Homefront – The War On Gameplay

Homefront is THQ’s answer to a question nobody asked; why can’t we have more games about war? There isn’t enough violence in the world according to THQ, so they’ve made up a new scenario for this game. It takes place in 2027 and apparently Korea has been terrorising the world for 15 years because they’re Korea. The game starts off with 3 Korean soldiers attacking you and acting smug, before they push you down some stairs and lock you in a bus. There’s a “normal” dude you’ve never met waiting on the bus and he acts like you’re his homeboy. The bus gets going and you’re forced to look outside through the window, with a locked camera that makes sure you see all the brutality happening on the streets. Korean soldiers are hitting people for fun, explosions are going off, children are crying, slaves are being prodded in a line. Apparently this has been going on for a decade, but seemingly everything happens at once right as the bus goes by. Are we having fun yet?

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Hey U – Give Me Real Controls

The Wii Remote & Nunchuk was last generation’s innovation in violence – still strong today, still better than the competition. This was the method of controlling the last true console Resident Evil experience the world would know: The Umbrella Chronicles.

For the previous console cycle, there’s a seldom-stated lesson Capcom briefly learned (see RE4:Wii) then immediately forgot (see their “HD” games): if you’re pretending to KILL in a video game, do it properly. It’s just a shame we don’t have to pretend anymore: modern games, such as Capcom’s premiere action series, have gotten so smart that they play themselves (step aside Super Guide). The games don’t hesitate to handle much of the excitement on their own, and work hard to convince us that quick-button-context-flashback-retrospection-cutscene was an artistic achievement (“Best QTE of 2012,” is there such a thing?). Opponents of violent gaming love to point out how video games “teach kids how to kill”, but I know that’s rubbish cuz most games suck at that, especially as more games suck at being games. It’s supposed to be like watching a movie, right? Why not an effing GAME? Thru these last couple generations of analog masturbation, popular shooters have more or less surpassed “REALISTIC EVERYTHING” – nevermind the gameplay. And in a (not really) fun twist, “more realism” cheerfully graduated to “more Hollywood”; new gameplay became movies that look like gameplay. “Wow, it’s like playing a game,” – thanks, my confidence in the new generation is at an all-time high.

Before proceeding, I want to be clear that the major ideas in the blocks of text below don’t necessarily apply to every genre or gameplay mechanic. Many of our favorites are derived from things like tennis, team sports, board games, gambling, mazes, vehicles, boxing puppets, and Donkey Kong – there’s no reason to mess with certain core elements. However, TANGIBLE VIRTUAL VIOLENCE has a raw, engrossing quality that the majority of the Industry has not been interested in embracing for some time; fluid human movements seek the spillage of human fluid, yet they insist gamers don’t like movement and just seek Mountain Dew. Trapped in the game industry’s electronic erection contest, the prestigious computing “arms race”, we continue enduring their fake war: fake gameplay and fake value. Cash and companies continue to perish in the high-priced struggle to show violence; rarely do we see genuine imagination towards playing violence. It doesn’t have to be this way; we can still search for decency. Aim off-screen and raise your real arms to rediscover what’s in front of you: the gameplay in your hands.

/wii joke

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Killzone 2 – Generic Fun

Killzone 2 is EXACTLY what you think it is. A military themed futuristic shooter with amazing graphics, a flashy campaign mode and a few classy dick jokes. I know, it’s 2012. At Pietriots we game according to our budgets and we take our time, because games are fun. Despite being an old predictable shooter, I felt the need to write about it because I was having a good time. The gameplay is quite impressive and the battlefields really feel alive, it was all going gre-

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I wish the TAKEDOWN kickstarter failed

They’ve sold the character squad mates to donors, so prepare to have your team of elite murderers look like acne ridden, neck bearded derpsters, unfit to hold a gun. They’re turning a first person game into a third person one for the console port, but then leaving the other console port up to player feedback. The mind boggles how their hardcore, realistic gunplay will adapt to an entirely different perspective from a radically different controller input. Despite this radical alteration to the entire gameplay dynamic for what will no doubt be inferior versions of the product, Mac and Linux ports, requiring only the most minor of coding alterations, are ‘under evaluation based on demand’ which is code for ‘not happening, but we’d like your money first.’

