: Ben's Week In Review: April 28

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Ben's Week In Review: April 28

I still can't believe a new generation of hardware will be upon us in only a matter of months. Just...wow. :)

PS4 accessibility means more launch titles

It means we might not see such a significant graphical improvement as the years roll on, but at least we get more software right off the bat. I wasn't surprised at all to hear Sony say we should anticipate the best launch lineup in PlayStation history. What good is a machine that's developer-friendly if you can't immediately make an impression? Make good on that accessibility and come with the games! We know about Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Watch Dogs and a few others, but can you imagine if we also got games like Uncharted 4 and inFamous: Second Son? The latter actually seems likely and just those titles alone would make for the best PlayStation launch ever, in my opinion. I'm not expecting Uncharted 4; that's just a "what if" for the sake of a best case scenario.

Our recent poll showed that despite all the new bells and whistles, and even despite the fact that this industry has fundamentally changed, the games are what matter most. When a new console arrives, that's what we want. The PlayStation Vita had a great launch; there were 25 titles available right off the bat. Can you imagine if there were also 25 PS4 titles on store shelves on launch day? And what if like 10 or 15 of them were pretty damn great? That sucker would sell, almost regardless of price.

Never played The Witcher before, but I might...

I think it's interesting that at least a couple next-generation games appear to be bucking the trends, at least in terms of popular ideas in gaming today. For instance, I love what I've heard from Eidos Montreal concerning the Thief reboot, in that they want to exclusively focus on the single-player campaign. Then you've got CD Projekt Red talking about what won't be in The Witcher 3: Big Hunt and once again, I'm intrigued. No DRM, no QTEs, no multiplayer...I say good. I've known for a while that I'm not on board with many of the current philosophies and ideas in gaming, as I tend to stick to the single-player experience. That's what does it for me. And it seems there are already two next-gen titles that are catering to old-school gamers like me. Yeah, the veterans who don't like change. What of it? ;)

I never got a chance to play either of the previous Witcher titles, but I know I've missed out. I just haven't had the time...and speaking of which, I doubt I'll have the time for The Witcher 3, either, especially if it's as gigantic as something like The Elder Scrolls. But I really would love to try it, at least.

Personal gaming update

So I finally finished Bioshock Infinite and yeah, it was pretty amazing. I really enjoyed the ending, and I greatly appreciated the effort put into the atmosphere, story, characters and other artistic elements of that production. Why can't more games do that? Ken Levine should probably be mentioned in the same breath as Hideo Kojima and David Cage these days. Infinite is just one of those experiences you won't soon forget, and I have to thank Irrational Games for that. Now it's time to start Tomb Raider again, so I can properly savor that experience. I kinda rushed the first time for the sake of the review, and I never did finish it. So that's next.

I really wanted to get into Dead Island: Riptide but give me a break. In so many ways, it's just another example of what's wrong with the industry today. At the same time, I'm liking the old-school Old West return-to-its-roots style of Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I'm a little burned out with FPSs but it still looks like tons o' fun.

4/27/2013 Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (26 posts)

Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 12:05:27 AM

The thing about new hardware isn't just learning how to use the hardware but how to make the most out of what you're given. The most bang for your buck, so to speak. That is, most devs are trained with production pipelines and methods that have been custom tailored to the hardware they've been working with. For example, looking at the original Assassins Creed it's real clear many of the prior gen's (xbox) methods were still being used to map character models. It wasn't until later that overhauls were made to the tools and creation methods that yielded much higher quality looking graphics, even if processing wise a whole lot more wasn't being done. It wasn't so much what was being accomplished in hardware as it was in the maturity of the dev teams. What's interesting is that the PS4's compute units will eventually be better harnessed as the years go, enabling better physics and more complex interactions between objects. Directing those however will pull them off of graphics rendering tasks, thus reducing graphics throughput. I suspect the developer maturity will balance the shifting of power and will ultimately generate a net increase in visual prowess as the years go on.
It has been pretty amazing seeing how far current gen multiplats have gone, even with the supposedly 'easy' 360. I expect no different from the next-gen.

