Category Archives: Gaming

Bioware Shows Cautious Signs of Caving–May Be Creating “New Ending” for Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 seems to be an all round good game (I haven’t played it yet, of course) except the fact that Bioware, the developers of the game, bundled important story related content as paid downloadable content, said that it was created after the game was made, proved to be liars and have come at the receiving end of vicious criticism against the ending of the video game. From what the Great Viewing Crystal of the World (aka the Internet) tells me, the end game does not take into account any of the choices one has made through the course of the three games and is a little more than “save the game here, choose one of three dialog options and proceed to see three different endings”. Sure, we have come to see that in many games (Jedi Academy and Oni come to mind) but none of them had promised us the greatness and sense of accomplishment that Bioware did via Mass Effect.

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In return, Dr. Ray Muzyka, GM Bioware, had this to say in a ‘sorry we did this, but deal with it’ blog post said that while the team was very happy with all the great critic ratings, they were quite disappointed with the fan feedback on the end game. He also promised some “game content initiatives” to provide “more clarity” and “bring about “full closure” to the game. To my ears they sound like they are making a different ending and, seeing as how this is Bioware, they might just charge a premium for it. Might. We will get to know in April if Mass Effect 3 will have a “proper ending”.

Baldur’s Gate Enhanced Edition Announced!

After many many fantastic memories given to us, the legend of Baldur’s Gate was shrouded in mystery and forgotten (not really, but go with the flow for now okay?) and lost to the Depths of Time… until now! If you remember a teaser website called baldursgate.com that was set up sometime ago, you will also remember the cryptic messages left in its source code. Now we know exactly what it was all about (more or less)!

baldursgate

Overhaul Games, a bunch of ex Bioware guys, have been covertly working on an enhanced remake of the Baldur’s Gate series right after their HD remake of MDK2. Very imaginatively titled Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and Baldur’s Gate 2: Enhanced Edition, both the games will include the content from the expansion packs as well. The games will still be using the Infinity Engine that has hosted a number of excellent titles from Black Isle/Bioware and the developers have promised to fix bugs, issues and incomplete quests that have till now been addressed by fan made mods. On that count, the enhanced editions will include modding support for greater post-release enjoyment. There will also be new voice actors (yay!) and the game will still be in 2D isometric (doubleyay!)

Pretty awesome indeed, but I fear the anticipation was way more exciting than the actual announcement. It is slightly underwhelming to find the same games, re-mastered when you can find the originals on GOG.com and mod them yourself. However I am groping in the dark here and the Enhanced Editions might live up to their monikers. Only time will tell. For now, Godspeed Overhaul!

Diablo III Gets A Release Date(No Really!)

It’s the moment that all Diablo fans have been waiting for with bated breath, since it was first announced almost 4 years ago. Yes, people, Blizzard has finally announced the release date for Diablo III. The D-Day: May 15, 2012.

Diablo III

Blizzard, along with Valve, are famously known for releasing their games “when they’re ready” – and Diablo III is no exception. It was widely speculated that Diablo III would arrive somewhere around end of 2011. Rumours of the launch were raised earlier in January when Best Buy put up a countdown for the release of Diablo III. Blizzard denied that the release was to happen in February, which was implied by the countdown.

Diablo III can be purchased digitally from their Battle.net online store and upon pre-purchase, you’ll be able to download the game immediately. However, the game will be encrypted and unlocked only on May 15.

Diablo III will be available at a suggested price of $59.99 USD for both the retail DVD-ROM version and the digital version sold directly from Blizzard. The alabaster-white Collector’s Edition will be available on retail stores at a suggested retail price of $99.99 USD.

The Collector’s Edition will include the full game on DVD, a behind-the-scenes Blu-ray/DVD two-disc set, the Diablo III soundtrack CD, a 208-page Art of Diablo III book, and a 4 GB USB soulstone (including full versions of Diablo II and Diablo II: Lord of Destruction) and corresponding Diablo skull base, as well as exclusive in-game content for Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.

So, till you wait for May 15 to come, have a look at the opening cinematic. Also, do remember that if you purchase a year’s subscription of World of Warcraft, you’ll get Diablo III for free.

Meanwhile, I’ll go purchase some extra mice that I know I’ll need, as my existing ones will die click-click-clicking.

