the thoughts and view points of a 22 year-old girl from NYC. I speak my mind and if I offend you forgive me as it is not directly meant to do so. I love movies and video games and am a nerd. I love my sports. NY Yankees, NY Giants, and NY Knicks. I play Xbox an am on Live. thatcatkitten is my gamer tag.
One year after Max Payne 3 has got me thinking…
Max Payne was an amazing game. Remedy created a story and character that was the definition of noir. Max Payne 2 continued that vibe and the subtitle, A Film Noir Love Story was more than accurate. When Rockstar took over development for Max Payne 3, gone were almost if not all the references to the past games. Gone was the dark graphic novel story technique. Gone was the gritty NYC local. Max Payne was still dark and violent, but was more cinematic. It can be called a video game version of Man on Fire without Denzil or Walken.
Rockstar has some of the best franchises under its belt. Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Midnight Club, and of course Max Payne. Now, while Max Payne 3 ended on a positive note for the character, and potentially a great ending to a franchise… the question remains… could there be a 4th Max Payne game?
Max Payne’s story will never end unless he is dead. He is cursed by death. He also has a gift, which is also death. Max is much older now as well. While the first two games were shooters that had a pacing, the third entry was an all out action game. For Max Payne 4 to happen, Rockstar would need to do the following:
1) Follow the original tone set by Remedy in the first two games. The neo-noir style and story would be perfect for a 4th Max Payne. A slower pace to the story, with the high-octane action of the third game would be an amazing combination.
2) Move the story back to NYC. Max Payne’s roots are New York. NYC has this amazing look to it. It looks beautiful, it looks dirty, it looks rich, it looks crumby. It promises riches, yet harbors something sinister. This could also be true for Chicago and Miami. But, the story would fit better with NYC considering the mob wants Max dead.
3) Bring back Mona Sax. This was the most upsetting bit of Max Payne 3… we never learned the fate of Max’s love intrest. Depending on what difficulty you beat Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne on, Mona either died or lived. Not once was her name mentioned in 3. It would be a major disservice to exclude Mona from the finale.
4) Reunite Max with his family. This could end one of two ways. One would be the most obvious… end the series with Max dying and finally getting rest and being ruinted with Michelle and their baby. While in Max Payne 3, Max seems to finally break free of the pain of losing the two of them, it is something he can never let go. The other would be a true wild card: end on a positive note with Max and Mona ending up together. Not married, but together.
These are just ideas that I am throwing out there, and I do hope to see another Max Payne game.
I really hate doing opinion pieces on what a game that has yet to be given a release date, needs to have in it. I really do but… BioWare is one of my top 5 favorite video game developers and Dragon Age holds a special place in my favorite stories of all time (along with the Mass Effect trilogy).
I just recently replayed and finished Dragon Age II (I am going to -tomorrow- replay the final quest and choose the opposite side -to side with the mages- as I did my first playthrough whereas this time I sided with the Templars to gain achievements based upon that choice). I was considering to replay Dragon Age: Origins again, but I do have a few issues with Origins that make it hard for me to play the whole game again. And now with Hawke’s story again fresh in my mind I am excited for the upcoming Dragon Age III: Inquisition. And to go with that excitement I now have a few things that I would like to see changed and/or added and removed that were in Dragon Age: Origins and II.
Always keep ‘em Guessing:
Dragon Age: Origins had a painfully slow build up to a climax that we all saw coming. It wasn’t a shock of who the main bad guy would be in the finale. Dragon Age II foreshadowed to the ending conflict throughout the entire game, and it even threw a curveball during Act 2 with the Qunari who had a very foreboding presence in Kirkwall… But back to the ending; DAII was able to hold the details of the ending until the end. Sure, the main menu’s image of two major characters facing off have it away but the way it went down was still rather shocking. Dragon Age III needs to keep that shock and awe discovery. A slow build up isn’t bad either as long as it doesn’t feel as if the story is being dragged out with idle dialog or quests.
Friend or Foe?
Yes, that is taken from Merrill’s companion quest in Act 3 of Dragon Age II, but it’s a damn good question. Within DAII your companions were rather difficult (at least within your first playthrough) to build an intentional friendship or rivalry with. What you would think of as friendship building dialog or actions (quest actions were a pain when said friend was in your party) went the other way, or vice versa. It was also good because it allowed you to get a feel for the types of responses are going to lean them towards being your friend or rival. The gift side quests were cute and nice touches but they need to have more impact upon characters. It would be nice to see more than just friend or rival. For instance, if you were to push a character too far into rival, eventually they may stop following you and become an enemy (not that you’d fight them the moment this happens) and they would be hostile towards you and even fight you at the end? And the same with friends, build the friendship (not turning it into a romance) up enough and be able to get favors from them.
