Posts Tagged ‘Preview’

Syndicate Trailer: Pros and Cons

Syndicate Agent

I very rarely find myself at a loss for words but when those moments come it typically means one of two things. I’m either in love or I’m very nervous. This was the case with the latest trailer for Syndicate released earlier this week. With a video game that I spent most of my early teen years playing Syndicate by Bullfrog Productions holds a very special place in my heart. Maybe it was the trench coats, maybe it was the flamethrower, maybe it was the ability to amass an army or walking, talking bullet shields.

The trailer that was recently released met with some mixed reviews from many people. Some people loved it, some hated it, however the majority of people saw it with more hope than anything else. In case you haven’t seen it yet go ahead and check it out below.

Now what we see is a typical trailer. They aren’t going to skimp on the action. They want you to buy this game. They want you to fall head over heels in love with it. They want you to watch the Syndicate gameplay trailer and say “You are gorram right I’m going to buy the crap outta this. SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” But did you say this? If you’re like me you overanalyzed the heck out of it and you’ve arrived at a few conclusions.

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Pros

A Syndicate is nothing without good agents; they are what make the really nasty stuff possible. So when the trailer starts off saying that you’re taking the role of this agent we can chalk this us as a big plus. The nice aspect of this is that agents are upgradable however the extent to which you’ll be able to play is (as of yet) being kept under wraps, but this does give us some hope.

Still has the mission clock and more importantly we get a much better voice than the one in the first Syndicate game. This is a vast imrpovement over the overly mechanical voice from the original Syndicate. However I can’t help but shake the feeling that it sounds like an attempt at a seductive GLaDOS. It is for this very reason that I will refuse to trust that it is not ultimately going to turn on me and test me in some way.

Sydnicate Announce Trailer Ocean Scene

Just look how outside I am!

It is also very apparent that we are fighting rival syndicates. Now this is not really news since that’s really the entire point of the video game. However we do know that they still aren’t getting along. Ultimately this is what leads us to hope that in some way we will have some form of territory management akin to the original video game. This is something that will, again, remain to be seen.

Now 40 seconds into the Syndicate Announcement Trailer you see someone lose control and do the agents bidding by killing the other person in the room and then turn the gun on their own head. This leads us to one logical conclusion. This can only be the work of the persuadetron? What else could allow a Syndicate Agent to gain access to someone and force them to do their bidding. While the ultimate capability of the persuadetron has yet to be released, knowing that it’s in there makes us happy.

Face stomp at 1:03. That’s all we really need to say about that.

The scale of Syndicate looks rather large. Now it’s not large on the scale of Fallout 3 or New Vegas but it does look like the missions may be slightly more grandiose than Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Now before people get angry with me allow me to explain what I meant by that line. I am not saying DE:HR was small. I’m not saying it wasn’t amazing. What I’m saying was that the missions held a certain claustrophobic feel to them. While it was perfect for Deus Ex: Human Revolution it’s nice to see Syndicate stepping up and saying “Here’s a minigun on the side of a vehicle. Have at it. See that window you’re dangling in front of in the open sky? Yeah just whoop that window’s ass.”

Syndicate Announcement Trailer Cons

syndicate-shotgun

Aaaallll byyyy MYseeeeeelllfff

Only one agent. Part of the fun I had with Syndicate and trying to set up traps. Lining up multiple agents with a brutal mix of flamethrowers and miniguns was a simple pleasure to a thirteen year old boy. With only one agent the trapping and luring aspect won’t seem quite as possible. Okay it won’t be at all possible. But I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that what they lack in agent quantity they make up for in agent quality.

While I stated above that the world seems more grandiose it doesn’t (from what we’ve been shown) look to be as open. We see no hint of the aforementioned territorry management that we are hoping it keeps up, nor do we see anything as remotely open world as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While we’re not looking for them to lay out the entire story in a quick 2 minute trailer it would be nice for a tad more information on what we can expect when we’re not stomping on people’s faces while making others shoot people for us.

