The Gaming Version of the Overlook Hotel

Now that I am firmly into a month without access to high speed internet and the ability to game online with the proper bandwidth I can give the world some observations from my time traveling relocation to 2004 while still being in 2018.  I must admit, my initial reaction as a gamer was less than thrilling.

shining
Offline gaming has got me like…

I have found that my overall gaming has dialed back exponentially.  Not only have I been playing less in general, I have also noticed that with a turtle speed wifi connection I have less inclination to turn on my console.  The fact that it takes me an absurd amount of time to download a simple patch for any game is enough to make me wish I had a proxy controller to throw in a fit of gamer rage.  Yet, there is something nice about seeing these limitations.  The first is that first person shooters like Call of Duty and Battlefield aren’t even installed on my console.  In their place I have Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy and Borderlands – The Handsome Collection… both of which I purchased at bargain prices last week.  I will soon be replacing MLB 17 with MLB 18 on my PS4 as well (we will get into my reaction to their Online Franchise abandonment in the next article).

One observation about gaming without high speed internet is that you are forced to play hard copy games you already own that you may not have completed to this point.  For me, this means looking at Dark Souls 3, Shadow Warrior, The Last of Us, Shadow of Mordor, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Titanfall 2.

It leaves me feeling like an old man reflecting on my parents telling me as a kid that I didn’t need new games if I haven’t beat the games I have.  I suppose that is similar to the other observation I made in this new trip to the gaming stone age… I have been reading a lot more as well.  I am already quite the bibliophile, but now I basically get a chance to dive into the pile of books we finally managed to unpack and my wife sorted out in her wonderfully efficient manner.  Seriously, we have a small library right now and it doesn’t even start to touch the amount of books we still have in storage.  It’s a nice problem to have, I suppose.

The moral of this story is that while I am inconvenienced in one of my favorite hobbies I am not without other avenues to pursue my gaming.  Not to mention, it’s rather enjoyable to read some books I might otherwise leave on a shelf.  Whether it is your books or your games that have yet to be finished, you really need to take the opportunity to beat the games you have ignored when you do lose high speed internet.

 

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Borderlands 2 – Getting You Excited About Finding Amazing Guns… Tim Tebow Excited

If you haven’t played Borderlands up to this point, you have been missing out.  You haven’t just been missing out on a great game with an open world full of baddies.  You have been missing out on some of the craziest weapons you will ever see in gaming.  This isn’t an over-stated point… it might be an understatement.  If someone says “BFG” and “Doom” in the same sentence it is usually met with some sort of reaction that entails it being the best gun ever made in a video game.

The omnipotent BFG 9000 from the Doom Series.

Then again, if you have played Borderlands, you might have a certain gun that has been the greatest ever made.  What makes it better?  It could be completely unique to your experience!  We don’t use exclamation points often, but in this case it is worth it and necessary.  Borderlands is a game that gives you the opportunity to explore a vast world and in the process you will find weapons that are randomly generated for your enjoyment.  What type of guns can you find?  Here are a few examples –

These are some guns collected in Borderlands… Take a look at some of the damage and bonuses that come with these guns, rifles and rocket launchers.

In Borderlands 2 you should expect a lot of the the same.  Tons of guns (a lot of them will be crappy when you start) but once you get rolling you will never regret diving into this amazing open world FPS.

By the way, you should also know that when you team up with friends you can trade and give them some of the weapons you have found.  Who says charity isn’t a good thing?  When it gets you a shotgun that fires rockets with a sniper scope and it’s accurate to that range for 400 damage?… Yeah, we are excited like Tim Tebow.

We are Tebow-ing with ‘excitement’ for Borderlands 2

Open World RPGs – What Else Can Be Done?

Games like Skyrim and Fallout have done a fantastic job of bringing otherwise disinterested people to the RPG scene.  Yet, it feels like once you finish the main quests the games can lose their luster titles that are more action-packed.  Some games like Borderlands do a really nice job of taking the boring exploration for explorations sake out of the mix and inserting crazy bad guys and mutant creatures for you to shoot and explode at your leisure.  Even after a couple hours of that type of gaming you will find yourself bored of treasure hunting and shooting random baddies.

Is this what your character is saying?

What else is there to do at this point?

You can kill things, you can amass wealth and you can even find relationships with other digital ‘people’.  Granted, when all is said and done – you are still roaming a world that doesn’t seem to have a reason to be booted up.  Sure, there are side-quests and random things you can do for people… like kill a guy for the Night Mother or maybe collect a trinket for some lazy scared guy.  Regardless, it is an important question that might not really have an answer.

Outside of turning open world RPGs into another version of Second Life – what can really be done at this point?  Leveling up doesn’t matter after awhile.  Not to mention to never-ending stream of DLC that seems to seduce people regularly into forking over another $10-20.  Some DLC is well worth the payment but at what point are we going to expect something more and realize that there really isn’t more to be had?

Is it a sign that perhaps it wouldn’t hurt if games started having some sort of finality that pushed to you play through the story again and again in different ways?  Mass Effect did this and it was nice that they actually tied Achievement Points to playing through the game multiple times.  Even games like Diablo 3 and Borderlands give you multiple character types to build up and roam around with.

What is your take?  Is there anything more that can be done for open world RPGs?  If you say yes, what are your suggestions?  Post in the comments below!

