Tag Archives: co-op

Getting Ready for Souls

DARKSOUL_facebook_miniSouls Anyone?

OH MAN, OH MAN, OH MAN! Finally Dark Souls 3 will hit shelves tomorrow (or tonight for all you digital edition and Game Stop pre-order people) and I am very, VERY excited to get into this game. I can’t wait to craft a new character, tryout the new weapon arts and explore this dark and foreboding world of Dark Souls 3. Having pre-ordered the digital edition, I can hardly wait for 9pm tonight when I can start to immerse myself in the chaos and brutality of DkS3. Long live the Souls series!

Now, yes, it is true…. I have been rather quiet on the topic of DkS3. Trust me, that has not been an easy thing to do. Even though I am a HUGE Souls fan, I have been purposely staying away from the majority of DkS3 news. This is mainly so I don’t spoil anything for myself. I want to go into DkS3 with a clean, fresh slate. I truly want all of my reactions and explorations to be raw and unfiltered. I want to be surprised by DkS3.

But, just because I’ve kept a low profile, that doesn’t mean that I have been living under a rock for these past few months. I HAVE heard about a few things that I am excited to see in DkS3.  For example, the news of the new weapon arts system sounds very interesting. It has the potential to make weapon combos more interesting with lots of added variety. I would love to run with a viable sword and dagger build or maybe an Estoc and rapier. There are a lot of weapons to choose from and it will be so much fun trying different ones out.

I have heard that Magic has been revamped. Gone is the standalone Hex line of  spells. This time around they have been merged into both the Magic and Miracle spell trees. This sounds a lot more like Demon’s Souls and I have heard that spells have unlimited uses. We will have to see how that pans out, if it is true.

Also, it appears to me that game play in DkS3 is faster and more focused on agility rather than the slow, more deliberate motions we saw in the previous Souls games, especially DkS2. From the little that I have allowed myself to watch, the game’s speed looks like a cross between Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne with a touch of DkS tossed in. I really like the sound of all of that.

My plan for the game is simple, play DkS3 with an open mind, explore every corner of the world and try to read as much of the lore as I can. I want to get a good idea of what this world is all about and how the prequels fit into the overall story arch. After I have the hang of the game, the controls and the new weapon arts system, I want to go for that sweet, sweet Platinum Trophy. I’ve  earned all of the other Platinums, why not this one too?

Also, I want to experience co-op. It was co-op that made me a fan of the previous games and I hope that it will hold up here as well. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good solo adventure too, but I really enjoy playing with friends. In fact, I plan on teaming up with a few friends and streaming parts of our initial playthough. If all goes according to plan, our fearless leader mjm180wr should post it on our joint YouTube channel the 3GB. It won’t be much, but it should be fun.

Overall, I’m pretty jazzed for this new entry into the Souls lineup. Of course, I have my worries such as is co-op going to work well like it did in Demon’s Souls? Is PvP going to be as annoying, frustrating and jarring as it has been in the past titles? Is this game going to stress cooperation or will it be more of a solo experience? Will there be excessive lag? How easily will I be able to call on friends for help? I don’t know, but I’m holding back any final judgments until AFTER I have some hours under my belt. Either way, it should be an interesting experience and I’ll post something more substantial at a later time.

Now, let’s play some Souls!

~GB

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Black Ops 3: My Thoughts

blackWell, it’s that time again. It’s that wonderful time of year where the leaves change color, the air gets crisper, the nights get longer AND we are treated to the next installment of Activision’s Call of Duty. Like Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving or any other major holiday, it can either be a time of great celebration and excitement or just another reason to hate this time of year. Regardless of how we might feel towards the franchise or the season, it is all happening once again, so let’s talk about it.

General Impressions

Like millions of other players out there, I am very excited for Black Ops 3. I have been playing the game, everyday since it’s release and I can honestly say that I am enjoying the hell out of it. I have explored both the Zombies mode and the co-op story mode and they are each a blast. To be fair, I have not yet tried the multiplayer and I am a little skeptical about the whole idea. I know it is a highly sought-after feature of this game and a real selling point for many gamers, but anyone who knows me, knows that I am NOT a big fan of competitive player versus player modes. Unfortunately, since a large part of Call of Duty is basically built around that one idea, I just have to grin and bear it. However, despite my feelings on this topic, you can be sure that I will be playing the multiplayer mode and ranking up to at least level 55. Why? So, I can get the associated trophies and eventually platinum this game. That is really the ONLY reason, otherwise, I wouldn’t even touch the competitive multiplayer.

