Apr 252012
 

This week, the Bargain Bin is going PlayStation 3 exclusive, bitches. That’s right, we are venturing into the alternative timeline universe, where the Russians fucked up, and all of Europe has been destroyed by the Chimera. Resistance: Fall of Man was developed by Insomniac Games, published by Sony Computer Entertainment and released in late 2006. It was the must own launch title back then and won numerous awards for PlayStation 3 Game of the Year. Sales were great, but many eventual purchasers of the PlayStation 3 may have missed out on a great title. In the following year, Resistance was near the top of the charts for game sales on the PlayStation 3 platform, and earned itself among the first batch of PS3 Greatest Hits titles. The game has aged, as all games do, yet the experience is great, the gameplay is excellent, and for the prices you can find this game for, it is simply a must buy for PS3 owners everywhere.

The Story

You begin the game in 1945, as an American Soldier named Nathan Hale. The soft voice of a woman tells you of the outbreak of the Chimera, an alien race that has quickly taken over most of Europe. After the Chimera spread across Russia and into western Europe, the dug through the channel, making their way to England. This is where the story of Resistance: Fall of Man takes place. American troops are sent into England to help with support. In exchange for our troops, weapons and tanks, the Brits promised to give us something that was beyond our creative abilities. Of course you won’t find out what the details of the exchange  until later. From there, you are taken on a ride throughout the English countryside, smashing Chimera and taking all their swag. The game plays solely in the first person perspective, except for the few times you operate vehicles such as tanks.

The Gameplay

The gameplay in Resistance: Fall of Man is some of the smoothest you will ever see. The aiming mechanic is spot on, and strafing through the world seems as crisp as possible. The game features the basic story mode, as well as both cooperative play and versus multiplayer. The online versus multiplayer obviously wont garner the same amount of fun as it once had, due to the lack of players available to play with. But if you can find those players out there, you can still create clans and custom games. As of December 2008, both of the downloadable map packs for Resistance: Fall of Man were offered for free as a holiday gift from Insomniac Games in anticipation for Resistance 2, so what little experience you can have with the versus multiplayer has now been expanded free of charge.

Audio/Visual

When comparing the game to recently released titles, you can clearly tell that Resistance: Fall of Man has aged. The graphics are good, no doubt, but they are nothing compared to the likes of Resistance 3. The audio in the game seems a tad bland. It doesn’t do a great job of trying to get you into the story or the battle. It just seems like randomly generated English phrases muttered by your fellow soldiers, or insults slurred in you direction from the attacking Chimera. This is all to be expected of course as Resistance was a launch title for the PlayStation 3 and is nearly six years old.

The Verdict

Although the game appears to have aged a bit, and does not offer trophy support, it is still a great buy. You can easily find the game in the used section of your local retailer, and if not, can find it very quickly online. You can still buy new copies of the game for pretty cheap, since it was released as a PS3 Greatest Hit, but for the prices you can find them at used, it is recommended that you take that route. All in all, Resistance: Fall of Man is a great game. It has smooth controls that any first person shooter (FPS) fan can appreciate and it has a variety of multiplayer modes. You can find Resistance: Fall of Man at the following locations, online prices do not include shipping and handling.

  • GameStop – Used in-store or online for $4.99. $4.50 if you are a Pro Member.
  • Best Buy - Used online for $9.99.
  • Wal-Mart - New for $25.55, available online only.
  • New Egg - New for $27.99.
  • Amazon.com - New starting at $16.91. Used starting at $2.75.

 

 

 

Apr 132012
 

Over at GamesIndustry International, former THQ executive Richard Browne has penned a piece castigating the practices of used video game retailers such as GameStop and indicting them for damaging the “the creativity and variety of games available to the consumer” and for “the death of single player gaming.”

Browne’s harangue comes a couple of weeks after Kotaku reported rumors that the PS4 will block owners from playing used games by locking titles to their PSN accounts. He condones such measures as a necessary “Nuclear Option” from Sony and Microsoft to combat the stagnation of new game sales and notes that several developments in modern gaming — including DLC and the ubiquity of multiplayer modes — are the direct result of publishers attempting to stop the “churn” created by used game sales.

“The real cost of used games has been the destruction of the mid-tier publisher and the elimination of many an independent development studio who in the past conducted work in that space. With next generation budgets leaping yet again only the ‘mini-publishers’ – such as Epic, Insomniac, Bungie – can possibly survive externally to an actual publisher. Beneficial to the customer? No,” he wrote.