Crazy little thing called love.
Relationships in Dragon Age II are easy to come by. Nearly all of your companions are available to romance for both genders, so you will find someone for yourself if you so wish. They felt too easy to gain though. This is a positive and negative. In Mass Effect (also from BioWare) your relationship with a character builds from the moment you meet them and finally comes to full blown love before the final act… Dragon Age II allows you to build up in Act 1, get together in Act 2 and then reassure that romance in Act 3. I don’t mind this but I would love (lol) to see more moments with your chosen partner. This doesn’t have to only be dialog scenes but even small little quests or even dates! I romanced Merrill in my recent playthrough of Dragon Age II and would have loved to taken her to the Hanged Man for a drink and plate of food and seen her cute little socially awkward self interact with Hawke. I also would love to see the little idle party chatter between my love interest and other party members to be group involved and not just 1 on 1. For example: Aveline asks Merrill why she has stuck around (at the beginning of Act 3), to which Merrill replies “I love Hawke.” multiple times, and the whole time, the wise cracking Varric manages to stay silent and Hawke doesn’t even care to say, “I love you too.” -_- Yup that’s how I felt.
Traveling to and fro.
Does Dragon Age III need to be open world? Nope. In fact I don’t want it to be open world. My idea is a bit more intriguing (at least in my own backyard). Imagine a traversable world that wasn’t as large or spread out as Skyrim… now imagine being able to travel to vastly different locations (even previous locations) and having those be more open than before? Example: Kirkwall is entirely accessible and does not require you to leave an area to go to another. But if you wanted to go to a different location you could leave Kirkwall and head in the direction of desired destination (think Final Fantasy VIII), and travel a little ways and then be at another large and open area. If it is open world, I wouldn’t be upset but if BioWare is able to make the “specific location” mechanic work and make each location vast and open for more in depth exploring I think that would work just fine.
Dragon Age II had you feel that way with recycled environments that have either been flipped or even compressed to make it seem like you haven’t been there. Was this game breaking? No. Was it annoying? Sometimes. Was it lazy? Fuck yes. This just needs to go.
Your character your way and catching up
It has been confirmed that Dragon Age III will feature a new main character… That said the customization needs to be deeper than Dragon Age II’s was and be almost the same as Mass Effect 3’s. Maybe even a bit deeper so out character can truly be our own and feel fresh. It would also be nice to see the previous characters from Origins as DAII return (as they most likely will). But it isn’t enough that they return but also those who mean something to them… For Hawke (or at least my Hawke) I would love to see Merrill with Hawke still very much in love and even Bethany (yes I went warrior and saved Bethany) as well. This way everything comes full circle (lol circle… Dragon Age players will get that uninteded pun).
These are just a few ideas that I have… It is very late/early at the moment and my mind is spinning.
As for the future of this blog: I am going to be a bit more active as we are getting into that spring window where some rather fun and surprising games are released. I have picked up and mastered Tomb Raider, completed every story DLC for Mass Effect 3 and will review both Tomb Raider and a long look back at the Mass Effect trilogy and how I feel about Mass Effect 3 now, and why I think those still bitching about the ending, and those who are now bringing back up the “original” ending argument are fucking stupid (I will also discuss the “original” ending and why it’s stupid and wouldn’t make Mass Effect 3 better.) I plan to pick up Crisis 3 in April and am rather excited and nervous. I took a chance with Halo 4 and had a mixed feeling after I did so. Playing the Crisis 3 beta I was left with a sour taste but I only played the first two days and I heard they patched the crap out of the beta and the final game is amazing, though most of that comes from Crysis fans and not many other FPS players, but I am in the market for a new shooter until Battlefield 4.
Speaking of which… I am also planning on writing a few new articles this week regarding Battlefield 4 and Saints Row IV. I also am wanting to write about Grand Theft Auto V, but ever since the release date has been announced, Rockstar has gone silent in general. I will also be writing a lot about the Xbox 720 as more info comes and it is revealed… I am not even going to mention much about the PlayStation 4 because I am skipping Sony’s new console as I had a rather shitty experience with the PS3 and Vita. I will have an article for that as well most likely, or if not just read my PS4 “reveal” reaction and you will see my stance. I also do plan to cover some of the bigger events that occur at the upcoming PAX East event (I am attending with a friend of mine) and the GDC (Game Developers Conference) as info from that event makes it’s rounds on the Internet. I am not sure how E3 will be covered this year as G4 is now rebranding as Esquire TV and there has been no mention about plans to cover (or not cover) E3 this June… G4 was the only channel (and website and smartphone app) that covered all aspects of E3 through a live stream… So I will look into how E3 will be presented to the public who cannot (or won’t) visit God’s forsaken city: LA.
