Real Time Review: Dishonored 2

I loved Dishonored. For the last four years, I have caught myself whistling the Drunken Whaler song every now and again. The release of Dishonored 2 has brought me out of my video game blogging coma, but this wonky PC port may just put me in my grave. If that’s your preferred system, you may want to hold off on purchasing a copy. However, for all my console players: go buy this amazing game right now and have fun not going blind! Keep reading my Real Time Review of Dishonored 2 to find out why.

Graphics

Let me just start with the reason you might want to hold off on buying this game for the PC. If you’re a console player, go ahead and skip this section or keep reading to understand my pain. The PC port graphics are killer and not in the good way. I’m going to need Bethesda to pay for my Lasik eye surgery. There’s an Auto option for graphics and this is what my game looks like according to what it ‘should’ be run at:

dis

Everything is blurry and awful and I hate it. I made sure to go and check the recommended specs after first seeing the game, but, considering I’m not the only person that has had issues with their game graphics, it appears to be a development issue. Bethesda has confirmed this already and issued a statement and suggestions on how to improve the visual quality of their game. Considering turning it to Auto is a suggestion, everything they say is basically useless though.

This is what it looks like after I spent way too long tweaking everything to try and get it playable:

dis2

It’s not perfect, but people look like people and my eyes can maybe survive through this. There’s nothing I can do about far scenery it seems. Bilboards and images look fine from a distance, but buildings/water/ships are a mess. Is it playable now that I’ve messed with it? Sure. Do I feel like I’m getting the best experience for my time and money? Absolutely not. I am so incredibly tired of subpar PC ports and I expected better from Bethesda.

Story & Gameplay

There are good things! In fact, everything else about Dishonored 2 is great so far and the hype is real.

After a brief, completely skip-able tutorial (although I wouldn’t skip it so you can hear how amazing and supportive Dad Corvo is), things get rolling pretty quickly. I don’t think it will be too confusing for people that haven’t played the first one either, as everything is spelled out fast but also comprehensive. Initially, you play as Emily Kaldwin and then can choose between her or Corvo after a coup in the middle of your mother’s memorial service. You can’t switch back and forth between them, as one gets taken out semi-permanently. I decided to play as Emily, and she has her own set of unique powers which you can refuse and try to do the game without. I accepted them to try them out, but I’m not using most of them.

This is a problem I have with a lot of ‘stealth’ games. So many of the enhancements are for higher chaos routes, and I’m trying to go the whole game without killing anyone so I’m only spending my weird currency on one them and it kind of feels like a waste. The powers are fun though, and I’m using most of those. Domino you can use to link guards together so if you choke one out they all go unconscious, which is nice for that group of guards that you just can’t figure out their rotation schedule and are tired of waiting. Shadow Walk will sneak you past almost anything and get you to secret places (and is just cool), and Far Reach can be used in a similar fashion. I haven’t used Mesmerize yet or Doppleganger much, but I’m definitely going to try to link it with Domino and choke my own self out to knock the others unconscious.

Corvo apparently has all the same powers from before, but they’re upgraded in some way and, just like the first one, the gameplay is mostly linear. I learned about a shortcut by talking to a random NPC, met an ally by going back after a checkpoint and exploring the other side of the street, so even though it’s a ‘straight’ line there’s lots of options if you look. There are multiple ways to complete a level, but it’s no open world sandbox. Everything is pretty similar to the first title in the series, so if you were a fan like I am I believe you’re going to enjoy it. For the newcomers that like dark, steampunk(ish), multiple-ways-of-killing (or not killing) type games, this and Dishonored are for you. I don’t believe you have to play the previous game either if you just want to jump into this, but I loved it so you should. Some versions have an HD version, including the first one plus the DLCs, and I think it’s definitely worth an added price (and you can play it while they try to fix the PC port!).

And some things that are important to me – I haven’t heard any overtly racist, phobic of any kind dialogue/overtones, or mentions of rape/domestic violence as of yet. Most of the main characters seem to be white but there’s a diverse range of NPCs and one of the named characters has a disability. I’m not sure if there’s any diversity in terms of relationships (Emily seems to be in a gay relationship although I can’t be 100% positive) as I’m not super far into the game so we’ll see about that.

