I swore it was the end.

I still remember looking at you, wishing I had the will to keep loving you. There was something so inviting about you this time. You promised me so many new things, and delivered on them. I was ready, my body was ready, to embrace you whole-heartedly. I wanted to love you, so why couldn’t I?

This is the eighth time I’ve let you back into my life.

I was barely able to bring myself to get two badges out of eight in the game, arguably the first “unique” Pokemon in years. It offered rapidly new visuals and mechanics to make the game fun, but it wasn’t enough. It still felt like Nintendo’s version of Call of Duty; near-yearly releases that do not deviate from the tried and true design of it’s series.


I’ve been a semi-dedicated fan of the Pokemon series of games since the beginning. I remember being given a copy of Pokemon Blue for my birthday. I spent until eleven at night 1 playing, and didn’t get any further than Viridian City. This wasn’t because I was invested in the lore or wanted to experience the game to it’s fullest –though that’s how I passed the time– it was actually because I didn’t pay attention at the start and didn’t realize I was meant to go to the Pokemart to get Oak’s package. I spent four hours in the first area of the game before I realized what I was meant to do.
This of course shows that my being terrible at games is clearly something I was born with, but still. That was my first memory of playing Pokemon. I went on to collect all 151 pokemon 2, and loved every minute of it.

I got older

The games are still great. But as you get older and go through nine iterations of what is effectively the exact same game with a new skin, you start to feel a bit of a grind. Every game, you convince yourself the next one will be different. The evil corporation has different motives! This time your rival is your best friend and it’s just friendly competition! This time there are sixty nine hundred pokemon to catch!
It doesn’t matter what they use to try to lure you, it always feels the same, and it sucks.

Why am I writing about this?

Why indeed. Well, after I found myself unable to bring myself to get past two badges in the last two generations of game (Black 2 and X), I promised myself I wouldn’t spend money on another Pokemon. It just wasn’t worth it if I didn’t plan to play the game all the way through 3.

Of course, then I found out about the midnight release of the latest games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Next thing I know, we’re at our local store, lining up for a copy. I swore I’d only buy a copy for my sister and partner, but with all the Pokemon remixes blaring in the store and the cosplayers, I got swept up in the hype and ended up with my own copy of Omega Ruby.
I feel bad, because I worry I’m going to find myself unwilling to play the game. It looks cool, but so did the last game. The idea of being able to create my own secret base and share it online sounds great, but will it be enthralling enough?

The final question I pose to myself, is will this game finally be the Pokemon I need, or was I better off spending this money on the season pass for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare?

   [ + ]

1. That was what a kid like me considered “all night”.
2. Yes I even got Mew, then made a business at school of cloning it using a glitch and selling them to other kids for a dollar.
3. We’ll of course ignore that I have finished less than twenty of the 350 games I own on Steam.


Fixed Camera Survival Horror?

I like Resident Evil 6. There, I said it.

It’s something a lot of people do not, though. It comes from a love of the series old mechanics and gameplay. It doesn’t seem to be purely nostalgia, but a genuine love of how it worked.

RE 2Beautiful, right?

There’s a general dislike for modern games in franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, and how far they’ve moved on from what they were originally. Talking to a friend, a thought crossed my mind that I posed as a question to him:

If the mechanics are so beloved, why aren’t they present and popular in modern games?

We discussed why, covering a plethora of ideas as to how a whole gaming subgenre 1 could be seemingly forgotten, or if it hasn’t why no-one has attempted to fill that niche.

It occurred to me that it obviously must have. There were people remaking the original Resident Evil 2 and putting it in a modern third person perspective. There are people who speed-run or just generally stream these games and have fairly decent sized audiences while they do so. Surely there would be people with an interest in keeping the genre alive.

Well, I looked and it looks like the genre is alive, but for some reason these games just didn’t get that much attention. At least, not enough attention that I was able to notice. If they did and I’m just an idiot, feel free to inform me. Anyway, I thought I’d share the games I found that at least claim to be classic survival horror, released in the past few years.

Blacksoul: Extended Edition


The game reports to being a third person survival horror game, and reviews claim it is the “answer to the classic survival-horror fan’s prayers”. It references Resident Evil and Silent Hill in reviews, because of course it does. The screenshot above looks like it could play similar and have a decent atmosphere. Other screenshots on the store page look devoid of colour, but it still has potential. For two dollars I’m willing to give it a go, anyway.