Browne isn’t the only industry voice speaking out against used games – Frontier Developments founder David Braben was interviewed by Gamasutra last month and made similar comments, saying, “The real problem when you think about it brutally… [is] pre-owned has really killed core games…. I know publishers who have stopped games in development because most shops won’t reorder stock after initial release, because they rely on the churn from the resales.”

It’s worth noting, however, that digital distribution continues to grow in popularity, and many gamers opt for preloading games on Steam the night before a release instead of waiting in line at a retailer. It’s quickly becoming a matter of when, not if, future consoles lack media drives, and we could be only years away from used games being relics of the past.

Source: GamesIndustry International

Apr 122012
 

After the atrocity of last weeks choice, Alone in the Dark, I was forced to evaluate my life, as well as my game selection methods. This week, I stuck with something familiar, and something amazing, with 2K Games 2007 mega hit, BioShock. Now, for those of you that have never played BioShock, what the fuck are you doing with your life? You can find this title just about anywhere for under eight dollars, so all the excuses are over, there is absolutely no reason for any fan of video games to have never played this title. Time to man up.

BioShock takes you on a journey through Rapture, a beautiful underwater paradise, created by Andrew Ryan, where Man ruled, not Kings or Gods. It is a place where science would not be restricted by morals or bureaucrats, but allowed to evolve into anything it wanted to be. It is a place where man could reach his full potential, or at least, it was. Rapture had already seen its glory days by the time you arrive. Genetically altered ‘splicers’ litter the trashed structures, looking for more ADAM (the stuff that makes you feel good) and avoiding Big Daddies (we will get there). Elaborate decor has taken a backseat to chaos and ransacking. As you look around, you can quickly catch a glimpse of a future that never was.

The Story

The story begins with your character on what appears to be a small, commercial airliner. After a brief intro about how you are destined for great things, you plane unfortunately crashes in the middle of the ocean leaving no survivors other than yourself. Lucky for you (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it), you just so happen to land a few hundred feet from a large,  protruding object. After you enter through a large doorway, and make you way into a small pod at the bottom of the stairs, you are treated to a glimpse of the amazing sub-aquatic marvel that is Rapture. After you descend into the depths, you are greeted, via portable radio, by Atlas, the man who will lead you about this underwater labyrinth.

From there you will encounter genetically deprived, civilians of Rapture, known as ‘Splicers’. These men and women, have an addiction to ADAM, a genetic modification that allows one to dramatically alter their DNA in order to obtain amazing powers. There is a BIG problem with that, however. As you explore Rapture, you will also encounter some other inhabitants of the city. The small girls, knows as Little Sisters, gleefully skip the halls of Rapture, looking for the same ADAM that the Splicers are. Now, one might think that a little girl stands no chance against a crazed human with an insatiable addiction, but these little angels are not alone. They each carry with them a large, drill-armed Big Daddy for protection. These over-sized behemoths wear what can only be described as ‘diving armor’ and will destroy anything that he deems as a threat to his little girl. They are dangerous, and damn near impossible to kill when you encounter them, but if you want more ADAM, you had better deal with them to get to the Little Sisters. Once you obtain this ADAM, you can then use it to buy various Plasmids found throughout Rapture. Plasmids are a genetically altering injection that gives you specific special powers, such as the ability to fling lightning from your wrist or shoot fire from your fingertips.

The Game

The game itself controls beautifully. The left hand Plasmid, right hand weapon mechanic is both fun and well executed. The fluidity of the combat system is fantastic and the ability to choose between Plasmids, conventional weaponry or a mixture of the two, is both innovative and welcoming. As far as the visuals are concerned, for its time, 2007, the graphics are amazing. The way the water is rendered is better than most games to date. When it comes to Rapture, nothing could be more imperfectly perfect. The attention to detail in every nook and cranny of the city really gives you the feeling that you are standing in a place that once had such great ambition and life, but has since been subjected to failure and chaos. The beautiful environment and  vivid storytelling set up an atmosphere rarely seen in most games, and if you have yet to experience it, you are really missing out.