How to Unlock the Prothean Character in Mass Effect 3 Without Paying for DLC

(Also known as “How to tell an unsuccessful lie to fans and to set new lows for the gaming industry” by EA and Bioware)

We all know that Bioware and EA were a bunch of greedy people. This was proved once again with the release of the Day 1 release of the premium Downloadable Content (DLC) called From Ashes which unlocked a Prothean member in Commander Shepard’s squad. This led to a lot of clamor and eventually many people (including me) decided to boycott the game completely, or at least until the game’s price falls to acceptable levels.

Bioware/EA’s response to this was that the DLC was programmed and created after the game was done coding, and that they had no intention of including any of the DLC in the core game. That is to say the Prothean team member’s model, texture, animation and voice was coded outside the main game. This sounded fishy to many people. Some enterprising fans tinkered around with just the core game’s code without installing the DLC at all and found out that Bioware was lying outright.

To recapitulate, here is how to get the Prothean character without buying the From Ashes DLC:-

1. Open Coalesced.bin with this http://wenchy.net/me3-coalesced-utility

2. Search for this:MemberValidCID=22, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=IsSelectableProthean,

3. Replace with this:MemberValidCID=, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=,

Awkward, Bioware. Awkward.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive Updated with Arsenal: Demolition Mode

The steady stream of updates on Counter Strike: Global Offensive is quite fantastic. The latest update from Hidden Path Entertainment, the makers of the newest Counter Strike game, is the addition of a new game mode called Arsenal: Demolition. Demolition, as we all have come to know and love, is the mode where the Terrorist team plants a bomb at one of two specified sites, while the Counter-Terrorist team either stops them [dead], or defuses the bomb once it is planted. Another “mode” for the game is the server side mod developed by many gamers called Gun Game. In a Gun Game, there are no buy menus and everyone starts with the same gun. As the game progresses and as the players rack up kills, the player is awarded either a better gun in the next round (the classic Gun Game) or is awarded with a weaker gun the next round (the reverse Gun Game).

arsenal

The new update for Counter Strike: Global Offensive includes the Arsenal: Demolition mode which is a combination of the demolition mode as well as the reverse Gun Game mode set in a brand new map called “Lake”. The CT team starts with the M4A1 and a knife, while the T team starts with the AK 47 and the knife. Each successive ‘level’ crossed brings the player a weaker weapon and increases the difficulty. The game goes on for five rounds per team with a 5 second break to switch teams. Thus it is a really short 10 round game.

The developers said that the classic Gun Game will make its appearance later in the Arsenal: Arms Race mode. T

We will have more on CS: GO with a short review soon (guess who got a beta key?)

NASA and Samsung Team Up To Promote Angry Birds Space

It is not technically a “teaming up” because it’s mostly Samsung promoting its Galaxy Note device and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the USA providing some kid-friendly zero gravity physics demonstrations. However, the end result is a very odd pairing that can only bring more downloads for Rovio’s seminal casual gaming hit Angry Birds.

Announced after a short intro on trajectory physics aboard the International Space Station (ISS), Angry Birds Space will release on the 22nd of March, 2012 and will have the familiar birds hunting down the greedy green pigs once again in a sci-fi space setting with some gravity twists. Think Blast Off! mixed with Catapults and released on pretty much every casual gaming platform around.

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Don Pettit, a flight engineer aboard the ISS, explains how trajectories matter for space travel as well as Angry Birds since the birds are nothing more than projectiles. The ISS, might we remind you, is orbiting the Earth about 391 kilometers above it and can sometimes be seen as a slow-moving “star” from our vantage point in the ground.

I do not know how Rovio managed to pull this one, but it is quite a brilliant publicity campaign for a generally average game that was at the right place at the right time. Will you be playing Angry Birds Space?

Bioshock: Infinite Release Date Announced

This will be a short post with the release date in the first paragraph (it’s the 16th of October this year, by the way) and about two more paragraphs telling you just how much fun this game might be. You have been warned. Irrational Games announced today that their dieselpunk video game Bioshock: Infinite will be released on the 16th of October, 2012. That is about… eight months and some days away. You can also apparently preorder the game (although what purpose that would serve more than half a year beforehand is beyond me.)

