It’s time for a new Resident Evil game, with RE6 releasing this week. As always, we’ll hear complaints from some long-time fans about how they’ve strayed from the originals in the series, but there’s no disputing the success of RE5 and its new mechanics. What side of the line do you fall on?

Also out this week is the yearly iteration of NBA from the only team who’re still making games for the league, 2K. As matt mentioned in the podcast this past Friday, EA has cancelled NBA Live yet again, leaving NBA 2K13 the winner by default.

Lots of titles out, and lots of titles coming out. Extra Life can’t come soon enough! We’ll need the 24 hour charity marathon to get through some games. 

Friday, 5:41 pm – Preezie

Dunno if we have any League of Legends fans but they’re having a huge world tournament where the winner gets a cool milly.

You can check out all the action here and the world finals are mid-october.

I feel like we are playing the wrong video games.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Friday, 2:42 pm – Ricky

The first XCOM: Enemy Unknown review is out! Check out the break down from Game Informer. So. Excited.

Friday, 10:02 am – Ricky

Love that video. I listened to Jake on the 3 Moves Ahead podcast this week and really loved what he had to say – really an insightful game designer. I pre-ordered the game yesterday after deliberating on it for a bit, but now that it’s in my sights, I’m pretty excited.

I also picked up the controversial game Spec Ops: The Line through GameFly for $7.50 on sale today. It’s a Steam activated game and they’ll send you a key – so, if you’re like me and like all your icons in one neat and tidy place, this is a good deal for you.

Thursday, 4:48 pm – Albert

XCOM is coming out shortly, and everyone is pitching in to promote the game. Even Jake Solomon, lead game designer for XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Thursday, 8:46 am – Gavin

I have less than zero interest in becoming a game reviewer, or devoting my contributions to this site to game reviews.  I play games for fun, as a means of escapism, and because I find them fascinating.  I don’t want to be in a situation where my contributions are reviews of games that I love, because a) I tend to like popular games anyways, so my opinion adds absolutely nothing to the mix, b) it will make the site reek of selection and confirmation bias, c) I acquire games on my own schedule and unless Epic decides to sponsor us and give us a ton of free games, I’m only going to be able to review the games that my meager gaming budget will allow, d) that schedule is currently about a year old, and who the hell wants to hear me review Skyrim or Portal 2, and e) eventually I’ll have to review a game that I don’t like, and that just turns it into a job.  And I’ve already got one of those, and it pays a hell of a lot better than a position as a game reviewer does.

I like organic conversations about games.  Obviously, it has to start at some arbitrary point, but watching the conversation develop is one of the treats as a regular contributor to this site.  I hope that our contributions entertain and inform, and provide you, the reader, with a unique insight that you might not otherwise get at the big sites like GameSpot, IGN, 1Up, etc.

Speaking of Epic games (segue complete), Epic announced that CliffyB has left the company.  It sounds like it was an amicable split, but Bleszinski was very much a huge figure with the company, as the lead designer of the Gears of War series and major contributor to the Unreal series.  While I had my complaints with Gears of War 3, on the whole I found the series to be incredibly engaging, and I felt that the design, art direction, and set pieces were tremendous.  Gears 2 was my favourite – the scene where they emerge from the Hollow to see the towns collapsing into the sinkhole was gorgeous, and I recall an interview where Bleszinski said that the inspiration for the level “Intestinal Fortitude” was a plate of raw turkey intestines.  Gross, but inspired.

Wednesday, 3:14 pm – Ricky

You know what, we don’t do reviews here, and this kind of thing makes me super happy that we don’t. I don’t want to HAVE to play a game. Brad from Giant Bomb is playing the part of the masochist by plodding through the game for a review. He hates it. He’s said so on other forums, on this week’s Bombcast podcast and in the Quick Look. But he still needs to assign it a score because it’s his job, and if he doesn’t give it a score, then publishers (and advertisers) will look elsewhere for coverage.

We started the site with features, reviews and previews, and while we still believe in the idea of dedicated, timely and relevant features, we’ve abandoned the grind of covering all the news, writing previews and playing games for reviews. Instead, we’ve broadened our site to be about content. That’s where you get the podcast, Gamentary Plays Games videos and this weekly column – take in the info if you want to, form your own opinion, and make a purchase decision based on that. Sounds simple, right?

I should point out that these days, gamers are much more privileged than when Resident Evil 1 came out. There’s a demo for RE6! Play it, see if you like it. There are demos for most things, and sometimes (seague complete) alpha and beta events, too. For example, I’m currently in the MechWarrior Online beta, and now that the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) has lifted, I can tell you all about it! I’ll have to play some more before forming a full-fledged opinion but in short: If you like giant robots fighting, you’ll like MechWarrior Online. It’s a free-to-play title, and of course it pulls from the classic BattleTech universe. So if you’re into all that, you’re in for a treat later this year.

Coming up later today: Our gameplan for Extra Life on October 13th! Look for the dedicated page soon.