Final Word

The game is amazing, winning numerous Game of the Year awards back in 2007 with such stiff competition as Mass Effect, Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The gameplay is tight and polished and the story will keep you engaged down to the very end. The graphics are excellent and the visuals you will encounter are spectacular to say the least. This game is a must buy for those who haven’t played it. If you have played it, but don’t currently own it, now is the best time. You can find this game on nearly every major game retailer or auction site for around eight bucks, if not cheaper. It really is a steal for that price. Hours of gameplay, intriguing story line and a breathtaking underwater “utopia” will yield a very rewarding experience, and for around eight dollars, you really can’t do any better than that.

Jul 252011
 

Recently, Capcom released “Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D” for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was mediocre at best and gamers everywhere were upset that Capcom only included one non-erasable game save slot. I know a few folks who are still freaking out about this decision.

Now “Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D” is not the first game to include this feature. Will it be the last and what impact will it have on us, the players?

To begin, does anybody remember the days when games didn’t have the ability to save at all? Ha, I was born in 1990 so the NES era had just passed, but I grew up with games that didn’t even have the ability to save (with a few exceptions of course). So what this basically amounted to was me leaving my system on for days at a time, hoping to God that my Mom or Dad didn’t find the system and shut it off. After a little while Nintendo found a way to save on cartridges…Thank God, could you imagine trying to collect EVERY star in “Super Mario 64” without a save slot? Even though saving was getting more common, the Nintendo 64/PlayStation/PS2 era still forced us to buy memory cards to save our progress in a bunch of games.

Fast forward 10 years. The times have drastically changed. Ever since the original Xbox included a hard drive in their console it has become common place for new systems to do the same. Not only do we as gamers expect a hard drive, we expect more and more storage on them. Sorry Nintendo Wii and your 500 mbs of on board memory…your not getting it done for us.

So it’s peculiar that Capcom has taken this approach. Since they only included one non-erasable slot they essentially cut out both the USED and RENTAL markets for this game (GameFly has taken the game off of their site). If you were to rent this game you would not be able to start from the beginning. You would have to start wherever the person before you left off. Imagine playing “Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and having to start from the Water Temple with no explanation of the story, weapons, etc….What the hell is a hook shot?

Now Capcom was not the first to do this. “Zookeeper”, “The Sims 2” all include this feature. Most recently “Super Monkey Ball 3D” for the 3DS included the same one save feature, yet nobody complained…hmm, interesting.

How will this effect us as gamers?

This is another step in the whole “Used Games Debate” between developers and retailers. If you remember late last year with the release of “Madden 2011” EA also brought with it the “Online pass.” The online pass is basically a way for developers/publishers to make more money off of used games sales and take a bite out of Gamestop/other major used game retailers. It called for the user to pay ten dollars if they bought the game used in order to unlock the games online content. Since then more and more developers have adopted the “online pass.” On top of that we now have this one save feature, yet another jab at the used game market.

As a gamer I get more and more worried each passing year about these things. During these hard economic times, used games are essential to millions of gamers out there. It is wrong knowing that they are not getting the full experiences that people who buy new games get.

I just hope this trend doesn’t move over to other mediums. I would hate to buy a used book with the last 50 pages cut out of it.

So tell me what you guys think in the comments below. What is your opinion on the “One-Save” game feature? Where do you stand on the “Used Games Debate”? Any other concerns/comments?

 

Jul 132011
 

Before I start this rant, I want to begin by saying that I understand why people are pissed off by online passes. I get it, you are essentially paying for something that you used to get for free. It can be upsetting, but everyone has to realize that the used game industry has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. This has led developers and publishers to develop the online pass, requiring those who buy their games used to pay an additional fee (usually 10 bucks) to access online content consisting mostly of multiplayer game modes. And for good reason.

Each year, more and more people purchase their games used and most of those games have multiplayer online features which players access. These used games give no money back to the publisher or developer, and only benefit the store from which the used game was purchased. Therefore, in order to receive potential money lost, companies have created online passes, much to the dismay of the gaming community. What people need to understand is that the companies that make the games we love, are the ones taking the financial hit from the used game market. If, for some reason, this drives a company to stop making games, then we lose out on playing those games. If they don’t get their money, regardless of the tactics they use, I am afraid we will lose out on some quality work.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Gamers are a fickle bunch, and will complain about having to pay up, even while they enter their credit card information into their favorite console’s online marketplace. This is not a good thing for publishers and developers either, as upsetting the gaming community can have no positive effect on sales for these companies. Again, I understand the position of the used game purchasers, but those customers must understand that these companies feel as if they are getting raped by the used game market, so they need to protect the intellectual properties they helped create by generating revenue from where ever possible.

