Lightbox Interactive Senior Designer Andrew Weldon joins us for an EXCLUSIVE interview, where he spills the beans about the Starhawk 1.04 Update & DLC. Get comfy. Because we don’t leave anything out.
Before I get into the “meat & potatoes” of Medal Of Honor: Warfighter, and my experience with the game during the PAX 2012 Medal Of Honor: Warfighter Community Event…I should give you a little background intel about myself.
I am not just a fan of the Medal Of Honor franchise. I am a battle hardened veteran of almost every Medal Of Honor “battle space” ever made available to me from the fine folks at Electronic Arts.
I was part of the team that destroyed “Railgun Greta” (I always thought that would be a great name for a band). I was there with the French Resistance, when they put a stop to the V-1 menace. I survived the horror of “Panzerknacker Unleashed“. I experienced the tragedy & triumph, of both D-Day & Pearl Harbor.
And of course, I was there when Mother, Preacher, Voodoo, & Dusty all said goodbye, to one of their own.
But enough about me, let’s talk about Medal Of Honor: Warfighter. I just thought that it was important for you to know as you read this, that the opinions expressed here, are not those of some casual gaming blog writer, or some detached industry media guy who could really care less about the game.
These are the opinions of a guy who knows this franchise, and has come to expect a certain something when he plays Medal Of Honor.
Flash forward to Seattle, Washington. The “Jet City“. Friday, 31 August, 2012. Westin Hotel. 1900 hours.
20 or so Medal Of Honor community members fill the lobby, and you can feel the sheer anticipation pulsing throughout the room.
After signing in, we are finally led upstairs to a huge meeting room filled with food, fun, & fireteams.
As we started the gameplay portion of the evening I was instantly caught off guard, by just how good the game looks.
I play Battlefield 3, so I know what the Frostbite 2 can do. But you could immediately tell that Danger Close has a firm grasp on the engine’s real capabilities.
The second thing that I noticed was the sound design. It was even a topic later in the night, during a Q&A session with the DEV team.
The ambient audio in general is superb. But the gunfire in particular, is simply stunning. Each weapon has it’s own distinct sonic personality. You can almost “feel” the difference between weapons, based solely on how each one sounds.
With regard to the essentials, Warfighter’s basic gunplay and control interface, remain relatively unchanged from the game’s predecessor. All in all, to this point, I’m feeling pretty optimistic about everything I’ve experienced so far.
But, keep in mind that 2010’s Medal Of Honor was a hybrid endeavor. With Danger Close developing the Singleplayer mode (on a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine 3), and DICE (EA Digital Illusions CE) developing the Multiplayer mode on the Frostbite 1.5 engine.
In fact, that may have been the only thing wrong with the 2010 iteration. You could tell that the two modes were somehow related, but were also distant cousins at best.
So, as I blazed my way into Warfighter’s Multiplayer mode, I was a bit apprehensive about what I might find.
However, I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised to find that Danger Close had re-imagined the Multiplayer mode, and has aptly transplanted it’s DNA into the mode’s fabric.
Unlike 2010’s game, you can tell that Danger Close developed this mode. It didn’t seem like I was playing someone else’s version of Medal Of Honor. The HUD, and player icons were well thought out, and unique. I didn’t notice the usual visual clutter on the screen like you see in some shooters. And thanks to the technology of the Frostbite 2, player movement was smooth, and very natural.
The Spec Ops mode was interesting, though I rarely found myself using it. It gives you a very quick “IR” peek at your environment when you need to amp up your situational awareness a bit. Some players may complain about it, but as I mentioned, it’s not something you can “lean on” during the course of the game. It really is something that you’d only use if you find yourself in a “tight spot“.
There is also a “suppression” effect that occurs when you find yourself taking enemy fire. It’s similar to the Battlefield 3 suppression mechanic, but is toned down enough to distract & disorient you, more than it disables you. I like the execution of the effect overall, and I think most players will agree.
Other elements from the 2010 game make a return to Medal Of Honor: Warfighter. Offensive & Defensive Support Actions are back, and have been tweaked a bit.
They seem more useful and balanced, but must be used strategically in order to achieve any real results. I also love the way a player must think before he deploys one of these actions. For instance, if you launch a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). Your player actually stops, and literally “launches” the UAV by hand. If you call in an A-10 “air strike”, your player must again stop, and actually “lase” the target for tasking. It makes the player vulnerable, which means you have to use discretion when deploying any of the support actions.
I also love the revised melee mechanic. At one point, I jumped off a raised position to engage an unsuspecting foe below, dispatching him with a well placed tomahawk. If I could have, I would have “high-fived” myself.
And although we only played on two maps during the event (Somalia & Sarejevo). It seemed like we played on 3 or 4 different maps, due in large part to the unique map design Danger Close implemented. Depending on which game mode we played, we’d find ourselves fighting on a different portion of the overall map.
