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Thursday, August 29, 2013

GoMe, GoMe, Gone?

Guardians of Middle-earth was finally released for the Personal Computer earlier today on Steam and I was so excited when I finally got a chance to play it. I like the PlayStation 3 version, and I was hoping that this PC release was going to improve upon the original console release. Well, unfortunately, to my shock and dismay, that didn't happen. Let's get one thing out of the way: the game finally looks like it is being played on a machine that is not about ready to self-destruct, that is to say that the game is now running at a fluid 60 frames per second versus less than half of that on the PS3. I ran the game on 1920 x 1080 and everything looks crystal clear and though things do look sharper, no improvements were made on spicing up the graphics. The character animations are not the best while the textures found on the map are really bland. The improved game engine performance dramatically boosted the game's overall feel until... We get to the keyboard and mouse controls.

At least all the characters can be unlocked using in-game gold in this version.

Yes, the game still allows you to play with the controller and based on how the mouse and keyboard controls were implemented, perhaps the developers wanted to keep it that way? The mouse movement is quite laggy and the game doesn't want to allow you to perform ability combos because for some reason, it just wouldn't read the fast input. This resulted in the game feeling frustratingly unresponsive. I remember that on the console version, you have to hold on to an ability button and then release it to trigger an ability and I believe that this design is the culprit because things are more immediate with triggering abilities using your keyboard and mouse. Did anyone actually test this PC version before it came out? Did they test the game using just the controller? The keyboard and mouse controls should have improved upon the experience and instead, using such setup actually felt like a chore to me. The fact that you can't customize the controls to your liking made everything even more unforgivable. The worst part however is that you can't even go back to the controller. When I finally had it and chose to go with the controller, there existed a weird bug where the character would move automatically after every auto attack. There is still hope for this game, despite the problems described here as well as the moronic decision to charge players an admission price to access the game, but Zombie Studios must go deep into the mouse and keyboard control scheme and revamp it thoroughly instead of merely assigning inputs from the controller without touching up on the actual mechanics. A patch better be released quick because with DOTA 2 and League of Legends out there, failure to act swiftly is fatal. If you are interested in reading the gameplay details of GoMe, click here for the PS3 preview article.


Update Note: 08/30/2013 - The game was patched today and the controller bug had been dealt with. Though not the most optimal solution to further GoMe's agenda on the PC - that requires a complete reworking of the keyboard and mouse controls - at least the game is now playable with the controller.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Little Vita, BigPlanet

I found myself in that same sterile waiting room again this morning as I accompanied the spouse to another surgical procedure. Since the PlayStation Vita helped alleviate the waiting the last time I was here, I decided to bring it along again. The hospital Wi-Fi was not in a sharing mood this time around unfortunately but I did have a little bit of fun with LittleBigPlanet PS Vita. I will say that this game does look surprisingly incredible on the Vita and despite the washed-out appearance and somewhat neutered visual effects, it is still a visual treat thanks to its whimsical, stylized art direction. I only managed to complete 2 levels before the separation anxiety kicked in but I did get to the photo-taking using the Vita camera part of the gameplay. It would be impolite and probably improper to take pictures of random people in the waiting room so...

Exciting, I know and it turned out to be a religious article too. Yucks.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Games Played 08/19/2013 - 08/25/2013

- 08/19/2013 -
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/20/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
League of Legends - PC
LittleBigPlanet PS Vita - Vita

- 08/21/2013 -
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
Diablo III - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/22/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
League of Legends - PC
Nano Assault Neo - Wii U
Pikmin 3 - Wii U
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii

- 08/23/2013 -
ALLTYNEX Second - PC
Audiosurf - PC
League of Legends - PC
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit - PC
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii

- 08/24/2013 -
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
DC Universe Online - PC
Diablo III - PC
Sin & Punishment: Star Successor - Wii

- 08/25/2013 -
Dragon Age II - PC
Mass Effect 3 - PC
Star Wars: The Old Republic - PC
Warframe - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

If you wanted to be a Sith, you got to act like one.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Personal Computer

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nintendo eShop Promo Fail

Today has been a good day for the Wii U, that is until I saw his ridiculous eShop promotion they have going on involving those old Street Fighter II releases:

Is Nintendo aiming to swindle people who are not familiar with these games?

