Thursday, February 25, 2016

Latest Gameplay vids from Grand Theft Auto 5

I finally got to do something interesting in GTA 5 online.  I discovered missions!

Also completed the Union Depository Heist in story mode and while I was playing it I found a game bug and got it on video too.

Check it out!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Need For Speed Most Wanted worth every penny...if it's free

Consider this a follow-up

Remember last week when I told you about the latest Freebie from EA, Need For Speed: Most Wanted?

So I've spent a few more hours with it and my initial impressions of the game haven't really changed.  That is, so long as you don't consider the multiplayer.

It's still a great looking game, easy to play with a healthy selection of cars to drive so no complaints there.

Unlike Grand Theft Auto, car control is predictable and if you're driving a Corvette, you can trust that it's going to be as close to the actual experience as you can get in a mainstream racing game.  Every car you see is officially licensed meaning all those lawyers are going to ensure that a Geo Metro isn't faster off the line than A Pagani Zonda.

I can say with confidence that there is no other racing game series that makes hanging your tail around an opportune hairpin turn as much fun as a Need For Speed game.  Most Wanted is no different and it's easy to lose hours just racing around the open world of Fairhaven. 

But this is an EA game.  Meaning at some point you're going to have to deal with DLC disease, an overly complex menu system and a bad multiplayer experience.

Which is exactly where I'm going.

Last night was the first real opportunity I had to experience the multiplayer component of Most Wanted with my comrade in pixel punishing, Shotglass.

We've been gaming for a long time having seen the entire arc of video games from blocky alien invasions to high definition open world masterpieces that rival any Hollywood blockbuster.  So we're not exactly noobs.

I expected some annoyance when we attempted to join up online but what we experienced was nothing short of ridiculous.

Now let me say up front that some of these issues surfaced during my solo play but were amplified when you added the online component.

The worst thing about multiplayer in Most Wanted has to be just trying to get a game going.  The game has no local provision for setting up a friends game instead relying on Origin to get players together.  

That means if you don't have any friends in Origin you're left with a matchmaking or "recommendation" for friends to play.  

At least that's what we thought...

While Shotglass showed up as a friend it was a cumbersome and confusing process just to get us into the same game.  At one point he even ended up in a public session after attempting to join my game.  Couple that with a confusing mess of a menu system that left us having to listen to teamspeak chatter with no way to mute it unless you manually selected each player. 

Yes, there's no MUTE ALL option!

Why would any game developer think that by DEFAULT I want to hear a bunch of 12 year olds screaming in my ear with no easy way to mute the noise?

And that menuing system.  This game's a console port so it expects you to use a gamepad and assign every function to it.  Well, Shotglass and I use a joystick which is a little shy on buttons for anything but controlling the car.  Which to be honest, is all we really care about when playing a DRIVING GAME!

Yes, the keyboard is available but it's deprecated in favor of the controller with weird defaults.  I couldn't even figure out how to use "Easy Drive" until Shotglass stumbled upon it.  Meaning up to that point I couldn't change my car or use any of the features. 

Why?  Because the game assigned all the controls to the keyboard number pad.  The FREAKING NUMBER PAD!  WTF!

...And it still didn't work right.

But that wasn't the end of it.  While Shotglass and I eventually got into the same game neither of us had a clue how to actually set up a race.

Now realize that I figured all of this out in Dirt, GTA V and Grid Autosport in about 5 minutes.  Most Wanted?  The clock is still ticking 2 days later.

I can tolerate minor quibbles like the lack of a story context that made the original 2005 game so engaging.  I can even forgive the outstretched palm when you happen to come upon a cool new car only to be taken to the "Store" page to purchase it.  In other words, DLC Disease.

What I can't forgive is a console port that handles multiplayer gaming so badly.  I'm not bemoaning the lack of a LAN option that would clear up all of this madness ( Something Dirt 3 still offered in 2011 BTW)

I just can't understand how anybody playing this game on a console could possibly do anything useful online with such a crappy interface.
It's a shame too because actually playing the game is fun. 

Just expect to be doing it alone.

So if you take advantage of EA's current On the House offer realize that what you're getting is worth every penny you paid.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Need For Speed Most Wanted: Origin's Current Freebie

Aside from some casual side scrollers in my early gaming days there was nothing that could feed my gaming addiction like a good romp in Need For Speed.  I'm a gearhead, car guy and connoisseur of those things that stir the soul with a heavy planting of one's right foot on the appropriate pedal.

So Need For Speed was a natural for me.  It satisfied both gamer and gearhead.

Which brings us to EA's latest Freebie.

Every once in awhile EA actually gives away something worth having.  If you can manage the intestinal fortitude to suffer duds like Crusader No remorse or Theme Hospital you sometimes find gems like Battlefield 3 or Dead Space.  

This is one of those.  

The current giveaway is Need For Speed: Most Wanted.  This is the rebooted 2012 version  of the 2005 classic and last hurrah for developer Criterion games.  Criterion's earlier entry into the franchise  was a 2010 reboot of a 1998 NFS classic, Hot Pursuit.  

Aside from the dreaded "autolog" Hot Pursuit was a faithful homage to the original so I expect no less from Most Wanted.

For the uninitiated, Need For Speed: Most Wanted is all about street racing and showdowns between rival racing gangs with a tenuous storyline that borrows heavily from movies like Fast and Furious.

So if you feel the need to get your gear slammin' pedal mashin' moves on then go get your free copy of Need For Speed: Most Wanted before EA pulls the plug.