Looking Forward

This weekend I am planning on picking up Red Dead Redemption. Although I have never been the biggest fan of the GTA series, Rockstar have intrigued me with it’s wild west free-roaming offering. The last time I played a western game it was Neversoft’s Gun, a game that was fun and had a lot of potential but was marred by an irritating control system and a plot that was extremely short. The reviews for Red Dead Redemption have been generally positive (and sometimes a little over-flowing with praise!) so I’m willing to lay out some cash for it despite the video evidence of 101 glitches on YouTube. I think I’m gonna have a grand time in the old west.

This got me thinking about some other games that I am looking forward to playing. We’ve got some pretty excellent games on the horizon! These are the 4 I’m anticipating the most.

Mafia II – August 2010

Y’know, I never played Mafia. Crime games in general don’t tend to grab my interest. It’s not like I have anything against them it’s a just a personal thing. I tend to prefer stuff with a sci-fi or fantasy theme. Despite this I really, really want to play Mafia II. The gameplay trailers look like it will be immense fun (more Gears of War shoot and cover than GTA) and the work that has gone into constructing the 10 square miles of Empire Bay means it will likely be a joy to wander around. I’ve also been impressed with voice-acting I’ve heard on the trailers. I don’t expect this game to be particularly innovative in the sandbox genre but I love the idea of the playing a stylistic gangster game with great music, authentic environments and a good story. From what I’ve seen so far, Mafia II seems to be promising these things.

Dead Rising 2 – August 2010

Dead Rising was a good game that just didn’t quite work. The controls were iffy, the save system frustrating and the tiny text a massive pain for anyone without a HD tv. Here’s hoping that the sequel will eliminate all these issues! Because really, the opportunity to slaughter a screen absolutely packed with Romero-esque shambling zombies with weapons ranging from your fists to your own custom-built weapons makes my gaming thumbs twitch. Capcom say that the number of zombies which can be onscreen at any one time is roughly 6,000! There will also be cooperative and mutliplayer modes alongside the main plot. I just hope that it lives up to the hype that I have now created inside my head.

I Am Alive – 2011

Ubisoft first announced this title back in 2008. It was meant to be released this year but was pushed back after they pulled the development from Darkworks to in-house. I do hope it makes it to shelves because it just looks so interesting – like playing a part in a 70’s disaster movie. I like the idea that staying alive is part of the games mechanics and not something you only have to think about when being shot at. In fact, using tactics to trick or avoid your enemies is the main focus of play. Hopefully we will all hear more about it later in the year.

Fallout: New Vegas – Autumn/Winter 2010

If you’ve played Fallout 3 then you know why this game is heavily anticipated. If you haven’t played Fallout 3 then what are you still doing reading this blog post? Get out and buy yourself a second-hand copy! You won’t regret it!

So, what games are you looking forward to playing?


11 responses

  1. I am REALLY looking forward to Fallout Vegas. I love Fallout 3 and Vegas looks to be just as awesome. I’m really excited about it.


    May 31, 2010 at 2:08 am

  2. Slythe

    I’m looking forward to Mafia 2, simply because I played the first one on the PC and have really good memories of it. I never played any of the GTA games until GTA:IV on the xbox 360 and was quite disappointed given how famous that series is (while their are good elements to it, I don’t rate the driving physics that highly, the combat system isn’t very interesting and the missions were pretty boring for the most part, though I never finished them). Mafia was more fun, or at least I have better memories of it.

    Also looking forward to Fable 3.

    There are a few other games I might look at if I have time, but I think those are the two “must buys” for me.


    June 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

  3. Donna – Fallout 3 really was the single player experience at its best! So much to do!

    Slythe – I’m happy to head that Mafia was a good game. It was my own prejudices that stopped me playing it more than anything else. It bodes well for Mafia 2 anyway! I think the atmosphere that they have created with the music, graphics and voice acting makes it seem like quite compelling gaming.
    I will also probably play Fable 3 but it isn’t at the top of my list because Fable 2 was such a massive disappointment for me.


    June 1, 2010 at 9:05 am

  4. Stephen Fry is doing voices in Fable 3. Don’t know what he’s voicing, but he mentioned on his tweet recently about recording for it.


    June 5, 2010 at 12:13 am

  5. Slythe

    Jennifer: Out of interest, what did you disappointing about Fable 2?


    June 5, 2010 at 8:53 pm

  6. Amanda

    Fallout Vegas makes me excited like a kid before summer break, I tell ya. I’m waiting for that and chewing the nails in anticipation!


