Category Archives: PS3 Games

An Early X-Chromosome Scope On E3 News

If you read my blog at all, you know I’m always looking for the female POV in games. I can’t play a male for very long unless he’s a handsome Mafia man. This post is an overview of E3 news from a female point of view, looking mainly at Sony, Microsoft, and Bethesda.

Sony’s opening presentation seemed the most fem-RPG friendly (I didn’t get through all of Nintendo or Microsoft). Sony announced Assassin’s Creed: Liberation for the Vita, which features a non-Caucasian heroine (video). She looks awesome. The mainline Assassin’s Creed 3 for PS3 continues to be a staunch bastion of balls. His name is Connor, if I recall. Are we kitties interested in buying Vitas? Not at all.

Sony also announced the next super-immersive, storytelling-type game by Quantic Dream (makers of Heavy Rain). The title is called Beyond. I was entranced by Heavy Rain and highly impressed by its quality of writing and graphics, which summed to a memorable and unequaled level of immersion on the PS3, so I’m excited by this title. Even better, Ellen Page will be voicing the role of the female protagonist.

I have only two concerns about Beyond. One is the paranormal theme. I wonder if non-realistic cups flying and ghosty things happening will actually pull the player out of the the “Quantic Dream” and make them feel like they are in just another horror game, or will everything combine well to make a whole that is even more amazing? Also, will a female protagonist kill any chance of romance, or will male players be expected to hit up a boyfriend? If this game seriously looks at death and completely neglects the importance of love, then it may fail for me. Still it will be a must-see.

The Microsoft games involved a laundry list of studs and uber-dudes. The dudettes mostly boiled down to iconic girl-games like Tomb Raider (a game on all platforms by the way, so PC and PS3 should be covered) and Fable, The Journey, both of which are supposedly due to release this fall. The new Fable will be more Kinect-centric. I’ve been stalled halfway through Tomb Raider: Underworld for about a year, but I really like the direction Crystal Dynamics is taking this game.

Namely, the devs are (maybe influenced by other games like Uncharted) focusing more on conveying emotion in a survivalist situation, which is great! If the player cares about the protagonist and connects at a human level, then the player actually wants to win/get revenge/etc. Tomb Raider: Underworld doesn’t seem to have that. It has decent adventures and puzzles with beautiful graphics on the PC. The devs assumed that I knew and cared more than I did about the overarching storyline, or maybe they thought climbing rocks and walking tightropes would be enough.

The slow-motion heartbeat effect where you have a split second to take an action also looks kind of thrilling in the new Tomb Raider. E3 video. I’m not so thrilled though about the early announcement of DLC XBOX-exclusive blah blah however–*head explode*. Since my head has now exploded, I have no cerebral matter with which to throw a jab at the bonus-bloated tiers of Riders Of Rohan pre-order packages heretofore announced. Refer to the anti-DLC rap video I posted.

Of the games being previewed at E3, I’m most excited about Elder Scrolls Online. This excitement is not rational. I’ve seen nothing yet that merits giddy vibes. In fact, the Elder Scrolls devs themselves seem suspiciously cautious. Or maybe they seem cautiously suspicious. It’s hard to say. They are describing a simplified skillbar and high level of accessibility, which means that the game is being made mainly to rake fat stacks (of course) and not to cater to serious MMO fans. Massively posted a few new videos and an interview today with Paul Sage.

Skip that first short video. Dear Bethesda video guy, why do you make videos where the start and end credits are 25% of the video?

CAT GIRLS. Do I have your attention? SWTOR is bringing an always-on free trial in July as well as a new Cathar species according to their E3 preview video on Massively. Yes, this is another SWTOR species with the same human body but a different-looking head. Cathar women are known as good slaves, so that could make for interesting (and furry) roleplay. Speaking of roleplay, the HK (“handsome kissable”) assassin droid is already rumored to do gay romance.

I made up that rumor thing–I think. That’s how rumors start, right? Love is better than war, people. Dizzy up that Wookie at the cantina. Too much violence in society.

Peace.

Further Reading:

A closer look at Microsoft’s E3 press conference lineup.
Beyond: Two Souls gameplay video on NUR.
More on the super-simple Elder Scrolls skill bar.

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Wanted: Red Dead Redhead

We played Red Dead Redemption last night after renting it on Gamefly. My premise was as follows. I enjoyed Mafia 2 a lot, despite being forced to play a male protagonist. I enjoyed GTA IV for a while, also despite the male protagonist. RDD is a highly acclaimed, very highly rated game by Rockstar. I expected to enjoy RDD. RDD is a beautiful, classy, and very playable RPG, but I was wrong about my preconceptions that I would enjoy it.

What was wrong with RDD, causing Yolari and I to give up and send it back after only a few hours? It was the very slow pace at which the story evolved, mainly. We just couldn’t get to a classic hook that made us want to keep playing, like Mafia 2 offered us. We needed something substantial and soon to offset the fact that from the get-go, we had no connection to John Marston. We really didn’t even like him.

While Mafia 2 allowed the protagonist some narrative cut scenes to explain things, we got nothing like that in RDD, only mysteries unexplained. Yolari was particularly frustrated with controlling the horse. I was a little dismayed that I couldn’t stop and chat with people, which seems like a standard in an open-world RPG. I loved chatting with Easy Pete on the porch of the saloon in Fallout: New Vegas. He didn’t have a quest for me, but he made me feel like a welcome stranger. I didn’t feel welcome in RDD.

Why does Rockstar insist on making these male protagonist only games, when just about every other big name modern RPG maker is on board with the equality program? (CD Projekt of The Witcher is another exception.) Apparently Rockstar thinks that because the player is controlling a bad-ass dude with a gun and a big knife on his hip, that’s all they need to interest a player immediately. In this case they were wrong. If RDD had sported a bad-ass girl with a gun and a knife though, I admit my attention span would have been much higher. Who knows. I might have even purchased the game. As it was, no connection at all with the character, no hook for the story, no background, no clue, no emotional connection or dramatic moments that made me really feel what John Marston was feeling.

Contrast the opening experience in RDD to Mafia 2. No contest whatsoever. The story and character got me, despite my differences with him. There is probably no contest either in terms of profit between RDD and Mafia 2, and that’s a shame. I bought GTA IV for $20 last year and I enjoyed it for a while, but that’s the last dollar I give to Rockstar until they end their male chauvinist ways. And it’s not like they can’t do it. THQ did it for Saint’s Row 2. Y’all get with the program, Rockstar, ya hear?


Mafia 2: Wanna Be A Playboy?

This game is classy. It’s slick, beautiful, with the highest possible production values. It might be the best-looking game I’ve seen on the PS3, but that’s just a part of the game’s beauty. The details are amazing, especially in the interiors. The textures are excellent, which is strange for the PS3, since they are usually washed out. A lot of controversy surrounds the game’s use of racism. You know what? Racism really happened in the nineteen-forties. I think it’s sad that these reviewers would champion pap for grown-up kids like Grand Theft Auto over this. I mean, on the radio in Mafia 2 you hear war reports that refer to real historical things like concentration camps and mass graves. In GTA you hear a lot of dumb jokes about I don’t know what.

Mafia 2 has integrity. It has realism. It’s uncompromising, and a breath of fresh air compared to games nowadays that sell out and serve up dumb kid stuff to sell copies by appealing to the lowest forms of immaturity. In a deal with Playboy magazine, Mafia 2 incorporates real collectible playboy pictures in the game. Does this lack class? Well, these pictures didn’t do all that much for me, but I admit Continue reading