Category: PC News

Grand Theft Auto 5

In the world of Grand Theft Auto San Andreas is akin our California and is made up of three major cities. In this is San Fierro, Las Venturas and Los Santos. Each of these represent and are modeled after real world cities with Los Santos being Los Angeles. Unlike in San Andreas when we strike out in Grand Theft Auto V we will not have an entire state in which to run amok, but instead Rockstar will focus on one city, Los Santos.  According to Rockstar:

“Developed by series creator Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto V heads to the city of Los Santos and surrounding hills, countryside and beaches in the largest and most ambitious game Rockstar has yet created.

A bold new direction in open-world freedom, storytelling, mission-based gameplay and online multiplayer, Grand Theft Auto V focuses on the pursuit of the almighty dollar in a re-imagined, present day Southern California. ”

This comes as good news. I was relatively fearful they would attempt a full scale state again like in San Andreas and, while very impressive, it was just far too daunting. I’m also not the only one who holds this opinion. By focusing on one city they can breath unprecedented life into it, which is what they are apparently intending to do. However I have one big question: what could they possibly mean by “bold new direction”?

The Grand Theft Auto series has been instrumental in open world video games. I’m not going to say that open world gaming wouldn’t exist without GTA, but I think many people can agree that without Grand Theft Auto we wouldn’t have worlds quite as, shall we say, grand. Rockstar is known to push a map to it’s limits and this will undoubtedly be no exception but with everything they have done previously what more can they do for open world-freedom outside of turning GTAV into an MMO?

According to Rockstar Founder Sam Houser:

“Grand Theft Auto V is another radical reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe,”
“We are incredibly excited to share our new vision with our fans.”

I think back to previous iterations of Grand Theft Auto. Vice City kicked off the ability to buy up surrounding property and San Andreas began to incorporate turf wars between rival gangs. Anymore in video gaming the worlds we exist in during the game are altered and changed in terms of how they look and how people react to you. Could this be where Rockstar is taking this installment of Grand Theft Auto? Let’s start the wildly unproductive machine called “Speculation and Baseless Theories” shall we?

GTA V Rumors

See? Even these girls REACT to someone running.

If we look back to the Grand Theft Auto V trailer released yesterday we see that the narrator is saying “He wanted to be a good guy.” Could this in fact mean that they will follow in the footsteps of many other games and implement some morality system that affects the world around us? This would most definitely create an entirely new element in the GTA universe. Historically you were an anti-hero. You were not what most people would call a good guy. You lived in that role and didn’t have a choice. While not actually developed by Rockstar, LA Noire put you in the other perspective. You were a  good cop and you didn’t really have a choice to be anything else. It’s time they implemented a little variety into the mix.

Think of it like this: A world where you can buy and build property. You can adjust rent and other factors that affect not just income but how the building looks. You actions affect those in the areas and neighborhood. If you’re good people react favorably to you wherever you go. You could be outwardly wonderful while behind the scenes you are a sinister ass-hat. Or heck, you could even be nice behind the scenes. However if you’re a price gouging slum lord who reducing the surrounding neighborhoods to squalor then odds are the news will not be nice to you. People will react to your presence with vitriol and dislike. It could even effect how carefully the police watch you and how much you can get away with.

Now in this world lie people who want your property and maybe even your life. You are bound to piss a few people off in your rise to glory and prestige and odds are they will be gunning for you. Since this is GTA we’re talking about they will absolutely be gunning for you. This could create plenty of drama and action to keep gamers coming back for more but still providing an outstanding system to build a world on that would absolutely decimate people’s time.

This would also be a “bold new direction” that would be a “reinvention of the Grand Theft Auto universe”. I mean at this stage where else can they take open world gaming? They’ve done so much that I’m more or less at the edge of my seat to find out more.

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Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Information Revealed

Multiplayer aspects in video games almost feels like it’s tacked on anymore. Many games have the general run of the mill online multiplayer option because, in video games, they want to keep you playing. Games like COD or MW thrive on their multiplayer. In fact in those instances there are people who don’t even touch the single player. However the multiplayer aspects of video games never actually impacts the single player story. It’s just kind of there. This is not to say that it’s not well received or enjoyed, it’s just that in the grand scheme of the in game world it’s totally meaningless.

