Category Archives: Game Reviews

Red Dead Online Has Been Released and the Ratings Aren’t So Hot

Beginning on Tuesday, Rockstar released the highly anticipated Red Dead Online Beta to those who had purchased the Ultimate Edition. On Friday, the beta was released to everyone and oh boy, the mode has been filled with not so much glitches but rather a lack of things.

The lack of content:

So, for an online mode to succeed, there needs to be some type of content, like story mode or events, or something. Red Dead Online may be in the beta stages, but the lack of activities on the mode makes it seem like the only reason it was released was to give the players something, along with patching a few things.

It only took me a few game hours before I had finished the online story mode (more content to be released) and the few other optional missions. That’s a small issue when compared to this next one.

MICROTRANSACTIONS

Microtransactions are here to stay as long as the player is willing to pay for them but come on Rockstar, why does it seem like your Red Dead Online mode has the transaction system of a mobile game? There should not be two different currencies in the game.

It is bad enough that the in-game economy is so bad that it is going to take a ton of grinding to get the weapons and clothing you want if you did not buy the ultimate edition. I can not stand it when your game is more or less a pay to win situation.

That type of system has led to gamers buying fewer of those games. Now, most of the time, you’ll see those games in the sports gaming side of things, but you get my point.

The plotline makes no sense

There won’t be any spoilers in here, but the plotline describing how your character got to where he/she is makes no sense. Where is your “redemption” for this plot? Rockstar aims for a story mode here, but based on what I have played so far, it just seems like another GTA Online but with the lack of flying cars, jokes, and whatnot.

Do not even get me started with the try-hards as they are in every online game.  However, it does not help with the gaming experience.

Red Dead Online is unable to capitalize on the main game’s success for now, and it won’t until Rockstar is able to fix these issues or make the game better.

 

Photo retrieved from Polygon

PlayStation Won’t Be Going To E3 2019

After Sony canceled the PlayStation Experience earlier this year, there was hope that Sony would make an appearance at E3 in 2019. Well, that’s another tradition that PlayStation will be breaking this year.

For the first time since E3 began over 24 years ago, PlayStation and Sony will not be showing up at the event. Sony said in a statement that their reason for missing the event comes down to the way games are showcased nowadays. “We always want to innovate, think differently, and experiment with new ways to delight gamers.”

This is not the first time that a big video game company has decided to skip E3. Nintendo started this back in 2013 when they decided to skip the event in favor of an online press conference that they still do to this day.

However, Nintendo did end up making a return to E3, but they had a much smaller role as a vendor.

As noted, Sony made the decision earlier this year to cancel their annual PlayStation Experience. Their decision to cancel it did not backfire in their face as they had one of the best years in gaming in recent memory.

Games like God of War and Spider-Man, which were PS4 exclusives, sold in record numbers, and this has resulted in higher PS4 sales so people can play those games.

In October, it was confirmed by Sony president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida that Sony was working on a PlayStation 5 with an official announcement to come in 2019 or 2020.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Sets New Records in Sales

The critically acclaimed game, Red Dead Redemption 2, was destined to be one of the games of the year, but most people could not have seen what RDR 2 would end up accomplishing.

Rockstar announced on Monday that within the first three days of release, Red Dead Redemption 2 sold over $725 million in copies, around 10 million units sold. Rockstar is also projecting that the game will have made a profit by December and will have sold over 20 million units by then.

Rockstar’s parent company, Take-Two also has stated that RDR 2 had the most pre-order sales in PlayStation Network history.  However, RDR 2 is only second behind Grand Theft Auto 5, another Rockstar game that was released in 2013, for most sales in a three day period, with GTA 5 hitting the billion-dollar mark within that time period.

Most people don’t think about the cost that goes into making a game like RDR 2, and they may wonder why the game is not profitable as of right now. But if you think of it, this is very normal.

Since the release of the original Red Dead Redemption, developers have been working on the second one. There was controversy regarding paying employees, with some developers working over 80 hours in a week to get RDR 2 to the point where it is at now.

Not to mention, Red Dead Online has not been released as of press time. Take-Two will break even before the release of the online mode (release date is unknown), so do not feel bad for them as we will be giving them our money soon enough.

Red Dead Redemption 2 takes place in 1899 in the Wild West where you play as Arthur Morgan, a member of the Van der Linde gang. The game follows the story of the gang as well as a young John Marston, the protagonist of the first game.

First impressions on Red Dead Redemption 2

NOTE: This will not have any spoilers until the author of this story has completed the game.