You know that if someone who has a nostalgic need to play Street Fighter II on the Wii U, he or she would just pick up the latest iteration of the series, which is Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers so why would they pay more to get the older versions of the game? It just doesn't make much sense. What they should have done is to just sell all three games as a bundle for a super low price.

Nintendo: Why Did You Buy Digital?

I was filling out the Club Nintendo registration survey for the digital version of Pikmin 3 earlier and I stumbled upon this really funny section in which Nintendo is trying to figure out the reasons behind people's digital download purchases. They should know already that digital distribution is the definite future of gaming but my feeling is that they are doing this to find ammunitions to convince those who don't buy digital to switch sides. Perhaps by me posting this, physical disc nuts can rethink their lives a little bit too. I do think it's admirable that unlike Microsoft and Sony, Nintendo is at least trying to be a part of the digital download future alongside Origin and Steam. I want to fill up my 2TB hard drive, Nintendo!

Those are pretty smart reasons to get into digital distribution for sure.

Of Bad Books and Nintendo's Hooks

Nintendo should be proud that I now own 10 games on the Wii U system. With the lack of interesting games on the system, you know that it is a hard thing for anyone to pull off. The bump to 10 was facilitated by a recent promotion by Nintendo that involved registering two 3DS games to my Club Nintendo profile: Fire Emblem: Awakening as well as Shin Megami Tensei IV . I received a copy of the latter yesterday and as soon as I got the $30 eShop credit, I registered it to my Wii U console and with it, I proceeded with getting Nano Assault Neo as well as Pikmin 3. I really love the fact that I got this game as a digital download, especially at the reduced price. I really think that Nintendo should consider offering a price difference between the physical copy versus the digital download. $39.99, which match my price threshold, would be perfect and I would not hesitate for a moment to just get any of Nintendo's own Wii U's game at that price. Too bad my Pikmin 3 purchase wouldn't qualify me for that Euro-only The Wonderful 101 30% off promo though... Those lucky bastards!

I love them in digital-form Nintendo, please give a valid reason to get more.

Since Shin Megami Tensei IV was brought up in the discussion, I would like to express my disappointment in the "Limited Edition" release. Why is this thing bundled with... a strategy guide? I hate strategy guides as you can read from a previous post here. It's the anti-game. You should want to explore a game on your own versus using a strategy guide. You may as well just watch someone play a game from the beginning to the end on twitch.tv instead of ever playing that game yourself. The really, really thick book that came with this LE is called "Strategy & Design Book" and they are somewhat right I suppose. The problem here is that the "Design" part, which includes artwork and the likes, only consists of less than 1% of the book! The rest is just detailed strategies on how to get through the game. Disgusting. Don't rush to get this game just to be able to score this LE release. It's not worth it. You think the big box is pretty? Just remember that it's also pretty darn flimsy. It'd cooler if it was a metal case.

Still can't decide on what to do with that other Atlus disappointment: the Dragon's Crown poster.

Monday, August 19, 2013

No, That's Not an Instruction Booklet

Ah, those who are still obsessed with getting "retail copies" of games and insist that gaming should not be distributed exclusively via digital means and the developers who do not have the guts to pave the way into the real future of gaming... These guys are silly, are they not? I mean, why would they cling to physical distribution when the game manuals have been reduced to something that is not even a game manual. For instance, this copy of Tank! Tank! Tank! for the Wii U that I received today. Within the thin interiors of its "Instruction Booklet" - 6 pages in all in which, the last two pages are reserved for "Notes" - contains nothing about the actual game but instead, we get seizure warnings and warranty information in both English as well as French! Oh no, they forgot to put the information in Spanish in there! If both Microsoft and Sony were real gaming innovators, they would have carried their customers into the digital age but since they are still not very smart about how to do this right, you developers should consider just focusing on selling your games on Steam - Hint: You wouldn't have to lie and print abominations such as this fake manual anymore:

No, that's not an "Instructional Booklet". That, my friend, is an insult.

July 2013 Gaming Analysis

The results shown below are of course based on the combined data from the Daily Game Log which should provide a clear indication of a game's usage frequency. Bear in mind that even if a game is played twice or more during a particular day, it would still register as 1 in the Day Count column below. In a sense, "merits" are given based on how often a particular game can make me play it again throughout the entire period of the  month on a daily basis. A game that makes a gamer play it over and over again or at least spend a lot of time with it... Isn't that what we mostly want from a great game? I don't think it's really fair to count all the way down to the number of hours played since some games only require a short amount of time to properly serve their purposes.

