The Sunday Papers

The World Cup has started, which means Sunday are for the same thing as every other day: waiting for the football games to begin, then watching the football games. But I suppose we can find some time in between to round up a little of the week’s best games writing.

  • Let’s start with what I missed last week. Over at Edge Online, Chris Thursten writes a retrospective of Red Dead Redemption. I struggle to see beyond the game’s Rockstarian mission structure (do tasks for assholes of only sideways relevance to your character’s motivation), but Chris pins down everything that’s nevertheless great about the game:
  • What soon becomes evident is that the MacFarlane ranch has a Marston-shaped hole in it. When Marston leaves Bonnie for the last time near the end of the game, he is riding off to meet a tragedy that is grounded in his dual nature. Through Bonnie – and the future that she wants for him, but that it is impossible for him to have – the game intimates an inaccessible third option. Redemption binds him to a destiny that is always just out of shot, and it’s this that makes him a Western hero rather than a shooter protagonist with a cowboy hat on.

  • Meanwhile a Chris named Donlan, over at Eurogamer, writes about “those mountains”, scale, and E3 clichés. Open worlds are really the most fascinating design challenge right now:

    You can see why. One of the unintended consequences of an open world can be a kind of blandness creeping in, especially as open-world systems continue to calcify into rituals. Ubisoft, as is so often pointed out, leads the charge here. Ubisoft’s open-world games are increasingly fixated with controlling the map, section by section – screwing around with guard towers and then cleaning up all the nearby quest icons. Are you exploring these spaces, or are you just lawnmowing them?

  • Rob Fearon writes in Our Videogame Futures about the suggestion that EA might co-opt the Early Access or alpha-funding release model for themselves. I agree with Rob, but also: who can blame them? When they released Battlefield 4 and were (rightly) hammered for bugs, then fought a thankless uphill battle to change people’s perception with post-release updates, they must surely have looked to their side and seen a hundred unfinished, uncriticised, community-defended games. And given that, who wouldn’t think, ‘Yeah, let’s do that’?
  • Early Access existed to help games that couldn’t get made any other way exist and thrive. Over time we’ve changed that to paying for beta access to larger games, we’ve changed it to paying to test a game, paying large amounts to keep people out, paying large amounts to match Kickstarter tiers and all manner of corruptions of the original idea and after all these years in the games business it should come as no surprise to anyone that it’s something that would also be co-opted by big box in some way. And this is it. EA are bringing their own EA. (Handily, having Origin in the wings means they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to work this too, right?)

  • I can’t wait for Grand Theft Auto 5 to come to PC. Not for the missions, which I still find tiresome, but for the world and for the inevitable hacked-in mods. Andy Kelly over at PC Gamer aids my excitement by picking apart the E3 trailer for anything that’s new or different (or the same but still great) for the coming re-release:

    The next few shots (0:17) show a lumber mill, a stone quarry, and a factory, with workers going about their daily lives: nosing through clipboards, driving dump trucks, and taking coffee breaks. The variety of pedestrians in the world is dizzying, and you can interact with all of them—hikers, bodybuilders, drunks, pensioners, bikers. I spent a good few hours just wandering the streets talking to people. Insult a group of gangbangers on a street corner in the rough part of town and they’ll pull their guns. Do the same to a yuppie downtown and he’ll fling his coffee in the air and run away shrieking.

  • Last week I linked to Jon Blyth’s talk from Reads Like A 7, but there was more games-related writing read aloud at the London event. Ed Stern is a writer of multiplayergames, and so that’s what he gave a talk about. Sort of. It’s funny in the details:
  • Realising you can call an objective “Cargo Controls” rather than “Container Controls” can genuinely make your day because it saves you four characters. As can recalling that if you give your games’ objectives, vehicles and weapons names with Latin or Greek roots, they’re less likely to change or require more characters when translated, at least in Western languages, and how in hell are you going to know what they’ve changed in the languages you can neither speak nor read?

