Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Area 5 is sorely lacking

I can remember the 1up Show, and how interesting and solid each discussion featured on the show was. After watching this week's Area 5 show, I'm afraid to say that Area 5 is sorely lacking. In contrast to the 1up Show, when Ryan, Jason, Cesar, Jay, and Matt were filming some of the most articulate writers the video game industry has seen, the show was highly entertaining. The idea of inviting other video game writers is a plus, but on this week's show, I could barely understand what Cesar was trying to convey during the Call of Juarez discussion . Maybe I am a fool, or maybe Cesar needs to work on his communication skills or build his vocabulary. When he was trying to say how he felt about Call of Juarez as a whole, he kept rephrasing what he said a few seconds ago. Cesar alone is not to blame. Let's be honest, there's a reason the Area 5 guys aren't invited to podcasts. They are spectacular video producers, and I commend them for that, but they are not the most articulate game critics. They certainly do a great job explaining their personal experiences, but can barely make a solid critique about a game, which is why they made such an appropriate fit making the 1up Show with the verbally articulate 1up guys. I can understand how stressful it can be improvising these discussions (whether they are or are not), but as an honest consumer, I felt like no one on the Call of Juarez discussion clearly indicated whether it was something I should look into or not. Maybe I'm harping too much on the Call of Juarez discussion alone, but relative to Area 5's quality work in the past, this simply didn't seem to fit.

No offense Area 5 guys, just some constructive criticism

Friday, June 26, 2009

Battlefield Heroes Impressions

In Battlefield Heroes, the highly popular ranking and experience system is back in full glory, right? Wrong, personally, I feel in Battlefield Heroes, the ranking system is absued. By the end of each 5-10 minute round or so, you'll see that you've racked up nearly 1000 points that will be added to your character. This feels good, sure, but when you see literally billions of points popping up before your character, they begin to become meaningless. Added the fact that there are few weapons to choose from, you'll ifnd yourself wondering what to spend your points on. One of the only factors that distinguishes Battlefield Heroes from any run-of-the-mill modern shooter is your abilities and clothing options, which may interest you Barbie fans out there. But as for me, and any other man out there, I honestly don't care what my character looks like.

But surely this game wasn't intended for me, a hardcore Battlefield 2/Call of Duty 4 player, right? Yes, in fact for players new to shooters, or online games in general, this game is great. I watched attentively as my babysitter's son, who is about 9, play Battlefield Heroes -- he enjoyed it, partly because of how greatly the game gratifies you as you earn points, as well as how forgiving the game is. Also, the requirement for speedy reflexes is not quite necessary, which for me at least, is something that made my experience with the game less as enjoyable. And because the game is accessible, free, and encouraging, you're going to be finding yourself in many games with a hefty amount of exploiting jerks.

Aside from all the details, the core gameplay, for me, fails to impress. The shooting mechanic could have been done more effectively in a number of ways. Shooting in Battlefield Heroes feels uneffective, and that's due to the fact that DICE wanted people to come back for more each day -- after all, dying with a few rounds to the head in a game like Counter Strike is not the most encouraging, fun, or even gratifying way to draw in a fanbase. It's apparent that everything from the health system, the UI, the HUD, the few classes, the inability to choose spawn points, the fact that this game takes place in 3rd person, the inability to go prone, the amount of rounds it requires to take down someone, and the very few weapons to choose from, that this game was made for the utmost unskilled, inexperienced, and brutally unsavy gamers, children, or people to enjoy and play, and have that ideal 'Battlefield Experience' that was lusted after by people outside the Battlefield 1942 community.

All in all, I'm araid to say Battlefield Heroes is not my favorite Battlefield.

Modern Warfare 2 Gameplay at E3 in Words

Lately, I have been doing everything but writing, and it is apparent how desperate in need of stimulating that skill I am. So to stimulate my writing skill, (and because I'm out of ideas for writing prompts now) I think I should as accurately as possible describe the Modern Warfare 2 gameplay that was featured at E3. Here it goes.

You witness your resilient companion, Soap McTavish smoke a cigar to the frigid scenery surrounding you. Your path ahead is uncertain, but you know you must carry on. Your confidence is still strong, as you can hear the beat to your heart. Speedy aircraft soar overhead with tremendous velocity. They appear to be MiG-29s. Soap commands you to get up from your break as he tosses his warm cigar down the ice-patched cliff. You clench near to the cliff wall to hold on for dear life while you look down the deadly descent that looms before you, inciting paranoia in your every muscle. You look to the side where Soap is facing the very same fear you are for comfort. You eye Soap's dangling rifle, knowing that that is what will potentially save both your and his life. Soap orders you to cover him, as he scales the ice cliff with every remaining ounce of strength he remarkably still has. He draws his ice picks, and brings himself up with incredible effort. By the time he nearly reaches the top, he assumes all is well, and there is nothing to fear. He has you follow him with little precaution. You climb the arctic wall with equal strength demonstrated by Soap, watching each cracking section of ice permitting your ascension. Two more unknown aircraft pass by, as Soap is blown, he grips for his life with one hand. He recovers with little effort, and arrives at the top of the treacherous cliff. Then as you make it to the top of the cliff, you gaze at Soap's daring will, while he leaps off the very cliff you both worked so hard to scale. You do the same with a running start, grasping your ice picks, as they begin to allow you to drift, Soap valiantly comes to your aid. You reach the bottom of the cold path, dangling one ice pick, and looking down to the gargantuan descent. Then your other ice pick, which is still attached to the freezing path is released from the slide, as Soap grabs you by the arm with immense courage, saving your endangered life.

