Tag Archives: Paul Tassi

Game of failures

This is for those who love games. Games are important, it has always been important even as plenty of people do not realise it. Getting your kids into gaming at an early age is increasingly important. Our lives revolve around interfaces; interactivity of systems, so lowering that threshold to children as soon as possible is important, very important. Those parents who think that they will get it school are out of their minds. To get any child to be aware of how a tablet is used, to how a mouse is used and a controller is close to everything. Yet this path only works when the software is up to scrap and whilst this was easily the case for Putt-Putt, the games nowadays that go beyond merely being an educational support idea is far from perfect, in some cases they are disastrous.

Some kids get to tap their parent’s smartphone and that is fine. This is not a new issue; it goes back to the early 90’s where Humongous Entertainment created amongst others, the Putt-Putt series, an interactive game that worked like a picture book story and as the player learned to click on the environment, it started to be more and more interactive. I thought it was the greatest idea in 1992 when I tested the game. I already saw at that point that lowering the threshold for the next generation was going to be a big thing and this game delivered. Even as that side did not survive, it had set a seed in motion and created learnware, a way for people to get engaged into the use of computers at an early age, an age that went beyond the Atari 800 and Atari ST. It was a game available on PC and allowed people to fear the mouse less and become inquisitive in a natural way. I got the game via Electronic Arts in the UK if I remember correctly. It hit me how wrong the company has gone. Well, that is not entirely fair, the larger missed stages are not by Electronic Arts, yet their link to Bioware taints them the same way, no matter how removed they are from the equation. As Forbes states: ‘Five Extremely Basic Things ‘Anthem’ Gets Wrong And Needs To Fix‘, not merely an elemental flaw, a much larger massive flaw from beginning to wherever the player ends. Forbes gives us “even if BioWare manages to patch all the technical issues out of the game, what ails Anthem goes deeper, and fixes will require some pretty core reworks of entire systems that are currently in the game“, this is what you get when marketing decides on the products and proper game testing is either ignored or never properly done. I particularly liked the introduction by Paul Tassi: “While I am Mr. Anthem-Is-Not-That Bad-Actually, trying to push back against a flood of negative reviews to let at least some people know that they may enjoy the game if they’re a fan of the genre, I am also not blind to a number of very, very obvious problems with Anthem“. For me it goes back to a more basic part. Bioware has been sitting on IP worth close to a half a billion dollars and squandered it to the largest degree. Even if there is a repair to the Mass Effect universe, if they are not ready to dish out $50-$100 million and take a very new direction, ne not seen before in gaming, they will be in hot water getting boiled alive. It is not merely the ‘hope’ on Anthem getting repaired; you cannot hold the audience with E3 presentations for almost 2 years and make colossal mistakes to this degree. Bethesda is similarly not in a good place, yet they have been changing direction 180 degrees trying to get fixed in their first massive failure (Fallout 76 for those in the dark). In case of Bethesda, it is their first tits up event, so they have time to get it fixed and they got the rudest wake up call. For Bioware it is not the first time, with the Andromeda failure, they have a lot less to go with and that whilst Anthem was supposed to be trying to budge in on the Fortnite hype (and similar games), as such we can come to the conclusion that Anthem is in much deeper waters, and there is no safe swimming there.

Forbes gives us a lot more, with ‘Viewing and Equipping Loot Is Absurd‘ is the indication that no proper game testing was done, or if it was done, it was not scrutinised towards the minimum levels it needed to be, the essential 6 steps that were discussed (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2019/02/24/five-extremely-basic-things-anthem-gets-wrong-and-needs-to-fix/#3f7327ce63a5) shows just how wrong it was implemented and handled. This makes for a clearly shown wrongly tested game. And when we get back to Mass Effect 3 and their loot boxes, we know that it could be done better and there was a much better example at hand. Forbes goes one better and shows the Ubisoft method (the Division) a two year old game where loot deployment is well done and take 8 seconds against the 12 minutes loss you face now (as was stated by the reviewer), how could you ever achieve in captivating and maintaining a proper audience?

