Category Archives: Game News

Not All Quakes Are Alike

Recently the gaming journalism scene appears to have gone into over drive to display their lack of professionalism. That is concerning unto itself, but I’m not going to post on those hot topics. I would rather prefer to focus on the simple things that they get wrong, things which do not provoke a sense of scandal, but when noticed call into question their position as those who bring us gaming news.

As I have brought up previously, often game journalists have the same comprehension level of games, ludology, and the technology as the average consumer which results in them being as qualified as any commenter on YouTube or reddit. This is more grave through the simplicity of it. You need to understand the difference between a franchise name, and a game title.

The new changes to Quake Live were announced recently. They were controversial, and logically a lot of people had a variety of emphatic responses. This was covered at Kotaku by Nathan Grayson, and by covered I mean there was some copy and paste, screenshots of comments, and filler. In the original article Nathan spoke of “classic Quake” and how Quake Live was based off of “Quake III Gold”. The problem is Quake Live is an adjusted and free version of Quake III Arena, and has no bearing on the original Quake other than franchise name. The article also incorrectly cites nostalgia when referring to an active and current community. Nostalgia does not apply to the present, nor the recent. This set me off a bit and I commented on this a fair bit on Twitter: Continue reading

TOXIKK – Debut Trailer – First Impression

Obviously before you should read any first impressions, you should have your own, so watch it:

Alright now let’s take it from the top. The trailer is broken up with big splashy text, so we can respond to that.

It’s about time to take the arena FPS back to its roots

Awesome! I am very excited to hear about this. I am looking forward to more brutal combat in interesting spaces! Continue reading

Spoiler Warning – Game Journalism is Really Terrible

Recently there has been much ado about a Doom mod called Total Chaos – Overgrowth, thanks largely to the teaser video, which you can watch below:

It is a pretty good teaser, and the mod looks like it has potential. I enjoy the mood, the visuals, and the cited inspiration of STALKER.

What concerns me is the coverage of it. Kotaku titled it as such:

Doom “Mod” Makes The Game Look Very 21st Century

Rock Paper Shotgun titled it:

Astoundingly, Total Chaos Is A Doom II Mod

There seems to be doubt as to the term mod or the fact that it is Doom 2. The visuals, the result of artwork and post-processing, are incompatible in the minds of major game writers. Doom is a specific resolution and a specific setting. Surely this isn’t Doom. Yet it is. Yes it is using GZDoom for true mouselook (an actually major change considering how Doom fills a frame of data by not caring about vertical spaces beyond the current view) and many other features. But the project is still using WAD files (“Where’s All the Data”), the world is still composed of linedefs, sidedefs, and sectors. It is still a two-dimensional scene displayed with perspective and data tracked with a third dimension. Despite this, Kotaku doubted the use of the term mod (a Total Conversion is a more appropriate term, at least once they remove the player fall grunt) and Rock Paper Shotgun remarked on it as being astounding.

It looks great, it does. But it is a mod, and it isn’t astounding. It is a well scoped project playing to its strengths. Now if these were random internet comments, I could get past it a little. But these people are gatekeepers of information in gaming, and they might even call themselves journalist. Yet they haven’t the foggiest as to the basics of game development, or game technology. They don’t even understand what makes for game technology. They see pretty pictures and blurring, and suddenly it is advanced. Heaven forbid these people write for a car magazine, or they would give top ratings to everything with a flame paint job and a spoiler. Before you write about something, try to take five minutes to make sure you have some basic grasp of it. Read the wiki article on the Doom engine, it doesn’t take long and provides a great overview. Understand the differences between higher resolution textures, different rendering methods for that texture, and different types of world construction. If you don’t know even the basic fundamentals of how a game works beyond clicking PLAY in Steam or on your favorite console, if you aren’t comfortable with installing mods (not even making them) without using a self-unpacking installer, then perhaps you aren’t the best person to be writing about technical achievements in a release. Continue reading

Rock Paper Shotgun Yet Again

Rock Paper Shotgun would like to inform you that Call of Duty getting a third dedicated developer to the annual cycle, meaning each game has a three-year development cycle instead of two, a 50% increase in the scheduling budget, is worth mocking. They posit that this can be used to watch more Roland Emmerich films to do research on making monuments fall over. An interesting attempt at mockery, though I’m hard pressed to think of any scenes regarding a monument outside of Modern Warfare 2 and Modern Warfare 3. It also relies on the idea that the development primarily goes into the single player campaign, but you can commonly find people mocking the single player saying people only buy it for the multiplayer. Which is it?

Three hours earlier, Rock Paper Shotgun wanted to inform you of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive adding stickers. Yes, stickers. To your gun. Like a middle school trapper keeper. These posts were made by the same person, who is apparently severely lacking in self-awareness, or awareness of the games he is posting about.

