Tag: Xbox 360

06 Jun

E3 2012: That Old Chestnut

E3, Event Coverage by Tramell

So the conferences have come and gone, and what I released it that it’s the same old thing. Like previous years, Microsoft was pushing the Xbox 360 as the living room device, while Sony continued to cater the “core” gamer with lovely exclusive titles and Nintendo finally getting into the HD era with the Wii U; surprisingly they still suck with third party titles. Nothing grand happened during the conferences but, there were some interesting tidbits here and there.

With the imminent release of Window 8 for PCs and tablets, Microsoft is trying to bring it all together with the Xbox SmartGlass software platform. SmartGlass is designed to allow tables and phones to connect with the Xbox 360. The example they gave was a Windows 8 tablet transferring a movie from its screen to the TV connected to the Xbox 360. Nothing revolutionary but it is nice to see a big company like Microsoft add on features to an already decent experience. They also gave examples of SmartGlass functioning with games, although in concept form, a thought came to mind that SmartGlass would be used to combat the Wii U tablet controller functionality.

For example, a tablet could be used with the Madden NFL series to create custom plays on the fly or hot swap in players before a snap. In Halo 4, it was used as a platform to review the schematics of weapons and to see your friends and join their games on the fly. All neat ideas but, unless the tablet is baked on a screen I cannot really see a lot of people utilizing it unless they already owe the hardware. When you have to use another device besides your game controller, it does not seem to work. Hell, people do not want to talk to their Kinect let alone pick up another piece of hardware. Regardless I think the ideas are cool but I do not know how successful it will be until they can create an experience people cannot do without.


05 Mar

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Impressions [ME3]

It has been almost 5 years since we first met Shepard and their ongoing struggle to combat the Reapers, a machine race that harvests all organics in the galaxy. We have gone from stopping a rogue agent to dying and being rebuilt. Force to work with a powerful terrorist organization to uncover the truth when everyone else has turned their back on you. Soon, all of things we worked for, the decisions we made is all coming to an end with Mass Effect 3.

Investing 5 years on one franchise it would not come as a surprise that people were skeptical when BioWare announced that they would have a multiplayer component to Mass Effect 3. Up until now, they never found leeway to fit it in the franchise. With Shepard’s final story being all about gathering allies and power, they found place to create a standalone multiplayer and still maintain a sensible story element. While Shepard is out doing their thing, there are objectives, resources, important artifacts that need to be secured to boost the overall success of the allied forces. Players will play as an elite solider for the allied forces and with three other people go to various hot spots to secure these resources.

All of the classes that Shepard can play as are available to players in multiplayer. In addition, each class has different races attached them that you can unlock from purchasing packs from the in-game store. Finally, you will have the opportunity to be that unstoppable Krogan Soldier or the crafty Quarian engineer. Each race has their only abilities when compared to other races of the same class, for example, a Quarian infiltrator with have the ability Sabotage whereas a human will have the ability Cyro Blast.


10 Feb

Female Commander Shepard Trailer [ME3]

Games, Mass Effect, News by Tramell

Remember back during convention season when BioWare had a facebook vote for people to choose the look of the iconic female Shepard? The controversial blond female picture that won and the subsequent vote to choose the hair color? Well, when it was all said and done, the female Shepard people choose was a lovely red head and the artist Patryk Garrett created an excellent wallpaper.

Today as part of #FemShepFriday, Bioware has release some material showcasing the iconic female Shepard including a trailer. Titled Reinstated, this trailer shows Shepard at her finest. They also seemed to have done a lot of work on the character models in the game. The screenshot with Joker along with Shepard showcases the big differences. I like the changes they made and I am hopeful that one day(soon) can create a Shepard I love without resorting to using locked hairstyles and skin textures.

What are your thoughts? If you were one of many waiting for the trailer, have you expectations been filled?


27 Oct

Review: Dragon Age 2: Mark of the Assassin DLC

Dragon Age, Reviews, RPG by Tramell

Bioware second content rich DLC Mark of the Assassin brings a few new wrinkles to the land of Thedas. There’s party mingling, flirtation, stealth infiltration, puzzle solving along with the goodies you come to know and love with Dragon Age 2. Mark of the Assassin takes us to the land of Orlais on the hunt for the “Jewel of the Many” being held in a private mansion of a powerful man.

Varric sets the tone early. “Let me set the scene. An invitation, an ambush, all because of Tallis.” And that’s pretty much it. The story has interesting twists and viewpoints, but overall it leaves you bewildered with unanswered questions instead of craving for more. The DLC opens up and drags you along for the experience. Although I was disappointed with the beginning of the story, I was wonderfully amazed by the entire experience. The story takes you from hunting for wyverns in the field, mingling with nobles, to infiltrating a castle. You may think that this is Dragon Age: Kasumi’s Lost Memories, but that is kind of a misrepresentation.

When you get into the swings of things, you immediately hit a few roadblocks. You’re supposed to be on a wyvern hunt, but the way they designed the environment that you’ll have to explore feels very sparse. It felt like I was on a picnic rather than a scene depicting an extravagant hunt for bragging rights.


14 Aug

Gorgeous Character Screenshots [Skyrim]

Elder Scrolls, Games, RPG by Tramell

Reading all the previews and looking at all the videos, it is easy to tell how gorgeous Skyrim is but this week it really hit home for me as I’ve seen some of the new images being pushed out by various media outlets, detailing one of my favorite mechanics in a RPG, character creation. At QuakeCon, game journalists had the chance to tinker around with character creation before being be dropped head first into the world of Skyrim.

They created very distinct characters including a Bosmer, an Orc, and a Nord. The amount of detail has me itching to give it a go as well. I want to see a Redguard at some point since I always played them in previous Elder Scrolls games; hopefully I can create one that actually looks like me this time around.


