Here’s More Proof A Retro Run And Gun Borderlands 2 Would Be Fantastic

Here's More Proof A Retro Run And Gun Borderlands 2 Would Be FantasticS

Borderlands 2‘s fast and frenetic gameplay could be perfectly converted into a classic 2D run & gun arcade game, similar to the Metal Slug series. Olsonmabob on DeviantART couldn’t resist further playing with this idea and made a pretty lively piece of concept art.

His demake features the utopian city of Opportunity from Borderlands 2, with Sal and Zero tearing apart everything in their way.

Borderlands 2 – Opportunity [deviantART]

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Yeah, You Should Be Scared Of Wildstar’s Full Class Lineup

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That is, if you’re planning an incursion against the nicer folks making a living on the planet Nexus in Carbine Studios upcoming MMO. My god these people make a good trailer.

Now that the Medic and Engineer are out in the open, this should represent the full compliment of WildStar‘s adventuring classes. All that’s left to do is get me a damn beta key so I can stop drooling over cinematics (in-engine, at least) and start figuring out if this happy, tingly feeling in my stomach is warranted or not.

Killzone Shadow Fall Review

Killzone Shadow Fall Logo

Killzone Shadow Fall is a typical launch title.  It’s a solid game in its own right, with gorgeous visuals, but isn’t the mind-blowing experience we all hope launch titles will be.

Killzone-Shadow-FallStory & Presentation

I really had no idea what was going on here. The last Killzone game I played was Killzone 2 and there has been an additional PS3 and Vita titles between then and now. They didn’t brand the game as Killzone 4 so I imagine that at least thought it could stand on its own but that’s not really the case. If I was confused then I imagine somebody completely new to the series must be completely lost.

Aside from from providing minimal backstory I think the problem lies in how the game presents itself. In the first level, which is more of a tutorial, you play as the main character when he’s a kid. Then before the second mission you see time jump ahead several times until it’s 12 or 14 years and through all of that a series of confusing scenarios play out. It seems you join the military, and then make Shadow Marshall, then at one point you get captured and are part of a prisoner exchange, etc. This all happens in the span of a few minutes. From there the narrative just seems to bounce all over the place and you’re never quite sure how you got where you are. After you beat the second mission the third drops you off in space outside some station.

Killzone Shadow Fall Visuals

Visuals

The game looks really good. I’m not a tech guy so I don’t know any of the fancy terminology like the blooms, shaders and aliasing of the anti persuasion.  Trees and leaves sway, there are light beams/shafts, a crapload of bloom lighting and so on. I guess I’m so used to games running poorly on my PC that I can’t really tell when a game actually runs poorly. So yeah, no complaints with this game! I guess that doesn’t really come off as any kind of sterling endorsement.

Gameplay

When it comes to first-person shooters, gameplay is really all that matters in the end. I have to say that for the most part it’s really good. The gunplay is great and doesn’t have that laggy feeling that I got with Killzone 2. There’s also a decent sticky-cover system which is appreciated for higher difficulties. The DualShock 4 ends up being a better controller for FPSs than I imagined. My thumbs don’t slip off of the analogs like with the DS3 and the new triggers aren’t bad at all.  The light on the controller flashes depending on your health and it can be really distracting. I get that they wanted to utilize all of the gimmicks like most launch titles but this just gets annoying. One cool thing that they do is use the controller’s speakers for audiologs. I wasn’t expecting it at first so it scared the crap out of me when somebody started talking in my lap.

The initial gun you get is pretty neat and features a nice alternate fire mode. I was hoping that it would be the first of many really cool weapons with alt modes but unfortunately it seems to be the only one. There are other weapons like various shotguns, SMGs, and assault rifles but they don’t have any unique alternate modes. You can find some with grenade launchers, rockets, or shotgun attachments  every now and then though. I was a little let down by the weapons but in the end they all work really well and have their own usefulness.

In most levels you get access to a special drone buddy, which I think is called an OWL. He follows you around cloaked, and you can order him to do stuff like hack, attack, deploy a shield, stun the enemy, or create a zipline. I don’t know why I keep calling it a ‘he.’ In order to choose which command you have to swipe on the touchpad. This seems to be under-utilizing the pad unfortunately and just makes it into a second D-Pad. I would have loved to see maybe some gesture based actions like making and arrow, circle, or whatever to choose and order and then maybe swipe in the direction or draw a path for him. That’s what I would have done anyway.

