Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'impressions'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Categories

  • Extra Life News
    • Extra Life Updates
    • Best Practices
    • Community Content
    • Why I Extra Life
    • Fundraising
    • Contests
  • Gaming News
  • Features
  • Podcast

Discussions

  • Extra Life Discussions
    • General Extra Life Discussion
    • Local Extra Lifers
    • Fundraising Ideas
    • Live Streaming Tips & Tricks
    • Official Extra Life Stream Team Discussion
    • Extra Life JSON Code Discussion & Sharing
    • Extra Life United
    • Extra Life Q & A
  • Articles & Extra Life Announcements
    • Announcements
  • Official Extra Life Guilds
    • Guild information and Discussion
    • Canada
    • Northeastern US
    • Southeastern US
    • Central US
    • Western US
  • Gaming Discussions
  • Other Stuff
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Recent Posts

Calendars

  • Extra Life Community Calendar
  • Extra Life Stream Team
  • Akron Guild
  • Albany Guild
  • Albuquerque Guild
  • Anchorage Guild
  • Atlanta Guild
  • Austin Guild
  • Bakersfield Guild
  • Baltimore Guild
  • Birmingham Guild
  • Boston Guild
  • Burlington Guild
  • Buffalo Guild
  • Calgary, AB Guild
  • Morgantown Guild
  • Charlottesville Guild
  • Chicago Guild
  • Cincinnati Guild
  • Cleveland Guild
  • Columbia, MO Guild
  • Columbus, OH Guild
  • Dallas Guild
  • Dayton Guild
  • Denver Guild
  • Des Moines Guild
  • Detroit Guild
  • Edmonton, AB Guild
  • Fargo-Valley City Guild
  • Fresno Guild
  • Ft. Worth Guild
  • Gainesville-Tallahassee Guild
  • Grand Rapids Guild
  • Halifax, NS Guild
  • Hamilton, ON Guild
  • Hartford Guild
  • Hershey Guild
  • Hudson Valley Guild
  • Houston Guild
  • Indianapolis Guild
  • Jacksonville Guild
  • Kansas City Guild
  • Knoxville Guild
  • Lansing Guild
  • London, ON Guild
  • Los Angeles Guild
  • Milwaukee / Madison Guild
  • Minneapolis / Twin Cities Guild
  • Montreal / Quebec City Guild
  • Nashville Guild
  • Newark Guild
  • NYC & Long Island Guild
  • Oakland / San Francisco Guild
  • Omaha Guild
  • Orange County Guild
  • Orlando Guild
  • Ottawa, ON Guild
  • Philadelphia Guild
  • Phoenix Guild
  • Pittsburgh Guild
  • Portland, OR Guild
  • Portland, ME Guild
  • Raleigh-Durham Guild
  • Richmond Guild
  • Sacramento Guild
  • Salt Lake City Guild
  • San Antonio Guild
  • San Diego Guild
  • San Juan, PR Guild
  • Saskatchewan Guild
  • Seattle Guild
  • Spokane Guild
  • Springfield-Champaign, IL Guild
  • Springfield, MA Guild
  • St. Louis Guild
  • Syracuse Guild
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg Guild
  • Toronto, ON Guild
  • Vancouver, BC Guild
  • Washington DC Guild
  • Winnipeg, MB Guild
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Events
  • Extra Life Akron's Events

Categories

  • Broadcasting Toolkit
  • Multimedia Kit
  • Extra Life Guild Tool Kit
  • Denver Extra Life Guild's Files
  • Extra Life Akron's Files

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Hospital


Location


Why I "Extra Life"