PGU: I finished AC Revelations last night. The story wrapped up nicely, making the prior entries feel as part of one BIG game. I liked it and it definitely finished better than Brotherhood before it, as BH rushed it's last couple hours and felt a bit unfinished as a result. Revelations does well to pile on the cutscenes and provide an ending with unique play sessions to make for a satisfying finale.

I plan to go back to Rage and finish up on that next. After which I eagerly anticipate Darksiders 2.
I've also been trying Soul Calibur 5. It's really a pretty game. I'd say it piles on the visual effects more affluently than any other fighter I've played. I'm trying to get good with Nightmare. But for some reason I've always had a hard time feeling in control while playing SC games. I dunno.

Last edited by Temjin001 on 4/28/2013 12:08:13 AM

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 12:42:18 AM

I really liked Revelations also, but Brotherhood is my favorite. AC3 is good too but I havnt finished it and I reserve all my judgements for where they stand in my top lists until I completely finish them.

I think Revelations though was the most fun to play, it felt more fluid and along with crafting and varying modes made it something other than running across roof tops for hours.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 12:54:18 AM

Im really excited about the PS4' launch line-up. What I know of so far is easily justifiable as Sonys "best" launch line-up.

Im looking forward to the Witcher, and never playing the previous titles makes me interested. I actually would like to see mp implemented though. Not that its a make or break thing. I just want to see I a big open world adventure like this or Elder Scrolls have a mp. I love Elder Scrolls just fine, I would just like to run around and quest with a friend is all. Borderlands benefits largely from the co-op,I think games llike The Witcher and The Elder Scrolls could also. Just a thought.

PGU: Borderlands 2, making my way through the 3rd playthrough and the latest DLC. Also just bought The Walking Dead, finally get to see what all the hype is about!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 5:32:31 AM

I'm playing Bioshock Infinite whenever I got a chance these days, and I can only echo Bens question, "why can't more games be like this!?".

This developer, under the leadership of Ken Levine is now on a shared #1 spot with Bioware on my personal storyteller ranking list. Both has now demonstrated how good stories do *not* need to be told using inactive cut scenes and forced gameplay (QTE, I am in particular looking at you).

Cause even though Bioshock very much is a linear adventure it never feels forced, and that makes all the difference.
There's still plenty to explore along the way, plenty of moments where it *feels* like you do your own choices - it just so happens to be where the designers wanted you to go. The maps are *that* well designed.

I've said it before when the topic has been Bioshock Infinite, but really: This game like entering a movie you really love, allowing you to participate and *be* in that universe.
This is *clearly* the GOTY so far this year.

Last edited by Beamboom on 4/28/2013 5:33:19 AM

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 6:17:53 PM

Tis a work of brilliance to be sure

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:28:39 AM

so what?
it means lots of games, but it also means we did not receive the leap forward we want, demand, deserve!
we have waited by FAR the longest weve ever had to wait for a new generation to arrive, and were welcomed with mild cheddar.
the longer you wait, the more advances in technology are maid, so the more advanced the technology should be!
not less!
in fact looking at a slide nvidia released at GDC this year the ps4 has the power on nvidias charts from FIVE years ago!
yea, a little late........
no wonder epic had to cut so much content out of the UE4 engine when they showed it.
compare the UE4 demo from E3 last year to the one $ony showed at the presser, and see the difference!
a years progress and it looks WORSE!
what the?
the more time you spend on things, the worse they get......
oh dear..............

one thing ive always hated about the witcher series is its really good at making you feel like your wasting your time!
they need to tone down the side missions, and make the progression much more drastic.
when you spend 30 hours in the game, you want to feel like you have completed 30 hours worth of tasks.
not feel like all you have done is mowed the lawn, thats one hard working mower!
just feels like you have to put so much into it to get anywhere.
its almost like a MMO it goes to such extremes!
the witcher 2 for instance ive put over 70 hours into it and a friend of mine tells me im not even like 30% of the way through it!
and they say the witcher 3 is going to be way, way, WAY bigger!
oh great........

