NWN2: MotB And The Witcher

November 8, 2007

The WitcherWith all the great console games coming out this holiday season, it’s easy to overlook two small releases from Atari which haven’t received much face time on ad banners compared to some of the big games. Due to my extreme admiration for PC gaming, I have been following both these titles since they were first reported. Finally within the last month, both of them found their way onto my PC. Mask of the Betrayer requires the original Neverwinter Nights 2 game to play while The Witcher is its own game. While they are both excellent games, they are also very different from each other while using the same engine. It’ll make more sense as you read on.

Like I mentioned above, both games are published by Atari and they use some form of Bioware’s Aurora Engine to create the visuals. They are both RPGs with complex story-driven plots and isometic cameras. However for enthusiasts of a more down-to-earth camera, they both over an OTS (over the shoulder) camera mode to be more close to the action. So why did I mention both of these games? It’s because they’re different, and they both try to shift the focus of modern RPGs from being a happy-go-lucky good guy to one of moral ambiguity.

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When You Assume…

November 5, 2007

Bladestorm BoxBack to our favorite gaming pseudo-news site, Kotaku has posted the games being released this week. Oh yes we pick on them so, but none of you can tell me they don’t deserve it. One entry in particular caught our eye, and I’ll reproduce below for you:

Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War (X360, PS3)
Think Dynasty Warriors in medieval Europe.

Well obviously, someone didn’t play the demo. I know the grisly sight of the barkeep is enough to turn even the most stout of hearts away, but even the two minutes spent in the tutorial can tell you this isn’t just another button mashing Dynasty Warriors clone.

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Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbow Six Part 1

October 25, 2007

LogoThe “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” series began in 1998 as a Windows PC game developed by Red Storm Entertainment, called “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six,” loosely based on a then incomplete book called Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. Stop me if I’m going too fast. In an time where games like Quake 2 and Half-Life had you shooting aliens, robots and rooms full of explosive barrels; Rainbow Six offered something different: realism, planning, strategy, and teamwork. These key elements were passed down, unscathed and in some cases improved, to the two sequels that followed: Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 2: Rogue Spear and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield (seriously who comes up with these ridiculously long names). All seemed good for the series until. . . . Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown.

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Refurbished Xbox 360?

October 17, 2007

I think I should clarify.  It seems Microsoft does not support refurbished Xbox 360s unless you purchased one from them. If your Xbox 360 has been refurbished by another retailer or repair shop, then that shop would be the ones to check for warranty information unless otherwise specified.  When purchasing a refurbished Xbox 360, make sure to check the warranty and make certain Microsoft will support the machine.

So earlier today, Tiger Direct sent me this gem of an offer via e-mail. It looks like a $280 refurbished Xbox 360 Premium system. Look good so far? Then you scroll down to the specs and notice there’s no HDMI. It implicitly states the system can only output up to 1080i. So maybe that’s not too much of a problem since your TV can’t output in 1080p anyhow. After you scroll down a little further, you notice the warranty. Now I’m sure 360s don’t start bursting into flames every minute, but isn’t 2 months a little short for something known for overheating issues? The consoles were probably refurbished by the group offering the warranty, so they might not even have the heatsinks. Overall, my respect for Tiger Direct is still negligent.


Fanboys Explained Using Sports

October 15, 2007

Angry MobOddly enough, this blog has been around for a week now and we haven’t received any angry e-mails. Obviously we’re not doing a good enough job of pissing you off. So, Game Reaver presents an exclusive look into what fanboys are made of. If you don’t agree with us, call 911 and tell them we hurt your feelings. Remember kids, police dispatchers love receiving collect calls.

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Nintendo Wants Hardcore Games

October 12, 2007

So today Kotaku writes about Nintendo trying to attract more hardcore gamers once again. Many hardcore gamers (us included) believe the Wii is not capable of producing complex calculations needed for physics and next-gen graphics. The other thing is it seems very costly for Nintendo to try and capture shares of the hardcore gaming market where Sony and Microsoft are competing fiercely in.

It just doesn’t make sense when you think about it. The hardcore market is very niche and fickle. We can only imagine how much they paid or promised in licensing to acquire the exclusive for Monster Hunter 3. That is money better spent funding indie developers and making more casual games more to Wii’s style. I think Nintendo is starting to lose their vision. Sure they’ve always been seen as weak in the eyes of hardcore gamers. The one big title for hardcore fans was Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and it was delayed. But does Nintendo really need to focus on and plug up this shortcoming? I really don’t think so.

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The Difficult, The Frustrating, And The Downright Cheap

October 11, 2007

Visualization of a cheap AI…

I’m sure you can guess what this post is about: AI. In modern games, the AI of enemies, allies and NPCs are very important to gameplay. Some games have done it right, some games have tried their best, and there are those games which cut corners on one of the most vital parts of today’s games. All three concepts are after the same goal. That is, to provide a level of challenge for the player as a ways of entertainment. However, the means for each of the three to challenge the player differs.

IBM’s Deep BlueWhat does it really mean for something to be difficult? I believe true difficulty comes from a well written AI. Sometimes it may feel frustrating, but it should never feel cheap. A game is difficult when the enemy provides a challenge, yet is still bound by the same rules and skill set as the player. This proves a daunting task for many developers. Computers – and therefore AI – are excellent at logic and conditionals, yet they do not adapt well to situations not prearranged in their program. In other words, if a situation should arise where the AI is not programmed for, then it will be unable to form an effective strategy. The root of this problem lies in duplicating the higher functions of the human brain. The brain is just an organ which produces electrical and chemical signals. However, the mind is more than just the sum of its parts. Our mind is a complex entity not completely understood. With it, we can form complex thoughts such as beliefs, theories, strategies and attain awareness, not just of ourselves, but of our surroundings, the world and the universe. This is what limits AI in any game. As any competitive game can show, the most skilled player easily triumphs over even the hardest AI levels. Therefore until we can fully understand our mind, the true challenge in any game will be from a fellow player.

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