Tag: gaming

The Death of COD Singleplayer

The Death of COD Singleplayer

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 will not be including a campaign mode. This comes from a series that was founded on singleplayer experiences, but I can’t say that a move like this has been unexpected. Each year since the addition of multiplayer, the campaign modes got worse and worse, and now Treyarch and Activision have decided not to include one this year. However, I’m scared of what it could mean. They say they’ve done it to better the multiplayer experience, but that’s rather vague considering some other tactics they’ve done before.

Based off of the industry’s previous actions, they love to jump on the latest-and-greatest money-making strategy. Last year, the triple-A games industry pushed for loot boxes, which have luckily been put under a heavy taboo to the point where announcing you won’t have loot boxes in your games has become a selling point after seeing Overwatch’s success using the business model. The year or so before that saw the implementation of microtransactions in triple-A titles after they saw the success of other triple-A titles with them.

This makes me think of what this year’s trend seems to be: Battle Royale games. Now, keep in mind that what I’m about to state is entirely speculation. I think that a new Battle Royale mode could be what Activision has decided to replace the singleplayer mode with. I say Activision specifically since Treyarch has been improving some aspects of the campaign mode of the Call of Duty games that they have made. We’ve already seen huge success with titles such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite: Battle Royale, and big companies, as previously outlined, follow the money. I just hope they actually decide to improve the multiplayer rather than “improve” it with another option that will soon most likely flood the market anyways.

But, what do you guys think of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4? Do you think that the removal of singleplayer could result in the addition of a Battle Royale mode, or do you have trust in Activision and Treyarch? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

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Vintage Gaming — Age of Empires 2

Age of Empires 2 is an interesting game to me. It’s an old strategy game that seems to have a small but still expanding community, and the series’ age seems like it would put it out as a candidate for any modern developments. However, Microsoft has recently picked up the RTS series once more with Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Age of Empires 2: HD and Age of Empires 4. The games seemed interesting enough, and I’m a fan of RTS’s, so I picked Age of Empires 2: HD up and began playing it last week.

The game is an isometric-viewed RTS, with pixel-style graphics typical of that of the late 90’s and early 2000’s used in RTS games. This game was by-far one of the most popular, with other companies making titles such as Age of Mythology and even a Star Wars spin-off called Galactic Battlegrounds. This was the RTS king. Its influence lasted through the 2000’s, with its style of unit creation and base building being maintained as the norm. However, the MOBA-RTS hybrid has recently usurped the genre, to many RTS fans’ sorrow.

From what I’ve played of Age of Empires 2 HD, it well deserves its reputation as a really good RTS game. Graphics have never been an issue for me, but if they are for you, I’d say ignore them if everything else sounds enjoyable or just skip it. The game balances its civilizations around starting bonuses, exclusive technologies, and variations on the basic technology tree. Some civilizations don’t get certain upgrades while others do. The game plays heavily around each battle fought, with players wanting to drain the others of resources or simply overwhelm them in order to win the game. Players have to “age up” in order to explore more buildings, units, and upgrades from their tech tree. This aging system begins in the Dark Age and goes up to the Imperial Age.  I, personally, favor an expansionistic strategy with a focus on early harassment and denial of worker time and resource nodes, but there are other strategies such as Fast Castle (where you rush to Castle Age as soon as possible in order to produce Castle Age units to combat Feudal Age ones.)

Overall, it’s quite a good strategy game, but to cover it properly I’d want to do it in another form of media. Also, this might become a series where I cover older titles I have in my Steam library.

But, that’s my opinion on Age of Empires 2 HD and the series. What do you think of this game series? Does it have as much influence as I say it does? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

The Skyrim VR Problem

The Skyrim VR Problem

Skyrim VR is the 5th version of Skyrim to be released, not including ports to next-generation consoles, and is the third game released by Bethesda in VR. The issue that most people see with Skyrim VR is its price, as this nearly 7-year-old game is still 60 dollars. However, I think this pricing is fair, as games like Skyrim and Fallout 4 are triple-A titles that have to be reworked in order to be playable in VR. To be fair, the cost of developing for VR is likely costly, as you have to ensure that the movement systems in-game do not make you nauseous, as motion sickness is a real issue for people using VR. Therefore, I think the standard price tag is fair.

