Whenever I’ve interviewed a games industry executive over the past few months, I’ve asked them what single thing will revolutionise video games in the next five years.
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It's not the loot boxes that bummed me out about October's Shadow of War. When playing the game, you can easily ignore them. I had a harder time ignoring the game's bummer mood, ugly scenery, trite and tedious quests and mechanical messiness. I liked its predecessor. I wanted to like this game. I bailed halfway but recently tried the game's expansion.
With Black Friday fast approaching, the pre-Christmas sales are ramping up. Microsoft have unleashed their Black Friday specials early this year for Xbox Live Gold users.
At E3 in Los Angeles last month, there were several obvious points of distinction between Assassin's Creed Origins and the 10 or so major Assassin's Creed games before it. It will be the first AC in ancient Egypt. The first with stargazing puzzles and swimming hippos. One thing I heard about but didn't see, however, seems the most franchise-shaking.
It shouldn't be much of a surprise that Project Scorpio will be a major drawcard at this year's E3. And we'll no doubt hear more about the raw hardware, all the games it can play at 4K, and how nice HDR makes everything look. But there's one thing I badly want Microsoft to do with Project Scorpio, and it's a lesson they can learn from Sony.
Ghost Recon Wildlands seems innocuous at first glance. It is a passable open world shooter where cooperative play leads to exciting gunfights and silly vehicle stunts. But Wildland's core is far more insipid. It is propaganda. It is jingoism made playable, perpetuating the failed logic that all it takes to solve the world's woes is enough ammo.
Innovation is like a game of telephone. Someone creates a message, but as it spreads, it loses its meaning. Lessons that seemed clear back in the first-person shooter's formative years became taken for granted and eventually forgotten. Shooters today are all about weapon limits, level design set pieces and regenerating health. Doom's return in 2016 was like finally hearing those original lessons with startling clarity. Its immaculate design is a defiant reminder of the strength of classic shooter design.
Dirty Worka and Carbine King - not their real names, as you may have guessed - are two Grand Theft Auto Online players who clash about one important thing. Dirty Worka hates the rampant cheating in the game. Carbine King is a boastful cheater. Despite this, they're friends and sometimes play against each other.
The $US15 "Survival" expansion to 2016's second most-intense emotional rollercoaster, The Division, seems to be a very good addition to the game. Emphasis on "seems to be," because I can only extend so much praise to a clever but brutal game mode that keeps killing me.