Tag Archives: tactical shooter

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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Rainbow Six Siege And My Issues With Online Shooters

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I decided I was done with player versus player games quite a while ago, but Rainbow Six Siege was getting so much good word of mouth I had to at least rent it for a few hours. That word suggested it might be the kind of game I’ve been looking for to possibly get me back into PvP shooters. I don’t have PlayStation Plus but I was under the impression the game had some modes that could be played against AI opponents. To be truthful I didn’t have enough time to take a full tour of that part of the game, and I’m not sure it gives a good impression of whether normal multiplayer would be enjoyable. Continue reading

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Assault On Saint-George Airstrip: An ArmA 3 Story

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The mission I just completed in ArmA 3’s Dynamic Recon Ops mod should make a nice send-off as I put the game down for a while. I haven’t gotten bored with ArmA 3. Far from it — it’s starting to suck my time away from other games. After probably more than 250 hours I need to rip myself away from it. Continue reading

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ArmA III: Dynamic Recon Ops Has Been Improving

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Since I wrote about it in July, the ArmA III mod “Dynamic Recon Ops” continues to develop, adding features and squashing bugs. It was already really fun then, but now has become a far more functional and content-rich sandbox within ArmA’s existing sandbox. Continue reading

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Up-And-Comig ArmA 3 Mod: Dynamic Recon Ops

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Operation Swampforce had me leading a team of three AI recon soldiers into a lumber mill just north of the town of Berezino to assassinate an officer, blow up a storehouse, and grab some intel. Overall the mission went off without anything too disastrous happening, but I did have to call some audibles which put the team into some pretty serious gunfights. This all came out of an ArmA 3 mod based on random generation.

A lot of ArmA 3 mods rely on randomly throwing a bunch of factors together, often with mixed results. This game is the kind of simulator with a bunch of systems that react to each other so dynamically that just tossing them all together in a bunch of random ways: enemy placement, objective generation, Bohemia Interactive’s large and dense maps, can create some legitimately cool situations. The recently released “Dynamic Recon Ops” from mbrdmn is the most successful attempt at this I’ve seen yet, and it’s because it seems to take a more measured approach to random generation. Continue reading

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ArmA 3 Apex Impressions Part Two

arma3_2016_07_22_19_44_29_687So I’ve finished the main campaign that came with the ArmA 3 expansion, Apex, after putting down some quick words about it. Other than a pretty good write-up from Kotaku, I don’t see much critique of the expansion coming from major websites. Continue reading

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ArmA 3 Apex Quick First Impressions

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It doesn’t look like the big websites are going to review the new Apex expansion for ArmA 3— most of them except the PC-focused sites haven’t even really covered how drastically ArmA 3 has changed since its initial launch in 2013. I’m definitely not the most hardcore ArmA player despite my over 200 hours on the game, but I thought I’d at least lay down some quick impressions after a couple missions, one official and one from a mod. Continue reading

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Intersteallar Marines is that endangered project I want to see succeed.

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I like to think I lean a bit on the cynical side when it comes to Steam Early Access. I personally don’t like to buy and play games until they’re feature-complete. But, I gotta say, Interstellar Marines may have got me with its free week and accompanying $7 sale.

It still feels like it’s in an extremely pre-alpha state despite having a very long, troubled development cycle. Despite that, I’m finding what’s already in place difficult to put down. I should warn any prospective buyers though that this could be entirely due to my own personal taste in first-person shooters, a taste that’s gone unsatisfied for years. If you have the same yearning for certain kinds of first person action however, you might develop a similar attachment to this game. Continue reading

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In ArmA You Are Not The Only Hero

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After finishing up (roughly) ArmA III’s main campaign, I feel I must observe possibly the last subject of peculiarity that separates this game’s singleplayer modes from those of others. Generally speaking, Bohemia Interactive’s military games constantly impress a feeling of smallness upon players, and some people can’t figure out if that’s good or bad.

If you read some reviews of ArmA III’s campaign from places like GameSpot or Rock Paper Shotgun, some note that its final chapter — titled “Win,” persistently makes the player feel like a tiny cog within a massive system. On one level or another this actually happens throughout the entirety of singleplayer ArmA II and ArmA III. Basically, there are many times where the player actually has very little impact on the flow of the game, and much of the time the game is often essentially running itself.

On the one hand, it’s a spectacle to behold as an achievement of video game technology, but on the other hand, how much are you really playing the game? In the ArmA III campaign’s final battles, you see dozens of non-player characters fighting each other in massive dynamic setups that play out differently each time you load the game. In the campaign’s first chapter you’re one guy taking unscripted orders from an AI squad leader, and you have one small role among many other characters. In the middle chapter when you command a squad you’re still just one guy in that squad. In Call of Duty other characters are just background scenery and ambience, but in ArmA they are indeed contributing to the fight. The problem with this is a lot of the time the AI in ArmA is quite capable of winning the battle on its own.

In my experience in ArmA III, having personally shot even five enemies over the course of a mission is a lot. There are usually many more, but most of them were taken out by my squad mates, or even other friendly squads in the area. This goes into overdrive during “Win” because you’re fighting alongside friendly tanks, helicopters, and bombers (although you’re often the one to call them in). At that stage it becomes an armor-level war, and as a single foot soldier there’s only so much you can do.

