Posts Tagged ‘EA’

Dead Space 2 Multiplayer Beta Impressions

October 11, 2010

Let me start off by saying I wasn’t really sure that the Dead Space franchise needed multiplayer. Every time I hear of a great single player game getting multiplayer added to it my gut reaction is to become hesitant about it and ponder on how it could impact the single player portion of the game. It’s not that I hate multiplayer, in fact I have been playing a lot of multiplayer this console generation. However I still care more about the single player aspects of games, where characters and story are the driving force of the game. So with some trepidation I dove into the multiplayer beta.

Before I get into details of the beta, let me digress for a second and thank the always gracious Mikey of Bit-Speak.com. Whom I was lucky enough to get a Dead Space 2 beta code from.

Let me start of with the technical aspects of the Dead Space 2 multiplayer beta. I haven’t had any technical problems with it. The frame-rate is always smooth, the graphics are good, sound design is still excellent, and the controls are solid. So from that standpoint it seems Visceral Games is doing a very good job with their first attempt at adding competitive multiplayer to the Dead Space franchise. With that all said, lets talk about the actual gameplay. You know, what really makes or breaks any well made game.

You get to play as either a human, which are a security force and have all the powers you have in the single player aspect of the game, or the grotesque necromorphs. Both play and feel completely different, as they should. Especially since they have different objects. When playing as the humans you are tasked with collecting parts to bring back to central location to assemble something (in this case making a bomb). When you are the necromorphs, you simply want to kill the humans and stop them from completing their objects.

The human characters play and feel just like Issac from the original Dead Space. You start off with the plasma cutter and a pulse rifle. These two weapons are very useful, and you can take down any of the necromorphs using them. However, you don’t have unlimited ammo or depots to refill your ammo. You need to pick up ammo from dead enemies. You also have the stasis ability that you should be familiar with if you played the first game. Much like the limited ammo, this ability is very limited. You only get to use it once per spawn, unless you get a pick up from a fallen necromorph. If they didn’t limited these things the game would be very imbalanced. The four human players would easily be able to take out the four necromorph players and other AI enemies. However, because you can’t just spam stasis or unload clip after clip into the enemies you need to be more precise and strategic.

You will want to shoot off limbs of the necromorphs to take them down faster, or slow them down. It also seems that the different baddies are weak against different weapons, so you’ll also want to experiment with that as well. Instead of having to firing a lot of shots, maybe instead one or two well placed shots from a different weapon will take down the necromorph much faster. I really like that they included this aspect in the multiplayer. If you don’t panic when you get rushed you should be able to fend off most attacking hordes of necromorphs. Especially if you use your stasis as an effective means to control larger numbers of enemies.

Another aspect of this multiplayer that I enjoy is that it forces you to work together in order to complete your objectives, which isn’t just kill the most monsters as possible. There may be some kind of deathmatch, but in the beta that mode isn’t present. Yes, killing more necromorphs nets you more points to level up but you would get even more points from completing objectives. this should keep most players focused, but you never know when it comes to online multiplayer.

I had some worries about playing as the necromorphs. Mainly because an individual creature doesn’t really stand a chance against one of the security officers. They just aren’t powerful enough and don’t have as much life. Thankfully, the respawn is very quick in Dead Space 2 and what is even better is that you get to choose where you spawn from. This allows you to spawn close to the action and even to plan a sneak attack by spawning just ahead of or just behind the human players.

Another factor that evens the the odds for the necromorphs is that there are always other non-player controlled necromorphs populating the map. They might not be the smartest teammates, but their numbers sure do help. They create more targets for the officers to worry about and can help weaken the human players.

The necromorphs are also given two abilities that greatly aid them. First off you are able to see the vascular system of the human officers through walls. This allows you to be strategic about your attacks and get the jump on your enemies. Speaking of which, the other ability is that you are able to leap onto or latch onto human players as necromorphs. If you win the quick time event, for lack of a better term, you will perform a brutal execution on the player. This allow you to take down a much stronger opponent all by yourself if you are quick enough.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Dead Space 2 multiplayer beta. It plays great, and still feels like Dead Space. There is still that sense of tension and stress present in the single player portion of Dead Space. It also seems to be pretty balanced in its current state. If they release enough maps and modes, and have a deep enough progression system it should make for a very fun and unique multiplayer in addition to what should be a great single-player game.