OVERALL BREAKDOWN:


Total Games Played: 70

After skipping a month, it happened again! League of Legends for the Personal Computer was played every single day during the month! I don't think I will ever stop playing this game. Also note the result of Steam's destructive attack during the Summer Sale event in the induction data below.


This Month's Inductees:


Total Inductions: 26

Games Played 08/12/2013 - 08/18/2013

- 08/12/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC

- 08/13/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/14/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Diablo III - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/15/2013 -
Diablo III - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/16/2013 -
Audiosurf - PC
AlphaJax - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/17/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/18/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Audiosurf - PC
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

Misery is Abstinence's middle name.
Diablo III (Personal Computer)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome Home, Guardians of Middle-earth!

As a console Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, Guardians of Middle-earth was indeed intriguing and playable when I delved into it on the PlayStation 3. As a matter of fact, I thought it was pretty darn good. The main problem with it, other than the shockingly poor visuals, was the lack of mouse and keyboard implementation which could have been easily supported on the consoles. Well, like I always say to myself these days, all good things will come to Steam sooner or later, and this game becomes the latest in the ever continuing Steam dominance over all. Again, I feel really horrible for ever investing in the game on the PS3 in the first place and I am now crystal clear that I should not bother inducting anymore console games from this point forth other than those for the handhelds and those made by the internal studios of console makers.

More MOBA? No problem!

This Personal Computer version by Zombie Studios, slated for a Steam release on August 29th, will include everything that was on the console version but with the addition of higher resolution graphics - which I hope also means that it will be 60 frames per second instead of that seemingly fluctuating 5 fps on the PS3 - as well as, you guessed it, mouse and keyboard controls! The funny thing here is that this PC version will also support gameplay using the controller but you have to be clinically insane to choose that over the mouse and keyboard when it comes to MOBAs. See, if the PC version can have the controller option, why couldn't they give the console version keyboard and mouse option? So silly. Now, it will be easy to just move the camera all over the large map and be strategic about the gameplay. There is a problem however with this PC version - there's an admission price! Oh no, when you have the highly superior MOBA giants in the forms of DOTA 2 and League of Legends already completely free to play, this is a really idiotic decision. The right approach would be to allow everyone to play for free but they have to earn the in-game cash to eventually unlock all the guardians permanently or they can choose to pay to unlock them immediately. Also, plan to sell more alternate looks for the guardians and keep developing more of those guardians in the first place. I heard that those who got the console version may be able to play it for free but that hasn't been confirmed yet. If that's true, us early adopters should be given complete access to all the guardians. As I mentioned earlier, I really do like this game a lot. It was problematic on the PS3, true, but this PC reincarnation, if optimized accordingly, will be an irresistible little MOBA that I would definitely play. I sure hope that will be the case so that I can play my favorite guardian, Galadriel of course, a lot more often!


Update Note: 08/21/2013 - Those who own the game on the console by 08/15/2013 and have completed at least one match can redeem the Steam version for free! The redemption instruction can be found on the game's webpage. Too bad we don't get all the guardians unlocked however as we will only be getting the "Standard Pack".


Related Article:

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Typical Guy Not Noticing a Haircut...

Remember how I was so obsessed with Leona when she was first introduced in League of Legends for the Personal Computer? Well, I always felt like there was something... "different" about her as the time go by but I just couldn't quite pin down the source of that strange feeling. I could never figure out what it was because it's not like she got a gameplay redesign or anything drastic like that and the whole thing ended up being something very, very subtle that I finally managed to figure out last night while I was perusing my past articles!

Current Leona on the left and the original splash art on the right.

As embarrassing as it may be, apparently I never noticed that Riot Games had given her a haircut. This happened sometime between the moment when I first captured the original splash art on July 11th, 2011 - wow, has it been THAT long - and when I wrote about her again on April 22nd, 2012! I suppose that Riot wanted her to look more authoritative and stoic because the extra hair in the original look is just a bit too feminine... I personally don't have any problem with it but I have to agree that she does look a lot more formidable with less hair. But you know what they say, it's what's on the inside that counts so it's not a bad thing to not notice physical improvements such as a haircut, right?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Rule to Game Inductions?