the story in infinite was not that good.
it needs to be explained allot better, and it needs a better backstory and to fit the pieces allot better.
one thing so few games do really well these days is story telling through collectibles.
one thing that made the original bioshock so great is the tapes you could find, and each one unraveled a piece of the story.
the story itself would raise questions but to have them answer you had to skower the locations looking for these tapes.
infinite though is the opposite, they dont feel like there filling things in they feel like nonsensical rambling!
the tapes in bioshock were like puzzle pieces.
the story gave you every odd numbered piece, but for every even numbered piece you had to find these tapes and they would fill in the story for you.
in infinite the story is the same, it gives you every odd numbered piece, but everything else gives you the pieces to a totally different puzzle.
does not fit, and only serves to confuse and annoy you!
at the end of it infinites story was spoiled by not fitting together, lacking background information, and it is REALLY hard to piece together because of this.
another perfect example of lacking back story is bookers past, you never really get a deep insight into it.
you know he was in the army and did some not so easy to forget things.
what were they?
why is he so troubled by them?
theres even a whole like 2 hour level with someone from his past constantly teasing him about his army days, but the game NEVER lets you in on the joke.
i HATE it when games imply something but never ever explain it, they just pretend that you already know it, or you dont need to know.
ok you keep bringing up his army days, SO TELL US ABOUT THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

riptide, is just so silly to me.
it fits under the buying a 2 thousand dollar rust bucket than spending 2M doing it up category.
WTF would you do that, why not buy a nice car and do that up?
if i spend 2M on a car i want it to look like it, not look like the car my grandfather learned to drive on and its been sitting in the shed out back since he passed away!
in other words they just really do some pointless stupid things with it!
WTF is the whole point of the weapon damage system?
the WHOLE point of the game is having fun ripping zombies to shreds.
so why dont you let people do that?
i dont see L4D or dead rising saying here you go have fun killing zombies, oh sorry you killed 2 out of the 2000000000 zombies now you have to pay 2000 dollars to fix that 1 weapon!
great, set me out a task, then make it nigh on impossible for me to do so!
1 it gets REALLY annoying because you want to spend your cash on better gear, but you cant because you spent it repairing the item you last had it was either that or become lunch.
2 the WHOLE point of the game is having fun killing zombies, so f*cking oath im going to spend money repairing my weapons because thats the point!
its like saying here you go heres your own F1 car, heres your own race track.
now dont go over 20KMPH.
right, so why do i have a F1 car with my own race circuit for that?
i kinda could do that on the road with a 20 year old beetle!
talk about hiring a crane to lift up a marshmallow!
the WHOLE point of dead island is to have fun ripping zombies to shreds, SO LET US DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:40:17 PM

Thumbs down for the wall of text....

In regards to infinite. I recently finished infinite, and I don't really understand your issue with the back story. Booker took part in Wounded Knee, slaughtering native's. It's a spoiler to explain any further, but the point is that it is explained in the game. Maybe you didn't collect enough of the voxophones to actually understand them?

Also, why do you refer to both ms and sony as M$ and $ony?

Last edited by Akuma_ on 4/28/2013 8:47:54 PM

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 9:45:07 PM

Just the fact that he took part in the Wounded Knee Massacre is enough to feel that kind of remorse. Look it up.

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Monday, April 29, 2013 @ 10:43:30 AM

but most of the voxs dont mention booker most of them are just drivel and dravel about one of the lutest twins talking about the other, and their, or comstocks research.
99% of what they reveal you find out in the final cut scenes anyway!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:57:11 AM

Ben, I just finished Tombraider. That game was amazing. I didn't want it to end. I love a story that can immerse you and make you feel for the characters. Tombraider did just that. I sincerely hope they continue the TR franchise in the same direction. This one was my favorite TR out of all of them. You will not be disappointed with the ending.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 11:04:59 AM

I wanna start by saying this is not a complaint or criticism but a genuine question.

