What a day Adam Orth had. What was thought to be a relatively benign conversation on Twitter has blown up to a worldwide fiasco leaving Orth's employer, Microsoft, with a damaged public image and leaving Orth under siege by press and message board posters. More than 50 websites have linked Orth's comments about "always being online" to the persistent rumor that Microsoft's next platform will indeed require a constant internet connection to work.
I typically go to a lot of panels at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East, but this year relatively few of the offerings interested me (and some of the interesting ones were on simultaneously). So, I spent a lot of time on the show floor. The only major publisher I really visited was Ubisoft, where I learned that Might & Magic X will be coming this year and has a huge, wasteful UI. I spent most of the rest of my time in the Indie Megabooth and environs, both because this is a more efficient use of time and you're more likely to actually see the games and talk to somebody interesting there.
Buck is a peculiar hitman in Far Cry 3. Apparently employed by the game's big bad, Hoyt, Buck has an interest in men, and in ancient Chinese artifacts. As it happens, he presently "owns" one of protagonist Jason Brody's male friends, and will exchange him if Jason retrieves a ceremonial knife originating from the treasure ships of Zheng He. Since Jason needs the knife for another purpose, it is obvious from the beginning of the adventure that he will come away from Buck's tasks with both friend and knife. That's how these games work, and Far Cry 3 is relentlessly conventional in that respect.
Why have we become to concerned with a zombie apocalypse? What about the much more likely—or at least more interesting—prospect of an alien invasion? But before we even talk about a defense system to fight back that alien attack, Extra Credits asks if there are even any aliens to worry about.
Where one story ends—sorry Aliens: Colonial Marines Wii U—another begins anew. Welcome to the new, but pretty damn familiar GameCritics.com podcast with brand new co-host Sinan Kubba of Joystiq—yes, co-host—more details inside... Join Sinan and regular ruffians Mike Bracken, Richard Naik, Chi Kong Lui, and Brad "The Guy You Know" Gallaway as they summarize GDC and PAX East in two seconds, explore the depth of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, sink to the depths of Aliens: Colonial Marines, and fathom how the growing prevalence of broken-at-launch games is hurting the industry. All this and more in a GameCritics.com podcast episode that will rewrite history, woo-oo.
Several weeks ago Seb Wuepper posted a critique of Far Cry 3's design at Gameranx that I did not find compelling. Wuepper's argument reads less like criticism of Far Cry 3's design per se than a complaint about the fact that this game is not Far Cry 2. I am sympathetic to his point because I also prefer Far Cry 2. However, I don't feel that not being some game I like more is a fundamental argument against design quality.
Few booths were as busy at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) East 2013 as that of Supergiant Games. Over the last two years, the Bastion creators have become indie superstars. Despite the circus, I found a few minutes to speak with Logan Cunningham, the voice of old man Rucks from Bastion, on how it feels to reprise his narrative role trapped inside of the eponymous weapon in Bastion's next venture: Transistor.
In other games news, I've been tooling around with a few things randomly. With the wife currently in command of my Nintendo 3DS (she's working on her own Monster Hunter character, of course) I've hopped back onto the PlayStation Vita and have been trying to catch up with what I've missed during my recent 3DS binge.
I've been touched by some of the response to the Shooting Straight post that I wrote a few weeks ago. I wrote it in reaction to the spate of layoffs that we'd seen from IGN at the time, and the layoffs really shook me because that could have been me out there had I found the courage to trust in my talents and go for a paying job in the gaming press. I don't know how I would've handled being suddenly let go, having to scramble to salvage my future, and wondering where to go from there.
One of my favorite time wasters on YouTube are the Vsauce channels. I was thrilled earlier this month when Vsauce3 tackled something that I have always wondered about but dared not ask: can I actually rocket jump in the real world like I did in Quake? The answer is disappointing, but at least I know for sure.
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