  • Most console games also find their way to PC, giving us ample opportunity to write about them. The exception is Nintendo, whose E3 haul was as idiosyncratic as ever. Oli Welsh at Eurogamer argues that they the company won E3 on their own terms:
  • Waiting in the wings for E3 2014, it turned out. Nintendo has had a very good week. It has done more than answer critics like me that innovation still runs in its blood, and reassure fans like me that the next Zelda will be totally awesome. It has shown fussy old Nintendo starting to think and act like a 2014 video game company. It has addressed the gaming community directly in a way that made its rivals and their noisy live stage shows look old-fashioned and wasteful. Last year, Nintendo’s retreat from the annual press conference popularity contest seemed like an admission of defeat. This year, it looked like tactical smarts and forward thinking. Nintendo has come bang up to date.

    Sunny weather demands hip hop, so music this week is Bonita Applebum.

    From this site

    57 Comments

    1. shaydeeadi says:

      I suppose it’s only a matter of time before EA do a Kickstarter for the next Madden at this point.

      • Xocrates says:

        I wouldn’t say Madden, but I fully expect them to start pulling out Kickstarters for reviving cult classics people have been clamoring for years (like Syndicate or a proper Dungeon Keeper)

        • malkav11 says:

          That would require EA to care about the amount of money that could be made from putting out a product that (theoretically) niche. And if they did care about that, they could have been making titles like that all along. I doubt it’ll happen.

          But if it does, shoot, I don’t care what lofty purpose crowdfunding and Early Access were supposedly targetting. What matters is what those approaches can bring as a business model – direct engagement with consumers, a (more or less) transparent development cycle, all sales post-release being essentially pure profit (if budgetted well enough to have development costs covered by crowdfunders/early access buyers), etc. And I don’t see any reason that these business models should be restricted only to tiny struggling indie studios when they benefit everyone.

          Personally, I’m no more willing to buy an early access game from EA than I am from one guy in a basement apartment, because I have more than enough finished games to play while those other games work through their kinks. But I have no objection to them making it available to people who want to see things at early stages in their lifestyle and perhaps have some input on the process.

          • Xocrates says:

            The thing about kickstarter, is that EA could treat it as a way to develop a product with no risk. Either the development cost is covered by the kicktstarter, and it’s all profit, or it isn’t and they don’t even start production.

            Granted, as long as EA keeps focusing on AAA titles only, it’s not going to happen. But all it takes is for a small internal team to convince a higher up to try.

            • malkav11 says:

              Well, yes. Of course they could. Would that be bad? I don’t think so.

              I don’t see it happening, though, because the risk on projects of that size is already trivial for companies as large and well-funded as EA. The likely rewards just aren’t high enough for them to be interested in bothering.

            • Shuck says:

              The thing about Kickstarter is that you can’t use it to raise a full game budget, and certainly not the budget for the sort of game that would come out of EA. You can use it, as a bedroom developer, to raise enough money to help finish a game that’s already had enough work done on it for gameplay demonstrations, but I don’t know of any developers, much less a studio, who have fully funded a game via Kickstarter, much less without having already made an investment of their own money in the game.
              So a company with money, like EA, might use Kickstarter as a means of testing the waters to see if there’s a market for their game, but that’s it. (I.e. they propose a game sequel and see if they get any backing, not expecting to raise the full budget.) Likewise, a company with resources doesn’t benefit from Early Access, given that they don’t need the development money, and all it does is cause their reviews and ratings to be poor, hurting subsequent sales. Western gamers have certain expectations about publisher-released games. It’s quite common, however, for Korean MMO developers, on the other hand, to release half-finished games, see if there’s support, and if there is, put more resources into developing the game (or drop it, otherwise).

            • malkav11 says:

              It’s absolutely possible to raise a full game budget through Kickstarter, although it won’t be a large one by current standards and you will be limited as to what you can achieve. I mean, it may not be common, but there are game Kickstarters working with 3+ million dollars, which is certainly enough to make any number of smaller games, even if it isn’t actually the full budget of those specific projects. Even the projects that only rake in a couple hundred thousand are almost certainly outbudgeting, say, Spiderweb Software RPGs.

