Trodamus

Cultural Heritage List of Games That Are Coming Out That Have Piqued My Interest

In Video Games on August 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

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We’re fast approaching the late Q3 / early Q4 drought of game releases, so much of what I’ll list is either coming out in a week, or coming out in time for Christmas.

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Splinter Cell: Blacklist (8/20/2013): I’ll be upfront and admit that most of my interest in this game is derived from its multiplayer modes. Featuring a full co-op campaign and the return of the much-vaunted Spies v. Mercs competitive modes, there’s quite a bit about Blacklist that has nothing to do with its unabashedly unironic campaign, its rebooted-minus-Michael-Ironside Sam Fischer, or where it falls on the pendulum of stealth and action.

The worst thing I have heard about the game is that, while Tom Clancy’s involvement in this series is nominal, it certainly champions his interventionist stance regarding U.S. military doctrine. Or in fewer words, this is a game where terrorists call America out on its military intrusion and intervention in official and unofficial capacities in countries all over the world, and in order to combat this, Sam Fischer is sent to countries all over the world in official and unofficial capacities to intervene on our behalf.

What really gets me is the reboot to Sam Fischer. Conviction, for its faults, serves as an excellent swansong for the very iconic character, and general consensus among fans is that they would have rather had the game not feature Sam at all, rather than replacing Ironside. More still is that they could have plucked Archer from Conviction‘s co-op mode to be the new face of Splinter Cell, as his brash, arrogant and violent attitude would have fit the new tone and action focus. Ah well.

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Saints Row IV (8/20/2013): The best praise I’ve heard about the game is that with the addition of superpowers and Crackdown-like orb hunting, enough of the game feels fresh enough and different enough to not come off as a slapdash expansion-made-sequel. Adam Sessler’s discussion on the game opines that the writing is very funny, yet precise enough to not come off as boorish or offensive when it’s just going for crude and fun.

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The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (8/20/2013): I feel like this game is a product of internet intervention, where outcry against the original survival-horror-investigation concept that bore little resemblance to XCOM was so severe, and the reception of the very faithful XCOM: Enemy Unknown was so great, that they remade the game into what appears to be a very solid, challenging, third-person shooter with heavy, heavy emphasis on squad tactics and management.

It even features permadeath for your agents! Unfortunately, it’s single-player only, presumably so your friends can’t permanently die.

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Lost Planet 3 (8/27/2013): I’ve always had something of a soft spot for the Lost Planet franchise. The first game had the unique frozen setting along with big monsters and a “thermal energy” mechanic that tied it all together in a marriage of theming and gameplay. The second game tried its hand at appropriating the setting into a globe-trotting sort of Left 4 Dead with less tundra and more action. The third game is a prequel and as such returns it to a more frozen setting, and has an alleged emphasis on story and character.

However, it is being developed by a company called Spark Unlimited, who have not made anything noteworthy, so it’s hard to trust them to get this right. But the gameplay trailer looks about right and the writing and voice acting is tight, so I’m hopeful.

Amnesia A Machine for Pigs - Raptor Gamer 02

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (9/10/2013) just got confirmed for its release date. I don’t really have much to add on this, except that I never really played much of Amnesia because it was too stressful. But I do like the seemingly more industrial setting, and just the title is intriguing as hell.

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Beyond: Two Souls (10/8/2013), starring Ellen “I apparently look unique enough that any likeness must be intentional and is thus theft / mean / etc.” Paige is one of the several big hit PS3 titles dropping before the launch of the PS4. All the introduction it needs is that it’s yet another cinematic gaming experience by Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain developer Quantic Dream with production values out of this world. And also Willem Dafoe.

That said, I know very little about the gameplay, and every screenshot I look at has all the characters making a D: face.

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Batman: Arkham Origins (10/25/2013) carries the series’ proud tradition of nonstandard multiplayer to its logical conclusion. Which is to say that, a game series with no multiplayer, that people have been hoping for some manner of co-op feature since day one, is now …getting competitive multiplayer. Developed by BRiNK stinker developer Splash Damage (who, to their credit, actually know how to make good multiplayer games too, just not on demand).