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New Medal of Honor Multiplayer Trailer

September 9, 2010

Earlier today EA posted a new Medal of Honor multiplayer trailer on the PlayStation Blog (seen above) for a mode called Combat Mission. I’m not going to analyze the details of the trailer, as I mainly just wanted to post the trailer and my response to it since it has me rather excited about the online portion of Medal of Honor. This is because the mode shown in the trailer is objective based and requires teamwork. Variations on deathmatch are fun and all, but having actual objectives besides “kill x amount of dudes” makes for a much more engaging game in my opinion. Thankfully I won’t have to wait too long before I can play this mode, and other portions of Medal of Honor, as it comes out on October 12, 2010.

Dead Space 2 First Multiplayer Info

September 5, 2010

Sometime this month we are suppose to get an official announcement of Dead Space 2’s multiplayer, but it seems as with most things in this industry it may have already been partially leaked.

At the annual GameStop conference EA gave up the first details of the multiplayer. One of the multiplayer modes featured in Dead Space 2 will be soldiers versus necromorphs. I’m not too sure how this mode will work out, seeing as the standard necromorphs don’t stand up too well against Issac in single player. However if they are able to balance it correctly and allow for the necromorphs to move more stealthily about the level via ducts or other pathways only accessible for them it could get rather interesting.

Along with this tidbit of multiplayer info, some pre-order news came out of the conference as well. If you pre-order at GameStop you will get a free Rivet Gun. I’m not sure if this is for the multiplayer, but it is probably more likely for the single player portion of the game. Also, no matter where you pre-order Dead Space 2 it seems you will be get the downloadable prequel Dead Space: Ignition for free! This is very good news, as I was worried they were going to over charge for it.

Hopefully EA will make their official announcement soon and we will get some footage of the multiplayer aspects of Dead Space 2. I didn’t think they needed to add multiplayer, but I will wait and see how it turns out before passing judgment as I was wrong about Uncharted getting multiplayer.

Source: PlayStation LifeStyle

Dead Space 2 Prequel Announced

July 18, 2010

EA has announced a downloadable prequel to Dead Space 2, called Dead Space Ignition. This extension of Dead Space 2 will be a mix of motion comic and game. Which sounds like an interesting tie-in for a franchise I am a huge fan of.

In the lead up to the original Dead Space EA released a serious of very well done motion comics on both Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. An example of these (episode zero) is at the top of this post. I really enjoyed these comics, as they added to the story and mythos of the Dead Space fiction. Which is actually very interesting, especially for a game. It isn’t just about shooting necromorphs, although that is still a lot of fun. The same author will be returning to work on Ignition.

It sounds like it will mostly be a choose your own adventure style game, but will have some hacking mini-games mixed in. I doubt we’ll be playing as Isaac, or following him in Ignition. Most likely we will be following a person or people that live on the Sprawl, the giant space station that is the setting for Dead Space 2. Hopefully it will give us information about how the necromorphs got there, and give us even more insight into the twisted religion know as Unitology which is a very important part of the world of Dead Space.

EA hasn’t given us a price, but I’m hoping it is very reasonable considering it is mostly a promotional game and to be honest I’m not too sure how much actual game will be in it. Also, the comics for the first game were free. Ignition will actually give you in-game items and even an exclusive suit. Dead Space Ignition will release sometime in the fall of 2010, which should leave you enough time to see all four endings and get ready for Dead Space 2 which releases on January 25, 2011.

Dead Space 2 E3 Footage & PS3 Exclusive Content

July 10, 2010

At E3 this year, EA didn’t disappoint me and many other gamers as well with their footage of Dead Space 2. They showed off two impressive demos, one of which is was shown off during Sony’s E3 press event since there was a special Sony exclusive announcement. I’ll get to that later on, but lets first talk about the trailers (seen above).

