Enter Sandman: A look at TF2’s maligned Scout bat upgrade.

20 04 2009

Ever since the Scout got his class upgrades in TF2 It is the only weapon from TF2 to ever be banned in league play. The only reason for, I can presume, is the fact that it stuns any enemy (even ubercharged) it hits for anywhere from 1-8 seconds depending on distance. In fact, it seems to be the fact it stuns ubercharged enemies is the reason it’s banned. Even though it’s never a guaranteed hit. But I posit that The Sandman, when put in the perspective of the entire TF2 package (including upgrades to all the classes thus far), is actually not the balance-breaker everyone seems to say it is. (Click to read more)

After-market add-ons = more sales?

17 04 2009

I’m sure many people have seen the trailer for FEAR 2’s new map pack. In what surely must make some scratch their heads and others laugh, Monolith have decided to, for free, release three new multiplayer maps that basically make the players the size of a plastic army man as they wage war within kitchens, sandboxes, and even a pinball machine. Fun? Yes. But it did something else bizarre to me. See I loved the first FEAR, but due to financial reasons never managed to pick up FEAR 2. Suddenly I want to run out and buy it just for the map pack. Granted I’m a bit odd and get caught up in whimsical things like this, but all the same I wonder how many other people had the same thought.

A similar occurrence came when Criterion announced new DLC for Burnout: Paradise, wherein one of the new cars was essentially the Delorean from Back To the Future, complete with the ability to hover, BTTF 2-style. Even better, they’ve now put the game out again with all the DLC pre-included, to save time I presume. Will this actually influence customers? Who can say. After all, regular DLC downloads seem to be doing just fine without being integrated into the main software package, but at the same time it’s bound to occur. Or at least, some people think it will (see all the Fallout 3 players holding out for a GOTY edition with all the DLC included).

One would probably have to do some data extrapolations looking at sales charts to see how much DLC and addons affect game sales, especially after they’ve been on shelves for a few months.

Suddenly, a problem with Microtransactions?

14 04 2009

I used to never see the big deal with microtransactions (i.e. paying for DLC and so forth on Xbox Live, the Wii Shop, etc.), but tonight I think I almost hit a stumbling block in my resolve to, aside from Battlefield: Bad Company, not have a problem with paying to unlock more content in a game.

I was playing an open beta of a new game on Instant Action (the server-side multiplayer games site) called Lore: Aftermath. Really fun mecha game, basically the multiplayer arena matches from Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries, complete with a mech lab. Of course, you don’t get immediate access to those. And therin was my problem. See I enjoy customization, but I’m not allowed to customize without paying money to unlock a large number of emblems, and in fact, every single weapon.

I almost was annoyed by this, but then I realized something. I’m playing a game for free. I’m paying to unlock more features, essentially paying for the game. Unlike Battlefield: Bad Company, where people were paying $60 including money for DLC that was really pointless (i.e. balance-breaking weaponry). Having thought about that it seems to me it’s acceptable to pay to unlock features in a game I didn’t pay for yet. In this way the gamer is setting their own price, and while I don’t have any proof, I have a feeling it might work out pretty well.

Of course since this is a beta I’m a bit loathe to pay to unlock features in it since I’m not sure it’d carry over when the full version hits. But I don’t feel like I was being cheated per-se, especially since I haven’t really felt the need to have customization in order to enjoy the game more so far.

Inequal Measure Review: GTA Chinatown Wars (Nintendo DS)

13 04 2009

I know I’ve been kind of quiet, mostly due to working on finishing up my schooling. In any event I thought I’d do a few game reviews on here, just for what I’ve been playing recently. I’m not going to use a typical score-based rating system, rather I will be comparing the reviewed game to other games in its genre or series. Sort of a “greater-than, less-than” system (i.e. an inequality, hence “Inequal Measure”).

So first up is a game I got a couple weeks back and (sadly) have pretty much finished: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS.
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