Rockstar has finally released the most anticipated game of the year in Red Dead Redemption 2. It took 8 years before gamers around the world got to play as Arthur Morgan, a thief and lead enforcer of Dutch Van Der Linde’s gang. This gang has gone through anything and everything, and now, you can experience it yourself.

However, most people are very impressed with the graphics of the game and how the characters act towards you. Here are a few things that RDR 2 does differently from other open world games.

The world that you are playing in:

I can’t even begin to talk about how your interactions in the open world in this game can affect your playing experience. The way that you hunt to what you eat and how you dress for the weather—it feels like you are living in a real-life simulator and I freaking love it. Rockstar has finally produced an open world game with factors like these. This stuff matters to a gamer who wants to live like they were in the late 1890s and not have to deal with the real life heat.

The animals in the game

I don’t remember ever playing a game that shows the diversity of the animals in the world that you are playing in. I have seen animals as big as bison and bears and as small as songbirds and rats. And by the way, you can hunt all of them. This is one of my favorite parts of the game. You don’t need to hunt them, but it is fun to explore the different animals in the game.

The weapons and maintaining them

Of course, the weapons in a western game are very important for your survival. Another new thing that has started in this game is the cleaning of your weapons. If they get too “dirty” then you need to clean it; otherwise, it will affect the strength of the bullet and the path of the bullet as well.

I am looking forward to playing more of this game and finishing the story mode on there, but so far, so good for Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption 2.

 

A New PlayStation in the Works According to Sony CEO

Anytime a new generation of gaming systems is in the works, it is hard to keep it a secret, and this news is no exception. In fact, this story was probably the worst kept secret in the gaming industry.  However, the news was made official by Sony CEO, Kenichiro Yoshida, in an interview with the Financial Times. Sony is currently working on a successor to the PlayStation 4 but has stopped short of calling it the PlayStation 5.

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“At this point, what I can say is it’s necessary to have a next-generation hardware,” Yoshida said.

This announcement comes after Microsoft announced that they are currently testing Project xCloud, streaming technology for playing any Xbox games on phones and tablets. The public will be able to test this project beginning next year.

Sony does offer streaming games on the PS4 and PC with its PlayStation Now service, which was previously available on Samsung Smart TVs.

Yoshida did not give an exact date for when the new system would be available on the market, but according to Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO John Kodera, the new system is hinted to be released in 2021 as reported by Digital Trends. Kodera previously stated in May that the PS4 has entered “the final phase of its life cycle.”

Do not expect for Sony to drop the PlayStation name as the game systems with the name have been very successful in the past 3 decades. The PlayStation 2 is the best selling console of all time with 155 million units sold. The PS4 since it was launched in 2013 has sold 80 million units, and it will likely pass the sales of the PS3, which sold 83.8 million units according to GameSpot.

Sony Cancels PlayStation Experience for 2018

After a very quiet E3 from Sony on the PlayStation side of things, it was announced that there will not be a PlayStation Experience for 2018, at least in the United States.

No PSX for PlayStation fans this year leaves questions; photo from kotaku.com
No PSX for PlayStation fans this year leaves questions; photo from kotaku.com

Shawn Layden, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) Worldwide Studios chairman made the announcement. His reasoning behind the decision was that he believed they would not be able to live up to the expectations of a high-profile media event with not much to show.

Layden said on the PlayStation Blogcast that with the focus on the recent and successful release of Spider-Man and the future releases of games like Dreams and Days Gone, there was no way there would be enough people from North America to appear for the event.

Sony has had a very successful year with games like God-Of-War, which broke Sony’s game sales record with 3.1 million copies sold within the first three days of release. This record would not last for long as Spider-Man would break the record with 3.3 million copies sold.

However, at E3, Sony only focused on four games: Spider-Man, The Last of Us: Part II, Death Stranding, and Ghost of Tsushima. 

PlayStation Experience, which is also known as PSX, first appeared in Europe in the 2000s, disappeared for a number of years, and then reappeared in the United States in 2014.

Layden did not rule out the possibility of the return of PSX in the future.

This news comes after rumors of Sony allowing PlayStation Network users the ability to change their usernames. PSN users were hoping that the rumor would had been confirmed at PSX.

Sony to Release a “New” PlayStation

We all know what you are here to read about—a “new” PlayStation. It can’t be, right? Can it really be the PlayStation 5 that everyone has been looking forward to for the past few years? Well… maybe not. While many may be getting their hopes up for something new from Sony’s most successful gaming platform, but this newest update to the PlayStation family is going a slightly different direction.