Long Night

A Steam game that looks like they’re planning to release episodically. So far there is only one episode of three, but the next is supposed to be released in the next few months (This was claimed in July, so I guess it should be soon?).
Steam reviews are a good way to determine if Long Night is the sort of game that deserves to be on the list, and there is definitely indication from other players that this feels like “old horror adventures” “from the playstation era”. So that’s promising, and hopefully worth a look.

After those two, it’s hard to determine what is actually Fixed Camera Survival Horror without going to a lot of depth and watching videos, which would give away parts of games.
If you read this and know of any games that fulfill what I’m after, please share them!

   [ + ]

1. I feel these games should fall under their own “Fixed Camera Survival Horror” genre, as these games are vastly different to the likes of Amnesia and Dead Space, which also fall under the “Survival Horror” title.


Age of Empires…Castle Siege?


I love Age of Empires. It’s a great series, and one I felt reached a high point with Age of Empires Online. Unfortunately, with the announcement of the closure of Games For Windows Live, AoEO had a premature death. I had hoped it would be saved by the re-announcement that GFWL would stay, but those hopes were quickly crushed when AoEO was closed down anyway.

I love Age of Empires Online and always hope it will make a return in some form. Age of Empires I and II just doesn’t feel as fun as it did a decade ago, and Age of Empires III was downright horrible. While AoEO didn’t have the best launch, with time it improved to become one of my favourite MMO-RTS hybrids. I was sure lessons were learned with it’s development that would be reflected in future titles in the series.

Fast forward to now, and apparently a new Age of Empires has come out. This would normally be a cause for celebration, but I’m here completely dumbfounded by what is presented to me.

First up, it isn’t really presented to me.

Due to the style of game (Which I’ll get to in a minute), the game is only available on two systems. The first is Windows 8.1, and the second is Windows Phone 8. I am surprised and yet at the same time not surprised by this decision. It makes sense that Microsoft would want to push their own products so restricting mobile device, while possibly crippling to overall in-game sales, could be a good decision.
However, I have no idea why they believe restricting the game to a specific operating system is a good idea. So many people still use Windows 7 that restricting to Windows 8 is just mental. I own Windows 8, but due to several problems my hardware has with it, I’ve had to stick with it’s previous incarnation.
As such, I’m apparently unable to play a computer game, purely because of arbitrary restrictions. This really pisses me off as a fan of the franchise.

I am looking for a way to play this on my current set up, but so far it’s been fruitless. As such, everything I write from here on out is based on videos, reviews and discussion from other people rather than my own experiences. Take it with a grain of salt.

Clash of Empires, or Age of Clans?

Perhaps the biggest shock is that they have done away with the traditional gameplay of Real Time Strategy games to go with the Tower Defense style of game familiar to those who have played Clash of Clans or the ill-fated mobile version of Dungeon Keeper. You have a static private map, in which you build a base full of resource-generating buildings, armies and defenses. Resources build up and you click (or tap) on that building to collect said resources.
To fight other players, you choose to fight, and get taken to a random player’s base. From there, you deploy troops you have trained and attempt to penetrate their defenses and turn everything to rubble. The opponent is not actually present, and cannot retaliate, having to hope that his defenses will be enough to hold you off.

72d28c78-4058-420f-a51c-eeec4be5e928Pictured: Originality

It becomes a purely single player experience. Compared to all other Age of Empires and how they handle PVP, it’s different and arguably worse. In previous games, you would be on the same map as your enemy (Games were matches, rather than persistent online worlds). It would be a race of efficiency to build your base, gather resources and build your army. When you felt ready, you would send your army to fight your enemy and try to stop them. The winner was the person who destroyed the other, and it could be a lot of fun, especially if you were playing with multiple people. Alliances would be formed, along with a sharing of resources to help each other out as you attempt to band together to defeat the other players.

It was crazy good fun, and something that is lost with the static gameplay present in Castle Siege.

Isn’t there more?