However, there’s more to it than just making the game be in VR that makes it worthwhile, so I suppose I should delve into my first impressions of it. The game gives quite an impressive sense of scale, to the point where things I previously thought were small, such as the Standing Stones, were larger than me. I felt tiny in comparison to Bleak Falls Barrow, as the massive ruins stood above my head. The graphics of Skyrim VR are good enough to keep me immersed and assuming more realistic fighting positions if I was in a dangerous area.

The combat in the game, at least with sword and board and dual-wielding, feels nice enough. When dual wielding, you can be an absolute monster if you swing quickly enough, as attacking with both weapons simultaneously can now be done without a power attack. This means you can deal massive amounts of damage in a short amount of time. Sword and board require good placement of your shield, but in exchange for this increase in difficulty in relation to base-game Skyrim, you can now swing your weapon while your shield is up. Overall, I’d say my experience with combat has been good, and the menus have been alright (though I’d prefer more interaction with the environment itself rather than inventory menus.)

But that’s just my opinion on Skyrim VR. What do you think of what’s been done? Do you think they’re charging too much for the title?

PUBG Mobile: What is it, and what could it mean?

PUBG Mobile: What is it, and what could it mean?

Mobile gaming, for a long time, has been regarded as a sphere separate from console and PC gaming. The games available on the platform have played much differently than games on others, and they’ve not changed much from the likes of Clash of Clans and Candy Crush. These titles are usually plagued by heavy microtransaction-based progression mechanics in order to offset the price of production, support, and keeping them in their respective store.  However, as time has progressed, we’ve seen a gradual shift in the mobile market. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is likely the first major milestone of this shift. I hope this trend continues, as I’d love to see mobile become a more significant platform for gaming everyone thinks about.

If you don’t know what PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is, it’s a Battle Royal game where you could play solo or with a team of up to four players. The game is focused on gathering equipment to beat the competition and then actually beating the competition until you (or your team) is the last one standing. The game is drastically different from what you’d expect from mobile, as most people don’t associate mobile with being a very good platform for a first- or third-person shooter. However, somehow they’ve managed to decently translate the game to the mobile platform.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds manages to transfer its mechanics over to mobile in a very good way. The game is free, so in case you’re tired of reading this, download it and give it a try. The game still has cosmetic loot boxes, but that’s something to be expected in today’s gaming climate. Now, the mechanics are largely based on tapping and sliding your view around and using a circle in the bottom-left corner of the screen to move. While this does mean that shooting while moving is difficult, it’s a problem that most players have to face. If you find this to be too much of an issue, Bluetooth X-Box controllers work with the game (which could be a balancing issue, as someone with a controller could easily dominate a server.)

Overall, I’d give it a solid 8/10. Not the best thing I’ve ever played, as I’m not too big on Battle Royale games, but everything else makes up for it. But, that’s just my opinion. What do you guys think of PUBG Mobile? Is it bad or good? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

Could the Nintendo Switch be Revolutionary?

Could the Nintendo Switch be Revolutionary?

The Nintendo Switch is a very exciting console for me, as consoles had stagnated for a while. The decision-makers at Sony and Microsoft seem to be designing their consoles to fulfill more of the purposes of a PC, while not offering the original advantages of owning a console. Effectively, there were fewer and fewer reasons to get a console over a PC, besides price (which I admit is a major factor.) However, the Switch caught my eye for one reason alone: it was a handheld with the power of a normal console. Granted, it doesn’t run at a 4k resolution like the Xbox One X, but being able to play games that I’d normally play at my set-up is nothing to scoff at.

However, that doesn’t get to why I think it’ll be revolutionary for consoles. The main reason is that consoles have removed their advantages. Does anyone remember the day where you could place a game’s disc into your console and be able to play it right away? That era is long gone due to the increase in a game’s size, and console makers have tried to make up for it by making their platforms like PC. However, the PC still has numerous advantages over consoles, such as not needing to pay for a service such as XBox Live or Playstation Plus to play multiplayer games on top of an internet bill, not to mention things like Always-Online or console-enforced DRM. The Switch has closed this selling-point gap with its portability (and the fact their online service is only $20 a year as opposed to $60 a year, and the fact that you don’t need to have an online connection to use it.)