Soundtrack

I love the ambiance the music of the Dishonored franchise creates, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the series as a whole. It’s dark and gritty and unique with a lot of discorded sounds. It really set the mood for Dunwall’s bleak and shadowed corners, and the same atmosphere carries on into the sequel. There’s a new city in town, and although Karnaca is a bright place where the sun shines, it has many dangerous and sordid problems of its own, so the music still fits very nicely. I’ve listened to the original soundtrack on rainy days, to relax, or whenever I feel in the mood for avenging my loved ones, and I have a feeling I’ll be listening to this one as well. There’s a very annoying noise that goes off every time you’re spotted by a guard and I love it for how it makes you cringe and emphasizes the failure. The sound the runes and bone charms make when you approach them is also really cool as well.

Controls

There’s nothing groundbreaking to report on this end which is a plus for me. I like having things be universal while also maintaining some uniqueness, and I think this game has a good balance. It features standard controls with hot keys for different weapons and powers and a menu wheel as well. I have accidentally tried to choke someone out and instead shot them a few times, however, so there is a little bit of learning to be done, but it’s easy to get into the swing of things after a few hours. I do like the blocking system, as you can stagger and then throw enemies in a choke hold in case you get caught in your sneak playthrough and don’t want to have to load a save all over again. Emily, and I’m guessing Corvo, carry two items at a time, a sword and a weapon or power. You can’t use the crossbow/gun at the exact same time as a power and always have the sword equipped.

There’s also one good thing about going the stealth route for me right now, and that’s my low frame rates and graphics aren’t getting in the way of combat, so I’ve really had very little trouble navigating around and taking out people the quiet way. Even the few times I’ve triggered guards and had to take them down nothing lagged or crashed. My accidental combat seemed pretty smooth actually, so if you go a more violent route I think you’ll have fun with it, especially adding in the powers.

X-Factor

There’s no game I can think of out there that’s really similar to Dishonored 2, except Dishonored, and that’s what makes it worthwhile. All the things that made the first title cool are still there-the atmosphere, the interesting lore and world, the painting-like quality to the graphics (when they work), a dozen ways to complete a level, and the powers and the strange person who brings them. It was already good, and the added features to the franchise should keep things fresh. Moving to a new city, with new powers and a new game engine (again, for those that it works for) add to this new level of playability as well. I can run a higher level chaos game without feeling like I’m repeating myself when I go back and play as Corvo, and I imagine it’s a somewhat different game with different paths/quests as well when you step into his shoes again.

So far I wholeheartedly recommend getting this game if you’re a console player and the trailers and promos have interested you even a little bit. To my fellow PC gamers: maybe hold out and hold strong.

I’m Pretty Excited for Battlefield 1

Guys. It’s almost time for Battlefield 1. I won’t hide that I haven’t been this excited for a game since Fallout 4, which is weird for me because I really don’t get into first person shooters all that much, and I certainly am not one of those people that sit and dig into multiplayer games until I can light up everyone on a map. In the simplest terms, I’m startlingly mediocre at them. Battlefield 1‘s beta was no different when I played that. When I play Battlefield 1 proper, I’m probably going to get lit up at that too. But with that being said, it represents something for me; one of the first times I’ve dusted off the game system for something I actually wanted to buy this year, as well as an opportunity to engage in gaming’s social aspect.

I’ve been writing about the latter part of this often enough for the last couple of years that I suspect that the few repeat visitors I get have been growing quite tired of hearing this. However, it still is worth diving into a little bit. The most popular contemporary games are by and large single-player, and while discussing your experiences with them does bring some great social moments between gamers, those pale in comparison to those offered by multiplayer games. My experience with them in particular has led me to amass a small group of friends from work to create a Battlefield squad, and over the past several weeks we have been talking about it quite a bit. Let’s just say that the hype is building, and I’m looking forward to playing and then reliving the experience the next day.

I also haven’t had a lot of time or money for gaming the last few months. Fall is usually my “busy season” when it comes to gaming, and I’m ready for it to start again. I didn’t get any gaming at all done during the summer, save for one stray afternoon when I played a random Far Cry Primal session. I haven’t gotten a new game aside from PlayStation Plus freebies (Lords of the Fallen sucked) since Fallout. It’s been a dry year. So now I’m doing something for me. I wish that there was a really good, long, open world multiplayer game available, because in all honesty, I’d probably get that, but this’ll do. I’ll still get to have some fun.