How can a game be properly reviewed without finishing the story mode? Isn't how the story and characters play out from beginning to end a fairly significant factor in the final verdict / score given to the game? I would've though this an especially important factor for games, such as Tomb Raider, where the characters and story are pertinent aspects of the overall product. Surely the final score would change depending on whether the ending of the game sucked or not?

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 11:47:15 AM

I sometimes ask the same thing, at the same time I generally know the ups and downs of games, even just hours into It. If the graphics are weak they won't get better, if the control is whacky it will remain that way. So there are things you expect and can count on without finishing a game.

But I personally might talk about how good a game is, but I reserve final judgement for when I finish a game. I wouldnt put any final score or comparisons without finishing it.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 2:26:55 PM

Yeah, I don't see how it could be fairly done either. Any score given is not for the game as a whole experience but for your impressions of an unspecified portion of a game. In a perfect world, games would be played until completion and then reviewed, but I guess sacrifices must be made to keep articles timely. Still can't say I agree with it though.

Also, Mark Cerny's interview with Gamasutra covers so much more than just the blurb about the launch lineup. It's a very detailed and thorough analysis of the internal mechanisms of the PS4, what Sony did to keep the system future proof, and debunks the assertion that it's "just a pc." It's a great interview, and everyone should check the source for more information.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 9:01:48 PM

For sites that have the manpower I find not finishing games before giving a score is unacceptable and very lazy reporting(i.e Fox News of gaming). However I have always kinda given Ben a little leeway with this because it was just him doing the job. It is also important to me that anyone even on a site like this tells the people reading it how far they got in the game within their review.

Certain games I feel must be finished before giving a review, the most important ones are games like Heavy Rain as you cannot in good conscience review it without finishing it. So any game that is striving for a deep story I feel deserves the time invested to give a proper review. Whereas a game like Dead Island surely does not need to be finished to give an appropriate review/score.

Hope that made sense.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 9:10:27 PM

It's a perfectly legitimate question, and one I have no problem answering.

Ideally, one would want to finish every game one plays before writing a review. But with even the shortest games requiring 6-8 hours of play time and the vast majority requiring a LOT more than that, it simply isn't feasible.

I absolutely guarantee you that even critics at huge sites like GameSpot and IGN don't finish every game they review. There's ample evidence to the contrary, in fact. And nobody can really fault them for that; it would take a staff of 50 working around the clock in order to play every single game ever released through to completion. It's not humanly possible, and it certainly isn't possible from a business standpoint.

As for your last question, the answer is a resounding NO. I have never - and I mean not ever - played a game, given it a score, finished it, and then wished I had given it something significantly different. And that's because while story can be important, there are many, many other elements to a game, all of which can be accurately graded well before the game is over.

For instance, the graphics, sound, control, various mechanics, etc.; these don't change in the course of a game. If the control sucks right off the bat, it's not going to suddenly become great in the last two hours of the game. The vice versa is also true. Only in heavily story-driven games, where one could argue the story is the absolute focal point, would I say it's more essential to complete before reviewing.

But that's a very tiny handful of games. And honestly, I didn't have to finish Bishock Infinite to know it was a Game of the Year candidate. That was heavily story-driven and even after completing it, my score wouldn't change hardly at all. Maybe a 9.5 instead of a 9.6 because I didn't particularly like the climactic action scene where you fend off all these Zeppelins and invading foes. That just didn't fit and it wasn't done to the level of perfection the rest of the game was.

But as you can see, that's only a .1 difference, and that's talking about a game that really heavily relies on story. I can tell good writing, acting, cinematography, etc. long before the game is over and again, none of that really changes much over the course of a game. If the acting is good, it's good. If the writing is good, it's good. None of that really drastically and suddenly alters.