There are some light stealth elements that you will encounter. It’s nothing on the same level as Deus Ex, Thief, or Dishonored but there are portions in each level where you could opt to be more stealthy rather than brute-forcing your way through. You get some kind of sonar device which can reveal soldiers through walls but will alert enemies with a loud noise if you overcharge it. The device can quickly become a crutch, though. Sometimes there are air vents. alarms, you can disable, etc. Bad guys can get instakilled with a surprise melee attack or if you jump on their head. You can actually perform a really neat move where you jump on one guy and then throw a knife at another in your immediate view. Unfortunately through the whole campaign I think I got to do this maybe twice. Farcry 3 had cool takedowns like this and it just made me miss them.

Killzone Shadow Fall DroneMultiplayer

I don’t remember a whole lot about Killzone 2′s multiplayer, but I do remember the various classes and how much I enjoyed it. Shadow Fall’s online is good, but not nearly as exciting as I was hoping for. Right now most players are in the 14-player Warzone mode with maybe a third to half of that in the 24-player TDM mode. From what I understand, in Warzone games you essentially play through several different gametypes on a single map. I don’t know if there’s a specific order but I’ve been experience stuff like a CTF style mode, bomb planting, area ca-ture, and straight up deathmatch. If your team wins one of these modes you get a point and at the end the team who won most events wins. It’s actually decently fun and a nice way to experience several different gametypes in one session. With only 14 people it feels a little lifeless, though. I’m not sure if you can play Warzone with 24 people but it feels like it would be more fun with the added players.

There are three classes to choose from which are something like: Recon, Assault, and Support. I think there used to be more than that in past games and it seems like they combined some. Recon seems to be your typical sniper class but they can also get a cloaking ability and just run around knifing people or whatever sneaky bastards do. I guess assault, or whatever it’s called, is your typical offensive guy who usually gets the biggest guns. I saw that they can get a little attack drone, which is pretty cool. I mainly played as support, which seems to be a cross between an engineer and a medic. You can rez players at a distance with a drone, place turrets, call in aerial defense drones to fly around and shoot guys, and so on. They seem pretty great which explains why there seems to be so many of them.

The biggest problem with the online is going to be the population. The Killzone series isn’t exactly mainstream, which already makes it’s online playerbase a bit low. It gets worse when you take into consideration that it launched against two powerhouse FPS titles: Battlefield and Call of Duty. I’ve seen Killzone’s numbers anywhere from 700 to 2000 while this past Saturday Call of Duty had about 35,000 players. While that number isn’t terrible for Killzone it may prove difficult when it comes to other modes. Earlier I tried to get into a 24 player match and it told me the wait would be over ten minutes. The playerbase will probably increase around Christmas time but I still find the small numbers worrisome. Espeecially when you take into consideration future map packs. I’m just imagining the the split between those who buy maps versus those who don’t, further lowering the number of players for some.

The Good & The Bad

+ Great-looking game that shows off a little of what we can expect this gen+ Solid, tight gameplay

+ Cool new drone buddy

+ Nice Level design

+ Enjoyable Multiplayer

- Confusing narrative- A little on the short side

- Stealth elements not as realized as they could be

- The damn controller flashes green, yellow, and red for your health and it’s freakin’ annoying as hell

It’s a fun game but it gets a little buried by the barrage of big FPS titles. If you’re looking for purely a multiplayer experience then you might want to look elsewhere. It does offer an enjoyable singleplayer with multiple difficulties and tons of logs and stuff to collect, if you’re into that. It’s far from a Shadow Fail.

​Here’s How PlayStation Consoles Have Said Hello Over the Years

​Here's How PlayStation Consoles Have Said Hello Over the Years

First, it sounded like the yawn of a giant supercomputer as it stretched itself awake. Then, like a genie coming out of a lamp. They’re all burned into our memories. What’s been your favorite PlayStation start-up screen?

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This compilation of PlayStation boot sequences celebrates the European launch of the PS4. Yeah, it’s a few days old; we missed it eating all that turkey. Watching it is like taking a trip down the lifetime of several generations of gaming. (These sounds can make their own music after all.) The PS3 start-up screen is a favorite of mine because it sounds like an orchestra warming up before an amazing performance. That was probably intentional and you could theorize that each screen probably says something about how Sony Computer Entertainment saw itself at the time. Coming after the bravado of the PS3 screen, the PS4 greeting seems almost… humble? “Welcome back to PlayStation…” because we know you’ve been here before, but didn’t necessarily have to come back.