              I don’t offhand know for sure of any projects that are deriving their full budget from the crowdfunding proceeds because virtually nobody says what other money or resources might be going into a project, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there were some.

              But yes, a lot of the time a primary function is that it’s serving as a barometer of interest. This is, honestly, one of its most valuable purposes as far as I can see, and I worry when people launch unsuccessful projects and then proclaim their intent to carry on working on something that did not demonstrate that it was actually viable.

            • RobF says:

              “I worry when people launch unsuccessful projects and then proclaim their intent to carry on working on something that did not demonstrate that it was actually viable.”

              The problem with looking at Kickstarter as a barometer of what is/isn’t viable is it is, more often than not, pretty much limited to people who are interested in Kickstarters and that’s a really small amount of your audience. If you look at the number of people who back these projects, they’re not really substantial. And, of course, they’re subject to fits and trends of what’s currently popular or attractive to crowdfunders or whatever.

              And y’know, what is viable anyway when it comes to games? For some that’s 6 people. For others thats 100, others need 10,000 or whatever, some people just don’t care because screw it, entertainment!

              I just wouldn’t feel comfortable viewing a Kickstarter as anything but something that either does or doesn’t do well on Kickstarter. Anything else feels too close to a madness.

            • malkav11 says:

              Surely, what’s viable is enough people to make back your operating costs, at a minimum? And I wouldn’t argue that Kickstarter is a perfect barometer of interest – you certainly need to make people aware of your project in order to succeed and if you don’t manage that, or if you screw up something about the structuring or running of said project, then yeah, it might make sense to give things another go. And there are undoubtedly going to be more people that didn’t get into the KS for whatever reason but are still interested. But if you can’t even muster enough people to fund with a solid, well publicized project, is there really a market for what you’re doing? Surely, the smaller the target audience, the more that audience is likely to be trolling crowdfunding for their fix of that experience?

            • RobF says:

              “Surely, the smaller the target audience, the more that audience is likely to be trolling crowdfunding for their fix of that experience?”

              Nah! Not really. Most people simply don’t go anywhere near crowdfunding in any way whatsoever. It is a very tiny and very self selecting (obviously!) corner of the market with an importance kinda inflated by spend. It’s a similar issue to one of the ones Greenlight has, as in the only thing being successful within Greenlight proves is that you have a game that people who visit Greenlight will like. It’s not a hard and fast rule, obviously, because press can bring people into the system.

              There’s also certain experiences people are more willing to fund up front. Like, I have absolutely no doubt I can make a nice few quid on the arena shooter I’m working on at the moment when it’s released. I also have absolutely no doubt that it’d not be smart to try and raise substantial Kickstarter funds for it. (In the same way that it’s really hard to front load publicity for this sort of thing, they’re just not that interesting unless you’re playing them)

              But generally, I just think it’s really dangerous to extrapolate a failure to reach an arbitrary funding goal which may/may not be solely for marketing purposes, may/may not be a decent enough amount to finish the game, can be effected by whether the campaign is managed appropriately, rewards are attractive enough and many other awkward variables that set crowdfunding vastly apart from your average market research into “not viable”.

              The world out there is a vast one and crowdfunding is only a very, very tiny part of it. It seems kinda dangerous to place so much importance on something that to the vast majority of people buying games just isn’t a thing for them, not even a consideration, y’know?

    2. phenom_x8 says:

      res dead retrospective makes me remembering this Human Angle article from Polygon a year ago :

      link to polygon.com
      humble man, with ordinary lives just like John Marston he played in the end of the game
      **Wish RDR out on PC

    3. Premium User Badge

      corinoco says:

      In the world in my dreams, Red Dead Redemption is a PC game.

      Why, Rockstar, why? Don’t you want my money?

      • Lanfranc says:

        It may still happen. Keep the dream alive. :(

      • HadToLogin says:

        Of course they want. That’s why they make games for consoles and shit on PCs.

