What is this, I hear you ask. Well, those of you who have any degree of familiarity with this blog will be aware that I write a weekly post concerning the TV I have watched during the week and my opinions on said episodes. Those posts are on hiatus until the regular television season begins in September but taking their place over the Summer, and possibly continuing beyond September, are these ‘Week in Gaming’ posts.
The basic concept is that I’ll briefly discuss my opinions on a selection of news items from the week that I feel are particularly noteworthy. Also, I’ll talk about the games that I have been playing throughout the week and occasionally, I also plan on running the odd competition. When I say ‘occasionally’, I mean very few and far between! I will, however, say that I plan on running one in the next month or so so stay tuned.
As always, there cannot be a discussion with only one participant so your views and opinions on what you’ll see here, as well as from anything else that’s happened during the week, are highly welcomed. I promise a cookie for everyone who comments.
GTA3 and Vice City Possibly Arriving on the PS3
Kicking things off this week is the rumoured arrival of both classic Grand Theft Auto titles on the Playstation 3 platform, as reported here earlier this week . Although I do not own a PS3 and would not be able to purchase these titles should they ever arrive there, the biggest question would be: is it really necessary? GTA3 has been released on more platforms than I can count, including mobile. If this is actually happening and both titles are going to see the light of day on the PS3, there would have to be something new there to warrant yet another re-release. If they are HD remakes, however, that changes things.
I was never too big a fan of GTA3 but being able to play Vice City again, even through the ghastly-difficult bank heist mission, would be my idea of a slice of heaven. I can almost salivate at the prospect of driving along the road, the sun high in the sky as ‘Billie Jean’ blasts out over the radio. Or, stepping into the Malibu club and dropping a grenade in the middle of the dance floor, blowing every miserable soul there to kingdom come. I miss Vice City. Anyone else?
Far Cry 3 Delayed to November 29th 2012
Ubisoft’s latest entry in the Far Cry franchise was scheduled for release in September, merely two months away from now. However, the game will now be releasing right at the culmination of November for the denizens of Europe, and at the very beginning of December for the American folks. Although a delay to ostensibly make sure the game is as good as it can be is somewhat welcome in the days of rushed releases, choosing to make the game available in the famously-crowded month of November is not a good idea.
November has always been the month of the year that’s more crowded with new releases than any other. Last year had Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Assassin’s Creed Revelations and others all releasing close to each other, saturating the average gamer’s wallet and crowding the release calendar considerably. This year will have Black Ops 2, Hitman Absolution, Halo 4 and other eagerly-anticipated games, including Assassin’s Creed 3, all arriving close to each other. Adding another game to that roster, especially after all of the others have already been and gone and one that is nowhere near as popular as the others, is a very risky move and one that I’m not convinced will pay off for Ubisoft.
Skyrim’s First DLC is Launched
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’s first DLC released earlier this week, exclusive to the Xbox 360 for the first month, and did not fail to leave an impression on me and the masses of other gamers that have been tapping our fingers in anticipation of its release.
Although Dawnguard struggles with a set of problems that don’t make it quite as fantastic as it could be, the lengthy quest and expansive locations that are included with it make it worthy of the steep 1600 Microsoft points price tag. It’s certainly no Shivering Isles, but it does its job of expanding the huge world of Skyrim perfectly well.
It took eight months for Dawnguard to see the light of day, and it may take another eight before any more content is released, but if there’s one thing it’s done, it has reignited my love for Skyrim that has always remained but dwindled slightly since Christmas. Dawnguard is a great example how DLC that has had thought and effort poured into it, and it really shows.
You can read my thoughts on Dawnguard in more detail in the following review that was posted earlier this week.
Mass Effect 3’s Extended Cut DLC is Released
You remember all of that moaning and collective groaning that you heard back in March? Well that was the sound of the rabid Mass Effect 3 community gathering their pitchforks and tearing down Bioware’s doors for an explanation as to how the ending sucked so badly. Bioware silenced the masses by promising a slab of free DLC that would offer more emphasis on the game’s brief endings. Well that content was released this week and although it’s cast a calming spell on the majority of the disappointed players, some will inevitably still remain to criticize Bioware’s second attempt at bringing the trilogy to a decent close.
I can’t talk about the revised endings in too much detail as I have neither downloaded Extended Cut nor viewed the endings for myself, but I will say that I did not find the original endings as terrible as some were making out. Yes, they were restrictive and did not elaborate on events they should have elaborated on but they were still somewhat acceptable enough to pass off as a conclusive end. Others obviously disagreed and that was how Extended Cut was born into existence in the first place.
I will most likely watch the new endings at some point but probably not until I decide to play through the game again, which won’t be for a while.