    June 6, 2010 at 6:09 am

  7. Slythe: I thought Fable 2 promised a lot more than it delivered. I heard all this great stuff about a sophisticated choice system but what I got was choices that made little to no impact on the game. It didn’t really matter if what I did was good or evil because the plot still unfolded in the same way. At the most I got some different dialogue from main characters. I thought that Dragon Age had a choice system that was far more in depth and actually effected the plot of the game and what missions I could take on.
    Secondly, I thought it was extremely glitchy. I found it almost impossible to stay married as spouses would disappear and my children would not react to interaction. I was also given the weapon Rising Sun every time I entered the Temple of Light vicinity. I ended up with about 15 but I could not sell or discard them from my inventory.
    Thirdly, game duration and fighting. It was a very short game. Also, it didn’t take much more than button bashing to take out enemies. I enjoyed the last boss but it was so easy that I thought it was a build up to the final fight! I was very disappointed that my great moment of defeating the big bad was to open a music box and then to have an NPC shoot him! I was expecting more.

    On the other hand I also thought the game was whimsical and funny with really beautiful environments. I liked a lot of the side games and quests. It is just that over all I mostly felt let down by it. I think it could have been 10x the game it was. I still have high hopes for Fable 3 though!


    June 7, 2010 at 9:14 am

  8. Slythe

    Jennifer: Interesting, I’m completely the opposite way around. I wasn’t really expecting that much from Fable 2, and was pleasantly surprised by it. The plot was good, with a bad guy actually having a decent motivation beyond “This weekend Pinky, we’re going to take over/blow up the world!”, in that he was driven to resurrect his dead family (at least I find the idea of good intentions leading to evil acts more interesting than a simple pursuit of power). I like they way the story takes place over time with the character ageing and changing appearance and I thought that even the gimmick of getting married and have kids actually does, in a weird way, actually give the player more of an emotional attachment to the world. The actions of the player may not change the plot, but they do change the world: your decisions effect how several of the game regions develop. They also put a lot of effort into trying to manipulate the heart strings of the player, you don’t see that in a lot of games: having to choose between your dog and your family, the death of your sister, the whole perfect world mission where you meet your dead sister again, having to choose between your vanity and an innocent before the shadow court. I thought those were well done. I didn’t see any of the bugs though, I guess they must’ve fixed them by the time I got around to playing it.

    On the other hand I detested Dragon Age: Origin. As a big fan of Mass Effect I had high hopes for an RPG apparently backed by the same people. However as I began to have second thoughts as soon as I got in, I was immediately struck by the crap character design, crap animation and crap level design. About the only polished art element was the face generation tool >: I could have ignored that if the story was good, unfortunately I found the dialogue and plot of the initial starting quest (playing as a city elf) so poor that I didn’t even bother finishing it the first time. I did go back and try again later and got through into the main game, but I didn’t find the whole grey warden/blight story particularly compelling and I probably didn’t complete more than 10% of the game.

    Ps: my monster icon has changed, must be because I just switched from @googlemail address to @gmail.


    June 7, 2010 at 4:31 pm

  9. Slythe: I guess it’s a good thing that there is a Fable or Dragon Age for all of us then!

    I would have liked to have had an emotional attachment to the world of Fable 2 but all 3 of my marriages were unsuccessful due my husbands glitching out of existence as soon as I left the area (I kept marrying the same character model each time for consistency though!). Also, it didn’t take much to convince someone to marry me!

    I guess that was part of my problems with the choices I was presented. I didn’t feel that they made much difference to the world. So I let a girl grow old instead of me because I felt like it. The only consequence was having slightly different dialogue and a couple of evil points. It did not tug at my heart strings, alas! In comparison, there were some choices in Dragon Age that I actually felt bad about making.

    I think the thing I enjoyed most about DA was all the different conversations you could have with the NPC’s and how they changed and developed the relationship you had with them. It took me ages to convince Alistair to even kiss me. I started playing as a human noble though and I have seen other people say that the city elf starting quest is quite iffy.

    Talking about choice; I read a review of Alpha Protocol the other day and the choices the game presents are often with a very short time limit. Therefore the player is forced into making difficult choices without being given the time to mull it over. I really like that idea!


    June 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

  10. Slythe

    I don’t know if you’re going to get a notification of this, but I thought I’d add a follow up comment anyway:

    Thanks to your spirited defence of Dragon Age:Origins, I’ve just finished giving it another try… and annoyingly (because I hate being wrong!!) I have to say you’re right and I was wrong, or half-wrong anyway. 😉

    I’ve played through all the different player origins up to Ostagar and the City Elf had by far the worst storyline (as you said). All the others are fine, with the Dwarf Noble story being pretty damn good IMO (being betrayed by the third brother was a nice twist). I’ve finished the whole thing twice, once just playing normally, the 2nd time replaying it just to make sure I got all the companion quests and seeing if I could optimise the endings.

