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I don’t know what it is about a team of 4 Syndicate agents in long coats that makes me shudder with delight, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t do it every time. While this doesn’t clue us into every gameplay element in the 4-player co-op in Syndicate it does let us know a few things.
For starters we know that they are maintaining the integrity of 4 member teams in Syndicate. This is good because it will allow you to plan and strategize without simply just trying to overwhelm. In this light it won’t be a standard online FPS. Additionally they’ve carried over the “trench coat” style from the original Syndicate. While this isn’t something that will make or break the game it’s still nice to see it carried through. There’s a thematic styling that should be maintained and Starbreeze seems to be attempting to do just that.
Around 0:37 into the clip we see an agent pick up a package. This lets us know that the there will be more than deathmatch style gameplay in this FPS co-op. Not every mission in Syndicate was about killing other agents. There were assassinations, recon, and personnel acquisition. Each of these elements could play an interesting role in the online multiplayer. We suspect (or at least hope) that what we witnessed was a piece of intelligence gathering or reconnaissance.
While we catch a glimpse of my personal favorite weapon from Syndicate (the minigun) we still don’t see any use of a Persuadetron. However we have yet to see any real use for it. The other thing we notice is that this seems to be directed at direct combat in some form of corridor. The nice thing about Syndicate was that it was open, there was life, people, and random things to blow up. The “only us vs. them” approach is not what Syndicate was about.
There has to be people somewhere that aren't shooting at us
Open the map up and throw some civilians in it. Allow agents to blend in, persuade people to be human shields, and wreak untold havoc. Agents didn’t always notice you and that’s what made it fun. When you’re the only thing on the board moving around you pretty much know you’re going to get shot. Think more Assassins Creed: Brotherhood less CoD.
In fact that lack of true tactics was not all we didn’t see. Vehicles were nice in Syndicate because they allowed you to blend in. They also allowed you to drive around 150 of your closest persuaded friends. We see them littering the landscape but nothing interactive or engaging. It’s this element that helped make the original Syndicate so much fun.
However just because we didn’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, it just means that it wasn’t in this 1:43 gameplay trailer. Starbreeze Stuidios have themselves a very interesting video game on their hands. If done properly their online co-op could create a whole new style of online play for first person shooters. Or they could just shoot for average run of the mill co-op. Only time will tell what they have in store for us, but we’re waiting with our hopes held high.
Animated movies are a guilty pleasure of mine; in fact they are one of a great many guilty pleasures. Thankfully I have an older sister who embraces them to the point that she helps me to expand them to the utmost. This is why a few years ago when she said “Have you ever heard of Hayao Miyazaki? You need to watch his stuff,” I took it to heart. I started off with My Neighbor Totoro and fell instantly in love and since that moment I’ve ridden the Studio Ghibli train and never looked back.
I have no idea what's going on here but I can't wait to find out.
Fast forward a few years to the announcement of a video game coming out of Studio Ghibli. I will admit that when I first heard about Ni no Kuni I was worried, perhaps even slightly concerned. I was unsure if the skills of Hayao Miyazaki could translate well into a video game. His worlds are rich with life and emotion. They are deep and seem to jump to life off of any screen they grace. However more often than not dreams of gaming grandeur often fall short. It wasn’t a function of ambition or imagination but instead a function of existing infrastructure to handle a world that Miyazaki could create. While I don’t know him, something tells me that he is the kind of person who is only limited by the confines of the medium he uses. I would hate for video games to tarnish someone who is, in my eyes, so sterling.
While I watched the trailers with interest I can honestly admit that I have never been this style of excited about a game. I feel like a child as Christmas approaches. I’m watching the trailer the way a bright eyed youngster watches the the twinkling lights with a mix of awe and rapture.
As we watch the video we see a landscape that is easy to get excited about. At 0:38 seconds we begin to see a world full of vibrance and life as creature dot the landscape and clouds float overhead casting shadows on the ground. We see a town full of life and traffic artistically crafted in a way that most certainly bears a Miyazaki mark. As the trailer continues we see a world where nothing is ever “stationary”. Everything in this world finds some way to come to life. Nothing lays dormant in the background just taking up space. This has always been a facet of his movies that I have found enthralling and my fears of it translating to a video game have been belayed.
But visuals are only one piece of a game. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is an RPG and as such we expect to see something in the way of combat mechanics and gameplay techniques. This trailer does not disappoint. From puzzles to what appears to be a race the gameplay of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch does not skimp on the Miyazaki sense of wonder. Anything that can be done can be done with magic and flair. Nothing is ever done “just because”. Ever inch of it is dripping with subtle flashes of creativity and life. Even when flying a hulking dragon through the skies, the movements and actions have hints in subtleties that only Miyazaki takes the time to animate.
