In light of the recent Battlefront 2 trailer release I decided it would be good to re-hash Battlefront(2015). The TL;DR is that people are blinded by their nostalgia from Battlefront 2 in particular. I replayed Battlefront 2 on stream leading up to the release of this game. Battlefront 2 had no story to speak of. The entire campaign is a set of cut scenes amounting to essentially “Remember that battle they didn’t show in the movie? We were there!” followed by playing a bot match with the occasional objective. There was no story to speak of in Battlefront 2. The following is a review I wrote on Amazon’s feedback page in support of the game. I probably should have posted it here initially but I thought it would be most effective on Amazon. Here it is, unedited.
Posted: December 9, 2015
Don’t buy the anti-game hype from most of the other reviews. Many people are mad because the game didn’t meet their unrealistic expectations due to all the hype. Also make sure you are comparing launch numbers to launch numbers when comparing this with other games. While the two large map game modes do only have 4 maps there are 10 maps across all multiplayer game modes with many of the smaller game modes having 8 of those 10 maps available. There are some additional maps for Battles and Survival(horde mode) which stacks the deck further and arguably accounts for the content not given to a campaign. When compared with other modern shooters this is on par. For a 1:1 comparison consider the following launch time map counts BF Hardline 9 maps, COD Blops 3 12 maps, BF 4 10 maps, BF 3 9 maps, COD AW 8 maps. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.
I’m sure there are going to be hundreds of reviews of the Battlefield Hardline Beta now that it’s in the open. I wanted to share a perspective that is a little bit different. I had the displeasure of taking part in the Alpha or Private Beta. I don’t recall which it was but I’m going to go with Alpha and you’ll see why below. This allows me to do a little then and now analysis. Lets dive in shall we?
The Battlefield Hardline Alpha, to put it bluntly was an ugly mess. It looked like they used the older Frostbite 2 engine instead of 3. The cops and robbers character models and cars looked like they were bought cheap off of Turbo Squid or some other cheap pre-fab site. The weapons were copy/paste out of BF3 or 4 and frankly so were the game modes for the most part. The only saving grace of that experience was the new game mode, who’s name I don’t recall, added where each team had an armored car on each side of the map and it was a game of attack and defense to see who had the most cash in their truck at the end of the game. I’m sure you can imagine that over all I wasn’t thrilled.
So this brings us to today and the now open beta of Battlefield Hardline.
As promised I spent some more time with the Defiance beta on PlayStation 3. For those who may not know Defiance is a Third Person Shooter MMO on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game is part of some form of over arching story/universe being constructed to go along with Syfy’s (pronounced “sifee”?) television show of the same name.
In my last post on the subject I hadn’t had a very good experience with the game. This time around it’s gotten a bit better. You eventually work your way out in to the open world as you tend to do with most MMOs. This helped the situation greatly. Several quest lines opened up, some items like an ATV were handed over and the game got a bit more entertaining. Sadly the voice acting and facial animations through out extend not a hint of humanity or serve to draw you in emotionally. The game is not terrible but it’s not great. It’s what most would call mediocre. The shooting mechanics are pretty solid and there seem to be plenty of challenges, objectives and creatures dotting the landscape to keep you busy. Thats really about the extent of it. If there weren’t better MMOs available this game would be just fine. But as it is it has to contend with the likes of WoW, Guild Wars 2 and PlanetSide 2. I don’t see this game going any where unless they manage to slap a thick layer of polish on whats in this beta or the TV show is able to draw people deeply in to the universe it’s trying to create.
I think this video sums up the experience nicely.
The Gaming Appendix has released Episode 2. This episode we covered Rage and League of Legends. Watch the video or go to The Gaming Appendix website for the audio version and RSS feed.
This week marks a potentially historic day for the internet. Today I’m releasing the very first episode of “The Gaming Appendix” podcast who’s aim it is to talk about games past and what they turned out to be post patches, DLC and general reception. The first episode is actually covering more recent games Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and Halo 4 along with board games Settlers of Catan and Small World. Hit up the libsyn.com page for now to subscribe to the podcast. I plan to do it bi-monthly currently and will post when I work out the exact schedule.
In case you want to give it a listen before subscribing here is a direct link to the mp3.
On the eve of Rockstar’s latest game release LA Noire I ponder the concept of the uncanny valley and I wonder if it’s moving. For those not in the know here is a little excerpt from the wikipedia article.
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of robotics which holds that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost, but not perfectly, like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The “valley” in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot’s lifelikeness.
They busted out a pretty slick graph as well that shows where certain things fall on the scale of awkwardness. Have a look.
So what does all this have to do with LA Noire? LA Noire is sporting new technology that maps faces to 3D models in a level of detail never seen before. This maps real performances from actors in to the 3D world and delivers a much more convincing, human, performance in to the game. Check this video of the technology in action. (more…)
|Section 8 Prejudice Wallpaper
Section 8 is a game by Timegate Studios featuring first person shooting and a host of innovative and different game play mechanics. Sadly this fact was not clearly communicated and was thus lost on the general public. Most, I think, came looking for a PC version of a Halo experience. What they got was a game so different it required a learning curve to great for the typical Halo player to handle. PC gaming vetreans who have mastered the learning curve behind a game like Starsiege: Tribes had little problem getting in to the game but only after spending some time learning and doing some reading on forums to discover the pieces left out of the game tutorials.
The biggest detractor wasn’t any one game mechanic but rather a mentality. One that Halo and Call of Duty fans have had to deal with very little until recent itterations of those games. That being management. Section 8 required you to passively manage your armor configuration, weapons load out and even your spawn location on the map. Things that see limited use, and some times don’t appear at all on other games. Then once you are “on the ground” you have to manage not just shields but your movement power and timing while you move. As well you need to manage your weapon choices as you go along. Plasma isn’t useful against a physically heavy armored targets where physical rounds are more effective and vice versa for lightly armored heavily shielded targets. Once you pile on item and mission requests the game becomes a rough learning curve and a much more tactical experience.
Unfortunately it appeared Timegate’s dev team did not effectively communicate to their PR firm/department the nature of the game and it was advertised in the same manor as other pick up and shoot FPS games. So when the masses arrived they found they were shooting their shielded opponent with full gattling magazines and doing little damange which became frustrating so they left declaring Section 8 a terrible game. If only they knew you needed to drop the enemies shields first with plasma based weapons before inflicting the physical damage.
I played Section 8 and loved it while it lasted. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long with both the PC and PS3 console versions dwindling to almost nothing with in a year. I did in fact buy it twice, once on PC and once on PS3 and I wager folks like me are the reason Timegate has been able to make another game. They do say they’ve made many changes to the new game. Their marketing doesnt look much different so here’s to hoping their tutorial systems are better and that they haven’t stripped the game entirely of it’s tacticle essence that was so amazing the first go around.