Oh man, it’s almost here. 8 more days. Diablo III (3) (three) releases in just 8 days. Back in 2008, it was the hottest thing announced in games.* Now, we’re so close we can taste it!

What games have you eagerly counted down and hotly anticipated? Before Diablo III (3) (three), I was all over Brink, and if you’ve played that, you know how that turned out for me. I like to think I have a pretty good track record of obsession otherwise. I drooled over Grand Theft Auto 4 for years and was crushed by delay after delay. Similarly, I watched every cowboy and indian movie I could get my hands on in a lead-up to Red Dead Redemption – I even lined up for hours and hours at their booth during the first PAX East just for a 10 minute taster. That’s commitment!

Sunday, 7:13 pm – Ricky

Zee podcast! It’s all professional and stuff. We talk about Diablo and how we have managed our hype for games (and the ones that disappoint us). Also, we introduce a new segment! It doesn’t do so well.

Gamentary Round 4 – March 12 2012 (right click and “Save As” to download the mp3, or use the player below)

Friday, 11:15 pm – matt

ok this is not videogame related but it reminded me of the old Sega Dreamcast Vmu unit, an what could have been….
I have this image capture software called phase 1. with an iPhone, iPad or iPod, you can download an accompanying application that will allow you to control your camera through the device, or have the images you shoot automatically transfer through a wireless network.

awesome.

Montreal never seems to have cool events like that, or my head is in the sand and I’m just not paying attention. good report Ricky, nice to see you working hard on a Friday afternoon.

Friday, 10:16 am – Ricky

So I went to the Ghost Recon: Future Solder launch event in Toronto yesterday! It was cool. That’s it.

Right right, details.

Hosted at the Andrew Richard Designs building, Ubisoft Canada invited some lucky folks to come check out the latest entry in the Ghost Recon series. They were closing up the beta that same day, and since I didn’t try the beta, this was my only chance to try the game before its May 22nd release.

The set-up was nice – 8 TVs, back-to-back, 4 more in a lounge and – oh, wait, you don’t care. So the game is interesting. This sounds like a weird statement, but bear with me. When I sat down to play, I was given a very brief tutorial by one of the Frag Dolls, where her focus was on “This button makes you run”. It was said in the context of “things that are different from previous Ghost Recon games”, but it’s a fitting statement for the type of gameplay I experienced. There was little stealth, lots of running from the spawn and back into the action, and many times when someone ran around the corner and into the barrel of my gun. Certainly, this might be due to the game type we played or the class I picked, so let’s jump into that.

When you boot up, you have access to 4 classes with various perks and abilities. I started with an engineer, and from what I gathered, they’re a mobile spawn points. Unlike Battlefield, there are no vehicles to ride around in, so the purpose of the engineer is different from what I’m used to. There was also a scout class that had a camo ability, and some others I didn’t try. Getting into the game, I was paired with three other guests (1 who doesn’t play third person shooters, and two Rainbow Six Vegas 2 fans) – we didn’t throw on the headsets, so communication was definitely lacking, but we were just there for a good time (see image below). Also, we were playing against the Frag Dolls, so we never really stood a chance to begin with.

We played a mode called “Conflict”, which, as far as I could tell, meant that you get your face shot off a lot. There were objectives flashing up every so often (control some point of interest), but for the most part, we ran around death match style. Once I got used to the mechanics, I enjoyed the feel of the game – gunplay felt solid, where shotguns had the right kick and assault rifles needed burst to be effective (standard fare); the UI was clean, with lots of info on screen without cluttering your view; graphics were great, really taking advantage of an updated engine since the last entry. You can see the team that built this borrowed from the framework of the latest Splinter Cell. Lot’s of info overlays and unobtrusive onscreen information, all tightly packaged with great animations and environments.

The only thing I couldn’t wrap my head around properly were the gadgets. They were mapped to the direction pad, but I mostly cycled through grenades and night vision/IR vision… on a daytime map… I don’t think I had access to a UAV or turret, but if I did, I couldn’t find it. Half the point of this game is tweaking your loadout with a customized gun and futuristic gadgets, so I felt like I was missing a big part of the available arsenal. That being said, I have confidence that there’s a ton of stuff to unlock and that most of it will be cool and useful – the checkmarks I made before (overall look and feel) were much more important for me to see during my brief taste.

Yeah, there’s Kinect support too. Any one care? No? Moving on.

It was a good taste that made me want more, but as I outlined below, it won’t be grabbing too much of my attention for the next little while due to some other big releases. Still, I could see myself throwing this in for some satisfying multiplayer, or using it as a break for some sure-to-be-excellent storytelling (let’s face it, not Blizzard’s strong suit).

