Review – Eve Online Empyrean Age

Every so often, Eve does a major patch, introduces new goodies, and calls it an expansion. Normally I’d mock such marketing tactics, but since Eve doesn’t charge for these expansions, I will instead laud them. The last patch, Trinity, finally updated the ancient Eve graphics engine, setting the bar high for any future add-ons. Empyrean Age focuses around in-game content, specifically “faction warfare.” Faction warfare is one of those things that developers talk about for a long time but nothing ever comes of, sort of like World of Warcraft’s “Hero Classes,” which took two expansions (and the second isn’t out yet) for an underwhelming single class. Accordingly, the Eve community was skeptical of this mythical “faction warfare.”

Fortunately, the Empyrean Age brings one of the more seamless and thoroughly entertaining integrations of player vs. →  Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the article?

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 11.30.07

Gamespot editor allegedly fired for giving a bad review
Jeff Gerstmann was supposedly let go because he gave Kane and Lynch a mediocre review (recent updates indicate the firing was a culmination of multiple reviews that angered sponsors). The story goes, Eidos was paying CNET a ton of cash to promote the title and threatened to pull future ads because of the review. It’s true that when this story broke yesterday, the Gamespot site was covered head to toe in stupid K&L ads. The people who say the firing happened because of the review range from Penny Arcade (who confirm the comic isn’t simply a joke in their forum), to a freelance Gamespot writer (who gave Shenmue a bad review…breath in…), to mods in the Gamespot forum who said things like – if we tell you what happened we will be fired, and don’t blame us, it’s all CNETs fault. →  You may say I’m a gamer, but I’m not the only one

Weekly News We Care About Wrap Up – 8.31.07

Nintendo stops whoring out Metroid, or at least Retro stops
Please, let Retro make a game it wants to make. I know you own them and want to assign them to a franchise because franchises make all the bling, but it’s really not in your (my) best interest. You have no “mature” themed franchises left, unless you’re giving them the next console Zelda. An excellent developer like Retro also deserves to be rewarded – let them design a game from the ground up. It could be dark, with nudity and blood everywhere. Perhaps bloody nipples. You know, mature.

You would get what you need out of them – an awesome title for the older gamer who is too insecure to play something cute and candy colored. Retro would get what (I assume) they want – the chance to make a game without being assigned 75% of the design. →  Arc the Post: Twilight of the Spirits

Is E3 Dead?

The gaming community received a harsh slap in the face last year when ESA, the organization that is behind the megaton-laden E3, decided to completely change the way the yearly venue is run. They drastically reduced the number of reporters that were allowed to attend to around 20,000 (from last year’s 60,000), and turned it into a more intimate affair for the actual publishers/developers to showcase their games without having to scream over loud, thumping techno music.

In unison, developers around the world bowed down and gave thanks to the merciful Gamer Gods. Now they wouldn’t have to break their asses to create a (hopefully) bug-free demo that would probably get swept up in all the hustle and bustle anyway. The gamers themselves, on the other hand, found it hard to believe that the mecca of all things gaming was being changed into something that they would never have the opportunity to experience. →  Read Theft Auto 4

I can’t shut up about Guitar Hero

A slew of news about the franchise I can’t get off my mind. Come and get it!

– Rumors of a possible pedal accessory for future installments. A cool idea that could backfire. As Tycho at Penny Arcade mentioned, a peripheral for a peripheral is getting a bit crazy, and who knows if they would actually be a pack in or sold separately. Then there’s the question of whether they would have a direct effect on scoring. I would love to see it, but it would have to be done well for it to become an essential part of the game.

– I discovered that GH2 has a code for “hyper speed”, which is the same as a speed mod in a Bemani game. It basically makes the notes move faster, and thus become more spread out and easier to read (I know that might sound very confusing – it did to me at first. →  But the future refused to change.

Grandma’s Boy – Satan’s revenge?

In a recent post, a blogger at Joystiq mentioned the game that was featured in the movie Grandma’s Boy. He also shared his opinion of the movie by calling it, “freakishly awful.” This drew an overwhelming response from readers who adore Grandma’s Boy. Since I have only a handful of fans to alienate, I will now go on record as agreeing with Joystiq.