Where this feeling of smallness is most acute is in ArmA II’s final campaign mission. There, the game turns into a real-time strategy affair where if you don’t choose to command your side, you turn into just one unit in a gigantic systemic battle involving hundreds of NPCs. You really don’t even get to see most of the fighting even though it’s a real “game” that can be won or lost and not just ambience.

Towards the end of that battle I headed to the enemy side’s last stronghold where the friendly commander was making the final push, and realized how little impact my one squad had on the proceedings. All I could really do was watch in awe as each side threw a wave of APCs at the other.

To understand why this happens you probably need to understand that ArmA’s singleplayer content is really just an extension of its multiplayer. In its essence ArmA is supposed to be played by dozens of hundreds of players organizing against each other, each one indeed a small cog in the overall operation.

ArmA’s “Warfare” mode, which ArmA II’s final mission emulates, is supposed to be a hybrid between an RTS and a first person shooter, simulating an entire chain of command. Other games have tried to do something similar but not been very successful. I think it works in ArmA for two reasons: 1) Orders from on high aren’t received as actual strict orders, but more as objectives to be completed. When the commander sends orders down to squad leaders, he’s not telling them exactly how to move and act, but rather giving them suggestions and then trusting them to do their jobs. The same relationship exists between squad leaders and grunts. This is true both in multiplayer and singleplayer with the AI. 2) ArmA has nailed a particular audience instead of going for the mainstream. As I understand it much of that audience consists of actual military personnel who sometimes use ArmA to simulate exercises.

In light of this, playing singleplayer ArmA is kind of like playing a multiplayer game with bots, except Bohemia added a storyline. The bots are actually affecting the flow of the game, and even though you’re the only human involved, you’re not really the only “player.”

BULLETS:

  • Tried this visual novel compilation fighting game called AquaPazza real quick. What struck me the most about it is how liberally it uses animation in its presentation that looks pretty much indistinguishable from an actual anime show. It seems modern gaming hardware has finally allowed games based on anime to, well, actually look like anime.
  • 2014 Evo moments. https://t.co/OQSolL3OXI
  • The Legend of Zelda – 31 – The Bow feedly.com/e/887AXdFF
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Why You Should Try NeoTokyo

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I was gonna blog about something else today — probably something decidedly American, but Steam blindsided me and finally decided to put one of my favorite lesser-known multiplayer shooters up for download. That game is NeoTokyo, something with a much more Japanese flavor.

Basically, this Source engine mod is Counter-Strike (or maybe Insurgency) meets Ghost in the Shell. It’s a very similar brand of round-based tactical shooter gameplay but with a heavy cyberpunk theme. It employs high lethality with no respawns (along with things like lean and ironsights) and is class-based. The game started out with a few maps back in 2009 but last year developer Studio Radi-8 upped the number to around 16.

Since its original release NeoTokyo has been free for owners of pretty much any of the Half-Life 2 games. I think it switched over to the standalone 2013 SDK base last year though so it might be totally free now. Problem is, the game’s servers have been dead for months. Ever since I saw the game show up on Greenlight I’ve hoped it would make it to the actual list of Steam games so it could get some real exposure.

Gameplay-wise the two main cyberpunk elements are the temporary stealth cloak which most players get, and the game’s main mode — capture the cyber brain. It’s pretty much capture the flag except the player who grabs the cyber brain can see everyone’s locations through walls in real time and is expected to relay that information to teammates. I’ve seen that completely change the pace of a battle.

Because of the high lethality and lack of respawns, people playing NeoTokyo pretty much automatically try to behave much more tactfully than they might in Call of Duty (it might just be people transplanting their CS skills). Also, rounds can very quickly turn into essentially team deathmatch since eliminating the opposing team also nets a win. This happens very often in games of 2-on-2 or less. Let me tell you, that’s been some of the most tense TDM I’ve experienced.

NeoTokyo’s classes are Recon, Assault, and Support, ranking in that order in progression from mobility to strength. Recon players get a long cloak, unlimited sprint, and night vision. Assault players get better armor and motion vision. Support players get the most armor and thermal vision, but no cloak. The game also employs an escalation system with its weapons.

There are some other interesting bits about the way this game plays. For instance, manually reloading before a clip is spent will actually throw away the remaining rounds in that clip. The game also advises players to consider surrounding lighting and surfaces when using the stealth cloak.

The biggest cyberpunk element of NeoTokyo is of course it’s art direction and overall theme. One of the best parts about the game is its soundtrack (iTunes link) which oddly almost never appears in the game at all. Part of the reason the game is free is probably because its maps are littered with licensed Japanese imagery like posters of anime and Japanese adult models. You’d think it would come off as looking like just another otaku game but in my opinion it works, likely because the game lifts primarily off of GitS and Akira as opposed to today’s “kawai” anime.

Oddly, NeoTokyo has managed to remain one of my central multiplayer shooters over the last couple years whenever I could actually find anyone to play it with. It’s been more strangely addicting to me than most AAA multiplayer games. I just hope the official Steam release resuscitates the servers.

BULLETS:

  • http://t.co/sz8i6ZhNhB The part of this article that really got me was the quote from Hiroshi Yamauchi and Miyamoto’s interpretation of it.
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