EA is being tight-lipped with game footage to this point, which, frankly, is a bit perplexing from a marketing standpoint. That said, not to be a commercial for EA, if you are interested in buying, the Battlefield 1 site does have some pretty cool information available on the new game. My own experience with the beta leads me to believe that the game will be more interactive than the previous FPS formula “here’s the map, here everyone else is, shoot each other”. The innovative (and of course, period-specific) vehicles are back, weather can change on a battle field (no pun intended) and affect what you are doing, and there’s some variation in ways to kill that goes beyond “shoot or knife”. So aside from all of that other hype, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good game.

I’m sure none of you care quite as much about this as I do, but, bear with me, I don’t get to do this all that much. Gaming has been harder with all of the adulting that’s going on all up over here, and now that the season is back in full swing, I’m very much looking forward to my first real foray into it of the year. Battlefield seems like a good way to get back into it, as I’ve got some people to keep me playing, the ability to log in quickly for just a couple of ten minute sessions will make it easier to work around my schedule, and it all looks like a fairly entertaining game to boot. The game launches on Friday. Feel free to join me in line.

The Salt Mines: Lords of the Fallen

So I was late to the party with Lords of the Fallen, as I tend to be with, well, everything. However, with it being a PlayStation Plus free game this month, I figured I would give it a try. With Lords debuting alongside the excellent Journey, I figured this might be a banner month for the lately-sucktacular PlayStation Plus free downloads. Lords of the Fallen, after all, came with a lot of hype from a big studio. It’s roots in Dark Souls made more than a few gamers froth at the mouth. Little did they know, this mouth-froth would become less rabies and more sleep drool. I haven’t gotten far enough into it to really give the game a fair critique, but so far, my god does it suck out loud.

The player starts out unceremoniously dropped into an abandoned monastery, the game dropping a hint that something was going to go amiss with no more fanfare than a Phantom Menace-esque “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”. No backstory is really provided, and certainly no indication as to what exactly it is the player is supposed to be doing there. The story doesn’t get any more detailed as time goes on, with only vague hints as to the origin of the player and the nature of his quest. I’m sure that some clarification would have to be forthcoming, but after about four hours, I still had no clue what exactly it was that I was supposed to be doing besides monster slaying. It wasn’t a terribly good look; the game is far too linear to feel that aimless.

Speaking of monster slaying, the game’s combat mechanics are among the most infuriating I’ve ever encountered. Look, I played Dark Souls. I sucked at Dark Souls. I eventually rage-quit and sold Dark SoulsLords of the Fallen tries to be Dark Souls lite in terms of it’s highly-difficult-but-still-less-so-than-Dark-Souls combat, but it fails miserably. Dark Souls is rewarding in the sense that when you finally get a good lock on how to best your enemy, you can perfectly execute the required combo and finally best it. There’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that you are completely in control, and, in turn, solely responsible for your failures. Lords of the Fallen lacks the same precision. There are times when you will hit a command and the player character will completely fail to respond, even if the limited “action bar” is filled. There are other times when the player character will develop a mind of its own and dodge in a completely unforeseen direction. For a game that is meant to require precision from its players, its failure to encode that precision into the controls is maddening.

To be fair, it’s not always the controls that fail the player. Sometimes it’s the camera, which will randomly turn and rotate in unforeseen directions, resulting in your untimely death. You are meant to be able to lock on to a specific target and keep the camera from rotating away, which, to be fair, does work pretty well, provided you are level with the enemy you’re trying to focus on. However, sometimes you can’t use that feature. For example, if you are fighting too many enemies at once and try to focus on one, you will completely lose sight of the others. Your swings and rolls while in camera lock mode are completely tailored to keep the target in the center of your field of vision, so you can’t be looking at one enemy and swinging at another, or even roll in a straight line with the lock on. You can quickly change your camera lock to other enemies that are in your field of vision, but if you are trying to get a lock on an enemy that moved behind you, the only way to do it is to remove the lock from the enemy in front. This wouldn’t be that big a deal if not for the fact that it’s nearly impossible to hit an enemy without the camera lock on. If, for example, you could actually hit what you are swinging at without focusing, and the camera didn’t tilt away so that it was pointlessly pointed towards the player’s face, removing the lock might be fine. As it stands, it’s not.