Going into Blops3, this last opening weekend, I was initially skeptical. I’ve been a big fan of Call of Duty since COD1, but lately, I’ve been a little apathetic regarding their most recent releases, Ghosts and Advanced Warfare. I was burned by Call of Duty: Ghosts and I didn’t even bother playing Advanced Warfare. I was concerned that Blops3 might just be another nail in the coffin for the bland, uninteresting, repetitive, first person shooter genre. I can safely say that it is not. It is a very enjoyable game with a lot of unlockable extras, tons of replay value, co-op modes and a robust online component. Not only do you have a story mode that is 100% co-op , but you also have an updated, ever-exciting Zombies mode and a new mode called Nightmares that lets you play the story mode with zombies in it, or so I have been told. I haven’t unlocked it yet, but I am itching to give it a try. Combine all of that with the popular multiplayer modes (if that’s your cup of tea) and you have the makings of one of the better Treyarch COD games to hit shelves in recent history. Truth be told, being three years in the making, I would have been surprised if this game wasn’t topnotch.

predator-1987-arnold-schwarzenegger-bill-duke-pic-2Co-op Galore

Like I had mentioned in my initial Black Ops 3 post, I am very interested in the co-op aspects of this game. Not since World at War, have we had a story mode where we could play online… with friends… and I’m very pleased at the return of that feature. After getting through about half of the story mode with my co-op buddy WTFSendit, I can safely say that it is super fun. Although we’ve elected to go through the game on the hardest “Realistic” difficulty setting, it is still worth the time and effort. More on that mode, a bit later.

If you are a solo COD player, this is still an entertaining game with an interesting, although rather convoluted storyline, but I think that you might be slightly disappointed. I strongly believe that this game is made more fun by the inclusion of co-op play. That is where this game really shines, especially if you plan on playing on the higher difficulties. In “Veteran” or “Realistic,” a real-life player is almost indispensable. You need someone or a few friends watching your back, otherwise you won’t survive very long. Plus, it is so much fun and pleasantly stressful to try and revive your buddy, while being aggressively attacked by the A.I. enemy. Try it with some of your FPS friends, you won’t be disappointed.

Now, unfortunately my co-op experiences haven’t been exactly perfect. I have noticed a number of glitches, some pretty sever that have troubled my play through. For example, l have unlocked various level checkpoints only to have a few of them revert back to earlier checkpoints in the same level, I have had selected weapon load-outs randomly change from death to death and my co-op buddy can never seem to transition from one mission to another, without being kicked from the session. Other than those, the game runs well enough and most of these issues are not game breaking. You can be sure that Treyarch will probably patch these in a future update, but until that happens, it will still be a bit annoying.

imagesA New Veteran Mode?

As a fan of the Call of Duty franchise, the term “Veteran Mode” is nothing new or strange to us old-timers. It is a notoriously hard level of difficulty that challenges a player with the most brutal and unforgiving criteria. It can make your blood boil and your brain go into rage mode very quickly.

My first taste of this difficulty setting was in Call of Duty: World at War. To this day, most of my gaming buddies still cringe at the mention of World at War‘s “Veteran Mode.” It was brutally hard. Grenades rained from the sky, enemy troops never stopped spawning and your character was so fragile, a gust of wind would kill him. I never thought that anything could be as difficult as World at War‘s “Veteran Mode,” until I was introduced to Black Ops 3‘s “Realistic Mode.” My god this game is unfairly evil.

I will warn you, “Realistic Mode” is not for the faint of heart. We had initially figured that it was best to get this mode out of the way early and then go back to do cleanup on the easier difficulties.  It took us almost 45 mins to make it out of the first area of the game. Bullets can kill you in one hit, enemies are relentlessly aggressive, the game throws a ton of things at you, all of which can kill you instantly and your A.I. partner is regrettably useless. Your enemies somehow manage to shoot you through walls, through cover or right as you spawn. Even after a co-op buddy revives you, your character can be put down, immediately upon standing. I have had that cycle repeated over and over again, which is VERY frustrating and generally unfair.

However, this mode really shines when it comes to co-op. Yes, some sections and deaths are still shockingly cheep and very frustrating, but a real-life player can make all the difference in the world. You can strategize, cover different areas and watch each others backs. It really tests your resolve, but the payoff is that beautiful platinum trophy. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I can’t wait to gather the full team and test out our skills in “Realistic Mode.”

