Gears of War 3 Too Noob Friendly?

Gears of War 3 Too Noob Friendly
Gears of War 3 Sawed Off Shotgun

The thing that many veterans hate and cringe at is the possibility that the sequel a competitive online multiplayer game caters less to the hardcore gamer and more to the casual/novice players . One game in particular that I fear for is Gears of War 3, which has the new sawed-off shotgun in it’s repertoire of guns.

The Gears of War series is known for it’s complex cover system and amazing shotgun battles. Only those with a mastery over wall bouncing, timing, and aiming will be able to survive a shotgun battle; especially one with numerous enemies. The great thing about the first two Gears games is that there is only one type of shotgun. You are always on equal terms with your opponent, disregarding the occasional active reload.

What is now ruining the status quo was the addition of the sawed-off shotgun. This weapon has a good 90 degree range and can instantly kill a person who is at least 4 steps ahead of them. Although Epic Games will most likely give you a smaller range of attack, this is what it felt like while playing the game. It is one thing to deliver an over powered gun, but it is another thing to give that gun the wide range that it has. Why?

At one point during the Gears of War 3 beta that I participated in, I was the last person. I wanted to test out how “skillful” the sawed-off shotgun can be if used well. So I hid behind a wall while 3 enemies walked towards me, each standing right next to each other. When they were within about 5 steps of me, I peaked out from behind the corner and killed every single one of them with one press of the button. One shot. So I know for a fact that the gun can kill three people standing side by side. A gun so overpowered is fairly annoying.

Gears of War 3 Sawed-Off Shotgun
Gears of War 3 Shotgun

Now, the reason I am particularly aggravated is because you literally have no choice but to run away from it. If you try to wall bounce and try to fight them with a gnasher (the name for the shotgun of Gears of War 2), they simply need to clip you with their shot to down you. It feels that bad. When you are dealing with a gun that strong and with a range that wide, you literally have to throw the wall bouncing experience out of the window.

What I particularly am not looking forward to is a fun clan that uses nothing but sawed-off shotguns. It is one thing when a bad player uses the gun. But it is another thing when clans, who will be doing nothing but getting active reloads and wielding the sawed-off shotgun, will do nothing but abuse that gun in a shotgun battle. This takes out one of the most enjoyable experiences to be had in Gears of War.

Now, on a brighter note, the dedicated servers are amazing. Although they were frequently down during the Gears of War 3 beta, they were great while they were up. There is no complaining of the opponent being host and no feeling that you got robbed of a kill due to a laggy connection. You can competitively hammerburst in a match without having to rely on active reloads or a host connection.

Have any of you participated in the Gears of War 3 beta? I would like to know if I am the only one who is sorely disappointed at how overpowered and wide-ranged the sawed-off shotgun is.

Bulletstorm Xbox Live Demo Impressions

Bulletstorm Demo Impressions
Bulletstorm Gameplay

Bulletstorm is Epic Games’ latest creation which will be released in a little less than a month. In honor of the title, a demo was released onto the Xbox Live marketplace, left for the gamers to critique and devour. Unsurprisingly,  Bulletstorm is an amazingly capable first person shooter that manages to keep the overall style of Gears of War.

This game starts off in a beautiful, war torn, environment that flaunts the power of the Unreal Engine. The crisp high resolution textures and successful art direction should do enough to make your draw drop a mere minute into the game. After finishing the admiration, you are thrown into action with your two teammates following closely.

The action resembles that of Gears of War 2 on hardcore difficulty, with the exception of the boosted artificial intelligence. The enemies take quite a lot of bullets before actually kicking the bucket, which is sure to turn off a lot of the Call of Duty crowd. I personally believe the reason for this is because Epic Games does not really want you to spend that much time running and gunning, they prefer you to find creative ways to defeat your enemies.

Early on into the demo, you are faced with such an opportunity. There is a metal plating on the ceiling that is holding up a mass of debris. The game requests that you press the LB button, after which your grabbing mechanism is put in use and the enemies are buried alive. Not only do you get more points for defeating them creatively, but it is probably more rewarding to the player to do so.

While the game is excellently crafted, I feel that it is one of those experiences that will get old very quickly. The first time I kicked an enemy into the jagged environment and watched him hang there, it was fairly pleasing. Doing it for a second time though, I lacked a reaction. This is a game that provides entertainment solely through it’s interesting gameplay mechanics coupled with great level design. For that reason, this demo will most likely be good for a single play before you are left bored or wanting more.

The demo is fairly short, seemingly to offer a mere glimpse into the direction that Bulletstorm is headed. It is, however, sufficient enough to know what ot expect should you purchase the full game.

Bulletstorm is slated for release on February 22nd, 2011. It will ship with a beta access code to Gears of War 3, which is all the more reason to get it, even if you are not interested in the game itself.

Shadow Complex Review: Amazing Sci-Fi Platformer

Shadow Complex
Shadow Complex

Having purchased Shadow Complex quite some time ago, it is quite clear that this is one of the best and highest quality games that have been released on Xbox Live. One of the latest games released by Epic Games, it definitely preserves their status as one of the best game development companies there are.