With the comment: “there is no way to see your overall stats anywhere. Not basic stuff like health and shield, which are added up between components with no total shown” I am on the fence. In a real shooter (Bagdad 2003, Beirut 1983, Kandahar 2011, or Aleppo 2015) you are alive, wounded or dead (preferably not dead). When you get shot you do not get to check your health or shield status. The Kevlar either held and you felt like a mule kicked you hard, or there is red all over the place. Yet, this is a game and a choice was made not to give it. I am not sure whether the gamer accepts this, but it was a choice made and we have to accept it. We all have come a long way from the Wolfenstein 3D health indicator. Paul gives us a lot more, from the free play, to crafting to the revive issues. The game is seemingly flawed in too many ways, in a day and age where getting it right from the beginning is almost everything, when we consider that the first teaser was in June 2017 and we see these levels of shortcomings, we need to realise that the larger players have lost the plot somehow. Is it management, project management or merely marketing that cannot get the time lines straight? No matter what the reason is, between the need to grow knowledge in a global gaming dimension as well as the revenue driven side of gaming, it goes beyond what we know now, it is all about how to evolve a system that is as mature as it gets. Perhaps the curse for Bioware is that Mass Effect three was close to perfect. You don’t get to mess with perfection ever; they learned that the hard way twice already. And as we see an exploding amount of videos on YouTube on loot grinding and chest locations after a mere weekend of availability, we see that there is a lot more to fix on this game, from my point of view, a game that is still such an alpha should not have been released, not ever.

In the past I have had good cause and plenty of reasons to have a go at Ubisoft, yet in comparison there are plenty of indicators that they are getting it right. The Division 2 is a much better version that the original, it is not really a new brand or a new game; it is a much better game. Even as it is too early to tell, there are some voices (who had early access) and they are comparing the division 2 after the first game to the Assassins Creed 2 compared to that first game. If that is true, if that holds up than those who embraced the division are in for one hell of a ride, crushing Bioware further still. In a world where we are driven to choice as our budgets limits us, the problems that Anthem created for themselves is one that they might not survive, to get this much opposition to a game three days after release is a really bad thing, those who bought the game might run back return the console games (not an option for PC games) and put that money towards the Division 2 and wait three weeks to start a proper multi player shooter.

When it comes to this generation gamers, we are faced with a failing generation as they are confronted with decision makers who clearly have not had the best track record in game design, that is proven with the mere sight of so much failure on any day one edition.

If I had to make a judgement, my personal response would be a simple one: ‘Looks like this could be a nice game, call me again if you ever get to a workable beta version‘, a game that is optionally a year too early, unfinished and unbalanced in a world where there are half a dozen better made alternatives. Bioware strikes out a second time, will they be around to make that mistake again next time?

My version is upheld and given strength when we see the ‘Anthem Day One Update Patch Notes‘ (source Gamespot) which is massive and filled with issues that should not have been allowed to be around past an alpha version. It gets to be worse for the console owners. The information in the open is that the day one patch too that is around 7GB on consoles. So you buy the game and still you need to patch 7GB from the start, I expect at least half a dozen more patches in the near future and if they are core patches, the download size is likely to be higher. Forbes gives us more than mere patch information in the several articles that Paul Tassi wrote. Last week he gave us: “In addition to the sizable day one patch, BioWare has moved swiftly to hotfix two other issues right now. The first being killing a chest exploit that was allowing players to easily farm endgame gear“, it is merely proof (as I personally see it) that this game is still pre beta stage giving us a lot more issues to ask questions on and for the most, I do not see that such a critical look is being taken by many reviewers. I have had no issue going for the throat of Yves Guillemot (apparently still CEO of Ubisoft) in regards to the AC blunders; do you think I was going to pull my punches on Bioware after the Mess Effect Andromeda bungled to that degree? Bioware needs to sit down and take a hard look at where they are at and what they think they can do next, because squandering IP to the degree that they are doing is not a good sign and it will affect EA just as badly, because that is the impact of a game with this many issue relying on micro transactions. Their best action at present is to hand out the $39.99 pack for free to all those who registered in the first 7 days, and I would double the amount of shards given in that pack, because when we start seeing the dozens of copies of the console editions of Anthem in the preowned game section that will be the first sign that Anthem will become a dead product, death in 60 days, it could be the worst result a multi-player shooter has ever faced, and it is not all on them, in this case the increasingly higher regarded and higher review scores of Division 2 will be part of that death stroke.