2854911-black+ops+3_no+fly+zoneFinal Thoughts

So far Black Ops 3 is a very solid game. The levels are larger and far less linear, the graphics are very nice to look at and I love the setting for the new Zombies map called Shadows of Evil. The singleplayer mode has a ton of customizations, lots of unlockables and a plethora of upgrades that will keep you testing new combinations and load-outs, for the foreseeable future. Even the Zombies mode is hugely expanded with its own load-outs, leveling system and upgrades. The addition of the Gobblegum micro perk abilities really gives Blops3: Zombies an entirely new layer of customization, adding some cool and handy features on top of an already addicting game mode. Aside from a few glitches, the game runs smoothly and I haven’t run into any noticeable lag in either the PS4 or the frame rate. Of course, I haven’t tried PvP multiplayer yet, but all in good time.

Yes, Black Ops 3 is a really fun game, but there is the larger question here, one of innovation: Does Black Ops 3 really standout as anything new? Will this game add new life to the tired, old FPS genre? Well, that depends on who you ask. Some critics have said that this game is nothing more than last years Advanced Warfare, seen through Treyarch’s eyes and with Black Ops 2‘s customization. That may be true, BUT since I have not played Advanced Warfare this is all new to me.

So, as a gamer relatively new to the whole wall-running and cyber enhancements idea, is this game an innovator? Does this change the FPS paradigm? I would have to say no, I don’t believe it does. Really, the core of this game is nothing that we haven’t seen before. The same underlying foundation that existed in other COD games, still exists here. It is the same game, just with some cool additions and a pretty coat of paint.

Does that mean that you shouldn’t play Black Ops 3? Absolutely not. Like I have said before, this game really stands out in its co-op modes and THAT is the reason I am playing it. I could care less about the cyber enhancements or the futuristic abilities. None of that changes the fact that I can now play the entire game….. with my friends. We can fight together or go down in a blaze of glory. That is why I am playing Black Ops 3. If this game is going to innovate anything, let it be in the expansion of its co-op modes. That is the real game changer for me and that is what I am excited about.

Overall, Black Ops 3 is very enjoyable and I have liked what I have seen so far. I’ll reserved my final judgements until after the game’s been out for awhile and Treyarch has patched some of these bugs, but after that, I think this one is keeper. I have high hopes for the longevity of this game and I can see the crew and I playing this one for quite some time. Pick it up and check it out. Good luck soldiers and I’ll see you on the co-op battlefield.

~GB

Thoughts on the Star Wars Battlefront Beta

star-wars-battlefrontA few days ago, we were all blessed with the beta release for Star Wars: Battlefront, a new First Person Shooter developed by DICE and published by EA Games. Now, despite the all-too-common publisher and developer hate that comes with ANY new title released these days, I haven’t heard that much in the way of overly negative comments. I was expecting a slew of hate and guile from both the shooter fan boys and the overly critical Star Wars aficionados, but the volume has been significantly less then expected. Maybe I haven’t been looking in the right places, but the net has been somewhat quiet. I find this a tad unusual, but maybe they are all just playing SWBF instead of flaming it? Who knows.

What I do know, is that a good part of this last weekend was devoted to me playing the SWBF beta, so I thought I would share my thoughts and my over all impressions on the experience. Take these words for what they are, just one gamers opinions, nothing more. Ultimately, you will have to decide for yourselves whether or not this game is up your alley. Me, I’m still on the fence about it all, but more on that later.

star_wars_battlefront_e3_screen_2The Good

First off, I will admit, I’ve been pretty hyped for this game. Around here and with most of my friends, the wait has been killing us! This game hits the shelves on Nov. 17th making November a pretty big month for our gaming addiction. (I also have Black Ops 3 and the DLC for Bloodborne to look forward to).  As we anxiously approach release date, Gamers are jonesing for a Star Wars fix. This beta release came at a perfect time and I’m sure it was just want the doctor ordered. However, is this game really deserving of all of that hype? Here are my thoughts …at least for the PS4 version…

Let me say that SWBF, it’s a beautifully rendered game with a ton of Star Wars flair. Everything just bleeds Star Wars: the music, the weapons, the sounds, the costumes, the level designs, the ships…it is ALL really cool. Seeing an imperial walker up close and personal is a terrifying sight! It is a monstrous thing! Witnessing the excitement and hearing those blasters is just music to my Star Wars geek ears. Even though we were only given three modes of game play and one level each, it was still really fun.

