Tag Archives: Gears of War

Is this the next Xbox – or just a very confusing infographic?

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Look! Colours and boxes!  Via VG Leaks.com

So, this is what the inside of the next Xbox looks like, apparently.

It’s a deeply interconnected series of coloured boxes with vaguely impenetrable titles, which will somehow allow you to play the next “Gears of War” in eye-wateringly intense super HD vision from the future.  Why, it’s almost as if we’re on the verge of a new generation of games consoles, Valve-approved PCs and similar free time monopolising devices of fun…

I’m no technologist, but I know that 8 GB of RAM and an identical number of CPU Cores promise lots of potential to deliver more immersive games worlds.  Of course, it’s an arguable point as to whether the complexity of the PS3‘s internal architecture was ever satisfyingly grappled with by most of the multi-platform publishers and developers in this generation of machines – if the 360 couldn’t handle it, it does seem that EA and Activision didn’t exactly shoot for the fences with the systems out there.

Ever played “Dragon Age: Origins” on the PS3?  Exactly.

Expect major fireworks to be unleashed come E3 this June – or possibly earlier, if you believe the word on t3h str33tz…

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Multi-player Madness?

Money spent on Xbox Live membership by Fluffrick in 2013? Zero pounds!

Microsoft have recently been keen to remind gamers that Xbox Live has been around for a decade – hence e-mails like the one above, which I received this morning.

I might rather have received one of these, but as I live in Europe (and we don’t matter to Microsoft), I’ll just be happy that they deigned to send me an e-mail which has reminded me of something crucial – my Xbox Live Gold membership is the nerd equivalent of the gym membership that I don’t use.

My taste in games has always skewed towards the solitary and offline – a good percentage of the Role Playing games that I spend my time with don’t really bother with online modes and competitive functionality – and so it really doesn’t make that much sense for me to spend the price of a new game on a service which I don’t actually use.  Sure, Mass Effect 3 has a suite of multiplayer options but it’s not really the kind of thing which appeals to me – plugging wave after wave of NPC’s in the company of some random dude who doesn’t speak/plays music down his headset or regale you with his unsolicited neo-Nazi views is not my idea of happy-happy fun times, truth be told.

I’ve tried “Gears of War” multi and “Call of Duty” online (see my previous neo-Nazi comment) and found the experience profoundly wanting – and it’s not just a problem with the 360 audience, as Uncharted 2 on the PS3 had more than a few highly vocal 12-year-old nitwits ready, willing and eager to demonstrate their bigotry and stupidity to all and sundry in matches and lobbies.  I find myself actively wanting to disassociate myself from many of the people who play online on consoles, as this gaming generation has exposed me to people so acutely unpleasant and unrepentantly objectionable that their stupidity can surely only be explained away by being a stunt or deliberate tactic of some kind – gamesmanship employed by people for whom winning is the only goal.

Testify, Wonka – testify!

Yes, we can mute and report people to the enforcement teams on the respective platforms but the point to me is that by the time that you’ve done that, the very last thing that you want to do is venture back online and play against people – I’m fairly soured on the whole notion of competitive play against people who I don’t know.

When my Gold membership expires in a month or two I am pretty certain that I won’t be renewing it. And, you know what?  I’m totally okay with that.

 

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E3 2012 – the bad, the worse and the hopeful…

The annual E3 video games trade show is a positive haven of nerdy eye candy.

Picture of the LA Convention Centre, home of E3, via Official Playstation Magazine UK

The newest, highest profile titles get splashy debut presentations in big conferences from the likes of Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft, with fanboys and fangirls arguing online about which massive corporation succeeded best in winning our hearts and wallets for the next year.

As with the last two or three years, Microsoft appear to have no real interest in appealing to games fans, preferring to set up their stall pursuing the mythical nuclear family audience which appear in their adverts – upscale, freshly scrubbed, tech-savvy and possessed of the kind of cavernous, open-plan living spaces which would best house the full Kinect, Xbox 360 and huge Plasma screen which Microsoft’s advertising always presents as standard.