Anthem for a failing gaming experience‘, it is quite the epitaph to put on the tombstone of any game.

 

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An early verdict

So many people have been speaking about No Man’s sky and I am now joining them. Those who know me are aware that I have idolised the game since I saw the very first teaser 2 years ago. It is still three days away, yet I could no longer wait and I saw the stream by DJ Angel (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqmjEv7l3u0). There are two reasons to look at this one. You see, for all the good, it also shows one debatable part.

From the first part, as far as I can tell, No Man’s sky is promising to be everything I hoped for. No quick glitches, or short cuts, just a play through. The fact that every planet is procedurally generated is also an indication that your planet could be very different from the one you are seeing, so watching this is not too much of a giveaway for what you face. The game gives the goods and the others. I am not stating it is the bad side. I am stating that as an explorer you need to think, so when you try to get to a milestone and you want to get something from your ship and you get introduced to ‘ship out of range’ you know you needed another solution and wandering so far from your spaceship was not the best idea you had. Yet, like Minecraft you can get lost in time and suddenly realise you made the milestone of 10,000 steps and you go Oops!

Not sure how DJ Angel felt, but I thought it was brilliant. So in the last weeks I saw people screaming upcoming disappointment, I saw people claiming to play this game and ‘finishing’ it in 30 hours and now I see a 6 hour play through (I watched a little over half an hour), where I see a player just trying to get by the elements. Short on items and getting ‘hindered’ by inventory full. I saw an option to buy a multi-tool upgrade and a few items you will have to see for yourself. I am moving towards a fair amount of sleepless nights I gather. No Mans Sky is about to exceed my personal expectations!

Now, The graphics (this is on a PS4), are pretty awesome. I reckon that other presentations were on PC, yet this resolution and the details we see are really good. The amount of icons in the field give decent indication of what I need to be aware of. Now, here is the part that I need to be mindful of. You see, I might not be in a desert environment, I might start on a temperate planet with seas, or in the icy cold. I will not know for another three days, yet this video shows clearly that we the players will be in for an excellent ride through our console universe. In earnest, Paul Tassi at Forbes raised a few issues I agree with, also sets ease many minds so you need to read the article ‘What’s Going On With No Man’s Sky’s Awkward Launch?‘ (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/08/06/whats-going-on-with-no-mans-skys-awkward-launch/#5730666621b3). For the most he asks fair questions in a way that should not worry you and moreover, on Wednesday you will have a clean server and a game with a day one patch to work with.

Yet in the negative, I would want to add a possible essential fixes to the achievements. This is based upon the IGN list of achievements: I saw several ‘milestones’ in the game, like ‘beginner’ for learning 8 words. Considering that 10 words gets you the bronze achievement, which is fair enough, yet another review I saw implies that the achievements were too easy (no idea how many words are needed for Silver and gold. So far, I am unable to oppose it and personally I do hope that from the initial verdict that this person gave where the achievement list is set to 4/10 (in difficulty) it will be shifted more towards a 7/10 or even an 8/10. I would feel sad if this ends up being an easy chase to the platinum cup (which does not lessen the gaming experience in any way). Yet, this is just my personal view and it is based on missing information. So, be aware that I might be wrong on that count, as I got this from none too reliable sources.

What DJ Angel clearly shows is that Hello Games completely delivers on the promise they made over the last 2 years. In addition, I do hope, based upon the IGN list, the following additions will be made:

Abreu – Survived one extreme planet for no less than 2 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Bronze).
Amundsen – Survived three different extreme planet for no less than 3 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Silver).
Armstrong – Survived five different extreme planet for no less than 4 hours outside of a base or spaceship (Gold).

I am going with extreme Heat, Cold, Radiation and Toxic, so I am hoping there is a fifth one.

That is pretty much the only negative part that we could possibly face and there is no guarantee that this is a fact, so no matter how you feel regarding the achievements, apart from all the BS we have been exposed to for many months, DJ Angel gives a few spoilers, but only if you land on a planet with these weather and ecology markers, which has a rough probability of 0.000002324%, those are truly gaming stats that make you smile!

We are a mere two days away from a great moment in gaming history! If Minecraft was anything to go by, I reckon I will be spending in excess of a thousand hours over the next year in this game. For Sony this is another notch on their guns of revenue. When we consider the past there were a few moments when one game was worth buying a console for.

