Category: Xbox 360 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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In a move that sparks both confusion and irritation Madden NFL 12 is letting gamers around the world select players in five categories that they wish to give a perfect rating to. The biggest question this raises is “What the fuck are you thinking?” This is followed in close second by “No seriously, you know this is about to jack up multiplayer games right? What are you thinking?”

I’m not saying the players they’ve selected are bad. I don’t think anyone will deny how good these players are. They are the best of the best and ordinarily they are difficult to stop. However what EA is trying to do here is let players vote on who they want to receive a Perfect Score. I’m only going to say this once, there is no perfect player. You know what, screw that I’m saying it again. There is NO perfect NFL player. This is feels like they should also look into adding HGH into next years MLB: The Show.

Madden NFL 12 Peyton Hillis

What will a perfect 100 from James Harrison do to Peyton Hillis' run ability?

What makes athletes amazing is that they aren’t perfect. They have bad moments, bad periods, bad games, or even bad streaks. But what makes them exceptional is their ability to recover, come back, and steal the show. This is why makes sports so exciting.

However to the corollary this does not mean that the Madden NFL 12 versions of the players will be unstoppable.  During online play they will still be controlled by a human who can still make mistakes. But this does have potential to make for a rather lopsided game.

This also does not mean that if Tom Brady were to win that the Madden NFL 12 Brady will automatically complete every pass attempt. It just means he’ll complete more of the ones that a normal quarterback shouldn’t. While he is still among the NFL elite he is also far from perfect.

This also does not mean that every aspect of the player will elevated to super human levels. It’s just the one aspect of their statistical breakdown. So while Tom Brady may have a 100 throw accuracy he could still have low ranking for his ability to break free of a defender.

I think that what ultimately rubs me the wrong was about the Madden NFL 12 player voting  is EA’s willingness  to say “We plan on transcending any hope of realism and we’re turning the game into a popularity contest. Who do you like best? We’ll make something about him perfect. He’ll glow and shoot ice cream and hot dogs from his eyes.” Ratings that should be based on real performance and skill are now (for 5 players) going to be  based on if people like them more than someone else.

The voting schedule and candidates are listed below.

Aug. 22
Throw Accuracy
Aug. 23
Elusiveness
Aug. 24
Hit Power
Aug. 25
Spectacular Catch
Aug. 26
Speed
Tom Brady Jamaal Charles Ray Lewis Braylon Edwards Chris Johnson
Peyton Manning Adrian Peterson James Harrison Brandon Lloyd DeSean Jackson
Drew Brees Danny Woodhead Patrick Willis Larry Fitzgerald Jamaal Charles
Aaron Rodgers LeSean McCoy Rey Maualuga Calvin Johnson Devin Hester
Philip Rivers Ray Rice Clay Matthews Dez Bryant Jacoby Ford

 

Feel free to start voting on Monday, August 22nd for the Madden 100. I plan on abstaining on principle.

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Anything new that comes out about the final episode in the trilogy that is Mass Effect gets me excited.  So when I saw that images of the new character, James Vega, had been released, I was eager with anticipation.  Finally we’d see the new guy joining the Mass Effect 3 crew!  What would this guy look like?  I was personally hoping it was that Sam Worthington look-alike from the ME3 trailer (who was kinda hot).  And if it WAS that guy, well.  Sorry Kaidan, I’m dropping you for this new guy.  Well, you might make it into my second playthrough.

Can you see it? Or am I crazy? Heck, even the setting is similar.

Needless to say, when I actually found the picture of this new James Vega character, I was shocked.  Here’s a pic:

Let's just say he won't be winning any Ass Stamps of Approval anytime soon.

Yeah, that’s not exactly what I was hoping for.  At.  All.  First of all, his face… in my opinion, it kinda reminds me of a pig.  Yeah, that’s not good.  He actually looks like a guy I went to high school with.  That I didn’t really like.  I can’t stand that haircut, either.  And the tattoos on his neck?  Ew.  Now let’s move down.  His neck sits between two massive hunks of meat which might be called shoulders.  But it actually makes him look like he’s constantly shrugging.  He’s muscular, which is great, but there’s a line between sexy and scary bodybuilder types.

But I suppose there’s more to a guy than his looks.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.  So I’ll have to wait until March to learn about his personality.  Because honestly, that’s the only thing that’s gonna save this guy.  Unless BioWare decides to edit him a bit.  Or a lot.

However, I’m also wondering how great his personality will be.  BioWare stated that they wanted him to be a newcomer to the story, so he won’t have a lot of knowledge of politics and whatnot.  He’s an ‘experienced’ military man, but he hasn’t seen the darker side of the world.  So, tell me, just how experienced can you be if you haven’t been into some seedy places?  In light of all this, congratulations BioWare, you did well in creating a complete meathead (meatbag) with little to no experience in the world.

It looks like we’ll just have to wait until March to see what this James Vega guy is really about.  And who knows?  He could charm me into thinking he’s attractive.  He could become the next Alistair.  But I highly doubt it.

-Kat

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