This morning, in a giant tent in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft unveiled Xbox One. Dubbed an “all-in-one entertainment system” by the software giant, the system aims to revolutionise the way we all consume television, music, the Web, and of course video games. But did the one-hour presentation actually impress? Four of Blue Sun’s editors are here to give you their opinions.
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Recently, I finally got my own Nintendo 3DS. I didn’t really know much about the 3DS’s roster of games (and still don’t), but I would be damned if the first game for my new system was another kid’s game. I bought Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the original DS, so I hoped to find a similar title for the 3DS that would make me feel equally confident in my so-called maturity. Enter Resident Evil: Revelations, a game touted as being a true horror game that returned to Resident Evil’s roots.
Revelations starts off with Chris Redfield, the occasional star of this third-person shooter “horror” franchise having mysteriously disappeared, presumably to practice the boulder-punching skills he learned in RE5. Jill Valentine and her sarcastic sidekick Parker go off to investigate the place Chris was last heard from: a cruise liner in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Shit goes down, as shit tends to in the Resident Evil franchise, and soon Jill, Parker, and a cast of either forgettable or obnoxious characters try to save the world from another bio-terrorist threat who aren’t so much bio-terrorists than they are bio-annoyances.
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Every so often, you come across a game that has some aspect of it that you can’t quite put your finger on. You know there’s something going on there, but it’s not entirely obvious from the start. When it comes to FTL: Faster Than Light, one of the things you’ll discover right around your second playthrough is that the game is seriously addictive — not so much in the “where the heck did those last 4 hours go?” sense, but more in the “I wonder what would might happen if I try this out next time…” But it’s not just that — there’s something more.
Managing a crew of three on a mission to traverse the galaxy with vital information, you discover the caveats of each aspect of your spacecraft and said crew. Should you upgrade your shields to mitigate any future hostile encounters or do you spend that hard-earned scrap (the game’s currency) on something more substantial, like more energy to power the various subsystems? It’s questions like these that keep you coming back.
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Far Cry 3 had an ending. For all the game’s strengths and weaknesses, it ended in a way that made it difficult for Ubisoft to pull off any sort of story-extending DLC without cheapening the plot in some way. So, in the style of Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare In North Point and Infamous: Festival of Blood, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon has no connection to the plot of Far Cry 3. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But Gordon, Far Cry 3 was a story-focused game! Why are they making something that has nothing to do with the story at all?” To answer your question in two words: Laser Dragons. Moving on.
The story (if one could call it that) is as follows: you are Sergeant Rex Power Colt (voiced by Michael Biehn), a Mark IV cyber-commando born from the ashes of Vietnam War 2. You are sent on a mission to a mysterious island to find a rogue Sergeant Sloan and his cyborg army and stop him from using lots of bio-weapons to take over the Earth. The plot of this game is the same as roughly any low-budget sci-fi movie made in the 1980s, if that wasn’t apparent by the previous description. This isn’t actually a bad thing, though. The game is packed full of references to various 80’s movie franchises, videogame tropes, and even a few self-depreciatory nods to Far Cry 3 as well.
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Upon listening to the second podcast, I noticed just how easily the other members of Team Blue Sun and I criticized EA. I quickly came to a terrible realization: we are ruining gaming. We—gamers as a whole—are exactly what is wrong with the video game industry. Certainly some developers and publishers are to blame too, but gamers are one of the biggest reasons that both the industry and the way we talk about it are the way they are.
“Go Gaben,” says the man on Reddit, “screw EA.” “Support indie devs,” says the Kickstarter supporter, “they’re the only ones who are creative.” “iOS games aren’t real games,” says the self-proclaimed hardcore gamer, “go away, you casual.” These lines of thinking are exactly what are making the video game industry such a frightening place. All of these thoughts are supported by decent enough lines of reason, though they’re rather flawed. Valve seems to have more customer-friendly business strategies than EA, independent developers often make more artistic games that are motivated by creation instead of just money, and a different variety of skill is required for a first person shooter than Angry Birds. The problem is how quick gamers are to release their vitriol and align into this horrible dichotomy of love versus hate—us versus them.
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