First off you’ll notice that Dead Space 2 is looking great and still has an amazing atmosphere like the first game. Necromorphs are still looking exceptionally nasty and being creepy as ever. Jumping out of grates, busting through walls, and coming out of the shadows in an all out effort to kill you.

The trailers show off several new necromorphs, some of which we’ve seen in screens before. We finally got to see the small child-like necromorphs that will swarm you since they travel in packs. It looks like you’ll have to use your stasis ability for crowd control against these guys or you’ll b quickly overwhelmed. In the trailers we also got to see some returning necromorphs and two new rather large ones as well. The first large one attacks Isaac, the main character of Dead Space 2, in a church of Unitology and starts to drag him away. Like in the first game, you’ll have to shoot some weak spots to make it drop you and retreat. If you’ve played the first game, you’ll know how stressful this can be. As you can’t easily shoot and aim while you are being dragged or held upside down. It really makes you feel the desperation of the situation.

The second even larger necromorph is in the second trailer. It is much more aggressive and brutish than the one in the church. It is going all out to kill you. It destroys the area you are in and forces Isaac to run for his life. In doing so you enter a chase scene, where you have to use your stasis ability to open doors in front of you.

This chase leads you to a more open room with a view of the sprawl, which is immediately obstructed by some type of ship that is firing on you from outside. The rain of bullets break the windows, which in turn breaks the seal of the room you are in. This causes everything to be sucked out the window. Isaac struggles to not get sucked out, but the large necromorph that was chasing you comes into the room and is pulled out into space, bringing Isaac with it. The demo shortly ends after this, with Isaac fighting the large necromorph in Zero G. It was very action packed and frantic.

All of this just looks amazing. It looks like Visceral Games is keeping all the good stuff that made the original Dead Space so great while adding enough to make it a worthy sequel. You won’t be only in hallways, as you are not stuck to a space ship this time. Instead you are on a colony, known as the Sprawl. Besides the much larger world, there will be some new guns in Dead Space 2. The one shown in the first trailer is a javelin gun, which pins enemies against objects and walls… Always fun.

Visceral also mentioned that there will be a much stronger emphasis on the Unitologists actions, plan, and religion in this game. Which brings up something else very interesting in these trailers. That ship that is firing on you must be operated by humans. So this means there will be human enemies as well as necromorphs in Dead Space 2. I’m guessing these will be tied to the church of Unitology, seeing how they believe the necromorphs are a good thing and Isaac is trying to exterminate them.

Oh, and don’t forget about that Sony exclusive announcement. After the demo at Sony’s conference EA announced that Dead Space Extraction will be coming out with Dead Space 2 for the PS3 in a limited edition of the game. It will be on the single blu-ray disc, and free. Meaning the limited edition will be your standard $60, but you’ll be getting two games for that price. It will be an HD port, with trophy support, of the previously Wii exclusive game. I know this might not be the biggest announcement ever, but it was a big deal to me. I’ve always wanted to play Extraction, but never got around to it. I didn’t have  a Wii when it came out, and then decided to hold out once rumors of it making its way to the PS3 starting to surface. So I’m glad I waited it out, as I will get it in HD, with trophies, and for free! It will be a PS3 exclusive for now, but I’m sure it will turn up on both the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace for a price.

Dead Space 2 was one of my favorite games at E3. I loved the first one, and I think it is a great universe. One that I have been looking forward to jumping back into it. Dead Space 2 will release on January 25, 201, so I’ll have to wait a bit. I think I am willing to do so, so they can polish what could be a game of the year contender for 2011.

