Thursday, January 21, 2016

Under the Hud Podcast: The Witcher 3 vs. Bloodbourne

I share some of my thoughts on why the Witcher 3 is, with no doubt, the best video game of 2015.
You can also check out the episode here on Podomatic

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Fire Side: Beyond Two Souls Demo

We got access to the Beyond Two Souls Demo, and we're in love.
Check out our Google Hangout to hear our thoughts.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Free to Play, The Good, the Bad, and the FREE

It's FREE! Need I say more? Trying a free to play game only costs you the time to download and play it. There's no risk, there's no investment. You can download it, jump in, and see if it interests you. With the profound lack of demos these days this is a god send. Plus the shier quality of many Free to Play games has gone significantly up within the last few years. If you told me in 2009 that games like Hawken, Warframe, and Star Conflict, would one day be free to play games, I wouldn't have believed you. I would have told you that those games look to high quality to be Free to Play. That a Free to Play game is something like League Legends.

Of course that's not true anymore, Free to Play have evolved just like every other part of the gaming industry. They have evolved for the better, and now we are starting to see them make they're way onto consoles not just the PC. I would now dare to say that many Free to Play games rival the quality of 15 to 25 dollar titles.

Now with all things there are problems with Free to Play games. The classic argument is pay to win. Pay to win exists, it's just doesn't apply as often as most people think it does. It does apply when you have a strictly competitive game that is unbalanced due micro transactions and other various purchases. It doesn't apply when you have a cooperative game where all the players trying to achieve the same goal. Yes, they may have a better armor set or equipment than you do but if anything that helps not hiders you. They decided to drop 30 dollars on this game, that is completely fair. They spent money on this game, you didn't. Your still playing for free, they aren't. They've now invested more then they're time into this title. They've shown the company that they are willing to pay for the title and so yes, if they have a more fun experience, they deserve to do so.

The major problem with these purchases, is the pricing. In the Free to Play game Marvel Heroes you can pay up 250 dollars to access all the content within said game. That is outrageous and unrealistic. In a perfect world you'd pay 60 dollars for full access, like most retail games, of course that never happens. Warframe is a great Free to Play cooperative experience but the starter bundle is a staggering 40 dollars. I can't speak for most people, but I personally would spend a lot more money on Free to Play titles if they're pricing was more appropriate.

With all that being said, I'm still astounded that some people can complain about a free thing. Or write them off as something illegitimate and not worth the time. I encourage anyone who hasn't tried any recently released Free to Play games to give them a try.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why God of War Ascension has failed Kratos as a Character (minor spoilers)

God of War has always been a blockbuster game and as has always been held in high regard by the gaming community. It’s the one PlayStation 3 exclusive that Xbots can fully admit to wishing it was for their console. However even with all of this high praise, God of War has always had it criticism. No one ever really complained about the combat or the gameplay and especially not the graphics, what people complained about, was Kratos. We are now moving into an age where games are considered an art form. And in this day and age, a one dimensional character such Kratos cannot be taken seriously. Every critic sees him as just a big angry guy out for revenge, in response to that, Santa Monica Studios made God of War Ascension. The God of War game that would, for the first time, show Kratos in a more human light.

Of course we would all learn that this was too good to be true as God of War Ascension is not only probably the worst game in the franchise, but has by far the least narrative as well as a lack luster, nothing happens story.

We know that Kratos killed his family, we know it was a mistake, we know he pledged his allegiance to Ares. What we didn’t know, was that we weren’t going to see any of those things wrapped into the story of this game. Now of course all of this is referenced, but we never see why Kratos reached out to Ares in his time of need. We never got to play as Kratos before he had the ashes of his family burned onto his skin. We never got to see any of these key plot points that were to shape Kratos into the hateful bloodthirsty man he was in God of War 3. Now was I expecting Kratos to turn into a super complicated character? Hell no, however, what I was expecting, was to have a better grasp of what his motives were and to understand why he ended up the way he did by the end of the saga.

Instead Santa Monica chose to focus on the breaking of Kratos’s oath to Ares, and how does he accomplish this? By killing things, that’s right! Santa Monica went down the list of people Kratos hasn’t killed (the Furies) and made and entire game about those three enemies. Now, when Santa Monica said they wanted to show more about Kratos, they simply meant a couple of cut scenes where Kratos is hallucinating about his family and his old life. It’s too bad that all of these cut scenes put together are only about 15 minutes of footage in a 9-10 hour game.
I do believe that the story of how Kratos broke his oath to Ares did need to be explained. However, this could have been the very last ¼ of the game. The rest of the should have been about young Kratos, the relationship with his brother (featured in Ghost of Sparta), Kratos as a Spartan General, the actual point in time he reached out to Ares, and finally him killing his family. You can still make epic set pieces following this plot line while building up to the epic battles of slaying the Furies by the end of game. This is not the way the game had to go, but it is a much needed suggestion.

With this likely being the last game for Kratos, it is a pity to see such an opportunity squandered and is most unfortunate that Kratos will forever remain a one dimensional bloodthirsty killer.