Sarajevo, is set at the Kosovo Olympic Stadium. What was once a proud structure that represented something glorious, is now just a shell of rubble & untamed vegetation after years of civil unrest in the region.
I can’t put into words how dense, and cluttered the terrain is on this map. Be advised, there won’t be any “Run & Gun” here kids. To properly navigate this AO, you almost have to “move & shoot” the “Tier 1” way. I think the saying goes…”slow is steady, and steady is fast“.
A “bombed out” bobsled track snakes it’s way throughout most of the map, and provides hundreds of vantage points from which to engage the enemy. In addition to the many man-made structures that litter the map, rocky perches and natural terrain also provide players with a plethora of tactical options.
The three game modes we experienced were “Sector Control“, “Hot Spot“, and an e-sport game mode called “Homerun“.
This mode is exactly what is sounds like. It’s very similar to Battlefield 3‘s “Conquest” mode.
Players must capture & defend designated “nav points” on the map, to push the enemy back and ultimately control the AO.
It should also be noted that because of the nature of the game modes we played, the infantry combat is fierce at times, and will really test a team’s ability to work together & communicate. In other words…team work is essential.
Next up is “Hot Spot“, my personal favorite of the three game modes we saw during the event.
In this mode, players are tasked with either planting or defusing a bomb that will destroy a designated tactical target if it isn’t defused in time. The cool thing is that you don’t choose where to plant the bomb if you’re attacking, HQ does. Similarly, players on the defending team will have 2 or 3 “potential” target sites to defend, but won’t know which site is actually being attacked, until the bomb is planted. It makes for a mad scramble at times. And the fire fights that ensue are epic to say the least.
Finally, we come to the “e-sport” game mode that was named by the Medal Of Honor community at-large. Homerun is a fast paced, no respawn, “Capture The Flag” game mode, that almost always comes down to a “last man standing” scenario. The fact that you only get one life per round (10 rounds in all), cranks up the stakes considerably, and was the only game mode that evoked cheers from the community players in the room. It sucked to die, but it was actually fun to watch the match unfold from the “dead lobby“.
Overall, I’m glad that Danger Close seems to understand the importance of innovation with regard to the Multiplayer mode. The Fireteam feature alone, proves that they are at least conscious about getting players to work together to achieve the objective.
But with that being said…there is one aspect of the Multiplayer mode that I’m concerned about.
Honestly, I’m still a little skeptical about the clan support options that we’ll see with Medal Of Honor: Warfighter. When asked about it, we were told that clan management would take place via Battlelog (like Battlefield 3). I firmly believe that developers have neglected the demographic of players who prefer a “team first” gaming experience. Most Multiplayer shooter titles today, seem to have forgotten those of us who want to be part of a team. A group of like minded gamers, who share a real collective identity. We want the ability to create and manage private matches, and to manage our clan down to the last shooter. We want the ability to achieve an actual online presence. But sadly, most titles focus on the individual. A players rank or KDR seem to be more important than the greater good of the team these days, which I think promotes a selfish “me first” type of dynamic. We’ll see how Danger Close chooses to handle this, but I’m not 100% sold on the idea of using Battlelog to manage my clan.
After all, most of us already have a “friends list“.
Regardless, I’ve got my fingers crossed. All I know is that for about six and half hours in Seattle, I was Tier 1. Danger Close has clearly found it’s identity, and has put it’s stamp on the franchise. And without question, I left Seattle with an excitement I haven’t felt in a while. Medal Of Honor: Warfighter seems to have everything a grizzled Medal Of Honor veteran like me would expect, or want.
We’ll find out soon enough if that’s enough to compete in a somewhat crowded genre/market. Medal Of Honor: Warfighter from Electronic Arts & Danger Close (PC, PS3, & Xbox) goes loud, on October 23rd.
Until then shooters. Watch those corners….and Stay frosty.
I’ll never forget the first time I was introduced to Agent 47. I had just received my copy of The Official PlayStation Magazine with its monthly disc packed with previews and game demos. There on the disc was a demo for a game titled Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. I saw the stylishly dressed bald guy dual-wielding a pair of hand cannons and I was immediately intrigued. The prospect of sneaking in to a highly guarded mansion, taking down a mob boss while rescuing a priest had me giddy with excitement.
Then I tried to play the demo.
Emphasis on “tried.” It was a total mess. The controls were not only WAY more complex than anything I was use to playing, the AI was absolutely brutal. I knew right away that I was in way over my head and that there was absolutely no way I was getting over the learning curve. I ejected the disc and went on to other things.
Or at least I attempted to.
