Mid-Week Musings 5/1/14

Mid-Week Musings 5/1/14

Wow! Monday Musings spills over into Thursday as the first few days of this week have been jam packed with tons of gaming goodness! April is riding out with a bang and there's a lot to talk about, so let's get right to it!

I'm getting more and more excited for Destiny

During a recent media event at Bungie's Bellevue, Washington headquarters, a number of members of the gaming press were invited to a brand new presentation on the company's upcoming MMO-meets-FPS, Destiny; a presentation which ultimately included a hands-on session encompassing one of the game's newly revealed Strike missions.  A Strike mission is essentially a cooperative, campaign type of level, in which a fireteam of several people are tasked with an objective in a particular area — such as obtaining intel, and ridding the mission's location of enemy forces — before eventually coming face-to-face with a boss level baddie at the end of the Strike.  I thought the mission they showed looked like a lot of fun, and I'm really looking forward to finally being able to try out the game for myself, especially with a group of friends!

The moment-to-moment gameplay seems to be a sort of loot-based, Borderlands-meets-the-sci-fi-trappings-of-Halo first-person shooter, blended together with some of the RPG/MMO elements of something like a DC Universe Online, or current Short Pause fave, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn.  Mix in some super powers reminiscent of something you might see in Mass Effect, and you have an idea of what the core gameplay appears to play like.  I'm also intrigued by the idea of upgradeable equipment with skill-trees of their own, making it seem as though the customization options available to your player character are quite robust, allowing would be Guardians to develop a character in any play style they see fit.

The gaming press still seems a little unsure of Destiny  at this point, and if I were to venture a guess from what I've seen and read, it seems that's just the way Bungie wants it; that is, they seem to want this looming air of mystery and intrigue surrounding their game.  Some have liked what they played, some are still confused by it, and someone even thought the little they experienced was boring.  At this point, we still know very little about Destiny.  There is still so much shrouded in secrecy and that's kind of exciting to me.  The promise of what's to come is what has me truly anxious to play Destiny.

A persistent online shooter, complete with a gigantic world to explore and discover?  That sounds pretty awesome.  An epic sci-fi story, spanning ten years and a plethora of full titles and DLC add-ons?  Wow, that sounds really ambitious!  I've never played anything with goals quite that lofty!  Play solo, cooperatively, or put your skills to the ultimate test in competitive multi-player showdowns?  I love when a shooter gives me options!  A potent mixture of RPG elements, finely tuned shooting, and whip-smart A.I.?  I want that in my next shooter!  It' s this promise of something greater — something bold and original — that has me itching to add Destiny to my collection.

In response to a question about where Destiny fits into the modern shooter landscape and what sets it apart, Bungie's community manager Eric Osbourne told Kotaku:

"We're just trying to make a game that we love...the thing that we're doing, is building a shooter, what you see today, which is a really good action shooter. I think the persistent character and the character build stuff will make it stand out. I think the worlds that feel alive, worlds that feel like places you can visit...things like raids, inside of a shooter, we can make them really challenging for advanced players."

The point of this week's demo was to drive home the fact that Bungie was developing a top-notch SHOOTER, first and foremost.  They know they have all of this other cool stuff planned that they've yet to reveal, but they want us, the media and gamers alike, to know that they haven't forgotten how to make a kick-ass, rock solid shooter.  All of the Bungie hallmarks, from finely tuned arms with cool sci-fi slants, to first-in-class A.I. that is fun to battle against, will be present in Destiny as well.  And by all accounts, they're well on their way to delivering in this facet.

Demoing a game, especially one as grand and sweeping as an MMO, is not always black and white.  There's an art to crafting an iterated and fully tuned demo to display to the media that encapsulates what your game is about in 30 minutes or less.  Bungie did the smart thing, in my opinion, by letting everyone know, "Hey, we're making a shooter first, and everything else is being added from there to make this an incredible experience."  Sure, there is a wealth of stuff we don't know about the game yet — in fact some would argue we know frustratingly little — but in my mind that's part of the excitement around this game!  Bungie has a spectacular track record, especially in the sci-fi shooter space, so what reason would we have to doubt that they would deliver another masterpiece to their rabid fanbase?  I understand the fear of the unknown, but the more and more I think about Destiny and what it is promised to eventually be, the harder it becomes to wait for September 9th to arrive so I can get my hands on the full game.

