Wes Fenlon: You can't go home again
I essentially lived in Halo 2 and Halo 3 multiplayer in late high school and early college. I played hundreds of games of each with my friends and I made new friends in those happy early days of Xbox Live. Without Halo I'd never have met Glenn, who's now one of my best buds in the world. So seeing the news about the entire Master Chief Collection coming to PC is sort of a bittersweet moment for me. My nostalgia center wants to completely sink into those games once again, to play them every day just for the fun of the competition, not for any progression or cosmetics or addictive reward loops. Just because they were so damn fun to play.
But realistically, I know I'll just dabble. I don't have the kind of free time I had then, or the attention span, or the friend group of equally addicted no-lifers to party up with every night. We'll jump in and play some, but it won't be the same, cause we're not the same. I'll just have to settle for the good memories.
Fraser Brown: Doomed
This week we were sadly reminded that Universal Pictures still has the Doom film rights, and now it's making another one. There's a trailer, if you must watch it. My favourite bit was absolutely none of it. OK, I'm lying. I really enjoyed the half-hearted "Die! Die! Die!". Clearly we were unfair on The Rock and co, who created a cinematic masterpiece in comparison. "It's not a game anymore," it warns, but it's wrong. Doom is still a game, and you could be playing it right now instead of watching this trailer for the 40th time because it's just so bad you can't stop.
Tom Senior: Spit and polish
It’s cool that Ubisoft is giving Assassin’s Creed 3 more than a visual overhaul, but I’m afraid that the game’s problems extend deeper than its UI and stealth mechanics. The tale of Conor and Haythem had so much potential, set as it was during the American Revolutionary War. It had snow, open forest areas, and tree parkour. Unfortunately it also had restrictive mission design that felt out of date even then. I’d rather see the swashbuckling Assassin’s Creed 4 get the same treatment, with some heavy optimisation to get the framerate up to a reliable 60.
While Assassin’s Creed 3 reminds us how spotty the series has been over the years, it goes to highlight the quality of the last two games, which were quite a brave transition from the action adventure stylings of the series beforehand. I still can’t love the area level restrictions and the inability to assassinate higher level targets with a well-calculated blow, but they are a lot more fun than some of the stilted and technically dodgy older games.
Chris Livingston: Not a shock
Not surprising that Shockwave is being retired, and Flash will be following it next year. There's always something a little sad when something like this happens, though, isn't there? Like when AOL Instant Messenger was mothballed in 2017. I guess it's mostly nostalgia and a reminder that time marches on, but it's also the idea that nothing is really permanent on the internet. Sometimes we get an itch for some game we played in a browser years and years ago, and go on a fruitless search for it, often only finding some video of it on YouTube or maybe even just a few forums posts about it. The game itself, or the website it was on, is just gone. We've gotten used to the idea that when something is uploaded, it's online forever, but that's pretty rarely the case.
James Davenport: Fatalist
Destiny's Season of the Drifter is here, and I'm digging what's there so far. Gambit Prime condenses a good idea into an even better one, The Reckoning is another fun arena to shoot stuff in, and I'm happy I didn't have to grind for weeks just to check it all out.
That said, I think I'm done for now. I sided with the Drifter in the Allegiance quests and I'll check in as that progresses, but I'm so tired of Destiny's backwards progression system. The problem lies with infusion. To keep the gear you like, either for their looks or stats, you need to infuse it with higher level gear. Doing this requires an abundance of enhancement cores, which are easier to come by than they used to be but they're still too expensive and drop too slowly. In the climb towards the level cap, I never get to roll with gear or weapons I like because I always run out of cores. Why they're required at all, I have no idea. I don't mind dropping glimmer to get the job done, I just don't have the damn time to play like Bungie expects me to. I'm sure plenty are in the same boat. It wouldn't alienate hardcore players to make the change either. They're busy chasing better rolls at the top already. Oh well. See you next season.