Really the biggest gripe I have is that it’s an Age of Empires game in name only. If you ignore the brand, I’m sure it is a decent Clash of Clans clone. The graphics and art style look nice, and it is cross platform between Windows 8.1 and the phone version, so while you’re on the bus, you can log in, and collect resources for when you get home and jump on your computer. As a game, it definitely looks polished.
But as an Age of Empires game, it feels like a butchering of the series, especially since it seems like a mobile game with a PC port, rather than the other way around.

I will keep trying to see if I can get this working on my computer so I can form a proper opinion, but I’m going to guess no-one sees it worth cracking.


Game time.

I’ve run into a problem of which many people experience to a similar extent; I can’t work out what to play. For many people, this is a problem of having too many Steam games in your library and being overwhelmed. This is part of it for me, but not the main concern.
My issue is based on what some games do to encourage people to play. This is things like daily rewards, daily quests and expiring items. Here’s a list of games I play currently, that have rewards or events to claim daily, as well as games that have some other form of bait to get you to return:

  • Firefall
  • Infinity Wars
  • Loadout
  • Warframe
  • Final Fantasy XIV: Realm Reborn
  • F.E.A.R Online
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Marvel Heroes
  • Spelunky
  • Blacklight: Retribution

Now, that is not a big list. It’s only ten games after all. But when you think about it, each of these games requires you to at a bare minimum log in to do whatever it is they require. If you wanted to get everything these games offer, there’s a time investment.
Infinity Wars, Warframe, Firefall and Marvel Heroes all merely require you to log in and claim your reward, then you’re free to just log out and leave them. That takes five minutes, assuming fast loading times for each.
Then you have Loadout, which gives a bonus for the first game of the day.
Spelunky, Realm Reborn and Guild Wars 2 all have daily “challenges” or quests you can do. Spelunky is purely a challenge with a  leaderboard, but the other two are different. Being MMOs, they have daily quests that are crucial to progression if you want to “keep up” so to speak. Guild Wars 2 has a fairly unintrusive set of daily achievements which is nice, but can still take a few minutes to reach. In comparison, Realm Reborn has daily “Beast Tribe” quests and multiple daily dungeons. To make the most of these and not miss out you can be looking at an hour for Realm Reborn alone.
F.E.A.R. Online and Blacklight: Retribution follow another model. They have daily missions, AND “rented” items. Imagine you unlock a new item in your favourite game, only to discover it will only last 24 hours before it disappears. After that, you have to unlock it all over again and have it last another 24 hours. That’s how these games work. You can grind to unlock the item you want for temporary times, or buy it with real money/ingame currency that takes ages to earn. I am not begrudging them for that model, because it’s not the worst out there. However, if you want to make the most of these games and maintain them, you have to play at least a couple of matches a day.

Now I don’t know about you guys, but I spend a fair chunk of time playing video games. Some days that can be an hour, other days I can spend much more. It doesn’t matter how much though, because I have to sit there and contemplate, “Where am I going to invest my time today?” And it’s a tough choice to make without feeling like I’m letting myself down. Do I focus a chunk of time in Warframe, and ignore my daily quests in Realm Reborn? Do I play a couple of matches of Loadout, letting my items expire in F.E.A.R. Online? Do I play Ultra Street Fighter IV with my friend and essentially lose on all these games.

What I am trying to get at, in all this rambling, is it feels like far too many games utilize time-restrictive progression to encourage you to play them. When you are a broad player like myself, you want to play everything, without feeling like you’re losing, or like you have to play this particular game. I don’t feel like playing MMORPGs every day, so why should I feel like I’m falling behind or failing because I don’t play a game for a day? Or a week?
I feel like my situation is best represented by this image, from The Simpsons because they literally have a reference for everything.


So, with all these games desperate for me to play THEM, they end up getting stuck in a little hypothetical door.
I have nothing against developers adapting this system, because it is indeed a clever way to get people to get into their game at a minimum once a day, and hopefully stay in it for a while. It helps keep player numbers up so the multiplayer will function, and increases the chance in Free To Play games of purchases being made.
However if every developer does this in an attempt to claim my time, no-one ends up getting my time.


Firefall got it’s official release!

Firefall, a game I played and recorded quite a bit of, got it’s official release a few days ago on Steam.