Wednesday, 12:26 pm – Albert

Reviews are always something that gamers have called into question. I think there have already been some great things said about the problem with reviews but I always am a firm believer in understanding who is reviewing the game. The same can be said about For example, I constantly talk about the games i’m currently playing and usually i’ll play that consistently so you’ll hear me talk about playing it again, or if I like it etc. If you like the games I do, then maybe give some weight into the games that I recommend people play, or if you don’t, then don’t give as much weight to my criticisms or praise. The problem with Metacritic is you have people who go on there and give a game a 0 because “It didn’t feel like Resident Evil 1”. NO SHIT it didn’t. Things have changed. You’re not longer a pimpled, pre-teen, whose parents bought you that game. You haven’t seen all the games that you’ve played throughout the years yet, or watched all those movies that affected how you “view” the world. What i’m saying is, that nostalgia and our past selves can skew what we really imagined that game to be. I loved the Tomb Raider series, but I would not go back and play them because games (and i like to think myself) have evolved and now i’m a pretentious gamer who likes certain features in games. I still have fond memories but being able to replicate the feelings and love I had for that game today would be difficult. Figure out who is reviewing the game, if you usually agree with their opinion, then maybe think about buying it. There are always demos, or watch people play the game via youtube or something.

Resident Evil 5 was completely different from past REs but I found it entertaining and I must have beaten the game at least 5 times to unlock everything plus hours into the challenge modes. Did it lack some SKEERINESS? Yes. Yes it did. But it was a great game. If you love the past games so much, don’t buy the new one. Replay the old one. I felt the same way about Dragon Age 2. They completely revamped it to appeal to the masses and y’know what? I didn’t finish it and I won’t be buying the new one. There. Simple.  (DAMN YOU DRAGON AGE 2 YOU !@#(@!$@!)

Tuesday, 3:24 pm – Gavin

Thanks for the link, Ricky!

The Metacritic link for RE6 is interesting.  Professional reviewers seem to be more generous with it than users.  The users are likely falling into the Dark Knight pattern, where the movie got 10/10 reviews from a million fanboys at once, before it settled down and some more realistic scores came in.  There are far too many 0 scores on the Metacritic page; in my opinion, a zero-score should be reserved for games that are fundamentally broken and are unplayable – games like Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing, whose brokenness is well-documented and has been well-mocked.

This isn’t to suggest that professional reviewers are infallible. Famitsu, I’m looking at you too – there’s no way you can tell me that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is as good a game as Zelda: A Link to the Past.  You simply can’t.  But I’d be more than happy to have a binary system in place for user reviews.  Would you recommend this game/do you think this is a good game?  Either/or, that kind of thing.  It would allow people to give their opinions on whether or not a game is enjoyable, but would tone down the unnecessary zero- and perfect-score reviews that always show up whenever a AAA title is released.

Reviewing anything can be difficult depending on whether you’re reviewing it on an absolute scale, or on a relative scale.  What is a game/movie/book trying to do/be?  If you set your expectations low, and then match/exceed them, have you created a great game or movie?  I look at something like Crank 2 – in no way whatsoever were they trying to make a “good” movie.  They were trying to make a ridiculous parody of action movies that was incredibly over-the-top, and that’s exactly what they did – same with Expendables and Expendables 2.  How do you compare the “enjoyment” factor to the “quality” factor?  No doubt I “enjoyed” Crank 2 more than I enjoyed Schindler’s List, but I’m also not even going to think about telling you that Crank 2 is a better movie than Schindler’s List.

I don’t know what I’m advocating for in terms of reviews.  All I know is that zero-scores on Metacritic should stop, because it colours the perception of games that might not be great, but are at least playable.  A zero-score on Metacritic for a game like Resident Evil 6 is ridiculous.  It shows a fundamental ignorance of some of the utter garbage that has been released in the past.  Do we expect more from major studios?  I’m sure we do.  I certainly expect more of a game from Nintendo EAD or Retro Studios or Rockstar than I do some underfunded studio like Screaming Monkey Pretentious Jackoff Studios Ltd.  Braid looks great and has terrific art direction, but that’s coming from one guy.  If Activision or Bethesda put out a game that looked like that, we’d complain that they were slacking off in the graphics coding department, and we’d probably be justified in doing so, considering the war chests those companies have.  I’ve always said that graphics are the least-important part of a game for me, but when it’s the AAA studios we’re talking about, they’ve got enough money to develop good graphics, whatever that may be (I think that while looking drastically different, Super Mario Galaxy 2 looks just as good as Deus Ex: Human Revolution).  And one of the common complaints about Resident Evil 6 that we’re seeing thus far is that it strays from the roots of Resident Evil 1-4.  OK, but does that mean it’s necessarily a bad game?