Activision Downsizes Developer Radical Entertainment
Radical Entertainment, the guys who were behind recent titles such as Prototype 1 and 2, have been reduced to such a capacity that they will no longer develop their own titles and instead will support the creation of other titles that come under the Activision umbrella.
I can’t say that I found Prototype (the first, not the second as I never played it) particularly spectacular but it always makes me sad to see a developer shut its doors for good. Prototype wasn’t a terrible franchise and it had potential, but it was unfortunately hindered by sloppy execution.
What will remain of the developer, after having its staff count sliced down, will assume a supporting role on other Activision projects, the biggest of which obviously being Call of Duty. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them contributing to the development of a future CoD title, which would bring the developer-count on that franchise to a number that I’ve lost count of.
My best wishes to those who will lose their jobs after this move begins. Losing such a pool of creative talent is not something to ake lightly in this economic climate.
What I’ve Been Playing
It’s been over two years since I played Gearbox’s huge, sprawling and very colourful RPG/FPS hybrid and it’s been far too long. With the release of Borderlands 2 sitting right on the doorstep, and a friend of mine who recently began playing the game for the first time, my interest in going back to the brilliant world of Pandora rocketed back up to what it used to be, and it also reminded me just how brilliant a co-op experience the game is.
I still had a game save containing a level 51 soldier from all of those years ago so rather than create a new one and begin the game from scratch, I simply loaded that one up and got back to work. Surprisingly, the game still has a very active community online, although there seems to be an infestation of modded equipment and weapons that weren’t there the last time I played the game. I don’t really see the attraction in playing a game where nothing can kill you but you can kill it in one shot, but obviously some people differ in how they like their challenges. Or maybe they just like feeling like a God. Who knows.
Some kind soul/modder took pity on me during a co-op game and gave me a modded shield that has over 240 billion points that never changes. Basically, god mode. I did, however, find it invaluable when finally going to complete the General Knoxx DLC that I’ve had sitting on my hard drive for two years. Well, I say ‘complete’. That would be the case were it not for the fact that the game has glitched the final leg of the DLC, rendering me unable to truly finish it and therefore obtain any achievements that may or may not have derived from it.
General Knoxx was a brutally tough piece of DLC back then, which is part of the reason as to why I gave up on it, and it still is two years later but the invincible shield took care of that problem. It was cheap and akin to cheating but there is no way I would’ve defeated those enemies without pulling every strand of my hair out. Now that I’ve finished what I can of the DLC, I can forget about that pesky shield. Being an all-powerful slab of invincible just isn’t as fun as it should be.
My return to playing Borderlands has prompted me to start writing a post about it that you should see on here eventually, but I cannot be certain as to when. Keep an eye out!
The majority of my gaming activity this week has been taken up by a return to Skyrim. The release of Dawnguard obviously signalled the beginning of my renewed exploits in the game but I’ve also been catching up with some of the quests that I’ve had sitting in the quest log for ages, including the civil war, Thieve’s Guild and the Dark Brotherhood quest paths.
I have to say that the civil war quest, despite having moments of excellence that book-ended the majority of the story, was incredibly disappointing. All you get to do is take over a fort, report back, get new orders to take over another fort and repeat until you come to the end. I’m not sure if it’s the same if you choose to align yourself with the Stormcloaks but I doubt it would be any different. It’s such a shame as there was so much promise with this portion of the game.
I did, thankfully, manage to finally bring both the Thieve’s Guild and the Dark Brotherhood quests to a close. The DB quests were fantastic and truly made me feel like an assassin but the Thieve’s Guild, which is supposed to be about stealing and robbing, went in the opposite direction in how it turned out. I wasn’t being a thief – I was being a warrior, hacking and slashing through waves of undead, culminating in a boss fight with regenerating health bars and more sword-play. The entire sequence of events could’ve been the fighter’s guild quest-line and I wouldn’t have known otherwise.
Besides completing the main quests in the story, I still have a log full of objectives to complete and this is on a character that’s been running for over 160 hours! I am, however, contemplating creating a second character in order to experience the second half of the Dawnguard DLC that I have yet to play. Until then, I am more than happy to continue slaughtering the masses and gathering the missing achievements that I have been bordering on unlocking for quite some time.
Well, that brings the first installation of A Week in Gaming to a close. As I said before, these posts have been created solely to fill the gap until September arrives and not a moment longer. Depending on how these posts go and how I feel about writing them weekly, I may continue them alongside the television ones come September. Until that time arrives, I look forward to writing more of these over the coming months!
What have you been playing this week? The Skyrim DLC? Perhaps you’ve been exploring the revised endings for Mass Effect 3, or playing through Lego Batman 2 that was released last week. Have your say in the comment box below!