Interests


Twitter


Instagram


Twitch


Mixer


Discord


Blizzard Battletag


Nintendo ID


PSN ID


Steam


Origin


Xbox Gamertag

Found 8 results

  1. Star Wars Battlefront II was undoubtedly EA’s centerpiece attraction this E3, with the company dedicating more than half an hour of their press event to the team shooter juggernaut. After a new trailer that featured never before seen maps, heroes, and vehicles, EA presented a long look at a single multiplayer match. Keep reading for a full rundown of everything we saw. EA’s live demo featured the new “Assault on Theed” map, set on the lush and architecturally luxurious planet of Naboo. The map seems to be taking a lot of inspiration from the final battle of Episode One: The Phantom Menace, where Separatist droids fought with the Naboo army in the streets and palace halls of Naboo’s royal city. Much like the Hoth map in the 2015 Battlefront, the assaulting team (Separatists instead of Emperial this time) must escort a siege tank to the front doors of the Naboo royal palace, tear down its defenses, and shut down enemy activity inside the palace. Players are able to take the form of your standard Star Wars prequel trilogy characters, including variants of battle droids and clone troopers. The live demo showcased players competing for every inch of a sprawling, dense, yet surprisingly spacious lane of activity. When players weren’t fighting building to building on either flank, they were sprinting across the large center roadway along the siege tank’s path. Clone troopers were able to make use of AT-RT “chicken walker” tanks, bite-sized prototypes of the original trilogy’s AT-ST’s. The AT-RTs are capable of sprinting long distances in mere seconds, although it seems their attack capabilities are withdrawn as a result. When they are firing lasers, droids are easily mowed down with ease, though the lackadaisical pace puts clone troopers in a vulnerable spot. Separatist droids have their classic battle tanks at hand, which can shells at a modest pace or lock themselves into siege mode, which provides greater power but zero mobility. Clone troopers won’t have to rely on just AT-RTs to get around though. Higher class troopers can spawn with the same jetpacks seen in 2015’s Battlefront. However, the droids might have air superiority in the skies above Naboo, with their numerous vulture droid starfighters dogfighting clone V-Wings. Players were able to zip around the city at daringly low altitudes, in between large stone arches, though any level of contact is of course instant death. Heroes and villains are sure to get their due as well. After the first stage of the battle is complete, and the palace doors blown to bits by the droid’s siege tank, Darth Maul made his debut by chopping up clones into itty bitty pieces. He’ll have some deadly moves, including a lightsaber toss and spiral lunge that can decimate tightly packed groups of enemies. Rey showed up, too, but her player couldn’t hold a candle to Maul’s malevolence, so it was a bit of wash. Evidently, Rey will be able to make use of her Jedi mind control powers she tapped into in “The Force Awakens” to momentarily stun enemies. The live demo ended with the droids taking the palace throne room, essentially walking all over the clones, and ensuring their victory by numbers. While the Frostbite engine will always impress, and while Naboo is certainly a colorful locale to do battle in, it remains to be seen if Battlefront II will be able to differentiate itself from its predecessor. Make sure to check out the gameplay trailer for a more varied look at where Battlefront II will take players later this year. View full article
  2. Star Wars Battlefront II was undoubtedly EA’s centerpiece attraction this E3, with the company dedicating more than half an hour of their press event to the team shooter juggernaut. After a new trailer that featured never before seen maps, heroes, and vehicles, EA presented a long look at a single multiplayer match. Keep reading for a full rundown of everything we saw. EA’s live demo featured the new “Assault on Theed” map, set on the lush and architecturally luxurious planet of Naboo. The map seems to be taking a lot of inspiration from the final battle of Episode One: The Phantom Menace, where Separatist droids fought with the Naboo army in the streets and palace halls of Naboo’s royal city. Much like the Hoth map in the 2015 Battlefront, the assaulting team (Separatists instead of Emperial this time) must escort a siege tank to the front doors of the Naboo royal palace, tear down its defenses, and shut down enemy activity inside the palace. Players are able to take the form of your standard Star Wars prequel trilogy characters, including variants of battle droids and clone troopers. The live demo showcased players competing for every inch of a sprawling, dense, yet surprisingly spacious lane of activity. When players weren’t fighting building to building on either flank, they were sprinting across the large center roadway along the siege tank’s path. Clone troopers were able to make use of AT-RT “chicken walker” tanks, bite-sized prototypes of the original trilogy’s AT-ST’s. The AT-RTs are capable of sprinting long distances in mere seconds, although it seems their attack capabilities are withdrawn as a result. When they are firing lasers, droids are easily mowed down with ease, though the lackadaisical pace puts clone troopers in a vulnerable spot. Separatist droids have their classic battle tanks at hand, which can shells at a modest pace or lock themselves into siege mode, which provides greater power but zero mobility. Clone troopers won’t have to rely on just AT-RTs to get around though. Higher class troopers can spawn with the same jetpacks seen in 2015’s Battlefront. However, the droids might have air superiority in the skies above Naboo, with their numerous vulture droid starfighters dogfighting clone V-Wings. Players were able to zip around the city at daringly low altitudes, in between large stone arches, though any level of contact is of course instant death. Heroes and villains are sure to get