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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Binary Domain

I bought Binary Domain (PS3) a few weeks ago, and also just bought Borderlands 2... which is ok, I don't know how I feel about it, is it worth the $20.00 price to me? I dunno... but Binary Domain for $10.00 at Walmart-- even though it is very linear and by-the-numbers campaign, for what it is-- it's fairly fun.

Binary Domain is a third person shooter, where basically the enemies are all robots. But when you shoot them, they do cool things; shoot off their head and they will blind fire often hitting their team-mates, shoot off their limbs and they will switch shooting hands or crawl after you, Terminator-style. The game feels very Japanese, and while the story doesn't make a whole lot of sense, it is a very cool vibe that does ask some deep questions, like the nature of artificial life. For $10.00 it's a solid game.

What is very annoying are the quick-time elements.... *sigh*... I am seriously thinking of giving up on videogames altogether because of this awful quick-time context trendy bullshit in games. As per usual, it almost ruins the game, thankfully they are short little bits.

And the online is non-existent. There is multiplayer, 2 modes, versus and survival (which is called Invasion) and I have rarely ever found anyone online to join my match.


Monday, July 1, 2013

In the box

I've been thinking about consoles vs PC and mobile gaming, and add-on peripherals.

I recently bought a PS3/PC racing wheel for a steal ($10.00 clearance from The Source)

I borrowed Test Drive Unlimited 2 from the library... It's an Ok game, but not optimized for racing wheels. There are parts of the game which switch to on-foot first person view (!)  that can only be controlled using a Dualshock 3... Or at least it is VERY DIFFICULT to control using the wheel.

Anyway, the point is I am wondering how many console  racing games are TRULY made for racing wheels?  The answer is probably few to none. Why? Because what game company wants to make a game that needs a controller that is not included "in the box"? That the consumer needs to not only buy the game but also another controller to properly play it?

If a game does that it is automatically limiting its own market. Not every PS3 gamer will buy a PS3 game, but then if the game requires a certain kind of add-on, like Move, not only will not every PS3 gamer buy that game, but not every Move owner may buy it. It makes a smaller pool of customers.

That is definitely why stuff like the Wii Balance Board failed. But what about the Wii itself? Motion controls are" in the box" for every Wii.

But because ONLY the Wii had those controls, companies wouldn't develop for it. That's why I am a bit worried about Xbox One's kinnect "in the box". Yes, that is a smart move so every Xbox One has Kinnect, but I think because both or all consoles don't have a "Kinnect"  type of controller included, that third parties will still shy away from developing for it. Most companies want to be able to quickly port their game to both Xbox and Playstation.

"In the box" is really important, but what is more important is "in every box". Unfortunately, only the dual analogue stick controller is central to every console now, so that is the control that will be used for most games. Makes it almost impossible for anyone to innovate.

There is a notable exception to this idea: the Guitar Hero/Rockband series of games. Clearly the initial popularity of those games flies in the face of this idea, people bought the controllers in droves and for awhile these were some of the best selling games. But that fad has passed, and it is now back to normal, where companies don't want to take any chances.

It is such a shame, because we are at the point now where there are tons of gaming choices, Android/Apple phones/tablets, consoles, handhelds with both physical and touch interfaces, and of course the ever versatile PC. We can use bluetooth to wirelessly attach a controller to a phone or tablet... but there will be almost NO great games that take advantage of these options because bluetooth controllers are not "in every box" of phones/tablets.