While it looks like a very fast paced FPS, it still looks like a fairly standard FPS. There is not much in here that really blows our skirts up. It’s still early though, but since Syndicate is scheduled for release on February 21st, 2012 they should be showing us something to get us excited. However a great game is not always great because it brings something new to the game. Sometimes they do something great by taking pieces of what’s worked before and combining them in a way that is simply mind blowing.

Additional Syndicate Information

syndicate fight

Does his thumbs up mean go for the gold?

Now what good is a video game announcement without a little pre-order information to go with it. If you were so inclined to preorder Syndicate you would get The Executive Package bundled right with it. What is the Executive Package you may be asking yourself? Well let me shed a little light on it for you. It’s enough co-op gold to make Trump jealous. You get solid gold version of all loadout weapons, something called “golden dart vision” and gold Syndicate logos during co-op missions.  They seem to be touting the gold angle.

While “fancy pants gold weapons” are interesting I am more intrigued by these missions themselves. Will they be more akin to the old school Syndicate game where a team of agents work to achieve a goal? That would certainly be an interesting angle to the multiplayer.  Looks like we’ll have to wait to find out a little more though.

What we do know from the trailer is that Syndicate looks like it should be fun to play. We’re pretty anxious to find out more about it on our end. But we’ve given you our take on the the trailer, what about all of you?

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Star Wars: The Old Republic – Sofa King Excited by The Esseles

Star Wars The Old Republic The Esseles

Title pretty much says it all. Today Star Wars: The Old Republic sent out a developers walkthrough of The Esseles, a transport you take to Courescant after leaving your homeworld. While watching it see a little more about how SWTOR is going to play out.

What’s interesting is the group dynamic where you’re more or less bound to the decisions of a randomly selected leader. I’m interested to see how this plays out into the Light Side vs. Dark Side mechanic for each character. I mean lets just say that hypothetically you are met with one crap-tastic group after another that continually pushes you towards the Dark Side in spite of your frequent objections. Not many people would really enjoy playing that.

In the preview we see that the whole party makes the decision to go towards the dark side while the leader gets an added little bonus so it would appear that we have the ability to say “Hey now, what’s got two thumbs and is not cool with this decision? *This guy*!” But while you can’t outright switch sides in SWTOR you can be a very dark Jedi.

But what we get to see is a little more in game footage from SWTOR than we have previously seen. It’s always nice to see a little more information as to how all players will work together. It does a nice job of switching the views and showing what each character is capable of doing.

This seems to spend a big focus on the Smuggler’s talents as well as the Consular and Trooper classes, and while it’s interesting to see what they will be able to do they are not who I’m ultimately excited to become. However in regards to the Consular’s Project ability…yes please.

But really what this serves to do is elevate our excitement to a ridiculous level at this stage.

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Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Comes With Hope

Reading and I have always had a rather tumultuous relationship. Perhaps it was the ADHD that kept me from sitting still long enough to really get into it let alone remember what I just read, perhaps it was the dyslexia that made it difficult to put the sentences together the way they should be, but whatever the reason I just have always found reading to be difficult. Oh how I long for a time when I could sit up with a good book and actually engross myself in it, and while I keep trying these instances are few and far between.

The single most engaging book I have ever opened came into my life during my junior year of high school I had heard a friend mention this book that I had seen on my parents bookshelf  from time to time but never paid any attention to. I decided that it was time I pick it up and see what fun it had waiting for me. That night I began to read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That night I finished reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. That night I fell in love with a man named Douglas.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy The Video Game

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't.

So far I must say that Hothead Games is doing a damn fine job living up to the subtleties and fun of the guide. To look at the website for The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy we see that Hothead Games actually does get it. We aren’t going to go over the site with a fine tooth comb. Either you can pick out the fact that it is dripping with references to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or you can’t.