Even the bricks in the road have a sense of artistic wonder that other companies can learn from.
Then there is Ni no Kuni’s combat. It appears to have a mix of turn based and action RPG elements in it. You select your character and your actions while a clock ticks down in the bottom left. In this we see an array of combat elements from the standard melee and ranged to the more creative magic elements but ultimately how they play together remains to be seen. During battles you line up your party members to make use of tactics and skills. If one player is good at taking damage and blocking you can align them to shield other weaker party members. This hearkens back to a more classical RPG styling that has be simply delighted.
And then there is the apparent book that comes along with the game. In a time when gameplay manuals are becoming a thing of the past Ni no Kuni: The Wrath of the White Witch says “Forget that noise. He’s a book to make up for everyone else’s shortcomings.” It is a book that represents the magic book from the game itself and is needed in order to play the game. But that’s not all it contains. It goes ahead and throws a bestiary at you and short stories that contain clues to help with certain aspects and elements of the game. It’s more or less and indispensable field guide needed to finish the game. Miyazaki has essentially taken the game out of the video game and brought part of it into the real world.
I have finally come to the point where I no longer fear the release of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch as something that may take away from Miyazaki’s legacy but something to solidify it as a creator who transcended mediums and created wonderful worlds of delight.
So I leave you with one question, what video games have you approached with worry but been so surprised by that you fell in love?
As if Skyrim wasn’t awesome enough they went and upped the antee a bit this time. It’s one thing to offer screen, after screen, after gorgeous screen to help entice a user to want to play. It’s something else entirely to say “Let’s pay actual actors to act this out.” Over at Bethesda that did just that. As always we won’t prattle on about the trailer until you take a gander:
The first thought that comes to mind is a resounding “Yes please. Now please. Thank you.” The second thought was “what the hell was in that bucket?” No I mean it, look at what happens 25 seconds in to the live action trailer. I assumed it was water but a bucket of water spilled onto a fire doesn’t cause that kind of a flame up. Apparently in Skyrim people drink nothing but alcohol. But it makes sense really, to properly fight dragons you’re going to need something to take the edge off. Alcohol from the ground might be just what the doctor ordered.
I think at this stage it’s safe to say that those of us who are excited about this could just about spear a dragon with our “excitement” while giggling like a toddler while doing it. While this trailer offers us nothing in the way of new information it does serve to provide additional excitement. It more or less throws “Skyrim water” on the fire.
Demo’s are a great way to give video gamers a way to get to know the game before they commit to buying it. They help people make up their mind on big question of “Do I really want to buy this new video game? Is it really worth my hard earned money?” Video game demos give us a way to experience a glimpse of the world to come and experience. They also let fanboys like us at PtC go absolutely crazy over games we already know we are going to buy. This is why when we learned of the upcoming Mass Effect 3 Demo we pretty much hyperventilated. When we woke up the following Sunday we gathered our thoughts together and knew we had to write something, anything, about it and this something had to a little more than “Can I camp out in front of my console to download it first?”
Releasing in January of 2012 BioWare will bestow upon us the Mass Effect 3 demo full of Shepard goodness. Please begin your “I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite demo on the Citadel” jokes. This demo will feature a taste of the single player campaign and put you back in Commander Shepard’s armor. However this isn’t all of the good news.
Finally we get some ginger representation in video games. Wait, that's not hair?
We recently discussed the upcoming Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer campaign that is also present in the video game. The Mass Effect 3 demo also includes a taste of the multiplayer missions as well. Yes we’re quite excited. The best news is that you won’t have to wait until January. You can always get yourself some easy early access through another EA game coming out soon, Battlefield 3. According to the BioWare Forums:
Owners of Battlefield 3, on any platform, who activate their Online Pass will automatically be granted early access to the multiplayer portion of the Mass Effect 3 demo. There is no need to enter any other codes, the early access will be applied to the EA Account associated with the Online Pass. Note: BF3 Origin Customers automatically have the BF3 Online Pass.
This applies to all regions where the demo is released (to be announced)
The exact date of the demo launch will be announced in late November
There will be another program whereby players and fans of the Mass Effect franchise can unlock this early access (with no purchase necessary) – this will also be announced in late November or early December.
There will also be a tool posted on www.masseffect.com allowing players to check if their EA account has been granted the early access.
The length of the early access period is TBA.
The single-player section of the demo will be available to all players on day one of the demo launch.
It should be noted that Battlefield 3 is not the ONLY way to get access to the Mass Effect 3 Demo. They will be releasing more information in November/December on how to gain access and get a taste of what’s to come.