their due as well. After the first stage of the battle is complete, and the palace doors blown to bits by the droid’s siege tank, Darth Maul made his debut by chopping up clones into itty bitty pieces. He’ll have some deadly moves, including a lightsaber toss and spiral lunge that can decimate tightly packed groups of enemies. Rey showed up, too, but her player couldn’t hold a candle to Maul’s malevolence, so it was a bit of wash. Evidently, Rey will be able to make use of her Jedi mind control powers she tapped into in “The Force Awakens” to momentarily stun enemies. The live demo ended with the droids taking the palace throne room, essentially walking all over the clones, and ensuring their victory by numbers. While the Frostbite engine will always impress, and while Naboo is certainly a colorful locale to do battle in, it remains to be seen if Battlefront II will be able to differentiate itself from its predecessor. Make sure to check out the gameplay trailer for a more varied look at where Battlefront II will take players later this year.
  3. To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos.
  4. To give you the best idea of what Galactic Civilizations III is like, imagine Sid Meier’s Civilization V set in space with the ability to design your own spaceships. If that sentence doesn't get you salivating at the possibilities, you might have to go rewatch Star Wars. Over the last few days I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the latest build of Galactic Civilizations III and lead the human race into the future. Making sure that humanity survives to dominate the stars isn’t the easiest task, especially in the current build available from developer Stardock Entertainment. While it is certainly playable and quite enjoyable, the limitations of its beta state become immediately apparent when beginning a new game. Though the final game will include eight playable races as well as the option to create a custom race, the current build is limited to four: the Terran Alliance, the Drangin Empire, the Altarian Resistance, and the Iridium Corporation. Each race has different strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Terrans are great at exploring during the early game, while the Altarians are adept researchers and quick to adopt new technology. The other major limitation to the beta is that the only victory condition available is conquest. The final retail build will include diplomatic, scientific, and influence victories alongside conquest. Upon loading into a new game, everything seems fantastic. Fans of Galactic Civilizations I and II will feel right at home with the interface, while newcomers might feel a bit out of their depth and require a bit of a learning period before knowing the ins and outs of the numerous menus and orders. The first hour or so of gameplay feel refined and mostly finished and it is fun to expand to new worlds and see what you might find drifting among the debris in deep space. Survey craft can pick apart debris to find advantages for your race in the form of money or even operational ships. The first encounter with an AI civilization shows that Galactic Civilizations III is still very much incomplete. Not only is diplomatic victory impossible, but the diplomacy system hasn’t been implemented at all. This leads to every civilization attacking you on sight, which makes it difficult to fully explore the complex and interesting technology tree down any of the routes besides military. While researching the secret to building larger and larger ships, players will be able to design new types of spacefaring war machines. The ship designer is quite entertaining. It offers players premade designs or allows them to build their ships from scratch. Once the base body has been finished and outfitted with a variety of extra pieces give some character to the design, players can outfit it with weapons, armor, shielding, engines, etc. The system is incredibly flexible and I can easily see some Galactic Civilizations III players putting hours into creating new and unique ships for their fleets. The one thing that I will stress heavily from what I saw during my time leading the Terran armadas is how slowly the game moves. For me that’s great, I love slow, tactical experiences, but I understand that sort of experience isn’t something everyone enjoys readily. I spent nearly six hours with Galactic Civilization III and feel like I have barely scratched the surface of what the final version will be like. I have yet to see how science, influence, or diplomacy victories will work or explored how it could be feasible to research those parts of the tech tree. However, the time I spent in space is just enough to whet my appetite for the final product. Galactic Civilizations III is currently in beta on PC. It has no official release date. People can gain entrance to the beta via Steam for $44.99. I would not recommend purchasing the beta unless you are a hardcore fan of the Galactic Civilizations series and willing to deal with technical bugs and unfinished game systems. For more information on how the Galactic Civilizations III is progressing, be sure to check out the Stardock YouTube Channel to see their weekly progress videos. View full article
  5. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage.
  6. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage. View full article