When I first saw this story published my knee jerk reaction was the think “Please don’t tarnish my beloved memory more than it already has been. But that’s not what Douglas Adams would have wanted. He wasn’t about pessimism. Okay well let’s be honest, he was. It’s how the Hitchhikers Guide got started. He wrote a series of short stories in which the earth blew up every time. In fact he devoted a rather endearing character to the philosophy of persistent pessimism. However I like to feel that it was a story of humanity surviving at all costs and ultimately finding some measure of peace and tranquility making sandwiches and winding digital watches. So instead of quoting Marvin and saying “Whatever it is I won’t enjoy it” I would rather say “I am hoping for something to do the ‘trilogy’ some significant justice and help it live on gloriously well past it’s intended life.”

This is really a very lofty task for Hothead though. I applaud them for having the fortitude to stand up and proudly declare “We got this!” Part of The Guide’s skill and humor came from Douglas Adams’ wonderful skills at the art of metaphor and his ability to not only conjure images of the obscure but deliver them in a simple, elegant and altogether marvelous way. This is something that no other medium can do with ease. While I am anxious to see what they come up with it’s the underlying narration that makes the Guide such a magnificent body of work.

Zaphod Beeblebrox

If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now.

This does not rule out the characters. While yes the characters do already exist and have a veritable wealth of information and history to pull from it is ultimately how they interact with one another that makes them so wonderful. One aspect of the 2005 movie that struck me as well done was Mos Def as Ford Prefect. He really understood Ford to the point that when danger arose he knew to grab his  towel. He conveyed the oxymoronic “caring aloofness” that Ford seemed to have for those around him. One was never sure where they stood.

Then again there was the total disregard for anyone other than himself that was a typification of  narcissism. The President of the Galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox. In fact I’m not even sure narcissistic is the correct word. I’m sitting here rather flummoxed over the fact that Douglas Adams didn’t create a whole new word to describe Zaphod. He is virtually indescribable. Even his own therapist described him as “Zaphod’s  just this guy, you know.” He’s a man that firmly believes himself to be the center of the entire universe only to have it validated by the Total Perspective Vortex (even though it wasn’t real).

Which brings us to the other fantastic aspect of The Guide: the worlds. It wasn’t as simple as traversing from one planet to the other. Restaurant at the End of the Universe taught us that to go somewhere it doesn’t have to exist yet. Marvin was twice the age of the universe at the end as he witness Gods Final Message. Arthur and Zaphod were able to chase a chesterfield sofa across the plains of prehistoric Earth.  The Hitchhikers Guide excels in taking what you think you know about physics and saying “nope, we’re taking a sharp left turn with it and heading down this road for a bit.”

Also I want to see flight. Douglas was able to take the concept of flight and distill it to it’s simplest of functions. “There is an art, or rather a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.” He said it, please implement it as the single most obnoxiously difficult aspect of the game but also the most gratifying when you can master it.

These are not aspects that will come easily for Hothead Games. There are bound to be some purists who will cry that it is wrong and horrible and a desecration of all things hoopy. But one of the things that made the movie watchable was the ability to walk away and say “This is certainly something I could have seen DNA write.”

If they use the preexisting characters or have the player create their own has yet to be seen. If we can create our own I do hope I have the option to put a bone in my beard. If they use preexisting characters then their interaction will be a crucial point for the entire game.

While the developers have been quiet about any and all news other than “it’s coming”,  until the New Hitchhikers Guide is updated we will assume that they are all missing and presumed fed…

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Dark Souls Initial Information and Trailer

dark souls screenshot 3

I would not finish climbing that mountain without soiling myself.

There are things in this world that I am pretty good at. I can eat like nobodies business. I was always good at making sure Thanksgiving got its ass handed to it. I am a damn fine driver. Brutal winters tend to teach you some skills. When it comes to diffusing any situation I am spot on. Then there are things that I am not so good at. Demon’s Souls was one such thing. I am not sure if I have ever been as bad at something as I was at Demon’s Souls.

Demon’s souls  is a video game that makes me less of a man. When I started playing it I was able to shave. I don’t have to anymore. If I feel that I have a little too much facial hair I simply start playing Demon’s Souls and my facial hair decides that I am no longer manly enough to have it and it literally vanishes. It is no secret at this stage that Demon’s Souls is an unforgivingly harsh video game that laughs at you as you fail. And you will fail. Constantly.

