Living Without High Speed Internet – The Downfall of Digital Game Purchases, DLC and Patches

Before packing up our things and moving to rural  Ohio I was actually excited to be back where there are seasons and relatively nice weather for most of the year.  The one thing I didn’t count on was the complete lack of high speed internet and how it would impact not only my job search (not having bandwidth to post a 500kb PDF resume will make you wonder why you try at all) but also my gaming experience.

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I never purchased a digital game until I owned a PS4 and was living in Monterey, CA.  I had high speed internet through the same company a lot of you probably go through (you know, because monopoly is the new word for competition these days).  I bought Grand Theft Auto 5 and loved it as much as I did on PS3, actually, I loved it more.  It was rendered beautifully.  The problem I faced upon the initial purchase was that it was around a 50GB download and my internet, as fast as it was at the time was going to give me this game after taking about eight hours to download the software.

I would then go on to buy Black Ops 3, COD WW2 and many other titles digitally because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  What I didn’t consider was the fact that maybe someday I wouldn’t have access to high speed internet.  It seemed ridiculous after having had it since 2005.  The thing that no one seems to think about is that while the games are a big part of your initial experience they also download patches that are sometimes over 8 GB in size on their own.  If you have played any game with online access you most likely have experience with having to wait for a patch to download and install… but wait, there’s more.

You might say, buy the game in hard copy form, dummy.  Yes, true enough – that’s a valid point to fix the first problem.  The patch issue when you have internet that is half a step better than dial-up is enough to make you buy an SNES Classic and find a happy place (Those still exist, right?… A happy place, I mean.  The SNES Classic isn’t even available in most places, I digress.).

You can’t play your old saves on games that don’t have the updated patch.  Your old game saves are tied to the latest patch that you downloaded.  So, if you have been playing Dark Souls, The Witcher, Skyrim, Fallout, Bloodborne, etc. and you own the hard copy disc but you deleted one of those games in order to play something new (Battlefield 1 (76 GB), Grand Theft Auto (76 GB), etc.) you will need to not only install the game again, but you will also have to download the patch to be able to load your old saves.

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I can’t complain in regards to almost any other aspect of life in terms of being fortunate in virtually every other facet of functionality.  I know I am lucky to be in the position I currently find myself.  However, when it comes to gaming and general accessibility to what is becoming a more internet-centralized world, I am at a loss with quite a few people in rural America.

There doesn’t seem to be a true fix for this situation other than demanding better infrastructure when it comes to running fiber optic cable all over the place.  You would think that it would be as simple as using your cell phone provider as a hot spot, but the way they throttle your data speed after a rather small amount is used basically puts you into the stone age in terms of internet access.

This is why I urge all of you to purchase your games in hard copy form. Sure, you will have to deal with downloading a patch over the course of a week, but imagine how long it would take you to download your next 50 GB game and then be greeted with a patch on top of that.

There is good reason to go out and buy your game at a store or however you prefer to acquire a hard copy.  It seems that the reason relates to time travel, because my PS4 is living in 1998.

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Don’t Pass Up On The Skyrim and Fallout DLC Discount

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I don’t typically share deals and such but when the DLC for Skyrim and Fallout is discounted by 75% it should be put out there.

The Skyrim DLC – Dawnguard and Dragonborn are both marked down to $5.

Also, you can download missions for Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas for $2.49 each, respectively.

 

What More Do You Want From Shooter Games?

The best-selling games on consoles seem to come down to First Person Shooters every single year.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does drive me to wonder what else I really want from my FPS gaming experiences.  There seem to be three choices when it comes down to decision-making.

Arcade/Deathmatch Style – Call of Duty is the quintessential example of shooter games that revolve around picking up the controller and smacking other gamers in the face.  It is a fast-paced game with slight differences between weapons.  Not to mention a huge group of core gamers that are dedicated to the game they have come to love (or even sometimes, hate).

What More Do I Want?I have been hoping for years for the sniping in this game to be nerfed.  However, that is the ‘charm’ of Call of Duty games…  the weapons are subjectively rated and designed.  In many cases there isn’t much of a difference between using a magnum side-arm and a MK-14 as long as you ‘know how to handle them’.

I don’t want Call of Duty to change, primarily because I know that every time I turn it on I will be able to play it for an hour or two before I get so fed up with connectivity or quick-scoping spawn trappers that I turn it off and put in a different game.

Objective Based/Simulation – Battlefield 3 is designed with huge maps and team-play as the primary components.  While some of the interactions with vehicles is far from ‘simulation’ the weapons and handling of the game in-general present a much more ‘realistic’ feel to the game.  The recoil of the weapons makes for tough decisions to be made at times when you try to determine if you want more power or more control.  This is a primary difference between BF3 and COD games.

Also, objectives are the primary gametypes for Battlefield games.  This is something that tends to escape the common COD player than ventures into the land of Battlefield.  They will often try to come into a game of Rush or Conquest and try to turn it into some sort of Team Deathmatch.  While this is quite useful in Conquest, it is far from useful if you are the attacking team in Rush.