Mass Effect 3 wallpaper

I'm more excited than I should be about their character creator

BioWare, however, is taking this very concept and putting it to task. Yesterday we were informed that Mass Effect 3 would have online multiplayer. We even went so far as to wager a few hopes from the initial concept. When looking at previous RPG outings into the world of multiplayer we see a very paltry showing of ill conceived attempts to bring a deeper experience. It’s difficult to pull in good multiplayer to an RPG because these are video games based around a story and this story is what drives players to keep playing. To have a successful multiplayer you need to cater to the story. So this is what BioWare has revealed that they intend to do in their official forum.

What is the Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer?

Mass Effect 3 takes place in a galaxy that is about to be overrun by Reapers and  between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 our very own Commander Shepard has been working to rally the systems together to help fight the impending threat. In Mass Effect 3 they are implementing a system known as “Galaxy at War” where you create your own Special Forces agent to team up in 4 player co-op missions. You have a variety of classes and races to choose from, so you can pretty much build your own Mordin if you wanted to.

In Galaxy at War you and your Special Forces teams work together to free territories from enemy control. As you wage this battle to free the galaxy what transpires takes an effect on your in game world. Remember that Shepard is fighting to save the galaxy and with a threat like this he’s not going to be able to do it alone. As you free territories in multiplayer you help your chances of success in the single player campaign. Mass Effect 3 has just said “You games that say ‘Here’s your world, and then here’s your multiplayer world,’ need to step your game up. It’s all one world. Let it flourish or die.”

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Characters and Progressions

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer

This. This is who I want to make for Multiplayer.

The big question is always “What familiar faces from the Mass Effect Universe will we see?” BioWare has stated that in the multiplayer aspect you won’t see any of them. They exist in the single player campaign and are pretty wrapped up with helping Shepard out getting done what needs to be done. However (as stated earlier) can you create your own character from one of the races on the Citadel. If you wanted to create a wicked Krogan tank then by all means tank away. If you wanted to create an Asari then do it. Each race will have their own abilities and skills so with the wealth of potential in the Mass Effect world our hopes are currently high.

As you play you will also able to progress your characters and weapons. This is to be expected but the details of this have yet to be revealed. One could assume that it will operate in a way similar to the single player character progressions. Whether or not your weapon upgrades carry through after each territory mission is one aspect I am personally hotly interested in. I always feel let down after I build a great weapon in a round only to have it taken away when it ends.

Now this is not to say that you must engage in the multiplayer aspect to successfully complete the single player campaign. You can still execute the ideal ending through single player alone. However it seems that the multiplayer component will help to make things a little easier. The forum also sates that this will not be the only way to help achieve victory, but just one possible way and that there are other methods you will employ to do so.

 The key to saving the galaxy is the “Galactic Readiness” level, measured by Commander Shepard’s ability to apply every possible asset – people, weapons, resources, armies, fleets – in the final battle against the Reapers. Players can impact their game’s Galactic Readiness level in multiple ways via the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, including multiplayer. Other platforms and interfaces will be announced in the coming months. It is important to note that the system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience – it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone.

So what else is in store for us in the Mass Effect world remains to be seen. However this has most definitely caused us at PtC to perk up and take notice. While we frequently enjoy multiplayer this gives us definite cause and reason to engage it in. This could put a weight behind the entire offering that other games have yet to pull off. As of right now everything is still relatively unknown. Either way:

Shut Up and Take my Money

Yeah this says it better than I could.

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Stop the presses!  …or, the typing, anyways.  It’s been confirmed by a multitude of sources that the final installment in Commander Shepard’s story, Mass Effect 3, will feature a multiplayer mode.  The details are slim, but the teasing tagline is ‘Multiplayer Comes to Mass Effect 3: Fight Alongside Your Friends as the Galaxy Goes to War’.

ME3MultiplayerAnnouncement

The Confirmation.

Now this tiny tidbit of information is hardly enough to quell our satisfaction, but it seems this is all we’re going to get for now.  However, what does this mean for Mass Effect 3?  Let the speculation begin!