Shadow Complex starts off with your character and his girlfriend walking through a forest. Basically, things happen, and she ends up wandering where she should not have, “accidentally”, and she is dragged in for interrogation and investigation by a group of high-tech looking guards. You travel inside of this base, through a ventilation system and go in to save her. The story takes off from there, as you get your first fire arm and you go around with your flash light and weapon drawn, ready to dispatch of anyone who gets in your way.

As cheesy as this story may sound to you, there is a fairly interesting twist somewhere at the end. It my be clear to some of you, some where in the middle of the story line progression, but for me, I was caught by complete surprise at the ending. But that is the end of the story, it is a fitting story, but the meat of this game is in its gameplay. This is an old school platforming type of game, sure to instill feelings of nostalgia in the retro-gamers who may play this. There are actually direct homages to some of the classic video games, like Metroid, made within this game.

The platforming and general gameplay is very simple. You are able to dash, jump, climb, hang off of ledges and shoot your gun. The aiming can get a bit awkward at times, because this game has a sort of innovative aiming system. Although this is a 2d side scrolling video game, there are enemies in the background that you will be able to aim at. But sometimes, you will feel as if you are moving the analog in their direction, but you will end up aiming at the floor or ceiling. This can make you look like a complete novice at times, but besides that, the game is solid.

For an Xbox Live Arcade game, it has pretty detailed graphics. The lighting is very good and adds to the over all tone of this video game at times. The flashlight works very effectively when in a dark room or cave, your flash light will give you that narrow lighted area, to guide you to where you seek. The music and sound effects… well, to be honest, if there is music in the game, I have not noticed because it is not something I pay attention to. However, the sound effects are something that is well done, nothing sounds out of place, the sound of your feet hitting the surface changes depending on what you are stepping on. It is well done.

The progression throughout the story is well done. You grow levels as you go on throughout your journey to take down this evil organization, and preventing them from taking over San Francisco. As you grow levels, you get added benefits, such as increased accuracy or increased health capacity. Also, you will find capsules that increase the amount of projectiles you have, and when you get the max amount of capsules, you will have an infinite amount, such as rockets or grenades. You will have to find these capsules in hidden areas scattered across the map, however. You will probably find a majority of them as you progress throughout the story, if you are explorative.

All in all, I would have to say that this is the best, if not one of the best, platforming and side scrolling games available on Xbox Live, and possibly the Xbox 360 as a whole. It only costs you $10 for the whole game, so might as well invest your money into Shadow Complex.

New Gears of War 2 Content to come


Gears 2 Dark Fronts
Gears 2 Dark Fronts

 Coming in July, Epic Games will be releasing their Gears of War 2: All Fronts Collection for retail, giving insight on the talked about “Dark Corners” DLC.

Not to long ago, there were rumors about a collection of downloadable content called “Dark Corners”. However, this is not wrong, Dark Corners is DLC, yeah, but it is the map pack that is being sold along with the Gears 2: All Fronts Collection. This map pack holds seven new multiplayer titles, and will go for 1600 Microsoft Points.

This isn’t all the Gears of War: All Fronts Collection holds. It also comes with all of the Gears 2 DLC released to date, a Collectible poster, a strategy guide, a custom Xbox Live theme and a Single Player Chapter called “Road To Ruin”.  The seven maps are titled Allfathers Garden, Memorial, Sanctuary, War Machine, Highway, Way Station and Nowhere.This collection may run for up to $40 altogether. This is good for those who still haven’t hopped onto the Gears of War 2 bandwagon and haven’t purchased the map packs yet.

GDC09: OnLive, potential to change the gaming industry


This gadget has the potential to change the gaming industry, majorly. Using this, you may never have to upgrade your computer again (and us PC gamers know how technology makes a jump every year or so). If OnLive works as well as it is said to, you’ll be able to play a game as intesive as Crysis, at it’s maximum settings, for the price less then that of a Wii.

OnLive is a new video games on demand service, founded by Rearden Studios. This technology changes the way you get and handle computer games. Take Crysis for example, instead of buying a $3000 high-end computer, use your normal computer and let OnLive’s servers handle all the processing power. The only extra that you’ll need to purchase is a “Micro-console” and have a broadband internet connection.

Kotaku explains the concept like this: ” The controller input….it’s going from your hand to the controller through the internet to OnLive’s machines then back again as streamed video.”. Which pretty much means that their servers are handling everything, which raises the big question. Will there be any lag? OnLive can show video up to a resolution of 720p at 60 frames per second, depending on your internet connection. For standard definition television quality, a broadband connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second is required. For HDTV resolution, a connection of at least 5 mbps is needed.

OnLive claims to deliver video feeds that will have a ping less than that of one millisecond, with also extremely fast video compression. There are no install times, it’s cross-platform capable and the ability to rent and try games. There is also the ability to record short 15 second clips of gameplay called “Brag Clips”.They’re also already receieving purchase offers from big companies like EA, THQ, Codemasters, Ubisoft, Atari, Warner Bros., Take-Two, and Epic Games. This console is expected to be priced “competitively” and possibly have a monthly fee comparable to Xbox Live’s prices.

OnLive has been running small controlled tests with Crysis, and the game played well on the max settings with no lag. So it’s promising at the moment, but we’ll see how it does under pressure when it goes to external, large scale, beta testing.Server clusters will be located in Santa Clara, Texas, Virginia and elsewhere, in hopes of offering OnLive customers within 1000 miles a lag free experience.

What do you think about this?