Borderlands 2 – Might Be A Must Buy

Pre-Order Borderlands 2 At Amazon and Get $10 Towards A Future Amazon Purchase

For a game that had a niche market on its initial release, it seems like Borderlands 2 might be angling for a bigger hold on the FPS/ACTION/Quasi-RPG market.

It uses cell-shading presentation that makes the game look rather cartoonish, but in the end it is still a fantastic game for you to look into for teaming up with a couple friends either on the same screen or online.  This game focuses on dominating the world around you with weapons that are as numerous as they are deadly.  You can have a sniper rifle that fires electric charged rounds of toxic acid or a bazooka that fires rockets with other crazy abilities.

The bottom line is that you will be able to jump into the Planet of Pandora (again) and rain down hellfire with a smile on your face because you know that you have hours upon hours of amazing gunplay at your fingertips… and a month before Medal of Honor: Warfighter – Limited Edition comes out!

Are RPGs Dead?

I was never a fan of Role Playing Games as a kid.  Some people consider it sacrilege when I say that I never played and have never had an interest in Final Fantasy IV.  I never played (and have never played) Dungeons and Dragons, but I would love to!

Final Fantasy 7 usually tops many lists as the best RPG ever made.

It wasn’t until I was in 9th Grade that I jumped into Final Fantasy VII.  The only reason I made the plunge was because I had some extra money and picked it up at Electronics Boutique in the local mall.  I was hooked from the start.  Something about the story grabbed me.  Was it the underlying politics or corrupt energy company (I’m looking at you AEP >:{ ) taking the life-force of the planet?  Was it the ability to rename Cloud (and every other character)  as I saw fit?  Who knows…  all I do know is that I loved the stories that all came together like Pulp Fiction. (Virtually the same thing can be said for Final Fantasy VIII in my case as well)

This brings a new conversation almost 15 years later.

Why haven’t I played/enjoyed a turn-based RPG sense FFVII and FFVIII? 

Have tastes changed? 

The most successful RPGs in recent history have been The Elder Scrolls and Fallout series from Bethesda Studios (at least from a sales perspective).  The entire focus of gaming has gone first person.  Whether it is shooters or journey games like Borderlands or the aforementioned titles from Bethesda.

Are we so obsessed with shooting things and having real-time control at all times to that we have forgotten what it is like to play a turn-based game with an amazing story?

What happened to great stories?

The downfall of Bethesda’s titles is that they are so predictable that by the time you play them for 30 minutes you can pretty much figure out how it ends.

The last game that provided me with an ending that I found satisfactory was Red Dead Redemption.  While that doesn’t really fit this RPG discussion, it does add to the fact that we really don’t have a single turn-based ‘typcial’, ‘old-school’ RPG that reaches a massive market of gamers.

Any suggestions?

So, the question is out there for the NTTV readership/community.  Actually, there are two questions –

  1. What is your favorite turn-based game?
  2. What are the best turn-based RPGs out on current gen systems (360, PS3 and PC)?

Diablo 3 – A Noob Friendly Hack and Slash PC Game

Well worth $60 and the eleven years many fans have been waiting.

I think I might be one of the ten people that haven’t ever played the Diablo series until this week.  The last Blizzard game I played at length was the first Warcraft on shareware.  Diablo was a pleasant surprise because it let me know from the get-go that it was going to be gentle when it came to introducing me to a new experience.

This game is a hack and slash version of Borderlands. 

If you want a game like Warcraft… go get Warcraft 3.

Diablo 3 allows you to either take on the enemies by yourself or team up with friends online and fight tougher foes (they get harder as you have more players to help you).  There are a few perks that come with teaming up with friends:

  1. Help fighting tougher enemies
  2. Better treasure and loot from defeating enemies

This game focuses on the ability to roam the world of Diablo 3 looking for a fight and arming your character with the best weapons for your class.  This game is so similar to Borderlands that it is really the best way to describe how the non-combat system works. My current class is a Demon Hunter named Lech.  I like to run around dual wielding crossbows.  I have been lucky to team up with my friend Deckon and he was awesome enough to hook me up with my first decent weapon.  Since that point back when I was a Level 3 I have found a lot more weapons that make me want to curse the day I was using my initial weapon.

If you want to get/play this game you will have to be sure that your PC can handle it.  Keep in mind that this game is NOT for consoles.

The system requirements can be found at Battle.net

Minimum specs should be avoided when gaming on PCs. This is often setting people up for less than optimal gaming experiences.
I am currently running a 460GTX and have a fantastic experience. If you can afford to do this type of computing, I highly suggest you roll with something with specs at or above these.

Variety Is The Spice of Gaming

It has been awhile since our last update and in that spirit we are going to start switching gears a bit more regularly.  In the coming weeks you can expect to see footage from Skyrim, Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3, Borderlands, Gears of War 3, L.A. Noire and other great titles.

The best part of gaming is in the games that we sometimes forget that we have and when you pop them back into your console it is like a nostalgia takes over you.  While Skyrim is still ‘new’ there are many games that people are forgetting about that can be had for $15 or less.

So, in the spirit of enjoying what you have and maybe learning how to play the games that you might have given up on we will be bringing you all sorts of new footage and information on some of the best games from the past couple years.