League of Legends Champions In WarCraft III. That’s A Full Circle.

[embedded content] Modding League of Legends characters back into WarCraft III? Cokemonkey proves that even after more than 10 years, the WarCraft III World Editor, grandfather of all MOBA games, is still great, and has absolutely no trouble handling League champions—in particular, Orianna, The Lady of Clockwork.

Orianna in Warcraft 3 [YouTube]

To contact the author of this post, write to: gergovas@kotaku.com

The beta for Steam Reviews is up!

Steam users now have the ability to review the games they play, giving their opinions for others to take into account before they purchase their own copy.  The review program is an augmentation of the Recommendation system – where players were able to suggest games to their friends – but here you write up your own review for the games you have played through the Steam client, and anyone interested can read through them.  Any recommendations you have written in the past will already be converted to the new reviewing system, which you can revisit and edit if you wish.

Steam will not censor the reviews, so both negative and positive assessments will be posted for all to see.  In order to prevent trolling or abuse of the system, others can rate reviews that have been posted either favorably or unfavorably, as well as flag poor reviews as spam if necessary.  In addition to writing your own reviews and reading multiple reviews for a particular game, you will have the option to follow any writers that may be of interest to you.  These reviews will not take the place of the Metacritic scores that are currently representative of a game’s rating in Steam, and at present the user reviews do not have any sort of standardized scoring system that can pool everyone’s opinions into a rating that is easy to access.  However, Valve does plan on putting something like that into effect before the end of the beta.

One particular feature I find pretty cool is that when you read a review by a particular user, it will tell you how many hours they have played.  So ideally the reviews of those that have played the game longer will have more weight behind them than reviews from people that only played for an hour or so.  All in all, this seems like a worthwhile endeavor from Steam to allow more direct interaction within the player community in terms of recommending games to each other.  We should see soon enough whether this type of system will be more useful or beneficial to players than review websites are currently.  Take a look at the FAQ or look through the discussion boards for any more information on the reviewing system.

What does it mean to be Next-gen?

console generation triangle counts

This image made the rounds a while back, but looking at it again today got me thinking.  The PS4′s release marks another improvement to console gaming visuals, but for the most part none of the games are truly revolutionary.  Yeah, there are lots of fun games and the games do look good — but the advancement in visuals isn’t astonishing enough to say we are really living in the ‘next generation.’

Graev mentioned to me this evening how many of the consoles still only allow 14-18 players in multiplayer matches, and almost all do not allow cross-platform play.  I started thinking about where the next generation of consoles will go when the visual improvements aren’t big enough to hype those as the selling points, and the cost/utility curve finally catches up.  60+ FPS and a bazillion triangles can only go so far, right?

I want to see the next generation focus on the online experience.  Revolutionize the way we game together.  Expand on what it means for a game to be multiplayer.  Remove the barriers keeping us from becoming one giant gaming community.  Graphics and gameplay will naturally improve.

Both Graev and I feel the console community at large is confused about what it means to be always online.  Despite the retraction from most of the big hardware devs, many of these games ARE heavily influenced by online components.  So many of them have their own account systems now with tons of additional features, and whether you realize it or not if you have your console connected to the internet, your games are utilizing it.

I’ve joked prophesied about every franchise sliding toward being MMO.  I think it’s going to continue in that direction.  Seriously, just take a look at what Bungie is doing.  I think five years from now we’ll all be looking at an impending next-gen of 100% online consoles and games.

He Thought He Was Buying a PS4; He Got a Box of Towels Instead

He Thought He Was Buying a PS4; He Got a Box of Towels InsteadS

A man in Colorado Springs got (sunglasses) fleeced when he met a dude to buy a PlayStation 4 and ended up with a box of towels. That said, they do dry you off a lot better than the Xbox One.

Cops in the Springs say the man answered a Craigslist ad, hoping to buy the console as a Christmas gift for his son. He agreed to meet the seller at a motel on Tuesday to make the transaction.

Generally, when I hear a dude answered a Craigslist ad and then went to a motel I expect at least one person to leave the scene with a major dent in their dignity. Sure enough, he did. After forking over the money, the man checked the box and found it stuffed with towels.

The suspect fled with the money, jumping in a getaway car waiting in the parking lot. The amount of the transaction was not described by police.

Craiglist scam ruins Christmas gift plans for Colorado Springs father [Colorado Springs Gazette]

To contact the author of this post, write to owen@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @owengood.