What More Do I Want? –A preventative measure to keep teams from spawn camping with vehicles like helicopters.  This is a great game, but people that are new to it will find that it is unforgiving when you play Conquest mode against seasoned teams of gamers.  It is one of the biggest downfalls in game design when you make it nearly impossible for a losing team to recover.

 

Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Halo, Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series all fall into this category for the most part.  They are either based in a realm that doesn’t exist or in some sort of alternate universe.  Fallout is the only potential threat to this category, but in reality it still has ‘laser’ weapons.  Much like Fallout, Skyrim has magic and other spells that make it fantasy related.  Halo is based on other planets or regions of the universe and uses weapons that either don’t exist or close to that description.

What More Do I Want?–  This category is difficult because there isn’t a lot to base anything off of in ‘real life’.  The issue I have with Halo is recoil with weapons feeling non-existent.  In general, Halo has a feel to it that makes it seem like the gamer is playing the game with a lot less ‘motion’.  There is almost a floating sensation when playing Halo.

What’s the point?

When thinking about any of these things it leaves me thinking that any of the things I wish would happen in FPS games are subjective at best and pointless at worst.  Most of the games we choose to play revolve around what we have had time to find a love for over the years.  Chances are good that you have already pre-ordered a game this fall or at least plan on asking for one of them during the holiday season.

Take that as a sign that you really don’t have a lot more you want out of a shooter game.  Otherwise you wouldn’t pre-order something before you hear about, let alone see any real changes.

Are You Not Entertained? – Actually… No. – The Downward Spiral of Annual Game Releases

If sports and first person shooter (FPS) Video Games were a ‘Nation’ and I were the President of Sports and FPS Video Games, I would have to say that the State of our Union is weak.

This isn’t coming from the stand-point of the gaming companies like Electronic Arts or Activision (judging by their weakening stocks I would say that they feel the same), but from the aspect of gamers.  There are numerous games that have grabbed our attention and held onto it for a few years such as the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Mass Effect and some others that you might be able to throw out there in the comments section below.  However, sports games and some shooter titles are constantly being thrown at us every year during the summer or fall.

What is becoming more evident as we get closer to the end of this generation of consoles (XBox 360, PS3 and Wii) is that sports and shooter games are really coasting along for the last few quarters before they jump into a new fray of next-gen console development (aka – more of your money).

We have recently focused on games like Madden NFL and NCAA Football sense they are the primary Summer Releases for EA Sports.  The next game that will get our full attention is Black Ops 2.  Call of Duty is a game that is technically released every two years if you want to dive into the fact that it is split between development teams (Infinity Ward and Treyarch).  However, the series itself is pretty much the same concept with a few nuances that make each game slightly different.

These games feel disposable at this point.  We aren’t in a time period of creative thoughts in entertainment in general.  Movies are the same way with sequels and remakes that really aren’t too dissimilar from what annual sports games and FPS games like Call of Duty are doing.  The publishers of these games like to sell you on trailers and big budget marketing rather than actually take the time to be creative and take a chance with something new.

If in 2013 there would be an announcement that Madden and Call of Duty would not be released in order to drive creativity and innovation in each series, would you applaud this decision or take it upon yourself to scream in ALL CAPS that it is the worst thing that ever happened to gaming?

NoobTubeTV would applaud this decision but what is your take?

Is It More Fun To Be A Hero Or A Villain?

It’s an interesting question when you put it in terms of gaming.  Do you want to be the good guy or the bad guy?  For the most part if you choose the latter in ‘real life’ you will end up in some sort of legal trouble.  On the other hand, if you turn into a mass murderer on Skyrim or Fallout you are simply hated, feared and in plenty of ‘virtual legal trouble’.

What is your persona?

When I was growing up it was always my mission to save the say with Mario, Zelda or Solid Snake.  Now some 20+ years later I am given a choice every time I start an open world game from Bethesda.  Is it wrong for me to have two different personas when I play the Elder Scrolls or Fallout?

I usually spend more time with my ‘good guy’ class, but when I have the opportunity to jump in for some slicing and dicing of whoever comes at me sideways – I relish every moment.

The interesting thing about being a bad guy is that you aren’t really every ‘bad’ per se… you are a brutal good guy with a short temper and an itchy trigger finger.  In most games you don’t lose an opportunity to finish the main quest and save the day if you have butchered 109 villagers in Skyrim.  You are still greeted as a hero after you complete quests or do something else considered ‘good’.

Games like Grand Theft Auto aren’t much different outside of the fact that you are given an opportunity to use bazookas and maybe see some sort of rocking cars late at night or maybe even snipe off the heads of people from a tall building.  That is life in a world of absolute digital freedom and debauchery.

The funny thing is that when this comes up in conversation you will see people that either don’t game or hide behind some sort of veneer of being ‘Holier Than Thou’ act like you are terrible person when you talk about being a murderous adventurer and then they go log on to their creeper profile on Second Life or cruise the personal ads on Craigslist.

So, for those of you that have some sort of strange urge to be a villain – do it on a video game.  You will feel better and you won’t have any real legal trouble.  

Here is your chance – are you a villain or Dudley Do Right when you play these games?  Comment Below!

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!

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)?