With the PS1 this was Tombraider, with the PS2 that list was pretty big with God of War & Soul Caliber leading my list. The PS3 would be worth buying for Metal Gear Solid Guns of the patriot, Skyrim or the Last of Us and now on PS4 No Mans Sky joins that famous list. That game alone is buying a console for! In all the games published not many titles can make that claim, yet from what I have now seen No Mans Sky delivers the gaming goods!

Yet for those feeling nervous, there is one more fact that should be considered. This has been stated by several decently reputable sources. The two elements are that the database gets wiped, which means that those early players have no advantage and that you will discover your fair share of elements, life forms and planets. The second part is that there will be a day one patch adding even more replayability. Things like ship diversity, meaning there is a larger list of ships all with benefits and drawbacks. Additional depth in trading, meaning more fun for you and your ship as well as multiple endings. These are great facts and none are too much a spoiler. What is clear is that a team of 11 have outdone the larger developers with a comfortable margin, which is good for other claims I made in the past, and even more rewarding for me as I start playing No Mans Sky tomorrow (wishful thinking).

So I hope you join me in spirit as you embark on your own quest through a universe as Hello Games procedured it to be, a fun trip for anyone holding their PS4 controller!

 

 

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What is it?

It is time to get involved! Part of me tried to promise again and again not to do so, but Google search made me so angry that there is no option left other than to get involved. Really bad reviews all over. The hatchet job metro.co.uk does by just phrasing some ‘opinions’. Even places like Christian Today took several options to rely on bad writing and half-baked unsubstantiated rumours of what they considered to be No Mans Sky. I ignored it for the most, but it is March now, so No Man’s Sky is a mere 12 weeks away. So it is time to start tapping the keyboard.

First of all, do not just rely on my word. A good review, an open review and a good look on the near final version. You can find it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTRb1E9s6pg. The preview by Chris Bratt and Martin Robinson is an excellent piece of work. It gives you part of the game, it gives you the impressions and it shows you the excellence. I would personally call it one of the best previews ever. I also believe that as they were doing it together, you will hear the bouncing of ideas and impressions, so not a rant from a singular person in any way.

From my point of view No Man’s Sky is what I always believed it to be, an open game of exploration. In that way it has earned its own niche. I will go one step further, together with Elite Dangerous you would end up with the one of the best near perfect experience of interstellar sandbox gaming. One quote is still at the axial of the game ‘You move to the centre of the universe’, yet would you want to? That is the magic of the sandbox game, as everyone builds a castle, you could sculpt a mermaid; that is the beauty of the sandbox, it is about your imagination. Do you want to become the next Darwin and catalogue a planet? Do you want to be the next Roald Amundsen and map a planet, or would you like to be the next James F. Reilly and map the elements? This game offers it all as far as I have seen it. In balance you get to do it all, see it all and move from planet to planet in the process.

I must also ask the question all others are claiming, would it be a disappointment? I feel for 100% that for me it will nothing less than an amazing experience. That does not mean you will feel the same way. We all have other interests. There is however one element that no one can deny. Just like the legendary games Elite Dangerous, Minecraft and Diablo 3. These are games you play you play something else and at times you pick these games up again. That is the beauty of games like this. You can always get back to this game, making games like this the best gaming investments ever.

There is another side to this game. I feel certain that it will evolve over time, which means that like Elite Dangerous, we will very likely see additions down the road, how could that not happen. The fact that ED is offering Horizons this year, an addition that allows you to land on planets and drive around. I started playing Elite Dangerous again after 2 months, mainly because it took a little while to finish 2 games and get my Fallout 4 character to level 60. I feel that this is what we get with No Man’s Sky (NMS), you want to play it non-stop at first, but like any other event, we will suddenly get a game we must play immediately (like Mass Effect 4, Shenmue 3 or Bards Tale 4), whatever YOUR bowl of cereal is, you can always return to NMS, making this an amazing choice. Now again, it might not be your cup of tea, which is fair enough. Let’s face it, some people just want to play Destiny morning noon and night, which is their choice to make.

Going back to that video, the one thing that is clearly shown is that the graphics give a first clear indication that a team of 11 can equal if not surpass the abilities of a 1 Billion Euro corporation called Ubisoft. This is why I believe in No Mans Sky, because they show the basic flaw of players like Ubisoft. By setting up rules for a game to not be a failure, you set up the equal rules for a game to never be truly exceptional.