How could this be possible? Oh, yeah, we got Steam!

With me seeing the official store page for The King of Fighters XIII Steam Edition on the Steam client today, I felt that I needed to readjust my video gaming life. I bought this game for the PlayStation 3 back in early 2012 and just like the recent release of Mortal Kombat on Steam, I feel silly for ever getting the game for the PS3 in the first place but in reality, I shouldn't blame myself for that mistake. Perhaps it's time that I implement another rule on top of that $39.99 maximum price threshold? Then again, I am reminded that both the PS3 and the X-Box 360 will be needlessly, cruelly murdered by their creators soon and that I will not be supporting their successors so I probably don't even need to set up induction rules because I will only be getting mostly games on the Personal Computer. Inductions on the handhelds, especially the Nintendo 3DS, should be fine but I do still have that Wii U however yet there are hardly any games out for it that's worthy of my interest. It looks like I'm golden here. If multi-platform game releases hit the Wii U when PS4 and XOne are already out, I am pretty darn sure a PC version would be released alongside them too, which means that my Wii U inductions will be exclusive to Nintendo-developed games... But I don't have to even worry about that even. I have a feeling that something BIG is going to happen to Nintendo that will make us all... very, very happy?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Games Played 08/05/2013 - 08/11/2013

- 08/05/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Danmaku Unlimited 2 Lite - iPad
Marvel Heroes - PC
Solstice Arena - iPad

- 08/06/2013 -
Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii

- 08/07/2013 -
AlphaJax - PC
Dragon's Crown - PlayStation 3
Ginga Force - X-Box 360
Mighty Switch Force - Wii U
Xenoblade Chronicles - Wii

- 08/08/2013 -
Dragon's Crown - PlayStation 3
Shiny the Firefly - iPad

- 08/09/2013 -
Dragon's Crown - PlayStation 3
League of Legends - PC

- 08/10/2013 -
DOTA 2 - PC

- 08/11/2013 -
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition - PC
DOTA 2 - PC
League of Legends - PC


Screenshot of the Week:

The passionate heat of a bromance.
Xenoblade Chronicles (Nintendo Wii)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Gigantic 3,000

When I received my copy of Dragon's Crown for the PlayStation 3 yesterday, it marked another milestone in my gaming life for it was the 3,000th inductee into that scary, overgrown hedge maze I called my Game Library.

The poster is an afterthought because it's one of those in-store "product now available" posters.

The spouse would definitely be harassing me about this fact and it will surely be brought up in future "discussions". I never really put the continuously increasing number in mind when I induct my games into the library but this new count does give me slight pause. Over the last couple of days, as I was noticing the eventual countdown to 3,000, I have been diversifying my free gaming time by steering clear of League of Legends for the Personal Computer to investigate the hidden aisles, buried catacombs, and dusty corners of the library. I do love my LoL to death but I feel compelled to celebrate all these other games that I always have access to whenever I wanted to. My mind kept going back to this article I wrote back in early 2011 and I was telling myself that perhaps the time is now to act strategically in both focus as well as time distribution. It didn't seem that long ago since my library hit the 2,000th game mark - actually, it has been close to 4 years - but time does feel like it's moving too fast, yet it's obvious that gaming itself is the true catalyst to that feeling of fleeting, lost moments.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Games Played 07/29/2013 - 08/04/2013

- 07/29/2013 -
Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition - PC

- 07/30/2013 -
League of Legends - PC
Mortal Kombat: Komplete Edition - PC

- 07/31/2013 -
Infinite Crisis Closed Beta - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/01/2013 -
League of Legends - PC

- 08/02/2013 -
League of Legends - PC

- 08/03/2013 -
Batman: Arkham Asylum - PC
League of Legends - PC

- 08/04/2013 -
Infinite Crisis Closed Beta - PC
League of Legends - PC
Solstice Arena - iPad


Screenshot of the Week:

Lighting the way in the darkness.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Warwick: Bye-Bye Grandma

I got my first alternate skin for Warwick in League of Legends for the Personal Computer yesterday and it's the Big Big Warwick skin. To me, it's definitely the best alternate skin for Warwick because surely seeing Warwick in drags running after you is a lot more horrific than seeing him coming at you wearing the skin of a dead manatee... Well, then again, maybe not!

Best Grandma ever? Instead of smelling like pee, this one smells like blood.