Their conference had new iterations of Gears of War, “Forza”, “Fable” and “Halo”, none of which did anything for me.  With numbing predictability, a downloadable content exclusive for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2″ was announced and for the hordes of bro-gamers who care about that, I’m sure that counts as good news.

To be honest with you, I’m close to giving up on my Xbox 360 as the last couple of years has proven to me that games are as important to Microsoft as they are to Apple – when large chunks of their E3 conference is given over to streaming media services which nobody outside the US has access to, there’s little point in continuing to pay money to Microsoft for an Xbox Live service which solely exists to provide entertainment to middle-class Americans.  Nobody else matters to them.

It’s hardly as if Sony represent anything morally better, but their exclusive titles tend to wipe the floor with Microsoft’s increasingly bland, space-filling, ‘will this do?’ junk.

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“Juno 2: The Slashening”

This year, the Quantic Dream developed “Beyond: Two Souls, with its motion-captured Ellen Page character impressed and used the tech which Quantic recently presented their “Kara” demo with – we saw a quiet scene with subtle and nuanced digital characters in an interrogation appended with the kinds of action and explosive set pieces which might reassure the more trigger-happy gamers in the audience that they weren’t just going to be expected to listen to characters speak and, you know, be expected to follow a story.

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It’s one that I’m going to watch, as is Naughty Dog‘s “The Last of Us”, which brings their prowess earned over the course of the two and a half good games in the “Uncharted” series to bear on a new, sci-fi flavoured survival action title (you might remember this one as the game whose first trailer had a young female character uncannily similar to Ellen Page, whose presence in the aforementioned “Beyond” might have prompted the redesign evident in the E3 footage).

Think “Uncharted”, in an overgrown urban environment gone to wreck and ruin and full of messed-up brigands who want nothing more than to rearrange your grizzled features.  In its way – action platform gameplay with combat and truly visually arresting settings – Naughty Dog are doing nothing new, but the storyline and characters promise enough that I’ll certainly be playing this one on PS3.

Another visually stunning title is the new, gritty “Star Wars” title “1313”, which seems to filch some of Naughty Dog’s Nathan Drake platform acrobatics and copy and paste them into a tale set amongst bounty hunters, criminals and ne’er do wells on galactic administrative centre Coruscant.

Looks incredibly pretty in this high-end PC build, but I’ve been burnt enough by decades of crappy “Star Wars” titles to reserve any judgement on this until I get my hands on it – the visual fidelity on the footage shown at the link above makes me think that next-gen hardware will make the best of it.

I’m keen to see what Nintendo will show today – something, hopefully, which isn’t the same ‘bro-shooter’, utterly predictable, guns and thunder balls which Microsoft are seemingly content to push when they’re not selling tooth-rottingly sweet, licensed crap (with Kinect!) to uncritical tykes.

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Marcus In Chains? Now updated – it’s Baird and Cole!

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Ooh, look – the (slightly disappointing) third game in the “Gears of War” saga wasn’t the last word on DudeBros in Do-Rags saving the day and kerb-stomping monster men into oblivion.  Funny, I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be.

Eurogamer has a story – inspired by Game Informer’s cover above – which guesstimates a big reveal for a new game in the 360 signature FPS series in next week’s Xbox 360 press conference at E3 .  I’m thinking Kinect support with Baird and Anya dance-off mini-games and a sweet Kart Racing level (like “Joyride”! Only worse!)

See, this whole ‘Appealing to the Normals’ thing is easy…

Updated – Saturday 2 June 2012!

Cole Train, baby – Woo!

The other two “Game Informer” magazine covers have leaked prior to E3’s Monday kick-off and feature Baird and Cole from the other “Gears” games, with the frequently bickering odd couple leading a different squadron in a game said to offer a prequel side-story to the current trilogy.  It’s also supposed to be developed by People Will Fly, who brought you the excellent and underrated SF shooter, Bulletstorm.

The king of the frosted tip, the bard of bad attitude, the one-liner whiner – Damon Baird

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