This may seem a bit elitist, but before I tell you how terrible Grandma’s Boy is, I need to mention I saw the movie with three other people and touch on our credentials. Most people who insist the movie isn’t a pile of shit argue that those who dislike it are either non-gamers or have never used illegal drugs. It’s true that none of us were smoking anything while we watched, but we were drinking. →  I only ask one thing. Don’t read in my way.

Video Game Quarter-Life Crisis

I may be talking out of my ass (hell, I am), but I read something on Penny Arcade the other day about FFXII that got me thinking. The quote, from Gabe, was in reference to the new battle system in FFXII. I haven’t bought FFXII yet–my only experience was messing around with it at the past two E3’s. So I can’t really weigh in. Anyway, his quote was:

“Kara and I started playing FF XII last night. Only got a few hours in but my initial impressions are actually positive. It’s interesting, Kara is the one playing it and she actually really likes the move away from random battles and turn based combat. Apparently those are not the things she likes about the FF series. She’s a WOW player and FFXII is essentially an MMO without the second M or the O. →  You think about everything.

Oh, Aren’t You an Adorable Little VG Cat!

If anyone has paid attention to Joystiq’s weekly WebComic Wrap-up, you’d no doubt run into a comic named VG Cats. I love this webcomic. The style is great, and the humor is right on key. The guy doesn’t go too deep into the whole video game lore thing (there’s a lot of Zelda and Final Fantasy VII commentary), so you don’t have to get out your Ultimate Videolamer’s Guide to Everything About Gaming and Dating(tm) to understand it.

He’s got 215 comics on his site, and most of them are hilarious. If you were looking for a great comic strip on video games, you can do no wrong with VG Cats.

And before I get bullied, I will say that I also love Penny Arcade. Those guys are great, but I prefer VG Cats’ continuous commentary on video games. →  The Read Star

A rant about rampant stupidity on the internets

Uh oh. By the looks of the cover this magazine is going to have a lot of words in it.

By now I hope you are in some way familiar with Penny Arcade’s Internet Fuckwad Theory. Time and again it has proven to be accurate, but I can’t for the life of me understand why. What exactly is it about anonymity – or near anonymity at the very least – that causes people to behave in illogical, rude, and just plain baffling ways? There are times when the gaming community amazes me with how well spoken or well organized it can be. Mostly however, it just causes me to pound my head in frustration. Everyone wants to know why gaming isn’t being taken as seriously as it could be. I’m beginning to wonder if this is such a mystery after all. →  Article Hominid

A multiplayer world

Raph may want to think about updating his pic on his website.

The other day I was listening to the Penny Arcade podcast, specifically The Zone of Breakfast. First off, a quick shameless fanboy plug: although our glorious cult leader (may he always provide for us Kool-Aid), Jay, dislikes these guys, I’ve always been a huge PA fan. In particular, I enjoy their new podcasts because I get to listen to a lot of video game news I ordinarily would not. Rather than do research and reading, I can just listen to the voices from the computer, which is more comfortable to me, because I am illiterate and hear voices in my head. Anyhow, they were discussing a comment that Raph Koster, a designer for both Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies made at a E3 several years ago. →  Romance of the Three Articles IV: Post of Fire

Review – Weird Worlds

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space
Developed by Digital Eel
Published by Shrapnel Games
Released 11.4.05

Deep space
Unknown seldom means good in deep space…

I am one of those lucky people who is blessed with a job that is mostly unsupervised, and is prone to periods of downtime. As a result, I often find myself paid to play video games. Unfortunately, I am often required to get to work on a moment’s notice, thus precluding most online games from combating my work boredom. Further, my work laptop can’t quite run Civilization 4 at the speed I’d like it to. I found myself stumped for something good to pass the time.

I had seen a plug for Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space on Penny Arcade a few weeks ago, and figured what the hell. →  Some say the world will end in fire, some say in read more