      • hypercrisis says:

        The rumour I heard was the game is such an absolute mess behind the scenes that they would have to rebuild the game from the ground up.

    4. AngelTear says:

      I almost feel like I’m doing this every week, now, but I’m just copying links from the wonderful Critical Distance round-up.

      – An interesting Marxist reading of Actual Sunlight, focusing on how the capitalist structure of society affects an important part of the protagonist’s depression and outlook on life.
      link to pixelsordeath.com

      – Some hard data for discussion of feminist issues: player reaction to friend requests coming from gendered accounts. While the person reporting and wrapping up the study does a poor job, and the studies themselves don’t warrant any kind of broad, definitive conclusion, there is enough, seemingly sound data to back up discussion about how women and men are viewed and treated differently and how behavioural expectations are gendered even in an anonymous environment.
      link to vgresearcher.wordpress.com

      • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

        ” While the person reporting and wrapping up the study does a poor job,”

        You’re not kidding.

        Don’t think I really stand by your point though – all we can gather from these studies is that the playerbase of CoD games on consoles aren’t very nice people, which I don’t think is going to surprise anybody. Before any real conclusions can be drawn you’d need a study with a much broader scope than the players of the most notoriously vile FPS.

        • AngelTear says:

          I see your point, but I wonder whether COD is the most “notoriously vile” simply because it’s the most notorious period. In other words, I can’t think of many communities that are nice without being niche at the same time, and to a certain extent that includes RPS.

          MOBAs communities are bad, Youtube comments are bad, Reddit is bad, Steam forums are bad, most comment sections are bad… care to point a nice community that is also large?

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            “I see your point, but I wonder whether COD is the most “notoriously vile” simply because it’s the most notorious period.”

            Completely agree. But it’s because of that it draws in the 9 year olds, the over-macho’d gunbros, the laddish morons and all the others. Most of those people aren’t just dicks to women because women are women, these people are dicks to everybody simply because they’re dicks – 90% of their in-game chat is Mum-fucking and the ‘N’ word, and they enjoy doing stuff like tea-bagging. Dicks tend to swarm to popular stuff, they always have, and they always will, because most dicks are sheep.

        • Nate says:

          ‘” While the person reporting and wrapping up the study does a poor job,” You’re not kidding.’

          I don’t understand this– neither AngelTear’s original criticism nor your emphatic agreement.

          VG Researcher manages to write for an academic audience without alienating anyone naive to the field; manages to describe the research and methods accurately, something the NYT gets wrong half the time; consistently defines and explains jargon used.

          As for the conclusions of the study? It is interesting that friend requests from women were accepted more frequently. It is especially interesting that friend requests from QUIET women were accepted more often requests from mean or nice women. It is interesting that friend requests from mean men were accepted more often that requests from quiet or nice men. The authors explanation of this finding seems both reasonable and interesting.

          Nowhere is this behavior identified as “being dicks,” btw. I think that’s a boring, inaccurate, vastly over-simplified summary of what was found.

          I’m not sure how much more anyone could expect.

          • AngelTear says:

            I criticized the writer of the article purely in terms of writing, not in terms of content. He does a fair job of summing up the results of the research, but it’s a pain to read nonetheless.

            Take this sentence as an example: I had a conversation with Jesse Fox months ago, but I forgot the insights from it, something about streaming gamers, and about other factors, such as sociability, friendliness, that makes streamers more popular than others. This is plain bad writing, although I can see the point he is trying to make.

            That’s all there was to my criticism of the writer.

          • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

            Sorry, I’m too preoccupied at the moment to put too much brainpower into this, hence the poor South Park rewrite above

            I’d have much preferred direct links to the studies – personally, I find the author’s writing style just gets in the way., and even obscures some things. For example, you’ve stated this:

            “As for the conclusions of the study? It is interesting that friend requests from women were accepted more frequently. ”

            There are actually 4 separate studies in there, horribly cludged together.