    Sooo, what do I think of it now? The lore and plot are very good and well thought out, the different cultures, the history and politics all makes sense and meld together seamlessly as far as I could see (though it’s a shame they didn’t come up with a better name than the “Grey Wardens”, to me that makes them sound like some sort of pasty-faced officious little bureaucrats 🙂 ) and the main characters were all well crafted with believable motivations and opinions. Some of the interactions between the companions made me laugh out loud. As you say, I liked the difficulty involved in getting some of the companions to actually like you, most games make that far too easy. So I think the writing team did a great job overall (ignoring the City Elf origin story), and the voice actors also did a good job bringing the script to life. So big thumbs up for the writers and actors.

    However I havn’t really changed my opinion of the level design and combat system. There were a few really nice levels (I liked the levels when you got sucked into the fade by the Sloth Demon at the Circle Tower and had to learn all that shape shifting, for example), but overall it gave me the impression that the level designers were struggling with a very limited set of tools and too simplistic an AI. For the most part the levels involved nothing more than one ambush after another, with very little variation. The big boss battles tended to be little more long drawn out grinds to get their health bar down, and a couple of times depended more on finding exploitable terrain than using the characters’ skills (for example the big battle against the Archdemon at the end is very easy if you just hold your companions in one particular spot and shoot at the dragon with range weapons, all it does it fire rather ineffective blue bolts or blue area of effect back at you for fairly low damage). Half the time winning or losing a difficult battle depended more on having a large supply of health and/or mana potions than combat skills, which never feels right to me. Yet at the same time there was a huge list of consumables such as traps and potions, but I never once felt I needed any of them other than the vital health/mana/injury potions: Why spend cash on a single-use consumable when you have a mage who can do most of the same things without using anything other than easily recovered mana? Several times I was able to win fights by having my mage set up area effects over the enemy from outside a closed door, and they just stood there taking damage until they died. This was also the only game I’ve ever played in which I had to actually edit the AI “tactical slots” myself, I find it difficult to imagine that most players find that makes the game more fun. Now I’m not saying it’s a bad system, it was playable after all, it didn’t detract from the good writing and I did enjoy the game, just that they could have done a lot better: I think they fell into the design trap of just adding more stuff (more skills and more consumables and more tiers of weapons and armour…) to a very simple underlying system to try and make it better rather than spending more time trying to come up with a better basic system. This has resulted in a fair amount of complexity, but most of it doesn’t actually make the combat any more fun (all IMO of course 🙂 ).

    Anyway, I’ve also played the Mafia 2 demo and that is definately the next game for me!


    September 9, 2010 at 5:04 pm

  11. Yes! I did get a notification 😀 Unfortunately was working over the weekend and didn’t get a chance to reply.

    It was funny timing though since I have just finished playing Awakenings, the DA expansion pack!

    I am impressed that you played all the different origins. I stuck with the one story. I felt that all the choices I made had shaped my character and I wanted to see what consequences they would have in future DLC. So I didn’t want to overwrite my save with anything new.

    On the whole, I agree with you. The world that Bioware created is great. It’s very well thought out and I loved all the politics and problems of Ferelden. I especially loved how the choices were not black and white. Even in Awakenings I found myself at a bit of a loss with some choices on what the best thing to do would be. I like the fact that a game made me stop and consider what I wanted to do, who I wanted to save and where my in-game politics lay. Most of the time games give you the moral equivalent of burning down an orphanage or buying all the kids presents. It’s nice to be faced with something more nuanced! I agree with you about the companion interactions too. Sometimes they can be very funny. I really like how they talk among each other as you’re running around. Also, it’s pretty good how ways of interacting will have different out-comes on different characters. Like, it took me much longer to get Oghren to like me because I kept teasing him thinking he would find it funny. Apparently not! Worked on Alistair though.

    To me, this was the main appeal of the game. However, I have to completely agree with you on the combat. I never once used a trap, or coated my weapons or created a health poltice in the entire game! In Awakenings you can also make your own runes…but why bother when you can just find/buy them? From what I have read, this sort of stuff becomes more important when playing on Expert level. PC players also seem to be more into it than xbox players like me. But the thing is…I would have been into it if the game had given me a reason to be. But as you said…mages can heal (and restore stamina), runes have little effect, and simply running your tanks into combat is normally enough to take down most enemies. It’s not exactly strategy, is it? And if it’s not strategy why add so many strategy based items? Like warmth balm and such. They just weren’t needed.

    I will defend the tactics slot though. I found these incredibly useful for organising my party in battle. And I love fiddling around with stuff like that 🙂

    On the whole though, I really enjoyed playing the game and I suppose you can’t say fairer than that! Hopefully some of this stuff will be ironed out in Dragon Age 2 (although I have to say that I am mega disappointed that you will be playing an new character and not importing your save! Oh well, guess we will see).

    If you get a chance, pick up Awakenings. It’s not bad and adds some interesting stuff to the game. It’s not great either though so I would try and get it second hand 😀

    I’m still totally going to play Fable 3 though, despite my massive disappointment with 2! Tricorns ftw.


    September 13, 2010 at 5:22 pm

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