And let's be honest, you're telling me that a sci-fi, MMO first-person shooter with addictive RPG elements, co-op/competitive play, looting, and a gargantuan and persistent online world crafted by the creators of Halo — arguably the best sci-fi shooter to grace consoles, if not shooters in general — doesn't sound freaking awesome to you?!

#DRIVECLUB releases on October 7th

We finally have a release date for Evolution's hotly anticipated social racer, #DRIVECLUB! Accompanied by a gorgeous new trailer, #DRIVECLUB's October 7th release date is a mystery no more.  While it may be scheduled to arrive almost a year after it was first expected to launch, I'm happy they took the time to get the game right and release a final product that was in line with the vision they set out to create.  When faced with launching an inferior product to meet a targeted deadline, or delaying a game to properly polish it, I would 100% of the time prefer that companies choose the latter.

Despite not being able to play as many of them as I'd like, I really like the racing genre and I'm still pumped to try out Evolution's new socially charged franchise.  The idea of car clubs in gaming, in this hyper-connected world we currently inhabit, is a no-brainer, and I really like thought of joining a club with friends to race other clubs around the world.  The game sounds big and ambitious, and this could be the beginning of a whole new direction for the racing genre should this turn out the way Evolution intends.  

"When faced with launching an inferior product to meet a targeted deadline, or delaying a game to properly polish it, I would 100% of the time prefer that companies choose the latter."

Oh, and we're still getting a PS Plus Edition free on release day.  What more could we ask for? Thanks PlayStation Plus! 

The best service in gaming

The best service in gaming

Sportsfriends also has a release date

Let's give some love to the little guys, too!  Die Gute Fabrik's delightful looking, Kickstarted opus, Sportsfriends, arrives on May 6th.  That's next week!  Comprised of Johann Sebastian's Joust, Hokra, Super Pole Riders, and BaraBariBall, Sportsfriends brings local multi-player mayhem to a PS3 and PS4 near you.  I'm bummed the game doesn't include any online multi-player — and I understand that's not the point of this game, as it's meant to be played together on the couch — but with my schedule it's not always logistically possible to meet up with friends locally for some gaming together.  Maybe in the future, Die Gute Fabrik?

At the very least, a concerted effort will be made to meet up with the Short Pause triumvirate for a JS Joust session, because I'm dying to give this game a whirl.  Brent?  Taz?  Let's get this set up ASAP!


This is out now, go buy it

Just a quick plug here for one of the greatest superhero cartoons to grace our airwaves; The Spectacular Spider-Man: The Complete Series is now available on Blu-Ray! Ended before it's time after Spider-Man's cartoon rights reverted back to Disney following the House of Mouse's purchase of Marvel, this series stands with classics like Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes as superhero cartoons done right.

Filled with great voice work, *ahem* spectacular animation, and an interconnected, weaving story that rewards those who have watched from the beginning, this is one of those series I'll always look back fondly upon.  And the villains are handled *ahem* amazingly well, with many of them being portrayed in quite possibly their best way yet, regardless of media, hammering home the depth and awesomeness of Spidey's rogues gallery. Add this to your collection, you will not regret it!

This week, in new releases with the word "Light" in the title...

Child of Light

Child of Light

Daylight  (Good thing I cleared up which was which)

Daylight (Good thing I cleared up which was which)

Child of Light and Daylight hit gaming platforms this week, with one of them seemingly more worthy of your time and money than the other.  When referring to which one is more worthy, we're of course talking about Child of Light, a game I've been evangelizing for weeks now. Reviews have been generally positive, and I'm hoping to dig into Ubisoft's stunningly beautiful new adventures sometime this weekend. Classic JRPG gameplay, beautiful, UbiArt-infused storybook visuals, and a charming fairy tale world with 2D exploration elements combine to form a concoction seemingly made specifically for me!  Give this game a shot, it looks like something special!

As for Daylight, I am still interested in giving it a whirl.  With a first-week PS Plus discount and the promise of more disturbing horror action, this one warrants at least a try.  Reviewers are up and down on this one, and it's got a tough act to follow in Red Barrels' scary good Outlast, but I'm interested to see Zombie Studios' spin on the psych ward horror genre.  New pants are on standby should the need arise.  I like what Zombie has been doing with Blacklight: Retribution and I'm interested to see where they take Daylight, and where the studio goes from here.  

Countdown to Destiny...

Destiny - PlayStation 4
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Countdown to Judgment: The Trial of Final Fantasy XIV - Day 10

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