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nomadski69 Blog

The Next Gen Mess, Or How We Willingly Allowed Ourselves To Get Shafted

For all the general moaning and indignation thrown out by the gaming community over the used games next gen mess, I can't but help feel this generation of gamers brought this on themselves with their blind willingness to part with their cash for any dodgy scam put out there by the current gen, be it minor DLC's, preorder bonus items, season passes, used game codes, 'episodic' sequel franchises etc etc.

This corporate gaming culture has been successfully engineered over the last 10 years, and by contributing to it, by salivating over the 'less for more' culture created, this generation have become partners by association in this engineering.

The power to say NO was with us all along, but it was rarely used. And now we all are guilty by association in the hunt for eeking out every penny from gamers that will continue, and it will grow even further.

When preorders open, the Xbox One and PS4 will set record highs in numbers sold, and Microsoft and Sony will have achieved legitimacy in screwing all gamers over in even more exciting ways for the next 10 years, because they have all of us by the balls, and no amount of unhappy smilies will change this, its set now, it was set the day people started buying horse armour for $1.99.

Im guessing this mini blogpost will be viewed quizzically by a large proportion of gamers here, but the older ones, those that existed when all Microsoft made were dodgy operating systems will understand every word.

Wow. Well Done EA!

Being the cynical old man that I am, i'd completely forgotten that games can occasionally surprise you in their quality. We live in an information rich age where everyman kid and his dog knows everything about a game before release, to the point that very little surprises can remain, and only dissapointment from the hype is certain.

EA really pulled one on me with Dead Space - I'd heard about it, seen the previews and watched the trailers. But when I actually played the game I was blown away by the quality in the title. Graphics are great, and optimised waaaay above most current releases (so all those people posting Can I Run It.....for 99% of you - YES! REALLY WELL!) and i'm on an old AGP system with an AMD cpu screaming for an upgrade in most titles.

Atmosphere is fantastic, aided by some incredible sound. People seem to be overlooking this aspect a lot in games, but in a survival horror title its absolutely essential and IMO this game has the best sound ive heard in a game for a very, very long time. I actually jumped at one early point in the first level, something FEAR never managed to do for me.

Perhaps its the deep space setting so well executed right from the beginning, but I really do feel the tension while exploring the levels here, EA have managed to ge that balance right between "enjoying it" and "fearing it", fun and trepidation mixed together seemlessly.

And for once its a title which hasnt been hyped beyond belief, I only hope this doesnt become one of those unseen gems for many people, for me its right up there with the very best AAA titles released on any platform this year. Theres certainly nothing else to comapre to this game on the "survival horror" front this year, perhaps Left For Dead will take that mantle but who knows.

So EA, for what its worth, theres a little KB or two on the internet that wants to applaud you (did i just say that?) for making a supremely atmospheric, and fun game, that noone should miss out on, unless you really hate shadows....

*steps back slowly into game*

Take Cod Back To WW2!!!

I enjoyed Cod 4, i really did, the sp was the best of the series so far, and the mp entertained me...for a while. The problem i have is that Cod 1 & 2 (im talking PC versions obviously here) had mp which dominated my online life to the point that i hardly played anything else.

In fact, Cod 1 was the first online game i ever played, even though ive been a gamer since the early 80's. When it was released most people (in the UK) were still on 56k modems and i rememeber fondly the times i had on the Jolt 56k only servers shooting wildly at thin air, whilst having funwith the best community a games ever had imo. We laughed, joked and played silly buggers for months, enjoying each others pain when the servers were full via the forums, or just fannying about trying to find map glitches.

It was a great time for all, and many Cod players i know today are from that happy time, still see a few every now and then on xfire. 56k=LAG and E3 were the jokey 56k "clans" we set up, E3 becoming aserious clan, once everyone moved into BB. Course BB happened to everyone eventually and we all started taking it a little more seriously, enjoying ourselves with clans and competitions.

With Cod 2 this continued, but a little soul was lost along the way - between 1&2 United Offensive had been released, and to a certain extent fragmented the community, perhaps its just me but Cod 2 lacked a little in the community that Cod 1 had, but still proved itself an exceptional game in mp, even with its dodgy hitboxes.