All of the accessories of the PlayStation Classic including the console itself. Photo from blog.us.playstation.com
All of the accessories of the PlayStation Classic including the console itself. Photo from blog.us.playstation.com

Sony has announced a throwback version of the PlayStation 1 to celebrate 24 years of PlayStation and to follow in the same path that Nintendo has done for the past few years now.

This new version of the PlayStation 1 will be called the PlayStation Classic and will feature 20 games from the PS1’s original library that will be built into the station. The system will be updated in order to work on a modern television, and much smaller than the original PS1—so small, in fact, that you could hold it in your hand.

Sony has only announced five of the 20 games to be on the PlayStation Classic, including Final Fantasy 7 and Tekken 3.

On a video posted to Sony’s YouTube channel, the PlayStation Classic will not be able to play games from the original PS1, but only its 20 pre-loaded games. The PlayStation Classic will come with two retro controllers, will not have an AC adapter, and only possess HDMI for audio and video and a micro-USB for power.

Sony will be releasing the PlayStation Classic on December 3, the same day that the original PS1 was released 24 years ago, for $99.99 to buy—to compare, some games with bonus features, additional content, and free virtual cash (much like the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2) will have a roughly similar cost all its own.

 

Belgium bans “loot boxes” in video games

Microtransactions have been a hot topic in the gaming industry. The question has been, should they be allowed in games? Well, one country has decided that one form of microtransactions is illegal.

Belgium has decided to ban so called “loot boxes” from video games in their country, labeling it as gambling. This is just a week after The Netherlands declaring some “loot boxes” as gambling as well.

The Minister of Justice in Belgium has said that publishers of games that have “loot boxes” risk fines or prison time if these games with loot boxes are distributed in Belgium.

Games like FIFA, Overwatch and CSGO were determined to promote gambling and thus will be subject to Belgian gambling laws. Star Wars Battlefront 2 was able to escape the ban to due the outcry of there being loot boxes in the game when it was released, the publisher, EA removed them.

The main reason for the decision from Belgium is to stop minors from being exposed to gambling when they are only trying to have fun, the Minister of Justice noted.

Publishers who don’t remove the “gambling” from their game could face up to five years in prison and fines up to $800,000.

However, for those who hate these loot boxes in America, don’t expect anything to happen since most forms of gambling are legal.

Famed Gaming Champion Loses Records for “Cheating”

One of gaming’s most famous figures, Billy Mitchell has been stripped of all of his records that he has held for decades.

Mitchell, 52, had held the title of being the first person to have scored one million points on the arcade game “Donkey Kong.”  The decision comes after many years of allegations of cheating towards Mitchell which he has denied many times.

Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game records believes that Mitchell’s scores were achieved with the use of emulator, a computer program that replicates an arcade or console machine.  They presented their findings to Jeremy Young, a Donkey Kong forum operator who after seeing pictures of Mitchell’s gameplay, says that “those scores were impossible to achieve without a emulator.”

After Twin Galaxies did their own investigation, they concluded that Mitchell had indeed used a emulator and with the evidence posted on their page, they decided to ban all of Mitchell’s scores which include the first perfect score (3,333,360 points) in the original Pac-Man game and to ban all future scores of Mitchell’s (if he were to continue to play for records).

Twin Galaxies also reported their findings to Guinness World Records who also decided to remove Mitchell’s records from the Guinness Book of World Records.

Now, the record holder for the first person to have scored one million points on Donkey Kong is Mitchell’s rival, Steve Wiebe, who no longer competes for records. Wiebe is currently a math teacher in Washington (the state).

Mitchell has not respond to the stripping of his records and as of now, he may not speak ever but this could not be more embarrssing for the former “best gamer in the world.”

Well, a popular cartoon show, Regular Show had a character on the show called Garrett Bobby Ferguson (GBF) who looked like Mitchell. Mitchell sued the show trying to ruin his image and the case got thrown out of court. The character’s main trait and the reason why Mitchell sued the show… GBF was a villian who cheated at video games.

Well then, it looks like Regular Show has predicted time just like the Simpsons have done for decades.

Is Online Gaming Going to be Affected by the Net Neutrality Repeal?

Most of us remember a few months ago when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was hearing the case for and against “net neutrality.” Now, we are slowly hearing about the repercussions of repealing net neutrality.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA), a video game industry lobby group, has decided to join in the lawsuit against the FCC, joining a mix of Democratic state attorney generals, tech companies like Mozilla (Firefox), and many more.

The ESA noted that its members will be harmed by the repeal and it would hurt online gaming the most. In a statement, the ESA said this was “because the FCC’s order permits ISP’s to take actions that could jeopardize the fast, reliable, and low-latency connections that are critical to the video game industry.”