The fact was that even though I was terrible at the demo, I found the concept fascinating. This was the character I had been waiting to play for a long time. So I went back, and I was still terrible. But I went back again and this time, even though I was still terrible, I actually made it into the kitchen disguised as a delivery guy. Then, I promptly took 2 steps in the wrong direction and all hell broke loose. This scenario played out dozens of times and each time I got just the tiniest bit better. Long before the first time I made it through the level with the coveted Silent Assassin ranking I was hooked, and I knew that this was a series I would follow for as long as it was around.
Fast forward 10 years to the first release of info on the fifth game in the series. I couldn’t be more excited. Finally! A Hitman game on “next-gen” consoles.
Then I watched the trailer.
This is NOT Hitman! It’s way too action heavy! Instinct mode? Are you joking? This looks like Splinter Cell: Conviction (which I enjoyed, but it wasn’t Hitman). I/O Interactive, you broke my heart. I suffered waiting through not one, but TWO, garbage Kane & Lynch games. And for what? For you to rip the very soul out of the franchise that I love? For you to bastardise a series so you can dumb it down for the masses of mouth-breathing Call of Duty “bro” gamers? To hell with this, I quit.
Or at least I attempted to.
I’d obviously been betrayed along with all the rest of the die-hard fans, but I just couldn’t believe it. I searched every article I could find in hopes that I was wrong, but everything I read just sounded like the devs doing a song and dance to distract us from the atrocities they had committed against their fans. I had all but given up hope and written the game off. Then a friend told me about a sniper challenge mini-game that you could download if you pre-ordered the game. I figured “Why not?” I’d pre-order the game to get the code and then go back and then move the money to Borderlands 2.
Then I played it.
I figured that I’d try it once and then maybe watch some tv. Two and a half hours later, I had to force myself to go to bed. The Agent 47 that I hadn’t seen since 2006 was back and better than ever. The defining moment came when I shot an elevator control box to open the doors and then made a member of the main target’s security force disappear down the elevator shaft. After dozens of replays I finally achieved Silent Assassin rank, but with the addition of a friends leaderboard, Silent Assassin is just the beginning.
I know that the latest trailer has sparked plenty of uproar, and people are jumping to all kinds of conclusions and continuing to rage about “the absence of stealth” and “too much action” but now I just shake my head and smile. I’m confident that when the game launches it will be the naysayers, and not the devs, who will be seeking “Absolution.”
The Nuketown Hooligans‘ Bill “Rumpo” Lavoy, longtime friend and collaborator joins
Commander Fury to help him interview himself.
As they talk about the Commander’s past, present, and future in Urgent Fury and beyond.
I love baseball. I mean, I really, really love baseball.
As a kid growing up in Detroit, Michigan in the 70s, I remember loving the Tigers before loving just about anything else. Through the years, my passion for the game has only grown, and as a father, it’s been the source of great joy to share my love of America’s past time with my 10 year old son.
As it turns out, I had the privilege of coaching his Little League team a year or so ago. And one day before a game, he asked me, “Dad…why do you love baseball so much?”. As I struggled to give him a sufficient answer, I realized that it’s the sum of many different things that makes me love baseball so much.
The sights, the sounds, and even the smells of the game are what caused me to fall deeply in love with baseball. And to me, that’s really what baseball is. It’s more than just a game. It’s an amalgam of Geometry, Physics, history, culture, memories, or the anticipatory pause before every single pitch, that all come together to create this magical, uniquely American experience.
As a gamer, I’ve played almost every baseball game ever created. And while there have been a few franchises that have gotten close to capturing the “spirit” of the game, none have done so as aptly as Sony’s MLB: The Show franchise. Without question, MLB:The Show is the only baseball franchise to consistently hit it out of the park with each iteration.
And MLB 12: The Show is no exception.
It’s one thing to focus on the basic geometry & physics of the game. Which The Show executes masterfully. But, it’s another thing altogether to really focus on the little things that actually make baseball great.
For instance, if you play at Wrigley Field in Chicago, you’ll hear the el train going by during the game. Play an entire season as the Cubs and you’ll be able to watch Wrigley’s trademark ivy go from a dingy brown in April, to a lush green as the season winds down.
And it’s like that for each and every team & stadium.
Considered by many to be the most authentic baseball simulation available, Sony’s San Diego Studios continues to deliver an award winning take on America’s game.
This time around, they’ve combined the feel of the classic Zone Hitting interface with the Analog Hitting interface to get something called Zone Analog Batting.
You still use the Right Analog Stick for the stride & swing, but if you choose to, you can now control where you actually swing in the zone, by using the Left Analog Stick. It seems insignificant at first, but once you get the hang of it, it feels like you’re actually “steering” the ball like a real hitter.
While the Analog Pitching system remains virtually untouched, the Classic pitching interface has gotten an upgrade. MLB 12: The Show introduces a brand new pitching interface for the Classic Pitching Style, called Pulse Pitching. Players still pitch using a simple “X” button press, but now must time the press with an on-screen display, to ensure pitch accuracy.