Also on hand was a real life UAV drone! Here’s a short video of someone on the hunt. We’ll definitely talk more about this on the podcast this week – look for it to be up sometime on Sunday!

Friday, 1:32 am – Albert

Well guys (matt and Gavin), not playing Diablo 1 or 2 makes you perfect candidates for Diablo III. It’s time to experience the Godfather of the hack-and-slash genre. I can’t really say much more than that. Just play it… you’ll like it.

Gavin, I was a Command & Conquer kid too! I watched Preezie play Red Alert, but when I really started to get good at real-time strategies was when I played Command & Conquer. I used to play it religiously. Then it was Command and Conquer: Generals (as i’m sure Ricky can attest to) which is almost a better game in my opinion. I just like RTSs in general (EH?! GET IT…gene..nvm). Generals was great because you have one special unit (like Tanya) and they were ridiculously powerful. Each faction also had it’s own “powers” like the ability to open a portal in the back of your base. Perfect for tampering with resources. I have said this already, but I cannot wait for Command and Conquer: Generals 2. That’s going to be Gooooooorrrgeeeouusssss Broooo! (also lets play RTSs please)

I forgot to mention that I almost went INSANE waiting for Skyrim. I love Oblivion and Morrowind so so much that reading and watching the hype just was pure suffering. I was not disappointed. As 120 hours will show.

I’m not even going to touch the timing of releases of titles since Gavin covered it in-depth.

I will say: Boo Mac! Yay Beer! And YAY weekend!

Thursday, 11:57 am – Gavin

matt, you aren’t alone on the Diablo train. I played Diablo 1, but not very extensively as I never owned it. I think I’ve played it for a grand total of about half an hour, once. I’m sure I’ll have a blast with 3, but I’m going in fairly blind. I was a Command & Conquer kid.

There’s absolute logic in withholding the release of a title to get better opening-week sales. Movie theatres do that all the time, and it makes sense – very few movies tried to open against The Avengers, or the last Harry Potter, or TDK (and nobody will be dumb enough to open against TDKR). However, big games that release immediately following a big game drop can still be successful. Dead Space 2 was critically acclaimed and shipped something like 2 million units in its first week. The week before Dead Space 2 was released, LittleBigPlanet 2 and Mass Effect 2 were released. The same story for Metroid Prime: Corruption, which was released on August 27, 2007, a week after Bioshock and less than two weeks after Madden 2008, and was still the fourth-best-selling game of August 2007, behind Madden 08 (granted it had three iterations), Bioshock, and Wii Play.

Then you’ve got different cases. Within a one-month period, the following games dropped, and were critically and commercially loved:

  • Arkham City
  • Battlefield 3
  • Modern Warfare 3
  • Skyrim
  • Saints Row 3
  • Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Then, also released at the same time as Arkham City/BF3/etc, you had Rayman Origins, which was critically adored, but sold like crap in its first month because everyone was still playing all the other stuff. Now it’s sold around 1.3 million or so, which is great, but it was a slow burn for that one.

It’s not often that you find a major release, dropped just after other major releases, that is critically loved (or at least well-enough liked) but sells like crap over its useful lifespan (i.e. no slow burn in sales like Rayman Origins or Super Metroid, which sold like dogpoop when it first came out but roared into success once the majority of the reviewers got a hold of it). In fact, the only one I can think of in recent memory was Tom Clancy’s EndWar. People liked it enough, but look at the list of games that came out in the two weeks before and after:

  • Far Cry 2
  • Fable 2
  • NBA 2K9
  • Guitar Hero World Tour
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
  • Fallout 3
  • LittleBigPlanet
  • Resistance 2
  • Gears of War 2
  • Call of Duty: World at War
  • Mirror’s Edge
  • WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009 (laugh all you want, these games are a money factory)
  • Left 4 Dead

That’s an insane list to compete with. It still sold 880,000 units worldwide, but that’s not exactly huge for what was supposed to be a AAA title. Looking at that list, and also the list of games that came out around Rayman Origins, it’s no surprise when games don’t sell terrifically well. Even if you got the money to buy them all, you’re still dealing with complete sensory overload. You couldn’t do proper justice to all of those games, and the idea of not giving a game its full due just makes me sad for the developers. I’m waiting to start Deus Ex: Human Revolution until I can devote a solid 50 hours to exploring every single facet of that game and have every single conversation. The conversations in the original Deus Ex were fascinating and darkly hilarious, and I look forward to more of that in this one, as soon as I can do it justice. Right now, I need to find every single Goddess Cube in Skyward Sword!