Net neutrality is a very controversial topic in politics. The rules prohibit Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic and prevent extra-charges for people looking to get better access. These rules are crucial to the video game industry according to an ESA brief, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the DC Circuit.

Also in the brief, it was noted that while music and movie streaming providers can use buffering to account for network problems, the ESA noted that their clients can’t do the same.

The ESA is also very worried about the downloads of large games and how these games can be “slowed down” due to the loss of net neutrality.

Big names in the video game industry that are represented by ESA include Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Disney.

ESA’s case will be under the name of Mozilla Corporation v. Federal Communications Commission and the United States of America. 

 

Lindsay Lohan Loses Lawsuit Against Take-Two

The never-ending lawsuit between Lindsey Lohan and Take-Two Interactive has finally ended in favor of the makers of Grand Theft Auto 5, but next time, they may not be so lucky.

The real life Lindsey Lohan and the GTA 5 character "Lacey Jones;" photo from digitaltrends.com
The real life Lindsey Lohan and the GTA 5 character “Lacey Jones;” photo from digitaltrends.com

Judges from New York state’s highest court ruled in favor of Take-Two Interactive in a lawsuit case. Lohan had sued Take-Two over the likeness of the GTA 5 character “Lacey Jones” who only appeared in one mission during the storyline game in a random event. Lohan had been fighting the case since 2014 which was called a “publicity stunt” by Take-Two.

Lohan’s case nearly was dismissed in 2016 but she was able to get her case to a New York Supreme Court judge who ruled against her. Then she appealed her case to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the state’s judge.

The unanimous ruling did find that video game avatars constitute a portrait of someone. However, Lacey Jones, described as a “beach-going young woman” lacked characteristics that reasonably identified the plaintiff.

Lohan’s lawsuit will most likely end here unless she can prove and show how the ruling and New York’s privacy laws conflict federal Constitution laws. If she can prove that, her case could reach the U.S. Supreme Court but the possibility of that happening is slim to none.

Even though Lindsey Lohan didn’t get the result that she was looking for, the ruling is very significant in New York. Video game avatars can be a likeness equivalent to photographs, films, or other depictions under the law.

Video game companies will have to watch twice before making a character that is similar to a celebrity because otherwise, they could end up in court and lose.

 

The Latest Update on GTA Online on PC Results in Many Bans

If you are a PC gamer with Grand Theft Auto 5 Online, you may had gotten banned for no apparent reason.

GTA Online's latest update is NASCAR on steroids but some PC users are unable to play due to a ban; photo from egmnow.com
GTA Online’s latest update is NASCAR on steroids but some PC users are unable to play due to a ban; photo from egmnow.com

After the “Southern San Andreas Super Sport Series” update, many users on PC have been reporting a wave of bans, either mistaken or for no good reason. Users on PS4 and Xbox One have not had the same bug as of now. Most of the bans on the PC have only been for 30 days instead of a lifetime but it still frustrates players who want to play the game and the latest update.

It is believed that Rockstar’s “anti-cheat” system has failed and according to one player on the GTA Online forum who has their own “anti-cheat” software, everyone in his session was labeled as cheating even though they haven’t been.

The system is singling out everyone who might be an illegal-modder which has resulted in bans for many who have done no wrong.

While it is natural for someone who has been caught cheating to say that they haven’t been, something has been amiss with the recent bans. Most of the players that have been banned have fewer than 10 hours of game time which suggests overreach on the game moderators’ parts.

Another thing that might be causing the bans is that some users do have a modder on their PC but the modder is only being used offline, not online.

Neither Rockstar or its parent company, Take-Two Interactive have made a statement to the GTA Online forum or a public statement about the situation.

Microtransactions in NBA2K have gotten ridiculous

When you have to pay virtual coins just to get a haircut… a haircut in a game. Then we have a problem with a company that used to be revolutionary.

Virtual Concepts better known as 2K is a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive.They used to be that high-risk company that released top video games at low prices, games like ESPN NFL 2K5 that nearly put Electronic Arts’ Madden series out of business.

These guys that were so popular are now criticized for every move they make with their NBA2K series and rightfully so with NBA2K18.

The game itself is one big advertisement that promotes everything from cereal, chips, soda, and shoes. You can’t even play MyCareer without running into your “best friend” B-Fresh eating Reese’s Puffs in your house.

Your "best friend" in NBA2K18; photo from reddit.com
Your “best friend” in NBA2K18; photo from reddit.com

The advertisements effect the online game modes as 2K won’t blur out the background billboards of the advertisements as that would mean they would lose money. The ads get so bad that you can’t even skip cutscenes this year on MyCareer just because you see a box of cereal.

