Like a bunch of people, I got really excited about Homefront. The marketing surrounding the game was great and the premise of battling the Koreans in an alternate reality San Francisco sounded outstanding. The fact that the makers of the above-average Frontlines: Fuel of War were handling development duties didn’t hurt either. Yes, Homefront had a lot going for it.
Well, we all know how that turned out. A little over a week has passed since its release and the overall response has been pretty “meh” at best.
The very average (and that’s being nice) Homefront raises a much more important question, though, about the video game industry and our buying habits: why do they continue to make average games, and why do we keep buying them?
My short answer is, “hope.” Yes, Obama used it, and yes, it’s a bit cliché—just work with me. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. No one sets out to make an average game—just like nobody sets out to buy one—it just happens. Developers hope their final product is a good one and we hope our $60 purchase gives us hours of quality entertainment. But, developers run in to deadlines and certain features need to be axed and quality issues don’t get the time they deserve to be fixed. And I’m sure it’s just as annoying to the people that pour their hearts in to game development as it is for the end user. But, it’s a shame that the developers and publishers know about a game’s shortcomings prior to release and ignore them. I get it; they have made a large investment and must stay the course that their game is good. So they leave it to us and our $60 to find out of the disappointing dysfunction that lies ahead—and that can leave quite a bad aftertaste.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Three more months of development could have really helped a game with as much potential as Homefront and Kaos and THQ could have saved some serious face. Also, a $60 price tag on a budget title like Homefront is crazy. Yes, I called it a budget title. You can fool yourself all you want and try to justify your purchase of Homefront—but deep down you know it’s trash. The campaign is short (not that it bothered me because I prayed for it to end), the graphics are ugly, the server issues are infuriating and the fact that when I sell or trade it without that multiplayer code that shipped in the box, the next guy will have to suffer too is insulting. At $40, Homefront would be looking a whole lot better.
So, now I’m scared. I’m definitely venting about Homefront, since it was the last game I had this experience with, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident. There are so many shooters released every year and I keep waiting for that “next great shooter” to come along but continue to be disappointed. Will somebody please step up and dethrone Call of Duty sometime soon? I’m counting on you Battlefield. The opinions reflected here are those of one Freek and KontrolFreek.com is not responsible for the things he says. In fact, no one here even likes him.
MAG was [is] one of those games that you either loved in spite of its shortcomings or hated because, shortcomings or not, it was pure trash. I’m still not 100% sure which side I’m on. I love the massive amounts of action taking place on-screen but loathe most of the rest. Well, no matter. Enough people out there on PSN still play enough MAG to warrant its first batch of paid DLC.
On June 22, you (apparently) thousands of really quiet MAG fans will be able to download the “Interdiction” expansion pack from the PlayStation Network for $9.99.
From Zipper Interactive:
“ But what’s in it,” you say? Well, for starters, we’re introducing a brand new gametype that we’re calling (what else?) “Interdiction.” Built for up to 128 simultaneous players, Interdiction challenges two rival factions to be attackers and seize control of three command posts with the aid of several heavily-armed convoys on three brand new maps (Lake Bayano Spur, Sovot Motorway, and Iron Cree Quarry). To make it even more interesting, we’ve made all three maps completely faction neutral – allowing all sides to play any map whenever they want – in addition to supplying every squad with their own APC vehicle (that’s 16 APCs on the map at once!). To win, players must capture and hold as many objectives as possible to increase their score while concurrently depleting their enemy’s. In short, Interdiction mode = crazy battlefield mayhem.” Zipper is also including in the Interdiction pack a new “Heavy Improved” armor set and some new medals, ribbons and trophies.
You might not know this, but much like Punxsutawney Phil does for weather, John Madden does for football. That’s right! Earlier this week, Madden came out of his hole and saw his shadow, predicting a long overdue diet and a tough loss for the Indianapolis Colts.
Well, it’s actually Madden’s game that is used for the Super Bowl predicting—but the results are the same.
Every year for Super Bowl, EA cranks up the latest Madden NFL game and lets the computer figure out who’s going to win the big game. The simulation is run each year in hopes to satisfy our curious minds and, more importantly for EA, sell a few more copies of the game before football is forgotten for 6-months.
The computer simulation is usually pretty accurate too. In five out of the past 6 years Madden has gotten the winner right. The only recent championship game it failed to predict was Super Bowl XLII where the Giants beat the Pats—but who could have predicted that one?