While they still haven’t implemented PVP again in the same form I was enjoying, Red5 have come a long way with the game. Questing feels better, and it feels like there is actually some things to do.

There’s still quite a bit to learn in it, but Firefall seems to be one of those games that is easy to learn the basics of, but there’s plenty of complicated things in the game if you can be bothered to get deep into it.

Also, the game is free on Steam why aren’t you downloading it already?


Wolfenstein: The New Order and modding

I’ve been a massive fan of Wolfenstein since the very first game, Wolfenstein 3D. I played it briefly as a little kid before my grandparents decided it was too adult for me and restricted my access.

wolfenstein-3dI doubt kids of this generation would be phased by the pixels.

When I hit early high school, I became reunited with this game, and discovered it’s extensive and at the time large modding community. Over the decades hundreds and most likely thousands of mods were made for the original game, not just changing maps and graphics but pushing the abilities of the engine to it’s limit. Talented programmers converted the game engine to get around memory constraints and added many many features that pushed the game so far that sometimes it’s hard to recognize it as Wolfenstein 3D.

So, we get to Wolfenstein: The New Order. Upon running it for the first time, I was treated to the honour of being forced to agree to a EULA. I skipped through it as 99.9% of people do, but did skim a little bit of it. I saw mention of the following.

If the Software makes available, as a separate downloadable installer, a level editor or other similar type tools, assets and other materials (the “Software Utilities”) that permit you to construct or customize new game levels and other related game materials for personal use in connection with the Software (“Customized Game Materials”), then in the event you access such Software Utilities, the use of the Software Utilities is subject to the following additional terms, conditions and restrictions:

(a) All Customized Game Materials created by you are exclusively owned by LICENSOR and/or its licensors (as the case may be) and you hereby transfer, assign and convey to LICENSOR all right, title and interest in and to the Customized Game Materials and LICENSOR and its permitted licensors may use any Customized Game Materials made publicly available to you for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to for purposes of advertising and promoting the Software

So basically, should a level editor or any type of game modding tool get released, any content you create in those tools become the property of the “LICENSOR”, which I assume is Bethesda/Machine Games/id Software.

If my assumption is right, this unsettles me. Modding games is something that has been around as long as games have been. I can almost guarantee that from the moment the first video game came out, people tinkered with it; it’s human nature to do so.
We are at that point where community involvement is nearly crucial to games. Valve rely on community created content for games like Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2. Community created content that gets approved for the game actually goes into an in-game store, which the creator gets most of the money for.
The new game being developed in the Unreal Tournament series, UT4, is being made transparently with actual contributions from the community. Every step of the way, we can see videos of work in progress, offer feedback and ideas, and even view and contribute to programming, map design and any other aspect of the game we’re interested in. After release (Which will be 100% free), there will be a marketplace for the game, in which users can sell their own content created for the game. This can be anything from maps, models, sounds, even full blown game modes and other mods.

So in a world where this is direction we’re headed, it is frustrating to see one of my favourite game developers take such a backward stance. Id Software used to keep modding in mind, and actually encourage it.
The original Doom games were built to use WAD files, so users could create their own campaigns and other modifications and release them in one easily shared file. The result of creating such a classic game and making it with modding in mind is that the game is kept alive, people are still playing it and even creating new content for the game despite it being over twenty years old.

Since then it feels like community has fallen by the wayside for Id Software, possibly due to the acquisition by Zenimax. Rage was released in October of 2011, but it took until February 2013 – 16 months after release – to get the official modding tools up. The game had Multiplayer, but only co-operative missions and a four player vehicular competitive mode. I never played it because it just was not popular enough to find anyone to play with.
I decided, upon writing this piece of word vomit, to look up the wide, vast variety of mods that would have come out in the past year and a half of the game’s release. Except it turns out only one mod is listed on ModDB, which adds a new single player map and a survival map (?) as well as a bunch of balancing modifications.

There could be any variety of reasons for why the game did not have multiplayer game modes more commonly associated with first person shooters. It is questionable whether or not they would have helped the longevity of the game, but in comparison with games like Quake 3, which people are still playing, Rage was a failure.

