Are Consoles Valuing Gameplay Over Graphics?

Posted by on Nov 8, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup?! Wassup?! Decided I’d throw another one with the similar theme cuz I got quite the feedback regarding my post about graphics being valued over actual gameplay.

A couple of people have reached out to me and pointed out how I was probably generalizing too much and how specific gaming platforms are clearly focusing gameplay first and everything else second. The platform they were referring to was PlayStation. Let’s get this out of the way right now:

I fuckin love PlayStation as a platform. I value their games above all the others and I absolutely think that they deliver best and the most original content thus keeping the industry fresh and diverse. I have played a ton of titles on this exceptional console and am known to spend a lot on PSN stuff. I “was” that is, until I found out about this PSN code generator.Since then I’m spending much less, yet, I’m able to play whatever I want.

But does PlayStation truly value gameplay over graphics? Well that’s up for debate. Well there is absolutely no doubt that were getting freshest and most innovative games over this platform I find this statement to be not entirely truthful. Throughout past console generations PlayStation titles were the one to (arguably) contribute most for the gaming audiences. While the games from this platform have indeed introduced us to many gaming standards considered mandatory nowadays, saying how they evaluate gameplay over graphics is a bit of an overstatement.

For example, many full 3D games on PSX were quite ahead of themselves. Cult classic Silent Hill is a good example of this. Unlike its rival, the Resident Evil series which used prerendered backgrounds images, Konami option for real-time rendering of 3-D models throughout the entire game. Suffice to say this was not even possible back in the day so divisibility had to be severely limited. This resulted in developer putting draw distance limiting fog and pitch black darkness that turned out extremely successful and became one of the trademarks of the series.

What about PlayStation 2? We all remember Shadow Of Colossus, right? This extremely popular videogame developed by Sony Computer Entertainment themselves was, and to this game is a game like no other. Not just in its name, this game was colossal in every possible aspect. From insanely spacious landscapes to frighteningly massive creatures that roam the land, this game was big. The only thing that was small in this game was its frame rate. Frequent FPS drops ruined what could have easily been the best experience on PlayStation’s second generation of consoles. And while the gameplay was very satisfying, sluggish gameplay made it much less enjoyable.

Or what about Dark Souls PlayStation 3? While not as notable as in previous games, this one is also a fine example of visual aspects being favored and pushed too far. Now, to say that a game like Dark Souls is lacking in gameplay is a heresy yet, we all remember those so-called “FPS dead zones”. Whether it was the overuse of depth of field or the fact of every single object was under heavy Havoc physics is still to be determined but one thing is for sure, DS wasn’t as optimized as it could’ve been.

As for the PS4, it’s still too early yet, exclusives like Bloodborne are known to drop as low as 24FPS in specific areas. And why else would Sony be building PS4 Pro unless they were unhappy with the performances or trying to squeeze more FPS and get better visuals?

Of course, not every game on PlayStation has optimization issues and runs unstably under 30FPS but then again, not every game is really worth your time, but those that happen to be turn out to be poorly optimized and favoring visuals over performance. Nobody really likes that (except for really small kids and girls who don’t even notice FPS drops (feminist shitstorm in 3…2…)) yet they keep doing it. Why? They must be thinking that visuals are more important than the gameplay itself…

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The Witcher Spinoff Games

Posted by on Oct 29, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup!? Wassup!? A new thought came to my mind. Yeah, it happens sometimes, who would’ve thought. See, many people have heard about the Witcher by now and it goes without saying that many people have enjoyed playing it. No doubt that many were amazed by the games and that many were probably left longing for more. See this here is the unfortunate part since CD Project made it clear that The Witcher 3 is definitely the last game in the franchise following Geralts story. Quite frankly, I prefer it like this. Instead of having dozens of sequels that absolutely make no sense like the shitty Assassin’s Creed games that once may had some potential in them but have now been reduced to a mere synonym for generic-annually-released-money-milking crap. Yeah, I’m glad CDP took a different road, I really am.