Thursday, 10:51 am – matt

…yeah… we dont need to turn this into a PC vs MAC war so well just end it before feelings get hurt and bridges are burned. needless to say after a few Windows PC horrifically crashed on me and countless inferior Windows based phones, noone is convincing me otherwise. Now if you have Linux my hats off, but other than, dont waste your time…

i did just read that Hitman pre-orders will receive a downloadable title for free to help hype the games release and tide fans over until the eventual release date. Pretty cool, and definitely better than the standard “bonus pre-order weapon” that most games try to pass off.

and im pretty sure we were just talking about how awesome Max Payne was last week…

Thursday, 10:33 am – Ricky

matt, that’s because you have a Mac. My old Mac. Mac’s suck, right guys!?

So while Diablo 3 comes to town next week, I’m wondering what will happen in the rest of the industry. If you’re a respectable developer/publisher, do you even bother announcing something next week? Just before E3, right in the release window of Diablo 3 and Max Payne 3? Even if, like matt, you don’t care about Diablo (and let’s face it, he probably doesn’t care about Max Payne 3 either because he doesn’t like good things), you’ll probably still feel the effects. Every forum or game site you visit will be highlighting Diablo or “the other” game, tweet streams will be filled with “L33T sceptrz of MAGEEEEEEEC 4 S4LE!”, and your industry information will probably start to run a bit thin for the next month.

So, this begs the question: What happens when you release the next iteration of a respected series on May 22nd, just a week after 2 other monster franchises drop? Ghost Recon: Future Soldier will land in less than 2 weeks – will there be fanfare and hoopla? Or will we see only the most dedicated of Ubisoft and Tom Clancy fans clamouring for the new release? As a man of many tastes, I’m really looking forward to GRFS, but I just don’t know how to fit it into my limited gaming time in the near future. I’ll get a taste of the game tonight at the official launch event here in Toronto. Be sure to come back tomorrow for impressions and photos! And probably other stuff from these other people.

Thursday, 10:21 am – matt

hmm, prepare for huge ball to be dropped…

ive never played Diablo. not the first, or the second, and definitely dont have plans on playing the third either…

yup.

Wednesday, 2:21 pm – Albert

Stay a while, and listen!

I think it’s safe to say we are ALL excited about Diablo III. Rest assured, it will be Preezie who will be the Barbarian! I am hoping I get a more exciting class! Spells and Wizardry! Muahahahah!

I’ve been excited about a lot of games before! Half-Life 2 was definitely one of them. I stayed up all night, got to a mall to buy Half-Life 2 as soon as I could (strangely I was the only one there with a buddy which was weird) and I ended up playing 5 hours before passing out. I was there at PAX waiting for RDR too! It did not live up to my expectations as I only got 10 minutes of demo time and the person before me ended in a non-exciting area. When I played the game I was not disappointed though. Starcraft II was another sequel I was really pumped for! I grew up playing Starcraft so when the second one hit I was all over that. There are too many to count! All I know is that I cannot wait to hack and slash and loot for months on end! Bring on Diablo III!

In other news, our current logo reminds me of this… (click to enlarge the image)

Tuesday, 6:01 pm – Preezie

I’m BACK! I missed you guys. What a hectic week last week. Looks like I missed out on some great banter. I cannot wait for Diablo 3. Are we picking our characters this weekend? We should figure out a cool way to do it- mainly cause I just want to FORCE Albert to play the barbarian. All he ever did was make fun of “how easy it is to play that class”. Meanwhile his necromancer is safe and sound 100 ft away from a huge battle just conjuring up skeletons and elementals. I hate that guy 😛 anyways, it should be decided this weekend.

The last multiplayer game I was this excited for was Team Fortress 2. TF1 was super solid but it felt really shallow. When I started reading about the development of TF2, I started to realize this game was going to rock my world. And it did. The game delivered on all accounts. The individual characters had great pros while still having exploitable cons, the player combos (heavy/medic, dual demomen, etc) worked awesomely and all the different map types gave the game exactly what TF1 seemed to lack. Damn. I want to play that now. I could pull up Steam and look at my hours but that might lead to depression.

KA-BOOOOOOOM!

Tuesday, 3:33 pm – Gavin

You’re right Ricky, I am old!

In the MK franchise, we have:

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Mortal Kombat 2
  • Mortal Kombat 3/Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3
  • Mortal Kombat 4/Mortal Kombat Gold
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
  • Mortal Kombat: Deception
  • Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks
  • Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
  • Mortal Kombat

You’ve also got Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero, Mortal Kombat: Special Forces, and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe, but the latter was just a cash-in and the two former DO NOT EXIST. AT ALL.