Personally, I believe that this is why No Mans Sky took so long, this is why letting Hello Games run at their own speed was the only option ever. So when we consider the hatchet job reviews from a place like hardcoregamer.com with the specific quote “This game is quite literally promising the moon, and that’s exactly why it will be so soul-crushingly underwhelming“. No Brandon, the game has so far shown to be beyond normal, it has so far proven every bit of hype the gamer has had for it and we are a mere 12 weeks away from learning the truth.

It is not the gamer, it is the press that had been hyping NMS whenever they could and now they have a go at Sean Murray (and the game). I tried to remain absent of those discussions until now. Now we must face what we are about to get and Eurogamer does that in an amazing way. Even Forbes Tech got involved in a not too positive way comparing it to Spore. The reality is that it took longer to finish. Like Minecraft this production is truly visionary and truly unique, which beckons the question where Forbes (Paul Tassi) has his views, because as he hits out against NMS, he is in equal measure really quiet on the ‘downgraded’ graphics of ‘the Division’, but he’ll likely call it the semantics of the moment, mainly because Ubisoft did not send out review copies, which is really weird a week before launch. The  quote “an…interesting course forward with the way The Division will be covered by the games press at launch” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2016/03/02/there-is-no-the-division-review-embargo-because-there-are-no-review-copies/#18df7a3016cd) gives more questions towards Ubisoft, more precisely why they are not asking them from the 1 Billion Euro Ubisoft and negatively speculating them towards Hello Games. This is perhaps the most upsetting part, especially from Forbes. The additional ‘BS’ quote “Since it’s impossible for us to populate the servers in a way that would adequately replicate playing The Division on launch day, reviewers will start playing the game along with everyone else when it’s released on March 8“, my reference to BS is as follows. They either admitted to the fact that the game has not been properly tested, which might make this a valid case for prosecution against Ubisoft down the track, or they just do not want ANYONE to see the game before release for other reasons, when that includes the press I tend to get a little jumpy!

Yes, all those speculations in the negative for Hello Games and in the denial of reality on the side of large developers. I wonder what excuse the press will give next.

For my side, the question on ‘what is it’ regarding No Man’s Sky is harder to answer, because there is no clear answer. It is a sandbox game and that makes it what YOU make of it, you as the gamer. In my case it makes me wonder what else the game has in store and in about 12 weeks I will learn, I hope that you will take a moment to find out and to truly look at the facts and not at the gossip or the speculative. With that I leave you with the fact that the Eurogamer video was hands on the game, so look at it and form your own first opinion.

 

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Where the gamers no longer go

There is an interesting development in the gaming industry. On the one hand, we see that Ubisoft is still cornering the mediocre side. On the other side we see that Gamespot might no longer be the site to watch. Let’s tackle the second part first, so that part one is a little easier to digest. Consider the following sources:

  • Forbes, January 21st 2016
  • PlayStation Life Style, January 26th 2016
  • PC Advisor, January 15th 2016
  • PC Gamer, January 8th 2016
  • Eurogamer, January 26th 2016
  • Gamespot, no review
  • Design & Trend, January 29th, 2016

Can anyone explain why a dedicated gaming site, one that is regarded to be less and less reliable for some time now. Can someone tell me how they did not have a review to offer? In addition this is not the first time. Is this a speculated first indication that this game is not really worth the effort?

Within the Forbes article Paul Tassi gives us “You destroy horns in encampments to prevent reinforcements. You still use beasts to wreak havoc on bases, only this time you can literally summon them yourself, rather than just hoping that the enemies are keeping a dangerous animal in a very flimsy cage on-site” which feels massively familiar to me when we consider Far Cry 3. In addition there is “you stalked around hunting down gun-less enemies with a bow and knife, a tiger at your side, attacking bad guys on command. It’s exactly like that, actually, though now with more combat options” (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/01/21/why-far-cry-primal-should-be-more-of-the-same).

These are not negative sides. I loved Far Cry 3, I skipped 4 for a few reason that do not matter here, but so far what I got shown, and what I am told, there are issues and I will mention them, because for a reason that will complete it all.