With the successes of Double Fine’s unnamed adventure game and Wasteland 2Kickstarter is the current darling of the independent gaming community and ‘crowdsourcing’ the hot new buzzword being thrown around by insufferable energetic web 2.0 conmen. Kickstarter hasn’t always been a success though, my favourite unfunded project being the criminals who developed Tony Hawk Ride failing to fund some marble madness clone they wanted to inflict on us. If only the same could be said about smug upstart Serellan’s lame sounding tactical shooter TAKEDOWN.

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Conduit 2 – One Man, Three Balls

Conduit 2 demands your attention. It’s a first person shooter with incredible controls, great graphics, good humour, addictive gameplay, a wealthy amount of options and customisation, and a whole lot of style. It’s a fairly short game, but it’s full blown entertainment from start to finish, and makes no compromises or excuses for it. Michael Ford is here to kick ass and take names, and he’s all out of names. Life’s too short for formality – there’s no time for “the” anymore – this is simply Conduit 2, and it’s time to shoot bad guys.

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Geist Videos – Revisiting The Mature

About a month before suffering my Professional Engineer Exams at the end of October, I fired up Geist for the Nintendo SHEETKYUUB (actually, my Wii system) in an effort to update my aging, neglected GC video library. This recording session was the FIRST and ONLY time I played ANY “dual analog” shooter this entire generation (2006-2011). This experience was HORRIBLE. I kept tarding-out into walls like classic Resident Evil controls, and the screen was stiff and jerky while the camera dragged ass. And the enemies were kind enough to shoot me with 20-30 rifle rounds without killing me, sympathetic to your inability to be a real threat (impotence) given the limitations of the “traditional” input method.

From what I hear, today’s shooty games treat customers like children more than ever; probably because it’s the most appropriate thing to do.

Why do people keep playing like this after 10 years? (and keep paying for it?)  Why are games still made this way? What’s wrong with this industry?

Luckily, the game’s first-person adventure (FPA) principles are still intact and meaningful after all these years.

Does anyone remember the former upcoming next-generation “possession mechanic” zombie action-strategy title, Possession? Nope, nobody.

Congrats, n-Space – despite the cruel passage of time, your masterpiece is still unrivaled.

View/Download:
Geist, 7 videos (DivX)

Conduit 2 Wiimote Controls

I guess the timing is right to present the sequel to our Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls – my control settings for the first Conduit adapted to the sequel to The Conduit, which isn’t exactly The Conduit 2, but simply Conduit 2, a.k.a. DUKE NUKEM’s official return to video games. (The previous Note still applies, so keep those conditions in mind) My controls are geared toward an exploration/realism perspective, so it’s probably not the l337 onrine FPS’ing scheme suited to all those childish twitch-turning high-jumping strafe-running genre conventions that you were hoping to employ. I am raging infinity suns, but it’s not how I play shooty games.

Fortunately, this project includes somewhat less ranting and more explanation/analysis. Read on for screens/details and technical issues the gaming press probably didn’t mention in the reviews.

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Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls

Note: These control settings were personalized for my bloated widescreen (16:9) TV that I sit fairly close to. You may get undesirable results if you use these settings on a fullscreen (4:3) TV setup, or if your Wii’s cursor behavior is already unstable due to poor sensor bar visibility, specific lighting conditions in your room, and/or your seating distance and position. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare – Reflex Edition is not a significant part of this discussion becuz the shoehorned FPS mechanics and single-player campaign are nonsense; it wasn’t worth the effort to customize the controls nor play past the tutorial stage. Call of what? Modern what? (Update: Conduit 2 controls here)

I’ve seen some player comments declaring the Wii “Pointer” controls in The Conduit and GoldenEye 007 are great or crap, or never getting them to feel “right” – ALL without adequately explaining why nor sharing their settings in detail as if it’s only a futile, individual effort they’re doomed to suffer (curse you, game! curse you, non-Nintendo developer!). What was the purpose of their interweb comments, their “discussion”? To WHINE? Yeah. To exchange ideas/info and support each other’s gaming experiences? HAH! Hell no.

So I have some info that’s useful to me and could be useful to others… =o

– The Conduit
(click to enlarge)

Handgun gameplay clips using the above settings – headshots preferred. Conduit handles it well; GoldenEye is just a trainwreck.

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Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz FPS Videos

Some dramatic videos and heartfelt thoughts on SMB:BB’s FPS minigame, Monkey Wars: the first SERIOUS FPS experience to hit Wii.

Monkey Wars. FPS deathmatch gameplay on Wii. Available at launch. Playable with your Wii Remote. Monkeys killing each other with blasters and fresh produce. Understood?

(DivX video link at end of post)

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