  7. Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time experiencing a small selection of multiplayer maps and modes from the upcoming Titanfall. What did I think? Read on to find out! My initial thoughts on Titanfall were far from positive. I booted up the game and was greeted by the training tutorial which appeared to be a black screen full of polygons. I managed to progress a few lessons into the tutorial, but noticed with growing alarm that weapons were missing, textures were wonky, and the final straw was when enemies would be covered in strange twisted wire sctulptures. My gaming rig can play most games at max settings, so I knew something was wrong. After spending several fruitless hours searching for solutions, I was directed toward a YouTube comment that solved my problem. In some instances on PC, Titanfall will default to use the integrated PC graphics rather than the actual graphics card users have installed. So, if you want to save yourself a great deal of frustration when you boot up the retail version of Titanfall, make sure that you check to make sure it is running on your graphics card. I was... confused. After resolving that issue, I managed to complete the tutorial, which consists of both pilot and titan training. In a number of ways Titanfall seeks to improve the established multiplayer FPS gameplay established by the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty. One of the most prominent being the emphasis on mobility and verticality to level design and combat. While on foot, players can run on walls for a limited time or jump from wall to wall indefinitely. The inclusion of jet packs also means that reaching higher ledges is easy and juking enemies becomes a valid option. This mobility comes in very handy once enemy titans enter the fray. Called down from orbit, these giant robotic suits can kill players simply by stepping on them without even bothering with their array of rockets, giant chain guns, reflective bullet shields, and dashes. Stepping into the cockpit of a titan or seeing them sow destruction across the battlefield is always impressive. When a match starts, all players begin with a certain amount of time to wait before they can call down their titan and eliminating enemies reduces the timer. This system might seem to favor teams who receive their titans first, but on-foot players aren't completely defenseless. Armed with an anti-titan weapon and the ability to cloak, players can make themselves undetectable to titans while also packing a punch. But be warned, while cloaking is very effective against titans, it doesn't work quite as well against other enemies on foot. Titans are also limited to ground. They can't climb on buildings or jump, so sometimes having the higher ground can be a very effective way to fight against their overwhelming force. Titans can also be exited and made to follow the player or to guard a position, which can be useful if you want to provide a big distraction or hold a position. If this all sounds impressive and fun, that's because it is very impressive and fun. Three game modes were available during the beta: Attrition, Capture Point, and Last Titan Standing. Attrition was by far my favorite, which pits two teams of six against each other with each player or Titan kill deducting from a team total. If your team loses, all surviving players have to make a mad dash for an escape shuttle while the enemy team hunts down the survivors and attempts to destroy the shuttle. An interesting factor in attrition is that, even though there are only six players on each team, there are large numbers of AI soldiers who also participate in the battle, shouting to each other for back-up, calling out the positions of enemy pilots or titans, and respond to various combat situations relatively well. They aren't all that bright, but they lend every battle a feeling of scope that would be lacking otherwise. Capture Point is very similar to Attrition, but with the tried and true systems we've seen from other multiplayer FPS games before. Last Titan Standing is a single-life death match between two teams where every player starts with a titan, and the team to eliminate all enemy titans first is the victor. In a nice twist, even if you happen to lose your titan, you can still help your teammates while on foot. Titanfall rewards players with experience following each match, allowing players to feel a sense of progression. Each level brings with it an unlocked weapon, mod, ability, etc. and completing certain challenges can unlock more gear to test out on the battlefield. While the level cap during the beta was fourteen, it is expected to be much higher for the full game with many other goodies unlocked later on like different titan chasis. Eventually, players will unlock the ability to use burn cards, which are cards that can be activated in-game while respawning to give a limited, one-life advantage in the form of a more powerful weapon, faster movement, etc. which serve to spice up the combat even more. It is worth noting that while most of the weapons are different takes on weapons we've all seen before in FPS games, there was one that I found enjoyably different. The smart pistol lines up headshots automatically, requiring more time to target more powerful enemies. Once all shots are locked on, the pistol can fire and each bullet will hit, provided something else doesn't get in the way. If this seems cheap, it can be, but the downside is that with all the movement enemy players are capable of, locking all your shots can be a difficult task, especially if your opponent has a more conventional rifle or sniper rifle and has noticed your approach. Overall, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. Discovering small things like the several different animations that play depending on how you approach getting into your titan, or that you can hitch a ride on friendly titans, or calling down your titan on an unsuspecting enemy are all amazing little touches that give Titanfall a feeling of depth and excitement I haven't felt while playing online multiplayer since the original Halo. My first thought upon coming out of my first online match of Titanfall was that Respawn Entertainment has crafted the next big thing. It is fun, slick, responsive, creative, and you get to punch the snot out of giant robots. What's not to love? Titanfall releases on Xbox One and PC on March 11 with an Xbox 360 coming March 25. View full article