            From the abstract of the Kuznekoff & Rose paper linked first:

            “Findings indicate that, on average, the female voice received three times as many negative comments as the male voice or no voice. In addition, the female voice received more queries and more messages from other gamers than the male voice or no voice. ”

            which states women receive three times as much abuse. Can’t find that in the original article, and it’s part of where my superficial “dicks” chat came from. You should also check out the results of the 4th paper, it’s all about people being offensive.

            Kind of think my objections are justified – it’s that poorly put together that despite arguing for it, you seem to think it was only referencing one paper.

            I was also irritated that I couldn’t find the Ivory et al. study linked anywhere or find out what journal it was in, until I saw the bottom of the page. Realise that’s probably in keeping with standard academic best practice and I’m the one being an idiot, but it was frustrating me at first and is kind of weird on a website – I’d have expect them to say what journal it was in somewhere near the abstract.

            As for the people playing, I think the only thing that’s actually shown here is a certain percentage, not even a particularly large one, of CoD games are emotionally immature – I don’t think there’s any way these studies can be held to be indicative of gamers as a whole.

            • Nate says:

              AngelTear: Thanks, I can see where you’re coming from; the difference between BWS’s takeaway and my own is probably evidence that the piece would benefit from a once-over.

              BWS: Hmm. I see 2 studies, where before it felt like there was a focus on one. My mistake.

              The Kuznekoff & Rose is just literature review. Probably unnecessary literature review– does anybody need it established that gender differences exist? It sounds like your criticisms are all aimed at this paper?

              I focused originally on the Holz, Ivory, et al paper. I find it interesting, and I think VG Researcher was focused on the same (considering the article heading) but just wanted to talk about too much at once, which I can empathize with :)

              I didn’t find the second study (“Harsh Words and Deeds”) interesting, but I suppose it’s important as some kind of baseline. The important thing here isn’t that people are or aren’t dicks (more accurately, use various offensive techniques, apparently including using the word “dicks”), but _how_many_ of them are. (Not just CoD in this, btw, although I doubt anyone would claim that any game exists where no player tries to be offensive.)

              Complaints about over-generalization of findings are valid (although this is still much better than the typical over-generalizations from findings about college students!), but they often feel inauthentic, and the ease of making them means they’re a frequent contributor to picked cherries. If I was genuinely concerned about over-generalization, I’d probably frame it something like, “That’s really interesting, let’s see if it holds up with other games! And if not, let’s come up with a method to help us figure out why.”

              Anyhow, thanks again for the link, AT. I found it very interesting.

            • AngelTear says:

              You’re welcome, glad I could be useful ^_^

            • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

              Papers referenced:

              Kuznekoff & Rose
              Ivory et al.
              Eden et al.

              Final reference was a field experiment presented at a conference, unattributed as far as I can tell (and if so, poor form again).

              The messy way it’s presented initially led me to believe the results of the field experiment were the results from Eden et al – I was skim reading, not very well, but one of the reasons I don’t like the way it’s written is it’s not immediately obvious when they’ve switched studies. Also odd that the study they give by far the most space to is initially described as a “tangent”.

              So I was basing my initial comments mostly off the results from 1 & 4 – I’d discounted 2 because all I thought had been posted was an abstract with no indication as to which journal it came from, and I thought the results of 4 were the results from 3.

              Not denying a lot of it is my fault, but for a supposedly scientific site both the writing style and the page formatting make it incredibly hard to skim for relevant details, and the omission of source journals and authors whilst initially citing the papers is a bit of an oversight in my opinion (or at least be consistent – cite all the sources at the bottom, or all at the time of mentioning the paper, but this article does it willy-nilly).

      • Phier says:

        – An interesting Marxist reading of Actual Sunlight, focusing on how the capitalist structure of society affects an important part of the protagonist’s depression and outlook on life.

        Hehe, no. Marxists never say anything interesting. Read them once, its all the same.

      • WY_Tang says:

        Hello,

        I am the blogger for VG Researcher. Thanks for the critiques! I don’t get that many visitors to my blog and much less any comments about my writing style… but thanks to pointing it out though, it looks like I am developing some idiosyncrasies that I need to fix. As Nate said, I wrote it by focusing on the Holz Ivory et al. study, but I felt it needed context that it wasn’t built out of a vacuum, so I added the references from others studies.