I hope that answers your question well enough. :)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/28/2013 9:12:34 PM

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Monday, April 29, 2013 @ 11:50:14 AM

Wow, thanks for the in depth response Ben. I totally understand that it's not feasible to play every game all the way through for review. What you say about graphics, controls etc. remaining constant throught the course of the game, and that you've never wanted to change the score after completing a previously reviewed game makes sense to me.

Thanks for the insightful response Ben, and everyone else that responded. :)

Oh and I agree that the final Zeppelin mission was terrible.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 3:59:56 PM

Are there multiple endings on Bioshock Infinite?

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 6:18:23 PM

That's what I'm tryin to figure out by playin again. I hope so, otherwise those decisions won't matter.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:43:16 PM

Nope. There is only one ending.

I was worried about this too, but it turns out the decisions you make don't mean anything except for some unique dialogue.

I guess it reinforces the story element that no matter what choices you make, you always end up at the same place.

I must say, the writers of this game are absolutely fantastic, they created a game that is linked entirely from the first moment you play it all the way till the end. It's almost as if they wrote the ending first, and then the rest of the game.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:54:46 PM

That's a weird step backward.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 9:39:35 PM

Well, the more I think about it, I definitely think it was entirely made that way to fit with the story line.

Like I said, fantastic writing.

Also, if they ever decide to make a sequel to it, even though I have no idea how you could, its nice to have a definitive ending. When a game has multiple endings, and then the sequel has to choose one of those endings to stick with, it always feels a bit stupid to me.

Last edited by Akuma_ on 4/28/2013 9:41:19 PM

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 6:19:13 PM

But how much of this "line-up" will be cross generational I wonder. I suppose it doesn't matter because I've still got 10 million PS3 games to play. But it'd be nice to have a PS4 for xmas just cuz.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 7:45:26 PM

Games... It's what Sony is all about as the reveal a few months back showed that as a company, it still cares about the hardcore consumer base. I applaud this move because as the hobby I love moves to a casual way of doing things, I can rest assure that Sony will continue to give me the games such as Gran Turismo.

The PS4 also shows how serious Sony is when it comes to being affordable for the company, developers and consumers alike. The PC type architecture won't require time to master nor will it be super expensive piece of hardware that may sway the casual market into the arms of another hardware maker.

So yes, as some of the members here will tell you, the PS4 isn't some revolutionary step towards the Holodeck on the Enterprise D, but I ask... does it really need to be? The answer to that is no of course as evident by the continually declining video games industry and the fact that the PS3 did little to show it's superiority over the 360.

I am with Ben on this... put a dozen high quality titles on the shelf next to the PS4 and I'll go broke with all the entertainment goodness. I won't be alone either.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:01:34 PM


Finished Metal Gear Rising in hard mode, I'm now trying very hard mode. It's an amazing game with a samurai story sensibilities (Samurai X, Kenshin Himura). With a very satisfying boss battles and an average of 40-60 FPS, it's a feast for those who likes hack, slash and dismemberment. Much Kudos and respect to those who Platinum'd it, truly Hardcore. Zandatsu!

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 8:44:11 PM

It was definitely the most satisfying Platinum trophy I have got so far.

Revengeance difficulty is truly a beast.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013 @ 9:13:06 PM

As I said in the other Witcher article I have not played the first two and am eagerly awaiting this one so I can finally see what everyone is talking about.

As far as the PS4 is concerned I am very happy with the approach that Sony took. Sure they could have tried to push the envelope again at the risk of pissing off the developers, luckily they didn't, and I feel we gamers are gonna benefit along side the developers because of this.

PGU: Triple Sp week on Dust514 so I am maxing out my characters for the upcoming Uprising build(May 6th). The SP respec will definitly bring about some major changes amongst the Corps along with Planetary Conquest and all the new bells and whistles that are going to be apart of it.

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