We have a game that is developed by two (now three) studios, each one with their mechanical differences which shapes the gameplay and molds the audience who have their preferences across the releases. We also have a game that is developed by one studio, still relying on the same primary maps, releasing once in a while with iterative updates. But it has stickers!

It is fine to dislike something, but please, dislike it within the scope of things it actually does wrong. Especially when you are publicly writing about games.

You’ll Never Guess What’s In RPS’ CoD Coverage

Oversimplifications.

Things the genre has but only this franchise gets criticized for.

Reverse xenophobia.

Hoplophobia.

Franchise ignorance.

Genre ignorance.

Platform ignorance.

Individual release ignorance.

Misunderstandings of marketing schedules.

Double-standards for advertising.

Okay, I guess that is enough. It isn’t that Call of Duty isn’t worthy of critique or even lampooning, it has plenty of issues, its mechanics are far from perfect, its community leaves much to be desired, and it can be samey. But what of this separates it from similar games which get treated much more considerately? Dog puns and fish AI jokes? This is akin to reviewing Full Throttle on the basis of five o’clock shadow rather than the story. Ghosts has a rather different perk system, it has a strike package system, it has contextual leaning and smoother object traversal to keep the player flowing in a fight rather than going through clunky state changes. It has been stated the PC version is receiving higher quality assets than any of the console releases. Your character classes persist as AI while you are offline, earning XP which reduces the grind of the game. The single player abandons all safely established characters from the franchise, and yet none of this ever gets brought up. Instead people point and laugh at the action game having explosions and showing the most cinematic events in the trailer. Continue reading

ROTT Paper Shotgun

Rise of the Triad is being re-made by Interceptor Entertainment using the Unreal Engine. That directly isn’t the point of this post however, but I will include a courtesy embed of their excellent eighteen minute multiplayer trailer:

The point of this post is to comment on the Rock Paper Shotgun newspost about it. I won’t link to it because it is terrible, but also because they open their posts up with long winded attempts at humor to justify a clickthrough for a single video embed or screenshot. What gets me about it in particular though is the commentary. The focus on calling it old school, as if this is an amazing thing. Yes it is old school, it is a remake of a now 18 year old (by Full Version dates) game, of course it is. It is “blindingly, blitzingly, brutally fast” or, you know, normal amounts of fast. The movement speed matches the sub-genre.

Marveling at the capacity of speed in a game aside, the rest of the post is filled with fluff that seems like it could only be steeped in ignorance as to the game and the genre. Comments on the level variety assume that it is a case of silly over the top logic as to why it isn’t one setting. Games typically draw their multiplayer content from a vertical slice of the single player, it saves resources, and it ties the two components together. You see a castle, a military complex, and an underground lava base in the trailer, because the world of ROTT involves a castle being used for advanced paramilitary functions and also involves a lair centered around lava. It is all part of the game world, it isn’t strictly variety for some senseless appeal to “old school” styles.

(Also, first person shooters, be they “old school” or not, do this. As I said earlier, it saves resources and it draws connections – Quake’s deathmatch maps make for an almost pure microcosm of the single player.)

What is with the “DUDESHOOT MANKILL” comment? Have they not heard of a first person shooter before? You shoot, and you shoot things with the intent of killing them. Often the enemies are other humans, typically male, the protagonist is often male (though ROTT has two female characters to play as), and in multiplayer it is common for players to all depict the protagonists, thus you have in most scenarios men attempting to shoot other men in a game. Is RPS unfamiliar with the genre? Or multiplayer?

I think what gets me is the post is rife with padding for what is simply “Here, look at this” content, and it manages to use “old school” and link to an interview, without ever clearly delineating that they know it is a remake, or are particularly familiar with first person shooters. Don’t even get me started on the people who compare its speed to Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament. I enjoy those games, but they are thick molasses next to the early and mid-90’s shooters.

Diablo III is Better on PS4

Destructoid reports that the PlayStation 4 version of Diablo 3 will not have the Real Money Auction House, or DRM in general. It will be fully playable while offline. The Real Money Auction House was at least at one point used as the justification of the always online requirement, a requirement enforced by remotely executed game logic, turning your experience into one of playing OnLive but with your machine having to do the rendering. With that gone, PlayStation 4 users can experience the game as PC users had hoped to, in a responsive form.

Let us not forget that the Real Money Auction House does not bring necessarily new functionality to users, item trading for cash has been around much longer than Diablo 3, rather this loops Blizzard in on the activity. It is a feature that is primarily for an additional monetization loop, one that does not add any content to the game. Remember that PC users were restrained in both device and experience for the sake of this monetization scheme, and PS4 users will be receiving the game without such restraints. PC sales were insufficient for Blizzard, but PS4 sales are. Continue reading