        I do really appreciate any constructive critiques if you would like to look over my other blog posts!

        • bill says:

          My quick feedback would be:
          Too long with too many long paragraphs. Long paras don’t read that well on the web.
          Break it up with clearer headings and sections, each with a single clear focus.
          A few too many tangents and ideas mixed together.

          Non-native speaker? There were a few weird grammar mistakes. Or maybe just typos. Eg:
          “They do express themselves consistently or did they, as Lin argued, had a bad day?”
          do you mean:
          “Do they express themselves consistently? Or did they, as Lin argues/argued, have a bad day?”

          Also, and this maybe depends on your audience, it has a rather ‘scientific report’ structure. Introduction, Method, Results, Conclusion, Questions. But that means you have to read almost to the end to get the conclusions, and that the actual end is simply speculative questions. Personally I’d rather have the conclusions up front, and then more details later if required. But I’m not a scientist…

          • WY_Tang says:

            Thanks! I’ll try to make my paragraphs shorter, but it’s rather difficult as I have to balance between conciseness and losing out vital information. The original study write-up was much longer and had longer paragraphs.

            Would it be better if I put all of my tangents and ideas in its own section? I realize that my writing can be like a stream of consciousness.

            As for the structure, it does have a scientific report feel to it because I am simplifying the original write-up , but I didn’t want to condense it too much into a form that you would normally see from any news site: Short, but lacking in detail or understanding of the science behind it.

    5. Eight Rooks says:

      While I see the point of the Eurogamer article and agree with it for the most part, as far as Ubigames go, in my case it holds true for some but not for others. Far Cry 3 was the worst offender – never once did I feel compelled to go wandering around just looking at things, and every side mission simply felt like a box to be ticked off on a checklist. But Black Flag, and even all Assassin’s Creed games, to an extent, have been the opposite – I climb buildings, I wander down sidestreets, I jump over rooftops partly to pick up pointless ephemera but also because it’s fun. Even the tiniest islands in Black Flag still seemed like places, hand-crafted, authored, where it was rewarding just to amble about and gawp at the pedestrians, even if part of me knew they were the exact same pedestrians I’d seen in five, ten, twenty other places already. So, yeah, the… garden planning approach to game design? is not always a symptom of creeping big-budget malaise, IMO.

      • Lemming says:

        Building on your point with some differing examples, I found with AC2 (I’ve never played any others, sorry) I spent my time navigating by landmark while in Florence (not so much the other cities where I stared at the map most of the time), which to me is the mark of a well-designed sandbox.

        Conversely, while playing Arkham City and Arkham Origins, although they are great games that allow a lot of freedom I was forever using detective vision and mindlessly grappling from building to building. They were merely geometry that I had to navigate in and around, which is weird and a bit of a shame as if you really look at those cities they are quite characterful, but something about the games (whether its the reliance on the detective vision, or simply the same noir lighting that covers everything like a blanket), means you don’t really appreciate any of it.

        Going back much further, I remember GTA2, and I specifically remember how through regular play, you end up memorising the cities and their landmarks, perhaps because of the forced perspective and needing to do things at speed.

        • bill says:

          I found the same with GTA3 and Vice City (the most recent ones I’ve played – maybe smaller than the modern ones?). After the initial stages, I rarely navigated by map, but rather knew how to get from one area to the next. I only used the map for the last few hundred yards to zero in on the target spot. Those cities were very well designed, with each area having a distinctive feeling and look, to help you know where you were.

          • P.Funk says:

            I’m the same with GTA4. It is like a real city. When I watch a video I’m like “Oh sweet, thats the Meat Quarter”.