I could go on and on about all the little things that irritated me about this game. The controls and the camera are the big ones. The fact that it’s main mechanism for punishing your deaths is taking away your experience is another; if you end up at a difficult part and don’t best it the first time, you’ll find yourself too under leveled to successfully complete the challenge going forward. At one point, I had to go back to a portion that I had beaten already to build experience back up. The bottom line is that Lords of the Fallen tries to be Dark Souls, but unlike Dark Souls, it sucks. It doesn’t handle well enough to demand the precision that it does, and the fact that it is slightly less punishing of failure than Dark Souls doesn’t take away the fact that you are far less in control of your fate than chance is. That’s a problem. Rage quitting is imminent for me, but in a slightly less context than it was in Dark Souls. I could readily admit with Dark Souls that I wasn’t good enough to beat the challenge. Here, the wonkiness of the game play is as much responsible for my failure. That, I can’t abide. I could tolerate it all if it was an ordinary game with checkpoints and consequence free resets. But it’s not. The more you die, the harder it gets. And plus, it’s just bad.

Dissecting the Battlefield 1 Beta

The Battlefield 1 beta launched recently, giving us a sneak peak of the most anticipated first person shooter of the year. As expected, the beta was a very watered down version of what’s to come, bringing with it only a single multiplayer map and two multiplayer game modes. The beta didn’t skip, however, on a sample of the varying player classes, something that has become a staple of the Battlefield franchises. With the beta also came a sampling of the various weapons and vehicles available to players during multiplayer play. While there was no single player mode available, let’s face it, that’s not why anyone is getting this game. It showed us what we wanted to see, and continued to flash the middle finger towards Call of Duty that the franchise was always intended to be.

I noticed immediately the variation in classes available to players. Call of Duty has never boasted that to the level that Battlefield does. While customization in weapons and miscellaneous equipment is available to Call of Duty players, it’s something that you have to continually build toward. There really isn’t anything but the foot soldier or sometimes grenadier classes that is worth playing in the early going. In that franchise, you may be able to choose between a foot soldier with an assault rifle or a sniper with a sniper rifle, it has never been as diverse as the classes in Battlefield. The beta version of Battlefield 1 immediately made available foot soldier, scout/sniper, medic, and a few other classes, and immediately it became clear that players were gravitating towards the sniper style of play. Whenever I logged into games, the ratio of scouts to moving foot soldiers was somewhere around 2 to 1. And there’s a good reason for that. The realism in the scout class was astounding. Ranged shots would drop over a distance, leading your shot was an absolute necessity. My favorite part was probably the scope flare. When you shoulder a scoped weapon, light glints off the scope, alerting surrounding players to your presence. It was truly terrifying to run into an open area trying to blow up an enemy telegraph, see six glints appear out of nowhere, and know that you were about to get lit up like a Christmas tree. It also made dealing with enemy snipers a bit more manageable, a lesson I learned after punching a lethal shot of my own into the glinting scope of an otherwise-invisible enemy. It’s a subtle touch that makes the game feel more real, and more even, and the type of attention to detail I have come to expect from Battlefield.

The environment was also something to behold. The map that was available to beta players in my area was the desert homeland of the Ottoman Empire, and it did not disappoint. Players were able to take shelter among rocky outcroppings, the remains of a ruined village, and the rooftops of its replacement settlement. A well-planted path winds up the mountainside, leading to a rickety bridge that in turn leads to a vantage point that makes nearly the entire map visible to snipers. It wasn’t long before players learned to use that outcropping, and counter snipers learned to keep an eye out for enemies foolish enough to remain stationary from it. The environment also featured the destructibility that no Call of Duty game that I have ever played has even been able to mimic. Once, as I crossed that rickety bridge to that terrific sniper spot, I saw a plane crash itself into the bridge and completely destroy it. I managed to get across first, but the bridge was gone, and it wasn’t coming back. After my death, that vantage point was closed for business. It adds another level of strategy to the game; there are smarter ways to do it than running and gunning. Destruction is also not the only way the environment interacts. The map will also kick up random sandstorms that make camping from a spot with a good view completely impossible; visibility is cut down to none, and you need to change your approach. It is truly unheard of for a first person shooter to make you think, but this one is going to make you do it. It’s highly intriguing.