Dead Space 2 Gameplay Trailer

June 12, 2010

If you don’t know by now, I am a huge fan of the first Dead Space and I’m very excited about the upcoming sequel. Last night a new trailer was released on Game Trailers (seen above). It is just a gameplay trailer, but that is what I really wanted to see from this game. There was talk about making the sequel more Call of Duty  like or action oriented, and as a fan of the first game this was kind of off putting. However, this trailer shows that same great dismemberment gameplay and dark environments that made the first game so great. You’ll still have necromorphs jumping out at you trying to consume you. Besides that, you’ll also notice the new suit at work in some new Zero-G gameplay. Isaac Clarke, the main character from the first game, is able to fly around in Zero-G, not just jump from surface to surface . This could lead to some very interesting levels to break up the small corridors and rooms that you will most likely spend a lot of time in. Sadly, Dead Space 2 is still a ways off but I really can’t wait to see more about it.

Dragon Age: Origins Review

April 20, 2010

Dragon Age: OriginsPublisher: Electronic Arts Developer: BioWare /  Platform: PS3, Xbox 360, PC  /  Genre: RPG  /  Release Date: November 3, 2009

I picked up Dragon Age: Origins because I am a huge fan of role-playing games (RPG), enjoy fantasy settings, and got slightly caught up in the hype. Was it a worth all the time I spent killing darkspawn and trying to get busy with all the characters? Well… Yes, but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.

Story:

It is kind of hard to describe the story of Dragon Age: Origins, and that is due to the way BioWare typically makes an RPG. They like to focus on choice and branching stories. This entails lots of choices made by the player, including the origin of your character, which will change the story accordingly. You can play as elves (city or wilderness), dwarves (noble or classless), mage, or a human noble. This will determine how you are lead into the core story of the game. Once you reach that point the story will basically become similar, but NPC’s will react to you according to whom you are and what you’ve done. There are also a ton of side quests, so this can drastically change many aspects of the story you craft through your decisions and actions.

The main story is a pretty typical fantasy tale. Evil is gathering, in the form of an Archdemon and the darkspawn that serve it, and only you can lead the people against the horde and slay the Archdemon. The reason you are one of the few that can actually take down the Archdemon is because you become what is known as a Grey Warden. Grey Wardens are an elite group of warriors and mages that are dedicated to destroying the Darkspawn. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned and you become the only one capable of stamping out the growing threat of the darkspawn.

Does this all sound a little familiar? Well it should, as it is pretty much your typical RPG story. Which I found very disappointing as everyone seems to talk so highly of BioWare games for their stories and why they are told. I didn’t find anything too appealing about the story in this game, or the WRPG tropes. In fact I became pretty bored with the story before the half way mark. You knew what was going on, and where it was going.

There are some small side quests and conversations that will lead to interesting outcomes, but they are all ancillary to the main story. You’ll have to make moral choices, get involved in relationships with your party members, and deal with political issues. Sadly a lot of these things ended up feeling like filler to me.

However, I do think if you were to go back and play the game through several times you would get a better feel for the history and depth of the world of Dragon Age. When I played through the other origin stories it was interesting to see some of the backstory for characters I encountered in my main game. It really fleshed out who they were, and why I was able to have an in-depth or meaningful conversation with them. Sadly, I don’t think this is to the benefit of the game. If I have to spend 100’s of hours playing the game to actually become interested in the story then your game has a problem. If you play through the game only once you will probably feel like the world and story of Dragon Age: Origins is very generic and pretty average.

Gameplay:

Dragon Age: Origins plays like a fairly traditional WRPG for the PC. You control a party of up to four characters and enter dungeons where you move around in real time and engage free roaming enemies when you encounter them. It isn’t an open word game, but you can move through the different areas however you see fit. You can fully explore them or just try to move towards your goal as fast as possible.

When you engage enemies you will select them and attack them. You can then use different skills that are mapped to the face buttons. You can also pull up a series of wheels that has all of your skills, magic, abilities, and items on them. This can become rather annoying in the thick of battle. It becomes unwieldy and just feels like a comprise made in order to bring the game to consoles. Because of this system, I found myself pretty much only using the skills and abilities I could map to the face buttons. This in turn made most battles feel the same. Also, you’ll encounter the same types of enemies over and over again. There is very little variation in the enemies found in Dragon Age: Origins. I found this to make the encounters pretty boring. Enter a room, kill some darkspawn, move to next room, kill more darkspawn and a skeleton. Yeah, it pretty much goes like that for most of the game. If this wasn’t an RPG I could be more forgiving of the lack of enemy variation, but it just seems lazy and doesn’t add any depth to the world they created.

