On Gamescom, PAX, and Playing Everything (videos!)

Been a long while since Bel or I have posted. Call it the mid-late summer doldrums. I’ve also been extremely busy for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into here, which has left me kind of sapped. My apologies.

Lately, though, it’s been summer convention season, with a lot of exciting things being shown off. If you haven’t seen the trailer for Wild Star, you should watch it. Here:


Wild Star HD Trailer

It’s every cliché trope wrapped up in awesome foil and made to look GREAT. There’s nothing new here, we’ve seen these characters before, we’ve seen things done this way, but it doesn’t matter because the trailer looks great, the world looks compelling, and there’s something here for everyone. I want to keep watching this, and see what happens next.

Sci-fi not your thing? Here, have some fantasy, Guild Wars 2 style:


The Sylvari– Guild Wars 2’s plant-elves.

Like It Always Was, But Different

I love the way these games are shaping up. I don’t have a good trailer handy, but Star Wars: The Old Republic has a similar level of polish and fun on display. These aren’t sandbox MMOs, no, not even Guild Wars. You play them and you know – you can feel – the WoW influence, the EQ influence, the this-is-an-MMO sense that permeates, well, every game in this genre.

I look at those games and I get excited to play them. They’re not what blew me away, though. What blew me away were these:

Battlefield 3

First person shooter? But Ariad, all of those are the same, it looks just like Medal Call of Honor Duty! And Guild Wars 2 looks just like WoW. There’re subtle differences, and it makes for a surprisingly deep game. This will be incredibly fun with friends, and notably it’ll be a pop-in-and-out experience, something I can play for fun without a huge time commitment. For a different spin on the same concept, here’s Tribes:

Tribes Ascend–15 minutes long

Another shooter, only future instead of military. Easy to dismiss as “another FPS, yawn”, except that the feel of this one is so different from other games that it’s worthy of mention. I’m not a huge shooter player, but I played the old Tribes, and reports from PAX Prime are that the new one plays a LOT like the old ones. For anyone who remembers the old, this is a very, very good thing. Looking for a bit more story? Have a dose of Nathan Drake:

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

The Uncharted series are some of the best games released in the past few years. I would happily put Uncharted 2 and Portal head to head for fun factor. It’s basically Indiana Jones, the video game, done RIGHT. The fact that they’re PS3 exclusives makes it hard to casually get into them if you don’t own the console, but they’re brilliant examples of what’s available on console that you just can’t get on PC (I’m trolling Bel here).

The main thing that excites me is the variety. I haven’t even talked about Skyrim (and I’m out of video slots here, so I can’t post a video), but in terms of available games to play, we’re looking at some really, really awesome opportunities (and great things that have already come out—I’m looking at you, Bastion and Deus Ex).

Everything Under the Sun

I used to avoid entire genres of games. I skipped over Halo (and all console shooters) entirely, because I fervently believed that “it was better on PC”. It wasn’t until I’d been working on a console shooter for about a year before I really broke that bias, and shortly thereafter I discovered some really fun experience (and was prepared for the awesomeness that was Bioshock).

I refused to play platformers that didn’t have Mario in the title for ages, figuring that none of them would be any good. I nearly missed out on Prince of Persia, and I completely missed out on Jak and Daxter and Ratchet and Clank, both awesome games that I wasn’t in the right place at the right time to fully enjoy.

I’ve been amazed at how much fun there is to be had even in games I expect to hate. It’s also made me a lot better at seeing what games are, rather than what I want them to be. It’s a hard thing to apply to MMOs—I really want to see an MMO with real, true open-world and deep character customization, complete with well-implemented player housing and a sense of ownership… but SWTOR is not that game. Guild Wars 2 is not that game.

They’re gonna be fun, though. LOTS of fun, if I can enjoy them for what they are, rather than obsessing over what they’re not.