D-01: Nearly ran over someone today. I think he was playing that new mobile game everyone raving about. Just pissed me off. I mean, he just walked out in front of me. Of course, true to the stereotype, it was a 16 year old. Not a single care in the world except to make sure his gazed eyes were glued to the phone in his hands. I know it's not true, but I swear the younger generations are just becoming dumber. It's probably me becoming older and grouchier. D-05: Big news networks are running stories about the new mobile game. They're gushing how young people are getting out outside instead of shutting themselves inside with their electronics. Now they're outside... with their electronics. What a world. Admittedly it's weird to see these large groups of people in parks wandering around with their phones in their hands. Even weirder is the local news is blowing up with the rash of pedestrians accidents in town. People were on their phones and just walked into to traffic. The kicker was everyone of them was playing the new game. D-11: Went to some friends' house to check up on them since they hadn't been answering their phones. Immediately everything was screaming something was wrong. The unmowed lawn, the piled up mail in the mailbox, and the front door was wide open. I went in calling for them, Nothing. Just silence. I tried calling the police, but the lines were busy. I tried the other emergency numbers and all I got was busy signals. Helpless, I headed home. I texted Jes, my girlfriend, what happened. With all the strange things going on, she insisted she come along with me tomorrow to look for any clues. Hopefully we'll find something tomorrow.
The original Doom and Doom II are classics of the First Person Shooter genre, and for good reason: they would set the standard of what a FPS should be. For many years, any FPS would be casually be grouped together with the label of Doom-clone, just like the 3rd person sandbox games would be labeled as GTA-clones. Now I get to experience, as Varyar would say, THE GLORY that is Doom that I sadly missed out when it was released in the 90's. Here is some of quick thoughts so far about the game. The Gameplay Let me get straight to the point: Doom is a refreshing breath of fresh air. It is a welcome change of pace, literally. I had not really given it deep thought about how many shooters of today are slower pace than the shooters of yesteryear. The reasons for this slow down are varied and many, such as console shooters becoming popular, the introduction of recharging health and cover mechanics, and a plethora of "military" shooters being in-thing for some time. So when Doom goes back to the roots of 90's shooters, the contrast is drastic and welcomed. That is not to say that the more conventional shooters of today are inherently worse, but it does make one think about the rut the FPS genre seems to be in at the moment.
During Baron, Varyar, and my discussion of the talking points we wanted to hit on the our first Youtube video of "The Good, the Bad, and What If" talking about The Division, we talked a lot about the things the game just missed the mark on. Sadly one of the points we could not fit into the video was a lack of mission variety. It is quite difficult to compress nearly two hours of discussion into a seven minute video. That particular point of lack of mission variety had me thinking on how other shooters did their missions, which led me to another thought: is it me, or does it feel like for many years now, many of the shooters released have been stuck in a mission progression rut? For example, how many missions from different shooters does this following basic description describe? You start off, get some dialogue telling you what to do, which leads you run to the first area of the mission. Once you get there, you proceed to shoot up a couple of waves of bad guys. Once that task is complete, you get a prompt to either to continue on to the next area of the mission, or some dialogue saying you need to interact with a particular piece of the game environment. So you press the 'X' button (or 'E' if you are part of the PC master race) which leads to more waves of bad guys that you have to kill. Rinse and repeat a couple times till the end of the mission. It is easy to understand how many shooter games have falling into this rut. For developers, it is much simpler to design missions in subsections of encounters with distinct beginnings and ends versus the mission being one giant encounter. Consider all the assets, ranging from A.I. to the game mechanics that are needed to make a single mission in a game. A change in one of those assets can cause ripples that affect how the others assets are used. Additionally, the game is mainly structured around shooting mechanics (otherwise it would not, by definition, be a shooter, or it would be a terrible shooter game). When the player's only means of interacting with the game are shooting things and using prearranged triggers put into the mission, it is easy to fall into the rut we see now.
Well ladies and gentlemen, Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's The Division has officially been out for over two weeks.The reviews from the entirety of the internet and gaming magazines have come out, and they have decreed that it is just ok. Not the greatest game of all time, or setting a new standard that all games now must be measured against... just merely ok. Kind of a let down after those amazing game trailers and previews we all have been watching while we waited for the game. Reminds me of a game that came out over a year ago. Oh that's right... Now get back into your corner. You had your chance. So anyway, about The Division... What is that? Why did we not have a review of the game published at the time right before its release or immediately after said release? Hmm I should check with the RCM Legal Department before answering, but what do they know [EDITOR'S NOTE: We drew straws over who had to be the legal department this quarter, and Killer lost this time. He has no one to blame but himself. -J.). Well, we all have been very busy providing all you viewers and fans quality content on our Twitch channel. Also that RCM "fanfic" that Baroness has been posting... yeah that is a sanitized version of things we had to deal or currently dealing with. When we are not dealing with spiders or other things (FYI, if you ever have spider ick on your clothes, just burn them, nothing will get the smell out), the staff does have their own lives and hobbies that are outside of RCM. And finally it is not like we had early access to the game which we could review before the game's release. But what I can do is maybe give some of my thoughts and opinions on what the The Division did right and what it did wrong.