Still I can’t help but crave for more Witcher. The game is so good, there’s no denying it. Characters are lovable and the world is great and well thought out. There’s also the fact that I’m hooked, like really, really hooked. If you’re ever remotely like me, then you probably read all of the books by now, so that’s not an option anymore even though the craving remains. So what to do? How do we satiate the beast within!? Well luckily, there is something else Witcher themed that you might have overlooked.

 

The Witcher Adventure Game

You might’ve heard about this one but then again, there are equal chances that you never have. The concept is really simple: D&D pretty much. While not quite your regular Dungeons and Dragons game, it’s built on the very same foundation that these games are built upon. This is a board game, a Witcher themed one where you roll dice, draw cards and complete objectives. It’s also a multiplayer game so you can play with up to three friends. This is also how I would highly recommend you to play it before experience is much better when you involve friends and some snacks or beer (lolz to you if you’re under 21 and can’t get it legally). Also the cool thing about it is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a digital game. It’s available as a traditional board, cards and dice though I honestly believe that the digital one is probably the one you should go with.

 

Gwent

Yeah, you’ve read it right. They’re making their own TCG. If you’ve played the Witcher 3 there’s no doubt that you are very familiar with Gwent. If you haven’t, I honestly have no idea what you’re waiting for, go play it! GOTY edition is out, it’s super cheap for what it’s worth in you can run it on a potato if you reduce visual settings to low preset and it will still look better than many modern AAA games on medium/high. Anyhow, Gwent is a fun and simple trading card game set in the Witcher universe. In TW3 it was really basic and was meant to be played merely as a side game. Now that they’re releasing a standalone version, they might aim for a more complex therefore competitive approach. If you want to see what it’s all about, you may apply for beta on their official site. I hope this gets as popular as Hearthstone and other similar titles are. If someone can make it happen, it’s CDP!

 

Hopefully these two will help you satiate your addiction. They’re not quite Witcher but they’re close enough. Don’t expect any lore or story progress in these two, there’s nothing like that here. Try getting your hands on the books instead if you want more insight in this world lore, I highly recommend doing so. Anyhow, I’m out, going to play a couple more rounds of Gwent for finally go back to studying, and who knows, if you apply for beta, we might even get the chance to test each other’s mettle in combat.

 

 

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Gameplay Over Graphics = Good Game

Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup!? Wassup!? Remember how I expressed concern in the last article I wrote regarding Mass Effect Andromeda. How I said how games are stupidly leaning towards graphics while disregarding or even worse, simplifying the gameplay? Well I’ve found a great example for of what exactly what I’m talking about.

I found really cool game called Strafe. Now if you’re a fan of Doom or Quake games, new ones were the old ones regardless, it is very likely that you will absolutely fall in love with this one. Before I say anything, here’s a video of this game showing you what it’s all about in this 20 minute footage. Now you’re not required to watch the whole 20 minutes of gameplay to understand what it’s about, feel free to skip and cut parts and just look for the gist of it. Here it is:

Now take a look at this game footage and try to compare it with Andromeda. No one’s talking about graphics and how fancy they are. No one’s telling you to come back once you have a 4K resolution display. This is not meant to be watched, it’s meant to be played. This is a video game. The graphics are pixelated yet incredibly charming, and what’s more important no one gives a shit, because guess what, we’re here to play not to appreciate how advanced and good-looking your technology is. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love good graphics in video games, but putting graphics OVER gameplay should never be a priority for any developer.

This game doesn’t even have set the level design. It’s procedurally generated. It’s a common feature for many rogue like games. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms, rogue like basically means that each time you die in a game, you will have to started all over again. It gets better. Not only will you have start over but the world itself will change. Nothing will ever be the same twice (or at least that’s what many developers are aiming for) so you will have a fresh, new and unique experience each time you play this game. And while I’m quite aware that this is not everyone’s “cup of tea” as my friend would say it, I’m pretty sure that the majority of gamers will love this game. Especially the ones that grew up playing first-person shooters on their computers more than 25 years ago.