  8. Over the past few days, I had the opportunity to spend an extended period of time experiencing a small selection of multiplayer maps and modes from the upcoming Titanfall. What did I think? Read on to find out! My initial thoughts on Titanfall were far from positive. I booted up the game and was greeted by the training tutorial which appeared to be a black screen full of polygons. I managed to progress a few lessons into the tutorial, but noticed with growing alarm that weapons were missing, textures were wonky, and the final straw was when enemies would be covered in strange twisted wire sctulptures. My gaming rig can play most games at max settings, so I knew something was wrong. After spending several fruitless hours searching for solutions, I was directed toward a YouTube comment that solved my problem. In some instances on PC, Titanfall will default to use the integrated PC graphics rather than the actual graphics card users have installed. So, if you want to save yourself a great deal of frustration when you boot up the retail version of Titanfall, make sure that you check to make sure it is running on your graphics card. I was... confused. After resolving that issue, I managed to complete the tutorial, which consists of both pilot and titan training. In a number of ways Titanfall seeks to improve the established multiplayer FPS gameplay established by the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty. One of the most prominent being the emphasis on mobility and verticality to level design and combat. While on foot, players can run on walls for a limited time or jump from wall to wall indefinitely. The inclusion of jet packs also means that reaching higher ledges is easy and juking enemies becomes a valid option. This mobility comes in very handy once enemy titans enter the fray. Called down from orbit, these giant robotic suits can kill players simply by stepping on them without even bothering with their array of rockets, giant chain guns, reflective bullet shields, and dashes. Stepping into the cockpit of a titan or seeing them sow destruction across the battlefield is always impressive. When a match starts, all players begin with a certain amount of time to wait before they can call down their titan and eliminating enemies reduces the timer. This system might seem to favor teams who receive their titans first, but on-foot players aren't completely defenseless. Armed with an anti-titan weapon and the ability to cloak, players can make themselves undetectable to titans while also packing a punch. But be warned, while cloaking is very effective against titans, it doesn't work quite as well against other enemies on foot. Titans are also limited to ground. They can't climb on buildings or jump, so sometimes having the higher ground can be a very effective way to fight against their overwhelming force. Titans can also be exited and made to follow the player or to guard a position, which can be useful if you want to provide a big distraction or hold a position. If this all sounds impressive and fun, that's because it is very impressive and fun. Three game modes were available during the beta: Attrition, Capture Point, and Last Titan Standing. Attrition was by far my favorite, which pits two teams of six against each other with each player or Titan kill deducting from a team total. If your team loses, all surviving players have to make a mad dash for an escape shuttle while the enemy team hunts down the survivors and attempts to destroy the shuttle. An interesting factor in attrition is that, even though there are only six players on each team, there are large numbers of AI soldiers who also participate in the battle, shouting to each other for back-up, calling out the positions of enemy pilots or titans, and respond to various combat situations relatively well. They aren't all that bright, but they lend every battle a feeling of scope that would be lacking otherwise. Capture Point is very similar to Attrition, but with the tried and true systems we've seen from other multiplayer FPS games before. Last Titan Standing is a single-life death match between two teams where every player starts with a titan, and the team to eliminate all enemy titans first is the victor. In a nice twist, even if you happen to lose your titan, you can still help your teammates while on foot. Titanfall rewards players with experience following each match, allowing players to feel a sense of progression. Each level brings with it an unlocked weapon, mod, ability, etc. and completing certain challenges can unlock more gear to test out on the battlefield. While the level cap during the beta was fourteen, it is expected to be much higher for the full game with many other goodies unlocked later on like different titan chasis. Eventually, players will unlock the ability to use burn cards, which are cards that can be activated in-game while respawning to give a limited, one-life advantage in the form of a more powerful weapon, faster movement, etc. which serve to spice up the combat even more. It is worth noting that while most of the weapons are different takes on weapons we've all seen before in FPS games, there was one that I found enjoyably different. The smart pistol lines up headshots automatically, requiring more time to target more powerful enemies. Once all shots are locked on, the pistol can fire and each bullet will hit, provided something else doesn't get in the way. If this seems cheap, it can be, but the downside is that with all the movement enemy players are capable of, locking all your shots can be a difficult task, especially if your opponent has a more conventional rifle or sniper rifle and has noticed your approach. Overall, my experience was overwhelmingly positive. Discovering small things like the several different animations that play depending on how you approach getting into your titan, or that you can hitch a ride on friendly titans, or calling down your titan on an unsuspecting enemy are all amazing little touches that give Titanfall a feeling of depth and excitement I haven't felt while playing online multiplayer since the original Halo. My first thought upon coming out of my first online match of Titanfall was that Respawn Entertainment has crafted the next big thing. It is fun, slick, responsive, creative, and you get to punch the snot out of giant robots. What's not to love? Titanfall releases on Xbox One and PC on March 11 with an Xbox 360 coming March 25.
×
×
  • Create New...