----------------------------------IN THE INTEREST OF TIME----------------------------

Then, you and Soap roam the windy territory, spotting enemies worth your bullets. You fire your silenced rifle like a natural. You hear malicious yelling in Russian through the foggy land. Your heartbeat detector mounted on the side of your rifle indicates the presence of multiple targets. Then, feeling confident, you run past a truck, knifing a devilish Russian wearing a fear-inducing gas mask. Then you enter a building with a rounded roof, firing at an enemy through glass bottles. Soap has you lay low, as an enemy truck passes by. You walk by an airstrip, seeing the same MiG-29s that nearly blew Soap off the cliff earlier. You reach a fueling station, placing C4 on the indicated area. You're then hurled into an intense firefight that has you take cover and skillfully pick your shots within stunning time. A couple of snowmobiles with two riders on them each jet toward you, as you fire at the riders for your own safety, they fall into the snowy ground to their deaths. The action heats up while two snow-uniform clad Russian soldiers approach you with weapons ready. Your fast reflexes show that they don't stand a chance against your unbeatable force. You run past the smoking, singed debris that resemble airplanes, and use it as a decoy to run to your safety. You run towards a large hill, and safely slide down the soft snow, firing at a few enemies that followed you to the hill. Two more snowmobiles race past you. You watch as Soap manages to strike one of the snowmobile riders with his ice pick to his death, falling off the quickly moving snowmobile into the soft snow. You then take to one of the vacant snowmobiles, and maneuver the relenting terrain, along with its rigorous jumps and slopes. You take out one of the other snowmobile riders moving alongside you with your trusty Glock automatic pistol, held sideways. Finally, you reach the last cliff. You fearlessly take it head on while riding your snowmobile. And you are safe.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Average Video Gamer's Claim to Fame

Video gaming as a hobby can be described as one of the most thought-provoking activities one can do. By that fact, video gamers represent a rampant desire to express themselves by accessing internet message boards, online clubs, or any other community-based video game website to get their word out there just like any professional video game journalist would. Exactly as I am doing right now; writing to ultimately lead to my anticipated claim to professional fame, thousands of other gamers, equipped with very similar aspirations are doing the same. So the question is; how can I literally rise above these brainless laymen and become known in the gaming industry? Obviously, I am no expert of this, as I have no past experience and have not been recognized in any meaningful way by the gaming industry as a whole, but I do have some theories that may aid in your, and if not my own attempts to verbalize the average gamer's supposed claim to fame.

Many times I have heard the vague suggestion to 'be different', yet have never had any concrete description as to what I should do in order to scrounge my way out of this cesspool of highly enthusiastic, but truly not very skilled writers known as the enthusiastic video gamers of the world. Hopefully I can provide some first-hand insight that will brighten your trail to understanding your task at hand. To be 'different' in terms of writing means to use words in new ways, to not be afraid to take risks, and to go out on a limb, while not using any clichés or too many terms you have heard in the past. In fact, the most amount of learning is done when you take risks and are creative in your endeavors. But you should always keep in mind the professional writers out there that you so greatly admire, and truly observe his or her personal style of writing. And remember that a strong writer stems from an even stronger foundation, so reading is essential.

Writing is a hobby that needs to be honed constantly. If you choose to write every day regarding topics you are not truly very inrigued about, you may as well find yourself writing very bland, uninteresting pieces. Choosing the right time to write is crucial, as you will astound yourself with your colorful language, descriptive depictions and enthusiasm that simply bleeds through the pages. Unlike the typical mindless gamer racking in thousands of gameplay hours, you will surely rise above their puny stature by gauging your own amount of enthusiasm at a particular moment and capitalizing on that very enthusiasm at its peak. Yet the only problem that obscures your view of your goal that you've worked so hard to achieve is garnering an audience.

In all honestly, this is one area that I have miserably failed at. Given my blog's pathetic popularity, this is only evident that this is something that I need to work at. I can talk and write all day how to approach the gaming industry as something to reap profits from by writing, and certainly writing about video games you love is fun, but making a fully realized execution in doing so is a dream by my perspective, never realized. Anyone who has ever visited my website seems to have done so only once, and must have been disappointed by my latest offerings -- my only recommendation to alleviate this is to group up with some buddies of yours, and to take on this uncharted gold rush of fanboy-oriented websites and numerous throw-away reactionary opinions called the internet with full force.

Hopefully, armed with these three suggestions, you will be prepared to take on the gaming industry that has been begging you for years to tap into. Who knows, maybe you're the world's next great writer.