This year the simulation predicted that the New Orleans Saints would be the victor by the very close margin of 35 - 31. Drew Brees turned out to be the MVP with 299 yards and three touchdowns; while Reggie Bush found the end zone twice with a rushing touchdown and a punt returned for a TD. Peyton Manning had a solid performance with 322 yards and three touchdowns but came up just short of the championship ring.
Before you call your bookie, though, you should know that the Madden Simulation does not take into account certain intangibles like player hot-streaks, nerves and experience or Dwight Freeney's bad ankle. Whatever the outcome is of the actual Super Bowl, the results of the simulation predict a good, high-scoring game that all of us should enjoy. So, like my old tee ball coach used to say (he also used to hit on my mom and make sure I was wearing my jockstrap by “knocking”), “no matter who wins the game, we’re all winners!”
Tags: Madden , Super Bowl , Indianapolis Colts , New Orleans Saints , Dwight Freeney , Peyton Manning , Drew Brees , NFL
Categories: PS3 , Opinion , Call of duty , Battlefield , News , Cooperative Gaming , MW2 , PlayStation , Game Reviews , MAG , Random Nonsense
It’s no doubt that by now, if you own a PS3, you’ve downloaded the MAG open beta and run it through its paces a bit. And by this point you’ve probably made the decision if you are going to buy it or not when it comes out on January 26 th. And chances are, if you played the game for less than an hour-or-two, you’ve decided to not purchase the game and have gone back to playing MW2.
So if I’m right and that’s your story, I have written this mini-review on the beta just for you in hopes that you’ll give MAG a little more time—because if you haven’t put in a good bit of time getting to know the game, you haven’t really uncovered many of the things that make MAG so addictive. Sure, once the full game comes out later this month my little review will probably mean squat, but it should at least give you an idea of what to expect with the full release.
Let’s first start out by addressing the pink elephant in the room: MAG’s graphics don’t look to be on par with a certain shooter that came out a few months ago. Frankly, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 makes MAG look like a PS2 game. But once you consider the amount of action going on and the ridiculous number of players on the screen at once, you see that the subpar graphics are justified. If MW2 had as many players as MAG does playing in one game at the same time, you could bet your noobtube you’d have complete network failure.
Zipper Interactive has really raised the bar in terms of player-count on consoles. Gears Of War 2 maxes out at a mere 10 players. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 allows only 18. Battlefield: Bad Company has room for 24. Killzone 2 boasts 32 players. MAG lets 256 (TWO-HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FRIGGIN-SIX) players shoot at each other at the same time and runs near-flawlessly while doing it.
Impressed? You should be.
MAG’s not running perfectly quite yet, though—occasionally servers would go down and drop me from games (usually when I was doing really well, which was maddening). And sometimes it took a while to get in to a game, but only a few times did I experience lag during play—and it was always very minor. Of course, these things are to be expected with such an ambitious player-count; and that’s why the beta is public, after all. By the time MAG hits shelves, most of these issues should be fixed.
Now lets look at the actual gameplay of MAG. Playing with 256 players is as hectic as it sounds. In the two game types available in the beta, Sabotage and Domination, your main goal is to either attack or defend control points across the game’s large maps. Sabotage is like “Domination-Lite”—as you only have three structures to attack or defend and only 64 players playing at once. Think of it as training for the enormous Domination, which Zipper probably figured was too big to jump right in to and start playing. Domination, as stated before, is seriously huge. It has the same basic premise as Sabotage but adds manned-turrets, bombing-runs, UAV’s, advanced squad-perks and a vehicle-or-two that you can control.
Some of the advanced features (like airstrikes and squad-perks) require you to be a Squad Leader, Platoon Leader or Officer in Charge. Becoming one of these leader-types takes quite a bit of leveling up but gives you abilities that can change the tide-of-war in a second for you and your comrades. The whole thing sort of plays like a mash-up of Battlefield: Bad Company, Modern Warfare and SOCOM. And at this point MAG may not be as good as any of those—but it definitely deserves a good portion of your time. Zipper has crafted a game that finally makes you feel like you’re a small piece in a really large war—which is probably how you would feel in an actual war. Trust me, MAG will inspire developers to think bigger, and that’s good for all of us. Can you imagine playing Call OF Duty: Modern Warfare 6 with 500 players? I can, and it’s all thanks to MAG—the father of Massive Action Games.
Tags: MAG , PS3 , MW2 , Bad Company , Massive Action Game , PlayStation Network , 256
Categories: PS3 , Opinion , Call of duty , Battlefield , Cooperative Gaming , MW2 , PlayStation , Game Reviews , MAG