I owned Deception. It had a pretty neat intro cut scene, but the game itself was pretty mediocre. Some of the challenges were damn-near impossible and it had an RPG mode whose controls suggested that your character fueled himself on paint thinner and amphetamines. I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m not really a fighting game connoisseur, but fighting games should be enjoyable both if you have an encyclopedic knowledge of the button combinations required to have Kung Lao drop his trousers, vigourously masturbate and ejaculate razor-sharp flying monk hats all over Scorpion’s face or if you’re just a regular-old button-masher. This game failed at both.

Tuesday, 4:02 am – matt

it’s ridiculously early in the morning but websites don’t take time off so…

I never get any cool videogame conferences like you guys do, and if there are I’m just not paying attention I guess. I haven’t been playing many games aside from escape plan and motorstorm on everyone favorite vita. unless photshopping counts as a game but I never seem to win at that so i don’t think it does…

oh yeah doesn’t help my PS3 can’t read blu ray discs.
regular DVD’s are fine, it’s only blu ray discs that won’t read. which is only a slight problem because, well, PS3 discs are blu rays…
maybe I’ll buy a 15$ a month xbox…
20120508-042148.jpg

Monday, 4:02 pm – Ricky

Wow, so that’s what a virgin’s hardcore fan’s desk looks like? Thanks Gavin! I’m now completely capable of waiting 8 days. I think… Why’s my leg convulsing?

Speaking of Mortal Kombat – I’ve been playing it! The Vita version to be specific. It’s pretty incredible what they’ve been able to put on such a tiny device. You get pretty much everything you can find in last year’s console version, plus a bunch of dedicated touch screen extras, like Fruit Ninja but with limbs instead of fruit.

I’ve tried to play a few ladder matches with various characters, all with minimal success. The few sessions I’ve had have been less than 20 minutes total, so I’ve been picking it up, playing as far as I can get against the ladder, then putting it down when I get defeated. The game doesn’t punish this behaviour – if that’s all the time you have, just have fun with it! If you have more time, however, you can keep to the regular or tag-team ladders, or dive into the full-fledged story mode.

Caveat emptor – I haven’t played the console version outside of some couch action against friends, but I’d wager this is exactly the same story content you can find on the big brother disc. So, if you’ve played Mortal Kombat (9? Is this the 9th? Gavin, you’re old!) you might be disappointed with the lack of ground-breaking changes.

I’ll get in a better “review” later this week when I’ve spent some more time with it. Looks like there will be a podcast this week, too! And maybe some video content as well, both for the Ghost Recon Future Soldier event on Thursday as well as for Toronto Game Jam over the weekend.

Monday, 9:02 am – Gavin

I’m usually pretty good at tempering my “GOTTA HAVE IT” desires, but wayyyyyyy back in 1994, I pre-ordered Mortal Kombat 2 for the SNES from a Gamepro magazine. The company was called “Chips and Bits” and they had a full page ad in Gamepro, and that full page ad was just a list of every single game they sold, in size 2 font. Everything was alphabetized, and I saw “Mortal Kombat 2 – $70” or something like that. Because I was just a whiny pre-teen at the time, my mum had to order it given its incredibly mature rating. She ordered it back in April or something like that, and I waited for MONTHS as it wasn’t released until September 9, 1994. I ended up getting it very shortly after that date, after months of “Did it come yet?” (TWSS).

TOTALLY WORTH IT. I had a sleepover party with that game, and we just spent all night killing each other in the most brutal ways possible. I also got a move manual, so we spent all night trying out every single move, every single fatality, punching each other into spikes on the ceiling and watching the body slide down, watching digitized sprites fall onto spikes with a “following them to their death” camera perspective, all kinds of good stuff. It’s a miracle I’m not a serial killer now.

Other than that, I’ve been pretty good at holding my breath for games. I didn’t follow a lot of gaming news in the 90s, so whatever I saw on the shelf, I would play that. However, I will admit that I rushed out to Zellers to buy the Metroid Prime: Trilogy steelbook edition as soon as it was released, as I figured there would be a massive lineup waiting for it. There wasn’t, but they don’t sell that one anymore, so it looks like this guy is the winner here.

Speaking of waiting for Diablo 3, you may think you’re crazy about it, you may think that the agony of waiting is tearing at the very fabric of your soul and the thought of not playing it for another eight days fills with you with such rage and ire that small African villages fear the destructive forces that emanate from your very pores and sacrifice goats to appease them and sate their brutal thirsts, but you’ve got nothing on this guy: Nobody is more prepared to play Diablo III than this guy

Monday, 12:00 am – Ricky

*As per Gamentary ✝

✝ Note that Gamentary did not exist in 2008, and this distinction was awarded at a later date. That later date is today.

Gamentary Round 4 – March 12 2012 (right click and “Save As” to download the mp3, or use the player below)

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