Vehicles are back, and some of them are alive. In addition to tanks and planes, players can also take control of horses to speed up their assault on the enemy. And they are angry. Horses allow you to act as a dragoon, cutting down enemies as you go by. They’re also extremely difficult to kill, meaning that even if you are skilled enough to put a shot into one’s head as it moves, it’s probably still coming at you. If it impacts you, you’re done. A player lucky enough to saddle up in one is going to cause some serious mayhem. The horses are cool, and new, but the returning vehicles also play an important role. Armored vehicles can camp on enemy objectives, making them completely unreachable until someone comes by with a piece of artillery that can forcibly move them. I haven’t yet seen planes feature prominently, but I can guess that, as in editions past, they’re something of a specialty vehicle that only skilled players are able to truly utilize to the fullest. Which is good. Vehicles are especially powerful, and to temper the damage they can cause, it is necessary to keep every putz from being able to use one. Developing that skill is a reward for diligent playing, and honestly, peeling back the layers and developing your niche as a player is the thing that makes Battlefield great; getting together a good squad that gels in a cohesive way makes team play all the more fun. I’ve already started assembling my squad from some work friends, and I’m really looking forward to developing how we all play together.

I once wrote that Battlefield got me back into online play. The attention to detail, the variation in available play styles, and the way the game fosters camaraderie by allowing players to build cohesive squads with differing and equally valuable components makes it the best first person shooter franchise on the market. Battlefield 1 looks like it won’t be any different. I played the beta for hours on end, despite only having one map, and was bitterly disappointed when I got home from work on the closing day of the beta and realized it had ended before I’d managed to squeak in a few more hours. There is no better commercial that this game could have broadcast for itself, and based on what I’ve seen, I’ll be right there in line on opening day. The beta showed us some terrific gameplay, an awesome environment, and some really cool new features. After playing it, I can’t wait for launch.

Real-Time Review – Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The next(last?) Deus Ex game is out for all the major platforms as of this month. It’s been 5 years since the Human Revolution, and we probably thought we saw the last of Adam Jenson, but he is back with a new story and some new augmentations. Two years have passed game-wise and, although a lot has changed in-world, not much has changed for the franchise. Five hours into the game, that could be a good thing or a bad one, but here’s a real-time review of my impressions so far.

Soundtrack

I would say the ambient noises of the game are the real strength of Mankind Divided so far. There’s always a radio on somewhere, or music from a nearby rave, or the noises from a police drone or citizens around Prague having conversations about the state of the world or just regular gossip. Outside of that there isn’t that much sound at all, besides a generic cyber-punk background static. In the few cases so far where there was a need for dramatic music, however, the soundtrack has come through. I like that there isn’t much music to be found actually. It makes the world seem a little bit more real, as most of us don’t have a CD playing in our heads at all times.

Controls

I cannot speak for the consoles, but I have never encountered a game with so much mouse sensitivity. Just a little nudge and I was blasting away with enough escape velocity to reach orbit. Once I was able to get it down (almost all the way down), Mankind Divided got a little bit more fun to play. There’s a lot to remember, and a few new features, but there are plenty of tutorials to help that will continuously pop up unless you turn them off. Finding some of them again, however, is a little stressful. I was hanging above a gas filled hallway trying to equip my rebreather aug and couldn’t figure it out or find the tutorial for them. Turns out the rebreather is a passive aug, but it would have been nice to know. You can go into ‘training modes’ to test out different features in the next sections, which I found to be nice practice since you could run through it out without repercussions first. I think the stealth interface is a great improvement from the last game. Most features are intuitive, and seasoned gamers will have no trouble settling in, or back into, the Deus Ex world.

Graphics

There is an optional 12 minute recap video you can watch before you begin the new game. I recommend watching it if you haven’t played the other titles, or if it’s been 5 years like it was for me, if not for the memory boost/story line then for the shock of what the graphics have changed into. The overall graphics for Human Revolution stand up against the test of time much better than the cut scenes and character graphics, so thankfully Mankind Divided has improved on those two fronts. Everything has a new, fresh coat of paint on it and, although it’s not immensely beautiful or detailed compared to some other new releases, you can see a lot went into making Mankind Divided look good.