First of all, I’d like to know how such a feature could even be implemented in a game like Mass Effect.  A game that is & has been so heavily focused on a single player suddenly shifting to include multiplayer?  I just don’t see how the two will mix.  We all have grown attached to our own protagonist, Commander Shepard.  While our Shepards are unique in that we all made different choices and they don’t all look the same, I highly doubt that a bunch of Commander Shepards running around saving the galaxy in one world makes sense.  But then again, I don’t think I want to play as anyone new, because I haven’t spent as much time emotionally investing myself in his or her story.  It would be interesting if BioWare tried to work in playable companions, but do I really want to be Liara over my Shepard?  No.

ME3 Sniper

Was BioWare's first teaser trailer of Mass Effect 3 actually a hint of multiplayer?!

Then, of course, there’s the concern that the time and monetary investment in implementing such a feature will take away from what makes the game great; the single player campaign, Shepard’s story.  While I am a bit concerned about this, I’m not overly worried.  I’m pretty sure BioWare understands how important this final installment is to everyone and that they’ll be sure to take care of the main story and give it the attention it deserves.  I’m willing to show a little faith in BioWare on this one.

My question is, will the multiplayer aspect have an effect on the single player game?  And honestly, what is the goal of having Mass Effect 3 contain multiplayer?  To create a feeling of greater replayability?  To keep up with the latest trends?  It should be implemented for the right reasons, otherwise it will feel very tacked on.  If they were to somehow tie the the single player story in with the multiplayer option, it might feel more appropriate.  But they have to make sure the game is still playable for those who don’t have the option to play online.

I’m eager to hear what else comes out about the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer aspect, and appropriately wary, as well.

-Kat

Update: BioWare has gone ahead and released some information about the upcoming multiplayer in Mass Effect 3.

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star wars the old republic rogue and wookie

In a move that was a long time coming BioWare finally announced the release date of Star Wars: The Old Republic. For those of you who may be a tad curious as to what Star Wars: The Old Republic is (listen there’s bound to be one or two of you out there) let me  break it down for you.

SWTOR is an MMORPG from BioWare and LucasArts. It takes place in a time before the events of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and is a fully voiced story driven MMORPG. In this world you have various custom items like your very own star ship and companions. To get a better idea of everything that went into the game check out the gameplay trailer below:

Given that this is a full tilt boogie MMORPG you’re going to have to pay a little bit, but judging by what we’ve seen it appears to be worth the price of admission.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Release Date

star wars the old republic jedi consular

I could make a dirty joke here, but I will refrain.

Now when the release date was announced a thought struck me. The release date is December 20, 2011. This is just 5 days before Christmas. I can’t speak for everyone out there but if I get my hands on this my family isn’t going to really see that much of me. I’ll be in front of a flickering screen as I take my star ship through the galaxy with my Twi’lek companion kicking ass and taking names. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of SWTOR for a while now and with this release date the only thing I can think of is that Star Wars hates Christmas. Why else would they pick a December 20 release date. It’s not like it’s going to foster family togetherness.

Now this does not mean that everyone everywhere will taking this approach. In fact many video gamers will be spending lots of time with their families. I for one stated the above in jest however I can almost certainly guarantee that the majority of my conversations will consumed with all things SWTOR and galactic. This makes things tricky since my wife is not a Star Wars fan. In fact my wife hates Wookies. I don’t know how and I don’t know why. If you ask me that’s some BS but she really just can’t stand them. Looks like she’s in for a rough few days.

Star Wars: The Old Republic Subscription Rate

When you pick up SWTOR you’re going to be getting the first month free which is normal. From then out you’re going to be paying around $14.99 per month. Now like all good MMOs they would like to you to sign up for more than one month at a time. To help this they will offer discounts if you pay to play for 3 months and 6 months. The 3 month fee is around $42.00, or $13.99 per month of SWTOR or you could pop for the 6 month which is going to cost you around $78.00 or $12.99 per month. While the savings aren’t massive it’s still going to be interesting to see how SWTOR plays out in the future. If you haven’t put in a SWTOR pre-order already then I would I would do so quickly since EA is limiting the digital and physical copies.