Bioshockinfinite

Do not know much about Bioshock: Infinite? Have no fear when Techie Buzz is here! (We tried making that sentence cheesier and failed) Previously known as Project Icarus, Bioshock: Infinite puts the player in the shoes of an agent asked to rescue a girl from a floating city in 1912 America. Building up on many themes such as the American Exceptionalism of that time as well as the strong voice of a people as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street protests of the current day as well as a dieselpunk setting in a dystopic city, Bioshock: Infinite sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun. Irrational Games co-founder Kevin Levine agrees:-

After BioShock, we had a vision for a follow up that dwarfed the original in scope and ambition. BioShock Infinite has been our sole focus for the last four years, and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on it.

I cannot wait either, Kevin.

After PayPal Playing Spoilsport Paymate Screws Over Tiny Indie Game Studio

We have all heard of PayPal playing the bearded one-eyed villain who devilishly demolishes indie studios for no proper reason in many cases. Google Checkout has also played that part – albeit to a lesser degree than PayPal. Thus, when SeeThrough Studios chose Paymate as their payment provider, they were hoping for a buttery-smooth joyride to Uncle Scrooge’s vault. Turns out that indie game studios and payment providers have some sort of jinxed relationship.

paymatelame

When SeeThrough Studios’ geometric game Flatland: Fallen Angle received a fair bit of coverage across websites they also saw their coffers fill up with a reasonable amount of money via Paymate. Later, however, the developers received an email stating that the payment service will be withdrawn and all the money in escrow will be refunded to the credit cards. When questioned by the devs, the Paymate officials responded like so:-

We don’t work with online games companies, because teenagers use their parents credit cards to buy games, and then we end up having to refund them. End of story.

That’s right. To not having to end up refunding some of the customers later, they ended up refunding all the customers now. Flawless logic. Moreover, it seems that all online video game sales are made by teenagers who steal their parents’ credit cards. Very interesting statistic that I am sure Paymate has spent at least a decade investigating.

Either way, this extremely stupid reason has made a small indie studio quite broke and they are still looking for ways to get past this mess.

Download FIFA Street Demo for Xbox and PS3, Pre-order Now

I am a big fan of the FIFA franchise and have played it on the PC and Xbox as well. However, I have been waiting for a while to get my hands on the next version of FIFA from EA Sports called FIFA Street.

FIFA Street

FIFA Street compromises of 5-a-side match which provides authentic street soccer, styles and stars from around the world. It claims to provide an authentic feel to the game which if similar to FIFA 2012 is going to blow you away.

The demo will allow you to play at the at the Amsterdam Square stadium and choose between teams like Manchester City and AC Milan  or real life street football legends.

EA Sports will be releasing the full game on March 13th, but you can pre-order your copy of FIFA Street right now for $59.99 on Amazon. Amazon is also offering a pre-order bonus where will receive in-game access to an Adidas all-star team featuring 13 of the greatest footballers in the world, including Messi, Kaká, Robin Van Persie, Nani, David Silva as well as the Lionel Messi Barcelona venue. FIFA Street will be available for the Xbox 360 and PS3 platforms only.

Origin Auto-Adds EA Game Purchases From Steam

Joystiq reports that the puke-worthy EA has actually gone and done something reasonably intelligent with its Origin digital distribution system. Apparently many users of the Day One Patch forums reported that copies of Dead Space 2 – that they had purchased over Steam – had magically appeared on their Origin game library, with the same CD Key (i.e. an identical copy). While this is slightly unnerving, some more data that surfaced said that it was not all that malicious since Origin is known to look through files of the user’s computers (much like Steam itself does) and send back relevant statistics to EA.

Origin

It seems Origin looks through the games and filenames present in the user’s computer, match it with its database and if the user had bought an EA game through another platform, it automatically adds it to its own game library. Of course there are some checks here and there built into its system. While this is actually pleasing for once it is slightly creepy and we would all be a little more comfy if Origin announced that it has found such and such game in your system and will be registering it with Origin as well. That way people will actually like Origin. But this being EA, they again missed out on a lovely opportunity to show how Origin is better than other platforms in this respect.

They still have not convinced me to buy Mass Effect 3 though.