Story & Gameplay

You jump into Adam Jenson’s skull 2 years after the last game. It doesn’t matter if you played Human Revolution or what ending you picked, because the main focus is on the Aug Incident, when thousands and thousands of augs went rogue and killed a large amount of people. You can see the after effects in the very first mission as Dubai, which had a heavy population of augs to keep the city on the top of tech, is not much more than a wasteland of wrecked and half finished buildings. There is a great tension between augs and ‘normal’ people that Jenson is stepping right into the middle of, and the beginning of that is another horrific incident that reveals some questionable tech inside his body that requires some answers. The gameplay has been somewhat slow, as I’m five hours in and I’m starting to put the pieces together of the starting plot, but on the other hand it’s a good thing since the last game came out so long ago. I think I’m at the point when things are going to start getting more interesting, so hopefully it picks up instead of dragging along.

I haven’t been able to test out any of the new, flashy augs so far as it’s still early, but I’m not really all that excited for them. The majority seem to be geared towards more hostile playthroughs, and stealth no-kill is my preferred method of playing Deus Ex games; the love seems a little one sided. There are some updated augs, like remote hacking, but they’re not any of the ‘cool’ ones, and, if you play, you’ll understand what I mean. All this aside, the game so far seems to be an upgraded version of Human Revolution story and gameplay wise which, so far, is just fine with me.

X-Factor

I think that the versatility of the Deus Ex games sets them apart from many other franchises. There are always multiple ways to complete a mission. You want to go in guns blazing? Go for it. You want to sneak and kill everyone like a death dealing shadow? Also an option. You want to ghost through a level and never be seen? You haunt to your little heart’s content. There are several ways to do each type of playthrough, too, and I appreciate the time and thought that must have gone into creating so many alternatives. Deus Ex feels like the cyber-punk version of Hitman in this regard, but I doubt Jenson will be putting on any chicken suits any time soon. The continuing story line of the series is also a high-interest factor, this philosophical question of what makes us human, and how far is too far to take our own evolution.

Overall, so far Mankind Divided feels like a solid Deus Ex entry and a pretty good offering for the fall line up. It’s too early to tell if it will have the same impact as Human Revolution, as I’m not blown away by anything yet, but it’s still early so I’ll hold out hope. I would suggest anyone interested in it, or interested in a stealth fps, check out Human Revolution first as it is a great game and also useful to better submerge yourself into Mankind Divided.

 

What Did I Miss?

It’s been a rough summer. I picked up a second job to make some extra cash, and there wasn’t a lot of restraint by that second job in terms of the amount of time that they were scheduling me. Working seven days a week, 75 hours a week didn’t exactly leave a lot of gaming time. It certainly wasn’t conducive to me gaming enough to write anything about it. Add in the home improvement project that drained my accounts out in the first place, and suddenly the only gaming I have been able to do since May was some Pokemon Go and one afternoon of finishing up Fallout 4: Far Harbor when I got rained out of my second job. Now that my time is finally freeing up, I’m curious about what’s going on in gaming and what I’m going to be able to play going forward.

I know that No Man’s Sky came out, and after all the hype, I’m disappointed by the reviews I’ve managed to read. They seemed as though they were universally less-than-flattering, and all focused on the sometimes-tedious and always-repetitive qualities of the game. I haven’t played it, so I can’t critique the critiques too sharply, but I honestly don’t know what anyone that was familiar with the game’s premise thought was going to happen in that regard. You could peg that coming a mile off; a game that’s about exploring the whole damn galaxy is probably going to include some down or boring time. So that doesn’t erase my initial curiosity toward the game. In fact, a co-worker relayed to me that the reviews were unduly harsh, and that while there is certainly some repetition to the game, it was more than worth a play. If it can still eat up time, and you can still see the effects that other players have on the universe, then that’s pretty damn cool. Expecting non-stop action out of a game that’s all about building and exploring is stupid, and anyone thinking that No Man’s Sky would feature that had unrealistic expectations. So my initial interest in the game hasn’t abated despite the negative reviews.

I’ve been getting kind of amped up for Battlefield I, and I say that as someone that isn’t really that into first-person shooters. I had a lot of fun playing Battlefield 4‘s multiplayer, and I was into Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 for a while when I was in college, but other than that, I tend to focus my time elsewhere. Upon finding out that Battlefield I had an open beta going, I downloaded that and plan to play it a little bit this week. If it is as good as the early trailers seem to indicate, it will be worth sinking some time into its online multiplayer. At the very least, the potential for it to kill some time when I have time to spare is enough for me to break my gaming fast on the open beta. I’ll probably keep you updated on that. Or I’ll end up getting sidetracked and write about something else next week. I don’t know, I’m not psychic.