The thing that bothers me the most is that I believe that video games as we know them and as we love them are starting to die off. While I believe the change is a natural way things I also think that we should always strive for improvement and advancement rather than alienation. Because this is what it is. If we allow companies to sell games that look pretty and do nothing beside that, eventually will end up interactive movies, and while absolutely love games like Heavy Rain that is pretty much an interactive movie, I would not like to see every other videogame being like that.

Think about it next time you’re looking for a new game to play. Think about whether you want to actually actively spend your time playing something or would you simply prefer to watch or read it. There are plenty of books, there are plenty of movies, maybe should pick one of those instead? Please, don’t alienate gaming, let it be what it is, let it be was always meant to be.

 

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Some Thoughts on Mass Effect Andromeda

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup!? Wassup!? How you been? Good to know. I’ve been feeling kinda… You know what, let me take you to the beginning.

So, today I have been browsing through the Internet and right there I stumbled upon this, this ummm, tech demo of sorts. The video in question is pre-alpha build for the Mass Effect Andromeda game. Now those of you for following my blog noted I’m very enthusiastic when it comes to Mass Effect. However, what I saw in the tech demo wasn’t quite what I come to expect of BioWare after what I’ve been through with their games. Let me elaborate:

The video started off with a guy telling me that unless I have a 4K device I’m not supposed to watch the video. How come? Why the fuck not? Is it a videogame or some presentation on an atomic level? Okay, I get it, they want to put an emphasis of how detailed their game has become and how well it’s utilizing all the available modern resources that make it look as good as it does. But, does it look that good? Quite frankly, nope, it does not. I get it, it’s pre-alpha, shit is gonna get changed. Still, I’m struggling to shake off the feeling that this game is putting more effort on the way it looks that the way it plays and feels.

The entire 3m trailer features nothing but some bunny-hopping across synthetically looking platforms and the player looking around commenting how everything is beautiful because it’s using Frostbyte engine and running in 4k resolution. He interacts with strange looking consoles that materialize eye-candy bridges out of nowhere and scans weird looking local flora. After that, he proceeds to the next platform doing pretty much the same thing and then a cut scene kicks in. That’s it.

From what I was it looked like they were trying to sell game engine and promote its beautiful visual capabilities. There was absolutely no gameplay at all! Come on! Are we at the point where “game” in video game means absolutely nothing as long as it’s pretty and flashy? Are we entering an age of Game Videos? I never expected this from a company like BioWare. All of their previous games were pure gems and value gameplay with choice and consequences above all. I guess EA is tightening the noose…

Ok, ok, I won’t turn it into a rant… just yet. It’s rather early to judge it anyway, but let’s stay at that that I’m not very optimistic about it. I really hope that sometime soon we get to see some gameplay presentation and that this was purely about the graphics because if it was not, there’s not much to look forward to from this title.

What about you? How did you feel about this? Did I overlook some major aspect (oh, noes I did not!) of the video? Am I making this all up in my mind? Please let me know about it in the comments, I need your opinions now more than ever dudes and dudettes! Bach out.

 

 

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Shadow Warrior 2 is Almost Here!

Posted by on Oct 6, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup!? Wassup!? Just noticed this among my piles of email and I was compelled to write about it right away!

I’m not sure if you’re excited about it as much I am and frankly I can care less, but the fact that you’re here and that you’re reading it probably means that you are. Either that or for some reasons unknown you care about what I have to say and value my opinion on… stuff. Well, whatever the reason for your visit one thing is for sure:

Shadow Warrior 2 is seven days away from releasing!!! Yes, I’m hyped! There is absolutely no reason for me not to be hyped at this moment. Everybody played the previous one fully understands where this hype is coming from. It was game packed with non-stop bloody demon slicing action. Not just slicing, there were really some creative ways in which you can dispose of your foes in this game.

