Tom Senior: Going off Evolve
In 2015 players will band together to battle 2K's huge hungry monetisation monster, Evolve. Will our plucky heroes find any fun between the DLC packs, pre-order bonuses and companion-app micro-purchases? Which arrangement of maps, characters and monsters will they miss out on for not paying over and above the £35 base price? I don't believe a game's core systems can survive such invasive monetisation unscathed. How will matchmaking fare when a bunch of monsters and hunters are available only to pre-order and DLC customers? Has the levelling curve been designed to satisfy, or does it drag enough to encourage players to level faster using the companion app? Our reviewer will find out soon enough, and as a huge fan of Left 4 Dead, I hope my cynicism is proved wrong.
Tom Marks: Deflated (American) footballs and stream ghosting
What a disappointing week for e-sports. What looked at first like a blissful era of growth is being hamstrung by scandal after scandal. It’s embarrassing, casting a bad light on e-sports as a whole. Every sport has liars and cheats, as the New England Patriots made abundantly clear last week—and FIFA as an organization makes clear pretty much daily—but the difference between professional sports and e-sports is that the NFL doesn’t have to convince the greater part of the population that it’s a real thing in the first place. They are an established organization with the belief of the public.
When someone cheats in professional football (either kind) it reflects poorly on that player and maybe their team, because the the organization as a whole is respected. But when someone cheats in professional e-sports, it casts doubts on the entire concept’s legitimacy. E-sports are young, and still fighting to earn the public’s respect. When they get it, mistakes like this will wash off easier, but right now it makes a fool of an industry that’s trying to be taken seriously.
Tyler WIlde: Stop all the DDoSing
Quake Live is the latest victim of a DDoS attack, causing outages this morning. Quake Live. Who is so mad at Quake Live that they don’t want anyone to play Quake Live? I mean, what the hell? And this keepshappening—often for no reason at all. There’s no social or political statement, no discernible message other than “screw you.” It’s baffling that anyone considers ruining fun to be a valuable use of their time. So, please, DDoSers, stop being assholes and do something constructive. This isn’t the way to deal with whatever it is you’re dealing with.
Andy Kelly: Farewell, internet
I’m moving house this week, and anyone who’s ever moved house will know that it, inexplicably, takes several weeks for a new internet connection to be set up in an empty property. My line won’t be activated for another THREE WEEKS. So last night—the last evening I spent at the old house, which still has internet—I downloaded pretty much my entire Steam library, as well as a bunch of stuff on Origin. So hopefully having a massive pile of games will distract me from the fact that I can’t check email or send tweets.
But hey, maybe it’s a good thing. I have a woefully short attention span, and having the internet there is a constant distraction. So maybe I’ll finally get out of the Hinterlands in Dragon Age: Inquisition, finish Grim Fandango Remastered, and make some more progress in Dark Souls 2. Or I’ll be running around the streets with a laptop, desperately hunting for an unsecured Wi-Fi point. Either way, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks.
Chris Livingston: In love with an elevator
Ever encounter a bug in a video game that you loved so much you wish it was never fixed? This week, while playing Dying Light for review, I had to listen to the game's hero, Kyle Crane, utter a lot of fairly dumb lines to himself. Among my favorites, when coming up for air after an extended underwater swim, he shouted "God! My lungs!" Yes, your lungs, Kyle. That's for telling me where it hurts when you hold your breath for a long time. Why not just yell "Ow! My hit points!" when you get shot?
At one point, Kyle also yells "Holy shit!" when something shocking happens. That's perfectly fine: I do that a lot myself. Thing is, he kept on yelling that for a good half-hour, but only when he stepped off an elevator. Kyle's HQ is a tall apartment building, and he must ride the elevator both up and down when he visits it. For a while, for me, every time the doors opened upstairs or downstairs and he stepped off he'd cry "Holy shit!"
I liked to think it meant he had simply never been on an elevator before, and was just so genuinely surprised to see the miracle of vertical box-travel every single time he took a ride. No matter how many times he ascended or descended, he was simply floored (ha) by the experience. "It happened again! The exact floor I pressed, and here I am! Holy shit!"
Why is this a low? Because he abruptly stopped and never said it again! Damn. I wanted to ride with that excited little bug for the rest of the game.
Samuel Roberts: Crying tiger tears
Cancelled Far Cry 4 keys that were ‘fraudulently obtained’ caused this messy situation this week. It’s really disappointing for the players involved, and I’m very sorry if it’s happened to you—official resellers are the way to go from now on if you’ve been stung by cancelled keys. The best thing about owning something digitally is being able to take it anywhere with you, no matter what PC you’re using—I love being able to play games at work then resume seamlessly when I get home, it’s one of the best things about PC as a platform. Taking a gamble that you might not own that game doesn’t seem like it’s worth it, no matter the saving.