If you've been watching the RCM's Twitch channel this February, you know that XCOM 2 was much played and talked about. It is a great sequel to the reboot of the series. What was there not to love about it? Of course when the premise and basic background story back in June of 2015 was revealed, everyone immediately loved the idea that Firaxis Games was taking. In the hardest difficulties of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there was a good chance that players would lose unless they were on their A-game. Firaxis took this idea and ran, so humanity lost and 20 years later you are now the resistance fighting an entrenched alien enemy. Just like Red Dawn... just with aliens Everyone likes an underdog story, where the good guys win because of their determination and knowing that their cause is the just cause. Of course, no one really gives much thought about why such a group is in such circumstances: the reason they are there is because in some form or fashion they "lost." For most of the world and especially in America, losing is unacceptable, defeats must never be admitted to, and if there is a defeat, it must be avenged somehow.
It seems to me that we live in a strange time when comes to video entertainment. If you wanted a great and interesting story or drama you have a better chance of finding it on the small screen now versus just 20 years ago. We have animated comedy shows, or cartoons as my parents would call them, with powerful heartfelt moments that hit harder than a hundred of special episodes of 90's or 2000's sitcoms. I mean, how can a show about an alcoholic super genius who takes his somewhat dimwitted grandson on intergalactic and interdimensional adventures have some powerful and (excuse my French) "Jesus Christ, that's fucked up" moments? What led me to want to write this article was a conversation I had Baron von Gosu about the show Rick and Morty during my New Year's visit. We were discussing how some comedies can set up impactful moments. For example, who can forget the Futurama episode about Fry's dog Seymour? I promised myself I would not cry
Well it is the end of 2015, and what a year it has been. For RCM it has been a year of growth with new shows and content going out almost every night. For me, it has been a year of some significant changes. For everyone's sake I will try keep this brief. I mean I cannot imagine anyone would want to read the details of my life, unless you were a stalker (hi Tracy) or a Chinese hacker (which, by the way US government: great job on the cyber security and protection of my information!). The following is in chronological order: RCM On Tap
I have always had a fascination with medieval plate armor and the knights who wore them into combat. Of course we in today's world romanticize them to some degree with tales of bravery in slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress, but for sometime in history they were the kings of the battlefield. They were equipped with best armor technology of their day. Crafted to each knight to maximum protection without sacrificing mobility. They were masters of their craft, and their craft was to fight and win battles. And look good while doing it. The best comparison in today's terms would be the equivalent of our modern armored tanks. You need to take out a tank? Get a better tank or use specialized weapons and tactics to knock them out. The same could be said with the armored knight. Sadly as time marched on and offensive weapon technology became better and better, the armored knight become less effective on battlefield and finally was not worth the cost to support any longer.
Lately the concepts of the pre-order and pre-order bonuses have gotten a bum rap, and deservedly so. The idea of reserving a copy of a game before its release to guarantee you got it made some sense back in the dark ages of the early 90's. Dark times indeed In those dark days and depending on where you lived, you may only have had one or two places to purchase video games, and if the store ran out of copies of the game you wanted, it was too bad. You are going to have to wait for the store's next shipment. Have fun watching all your friends play the latest and greatest video games to ever grace TV's and computer monitors, while you sink to your knees in the pouring rain screaming about why the gods have abandoned you.
Ah Destiny, it has been strange year for you and me. I remember writing my first ever article for RCM about your playable Alpha back in June of 2014. I remember the excitement and hope I had for the future adventures I was going to have playing you, and delving into a future apocalyptic world where I would wield weapons and have abilities so technologically advanced that it was considered magic- space magic. But we all know now how it turned out. You were still a fun game to me and many others who purchased you, but the great promises you made were not totally fulfilled. Now, after a year and two expansion packs, you are in Year Two of the ten year plan that Bungie has for you. Now The Taken King has come. Let us first talk about the changes and additions to Destiny that have come which do not require the purchase of The Taken King expansion. First big change is to how your level, gear, and weapons now affect your performance in the game. The old way was that your gear would have "light" stat that would increase your level and thus dictate how powerful you were. The new system splits the "light" stat and your level. The max level you can currently achieve is 40. The "light" stat itself now is a measure of how powerful your gear and weapons are in total. In the end to me it is just six of one and a half of a dozen of the other. The menu screen now has an additional tab where you keep track of the quest and daily bounties. Also, you do not have to return to the Bounty givers to turn in said bounties. Once they are complete, you may simply click on them to turn them in. It is nice not having to waste loading times to just to turn in a single bounty anymore. The questing system, though, is a very welcomed addition which I believe would had alleviated some of the narrative problems Destiny had when it first released. The quest system greatly helps in directing what to do next story wise and what activities you can do after completing the different storylines in the game. Also Bungie has expanded the storage slots for many of the games items.