2015 Couch Multiplayer Suggestions For Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving usually means family gatherings, and when I was a kid that usually meant whole afternoons of video games with cousins or close friends. It was only recently that I looked back and noticed the association of that day with local multiplayer gaming, which has sort of been on the wane for big releases for a while now. That’s why every Thanksgiving now I like to look up what the latest good local multiplayer games are. Last year I think I held up the console version of Diablo III as the main option for those who don’t own a Nintendo console. Continue reading

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PS2 Emulation And PSX 2015 Speculation


For two years now I’ve been talking about the possibility of Sony bringing original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games to the PS4 through software emulation. Now Sony has pretty much confirmed it for PS2 games. It’s easy to speculate that we’ll get the details at PlayStation Experience 2015 on December 5th. Continue reading

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Why So Many People Put Up With Bethesda’s Bugs

The chatter around Fallout 4’s release has reached the same point of controversy as the last couple of Bethesda’s games (as well as Obsidian’s New Vegas which ran on Bethesda’s tech) — their generally buggy and unstable nature. Understandably, some people are baffled as to how Skyrim and Fallout 4 can be so popular while being so buggy, especially while other high-profile games get chewed out for their stability problems.

Wired went ahead and ran a story adamantly defending Bethesda and all its bugs. I think it makes some good points but I stop short of agreeing with it 100 percent. The main point that counts and the main reason I continue to enjoy Fallout 4 despite its stability issues is due to how unique Bethesda’s games are. Continue reading

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What’s The Best Way To Port A Game From PC To Console?


Two oddities of 2015 have been the enhanced versions of Divinity Original Sin and Wasteland 2. Both are hailed as returns to the old school traditional computer RPG, but have gotten console versions. Beyond the interest in seeing how the console audience would respond to such games, it’s kind of nice seeing their developers put proper commitment into carefully converting these games for play on controllers.

PC games, among them PC RPGs, have been ported to consoles for decades, but from what I can tell most of the time the conversion is either somewhat sloppy or a completely different game. What prompted this look back for me was an article Gamasutra just ran on how Larian Studios went about making the console user interface and control scheme for Original Sin. I haven’t played it or Wasteland, nor have I actually played most of the games I’m going to write about so I’m not really the person to look deep into this issue right now, but I still think it’s worth bringing up. Continue reading

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The Final Gaps In Japanese PC Support


With the announcement of a PC port of the original Disgaea, Nippon Ichi Software joins the growing list of Japanese publishers and developers willing to port their games to PC (mostly through Steam). It also further shrinks the list of Japanese companies that have yet to do so. Continue reading

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Fallout 4’s Early-Game Pacing Is A Huge shift From What Should Be Bethesda’s Forte.


A few hours into Fallout 4 I have one general issue with it that none of the reviews I read touched on. It’s a bit of what I said I was afraid would happen in a previous post. The opening hours of Fallout 4 in my opinion run completely counter to what Bethesda does best and what is most unique to that developer… even if the result isn’t necessarily a bad game.

Basically, Fallout 4’s beginning feels paced like an action game and not like an RPG. I’m not specifically talking about the combat, but rather what you do and encounter when starting out. It feels very odd compared to Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. In addition to this, how Bethesda has handled Fallout 4’s player character launches it headfirst into the main quest urgency problem so many open-world RPGs have while also hampering player agency a bit. Continue reading

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Fallout 4’s Physical PC Version Is Unusual And Inconvenient

Ever since that bit of news about the physical PC editions of Fallout 4 came out I was worried as to what would actually come in the box. According to multiple people who have that box now, it’s even worse than I imagined, a pretty surprising move by Bethesda Game Studios, and a sloppy attempt at blocking piracy that once again only hurts the legitimate customer.

Through twitter, a few weeks ago Bethesda noted that Fallout 4 on PC would require users to download at least some amount of data from Steam even if they bought the retail version, as an extra precaution against piracy. The problem is if you look at all the stories reporting on this and the tweets themselves, they’re really vague about the fine details. Bethesda never said how much of the game would be in the box and how much was essentially digital-only. I had to wait until several people on reddit and the Steam forums confirmed Fallout 4 only comes on one DVD-ROM containing about five gigs of the game, requiring you to download the remaining 19 GB. This is almost as bad as when the physical PC version of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain came with only a Steam install file printed on a disc. I’ve seen a lot of comments from people confused about how physical PC games are usually packaged these days and how measures like this inconvenience people, so let me explain for a bit. Continue reading

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What I Really Want Out Of Fallout 4


So I’ve been reading the reviews of Fallout 4, watching a few videos (but not enough to spoil the whole game), and checking out the tech teardowns. They all talk about how much there is to explore in the game, how average the graphics look, how the character building system works, and a lot of other qualities you’d expect to hear about a new release. I kind of just glazed over it all because they spend almost no time talking about the real reason I’m anticipating Fallout 4 — it is basically going to be the first immersive simulator game released on this generation of hardware.

I have made several other posts over the last year or so trying to explain what that term means. In the last one I laid out what I think Bethesda’s games are best at, and it’s this which actually has me anticipating Fallout 4. If you don’t want to read those links, in short, Bethesda’s games, for all their bugs and technical ugliness, provide a kind of gameplay sandbox almost no one else does these days. Continue reading

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Tactical RPG Musings Part Three: Stella Glow And Mercenaries Saga 2 Demos


It seems I was never really the only person wondering what happened to tactical role playing games on portable systems — why we never got a new Final Fantasy Tactics or something like that on the 3DS or Vita. The Vita got a new Disgaea game sure, and I think the 3DS got ports of the Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor (is that the right “Devil” title?) games, but it’s nothing like the growth the subgenre saw on the DS and PSP. I spent a little time this week playing demos for a couple more I didn’t realize were on the 3DS that at east try to satiate some of the thirst. Continue reading

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Planet-Searching In Space Engine


Despite not really being a “game” at this stage, Space Engine has become probably one of my “most played games” of 2015 since installing it earlier this year. It’s taken me a while, but I’ve been slowly learning to use its interface to navigate its star systems, and having a lot of fun while doing so. It’s also probably the first time I’ve gotten truly involved with anything resembling those sandbox games without objectives, which are all the rage today. Continue reading

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