Gaming as a Dad

25 years of gaming now with son and daughter in tow.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Will history repeat Itself?

We are always looking for that next great game to play and we all have our loyalties; such as my well known loyalty to Valve, Epic Games and Irrational games.  Much like a car manufacturer that you trust because of past success, we hand our money over to a proven trend with quality rather than risking it on something new.  Should we though?
    Many have said that the Call of Duty franchise is the best thing to ever happen.  Listen to some of the online game play and you might also think its a religion rather than a game.  Don't get me wrong I enjoy MW3 and logged my fair share hours playing but it's the Toyota Camry of video games.  Always well made, always fun to play, minor upgrades from model to model, some time a face lift but it's the same game from version to version when you get right down to it.  JWag 0822, also my wife, summed MW3 up best, "This is different how?"
   With all the buzz around whats coming out in 2012 I have three games that I'm hoping that are worth the money.  These are games that come from great developers with a track record of top selling revolutionary games.  My initial reaction to these games have been positive and look forward to the new style and game play they are promising to deliver.

Quantum Conundrum

    In Quantum Conundrum, players take on the role of a 12-year old nephew to the eccentric Professor Fitz Quadwrangle (Professor Q). Upon entering the Professor's vast, highly customized mansion, players quickly realize their uncle has gone missing. In order to find him, players will need to use an Inter-dimensional Shift Device, allowing them to manipulate space and objects. While on the journey, becoming adept at switching between dimensions will help them trek from one bizarre room to the next. It might sound easy enough, but it's a tall order for a 12-year old in a vast, kooky mansion! Once players start shifting between dimensions, they'll soon discover physics is on their side!*

   Former Valve employee Kim Swift, who was lead designer of Portal, moves to Airtight Games.  Sure I'm  a little nervous about the fact that Airtight's Dark Void  wasn't very good but with Kim driving this new venture and her background with valve gives me a lot of faith that this will be a game worth the money.  Portal was a whole new look at FPS game play and with this looking like it takes a fresh look at how Physics can help you maneuver through the game play this might end up being the cake that GLaDOS refused to let us enjoy. 

* synopsis by GameFAQ


I've watched a ton of trailers and reviews for this game and I can best describe it as half Lego-like building of a fort during the day and half surviving a zombie-like horde attack at night. Set in a post-apocalyptic world you are followed by a camera man as you scavenge for supplies and items to add to your fort hopefully protecting you from underground zombies and what looks like de Blob like demons, that emerge at night. You also need to manage both your resources and enemies so you can make it through the waves of attacks at night as this isn't just another zombie horde game. Keep in mind taking everything you see won't work because you have to get back to the fort before nightfall, so choose wisely. There are definite classes in this game; meaning some are better builders and some are better killers adding to team game play. In the end survival is key with this game not just running and trying to kill everything.

Cliff Bleszinski himself said the game looks a little like a Pixar movie gone bad. Fortnite has a cartoon look that reminds me of Team Fortress. The game is not would you would expect from Epic. The Gears of War trilogy ended last year with one of the best games I've ever played and now this. I'm was little unsure of this game at first and if it wasn't an Epic game I might not give it a second look. Paraphrasing Cliff, they [Epic] were pigeon toed with the Gears of War series and needed to break the mold doing something resulting in people saying, "Epic made that !?!" I have faith in Epic, and as Dizzy said "I got your back like a butt crack."

Bioshock: Infinite

If you have talked to me in the last 6 months then you know how I already feel about Bioshock: Infinite.  Bioshock: Infinite is the third game in the popular Bioshock series. BioShock: Infinite breaks away from the underwater city of Rapture to the floating city of 1912 Columbia. Columbia, a symbol of America's success as a nation, floats around the world as a traveling World's Fair, a marvel of human innovation. Strange things have happened since Columbia's unveiling in 1900, and now the city has disappeared into the clouds. You play as Booker DeWitt, a former private detective, who's on a quest to find Elizabeth, a young woman who's gone missing, and return her unharmed. The only problem is that she's being kept locked up on this flying city as warring factions are trying use Elizabeth's power to drive their desired outcome of Columbia. DeWitt knows how to find it, although over the years Columbia has fallen into a state of anarchy with heavily armed lawless citizens. A big change to the series is, Elizabeth, an AI character that actually will effect game play and decisions you make in the game.   You lose plasmids and tonics but now have vigors and nostrums.  Additionally you have Elizabeth's powers of tears that bend time and space.

    The most exciting change is the use of 1999 mode that forces you to choice a path and stick with it. As summarized by Irrationals game director Ken Levine: “We want to give our oldest and most committed fans an option to go back to our roots," said Levine. "In 1999 Mode, gamers face more of the permanent consequences of their game play decisions. In BioShock Infinite, gamers will have to sweat out the results of their actions. In addition, 1999 Mode will demand that players pick specializations, and focus on them."  Games with so much AI interaction could end up forcing the game in a direction that you don't intend.  My hope is that Elizabeth brings morality and true choice to the game and not a forced sense of including her out of obligation.  So lets hope that the game truly remembers that ,"a man chooses, a slave obeys."

Only time will tell if I am blindly "obeying" to follow.  We all have our loyalty to things we believe in and gaming is no different.  Lets hope that other game developers understand that loyalty is not a licence to make crap but an duty to keep making the great games. 

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