Instead of co-op predator mode, we’re getting 3v3v2, with two teams of three (representing Bane and Joker’s gangs) square off in standard third-person shooter style (for which I’m wondering if Gotham City Imposters was a demo), with Batman and Robin playing a separate team with different gameplay and goals.

Also features some Star Wars: Battlefront-esque mechanics where you can play as your gang’s leader sometimes.

Honestly, I’m more interested in playing as Deathstroke in the challenge modes.

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The latest piece of Battlefield 3 DLC is dropping on 10/29/2013, and is entitled Battlefield 4. It uses the latest version of DICE’s Frostbite engine and offers the return of the much-loved commander mode.

BF3‘s aggressive DLC scheme turned me off of this series. At best, it’s probably fun for a short while after release until everyone outlevels you and suddenly you’re missing out on tons of maps if you don’t pay the price of the game again. Yet I’m still intrigued by the new engine and commander mode. Hmm.

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X: Rebirth finally has a release date (11/15/2013). I feel little need for additional detail beyond providing this trailer, which was released after months (or years?) of basically no information at all.

Okay, so the notable thing is that this is a deep universe sandbox / ocean, with a fully simulated economy. Goods are actually produced, ferried by ships, and sold at market prices that reflect their scarcity and so on. The graphics look amazing, and best of all, the developer’s have a stated goal of reducing how complicated it is without sacrificing its complexity.

At the very least, this will be a new Screenshot Generator: The Game for me.

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Need for Speed: Rivals (11/19/2013) features Most Wanted‘s open world while providing Hot Pursuit‘s cop and racer gameplay. To say I’m eagerly anticipating this is an understatement, and I really hope it does racing better than Most Wanted, which didn’t even enforce fair starts to its races.

If it only had great racing and no other events (within the cop and racer dynamic), I’d be a happy camper.

Looking onward to 2014…

Horror continues to live on in PC gaming with games like Routine, described by indie developer Lunar Software as a “first person horror exploration game“, on an abandoned base on the moon.

Horror also continues to be misappropriated by clumsy developers in Techland’s Dying Light, which if you’re feeling generous and optimistic, seems distilled out of the best bits of Dead Island. 

Eschewing an underpopulated open resort and boring jungle portions for an overcrowded slum seems like a natural compliment to the newly-added parkour gameplay. This added mobility allows them to throw more zombies at you while expecting you to run away most of the time.

Add to that significant gameplay changes for the nighttime portions, which apparently bring dramatically more aggressive and dangerous zombies, along with special infected that leap out of nowhere, and I’m dangerously optimistic.

Dead Island made its promises but fumbled them; that they’re moving to a different franchise entirely says they want to offer something with the stink of their past failures, but it doesn’t say whether they’ve actually improved anything.

Witcher 3 just released a chilling cinematic trailer that draws direct quotations from the novels, and from fans of the novels and the game, seems to strike the perfect muddled morality, yet strainingly neutral tone of The Witcher. This doesn’t change our knowledge of the game’s open-world gameplay or that it wraps up what apparently is a discrete trilogy and not an infinite franchise, but it does show a continued dedication to quality that CD Projekt RED apparently has.

It also doesn’t show anything on Cyberpunk 2077, due out in 2015.

 

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  1. Most of the games on your list (for this list) seem to be outside my spectrum of interest.

    The one I’m probably most interested in is Batman: Arkham Origins, but really not for any of the reasons you talk about, seeing as the number of damns I give for online multiplayer in any capacity is virtually at a non-existent volume. While I don’t functionally object to the inclusion of such a thing in a game whose intentions it serves, I hate seeing it tacked on in something (say, Tomb Raider) where it has no purpose and fails to serve the experience beyond giving the box art a feature that most who buy the game won’t care enough to explore.

