struttin’ in a crushed velvet jacket.

In fact, Dark Souls, at this point I think there’s only one thing left to say.

Dark Souls Challenge Accepted

 

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Dark Souls Trailer: I already want to break a controller

Dark Souls Image

If there is one aspect of Demon’s Souls that appeals to everyone it’s just how easy it is. Once you pick up the controller you begin to breeze through the game without ever breaking a sweat. It’s almost like they designed the game to appeal to the casual gamer who just wants to kick back, relax, and enjoy a good story.

Yeah we all know that paragraph was a giant steaming crock. Even thinking about Demon’s Souls gives video gamers chills. There are nights I wake up screaming. My wife asks me why and I whimper out between big blubbering sobs “Bolataria…I was there Meg, I was there.” Knowing this From Software’s Hidetaka Miyazaki has come right out and said “Yeah we’re not making Dark Souls any easier. In fact we are making it harder.” This is enough to make the most hardcore of video gamer both shudder and get a surge of adrenalin.

Yes, Dark Souls may be the first video game to ever trigger both the fight and the flight responses simultaneously. Don’t believe me? Watch the trailer below.

It begins with a giant, screaming, pike wielding dragon and from there it just looks nastier. Things are bigger, harder, and angrier in Dark Souls. Just admit it that you can’t wait for it’s release. It’s going to be fantastic. While video game trailers are nice and all, but more often than not they don’t stack up to real gameplay footage. Yeah well keep scrolling. The folks over at GameTrailers have some interesting gameplay footage from Gamescom.

Dark Souls Gamplay Trailer Part 1

Right from the onset we’re struck with how similar the interface looks to Demon’s Souls. As our wayward hero pillages a nearby copse he escapes his jail cell. The prison is then overrun with giant blue squid like creatures. If I had to imagine based on the players equipment we aren’t dealing with a Dark Souls level for beginners. This makes it all the more surprising when we find our hero flee up a ladder. It’s at this time that we find him getting kicked in the face. This limits his options.

Now what we ultimately take away from this is that you have to explore. This is not going to be a “Point A to Point B” affair. Dark Souls is going to be a hunt, find, “I’m sorry you must have the right key,” kind of video game. So while Demon’s Souls will beat you with a brutal onslaught Dark Souls seems to be saying “Yeah we’ll do that too, but then we’ll turn you around and get you lost trying to find hidden away items.”

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 2

Dark Souls once again stresses something that was vital in Demon’s Souls. Know your environment. In seeing that these squid creatures won’t enter into the jail cell we find ourselves in a safe haven. Once exiting they choose evade the creatures rather than engage since they are of a level that our player can’t seem to handle. Did you catch that? You don’t fight every enemy in Dark Souls. Sometimes you have to know when to run.

Exploration is once again said to be an important factor of Dark Souls. They seem to be going out of their way to say “You have to find what you need, it’s not going to pointed to you by a giant flashing yellow line” which is nice. Dark Souls isn’t going to hold your hand. Suddenly we see it. The scene all to familiar to players of Demon’s Souls: a death. But in this death we gain a certain wisdom. Yes it may be as simple as don’t do that again, but with each time something doesn’t work we know that we have found one less way to do something.

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 3

Suddenly we see just why we were met with an enemy that was too difficult to take care of. To remove the threat you had to find a different way. Just like that we find another way Dark Souls will challenge the video game player. Your battles will be difficult. You will have to locate hidden items. You will have to pay very close attention to almost every detail to solve the puzzles and problems the lurk within. Then they come out and say they’ve been cheating.

They made a character who was tougher than normal. This is understandable given that they want to make sure people can see what you can do in the demo. However it will be interesting to see how much stronger this character is. Granted the fact that he says that we’re supposed to “die a hundred times” before we figure out what we’re supposed to do is rather disheartening.

Dark Souls Gameplay Trailer Part 4

Then the real point to Dark Souls comes out. From Software isn’t making it gut wrenchingly difficult to be dicks. Okay maybe they are a little bit. But they want to give the users a sense of accomplishment. This is what Demon’s Souls excelled at and you can bet that it will be just as gratifying if not more come Dark Souls. This is what makes them so fun to play. Yes they are brutal. Yes they are painful. Yes they strip of of social connections as each hour passes away while you continually struggle with the same level for days on end. Oh man, I can’t wait!

Dark Souls is going to be released on October 4th so I can expect my blood pressure to rise and be considered unhealthy by my doctor during my physical a few days later. When they ask why I’ll just respond “Dark Souls”. If they ask any more questions I will direct them to the internet.

Did anyone else find themselves yelling “HEALTH! YOU NEED HEALTH!”

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