That doesn’t begin to explain the amount of microtransactions in the game this year. Players are use to having microtransactions to upgrade their players and those who didn’t buy the coins would “grin” for them.

In order to get a decent amount of “VC”(the name for the currency in the game) you would have to spend $20 for 75,000 VC and that’s not the highest amount you can get. If you spend $100, you will get 450,000 VC.

Now, we have to buy our haircuts and tattoos on our virtual players with the fact that its even harder to grin for the in game currency (you earn 1,000 VC per NBA game played, it takes over 10,000 VC just to upgrade your player).

The amount you pay for this game (which is $60) is the main reason why microtransactions should NOT be in this game. It’s totally reasonable for an app to have microtransactions as their game is usually free and if not free, it’s between 99 cents and $3.

However, when you shell out $60 of your own money, you expect to be able to compete with everyone and have a goodtime. Now, 2K excepts you to buy the game with the same gameplay as the year’s pervious game, just with a few polished details.

The game has been out for over six weeks and due to online issues, patches to fix the game (some think 2K released a “beta’ but that’s another story) and SO MANY ADS… The game is just not fun anymore.

It’s a good thing Assassin’s Creed Origins and Fortnite are alternatives to 2K and at least they won’t be begging you to spend money on virtual currency.

 

 

The “Impossible” is Now Possible: Video Games in Real Life

Many people have had thoughts before like: “Man, if that weapon on Fallout or Metal Gear Solid was real, imagine the damage it would do.” Well, someone in the U.S. Government had the same thoughts as well.

Various weapons in the video game world like railguns and lasers have been in development for years and are used in some places, while the weapons like plasma are not in use yet. Here are some video game weapons that may  or may not be actually real.

Railgun Specs; photo from science.howstuffworks.com
Railgun Specs; photo from science.howstuffworks.com

Railguns: Actually, railguns have been in development for decades now, with the first patent in the U.S. issued in July 1922 as no. 1,421,435 to a French inventor by the name of Louis Octave Fauchon-Villeplee. However, his development didn’t go too far due to the lack of technology during his time. Nazi Germany in 1944 was looking into the first theoretically possible railgun. The guns were to be mounted with six batteries and would be able to launch twelve rounds per minute. Their plans were thwarted by the Allies in World War II. These plans were found after the war and believed to be “impossible” after studies found that each gun would need enough power to light up half of Chicago. It took until 1962 before an operational railgun was possible, but it was only a scientific study. Then in comes the world of video games, where games like Halo, Metal Gear Solid and Fallout introduced the railgun as a weapon of mass destruction. In recent years, railguns have been created. The U.S. Navy tested a railgun that fired a projectile at the speed of “Mach 7″ in the 2000’s. After the success of that railgun, the U.S. Navy is going to have a railgun in use for intercepting missiles in 2018. Now, that’s something video games couldn’t make up.

LaWS on the USS Ponce; photo from www.stripes.com
LaWS on the USS Ponce; photo from www.stripes.com

Lasers: Some of us have been to places where they have laser tag with the fake guns, but the U.S. Navy (man, why do these guys get all of the new weapons?) has an operational laser weapon in use since 2014 that blinds the enemy. The LaWS, as it is called, will not be in use for long however as the ship it is on, the USS Ponce, will be decommissioned in 2018. The lasers in video games like Mega Man are meant to cut people in half. No words, if the U.S. military is planning to make a weapon like that.

Plasma: In Fallout, a plasma gun means your demise if you’re ever shot with one in online gaming mode. Researchers at the University of Missouri actually were able to create a very weak but impressive plasma gun in 2013. This has opened the possibilities of energy and weapons dealing with plasma, something thought to be impossible.

Death Star from Star Wars: photo from starwars.com
Death Star from Star Wars: photo from starwars.com

Honorable Mention – Death Star: Yeah, this one is impossible, but in 2012, a petition started on the WeThePeople site asking the U.S. Government to build a Death Star from Star Wars. Once the petition reached 25,000 signatures, an official response from the White House was necessary. It turns out it would take 830,000 years to make enough steel and as for the cost: let’s just say, you would need to find a planet made out of diamonds.

 

Featured Image Photo from NextBigFuture.com

EA Games: Past failures and present glitches

With the recent launching of Titanfall on PC and Xbox One, many gamers may not have been surprised that server errors disrupted the exciting new Entertainment Arts game. This resignation to expect laxness is the residual effect of  the enormous failure that was The Sims Online back in 2002 and Sim City Online just this past year, as well as many other trending server complaints registered with EA. Continue reading EA Games: Past failures and present glitches