Besides the droves of darkspawn you will fight, you will also encounter a few boss fights. These are more interesting then fighting the normal enemies, but they are so few and far between that it didn’t really do too much for me. I’d also like to note how few dragons are in the game. You’d think with a name like Dragon Age you’d have the option to encounter numerous dragons, but that isn’t the case.

You will obtain quests by checking mission boards and by talking to people. Basically your normal RPG mechanics at work. There are some missions that are about collecting, finding, killing, or solving other peoples problems (lost daughters, evil mages, family feuds, and so on). The missions can be fairly short, or if you have to go through a whole dungeon you can expect to spend a very long time completing them. I have no real problems with the missions, but for everyone that belabors the tropes of JRPG’s I could easily apply the same standards to Dragon Age: Origins. They don’t do anything out of the ordinary  These missions are fairly standard, with a few exceptions like a certain mission that leads you into another realm.

To start these missions you will have to access different areas on a world map. You don’t actually move between the dungeons or towns in real time. You select your destination on the map and watch a line march towards it. During this time you may have random encounters. You could find yourself fighting off darkspawn, wolves, saving citizens, or even meeting traveling merchants. It is nice to be able to gain some more experience by engaging in these encounters, as otherwise you aren’t going to find many opportunities to do so. I found this to be slightly disappointing.

I like to level up my characters, get new skills, and allow for my characters to use higher tier equipment. Dragon Age doesn’t really lend itself to any grinding. I guess that is more inline with WRPG’s, but I still prefer to grow my characters and I didn’t feel like I could fully do that in this game. I was still able to access new skills, and improve ones I already had. However, it just never really came together for me. Maybe that is my fault, but it never coalesced like it has for me with many other RPG’s.

Conclusion:

I was really hoping Dragon Age: Origins would surprise me with something beyond a typical fantasy story, but it didn’t. I found myself moving through it just to get to the end. The conversations would become too drawn out, and how you interact with your party members also just felt contrived. You could easily say or do something small that could potentially make you lose a character for the rest of the game. It just seems unrealistic and forced for the most part. This isn’t always the case, as most times you can easily buy back their favor by giving them gifts. So I guess if you ever piss anyone off just buy them lots of stuff and they will fall back in love with you.

When the story failed me I was hoping the gameplay would carry me through. Well, that fell short as well. It isn’t broken, and can become pretty fun. But it always feels like it would be a lot better with a keyboard or some other system that would allow you to more easily access all your skills. Maybe something similar to the 3 tier system found in White Knight Chronicles would work better. It makes it much easier to quickly select what you want. In fact, I bet a lot of PC players ended up pausing the game often and giving orders. Although, with the PC version you have a bunch of hotkeys so you can easily select stuff. With the console version, I felt like I had to babysit the character I was controlling so I couldn’t give my other party members orders.

There is a system in place, similar to the gambit system in Final Fantasy XII, that allows you to guide the AI of your party members but I often found them not doing what they were suppose to. For example, they would often die because they wouldn’t heal each other or themselves when I had preset their actions to do so. So I would just have to hope I would always survive the battle and then heal up after. Or I’d have to quickly cycle through my characters, take control of them, and then make them heal themselves. It all just becomes very tedious.

I also feel like I have to talk about some technical issues I have with the game. This is easily one of the worst looking games I’ve played on the PS3. The textures are flat, muddy, and just very poor. The characters just look bad. Which is in part due to the bad textures, average animations, and also a lack luster art direction. The art direction just feels pretty standard for a fantasy game. Even with the low quality graphics the game still has a ton of loading times (every time you enter a building, different parts of buildings, and so on), some framerate problems, and also texture pop-in. I was surprised at how bad this game looks. I don’t expect, or demand, that every game be at the same level of Uncharted 2, but I do expect them to look significantly better than some of the later PS2 games and launch PS3 titles. Every time there is a close up, like during the thousands of conversations you’ll have, I just found myself being repulsed by the looks of the game.