Cod 4 was released, and it proved to be an exceptional sp game, with a great story and great atmosphere. The mp was fun too, but for me it was the nail in the coffin for Cod so far. The community seemed to grow, taking in players from CS:S and the BF games, and it seems the humour on the servers was replaced by a barrage of insults, or silence. It also managed to kill off a 6 year old clan i played with - International Frag Force. Quite well known among the Cod and Cod 2 UK community, [IFF] had played thru Soldier of Fortune, thru BF and early Cods to Cod 4, and slowly but surely, people lost interest in the game, the airstrikes and helicopters and completely different tactics involved in the game were difficult for the members to get used to and adapt to. This was no longer a WW2 setting, it was hi-tech, and (for us) lo-fun. It also didnt help that IW decided to rid the game of CTF, our main gametype.

So the news that Cod 5 (at least) will be returning to WW2 makes a lot of us happy. We LIKE bolt action rifles, and inaccurate smgs, and the noise Germans make when barking out orders, hearing the Japanese doing it in Cod 5 will be a lot of fun too, presumably with their screaming "HAI!" or something, a lot. We also like the "This Isnt Iraq" setting - theres only so much fun you can have in the desert...

But thats it with WW2 games, critics say - they have been done to death, D-Day episode 20 and all that. Well this is the crux of it, it hasnt even been touched on yet. Ye, D-Day Landings have been done to death, the Berlin attack has also been done numerous times (though never, imo, very well - even by IW). But this isnt Iraq / [Insert Generic Arab Nation Here] - this is the whole world we are talking about - thats the setting, the whole world. The fact we have seen it all before just means that games developers have a serious lack of imagination, who plump for dumping out the same big battles over and over and over again.

Theres an infinite number of things you can do with a WW2 FPS game - your only limited if you decide to reenact the big battles. If Hollywood over the years can make hundreds of diverse WW2 movies, then its the same as with games - it just needs a little more imagination than the likes of IW have shown, or Treyarch are capable of.

Think of Bad Company - theres no reason why that game couldnt have been set in WW2 (as its story takes elements off Kellys Heroes (a WW2 film) anyway).

A little imagination goes a long way to telling a good story, a WW2 game doesnt HAVE to be based solely on the 7 or 8 big major battles, what about the hundreds of covert or "less major" battles which took place? Or a different view on a familiar battle? Like a game set entirely in Stalingrad ala Enemy At The Gates?

What about a Far Cry 2 esque game where you are a lone soldier, cut off from your units and have a 50km sandbox playground deep within enemy territory to try and sabotage the enemy, doinfg enough damage that the Allies aree able to slowly move in and you take part in a big battle at the end?

The setting is open to any story you want to tell, even if its a fictional one surrounding real events.

People enjoy WW2 games (imo) because of the raw weaponry (bolt action rifles etc) and the fact we have a realistic pure "evil" enemy easily identifiable (while the soldiers werent necessarily evil, the cause they were fighting for certainly was). The setting is only one element, but in a 6 year war set in, well, the whole world, theres an infinite number of real, and fictional stories to be told without having to resort to D-Day landings each time.

I have little hope for Cod 5 (based purely off my bias against Treyarch who have shown they lack imagination in setting and gameplay on numerous occasions) but i hope IW takes Cod 6 back to where it belongs - WW2. I hope the community also returns back to how i fondly remember it, although that may be asking a little too much.


Nintendo And Why Im Hating You Right Now

Im writing this as im getting pretty sick and tired of every single Nintendo product im interested in seems to be made in such short supply that its impossible to pick up for months after release.

It first happened with the Wii itself of course, released in the UK in November i finally got my hands on one in a Duty Free shop in an airport in June. Since the release of Brain Training et al the DS Lite itself has also been in short supply all over the UK though in the last month or two that seems to be easing. Now its uterly impossible to find anywhere outside of Ebay that is in stock of Wii Fit.

Gameswise it began with Resident Evil for me, i finally picked it up 250 miles from where i live (near my parents who i was visiting) 3 months after release, London was still out of stock at the time. Mario Kart has never been in stock in any of the major outlets near me, even though that was released months ago (in the UK) and is even still out of stock on major UK websites. I will hazard a guess SSB will be exactly the same.

I KNOW you can preorder, though that in itself doesnt guarantee you will get it on release, but my point is something isnt right here.

My theory is Nintendo is deliberately keeping production low on major titles and hardware to create rampant demand for it. If Rockstar can keep the best selling entertainment product ever (GTA IV) on the shelves with only one day where stocks were low, why cant a major player like Nintendo? Its not like its a one off, its hapening al the time. A lot of people are buying Wii Fit etc yeh, but not as many as bought GTA, or will buy MGS or any other huge release, but those titles are always on the shelves, bar release day.

Maybe because they werent produced and distributed by Nintendo.

FYI im talking about UK market only, i dont know how the ROW is stockwise.