This doesn’t mean console makers may be willing to make this change, though. Sony didn’t see much success with their own handheld, the PS Vita, and Microsoft has never dabbled in handheld consoles while Nintendo had a large amount of experience with devices such as the GameBoy, Nintendo DS, and 3DS. These two companies would have to put their engineers into a whole new field of down-sizing and would have to get rid of the hype they’ve built up for technologies such as PS VR and being able to use a console to run a game at a 4k resolution.  The likelihood of these companies producing handhelds like the Switch is minimal at best. Despite what I say about advantages being ruined, console fans will still buy their company no matter how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.

But that’s enough of my cynicism, what do you think console makers will do? Do you think I’m entirely wrong? Leave your opinion down below.

 

My Community, Video Games, and the Radio

My Community, Video Games, and the Radio

With the rise of competitive college gaming, my mind has recently turned to the possibility of school teams for competitive gaming in a more mainstream format. One of the things that I’ve considered is asking my high school if they were willing to host a fundraiser to start their own competitive team(s.) It would help to build school spirit, as I know that at least I don’t really pay attention to high school sports. Thus, with the addition of more things people may care about such as competitive gaming, I believe the school could see its spirit enhanced.

Our local radio station is WEEM, and it usually is capable of hosting fundraisers or just getting attention in general. The radio station could conduct a fundraiser, which could serve as an interest survey into a possible competitive gaming team for the high school. Plus, there is a league dedicated to setting up high school tournaments for competitive gaming in North America (the High School Starleague. No, that is not a typo.) At worst, the best argument for a competitive gaming high school team would be additional profits from advertisers and tickets for the tournaments.

Considering how much popularity eSports has garnered, I would say that missing out on a growing fan base and getting experienced players early would be a huge missed opportunity. If the high school would try to take advantage of this, the two biggest challenges would be getting the equipment and finding the players. Not everyone is suited to become a competitive gamer, as reaction times are so fine as to the point where milliseconds can mark victory or defeat in a video game. High-end gaming PCs (so that a player’s performance would not be “bottlenecked” by the quality of the system they are running on) also run quite a high price, and a minimum of 6 (most competitive games feature teams of six) would be needed. Preferably, we’d have 12 systems, so that another team doesn’t have to lug what could possibly be 20-pound, fragile machines across the continent. However, if the school is willing to either pay for this or have a fundraiser pay for it, I believe it could pay off in the long-run. All that is needed after the equipment is gotten is the voice of WEEM.

Overwatch PTR 1.8 and team comp!

Overwatch PTR 1.8 and team comp!

Header Photo Credit: CreativeOllie ESWC OpTic Gaming via photopin (license)

As revealed on the Overwatch PTR update that released a few days ago, Bastion, D.Va, and Mercy got massively buffed. These changes (especially to Bastion) could drastically affect the team compositions pro-players decide to use. Today, we’re going to analyze how each of these changes could affect the frequency and the situations these heroes will be used in.

First of all, as stated before, the changes to Bastion are a massive net buff. While his Sentry mode’s cannon got a net nerf, his Recon, self-heal, and Tank mode all got a buff. With Bastion’s recon weapon becoming similar in spread to Soldier 76’s with extremely similar damage and a shield-busting sentry mode (which could affect how much Reinhardt is chosen against an enemy Bastion,) we could see a shift in the pro meta that reduces the amount of Soldier picks and drastically increases the number of Bastion picks.

Second off, D.Va’s Defense Matrix was buffed to reduce the distance an object needed to travel in order to be neutralized. It’s now more on-par with the abilities of Reinhardt’s shield, as it’s able to get rid of Roadhog hooks and Tracer’s pulse bombs. While she may not be a dedicated tank like Reinhardt, she’s becoming a much more viable backup when Reinhardt’s shield goes down. In combination with the Bastion buff, we could see a higher amount of D.Va picks rather than Roadhog, or the return of the Triple Tank meta.

Mercy also got a buff, in that she now becomes invincible like the rest of her teammates when using her Resurrection ultimate. The developers of Overwatch stated that the reason for doing this was that Mercy usually died immediately after using her ultimate in a useful way. They wanted to make sure that Mercy was able to stay in the fight after using her ultimate so any team that had her would have a higher chance of winning. However, we don’t think it’s enough to put her back in the meta.

But, what do you think of the recent PTR release? Do your expected changes in the meta differ from ours? Leave a comment below telling us what you expect and why.

Also, sorry for missing our Wednesday post, but we didn’t want to release any bad training tips for our viewers.