Da Me Lo

If you know me, you know I love's me some Bioware games that don't take place in the Star Wars Universe. The ones's that happen there are like 50/50 for me so far.

And if you've been paying attention, you know that Mass Effect 3 is about to come out on March 6, which is right around the corner. The demo is out on PC and consoles, and the newest trailer is out as well, and true to form, they're getting me geeked up to finish the fight.

I can only hope that Dragon Age can follow suit.

What you haven't been playing Mass Effect so far, well here's the deal. The Mass Effect series is playing the best Sci-Fi action movie you've ever seen.

Go Play it.

Yes, this is a shameless plug for a quality game that I have loved since the second version (the first was getting it's feet, and the second did everything right).

Go Play it.

Introducing "More of the Same"

So this whole New 52 isn't working out as planned, and I take full responsibility for that. There's a ton of content and things I want to get up, but not a ton of time to do it all in.

This week though I want to show you some pre-rendered footage of a game series that's close to my heart. Far-Cry 3.

This video is obviously promotional and probably not in game footage.
Get More: GameTrailers.com,

Now the wierd part about Far Cry 3, is that like Far Cry 2, it only hints at a previous series by having the same name. Far Cry 2 is a successor to Far Cry in Name and publisher only, and really the series seems to only be about rethinking how best to preset a FPS set in a tropical environment.

Honestly, that alone is worth the price of admission, since most FPS happen in the same gray place, and not in the offices/building/suburbs/etc that I actually would love to see used. I wish more games made interiors, but that's a conversation for a whole different post.

So this rethinking has the best qualities of the first game, which are lush jungle, clear water, lots of guns. Looking through some screenshots, I even see some places I swear I think I've been.

That's vastly different from Far Cry 2, where best I could tell, the tie-in was that I was the same person playing the game. Either way, the game looks to have the "formula" you need for a Far Cry game, and I'll be keeping my eye on it's progress.

I mentioned planetside a while back as THE upcoming free to play MMOFPS, and got some feedback about how launching free-to-play might be a bad sign. If there's one thing I know it's that PC gamers will come out in droves to a free sale, and I think Sony knows it as well. The problem I had with PlanetSide originally was I couldn't see paying monthly to play the same game of capture the flag, when ultimately there were options. The main thing RPG's having going for them, is they can always add content, and I couldn't imagine an online FPS with story driven content.

That being said, you can get beta keys to Planetside 2 with your physical copy of PCGamer magazine this month, and then make that decision yourself.

And lastly, because this is too crazy to not mention. Mass Effect is going into space. Physically. They are releasing copies from space to drop down and impact your insurance deductible.

Fables of Amalur

Ea's pushing a new RPG, and honestly it's totally innovative. Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning is a visually enthralling interesting verson of a game that's kinda already been done. I know almost evey game has already been done before, but for some reason, I couldn't shake the feeling that KoA was a reimagining of a game I've already played.

The demo is out right now for both PC and console, and if you've played it, you know that you are a reborn "choose your race" and the only success of an experiment that primarily focused on combating an immortal race. Fan fiction aside, The game feels like it could be an extension of a story in the WarCraft universe. Perhaps that's because everything (everything) is vivid, and perhaps it's because of the large armor, dwarfs, and elves.

It's not bad to be honest, and copying a successful source is sometimes a good start.

The game also goes into an large "open" world that allows you to explore and quest. Penny arcade seems to draw a parallel between Amalur and Skyrim, but I think comparing the combat and exploration to Dragon Age 2 is far more accurate.

Similar to Dragon Age and Bioware levels in general, you can expect a fairly straight-forward level design, and your map will show you the road through. Don't expect alot of branching paths so far, from what I played it fairly linear. Now linear isn't always bad, but it definitely limits replay.

Secondly, Combat is fun and frustrating at the same time. Now yeah Dragon Age 2 had a similar real time combat, but here Amalur really felt like it was inspired by the Fable Series. We don't have Peter Molyneux hyping a concept that never reaches execution, but you do have a fairly fun action based combat with an interesting class based system. You'll need to pay attention, but there is the occasional (if by occasional I mean regular) desire to pull the camera back just a bit to see my other attackers.

Both Fable and Amalur suffer from that last sentence. I did however find that in playing the demo I was fairly able to get my block timing (which has a difference between blocking and timed blocking) and that helped when being attacked by groups.

The model for the world were pretty. That much I can say, and while the armor seemed to be fairly bulky all around, when you have Todd McFarlane involved, it's just something you expect.

Get More: GameTrailers.com,

If nothing else, it's worth it to jump into the demo since you get armor unlocked in Mass Effect 3, and even a weapon unlock if you play completely through the demo.

Shooting it out

One of the things I missed reviewing last year was Battlefield 3. Another was Modern Warfare 3. I've played and had time to think about them both and there are some places were they are great an some where there is some serious work needed.

Starting with the former, let me tell you this. The people you play Battlefield with (your squadmates and or friends) will make or break your experience. Unlike Call of Duty, there is no way around it, you really need a squad in BF, to the point that the game will even put you in one, and if you don't play well with others, or the others are particularly dumb players, expect a frustrating time.

The inverse is the experience I had in Modern Warfare. I often found I had more fun playing the single player or special ops mode of Modern Warfare and playing that either solo or with just 1 friend (there really should be another option for spec ops, but yeah they limit you to 2 player co-op). I'm not going to say it's not possibly related to my general inability to have fun in multiplayer of Cod though, but the inclusion of bots made the game and it's predecessor much more fun.

Both games have a co-op, no deathmatch inspired mode, but here Modern Warfare really pulls ahead, because it allows you to play that content alone, not forcing you to either play with friends or randoms like in BF. Well that's mostly true. There are a few missions that require 2 players in Cod's spec ops, but there are enough that don't to make up for it. Unlike Battlefield, which seems to be trying to tell you a parallel narrative of the main story through the co-op missions. The problem is, all the BF missions aren't fun, only a few of them, and you have to play through all of the them multiple times to unlock the guns for multiplayer. It's not mandatory to complete, but if you're a completionist, or you want some different guns, then you'll take a stab at it.

Ultimately, you can only compare the two games on the things they try to do. It's easy to say BF3 is the better game, but then if Cod had BF3 sales Cod might be canceled. They're for 2 different audiences and there is some blend, but in my opinion, BF3 needs to stop trying to be COD in so many ways and give more content.

There's a tirade I usually go on, about the lack of consistent BF content updates (maps, weapons, etc), and I don't think Dice or EA are about to change anything about it.

Now I brought all this up for 2 reasons.

1) To get it out of my system
2) To mention Planetside 2 coming out later this year.

Now Planetside is one of the best ideas for a FPS I've ever played. It goes past just deathmatch and basic objective to through you into a persistent world of guns and objectives. Planetside, also happens to be about a decade old, and it's successor Planetside 2 is shaping up to evolve the game in interesting ways.

In case you were wondering, of course I have a video about it. This one is a bit older, but it definitely explains what to expect from the upcoming free to play shooter.

Yep, Free to Play. You can register now for the beta at Planetside2.com.