After fumbling around in the menus and trying to join a friend in the co-op mode, I was soon blasting imperials left and right, blowing up AT-STs and watching jet pack Stormtroopers fly out of control and explode! I thought “Wow this game is sweet!” Even though the co-op was limited to only 5 rounds, the overall game play was very exciting and I legitimately wanted to play more. It isn’t surprising, since I love co-op, but I couldn’t help but wonder, would multiplayer PVP still hold my interest? I decided to find out.

The beta gave us two multiplayer modes Walker Assault and Drop Zone. I decided to level up in the Drop Zone mode. This is where you play as either the Imperials or the Rebels and try desperately to secure drop pods and hold them for a set amount of time. A strangely familiar concept, but pretty fun, none-the-less. Unlike the co-op mode’s two player limitation, this mode saw myself and a small team of buddies join up with 14 other players and just wage war on one another. We played for around 5 hours and by the end of a few matches I had already leveled up to the maximum allowed for the beta (level 5) and unlocked all of the weapons and cards that we were given access to.

Initially I was having a blast. Gunning down the enemy with blasters is strangely rewarding. But after a few hours of the same stuff, over and over again, monotony began setting in. As I thought about it more and more, I realized that underneath it all, behind the music, the visuals and the sweet nostalgia of Star Wars, this is just another shooter. It was a sobering realization. Yes, I know there are different game types and modes, weapons and vehicles, but none of that matters. Deep down, it’s still just a shooter and being a shooter means that it will suffer from the same basic problems that all shooters eventually run into, repetitive game play.

star_wars_battlefront_at-at_1The Bad

After my initial few hours of gaming, the newness began wearing off and I started to notice a basic pattern, at least with Drop Zone. (I do apologize for this mini rant). My sessions started to go like this:

—-Spawn. Run to the objective, get shot in the back and killed.

—-Spawn again. Run back to the objective only to get killed the moment you enter into the contested area.

—-Respawn and get killed immediately by someone spawn camping.

—-Get angry at the game and the players, then start accusing everyone of hacking.

—-Respawn and try and kill the spawn camper only to be killed once again, even though I was pumping tons of rounds into his chest.

—-Get angry again and start accusing that player of lag switching.

—-Rinse and repeat.

The more I played SWBF, the more angry I became. It was then that I realized that this game is the same basic formula as every other COD, MOH or Battlefield game. It has all the same basic game modes, weapons and objectives, it’s just wrapped up in Star Wars clothing.  Now, according to EA and DICE, we will be getting other modes in the final game, such as: “Droid Run,” “Cargo,” “Blast,” “Fighter Squadron,” “Supremacy,” “Hero Hunt” and a few others. This sounds great, but the question remains, are these going to just be your standard game types like Domination, Death Match, Capture the Flag, Assault, etc? Or are these going to be fun, new, unique experiences? If recent history serves, my assumption is that these are likely to be the same modes we have always had, just with Stormtroopers and Rebels, instead of modern military soldiers.

Last Thoughts

Let’s be honest, I love Star Wars. I grew up watching the original movies and loving every moment of them. I would play the old video games back on SNES and drool over the PC releases of X-Wing and Tie Fighter. Star Wars was and still is an amazing franchise. Now, with this new SWBF being released next month, I can’t help but feel drawn to it, like a Jawa is to old droids (Utinni!).

I would recommend if you can, play this beta. Immerse yourself in the fray and see what comes out. It is a beautiful game that needs to be experienced. Do it! If nothing else, watch videos on YouTube. Its the only way you will know if it appeals to you.

Will I be picking up this game? I want to say yes, but the fact is, I am going to have a very difficult time convincing myself that it is worth the initial $60. And now, with EA announcing that the Season pass will be a whooping $50 for the rest of the game’s dlc content, I’m a bit concerned. If the game offers only what I played in the beta, it will be very hard to justify the games $60 price tag. As it is, I am already getting Black Ops 3 for the Zombie mode and its 4 player co-op.

Considering how I feel about the FPS genre and competitive multiplayer games in general, SWBF is going to have to offer something unique, above and beyond a simple reskinned COD game. If it wants to hold my attention and keep me playing, it has to be more than just a pretty face, it has to take me away and immerse me into the world of Star Wars. I have to feel like I am doing something epic and being rewarded for my efforts. Most importantly, I have be able to team up with friends, reliably and consistently. I feed off of that excitement that team based games usually offer and if it doesn’t deliver, I could be looking at another Destiny, just a flashy game that I wasted money on and ended up hating with a passion. I wouldn’t want to do that to my love of Star Wars. Will I buy this one? That has yet to be seen, but rest assured the decision will not be simple.

~GB