Second review is PlayStation Life Style (at http://www.playstationlifestyle.net/2016/01/26/far-cry-primal-gameplay-video-blowout/), which depends mostly on videos. The linked story relies on the fair enough headline (which they got from FX) “The Story Is Everything“, which is actually true in gaming. This page has a link to the intro of the game, which comes with a fair amount of scripted events. As it is the intro, I have no issues with that, intros require scripting at times to get the gamer to a certain gamer skill level. Only a fool objects to those moments as the gamer learns how to play their character, beyond that point onwards it needs to become the real deal.

The PC Advisor (at http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/new-product/game/far-cry-primal-uk-release-date-features-gameplay-videos-3633525/), gives us additional gameplay, with one issue, namely Who made the play through? The movie came from Ubisoft, which is part of the problem. They give us a decent view, yet, we have seen in past events (the Division that the demo turned out to be a lot better looking than the final version, which is something that Eurogamer uncovered last month. Now we have a new issue, because is what we see going to be decently representative of what we will buy? Now, there is no indication that this is the case, but it is what Ubisoft has done in the recent past as well as the events that took place around Assassins Creed Unity, it is these events that is now, as I see it, to have a downdraft in trust towards the Ubisoft products.

 

It is now taking a turn for the even less optimistic as we see the review in Design & Trend as per yesterday (at http://www.designntrend.com/articles/69262/20160129/far-cry-primal-review-leak-story-missions-worst-far-cry-watch.htm). The title gives us “Its Story And Missions, Called The Worst ‘Far Cry’“, which is not very flattering.

We see in addition “too low quality for a triple-A game“, in addition we see that the review gives us the validation “The reviewer is apparently a career play tester that has spent several days with a near-final version of the product“. Yet in the end, the online magazine screws it up by giving us “Do you think this reviewer truly played “Far Cry Primal?” Are the leaked criticisms a sign of poor reviews to come? Tell us in the poll and comments section!” This is followed by the question “How do you think ‘Far Cry Primal’ will be reviewed by critics?” with the options: Well, OK, poorly and Who Cares?

One comment is not linked to the question, in addition, if the editor had any clear indication that the game was not really played, he had absolutely no business publishing that review. I wonder if by these words Design & Trend have set themselves up for a defamation case. You see, from their words this AAA game is not worth buying, now if there is decent support (through quality reviews) then fry Ubisoft must, yet if this article came from the imagination of an Ubisoft basher, the product is now smitten downwards, which as I see it makes the publisher liable as he questioned the review at the end, so they are no longer mere facilitators.

Now let’s take a look at a side that Eurogamer brought (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ym5IYUTaH5M). The issue here: ‘all the buildings are pre-set and build in set locations‘, which is important, I will get to this soon. The video shows, the one thing that the people at Ubisoft do master, which are the graphics. There is no dispute, the bulk of all games have always excelled graphically. Yet here in the video we get “a little on the basic side” and “it would have been cool if Ubisoft had made more of a feature out of it all“, which is at the core of the issue for Ubisoft. Weirdly enough, it is the view that Eurogamer that changed my thought of getting the game, from ‘absolute not’ to ‘perhaps, maybe’, so not all negative reviews are bad or leave a person not wanting a product. That is what a good review achieves!

I think it is also fair that Ubisoft is given defence. This is seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhv3Jq6O-nw, it is a life stream of what I reckon is a final version as it was streamed on January 6th which shows the Ubisoft team showing of the game, so, do not just take my words, but also look at the other side, because you can only make up your mind as you see both sides.

So why going into this?

