Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A State of Gaming Bliss

The last few years have been kind of rough on gamers, with sporadic good releases and a majority of lackluster disappointments (I'm looking at you, Fable 3). Last year, for all of it's good releases (Red Dead Redemption) it had it's share of terrible disappointments (again, Fable 3, Fallout New Vegas, Star Trek Online).

This year, however, has me thinking that we gamers will be in a particularly awesome state by the various 2011 video game awards ceremonies. The start of the year saw Shogun 2: Total War and Dragon Age 2 (Which I loved. I'll address that topic in a later post.) a long with a good handful of independently developed games (Something else I'll talk about later) such as Atomic Zombie Smasher and Fate of the World.

I've also given Rift another go and found a few classes with which I can actually kill things and is not an utter bore to play. Of course, I have yet to get a character over level 10, but that's more of a personal problem...

And while New Vegas was a disappointment at launch, it's been pretty well patched up and is now fun. Especially on PC. I get Bioware and Bethesda games on PC because they tend to be moddable, especially Bethesda games. I have a few great mods in NV now that include a complete revamp of the ammo and weapons system which, while making you somewhat overpowered, makes the game far more enjoyable when you're pwning bandits with a heavily modified M-14 or a tweaked out H&K 10mm. I just found a Desert Eagle I can't wait to use.

Now Bioware just has to release modding tools for Dragon Age 2 and I think that'll help convince the non-believers. The only thing I've been able to find on the subject is this, from an article on Softpedia from August 2010:

“The tools we're using to make Dragon Age 2 are very, very close to the tools you guys have used to make your mods for DA:O. They're not identical, as we've made a few in-house improvements, but they're almost identical. As such, there isn't a new toolset to release, per se. While we won't be releasing a toolset update in tandem with Dragon Age 2, we ARE investigating what it would take to update the community toolset to match ours, along with providing DA2 content in the future.”
Doing a bit more research, it seems to be true as in typical Bioware community fashion, they're already releasing mods for it. But I digress from the original topic.

On top of those, I've also currently got Crysis 2 and Lego Star Wars 3 installed and waiting to be finished.

And we're about to swing into high gear. World of Tanks, a free to play tank MMO that (along with Lord of the Rings Online) demonstrates what can work with the free to play model that so many other games fail at, has gone live as of today. I got in at the tail end of Beta and I was very surprised at the gameplay. It was very strategic, as in, if you try to Lone Wolf it, you'll probably suffer an explosive death. It's all about positioning and maneuvering. For a free to play game, it's obvious the developers put a lot of time and effort into the balance and gameplay mechanics.

Coming soon we also have Portal 2. A friend of mine and I are eagerly waiting to dive into the co-op mode of that. I absolutely loved the original Portal and considering that was originally intended as a college project/mod, I can't wait to see what the team pulls of with a full-length development time and financial backing from Valve itself.

Also for the first time in my gaming career, I'm actually finding myself excited for a Mortal Kombat game. The new one coming out seems to be developed with an immense amount of care for the "hardcore" MK crowd while working to streamline it for those of us who have never quite wrapped our heads around the 30-button combinations just to pull off an uber kick.

And then there's even more, The Old Republic, Batman: Arkham City, Diablo III, Rush, Elder Scrolls V and probably a whole heck of a lot more that I'm forgetting.

But frankly, I have high hopes that this year will be a great year for gamers. Right now is a great state for us and hopefully developers will realize that we much prefer playing good, well-designed games than whatever pre-made piece of crap they can toot out. I'm looking at you Call of Duty: Black Ops.

And if it isn't, I can certainly assure you you'll hear it here.

Until then, game on and take care.


  1. Not all games released in the last several years were bad. I partcularily liked Mass Effect 2 and Transformers: War for Cybertron.

  2. Oh yes, 2010 had some great games in it and I probably should have named more. However, I came away from 2010 with more of a feeling of disappointment then of success.

    This year, though, is already shaping up to be an outstanding one.