Wolfenstein: The New Order won’t suffer from that problem with longevity because Id Software didn’t even implement multiplayer this time. This seems like a good decision, given the way other shooters like those in the Call of Duty series are losing any real decent story in their campaigns.
Should we get any modding tools for this game, obviously those mods will need to be singleplayer.
At the time of writing there has been five thousand total players playing the game at the same time on Steam today. There is obviously a player base at the moment, so if any modding tools were released in a timely fashion, we should be able to get some mods out and there will be a sizable number of people to play them. That leads to the original issue though; will players be willing to create content that takes their valuable spare time to make, only for Id Software and Zenimax to look at it and go “That is ours now.”?

I’m willing to guess, probably not.


The Marvel of 2003 confuses me.

I am almost completely happy with my purchase of Marvel Unlimited, where for the price of around seventy dollars a year I get access to almost all of Marvels decades of comics. The only problem I have with it is that recent issues take six months to come to the service. This is to encourage people to still buy physical copies, but all it means is I have to try avoiding spoilers.

Now, the point of this post is merely to bring you a single panel from an issue of Venom, the Marvel comic that was published in the early 2000s.
If you can explain the artistic direction taken on the anatomy, please enlighten me.


I don’t understand.


I am so glad I didn’t buy The Elder Scrolls Online

When I first heard about the online installment of the Elder Scrolls series, I was ecstatic. I first heard about it late 2012, after getting into Guild Wars 2 and MMORPGs in general. To me, having Elder Scrolls translated to an online experience seemed fantastical. I was in love with the worlds of Oblivion and Skyrim, and the idea of having them played in the style of a game like Guild Wars 2 lead me to believe I should have just gotten this tattooed to my forehead.

Animated tattoos are a thing, right?

As time went on, my excitement increased. I knew with utmost certainty that I would purchase the game and put hundreds of hours into it. Utmost. Certainty.

Introducing a scrubscription.

August last year was when my excitement took a dip. Bethesda announced that the game would have both an initial price, and a monthly fee to continue playing. This worried me, because why would The Elder Scrolls utilize such an archaic pricing structure? I, as well as a large portion of gamers, hate the idea that if we stop paying, we lose access to the game we paid money for.
Matt Firor was quick to defend the decision with this quote I just happened to have on me.

When you’re in an Elder Scrolls game, you’re in a world,” he said, explaining the former point. “We don’t want players to hit monetisation fees when they’re in the world.
We wanted to do monetisation outside of the game. So, if I pay for a month at a time, I have 100 per cent of the game. I don’t have to worry about paying one more cent. I’ll never run into a pay gate and I’ll be in the world.

Arguments about scrubscription fees being monthly pay gates aside, I can sort of understand what he’s saying. A monthly pay cycle means they can forgo charging for DLC like they have in past games of the series, and they don’t need to worry about other monetisation options like an in-game cash shop…

The in-game cash shop.

Oh. So despite having a scrubscription fee, there’s also a cash shop. This was the next nail in the coffin for me. It was defended at the time as just being name changes and other such things. However apparently in the store at the moment there is a horse you can buy with real money and an upgrade to the Imperial Edition which we will talk about in a minute. To get a basic horse with in-game currency will set you back 17,000 gold. Now in perspective, a few YouTube reviewers have said that after three weeks of playing the game with friends they only have around 4,000 gold. Assuming gold scales with level, we’re probably looking at a few more weeks before you obtain the gold for the most basic of horses. So including your free month, you’re paying another fifteen dollars to keep playing and then EVENTUALLY, MAYBE, get your horse.
So you could spend almost two months saving up all your gold to get a horse so you don’t have to crawl to every area, or you could throw some more money at the game and skip all of that.

Alternatively, you could buy…

The Imperial Edition

This was the thing that made me literally say “No. Nope. Fuck no. God dang it. Fuck off. No.” Basically, you could preorder The Elder Scrolls Online as a regular game, or as the Imperial Edition. I like special editions of games because I like getting things like figurines and art books. What does the Imperial Edition come with? Check check check it out:

eso ps4 imperial edition

I see an art book. That’s awesome! I see a statue for the antagonist of the game, which is even better. That statue can sit next to my Duke Nukem bust I got from Duke Nukem Forever!  There’s even a map for the world, that can go on the wall next to my Skyrim map!