All of this is coming from somebody who generally doesn’t enjoy FPS games that much. When I say I don’t enjoy them, I don’t mean I don’t play them just that I’m not as enthusiastic about FPS releases like I to be about RPG or adventure games per se. Shadow Warrior is completely different though. The fact that you can wield a katana and slice your way from beginning to the end with it was what drew me to the first game. It seems like everything that was doable in the first is also going to appear in the upcoming game. Let’s see what we know so far:

 

  1. Multiplayer Co-Op

First off, the game is get a feature four player co-op mode! Not sure about you but, this by itself is pretty much enough for me to want to play it. If anything is better than coming demons with a katana, it’s cutting to demons with a katana and a couple of friends.

  1. Character Diversity

Of course as we know it, with multiplayer comes balancing issues. In the trailer we can see that weapons will be upgradable and there will be more than one pass of character development to undertake so it’s very possible that every character is going to be unique in its own way and better suited for specific battle scenario.

 

  1. Open World/Zones

It’s also super exciting they’re going to introduce open world to some extent. Now I’m not really sure if this is going to be a completely open world or a bunch of smaller hubs that you’re free to explore at your own leisure, either way it could be much more dynamic than the first one, which despite being completely linear still managed to keep me interested for multiple playthroughs. Combine that with multiplayer and a couple friends and you get a perfect formula for a lengthy and lasting videogame experience.

 

And these should be main improvements and additions that we can expect from the upcoming sequel. Other than that everything is pretty much as it was. A good old action-packed, stunningly looking samurai/ninja themed bloody and fast-paced chaotic first-person shooter game. I honestly can’t wait for it!

 

 

 

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The Witcher 3 GOTY is Here!

Posted by on Sep 3, 2016 in Posts |

Wassup?! Wass…. fuck it…

I don’t believe this! No seriously, I don’t fucking believe this! CD Project has just released a game of the year edition of the Witcher 3. FML. I mean, give me a break! How am I supposed to play anything else other than this fantastic game now that it has been re-released and improved!?

Just a couple of days ago I have played what was supposed to be my last couple of hours of this game. Then shortly afterwards I hear about game of the year.

Let me clear a couple of things up:

  • I absolutely love this game
  • I think this is probably the best game ever made
  • I was going to play it again… Eventually

And the thing that matters the most is that

  • I have a shit ton of other games that I would very much like to try out!

That’s the problem, right there. The Witcher rereleasing improved and better than ever, bundled together with both DLC’s that are pretty much games of their own (if you’ve played the game you know these are not your average DLC’s). How is this a problem? Well it’s not, the problem is in me actually. The fact that I’m so hooked and everything that this game has to offer is the problem. I’ve probably been hooked ever since I tasted the original back in 2009 when I built my first gaming rig just so I can play that game. That the game was so good I couldn’t stop playing it till like six in the morning for days and days completely neglecting every other chore and responsibility that I had back then. Well, compared to the TW3, the original game is nothing. The guys from CD Project have learned so much over the years and put it all into this game. Just try to fathom the effect it has on me if I’m openly saying that the game I fell in love with seven years ago is absolutely nothing compared this one.

Okay Bach, you’re overreacting, get your shit together, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s just that the release date happened to be a couple of days after I decide to let go of it for a while. It’s like “something” doesn’t want me to let it go. I figure something out, I’ll find a way to deal with this, I will have to if you want to keep my friends, family and girlfriend.

Suffice to say if you haven’t had an opportunity before to play this magnificent game for yourself this game of the year edition is a godsend. Buy it, play it, love it, and play it some (a lot) more. Grabbing it at a full price is pretty much a steal honestly for this game offers like 250+ hours easily. That’s just for one play through. Did I mention there’s New Game+? Please be warned that as good as this is, it’s probably enchanted. Trying to let go of this game is not an easy task for this game offers so much that I won’t even try to mention all of it. It’s very easy to lose your track of time being emerged in the beautiful, mesmerizing world of the Witcher 3. Also note that somehow, no matter how much time you spend “over there”, it just doesn’t seem to be enough. There’s always something more to do, something new to explore experience…

You’ve been warned. And consider this to be the end of this poster for I have some monsters to hunt!

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