I didn’t get to Uncharted 4, but then again I never pay $60 for a 20 hour long Uncharted game anyway. Seems like pretty much everything is getting a remastered version lately, not that I mind that. That Fallout 4: Nuka World DLC looks pretty cool. I’m sure there’s more brewing, but I just haven’t been able to keep abreast of it. Those are really the only things that I can say off the top of my head that I’ve been aware of the last few months. When you don’t play, you hit the hot spot gaming websites a little less, and your inability to put any time into gaming manifests itself into a lack of knowledge about games. That’s where you come in, dear readers. You’ve seen my woeful lack of knowledge about what’s going on in games right now, and now that I’m able to get back into them, I’m looking for a gem that I may have missed, or even a mediocre game that’s still fun to kill some time with. What did you have fun playing this summer? What did you have no fun playing this summer? Or was gaming such a cesspool the last few months that I didn’t miss anything at all? Sound off in the comments.

To What End

The journey is more important than the end. In my experience it’s a saying that’s just supposed to make you feel better when something doesn’t go as you want, like the one about it being lucky if it’s raining on your wedding day. Or driving 30 hours to get to the Grand Canyon only to realize that yup, it’s a big hole in the ground. Of course, the journey there might actually be worth it when you can stop at big balls of yarn or every dive bar along the way. Vegas, anyone?

I recently played Wolfenstein: New World Order and, for the most part, I enjoyed it up until the very end. I was then left contemplating if the journey made all of my time spent on this game worth it. It didn’t feel that way. It felt like the last three minutes alone soured my whole experience and I was left with a very bitter taste in my mouth. I’m not against bad endings. I play a lot of games with multiple endings and I always go for the good ones even if it takes more work, but there have been a few instances where this doesn’t apply. For me, the Max Payne 2 regular ending is good, the newest Prince of Persia ending was poetic in its irony, but apparently I couldn’t take it for Wolfenstein.

I don’t like doing a bunch of work and having it all go wrong. Who does? Sure it might be realistic, but believe it or not I am not playing a video game about space Nazis for realism. As I was sitting there listening to the incredibly sad end credits song and becoming even more miserable, I wondered if I was alone in my feelings towards video game endings. I decided to poll as many people as I could on Facebook and Tumblr. I had 153 people take my survey that asked them 1) what their favorite game was 2) if it had a happy ending 3) If a game has multiple endings, do you generally choose or prefer the happy/better one? and 4) Has a game ever been soured for you because of the ending alone? and told them they could elaborate on their answer for this question.

The favorite game varied, but as I have a lot of people that follow me who play Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, there was a substantial amount of those in the running. The choices for if it had a happy ending were yes, no, or multiple endings, and 62.1% selected the last option, 19.6% said yes and the rest said no which means ~18% of people really love the pain I’m guessing. 85% of everyone told me they generally choose the happier ending in games if multiple options are given. My results for the last question got a little disastrous as I should have said to only elaborate if you answered yes because there’s just a mix of answers here, but definitely 43.8% said a game has been soured by the ending alone. A lot of people that elaborated also said yes and listed reasons why, while most just put Mass Effect 3 in all caps, a feeling I think many can understand.

I think that fact that well over the majority of people polled said yes they choose the happier ending answers my question and went along with how I play games as well. When you spend 50 hours doing fetch quests, you want it to mean something, and an ending where “Rocks fall, everybody dies” is hardly satisfying. I believe that most video game creators recognize this and cater to it, but there are the brave(or foolish) ones that like to break the mold with their endings. Like I said, it’s worked for some games, but I’m not sure if there’s a pattern or reason to why that is. It could be that the whole rest of the game was good enough that a rough ending couldn’t ruin it, or that it was left open ended enough that you can live in some state of denial. There’s also the greater possibility that the ending makes the most sense the way that it is but, speaking from experience, that’s never stopped me from being mad about something.

While Wolfenstein made me want to scream a whole bunch, I do appreciate that they went against the grain and stuck to their guns about it. I’m sure it’s a big gamble when creators decide to throw a bad ending in there when so many people like and probably expect only good, or the option for it. It’s nice to have some variety, but if the only other thing to consume is something rotten, I’d rather stick to one side of the buffet.

Level up with the 1-UP CUP!