So, since last night the interwebz have been abuzz about the Playstation 4. While the expected names in writing are praising it to the fullest extent, the honest few are calling the Sony event very blasé and nothing more than a mere overachieving announcement.
I already went over how the console wasn’t shown and the game demos were all gameplay trailers running with Nvidia graphics and not what you will see when actually playing on the new console.
I am not afraid to call Sony out for saying that the PS4 is built on “supercharged PC architecture”, because that is the biggest line of bullshit ever. Based on the tech announced last night, the Playstation 4 is no where close to being powerful as a high-end gaming PC. This brings back the memory of “blast processing” from the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo days. (If you do not recall that, google “blast processing” and you will find out.) The x86 processor is the only piece of equipment comparable to being PC-like. The biggest advantage of this is on the port side. This means PC players can possibly get better ports due to the x86, but it isn’t guaranteed.
Placing a touchpad on the face of the new Dualshock 4 controller is questionable as to why and how it will be used. A GameStop employee suggests it will be similar to the Xbox guide button but it will be on that little pad instead of interrupting the flow of the game. It truly seems to be another attempt to innovate that may not live up to expectations.
Social aspects I am very against. It seems like it’s too social based with sharing. Not for nothing, but I do not need my Facebook to be integrated with my gaming profile. No offense to those I play with but it’s mostly because I do not need my family and friends seeing how often I play and make them question if I have a job or if I am lying and living on disability. If these features can be opted out of or turned off, then I can overlook that.
The lack of backwards capability is the bit that can hamper the launch of PS4. It doesn’t give enough incentive during the transition period to the new generation of consoles. Especially with games that are coming out prior to the PS4 (and possibly new Xbox) being released this holiday. Games such as Grand Theft Auto V. If it is current-gen only (and if you take Rockstar for everything they say, it is) then why would a PS3 player go and trade their PS3 in for the PS4 when their library of PS3 games will be useless?
Granted, some people may try and say that the streaming cloud service may be the key to this. Place the PS3 disc in your PS4 and you can stream the game for free. Yeah, that isn’t going to happen, unless it’s a subscription service or added on to PS+ which is a good value.
The reason PS4 won’t play PS3 games is because it will not have the CELL processor that ran PS3 games. (The original PS3 had the PS2 processor to play your older games, and in the models after it was removed. Microsoft has the edge with the as they are a computing company. They used an emulator like device for the Xbox 360 to play original Xbox games, that occasionally needed updates to play more games. It worked and the fact it still works in the newer models of the 360 further proves this.
When it comes to how the streaming work, I think that to stream a portion of the game available to play while you download is reasonable though I do not see it being as big as people are making it out to be. The bit about streaming live on Ustream is rather curious because it does make one wonder, will this be added pressure on twitch? As it is they already feel pressure from YouTube with their streaming service, so maybe this will be good news in terms of Twitch making substantial changes to their site?
Closing up, all of these features are basically what are expected for next-gen and more-so these are features that are expected to be within the PS4. Sony hasn’t broken ground, nor has it made the world’s most earth shattering new or video game history. Simply, they just got word about the PS4 out before Microsoft for word about their new Xbox. It still leaves the door open for Microsoft to steal the thunder and hype from Sony at PAX East, or more likely E3 which they always present first thing on day 1.
At the beginning of the month Sony had a video posted that promoted the Sony Meeting in New York City for February 20th, 2013. The gaming world began to buzz about the possible reveal of the Playstation 4.
Well, yesterday at 6 PM EST, Sony’s even began and millions tuned in online, with some being at the event itself.
And it was long, uneventful and rather vague.
For two hours Sony execs and game developers talked about their titles and the PS4 and how the games will be fantastic on them. There were no live-play demos (demos played by the developers a la E3) except for one that involved the Move function. All other were predetermined CGI cutscenes or videos that are what are passed for “gameplay trailers” (another misnomer that is usually in-game CGI).
First off the bat, the new UI (user-interface) was revealed. It looks to be a mashup of Steam’s current look and Xbox 360’s dashboard. The main focus point here was “social” capabilities. That seemed to be what was stressed most about the new console. Being able to have your Facebook integrated in-console with your PSN profile. Being able to during a game, quickly share clips to other PSN members. Another point was the console learning about you, based off the games you play and being able to try and suggest what games should be played next.
The controller was than revealed. It is the Dualshock 4. It is essentially the same as the Dualshock 3, but in the center mass is a touchpad whose function had not been discussed at all. The top portion of the controller now sports two new features:
A “Share” button
A colored light.
