24 January 2010

Compelling's replacement:

I hereby declare that henceforth, "compelling" when used to describe an aspect of a video/computer game shall be instead replaced by submersive or immersive.

For example:

X feature makes the game more compelling.

Shall now read:

X feature makes the game more immersive.


X feature allows for a more compelling experience.

Is now:

X feature allows for a more submersive experience.

So please take note the next time you scribe an article or blog post or have a developer interview for some promotional aspect of your game.

That is all.

According to online dictionaries submerisve is not a word although this surprises me because it is the logical extension of submersed/submersible as is immersed/immersible/immersive.

21 January 2010

And now for something completely different....

Or not!

Ha! Got you then.... yes, it's another post about DRM and.... wait, don't walk away yet! Bioshock 2 (PC) has gotten itself into a right tizzy with no one seeming to know what the hell is going on with the DRM, number of activations and the differences between the Steam and retail versions. Not even 2k themselves know what is going on with Steam (if you have the stomach to trawl through the pages for Elizabeth's posts). The amazing thing is that the Steam page has been "corrected" several times now so basically we still don't know what's happening.

Let me run the situation down for you and why it's bad (IMO):

Retail copy:
Securom disc check (i have nothing against this)
Games For Windows Live (GFWL) online check each time you install

Steam Copy:
Steam check/tie-in
Securom (?? We don't know why its on there at the moment)
GWFL online check each time you install

Now, originally it was said that GFWL has a 15 install limit (you can phone Microsoft for an extension of this number) and in Elizabeth_2k's own words that was "not a machine limit" which implies that even if you install on the same PC you use an install activation (this is in contrast to other types of install management DRM which allow unlimited installs on the same PC). This may, or may not, apply to the Steam version as well as the retail version but we just don't know because on the Steam page for Bioshock 2 it went from being listed as "15 install limit" to a "5 install limit" to now not mentioning installs at all (securom is still mentioned in the specifications though).

Next, well still keeping with GFWL, if you want achievements or to play Multiplayer then you need to create an online GFWL account.... which means that you need to be connected to the internet every time you want to play. If you create an offline account then you don't get the achievements or the chance to play multiplayer but you can access your save games any time you want to play. I've heard some rumblings about being able to copy over your saved game folders between the two accounts but i'm not sure if this is true or not. You can't change your account from one version into another so if you decide that you want to take your offline profile online then you have to make a new profile.

Finally, (still keeping with GFWL) because GFWL is basically attached to Xbox Live, if you're not in one of 26 countries you are screwed. What this means is that even though you buy your version on steam or in the shops where you live, if you are not in one of those 26 countries your game will not work online if GFWL knows where you really live. This is an unfixable problem, you can't just change your country setting because the cd-key or whatever is locked to that region and your copy now only works in offline mode.

And ultimately having all the extra crap on top of Steam's requirements is ludicrous. Why have securom if it's not used? (i.e. it probably is but we don't know how) Why have GFWL needing to run when the game is in your Steam list? Achievements can be done in Steam as well..... I may not be a big fan of DRM but at least have it make sense. What happens if your connection to any one of the services goes down (for whatever reason)? Do you lose access to your game?

15 January 2010

And for those who prefer a boxed copy...

... please find your DLC vouchers inside the box.

Seriously, i actually laughed (and then cried a little) when i found this out. Resident Evil 5 is getting a Gold edition which sounds pretty cool and i was thinking of buying it because it was a "boxed version" of all the content plus the announced DLC. Well it turns out that this is only the case for the PS3 version, the Xbox 360 version has the RE5 disc plus a voucher to get the DLC - which means that it's not on the disc and thus will be tied to your 360 HDD and the network availability (which is my reason for having them on a disc in the first place) if your HDD ever dies or you want to move it across to a new HDD.

For those RESIDENT EVIL fans who prefer a box copy, we are also happy to report that we will be releasing a RESIDENT EVIL 5: GOLD EDITION that will include the original game plus all additional content, making this the ultimate RESIDENT EVIL5 experience. RESIDENT EVIL 5: GOLD EDITION will be available for $49.99 as a single Blu-ray disc for the PLAYSTATION 3 or as a DVD with a token for the downloadable content for XBOX 360.

Well, unless this gets changed i won't be buying a copy. Ah, well... i still haven't played RE1-4 either.

12 January 2010

Batman: Warrior Within

The title says it all really (well, disregarding my absence).... I've been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum and i've been pretty happy with it but really it's like i've been suffering from deja vu or total recall or something weird to do with dreams you've dreamt that then come to actually happen in a sort of precognition manner. Batman: Arkham Asylum is Prince of Persia with a new face - specifically an amalgamation of Warrior Within and the New Prince of Persia in a ratio of approximately 95:5.

The games are almost carbon copies of each other in the manner in which they operate:

The combat system is nuanced - easy to use, difficult to truly master.... it's also not without its flaws and sometimes can be a bit unwieldy when fighting multitudes of enemies with certain button presses and stick flicks not registering as accurately as you would like.

Moving on, the platforming is pretty similar with leaping and whatnot a standard of the genre however the bat grapple gun being the equivalent of Elika - a get out of jail free/reset card that, ironically after all the fuss that was kicked up over Elika's function in New Prince of Persia, i've not seen anyone complaining about. Perhaps it's the inclusion of the ability to actually see a "game over" screen, would that have made a difference in the same people's eyes for New Prince of Persia?

Then there's the free-roaming, secret-finding aspect of the world which mirrors Warrior Within and improves on it. It was definitely one of my more favourite things about the two Prince of Persia games.

The same dark, gothic style and air that the game has... though i have to take time out here to kindly remind myself that Batman was around a long time before Prince of Persia was even a Twinkle in tens of programmers' eyes.

Finally, even the the Scarecrow sequences (which are inspired) mirror the chases by the Dahaka in their camera control and the variation they add to the general play.

It's incredible that the two games are so similar and i wonder if there was any conscious design implementation taken from the Dark Prince. It's also strange and slightly funny how the same game design (minus the improvements that Arkham Asylum brings - which are plentiful and all add greatly to the game) was hailed as a conceptual failure and generally disliked by most gamers who loved The Sands of Time and also the third game (which shall not be mentioned) but the other game is hailed as a masterpiece by most people who play it - including me.

I'm definitely looking forward to Arkham Asylum 2 but i'm also really looking forward to the next Prince of Persia game. Unfortunately i've heard rumours that Ubisoft have cancelled the sequel to New Prince of Persia and have instead settled for a movie tie-in with The Sands of Time movie..... which will be interesting as a game of a movie based on a game.