October 2011

Inversion Gameplay Features Physics Manipulation

"You can watch the new trailer below"

I think it's safe to say that one of the best moments of playing Half Life 2 the first time around comes when you finally get your hands on that gravity gun. Up until that point, your entire first-person-shooter playing experience had only consisted of running around putting bullets into dudes. Sure, it was awesome, but it was a fairly straightforward mechanism of play. Then, suddenly, Valve came along and dropped the ability to manipulate physics into your hands. Science, people. You could suck objects up and throw them at people. You had to solve puzzles on a state of the art physics engine using a brand new gravity manipulator. You felt like a zombie-slaying, motorboat-cruising god. 

Of course, many a game has introduced environmental manipulation into its play since Half Life 2, but it was Valve that got the ball rolling on the gravity front. Now, it looks as though Namco Bandai will be entering the physics-muckery ring with their new title, Inversion.

EA Announces Release Date Of New Battlefield 3 DLC

"Back to Karkland", due to release in December, will come with loads of new, and some nostalgic, content.

Battlefield 3 has only just released, but the first installment of DLC has already been announced by EA and has an official release date. “Back to Karkland” will release in December (a week early for those of you on the PS3), and is going to contain a host of great new content. BF3 has already released to huge praise with its expansive maps, fantastic physics engine in Frostbite 2, and wide-scale destruction. With barely a month to explore all the original game has to offer, the new DLC is bound to continue to play new fans while reaching out to their loyal base.

Pandas? In MY Azeroth?

It's more likely than you think! WoW expansion introduces pandariffic new race

 

Everyone loves a good April Fool's joke--especially in the geek world. Google's had some prime cuts in the springtime tomfoolery department, and ThinkGeek's yearly pseudo-products rarely fail to amuse. Heck, TG even introduces some of their gag gifts as real purchasables every year, and to good sales, too. When you're a digital novelty retailer it helps to reward your customer's sense of levity. That doesn't mean that every company should turn their pranks into real life. Blizzard, oh, Blizzard--what on earth are you doing? 

Gamer Geeks and Gym Rats, the Psychological Connection

Fitocracy combines RPG elements with workout goals, which psychologists say are very similar.

Gamers have long had a stigma among the mainstream, an image crisis perpetuated in TV, film, and magazines. They’re often portrayed as overweight (or scrawny) individuals, teenagers (boys) with social anxiety or adults (man-boys) with social anxiety and a postal address in their parents’ basement. The caricature includes pale skin, bloodshot eyes, acne, and under-par personal hygiene. That may all be changing, however, as psychologists are now pointing to the similarities between the mentalities of gamers and fitness buffs. In fact, two gamers, Brian Wang and Dick Talens, have developed a way to capitalize on our cognitive similarities by developing Fitocracy, an RPG-styled workout program.

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Details Revealed

 

Next March, the biggest science fiction undertaking in video games will finally reach its conclusion: Mass Effect 3 will be released, the final chapter in the epic and arresting trilogy that's changed the genre of RPG gaming. As a huge fan of the first two Mass Effect games, I can't wait to lead my Shepard through her story's finale. The series has been one of the most intensive, well-written, and thoroughly enjoyable set of games I've had the pleasure of playing.

When Games Are Thought-Provoking

Video games are often described as being the ultimate form of media escapism. They're seen as toys meant to distract by being as stimulating as possible and many of them succeed on that count in spades. This isn't inherently a bad thing. There's a lot of value in a pleasant, engrossing distraction, if for no other reason than to help us decompress from all the stresses of real life. But not all games are mere distractions. While there are few that mostly exist to encourage the contemplation of a specific issue (and even fewer in that category that are well designed or even fun), there are some games that achieve a degree of emotional impact and intellectual weight by the sheer power of atmosphere. Sometimes this is intentional and sometimes it's incidental to the premise, but when those moments of shocking realization hit, there's nothing else in mass media that can compare.

In Praise of Great Game Mechanics

This month Batman: Arkham City, the much anticipated sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum, is hitting shelves and Steam accounts. Few games have ever made quite a splash like AA and it's easy to see why. It has incredibly atmosphere, professional voice acting and some of the best overall game mechanics ever devised. Ever since I picked up my copy, I've been in awe of the combat system. In fact, I've yet to see a better expression and application of combat mechanics in another game. Beating up bad guys in Arham Asylum is one-button simple but perfecting it takes practice, so it amounts to much more than just button-mashing. It's elegant, gorgeous to look at and endlessly fun, such that it makes the prospect of an increase in difficulty seem like a reward for smart play. With Arkham City on the horizon, I got to thinking of some other mechanics from gaming history that are equally impressive.

Prototype 2 Trailer Shows Improved Combat

 

I played the crap out of the first Prototype game. It's one of those titles that has a lot of playability not for the main story, but for the open world and the side quests. A realistic Manhattan where I can run up walls and kill/maim pretty much everybody? Yes please. I'll take forty hours of that. 

But the story and the voice acting were pretty meh on the whole. It's a game that entertains shallowly, to be sure. But it seems to have sold enough to warrant a sequel. A new video from the developers elucidates some of the newer combat features we have to look forward to in the second Prototype.

Zelda-like RG Adventure Game, The Binding of Isaac Takes On Religious Filicide

The Binding of Isaac, a randomly generated adventure game, takes a gaming approach the Old Testament cringer of Abraham and Isaac.

The Binding of Isaac, at its center, is a great randomly generated Zelda-styled adventure game wrapped in a cringe-worthy story. In the Old Testament Abraham is told by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a test of his faith and devotion, but Isaac is spared at the last second as God tells Abraham to sacrifice a nearby ram instead. In The Binding of Isaac, the story is updated to that of a modern-day child. The child's mother, directed by religious visions to sacrifice her child, finds his room empty. He's escaped into a network of underground dungeons beneath his house, a symbolic hell. From the The Binding of Isaac provides a far richer gaming experience than its aesthetic inspiration, The Legend of Zelda, as the entire game is randomly-generated.