What Q1 2017 Means, And Zelda’s Use Of Geography

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My time over the last few weeks has been taken up by Zelda and a few other relatively big things going on in my life. I guess I can take a moment though to at least say something about my time with Zelda and look back at what has been an uncommonly good first quarter of the year in video games.

It almost feels like a fall release schedule in that there has simply been too much new stuff for any one person to play thoroughly, between Gravity Rush 2Yakuza 0Resident Evil 7NiohNier: AutomataHorizon: Zero DawnMass Effect: Andromeda, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s interesting to look at though is that it has been an uncommonly good quarter for console games. Of what I mentioned, only RE7, Nier, and Andromeda have PC versions. If I’d been able to play these games I would have actually gotten some use out of my consoles. Possibly more important though is that this quarter likely signifies 2017 as sort of the year Japanese console games came back. Continue reading

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My Reactions To Different Weapon Durability Systems

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Undoubtedly the most divisive feature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been its weapon degradation system. The discussion over it has gotten me looking back at how I’ve reacted to weapon degradation in previous games only to find it hasn’t been a uniform reaction at all.

In short, weapon degradation is one of those things that in the context of game design is just a tool to be used in different ways. Different developers may use it to different effects for different kinds of games. Like open-worlds in general or quick-time events or whatever else, I don’t believe weapon degradation is universally good or bad. Continue reading

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The Difference Between PS4, Xbox One, and Switch 1st Party Games

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Quarter one of 2017 has been pretty good for first party exclusive console games, particularly from Sony but also for Nintendo if you count one incredible game. In the midst of this I’ve also heard a lot of talk that one reason Microsoft is behind Sony in console sales is because its lineup of exclusives is weaker. What’s interesting is if you look at the first party lineups of each console manufacturer you see different strategies or a preference for games with different kinds of business models. Continue reading

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What Separates Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Horizon: Zero Dawn From Other Games?

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With lots of hype comes lots of scrutiny. As of this writing I haven’t touched either Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn, and before I (or you) do I think it would be good to examine that scrutiny and think about what each game needs to do to rise above it. Continue reading

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Can Ghost Recon Wildlands Be The Next Step In Mainstream Open-World Games? [Open Beta Impressions]

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I’m not one for open betas but Ghost Recon Wildlands is one game I’ve been cautiously optimistic about pretty much since Ubisoft first revealed it at E3 2015. I have high hopes for it, for what it could mean for open-world games going forward. As of this writing I’ve only tried the beta for a few hours but I think the game accomplishes some key things I want to see in more games, even if this game doesn’t nail everything perfectly in the end. Continue reading

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Mirror’s Edge Catalyst And Quality VS Quantity In AAA Games

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I finally finished Mirror’s Edge Catalyst — I figured I needed to go ahead and clear the space from my SSD. It’s been out for like half a year but I think the game’s strengths and weaknesses are still pretty relevant in discussions about more recent and soon-to-come games. Specifically, it’s another example of what can help or hurt the design of an open-world game, or really any game positioned to be a blockbuster. Continue reading

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Nintendo Switch: Non-Gaming Software Isn’t Detrimental To Games

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When it came to light that the Nintendo Switch won’t have a web browser on day one I imagine some people probably started asking if it even really needs one. It’s an issue that neatly separates more hardcore gamers from general users.

I’ll go ahead and admit I’ve very seldom used the web browsers on my game consoles, but I have used them. I have a phone with a web browser and I have a full-blown Windows PC hooked up to my television, so I have very little use for web browsers in say, my PlayStation or my Nintendo machine. That said, I can’t agree with people who complain about too much non-gaming software on game consoles. Continue reading

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For Anyone Still Curious About Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered (The Campaign)

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DISCLAIMER: Not caring that much about multiplayer shooters these days, I’m just talking about the campaign right now. Plus, I played this game on PC, and the PC multiplayer base for Call of Duty has been vanishing for years now, probably due to much more competition for multiplayer shooters existing on PC compared to consoles (Counter-Strike for instance).

I imagine since Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered is still as of this writing only available as part of the $80 USD Infinite Warfare Legacy Edition a lot of people possibly interested in playing it haven’t hopped on yet. I got it as a gift some time ago and finally found the time to go through the campaign after also taking another run through the original 2007 version (in 4K, modern PCs can do that for games that old). Despite the visual overhaul Infinity Ward and Raven Software (and a few other teams I think) put into this remaster already having been apparent in pre-release videos, it was still surprising and dramatic enough to draw me back into the campaign just as much as I had been almost 10 years ago.

Modern Warfare Remastered is dope both because the original Call of Duty 4 is still dope and because it took the right balance between an extensive visual enhancement and faithfulness to the original game. Continue reading

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The Only 5 Good Reasons To Choose Console Gaming Over PC

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A few interesting announcements have come about in PC gaming this week. Namco announced two of its upcoming games which previously bolstered the PS4’s library of exclusives in my view — Ni No Kuni II and Ace Combat 7, are now headed to PC. A smaller announcement of interest is that MSI at CES announced an upgraded version of its Trident PC-in-a-console-box. I think this is as good a time as any to try to sort through the reasons a lot of people still pick console gaming over PC gaming despite how much the differences between the two sides of gaming have shifted in recent years.

I’m not really writing this to say console gamers are wrong or that PC is objectively better. What I want to lay out is that there are legitimate reasons to choose a console as your primary platform over PC, and then there are outright myths made of a combination of outdated information and a bit of undue fear. I want to at least begin to separate the two. Continue reading

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On Nioh: Nobody Ever Make RPGs About Feudal Japan

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I didn’t get a PlayStation 4 until after the original alpha demo for Team Ninja’s Nioh had expired, and also couldn’t get in on the beta demo in time, so this “Last Chance Trial” was the first time I got to check the game out. Aside from the quality of the game itself, I just need to say I’m glad somebody based a deep role playing game on feudal Japan. Continue reading

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