You see, the reviews and the impressions that Ubisoft is leaving with us is that their games is about recycling technology. This in itself is not a bad thing. The issue is not Far Cry Primal, it is an issue we have seen for too long with Ubisoft. The Eurogamer view on camp building is at the core of what we have seen for too long. Ubisoft had the option of creating legendary games, now we see games that are decent, sometimes good, yet overall no longer really great. Assassins Creed and Far Cry 4 are both examples. We are now getting close to 5 years of gaming mediocrity. Most of the games did not make the 90% or better rating. I will go one step further, the score they did get has been mainly because of the graphic and soundtrack groups. Game design, level design, area design and in game stories have been a problem for some time now and this started as early as Assassins Creed Revelations. Chests in Assassins Creed are the clearest, outposts in Far Cry 3/4, in Primal they are called bonfires. There is an issue here, not on the side of the game mind you. Many tactical players rely on a level of ‘repetition’ (read: goals) in games. Familiar actions to feel able. This is a side I understand and accept. I looked forward to synchronise in Assassins Creed. It gives us a detailed map and the view was always really good, but is it not interesting how synchronise has not ‘evolved’ in 5 iterations? There could have been so much more options than just to get to a high point. Additional to that part, the utter idiocy (as I see it, with the chests). Look, I get it, and having a few chests in there is fine, a link to the past, part of a mission, there are several options. But 20+ per area at times is just chest running and utterly bogus in my view. Now we see repetition in Far Cry. I get that some parts are there, like the sneak (which I love), yet, the idea of changing a gameplay so that replaying a game is not just an addition, it becomes a desired gaming must has not been explored to the levels it could (the fallout series has done this to a better extent). Now, that is not a side I can state for Primal, but the Eurogamer review shows us that upping the ante there could have been a game changer, it could make an 80% game into a 95% game, which does wonders to the audience and the coffers of Ubisoft. So the next Assassins Creed could actually be the last one as we see the interest in that IP change. If Ubisoft is willing to put it all on the line (and fix the massive glitches of the user interface), they have the option to truly rekindle their audience, or they can lose their audience. So far, the reviews on Primal are not great, which is an indication of an issue but in addition, this is not a given certainty for a failed game, do not make the mistake that one supports the meaning of the other, because that would be really wrong.

Until you yourself has seen the actual shared video’s from the released games and never take anyone’s word, not even mine! You should decide for yourself and regard the games you enjoyed playing!

As I see it, the issues that surfaced are the real evidence that the business formula that Ubisoft seems to be employing to prevent ‘failures’, shows that relying on certain repeated choices gives in addition a near certainty that games will not be regarded the legendary games they could have been.

I will remain hopeful that For Honor will crush the expectations of many gamers!

 

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Bashing the Sky

Like many other people, I have been really looking forward to No Man’s Sky. Like many others I was blown away what the E3 of 2014 brought. Like many, I kept my eye on a daily base on when the game would be released and when the IGN August special started, like many I felt that the game was almost upon us. This was just my interpretation and perception. So as no release date was known, I joined some to feel a little uncertain, a little worried because it was bad business practice. When something this wanted is out there, you might not be able to keep anyone in the loop, but to leave everyone in the dark is not good practice, which I voiced to Sean Murray as well. Now, I do not agree with some that ‘release dates need to be known immediately‘, yet the approach of Quarter, or even the initial news that a 2015 release was unlikely would have been fine. In the end I want a really good game and I am willing to wait, I feel that many gamers are on my side here, we do not mind waiting, we just want to know (in the roughest way) when a game is coming. I would have been very accepting long ago that if a Q2 2016 was given, it would have set my mind at ease. Even though not many are like that, the true gamer is.

As we waited we saw that even the Christian sites were luring people to their places with innuendo articles on the release date of this game, does that not beat all? A Christian site relying on a video game for web traffic, that part remains hilarious for a long time to come.

Yet there are a few more sides we must consider. The hype Sean caused as he went from show to show might seem good, but in the end it is a dangerous escalation because the negative cloud of the internet is now hitting them as well as us gamers. It hits you and me! First off there is Forbes, it is the article form Paul Tassi (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/10/28/will-no-mans-sky-end-up-being-the-next-spore/), which is a problem. The quotes that bother me are: “the footage shown is literally exactly like everything we’ve seen from the game since December 2013” and “And after all this time, I still don’t really understand how this game will play, and despite a slew of media appearances, the creators haven’t been able to explain that properly“. Now, important is that he is not lying. I think that the game is founded on a base to grow, but it is early days. Even as the planets are now adhering to a mathematical foundation, there are many other elements to consider. Yes, we have seen it all but is that not the point? What we see is supposed to wet the apatite, not give away the game in full.