23 Jun

Preliminary Highlight: Bioshock Infinite

The FPS genre is no doubt dominated by military shooters with a huge rivalry playing out between the current king of the genre, Call of Duty, and the surprising upcoming contender, Battlefield. The genre offers more than beautiful action set pieces that make up a the single player campaign and a robust multiplayer. Sometimes, FPS titles offer a compelling story, a beautiful rich environment, and unique mechanics condensed in a nice well-rounded package.

Irrational Games, creators of Bioshock franchise are back at it after temporary handing over the reins for the sequel to their game. Once again they intend on delivering another iconic set piece with a very interesting back-story while getting creative and putting twists and knots into the combat system with Bioshock Infinite. The title takes place on a beautiful floating steampunk-like city built on multiple airships called Columbia, a signature piece of American technological advancement.  In the game, Booker DeWitt (you) is sent on a search and rescue for a young women named Elizabeth.  When you arrive, you notice the place has seen better days and soon meet two dominate factions, The Founders and The Vox Populi, who at war with each other and tearing the place apart. As you progress, you’ll figure out the reason Elizabeth been locked up and the role she’ll play in the conflict.


10 Jun

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – An E3 2011 Update

E3 has come and gone and I got the chance to watch a few demos of one of the most anticipated games this year, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. With its new Creation Engine, Radiant Story and artificial intelligence Bethesda has created a very immersive open world. I got a glimpse of the smooth sleek menu system, combat, shouts and dragons. Follow along as I detail what makes me want to move time forward as a RPG fan.

Attention to detail

Opening the demo you notice right away the rich environment of Skyrim. The area I saw was a lush forest with evergreens, mountains in the back and animals scurrying about. Here Todd Howard explained that they are paying a lot of attention to detail. He states “In an open world the player can go anywhere they want and we can’t hide anything.” Everything from flowers, rocks, to mountains are all handcrafted and every nook and cranny gets some TLC. As the dev traveled through the area I saw a fox run across the screen chasing a rabbit from the dirt path and into the bushes. Come to find out that even the animals have scripts that allow them to hunt for food or passively travel to their next breeding grounds: it’s all about the details. The animation system has received a rework so the player’s character runs differently and more realistic. Horses are in the game and they move like real horses with smooth transitions from trotting to sprinting. As you navigate the world with these fluid animations there is a lot to discover. Going downhill we were introduced to Guardian stones which functions similarly to altars in Oblivion as these stones bestow a buff on you that increase the rate you level up certain skills. When you’re in a town the townsfolk all have their own unique duties and when you speak to them it doesn’t zoom in like it did in previous Bethesda games and it provided a genuine feel and it kept you immersed in the world. In town you can take part in the crafts they do such as blacksmithing. They really want to suck you into the world no matter what you choose to do.


14 Apr

Dragon Age II: The Ten Year Story

Dragon Age, RPG by Tramell

Dragon Age II: The Ten Year Story

Dragon Age II story is a two part system. Its a tale about how things became the way they are while you the player, play Hawke a central figure into how it got there. So one your playing a character that you shape through out the game but at the same time its not exactly about you but more about your involvement in the world. The game really expands the lore of Dragon Age by diving deeper into some of the complex issues. Dealing with a foreign culture and seeing how it effects people and lets not forget the ever going struggle of the mages versus the templars. In the 10 year story of Hawke told by Varic about his/her involvment in the events that caused the whole world to change, you get to see these issues first hand and it up to you the player to tailor their Hawke to how they feel or the role they want them to play.

The story starts off explaining how the Champion got to Kirkwall and the unusual circumstances surrounding it. As you arrive in Kirkwall you quickly learn that all is not what it seems to be and you have work hard and do some shady things just for the bare minimum. That involves some shady work and questionable ethics of a would be hero. As you transition to act one you make a small name for yourself and are looking at ways to get more money to improve your situation. Thus you try to invest on a trip to the Deep Roads as a all or nothing scheme to make it rich. As you work on acquiring the money to invest in the trip you make all of your companions and start a relationship with them. This is where you meet a lot a reoccurring characters that may show up again over the course of the game that shows off one of the main advantages of the 10 year story which is to show the player the consequences of their actions in the game instead of a sequel. Act I is about the starting point of the story and is necessary to build up whats going to happen later on in the game as well as provide a few unexpected consequences down the line. In Act 2 you move forward a couple of years. The expedition was successful your standing has improved and you finally where you should have been at the beginning of the game although with some close at home losses for Hawke it can be somewhat bittersweet.


14 Apr

Streamlined and Focused: A Journey into Dragon Age 2 Design

Dragon Age, RPG by Tramell

Streamlined and Focused: A Journey into Dragon Age 2 Design

Going away from the traditional methods employed when they made Origins, Bioware felt like they could start fresh and put their unique stamp on the sequel.  Today I want to go over exactly what they changed and how it effect the overall design of the game. Like the transition from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2 you’ll see some streamlining in certain areas but their will be expansion in others. Starting with the overall story, Opting for a more focused central character that spans over 10 years instead the warden role a origin character of choice filled. You’ll get to fulfill a more involved and personal story then the one people experienced in Dragon Age. You play the role of Hawke a refuge from Lothering and through out the game you transform him/her from a refuge to a prominent figure dubbed The Champion of Kirkwall. So instead of filling a role and going from beginning, middle and ultimate end/goal, you play out a story of various events that shape your character. Yes, there is still a beginning, middle and end but their isn’t a ultimate goal at the end but instead your are shaping your character to fulfill a role at the end a game. The events in between are more important then the end result. As we dive more into this article I want to talk about some of the elements that have gotten a leg up, redone, streamlined and focused.