All About MasterMarcus
LES PHOTONIQUES ↔ A collection of gaming thoughts mostly, sometimes very specific.
Entry 124: Female developer tops sexy geeks
A very popular magazine now holds a reader contest regarding the sexiest geeks of 2007, and so far Jade Raymond ( Ubisoft Montreal ) remains the only renowed video game producer to figure extremely well on top. Click here, then go to life$tyle, and click ''vote for sexiest geeks of 2007'', and finally ''top rated''.
P.S.: I've just learned that WARNER DECIDED TO SUPPORT BLU RAY EXCLUSIVELY STARTING THIS MAY 2008.
Entry 123: A little glimpse of things developers should work out
If there's only one resolution any decent video game developer should keep ( at least try to ) with a resolute attitude in 2008, it still relies upon the rewarding factor a modern game should provide to its dedicated fan base in order to push forward an otherwise short life expectancy of said product. In fact, a better reward system would exponentially raise the stakes for a much wider long term value that 99% of games miss nowadays, just like previous generations. It's time to prepare the next gen ( the REAL next gen is 2010 for that matter ), and here's come the time I think for the studios to use more efficiently the artistic & feature budget to propel it much further than what we've experienced since the 80s: c'est-à dire games keeping our interest only for a short time - a matter of weeks. This trend has to end, beginning with cliffhanger endings yet there are other features that could also entice players to stay longer.
For now, let's just say the next gen should not only pretend te reach prettier graphics and photo realism; a next step of evolution should include innovative mechanics as well. And by that, I mean not only gameplay wise but feature wise: ranking systems offline and online; prizes and contests several months after the release; free official add-ons over the months ( not just additional maps ). Stardock, developer of TBS games such the Galactic Civilizations series understood that a long time ago and still remains one of the very few to enhance the same game over more than a full year, by adding twists to the entire construct of the game. GalCiv II rewards the player with two distinct ranking systems now, one online ( the Metaverse ) and a local Hall of Fame offline. Epic's UT2004 offered it also, alas akin the $ One Million Unreal Contest tenure these statistical conveyors remained incredibly scarce in 2007. What can developers do to launch similar features with a brighter appeal? Attract additional sponsors first to allocate the required budgets thereafter? If Epic and Stardock can do it at least the way they did in the past few years, then a huge number of their peers can also - yet the vast majority didn't so far. It' time to change the way games should reward the players.
Perhaps like the way writing is slowly, very slowly evolving in this industry, then so do the implementation of any rewarding system we would like to see. The trend could take years; yet developers must draw the premises NOW if we don't want to spectate an experiment going awry. Why some legendary board games last decades and video games don't? I don't have the answer to that question, though one can wonder their inherent dependence upon a technological construct becoming obsolete so rapidly. Still, chess survived centuries and Tetris - considered quasi unanimously as one of the two-three best video games of all time - didn't survive a decade in its original release ( circa 1986 ).
Well, these little thoughts purely academic lead us nowhere unless some serious steps are taken as to eschew ways to pave future rewards also reinforcing the replay value I want to experience elsewhere than in MMOs. We must be patient but for 2008 here's the first easy step: make better endings. Make rewarding endings. I'm tired of botched cliffhanger endings. If a particular developer can't help to pursue the trend, you know like professional champions of cliffhanging that are Valve and Epic, well at least allocate an extra time of development instead of a dreaded art cut to meet a deadline already delayed anyway. The little song at the end of Portal is a start, leading to the challenges. If you can do it there, Valve, you can do it for your other offerings as well. Studios should open the valves in their official forums and ask fans first what THEY would like to see enhanced ( or cut ) in their favorite games.
Entry 122: The Magnificent Nine of the Year
9- Unreal Tournament III: Epic stayed true to the gameplay roots of the franchise, to save an otherwise aging formula lost in a year full of innovative games released. Though UTIII shipped with much fewer maps and gameplay types than its prequel 2004, at least they are of top notch quality, incredibly polished, with fun vehicles and a Warfare mode better than Onslaught. The user interface and single player storyline have been hugely criticized, yet I can live with them since the game appeal to both casual ( with a strong AI bot offline ) and the hardcore online.
8- Call of Duty 4 - Modern Warfare: don't get me wrong, Infinity Ward's offering deliver some intense cinematic moments and a multiplayer blast yet just like UTIII, it doesn't really bring any innovative features. The gameplay core remains an exact copy of all the previous WWII CoDs, which is a good thing indeed but just can't stand against the BioShock/Crysis/Portal innovative bandwagon. A bit overhyped and over rated in broad daylight, CoD 4 becomes in my mind a fluid dinosaur in a world of transition = great and perhaps could have been a 2006 GOTY - not in 2007.
7- Galactic Civilizations II: Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Arnor Beta: THE only remaining TBS 4x star filling the shoes of Master of Orion's legacy this year by Stardock, a publisher so dedicated to their hardcore fans. A nich sub genre game for niche hardcore nerds that still can be played by any strategy addict. Endless customization options.
6- Gears of War PC: In no way should it have garnered any major award on most major gaming sites one year after the 360 release, despite being upgraded both graphically ( higher res ) and five new single chapters including a Brumak fight. Still, GoW PC looks like what a REAL high definition game should be on the PC: At 1920x1200 4x, it totally blows away the competition. To the scrupulous eyes af any videophile gamer, this action masterpiece coupled with Crysis just testify the PC as the superior technological platform should the user has the means to afford a high end one. GoW is a mouse killer ( had to change mine after two campaigns ), and still remains a man's game for talented gamers. Harder than any other shooter released this year.
5- World in Conflict: simply the best RTS of the year. Staggering battlefields and very high end explosions; fluid mechanics; simplified gameplay and unit types yet still deep strategically.
4- BioShock: what can I add to what's already been said about this intuitive art deco experience set in underwater Rapture filled with rage anf finesse? Could have been top crowned in a normal year; but this is 2007. The game would have been near perfect with the inclusion of a wider enemy variety and a better late game pathing, not to mention the unrewarding ending. BioShock sweep across the genre and should influence any future hybrid actioner nonetheless.
3- Half Life 2 Episode Two: permit me to split the Orange Box please ( Gamespot and most of the majors didn't unfortunately ). After all, the box in itself isn't a game. And Episode Two just enhance the saga the way only Valve can envision it. It may be overlooked, but Episode Two deliver the goods so flawlessly: fluid gameplay; no apparent bugs; a striking story filled with climactic moments; the best innovative action sequence ( final fight involving Striders and Hunters ); and the ONLY decent cliffhanger ending. Now what will come next? One can't wait to see Portal's GLaDos and Aperture's ship in Episode Three.....
2- Crysis: the shooter of the year. Technically, CryTek delivered a game for the future. Gameplay wise, Crysis just display what any modern shooter should offer: a barrage of high tech gear you constantly use within an unprecedented tri-dimensional construct. The late game alien portions may become increasingly linear, but still unleash some climactic scenery combining the best mechanics a hybrid modern/sci fi shooter can provide nowadays.
1- Portal: PC Game of the Year. Everyone should play the latest step in the evolution of 3D puzzle actioners, also rewarding the player with the best non-cliffhanger ending of the year. 'Nuff said.
My Recent Reviews
Another cool scene from Dragon's Lair, this time the footage quality is more stable ( still my standard camera ).
I just wanted to film for once the intense action of the tight CTF map 1-on-1 Joust. I'm not talented, but what an action fragfest.
The final scenes of Dragon's Lair Blu ray on the PS3 ( though you obviously won't see any HD here since I used my standard camera ). For the nostalgia.......
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