What gets me is the general lack of understanding from the gaming community on this topic. I am sure most of you take a similar stance as I do, since it is the most logical, but many still complain about how, “if it’s been paid for, then why does it matter”. Well it does matter, since every used game sale is potential loss of a new game sale, depending on the “need” of the game. So it bothers me that some are still up in arms with the addition of online passes. When Electronic Arts started the ball rolling on the online pass situation the accusations started pouring in about what was to come of the industry and the impact the used market has had on it. Now with Sony jumping in as the first console manufacturer to announce that it will require players to purchase online passes, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes industry standard.

How long until Microsoft will require you to purchase online passes in order to play games online….oh….wait! Nevermind. So how long until you have to pay to play games with minimal online features like Mortal Kom…..no…that’s not right either. Well, someday were are probably going to have to end up paying to use a game that we purchased pre-owned regardless whether or not we access the online features. It wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up having to register all of our games when they are purchased, much like PC titles. But I would totally understand publishers and developers doing this, since it is their intellectual property that is being purchased.

/end rant

 

Jun 292011
 

Would you consider purchasing used games a form of piracy?

Used games have been a hot topic for quite some time now, with developers and publishers trying to get a piece of the pre owned market. Companies have attempted to install multiple programs that force buyers of used games to pay subscription fees, online passes and offer special deals and in game items for those who buy new. With all the attempts at trying to corner the used video game market, it still continues to grow at an alarming rate. Big time retailers such as GameStop offer great deals on pre owned titles, sometimes even implementing “buy two get one free” deals. Combine that with 10% trade-in values and 10% pre owned purchase bonuses, and you are looking at quite a deal in terms of buying new. But has the trending used game market been good for the video game business, or is it just a way for retailers to rip off their customers?

GameStop alone reported last year that over 45% of it’s annual income were from used titles. That is more than they made from new games by about $70 million dollars. The problem with those figures are that none of the publishers or developers see any of that money, and have likened the market to piracy. EA has devised a way to combat pre owned purchases buy including an in game code for online play. Once the code is used, it is linked to the account of the person who entered it in. If they happen to trade that game in, the purchaser of the pre owned game must then pay $10 bucks to access online content. Mortal Kombat most recently added this feature with their online pass as well, more than likely ushering in a new era of “pay to play” features for those who don’t buy their games with shrink wrap on them.

GameStop reported making over $250 million dollars in pre owned sales.

Its not all doom and gloom though. Gamers around the world are choosing to purchase used titles in order to save money in a seemingly failing economy in order to save a few bucks, and why not? If you were going to buy a certain game that cost $60 dollars and it was available pre owned for $40 bucks, wouldn’t it make sense to buy the game used? No sweat off the customers back, it’s the publisher/developer that loses out on that deal.

This issue could be solved in such a way that gamers who buy used would not be forced to pay a fee to access online play: revenue sharing. Why can’t the retailers offer some form of compensation for titles they make money off of multiple times? They sell the game for $60 dollars, buy it back for $25 bucks, sell it again for $45 dollars, rinse and repeat. It doesn’t seem fair to the creators and producers of these games that GameStop and other companies are making money off of to benefit from their sales while those in charge of creating the game sit by short changed. From a developer/publisher’s point of view, it is nothing less than piracy.

I usually buy my games fresh off the truck, so the penalties for buying used games often don’t apply to me. But sometimes, I will pick up a used title that I didn’t buy brand new, in order to save a few extra dollars on my purchase (bought the first Assassin’s Creed for $4.88). But I am not in favor of charging people for online play because of the manner they bought their game. If their is someone out there who bought the game new and activated the online pass, they will play the game online. If they trade it in and no longer have the game, that online pass is worthless anyways, so why not let the new owner access online content? Of course there are those who will copy game discs, but others shouldn’t have to pay for people who deliberately steal video games.

All in all, I am in favor of the used game market, but I can see the issues that come along with it. Too many people are not getting what is rightfully theirs due to a flawed system. Retailers need to find a way to share the money they make from others games in order to keep a fair balance in the overall industry. No one should benefit more from game sales that those who pour their hearts and souls into the creation of these games, and with selling the same copy of a game 3 or 4 times, that is exactly what some retailers are doing.