      • Dave Tosser says:

        I remember at the end of 2012 when RPS gave Far Cry 3 the GOTY award, and Alec stood up like a hero and decried the kitchen sink sandbox.

        link to rockpapershotgun.com

        That him and a few others were feeling the lawnmower experience two years ago suggests the backlash against it has been a long time coming, especially as developers are now going to be shoveling SEE THEM MOUNTAINS YOU CAN GO THERE LAD DO YOU KNOW THAT* down our throats for the rest of the generation.

        *I’m actually surprised this exact phrase made a comeback. I thought it was a dead horse from the early 2000s that no-one took seriously anymore because we’re not early 2000s console gamers who’ve never seen an open world before, but no, it seems we are and our minds are blown by hearing we don’t have to stand in a corridor. Cool.

        • nearly says:

          Well, this is Nintendo we’re talking about. It’s hard to pick out any significant changes in the games they’ve been putting out since the 2000s (and really even before) other than what niche (read: possibly gimmicky) hardware enabled or demanded. One of their biggest Wii titles (New Super Mario Bros.) was essentially a rerelease of a DS title, which was given a sequel on 3DS first and later rerelease on Wii U. This is about par for the course each generation.

          • green frog says:

            Wow, you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you even play Nintendo games? Or do you magically know all you need to know from afar? None of the NSMB games are remakes or re-releases. They are similar, yes, but that’s what a gaming “series” is.

            People who make the tiresome “all Nintendo games are the same” spiel are just advertising their ignorance. Nintendo games are objectively no more rehashed or iterative than any other popular game franchise on any other system. It’s just a shitty talking point regurgitated by people who don’t actually know a single thing about Nintendo except for the fact that they don’t like them.

      • Freud says:

        I think maps being littered with things to do is better suited to cities than open world maps.

        FC3 also made the huge blunder with the crafting system where you had to grind to get basic quality of life things. I felt I was forced to do it at the start and wasted four hours doing it and every bit of goodwill was gone when I got into the game proper. It’s not just pointless filler stuff. It’s insultingly tedious filler stuff.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Far Cry 3 anecdote factory generated tons of really fun and unusual situations for me during these so-called ‘checklist’ activities. So I can’t blame the game for it. Also you can use mods to tweak map/mini-map/HUD elements and make the game a much better experience. Make it closer to Far Cry 2.

    6. rockman29 says:

      RDR is extremely GTA-like, in terms of mission structure.

      Its saving grace is the more engaging story and excellent gun play. There’s also a fun loot system.

      The main story game is also quite long.

      The mission structure is nothing to write home about, but it provides a much more fun singeplayer experience than GTA IV (or even GTA V).

    7. Frank says:

      Yeah, Nintendo also won it for me, even though I’m a decade behind in buying their systems. Zelda and that new game from the Advance Wars/Fire Emblem team look great.

      • RedViv says:

        Nintendo absolutely won the show for me because, right from the start, they were the ones who went ‘You know what? Games probably could be a lot of fun.’
        I’m only behind one generation, and I am still only holding off buying into the new ones because the region-lock bollocks is not removed. Seriously, all other console makers have realised this was silly, and Nintendo not only keep it up for their home consoles, but also introduce it on their handhelds? Bah. Bah, I say!

        • Kitsunin says:

          Yup, and now here I am, hoping the Gateway 3ds gains compatibility with post 4.5 firmware. Just because they couldn’t not be stupid.

        • Lemming says:

          I think what’s amazing is, Nintendo never change tack,and are without fail told they are ‘doing it wrong’ by their rivals and rival-enthralled press, every single time. And every single time, they school those naysayers.

          Back in the day you always bought a Nintendo for Nintendo games. You might’ve enjoyed some third-party ones, but they were never the reason you bought the console. Now, somehow it was decided that no good third-party games means death and the crazy thing is, people started to believe it. It’s nice to see that’s been kicked into touch, at least until the next generation.

          • Convolvulus says:

            Have Wii U naysayers been “schooled” at some point? The PS4 has outsold the Wii U despite the latter having a full year’s head start. Nintendo’s archaic digital licensing methods and aforementioned region locks are not leading the company to a bright future. Where you see Nintendo bravely staying the course in the face of overwhelming criticism, I see a history of debilitating inflexibility.