When I heard the news about its sequel I got excited. Not so much because I enjoy failing, but Demon’s Souls and I have an abusive relationship. It leads me believe that things are going to get better. I believe it. We share some laughs. I feel safe. I think I know what I’m doing. Then, without warning, I’m being beaten like a dirty rug in the spring until I’m left curled up in a corner soaked in my own tears and covered in fear. Now I get to double up.

Now we have a name. Dark Souls. Not only do we have a name, but we know that it will be released for the PS3 and the Xbox 360. This means that if you missed out on Demon’s Souls because you don’t have a PS3, you have no excuse not to partake in the brutality and abuse if you’re a console gamer. The big questions are what elements are the same and what are they changing up. Well lets dig in a little bit to Dark Souls.

Dark Souls is like Demon’s Souls

It is still hard. Very hard. Maybe even harder. According to producer Daisuke Uchiyama (in a CVG report):

We want the player to scream, yell and be frustrated…a better, more difficult experience

dark souls screenshot

What the hell is THAT?!

More difficult? Excuse me, Uchiyama-san, but you weren’t happy enough with Demon’s Souls’ ability to turn scores of adults from normal, professional, and well adjusted individuals into crazed, abused, whimpering, muttering pools of shame and failure that you had to make it harder? Is it to early to say that I’m totally enamored by you?

Reports are stating that when you succeed you will still get the same sense of achievement. They go so far as to make it sound as though you will be handsomely rewarded for you efforts in the video game. However, the greatest victory comes in knowing that you just beat something absolutely brutal.

The gameplay will be similar to Demon’s Souls with its trial, error, and apparently some observation. You can still watch other players die. You can also still leave messages for other players. This means that there will still be a fairly solid online component to Dark Souls. In fact, there will still be co-op and PvP. Whether or not you can literally invade other people’s games and take them out is still up in the air.

Dark Souls will be different from Demon’s Souls

When compared to Demon’s Souls this outing will be more about exploration than dungeon crawling. The world is not connected by a central hub. Everything in Dark Souls will be one large open seamless field. Moral of the story: if you see it you can get to it.

There will also be no map display in the game. There will be a position display marker. I don’t know what this is, but it sounds like I may be confused while playing, which will certainly add to the element of not only exploration but difficulty.

dark souls screen shot 4

Giant rat...thing....check!

Dark Souls will not take place in the same world as Demon’s Souls. It will take place in a whole new world with a completely new story. This new world will include more complex level designs that make more use of vertical design. The world is based on what they call medieval dark fantasy. They will contain themes such as like “high fantasy of kings and knights”, “death and the depths of the earth”, and “the flames of chaos”.

The character creation process will also no longer be class based. In essence you are what you become. What class you chose to be is left up to how you play the game. To help facilitate this, the play style is more open. It sounds as if they are taking steps to quite literally let you determine the type of character you are using. To help make this a more personal and individual process, they have more spells, more items, more weapons that are apparently more unique. They also have more character animations. This will ultimately resort in a more unique experience for each player as you’re not bound to set roles and skills. There will also be no soul tendencies this time. If they use any form of good vs evil scheme we don’t know yet. We do know they abandoned the soul tendency system because they didn’t want to have to use dedicate servers for it. This is interesting because the soul tendency allowed for certain areas and NPCs to be open.

Then there is what they are calling “mutual role playing”. They haven’t revealed anything other than Dark Souls players will be able to engage in “mutual role playing”. We have yet to be given any information about what this means, so any speculation at this point would be moot. However the name alone indicates that playing online with others will not hinder you.

What we’re led to believe about Dark Souls is that we will have a multi-console release that will take what works from Demon’s Souls and ramp up the “go screw yourself”. But it’s not just going to increase the abuse. That would just be cruel. Okay given this video game’s pedigree, it very well might try. But it sounds as if it’s going to do so with a fun, interesting amount of personal freedom in virtually every way. I personally can’t wait to scream at the television while it kicks my ass in ways I didn’t know possible outside of a prison fight.

But they didn’t just leave us with text and images. Check out the trailer below:

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