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!

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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)?

Building A Game Collection For The Price Of One New Game

By the time you get a new console, controller and a couple new games to play you are going to spend around $600+.

If you are in the market for a new console and would like to get a decent amount of games to play on it we have just the help you need to save money as you start building a new gaming library.

Low Budget Online Gaming

Gaming on a budget? These games are still played by many people online and well worth the small investment.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 = $12 – One of my all-time favorite games.  This is a very fast paced game that has a bit of a learning curve now.  Beware of hackers and glitchers that have taken over some lobbies. 
or
Call of Duty Black Ops = $20 – Treyarch put this game out to high praise that they fixed many things that people didn’t like about Modern Warfare.  You will notice that there is quite a split between some people in their preference for Call of Duty titles.  This game is a good purchase to get ready for Black Ops 2 coming out in November.
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Halo 3 = $7 – The game that got every online gamer to think they could ‘Go Pro’.  You will find a dedicated group of gamers that still play this game religiously.  This is a great cheap way to introduce yourself to Halo if you haven’t played the series before.
or
Halo Reach = $18 – Where there is Halo, there are gamers playing it online.  Reach changed a lot of things from Halo games before that may remind some people of Call of Duty’s ‘Perks’.  However, you can also download a ton of new maps and modes that give this game a long life.
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Gears of War = $7 – The first Gears of War is still preferred by a smaller contingent of purists.  The series has a tremendous community that is dedicated to the team-based third person genre that Epic Games nearly perfected with this series.
or
Gears of War 2 = $7 – The second game of the trilogy was a great success, but some glitches and online issues marred the longevity especially with GOW3 following.
or
Gears of War 3 = $24 – This game has a huge fan base even after a year of being released.  The season pass can get you all the modes and maps that were released for this great online experience.  This title is the most refined of the three and rightfully takes its place at the top of many GOW fanatics libraries.
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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 = $10 – The rival to Call of Duty that is based on large team objectives and involves huge maps with a larger focus on realism.  Weapons have more recoil and handle more realistically.
 
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The Lone Gamers On A Budget

For the offline/lone gamers out there, these should be in your library ASAP!
Fallout 3 – Game of the Year Edition = $16 – Getting this game with all of the add-on content is going to provide you with well over 60-70 hours of gaming.  You are set up in post-apocalyptic Washington DC where you will have to battle mutants, survivors, bandits and even radiation to survive.
or
Fallout: New Vegas = $10 – This is a separate story from Fallout 3 and gives a nice facelift to some of the things people wanted changed from Fallout 3.  You will have to be sure to eat and stay hydrated in this iteration of Fallout.  Who says you can have too many details?…  Not Bethesda.
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion = $10-15 – Before Skyrim there was Oblivion.  A game based in a fantasy realm of knights and kings where you can become a feared assassin or an admired mage/warrior.  Either way, you get to roam a huge world filled with treasure and danger.
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The FEAR Series = $10-12 – One of the scariest series of this generation is based on Sci-Fi and Horror genres being thrown into a blender with a creepy telekinetic girl that haunts you throughout.  You will learn to fear Alma and you will learn to love your shotgun.  A great game for dark quiet nights at home.
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The Assassins Creed Series = $ 10-22 – Cloak and Dagger doesn’t even begin to cover it with this title.  If you want to feel like an ancient bad-ass(assin) you will get this game.  Walk around cities like Jerusalem and follow the story that leads you through the lives of your ancestors, who happen to be assassins.
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The Splinter Cell Series = $8-10 – Sam Fisher is highly trained and voiced by Michael Ironside.  Other than that, he is also equipped with some of the coolest gadgets and gear that have ever graced the planet.  You will not regret picking up this amazing series on the cheap!

Conquering The Dead-Zone

We have entered an interesting time in gaming.  This is usually the ‘dead-zone’ during the year in gaming.  As we posted a video a few weeks ago about F.E.A.R. 2 – Project Origin a couple of interesting thoughts occurred:

1.       First Person Shooters get repetitive and

2.       We tend to lose sight of having fun with a game for the sake of having fun

Yes, even Christopher Walken (in the movie 'The Dead Zone') was surprised to hear how easy it is to get through this time of the year in gaming, aptly titled 'The Dead Zone'.

Now that we have entered the dead-zone it is time to start looking at the current status of games from multiple perspectives.

Multiplayer Online Population – How many people are playing the game online currently?  While there are many games that we once enjoyed playing online, sometimes there is still a remaining contingent of players that simply enjoy the game so much that they keep it alive in their dedicated community.

Single Player Longevity – Once you play through the game’s story, what else is there to do?  While many FPS games simply roll credits after you finish the story there are some games that allow you to keep on playing (primarily from Bethesda) – Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, Oblivion and Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption or even the Mass Effect Series… the list usually revolves around open world games.

Fun Factor – To hell with leaderboards or some sort of trumped up ‘new’ features.  The simple question is this:  Does the game own your gaming soul?  I have had many games over the years that may have been a few years old, but I just couldn’t stop playing them!  There is nothing wrong with enjoying a game you have simply for the sake of having a great time.  Whether it is nostalgia, a better experience than new games or just to hack and slash to release pent up stress from the work day… some games deserve to be kept in your collection because they are fun as hell. My go-to game for this was always Metal Gear Solid and now that the HD Collection is out on the 360, it feels like I am reunited with a long lost friend.

What are your favorite games?

Do you play any games online that some people have forgotten about?

Let us know in the comments section!