The colored light is designated to a single profile on a single console. This way if you have friends over, they can sigh into their PSN account and have a different colored light on their controller. The “share” button allows you to in-game share clips of your current game to share over the PSN.
Tech specs were given, but very few.
The PS4 will use the X86 CPU, have 8GB of memory and a local hard drive. It will use APU technology and GDDR5 memory.
These specs were only mentioned and not truly delved into. There is a second processing chip that will allow for background downloading (even when your console is powered off, similar to Xbox 360’s background downloads). Two other new features are the ability to background games which is what is available today on the PSVita and the second stems from the PSP, which will allow you to have your console enter a low-power mode and the game you’re currently playing be stored on the 8GB of RAM, so you can power up and pick up right were you left off.
Speaking of the PSVita, Sony revealed their version of the Xbox Smartglass connection. Being able to connect via smartphones, tablets and computers. Streaming your PS4 games to your Vita, which is interesting on many levels considering the Vita is missing two shoulder buttons, and it is unknown how stable the games will be on the smaller hardware.
These features, while expected since they were included in the PSVita, are rather underwhelming in the grand scheme of it all. The UI is playing catch up to the Xbox 360 as are most of these features. Granted it is only February, and Sony just wanted to let people know that the PS4 is coming.
Next were the video presentations. They began with a “demo” of the PS4. They showed an Unreal 4 video that was all CGI footage.
Oh, then we have the games. The AAA titles shown off were nothing new. Killzone’s newest entry looked the most brilliant, but at the same time didn’t really show off much. It was a predetermined and recorded piece of game footage, that at the end transitioned into the titles.
inFamous has a spinoff called Second Son, which was all CGI cutscene footage.
Driveclub was next from Edge Games. It looks more like Forza than Gran Turismo.
Then they showed off the smaller developers and Move title (to be honest, I was loosing interest and began to cook dinner during these points.)
I caught Quantic Dream’s presentation that focused only on graphics. Having played all their games since the amazing and little-played Omikron, I must say their games are increasingly more about graphics than they are actual gameplay. They showed off impressive visuals of an old man, and pointed out all the little touches to the image that makes it look so lifelike (yet it didn’t).
Finally, they moved away from Sony exclusives and onto the big name publishers and developers.
Capcom was first, but my feed to the stream cutout and I entirely missed that portion.
Square Enix was up next, and they showed off footage of a untitled video, that really made me think of Final Fantasy. What struck me though was a week ago, I was Google searching for info on the Xbox 720 and saw images from this video. There is now a conspiracy amongst some that this video was for Xbox 720.
Ubisoft followed and showed off their E3 sleeper, Watch Dogs. This was the biggest disappointment of the night, as the footage shown really looked exactly like that shown at E3 last year. The graphics did not look any better, and the game itself, seems to be a modern day Assassin’s Creed with futuristic tech.
Blizzard showed off that Diablo III will be coming to the PS3 and PS4. I wonder if that mean Error 37 will also be making its way over.
For those who do not get the gravity of that joke, please YouTube “Error 37”. That guy, he paid cash money and can’t log the fuck in.
Activision was the grande finale, and a rather boring one. Going on about how they have made the biggest blockbuster games since the PS2 days and how they look to continue that. They showed off the Bungie developed Destiny.
Destiny looks exactly like Halo in a new setting. The footage really did not show anything that hasn’t already been seen, and it makes one wonder, was this even a good idea to have this event? I am also amused at how hardcore PS fanboys are now praising Destiny and Bungie when for years they ridiculed them for making that horrible Halo game.
The event closed with the announce my that Destiny will have exclusive content for PS4, and that the PS4 will be out Holiday 2013.
Now, this may seem like a halfassed review of the event, but in truth, this is what it was. I may have missed a few points due to me being involved with the antics around my abode, but these are the biggest points that caught my attention.
The issue with this event… Are more than one. No price range, no details of how this is a vast improvement over the PS3. But the worst part:
THEY NEVER SHOWED THE ACTUAL PLAYSTATION 4.
How do you have a reveal for your next-gen console, without showing the console?
Microsoft has to be laughing their asses off after this reveal. Granted, there is still PAX East in March and E3 in June for Sony to show the console and more features, but Microsoft now has the ability to steal all the thunder away from Sony at any of these events. If the new Xbox debuts as PAX or even E3 (where Microsoft always is first up day 1) then the PS4’s thunder is gone.
Sony needed this. They needed to reveal the PS4 before the new Xbox. They needed to create a buzz about their next-gen console. They did that. But, can they keep this momentum?