GamePro magazine used to rate games in four areas from 1.0-5.0 – graphics, sound, control, and fun factor, with an overall score drawn from that.  Everything was done on an scale relative to what was contemporary – it accounted for developments in technology and cultural shifts, while also looking at games independently of each other.  I think that system is a touch archaic now, as I haven’t seen a new release AAA title with graphics that were anything less than great (Duke Nukem Forever aside – still decent graphics, but not competitive enough contemporaneously), but that’s still the core of a system I like.  It needs expansion, because a game like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 could be beautiful, sound great, control like a dream and be fun, but still be nowhere near as good a game overall as Skyrim.  It’s hard to get those ratings to be contemporaneously fair, while allowing for absolute comparisons.  “What’s the SNES or 2002 PC equivalent of Resident Evil 6?  Now, were those games REALLY that bad?”, that sort of thing.  I think the system I’m looking for doesn’t exist, and quite possibly it can’t exist.  Basically, I think we need to look at what we consider the best games out there at any given time, and then stack up current releases against them.  It’s just unfathomable that a game like Resident Evil 6, which by all accounts I would not care for, could be scored so poorly.

Tuesday, 11:06 am – Ricky

Looks like NeoGaf has a pretty good rundown of the reviews for Resident Evil 6.

Interesting to note that magazines seem to be giving higher scores (check the bottom of the list) and online outlets are at the lower end of the spectrum. I feel like this is the kind of game you’ll either love or hate depending on your connection to the series and your thoughts on 3rd person action games.

No gaming for me yesterday, but I’m itching to get back into Borderlands 2. I’ve been getting some extra Golden Keys from Randy Pitchford, head of Gearbox, on Twitter. The keys open a special chest in the game’s main hub and spit out sweet level-dependent loot, so I’ve been holding off until I’m at a higher level to really dig in and give it a spin. Speaking of spins… there are actual slot machines you can pay to play and spin to win loot. This game is so cheeky!

Monday, 12:08 pm – Gavin

The first reviews of RE6 are coming in.

They are not kind.  At all.

Monday, 11:15 am – matt

well well well a topic right up my alley. being a life long fan of the resident evil franchise, there are certainly elements i miss from the campy originals however the direction the series has gone was absolutely necessary. continuing with the same gameplay series would be like having Mario still run around in a 2-D landscape. technology has changed dramatically and i actually can’t think of another series embracing new tech as much as Resident Evil and I fell this is the way they always intended their games to be showcased. unfortunately my PS3 is not functioning at peak capacity so im going to holding my breath in hopes i can save the world once again from the umbrella corporation.

being a fan of both series i feel its difficult to compare the two, even with their obvious similiarities. Silent Hill was definitely more about actual gore and death, whereas Resident Evil portrayed itself as a “cheesy” B-movie type narrative… and while the Resident Evil series rarely made much sense, the Silent Hill plots were even more ridiculous…

as for NBA theres not much more i can say about the best sports title out there. its amazing because many media experts predicted 2K would slack a little with no competition from EA once again this year, but the team continues to tweak and modify on the outstanding gameplay to top themselves for the new season. included with returning legends are celebrities (as noted in the podcast) and dream team members, Jay-Z has producing credits littered all over, and the deluxe package includes an actual Spalding basketball.
word up homies

Monday, 11:00 am – Gavin

Nothing about Resident Evil really appealed to me.  Not to say that it’s a bad game at all, or that it didn’t really inject some life into the survival-horror genre, but I just couldn’t get into it.  I know, I know, the scene with the dogs jumping through the window and blah blah blah, but I just couldn’t get enthused about it.  I think I was at the wrong stage of my life when that came out.  I was still deeply invested in my SNES and by the time I had a system capable of playing a RE game, I had moved on to things like Max Payne, Call of Duty (original, motherfuckers), Half-Life and Deus Ex.

So in everyone’s opinion, who won the survival-horror war?  Resident Evil or Silent Hill?  Resident Evil had the jump by about three years, but Silent Hill did come out with SH2, universally regarded as one of the best survival-horror games ever.

In other news, Ubisoft is experiencing some backlash from the Splinter Cell: Blacklist trailers that have been released.  I said this during E3, but it didn’t look like a Splinter Cell game at all.  Glad to see I’m not alone.  Unfortunately, Ubisoft is taking the “You didn’t like it?  Well, you’re too dumb to understand it” approach.  Always a smart idea, insulting your customers.

Ubisoft’s take on the negative fan reactions

Bonus: Ubisoft attempts to justify torture in the real world.

My favourite comment from the comments section: Well we’ve gone off everything Ubisoft has said and shown, that’s how people normally draw up early conclusions. If we’re “misinfomed” then whose fault is that? Take some responsibility.

Monday, 7:55 am – Ricky

I’m probably going to skip NBA2K13 this year, just like I did the year before that. I can’t seem to dedicate time to sports games, favoring co-op games instead for my online fix. Resident Evil 6 seems to fit this bill, but I’m not sure if Albert is will to take the plunge with me again for this iteration. We had a blast playing RE5, but with so much on the table and XCOM’s release just around the corner, RE6 might be a 2013 title in the end.