So it is likely that the game will have a much larger evolving part to play in exploration, in economy, in growth and in evolution. Let’s not forget that reaching the centre of the universe is no small feat. I am trying to do that right now in Elite Dangerous (to get the achievement), a game where I currently cannot land on any planet surface and it is still a massive trip to undertake. Still in this No Mans Sky shows itself to be a high resolution version of Minecraft so there is no given that we are set to no less than building our own domicile on a planet of choice. If these planets are life sized then any planet could take a lifetime (which amounts to 7 weeks in Minecraft time). So this game is already showing more gaming promise than the last two Tombraider games, (including the upcoming title Rise of the Graved Robber) and considering that the second is merely more of the same. So Rise of the Tombraider could be ‘More repetition of something you finished in 10 hours the last time around‘, which is not a marketable title, but a realistic one. So when we see in Forbes the message “the game is starting to wear out its welcome“, we have to consider the source here. The same firm that stated the title “Credit Default Swaps Are Good for You” is now judging games? So for Americans, how did Credit Default Swaps play out? Perhaps we need to take another look at the media here. Going on innuendo and instead of dropping the subject on getting hammered again and again on a deadline, in there Sean Murray might have been wrong to enable the ‘media beast’ to the smallest extent by going all out in visibility, but it was a choice and it was his to make. The true gamer will wait for the final product when it is ready.

So as we now see many press releases on spouting negativity whilst inserting ‘If this latest rumour is true‘ we should realise that none of this can be trusted. Especially, as they rely on the emotional end “Look up at the stars and despair in the comments section below“, which is just an invitation for the ranting masses, but where is the truth?

In my view, I do not care, Hello Games have given an estimated release of June 2016 and that is fine with me. This month there is Fallout 4 and I still have my empire growing in Elite Dangerous, after all that there will be space for No Mans Sky in 2016 too. Part of me hopes that there will be a playable beta that can allow us to explore one system in solo mode. It might give good feedback to the people at Hello Games too, which is something they might consider for next year February/March. Such a step will give a threshold to some to see the game. And let’s not forget that this still gives credibility to the rumour that No Mans Sky will be a Sony Morpheus launch title. If so than the gamers could be in for a massive treat! Does this debunk value for a game that is in development or does that show that No Mans Sky is truly a new generation of gaming?

It is too soon to tell and I am willing to wait to see if Hello Games goes that direction, which is more than we can say for Forbes, Push, Kotaku and several others ‘reviewers’. Although Kotaku had an interesting quote “So I’m going to play Spore now, years after the hype has dissipated and the game has been all but forgotten. I’ve installed it on my Windows PC. I will be back to tell you if it’s any good. And what if, separated by a decade from expectations that no game could possibly fulfil, it is?” Which gives me the ammunition I needed. You see, if you were controlled by ‘hype’ you should not have gone into the games reviewing business. the part ‘I will be back to tell you if it’s any good’ gives me the indication that this writer never did his job, now if he is trying to be funny than the joke is on him, because writing towards the hype is the most stupid of all actions, hype is merely an unrealistic perception of what might be, it would be his job to give the goods, what can the player expect when they buy this game. To give a fair and balanced review is in the interest of the producer and the gamer.

I believe that No Mans Sky can be the product we are still waiting for and I will let Hello Games get on with it. My advice to you is to ignore the news on this game as much as you can you get until May 2016, because it will be tainted with emotions and it does not show what we are in for, so basically our times will be wasted, time that can be spend on many other games (especially getting your Diablo Dream team in Hardcore mode). Other games that were there before No Mans Sky and games that will be released after No Mans Sky. The true gamer will play many games and he/she will desire only a few, in my case will No Mans Sky be placed in a slot of ‘play regularly forever’ next to Minecraft, Fallout and Diablo 3? I cannot tell yet, but I truly hope to learn that when the game gets released, it will set the bar of games really high, because I the game makers need a reset of values, a value line both EA and Ubisoft have relied on remaining under for a little too long. I do not rely on hype and I do not wish to create it; I merely await its arrival and hope for the experience to be truly awesome. What if that is not the case? Does that matter? In that case there will be something else to play, which is the reality of the life of a gamer, so let’s leave Hello Games (as well as Sean Murray) alone and let them finish the game for us. If the delay bothers you than consider that a Billion plus company like Ubisoft needed 9 months and in the end was unable to deliver the Watchdogs we deserved, so let’s see if Sean and his keyboard minions can put Ubisoft to shame, which might up the level of games for all gamers around.

Have a great weekend and never stop gaming!

 

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