            The Nintendo 64 had superior hardware compared to the PlayStation but lost out due to the decision to use cartridges. When the GameCube came around, Nintendo still believed it had the power to dictate terms with third-party publishers, an outlook that crippled their platform and allowed the PS2 an easy dominance. (Selling Nintendo consoles just for Nintendo games doesn’t seem to work very well.) The company’s refusal to change tack certainly is amazing. I’ll give you that.

            • Lemming says:

              You’re missing the point. Nintendo fans don’t give a fuck how well the the PS4 is selling. They bought their Nintendo to play Nintendo games, of which all are almost a cast-iron guarantee of quality, and of which almost all are coveted by those that buy other consoles. Yes, Nintendo would probably like to sell more Wii Us, but they aren’t anywhere close to being in trouble. The same can’t be said for Sony. I know who I’d rather be if it’s a choice between solid and steady or win/lose everything each generation.

          • malkav11 says:

            There’s nothing wrong with buying a Nintendo console for Nintendo games, if you like that kind of thing (I have enjoyed very few first-party Nintendo games myself), but they’re not particularly prolific and if you’re only going to own one gaming platform, that makes their consoles kind of limiting compared to those of Sony or Microsoft, who may not have that great a first-party lineup but have, y’know, basically every other game being released that year.

            It might be the best one to own as an adjunct to a PC as primary platform, though. If motion control isn’t a factor. Motion control ruined the Wii for me and my impression, apparently not entirely accurate, was that the Wii U was more of the same in that respect.

            • Lemming says:

              It’s interesting what you say about being adjunct, as that’s the way many Xbox and Playstation players see it as well, which means it’s potential is always greater sales than either/or. Like the PC, it seems largely immune to tribalism.

            • Low Life says:

              No, you don’t need to bother with motion controls on the Wii U. Most (read: almost all) games don’t even rely on the touchscreen for controls, but provide it as an alternative control method, if that. It’s an amazing companion to PC provided you enjoy Nintendo games.

            • Frank says:

              Yeah, it would be the best complement to PC for me. Sony might have games I covet more (from the ICO and Naughty Dog teams and others), but, eh, it feels like I would be paying a premium for next gen graphics, which I don’t care about, and missing out on good local multiplayer games on the Nintendo system.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I keep hearing that phrase – “who won E3”, and I am wondering / hoping its tongue in cheek? To me, determining the winner of E3 is a bit like watching Dave and allotting a prize to the ‘best’ advert between re-runs of Top Gear.

        • Dave Tosser says:

          E3 is the Christmas hype machine getting into full gear, and an intentionally deceptive industry event that exists to scoop up punters with promises of whatever it is the industry thinks punters want today. No-one wins E3, not even the punters. Least of all the punters.

          Alternatively, everyone wins E3! Especially the businesses that make billions of dollars, and you because you get a video game you can whinge about on the internet.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Watch_Dogs success would like to talk with you, I guess.

            That’s the game that sold mostly thanks to E3.

    8. Rizlar says:

      Ed Stern’s blog, bloody fantastic as always.

    9. c-Row says:

      do tasks for assholes of only sideways relevance to your character’s motivation

      I didn’t know RDR was a day-at-the-office simulator.

    10. Henke says:

      “I can’t wait for Grand Theft Auto 5 to come to PC. Not for the missions, which I still find tiresome”

      Dude, you’ll want to play the missions. The heist-missions in GTA V are amazing, and… unlike anything else.

    11. fish99 says:

      I know it’s an old game, but some people (for instance, me) still haven’t played RDR, and that looks like a fairly large front page spoiler.

      • thebigJ_A says:

        Sorry, where? It’s not much of a spoiler that someone is seeking redemption in a game with “redemption” in the title. “A tragedy happens” isn’t a spoiler, either.The quote is very vague, relative to what actually happens. Don’t worry, you’ve not been spoiled. Do play the game when you get a chance. (I’m suddenly tempted to get my xbox out of the basement to re-play it actually).