The reason for this is to not bog down systems and create a poor offering. However this is not to say that this is going to be permanent. Once release is done and over they will work to upgrade their systems and make something a little more stable for fans and video gamers to sink their teeth into.

Star Wars: The Old Republic System Requirements

star wars the old republic jedi

This is what you call "A Bad Situation"

Operating System

Windows XP, Vista/7

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core 4000+ or better · Intel Core 2 Duo Processor 2.0GHz or better

RAM

Windows XP: 1.5GB · Windows Vista and Windows 7: 2GB · PCs using a built-in graphical chipset, 2GB RAM recommended.

Video

ATI X1800 or better* · nVidia 7800 or better* · Intel 4100 Integrated Graphics or better*

DVD-ROM

8x or better *Minimum of 256MB of on-board RAM and Shader 3.0 or better support.

Now that’s about all the information we have on Star Wars: The Old Republic. But what more could you possibly want? I’m so excited I actually danced a little when I saw the release date. Thank the gods that nobody was home but me and the dogs. They didn’t judge. They just danced with me.

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Can you imagine living in a world where all the myths, old wives’ tales and urban legends were true?  What would that world be like?  Apparently, it would be The Secret World, as one might assume.  And it will be revealed in an MMO by Funcom, tentatively set for a release sometime in 2012.

She's not setting a very good body image now, is she? Oh wait... she's dead.

Needless to say, this game sounds insane.  And I mean that with the best of intentions.  I can’t imagine a game bringing together so many various elements successfully, and on top of that, to have it be an MMO?  It’s mind-boggling.  It sounds like this game will have some hefty promises to fulfill, and if it does, the Secret World will be EPIC.

The Secret World’s website draws one in with its eerie visuals and authoritative characters.  An example of just one of the many legends this game has brought to life:  Mummies in the tombs of a hidden city in Egypt.  Not interesting enough?  How about this:  Construction of an amusement park began amid threats and warnings that the land was cursed.  Freak accidents, suicides, ghost sightings and unknown whispering began occurring again and again, and finally the park was forced to close.

My favorite part is the sign now reading "Kingsmouth Dead" instead of "Kingsmouth Ahead"

Obviously, we can see that this Secret World is not at all a place of fantasy.  Or at least, this isn’t a place filled with happy (or noble) elves, with intoxicated (or proud) dwarves, where you fight skeletons and dragons.  This is modern day dark fantasy, where your battles are against the stuff of nightmares.  That includes:  Zombies, Mummies, Vampires, Werewolves, Demons, Golems, Spectres, and I’m sure much, much more.  The game’s director, Ragnar Tornquist, says that the game draws inspiration from sources such as H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Edgar Allen Poe.  This speaks not only of what kind of references we can expect, but also the atmosphere the game is trying to create.

And it’s not just about battling these dark creatures.  The game also has you investigating, solving puzzles, hunting for clues, exploring.  That way you get a mixture of both battling and investigating.  But it’s up to the player to decide what route they want to take, or if they want a taste of both.

"Down, boy. Down. I said DOWN. Fido, DOWN! Why are you growling at me?!"

Now let’s get into the nitty gritty.  This game… honestly, from the pictures, descriptions, and videos, I’m already scared of it.  I am absolutely fascinated by it, and if Funcom can pull all these elements in to create a unique MMO, but I don’t think I’ll be able to play it.  Seriously.  Even if I’m in a team.  I’m too much of a Scaredy-Kat.  I’ll definitely need more information before I make a decision.

A final question:  Will the Secret World be similar to Anarchy Online, in that it was free to download and free to play, unless you wanted to purchase special items in game?  EDIT: The ‘Free to Play’ period for Anarchy Online, while it does appear to be an available option on Anarchy Online’s website, refers to new accounts, and does not include access to expansions.  ‘Free to Play’ has not always been an available option.  Thanks to The Secret World Forum for pointing that out.  END EDIT.  It seems with how long the Secret World has been in development and how much detail they seem to be putting in the game, it should be worth purchasing or paying-to-play.

But that aside, I’m anxiously looking forward to what news will come out next on this colossal MMO.

-Kat

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