That was what I said, until I read the features on the right. The exclusive digital content includes a cosmetic pet, which I am absolutely okay with. When it comes to paying real money for things in an MMORPG, I love cosmetics. It’s the best way to support a developer without getting an advantage that makes a game “Pay To Win”. Guild Wars 2 has a lot of cosmetics you can buy, and hell I’ve bought a fair few of them because they make my characters look fucking awesome.
Next, you get the Rings of Mara. These are rings you and a friend share. You perform an in-game ritual (I assume), and then whenever you play together you get an experience boost. I’m not 100% okay with this, but it’s not terrible and I assume it takes up a ring slot on your character that eventually gets swapped for an upgrade.This tool ends up being good for casuals.

Now we get to the stuff that made me boycott this game. First I would like to remind you if you read this far, that this version of the game is twenty dollars more than the standard edition. I assume if you buy the standard game and want to upgrade through the in-game cash shop it will cost the same.
The first insult is you get a mount right from the start of the game. Sure, you still apparently have to buy it from a stable, but you know how much it costs? One. Fucking. Gold. One gold and you have the horse that standard players have to grind fourteen thousand gold for. So that’s the first thing. However, that is in no way as much of an insult as the final feature of the Imperial Edition. At least in regards to horses you can get one without paying if you grind long enough.
People who buy the Imperial Edition get access to an exclusive race. If you spend twenty dollars, you get the option to play as the Imperials, who get to play as either alliance. To clarify, every other race is restricted to a specific alliance similar to how World of Warcraft was split between Alliance and Horde. If you want to play with a friend you either need to restrict yourselves to the few races allowed in the same alliance, or buy the Imperial Edition and laugh at your friend as you gallop away to the next quest on a horse while he is forced to walk for five minutes to the same location.

Exclusive content is in no way new to games, it’s in fact something that happens a lot. However, it directly contradicts promises from the developers that there will be no pay gates in the game bar the scrubscription fee. You can’t say that, then turn around and say “By the way you need to spend extra money if you want all the races in the game.”

From what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of people who quite enjoy the game, to which I say “That’s awesome!”. However with the above points and the problems I’ve heard about the game have brought me to completely boycott Elder Scrolls Online, at least until it inevitably becomes free to play.


April Fools Day in Guild Wars 2


I logged in today for a big surprise. I freaked and thought it was a bug for a few seconds, before I realized it is still the first of April somewhere in the world.


Woot crate.

I came home and joy of joys, a box was waiting for me.


Not just any box of course, but a Loot Crate. The greatest discovery for me in the past month was discovering that these items could now be purchased in Australia.

What is a loot crate?

Yes I hear you asking that, and I’ll explain. Loot Crate is a monthly delivery in which you receive a cardboard box full of goodies based around a theme. This month the theme was “Titanfall”. Opening the box, I was greeted with the following:


Who am I to argue with what the box says? I want to apologize for the quality of the photos, they’ve been taken with my Samsung Galaxy Potato.


So being my first Loot Crate I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed. Inside, I got the following:

  • Monthly Loot Crate Magazine
  • Large Titanfall shirt, which is apparently a Loot Crate exclusive based on the shirts owned by the development team. That’s pretty freaking awesome.
  • An Attack on Titan sweat band. Attack on Titan is an anime/manga that is apparently popular, though I only know it for this.
  • Speaking of Attack on Titan, the crate also came with the first issue of the English manga. I’ve never really watched the show, but this will give me an opportunity to read it and see if I like the story.
  • A Titanfall Lanyard. This will be pretty good for when I go to PAXAUS at the end of the year.
  • A magnet. Just a simple one that says “Attack on Titanfall”. GET IT? BECAUSE THE CRATE IS FULL OF TITANFALL AND ATTACK ON TITAN THINGS.
  • A coupon giving me a free digital copy of the Titanfall strategy guide. If I end up buying the game, it will be useful.
  • Lollies because lollies. Lollies.
  • A badge, commemorating the loot crate.

After all that, there’s just some coupons for gaming related things that I probably won’t end up using. Anyway, it’s definitely worth the money coming in at twenty dollars. I’m pretty happy with this and honestly can’t wait for next month’s crate. I have no idea what will be coming in it, but I’m pumped.