The long-awaited Playstation 4 space exploration title No Man’s Sky finally released this month, and while some are enjoying the game, its overall reception hasn’t been pretty. In its current state, the game is a bit of a buggy mess, with many PS4 users (and even more PC users) reporting frequent game crashes and, occasionally, needing to restart the game from the beginning to get past issues. Bugs at launch alone wouldn’t be especially noteworthy in today’s release-first-patch-later publishing culture, but No Man’s Sky has also failed to meet most gamers’ expectations. Many were expecting a practically infinite world full of things to do, but found themselves repeating the same boring tasks over and over again for dozens of hours, until they reached the center of the galaxy and (mild spoilers) essentially got to do it all over again.
For many, it’s disappointing. For others (*cough*me*cough*) it was inevitable from the start. Hello Games, the independent development team that created No Man’s Sky, is made up of 15 employees. Sure, they may have created an algorithm that mixed and matched a number of elements and created 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets (allegedly), but that doesn’t mean that said planets are wholly unique, nor does it say how many different variables can go into the flora and fauna of the game. And even if they created hundreds of variables for the planets and lifeforms that inhabit them, after a dozen hours or so, you’re going to be looking at various mashups of things that you’ve already seen.
Continue reading Who’s To Blame For High Expectations?
The best horror movie of the last week has been the Republican National Convention. The event pushed the narrative that we are all part of a huge battle between the “real” Americans and…well, everybody else. There are the Muslims who supposedly hate us, the immigrants and criminals who are more prevalent than ever (or at least it “feels” that way, which New Gingrich says is more important than facts), and the dastardly liberals and their Lucifer-following ways. It all painted a picture of a society on the brink of collapse, unless an orange, toupeed “blue-collar billionaire” can come to our rescue.
And yet, at the same time, another gathering suggested that maybe all of the above blustering is a crock of shit. The San Diego Comic Con kicked off on the night of July 20th, just as the Republican National Convention was winding down. The massive convention center south of San Diego’s Gaslamp District flooded with an irresponsibly large body of fans, all of whom had happily made their pilgrimage to the event.
Continue reading Dueling Conventions of Love and Hate: Comic Con vs The Republican National Convention
The strange thing about E3, the biggest video game show on the planet, is how little a platform’s lineup actually matters. On paper, Playstation 4 fans are in a bit of a rough patch, as only one of its major releases is actually slated to release this year. However, Sony not only showed off a number of future titles at their show, they also managed to make those presentations stellar. By innovating and surprising audiences, Sony walked away from E3 as victors, even in the face of a competitor with two new consoles and several big releases over the next calendar year.
It’s not that Sony’s games were completely unexpected. We’ve all known for some time that a new God of War was in the works, for instance, and it was well known that Kojima’s new company was developing for Sony and that Bend was working on their first console release. Even the biggest surprise of the night, a Playstation-exclusive Spider-Man game being developed by Insomniac, had been rumored in previous weeks and made sense given Sony’s ownership of the film properties. But the show was focused specifically on the type of material that fans wanted to see. There was no long aside about a dancing game, or a movie adaptation, or multimedia capabilities. Sony wanted to make sure we were excited about the games we would be playing in the future.
Continue reading E3 and the Art of the Press Conference
In case you’ve missed all of the news and rumors so far, here’s the gist of the situation with the Playstation Neo. Sony is reportedly working on a new version of the Playstation 4, with improved CPU and GPU components. In theory, this console will be able to handle 4K video output and VR gaming more capably than the current version. However, the new system’s improvements will not be relegated only to these particular functions. Starting in October, all Playstation 4 games will be REQUIRED to have a “Neo” mode, with improved resolution, visual effects, and framerate beyond what the original Playstation 4 can provide.
As you might expect, this has caused something of an uproar in the Playstation community. The PS4 has sold roughly 40 million units to date. That’s a lot of owners who are now seeing their highest-end console as obsolete. Of course, in Sony’s supposed documentation, they insist that this is not the case. The Playstation Neo is meant to coexist with the base-PS4 unit, with all games playable on both consoles, just better on the Neo.
Continue reading Why the Playstation Neo is Bad News
It’s been a terrific year for video games. The current-gen consoles finally have enough of an install base to warrant dedicated AAA game development, so we’re starting to see some really impressive-looking titles like The Witcher 3, Star Wars Battlefront, and Bloodborne. Meanwhile, despite all the nay-saying that occurred about the PC’s coming obsolescence in the early-2010s, the PC has proven to be the most enduring gaming platform of all, still capable of pumping out visuals that even the new consoles can’t handle.
Aside from visual improvements, 2015 continues the trend of huge, 40-hour plus titles. Playing everything worthwhile is hardly an option anymore, as enormous games like The Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 are practically the norm now. Even annual games like Assassin’s Creed are completely packed with things to do, and games centered around multiplayer like Call of Duty are expected to be loaded with separate features and modes to justify their $60 price tags. The linear, 8-hour games that were all the rage 5 years ago are becoming more difficult to justify, and when games lack the content players hoped to get out of them (like, say, Star Wars: Battlefront), word is getting out and sales are being affected.
Continue reading Medium Mashup’s Best Video Games of 2015