Bungie’s Destiny – The Persistent Sandbox Shooter We’ve All Been Waiting For

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Destiny is set to be a game unlike any other before it.  Bungie claims promises that this is a game that only their studio can pull off.  Destiny is going to be a first-person shooter set in a persistent open-world sandbox;  Bungie calls it a “shared-world shooter” and it sounds amazing.

Destiny takes place in the distant future after humanity has long since colonized the far reaches of space.  Humankind is all but extinct at this point due to an attack by an unknown source.  The only reason there were any survivors at all was due to an entity called the Traveler, an enormous sphere (think small moon) that now hangs directly above the Earth where it sacrificed itself to save humanity.  The humans rebuild under its protection and eventually venture out to reclaim their homes only to discover they are not alone.  Many different species of aliens now reside where the humans once called home and they want to eliminate humans for good.

Bungie has stated that there has been a huge emphasis on social and cooperative play since day one.  Destiny is set up to be constantly matchmaking you with other players in the background so you’ll consistently run into other people during play.  A good comparison was made by Destructoid in their preview write-up.  They mentioned that the cooperative play seems to be a lot like Journey in that you’ll constantly come across players during your travels that can potentially aid you in ways you’ll be eternally thankful for.  The design director for the game recalled a mission he experienced with another player where the two of them were getting their collective behinds handed to them; out of nowhere, another random player came along on a hoverbike and saved them from utter destruction.  That’s pretty awesome!

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Six-player co-op play will be in at the very least, but Bungie won’t state how many more players you can group with or how many can be seen on-screen at once.  Also, like it was previously stated, social online play is a big factor.  Bungie will also be releasing an iOS App for Destiny that will allow you to see stats, connect with other players, and receive notifications of things to do within the game.

Bungie/Activision flat-out said that Destiny is not an MMO, but the one draw back for some people is going to be the fact that it will be an always-online game.  That means that even if you choose to play by yourself, you will be required to have an internet connection, and possibly XBL Gold for the 360, just to play.  For most people, that won’t be an issue since a lot of players are online anyways; I do imagine that it will still alienate a good amount of potential players though.

Destiny has apparently been in development since 2009 and one thing Bungie has focused on is “creating a connected and cooperative world that players want to be in” according to Destructoid.  They have designed the game to be appealing to all sorts of player types and skill levels.

In terms of development technology, Bungie has worked tirelessly to redesign and improve upon their networking tech.  With matchmaking happening behind the scenes at all times, it’s pertinent that it be fluid and seamless to give the best experience possible.  One thing that will be interesting to see though will be how Bungie handles servers.  Will players have to choose from multiple servers upon game startup or will players all be based on a single server a la EVE Online?  Hopefully they’ll have an option to turn off the matchmaking to appease players with an “other-players-screw-up-my-game-by-being-stupid” mindset.

They were initially hoping for a 2013 release and now it looks like it won’t come out until 2014.  I believe that if anyone can pull off a game like Destiny it’ll definitely be the fine folks at Bungie.  They made huge innovations with Halo and I think they’re fully capable of redefining the genre once more.  This is definitely a game to keep an eye on!

Source and pictures: Destructoid

The author of this article was Justin Champion.

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Valve Sued Over Steam’s Refusal to Allow User Resale of Games

Straight out of Germany, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) is suing Valve due to the fact that it doesn’t allow its users to resell their digital games.  VZBV had filed a complaint with Valve that went ignored for months which led to the legal action.

The group tried to file a legal complaint in 2010 regarding the inability to transfer user accounts on Steam, but that complaint failed.  The new case may have a better, albeit slight, chance due to a case in the European Supreme Court last year.  The Court ruled in favor of the used game front and declared that the customer/consumer must be able to resell any software purchased, regardless of what the Terms of Service states.

In my personal opinion, I think that if you purchase a game, regardless of how or where, you should be able to do with it as you please.  It’s ridiculous for a developer or company such as Valve to be able to say “No, even though you paid full price, the game is still ours!”  I understand why there is a need for DRM but it’s getting a little out of hand.  The people the DRM is supposed to hurt are being largely unaffected; it’s the legitimate consumer that is being hindered and inconvenienced.

Source article: Destructoid

Temple Run 2 Review

I’m usually not a fan of the “endless runner” genre of mobile gaming.  I wasn’t even a fan of the first Temple Run;  there’s a certain charm that this one has that makes me want to keep playing though.  Between the beautiful updated graphics to the additional gameplay elements not present in the first iteration, Temple Run 2 can be very addicting.  It’s very easy to get lost in it, to get sucked in with the attitude of “I’ll get farther next time!”

Although it’s a graphically appealing game for the genre and the gameplay is fun most of the time, I don’t like the fact that it relies heavily on a tilt mechanic.  I haven’t had any issues with the swipe mechanic (turning left or right, jumping or ducking) that always seems to execute smoothly.  However, one thing I’ve noticed is the fact that it doesn’t always recognize a legitimate tilt.  I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve had to use ‘Save Me’ (which is a nice feature to have) at the cost of a gem or two because of this.  Let it be noted, I played on both an iPhone 5 and a Kindle Fire.  This issue may not be present on all devices.

In this sequel, they have also added zip lines and mine carts.  The mine carts are very tilt-reliant which can be extremely tedious if you’re unlucky enough to get a lot of mine cart areas back-to-back.  What’s unfortunate is the fact that the issues with tilt are still present in the mine carts; due to the areas being reliant on tilt, this can be problematic.