In the end, Dragon Age: Origins just feels very average. Nothing stands out to me or makes this game noteworthy. There is a lot of game there, so if you are really into BioWare games or fantasy games it is worth checking out. However, I’d suggest getting it on the PC instead of a console. This isn’t only due to the graphics, but also due to the gameplay. From top to bottom the game feels like a PC game, and feels like it struggles to play well on a console.

SCORE: 6/10

New Dead Space 2 Screenshots

January 6, 2010

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Recently EA released several new screenshots of Dead Space 2, and it is looking great so far. They feature a slimmed down Isaac Clarke, a bunch of necromorphs, and some of the locations you will visit in Dead Space 2. Isaac’s slimed down suit looks a lot more agile than his previous suits in Dead Space. Maybe this is suppose to compliment the new direction on the sequel. Supposedly Isaac is actually looking to take the fight to the necromorphs this time, so the suit could be more than just an engineer’s rig like last time. However, like the last game he is still using the oh so enjoyable and effective Plasma Cutter from the first game. They could be showing off this weapon since it is familiar and they might want to keep more of the new weapons secret until much closer to the games release date. Doesn’t really matter, as the Plasma Cutter was a great weapon and once you upgraded it was perfectly suited at dissecting necromorphs. Speaking of necromorphs, the new screens show off more of the creepy child like necromorphs, some returning necromorphs, and what appears to be a rather large new type of necromorph. You know it is going to take a fair amount of well placed shots to take those guys down. From the screens it looks like Dead Space 2 is shaping up to be a worthy sequel to its predecessor.

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Source: Terminal Gamer

Dead Space 2 Officially Announced

December 8, 2009

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Well it took the oh so painfully long wait of one whole day for my hopes to be answered. Today EA has officially announced that Dead Space 2 is in development via a lovely little press release, which can be read at Giant Bomb. Although practically no details are given in the press release it does mention one important fact. The protagonist from Dead Space, everyone’s favorite space engineer, Isaac Clarke returns in Dead Space 2. Depending on how you interpret the last scene of the the original Dead Space this may be somewhat of a surprise. Hopefully they will explain what the outcome of the last scene of Dead Space is in Dead Space 2 and we get to dismember some more necromorphs sooner rather than later.

Possible Dead Space 2 Announcement Soon

December 6, 2009

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Well, I loved Dead Space. It was the first Survival Horror game that I’ve actually finished in a long time. I know it isn’t as slow paced or methodical as the Resident Evil series, but I think that is a good thing. The game wasn’t hampered by the controls, like Resident Evil 5 was. Dead Space had very smooth third person action/shooter controls that didn’t make you feel like you were fighting the game for control of your character. The game also had very good graphics, nice art direction, great atmosphere, fun weapons, and superb sound design. I also thoroughly enjoyed the story of the game, even with a silent main character. So with all the rumors of the possible upcoming announcement of Dead Space 2 I’m pretty excited.

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It is rumored that Dead Space 2 will be featured in the next issue of Official Playstation magazine and it is also rumored that the first trailer will be shown at the upcoming Spike TV Video Game Awards. On top of these rumors, the Dead Space Twitter account has posted a new image (seen above). It is done in the style of a Rorschach test. You can make out 3 different types of necromorphs (the creatures featured in Dead Space) and the Marker in the negative space at the center of the image. Then there is some writing below the image, which is written in the language used by the colonist when they start to go mad due to the Marker. A forum member, Aglaophotis, of HellDescent.com has gone through the trouble of translating this text for everyone. It reads:

“The nightmare is over but it will not end”

This doesn’t really give us any insight into Dead Space 2, other than there is a Dead Space 2. Hopefully the rumors are true and we’ll be getting a lot of info on the possible existence of Dead Space 2 very soon.