    Splinter Cell: Blacklist is a game I’d like to look forward to, but somehow don’t. My experience with the series has always been tepid: I love Pandora Tomorrow more than most people, enjoyed Chaos Theory but thought it was too easy, and to-date have skipped Double Agent entirely. I enjoyed Conviction, but it felt like a disposable episode of 24, and I think I was just done then. I may pick up Blacklist eventually, but the series just never evoked the Metal Gear-esque love I wished it would.

    I’ll probably by Amnesia 2, but who knows when the hell I’ll play it. I barely touched the first, not for any inherent disdain, but just more because when I’m at my computer, it’s very seldom for gaming. A few visual novels have managed to hold exception, but that’s pretty far removed from active gaming, and more likely owing to me than the game.

    The only other worth mentioning is the Witcher 3, but only insofar as I’ve barely played #2. I wanted to like it (and maybe with enough time, I will) but as much as I played, it just really failed to click with me. It probably deserves better than I’ve been willing to give it.

  2. I would have thought Beyond: Two Souls would have piqued your interest! But then, there’s not much to discuss about it anyway. It’s going to be good but oh so slightly awkward like the dude’s other titles.

    You’re absolutely right about the multiplayer aspect and such, though for Tomb Raider I felt it committed the additional crime of undermining the game’s purported survival aesthetic. I mean, Lara’s creeping about the island against all odds, but she is apparently missing the even pairings of survivors and crazies squaring off with infinite reinforcements.

    I don’t think the multiplayer undermines Origins at all, especially since it’s even being outsourced and thus won’t affect development of the main game, but I really would have killed for just a co-op mode.

    Splinter Cell has always been less …what I’ll call fanciful, than Metal Gear. I felt it pulled of stealth much better than MGS, though my favorite game of the series (Conviction) ranked the least for fans of the series.

    From the past few days of playing it, Blacklist has a sandbox-light sort of aspect of it, where you play missions, get money, buy new gadgets and upgrade equipment, and then you can replay levels (if you want) to test gadgets or go for a different type of run.

    Adam Sessler (who I quite enjoy listening to) compares it to Dishonored of all things, which I see from your Xbox Social feed that you haven’t played (WHY!?!?!?!?), so my assumption would be that Blacklist probably won’t do much to change your interest because it’s changes bring it towards a type of game you’re not quite interested in anyway.

    Lastly, confession time: I played about a third of Witcher 1 before giving up due to not liking the gameplay much, and I’ve barely scratched Witcher 2 out of time constraints more than anything else. There’s nothing really to dislike about Witcher 2, and a lot to be impressed by, but other games pull my interest and limited time over it.

  3. I accidentally overlooked Beyond: Two Souls. Whoopsie! I’ll be all over that though, I assure you. Though I think it’ll have an uphill climb in beating The Last of Us as best PS3 game of the year (maybe best game of the year, period), but as I loved Heavy Rain, I look forward to it just the same.

    Multiplayer being outsourced (which I’ve heard as the case with more than a few games) doesn’t really make my viewpoint of its inclusion better. I say this from the more pragmatic standpoint of cost vs. necessity, which in turn is from the standpoint of SquareEnix bitching about not meeting sales projections on functionally successful games and wondering how much that projection was inflated by an unneeded multiplayer mode. I think Batman will have less problems than Lara Croft did (especially with a good pedigree of recent, quality games behind him) but the principle stands. I’m glad at least that Square isn’t backing down on a Tomb Raider sequel, despite their unrealistic expectations (apparently) for the first one.

    I think Splinter Cell (Double Agent notwithstanding, since I haven’t played it) stopped outdoing Metal Gear after the second game. I referred to the series initially as being “hard edged stealth” whereas Metal Gear is a little more loose and friendly, but the inclusion of the knife in Chaos Theory kinda broke the challenge for me. I really did enjoy Conviction, feeling it was chock-full of good ideas (and loving two-player local co-op for a few scant missions), but haven’t found it to be all that memorable when pressed.

    And as for Dishonored, I already know it’s one of those games that I’ll eventually buy and play and wonder why I didn’t buy and play it sooner. I’m curious, but somehow not curious enough.

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