Temple Run 2 can be very addicting at times, but due to the tilt issues I experienced it can also be very frustrating.  Because of the problems I had with tilt, I give it a:

3-5-stars

You can purchase Temple Run 2 through Amazon, Google Play, or the Apple iTunes store.  It was on sale for Free at the time of this posting.

J.J. Abrams the Official Director of Next Star Wars

I reported last week that there was a rumor that Mr. Abrams would be the new director for Star Wars: Episode VII.  Well, it was officially announced by Lucasfilm that this was indeed true.  Hooray!  Apparently, George Lucas agrees with me that J.J. Abrams would make a great director for the franchise:

I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.” He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.  –  G. Lucas

J.J Abrams seems pretty excited to be a part of the legacy as well:

To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor.  I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.  –  J.J. Abrams

Personally, I think this is fantastic news!  I have the utmost faith in J.J. and I believe he’ll do a fantastic job.  Well, as long as they don’t cast any more Hayden Christensens this time around! (Joking, but not really..  He ruined Episodes 2 & 3!)

With this announcement, I pose everyone question.  What are your thoughts on this?  Are you excited? Worried? Skeptical? Elated? If you aren’t too fond of Abrams, who else do you think would have been a good choice?  Leave your thoughts and comments below!

For the official statement, visit http://bit.ly/VfrL55

Tons of Wii U News from Nintendo Conference on Janurary 23

There was a massive amount of announcements from Nintendo, this past Wednesday, regarding the future of the Wii U.  There were seven new games announced and a even new HD remake of a GameCube game.

The breakdown of all the wonderful Wii U announcements below:

  • A brand new HD Zelda game with a new vision on how to handle the traditional gameplay.  Possibly rethinking dungeons having to be completed in sequence and being single-player only.
  • An HD remake of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker!  Nintendo as stated that they plan to expand on the original experience; there will also be Miiverse integration and the ability to play fully on the GamePad.
  • A slew of Mario games are currently in development.  No footage was shown but they promised reveals at this year’s E3.  Smash Bros (Developed by Namco Bandai), Mario Kart, and a 3D Mario game made by the developers of Super Mario Galaxy 1/2 will all be present.
  • Atlus and Intelligent Systems are currently developing a crossover game involving Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem.
  • A new RPG for the Wii U being made by the developers of the Xenoblade series.  Speculation points to a new Xenoblade game, possibly a sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles.
  • The Virtual Console is coming to Wii U in April.  The library of games won’t be the same as the Wii’s to start with, but will begin with NES and SNES games.  Games will be from $5-$9 USD and you can pay $1 if you already own them.  You can still play your Wii versions in Wii Mode but you won’t have access to the Wii U specific features such as save states, GamePad play, and Miiverse support.  They are also having a trial promotion now through July that offers one game every month for the low price of $0.30.  Game Boy Advance titles will also arrive sometime in the future which hints at possible crossover play between the Wii U and 3DS.
  • Wii U Party announced.  The game will be a collection of minigames a la Wii Party.  It will be mainly designed to showcase the new features of the Wii U and what it has to offer families.  The game will also support your collection of Wiimotes.
  • Yoshi’s Land (placeholder) for the Wii U was announced.  The game is being developed by the same studio that did Kirby’s Epic Yarn and you can definitely see that influence in the game’s visuals.  Yoshi is made of yarn and it looks to be a 2D platformer but this has not yet been confirmed by Nintendo.
  • Upgrades to the OS and Miiverse will be pushed out in Spring and Summer this year.  Improvements to load times were mentioned.  They will also add the ability to create your own communities in Miiverse and access to Miiverse ill soon be available on smartphones (possibly a future app) and PCs.

These all sound like great announcements to look forward to in the coming months and later this year.  I personally can’t wait for the new Zelda and Mario games!

For further information and videos, please visit IGN at the respective links above!

 

Dead Space 3 to Include Microtransactions? Gasp!

According to a recent post on Eurogamer, Dead Space 3 will include a microtransaction system in-game.  The game will feature a crafting system that requires materials to upgrade your weaponry.  You can find these materials throughout the game, or you can send scavenger bots to gather them for you. However, with the microtransaction model in place, you can completely forego the aforementioned item-gathering by coughing up real  money for an instant boost in crafting materials.

I know Mass Effect 3 and Assassin’s Creed 3 both had microtransaction components for the multiplayer aspects of those games, but this is the first time I’ve seen the model being employed during the single-player portion of a triple-A title.  Hopefully, this practice doesn’t escalate into something more sinister; I would hate to start playing a game only to have to pony up a dollar or two just to proceed to the next level.

For the Eurogamer article, go here: http://bit.ly/141wbRz

When Words Don’t Look Like Words Any Longer

Maybe this has happened to some of you.  Then again, maybe I’m unique and it doesn’t happen to very many people.  But, have you ever looked at a word and the word stops you in your tracks?  Not because you don’t know what it means, but because it just looks foreign to you.  Perhaps it has something to do with your mind not processing certain words for a while.  As a for instance, whilst writing my post on the LOST t-shirt, the word “lost” just looked extremely odd to me. I couldn’t figure out why and I had to stare at it to make sure I wasn’t going insane!

It’s almost as if it were a deja vu of a textual sense.  My mind knew it had seen the word (I knew I had seen it but me and my mind don’t always agree, if you know what I mean), but it took a few extra seconds to put it all together.

Has anyone else experienced this before, or am I fairly alone in this weird occurrence?