Call of Duty going back to its roots?

Photo From: PushSquare.com

I have been a fan of the Call of Duty series for around a decade; Call of Duty 2 holds a special place in my heart. Personally, that was the first console game that really struck a chord with me as a first person online multiplayer shooter, especially since I was never a huge Halo fan.  I remember sitting in GameStop playing the demo on the XBox 360 thinking how could video games get much better than this? 10 years later COD is still the alpha first person shooter. Although, Dice is making serious moves to conquer that title with the Battlefield series and after playing the latest beta for Battlefield Hardline I am certain Call of Duty needs to change up the formula. Continue reading

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Terraria: Otherworld Announced

OMG. OMG. OMG. Before I hyperventilate…. Yes, Engine Software and Re-Logic have just announced Terraria Otherworld. The pre-alpha work looks amazing as you can see in the video. I am instantly in love with the color scheme, the glow, ‘glitter’ and the new array of graphics with the same familiar Terraria feel. The game is going to continue with the sandbox adventure but with a greater RPG and strategy base. For me, I can’t put the first Terraria down! I’ve had it on my Vita since it’s first download. I love building, fighting and… dying. The challenge of trying to recoup from your death and refortify your defenses or build stronger weapons to finally defeat an enemy (who has already killed you 26 times) is one of those thrills that you can only get from video games. Add a dark, mysterious theme to it and you’ve just made gold.

Married with Jonathan van den Wijngaarden’s music (who also composed the soundtrack for Kick and Fennick), it’s sure to be an even greater success than the original Terraria. I hope we can get some more information from the upcoming GDC next month. I guess we will all wait in anticipation as the only thing missing from this announcement is a release date!

Pandora’s Station: Destiny of Spirits Review

Yay! Another game for free download on the PlayStation Vita! Destiny of Spirits was developed exclusively for the Vita by SCE Japan Studio and Q Entertainment. You have to allow the game to use Location Data or else you cannot play. It’s kind of like social networking sites where you can send friend requests and receive “mail”. The game’s trailer above is actually a great representation of the game you will be playing. The battle scenes are always set up the same and there are always three Chaos Spirits against three of your chosen Spirits. Continue reading

How the Assassin’s Creed Franchise Can Improve

Photo from: Ubisoft

Let me start this by saying that I love Assassin’s Creed.  I have played every release, from the very first to the latest (including the handheld versions, with the exception of mobile games) and despite the criticisms leveled here I still enjoy playing AC: Unity on occasion.  Assassin’s Creed is unique among action adventure games as it uses history as platform for creating complex fictional narratives. As a student of history, I appreciate the ability to interact with historical periods in ways that are not possible in other mediums and while the narratives of Assassin’s Creed certainly take creative license with historical characters, it is obvious that many hours of research go into developing worlds that reflect an historical realism.  So, first: Thank you to the teams of people that put in hard work to create these games.

Now, the crux of the issue; this franchise is losing me.  I have defended it as an annual release for a long time, citing the new settings and changes in game mechanics as a counter argument to those who would claim that the game simply gets a new topical gloss and is released again for full retail.  While I can marginally understand the argument that there is very little separating the installations, the game will never suddenly change from assassin simulator to shooter or driver; the player will always be stabbing people with hidden blades.  As a yearly franchise, it’s simple to tell from game to game what changes and I believe that the current issues I have with Unity began in Assassin’s Creed III.  Let’s explore some of the shortcomings the latest installment and how they relate to older iterations in the franchise.   Continue reading

Bloodborne.

My dwindling interest in The Order is assuaged by the existence of another game that lurched onto my radar, Bloodborne.  This is the spiritual successor to Nightmare Creatures; here, we have close, violent and complex melees with horrifying monsters.  While set in the fictional city of Yharnam, it clearly reflects a dark Victorian look: shadowy, cobblestone streets; oil lamps and torches pooling amber light; tall cathedral spires silhouetted by the full moon.  My preorder is coming off of The Order: 1886 and landing squarely on this game.  The first title from Japanese developer From Software and director Hidetaka Miyazaki (PS3 cult hits Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls) to be released on the PS4 and while this title does appear to share some fundamental philosophies, there are clear deviations from the attritional nature of their previous titles. Continue reading