But don’t freak out. If you prefer to just use the Classic Control System for either pitching or hitting, you can do that too.
MLB 12: The Show also introduces True Ball Physics. Again, it seems insignificant at first, but once you get into a game, you’ll notice that the baseball now acts & reacts more realistically than in previous installments. Using actual math, the ball will now behave like a real baseball, making hitting and fielding a bit more challenging.
Also making a return to The Show are Franchise Mode and the “fan favorite“, Road To The Show.
Franchise Mode is basically the same, with the exception of a few tweaks they’ve made to team logic. Teams will now make decisions including drafts and trades that make more sense for each specific team, depending largely on which market they happen to be in.
Similarly, Road To The Show has been tweaked to the point to where your progression feels more natural & balanced. Most noticeably, the reward / penalty ratio is more balanced, so you feel like you succeed almost as much as you fail. At-Bats also seem a little more forgiving than in previous versions of RTTS.
What may have been considered a Poor AB in MLB 11, may now be considered an OK AB in MLB 12: The Show.
It’s not really easier, just more balanced.
New to The Show, and maybe 2012’s biggest upgrade, is Diamond Dynasty.
Diamond Dynasty juggles aspects of team management, player progression, and online competition with more creative freedom than any other sports game to date. Gamers create a completely customizable team, with thousands of options that include, team name, team colors, custom uniforms, and customizable logos.
Once created, the team is given a handful of MLB baseball cards and Dynasty baseball cards that, when activated, add the players to your team’s roster.
The fundamentals of Diamond Dynasty revolve around the difference between MLB and Dynasty cards and the unique reward system that support each type.
A Dynasty player is a long-term investment that requires training similar to a Road To The Show player. While an MLB player is a short-term investment that is ready to slot into your roster ready to play at their current attribute levels.
Like real baseball cards, completing collections of MLB players will reward you with budget bonuses. Your budget is used to train players, purchase card packs (Dynasty or MLB), and purchase cards from other users on the marketplace.
Most of your budget is earned by playing ranked/matched head-to-head online games or vs. CPU against MLB teams. Every fifth game played, your custom team is re-evaluated for placement into one of five competitive divisions:
Spring Training, Season Series, Division Series, Championship Series, or World Series.
Clearly, Sony understands that baseball fans want an accurate simulation of baseball reality, and anything that detracts from that, can shatter the illusion of playing in, or watching, a real game.
MLB 12: The Show‘s TruBroadcast Presentation once again blurs the line between reality, and the in-game experience. If you didn’t know it was a video game, you’d swear it was an actual network broadcast, of an actual game.
Which, in my opinion, may just be the one thing that needs to be revamped in the entire franchise.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Vasgersian well enough, “Soup” is a baseball encyclopedia, and Karros is a former Cub, so he gets a free pass from me.
But, the fact that I can actually recite the booth dialog word for word, or predict the dialog in almost any scenario, is just unbearable at times.
In fact, I often turn it off “in-game“, which is disappointing in and of itself. Mainly because the booth dialog does add to the overall experience. For a franchise that has went to great lengths to create such an in-depth simulation, they seem to be neglecting what I think is an important aspect of the game.
Outside of that single criticism, it would be hard to find anything wrong with this game.
Overall, much like the real game of baseball, MLB 12: The Show is an amalgam of many different things, that all come together to make a great game.
And I guess that’s as it should be.
After a year of major game releases, the game industry & gamers from all over the world are set to pick the best of the best for the 2011 Video Game Awards.
Shane Bell (Urgent Fury CIO) & Doc (The Tester (Season 1) & Replay w/ Doc) join Commander Fury to preview a few of the categories & make their 2011 VGA picks.
Story by: CritiKiL
For those who have forgotten, Call of Duty Elite is an innovative new online service that enriches gamers’ Call of Duty multiplayer experience. In the latest ‘behind the scenes’ video, Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer Games are joined by Beachhead Studio in this multiplayer experience video for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. In the video they explain how MW3 enables you to easily connect with your Facebook friends while you’re playing, without having to leave your console. ELITE enhances your social experience by providing FREE tools which will help you to form, join, and organize clans. Also, in addition to competing with your friends and leveling up your clan, ELITE provides you with the necessary tools to improve your skills and opportunities to compete for real world prizing.
They also introduce more information about the New Gaming Console App “and” Mobile App, which will be on both the iOS & Android platforms, where you’ll be able to do just about everything with separate dedicated applications for both ‘mobile applications’ as well as for the gaming consoles.
“No more need to only” modify your settings and weapons configurations within the game. NOW…you can do it straight from your COD Elite Mobile App or from the Website! You will have your ‘Call of Duty Experience’ wherever you are! And not to mention we’re talking about Detailed Video Guides providing analysis and tactics, from Pro Gamers ~ To quote from my own clans motto: ‘This Changes Everything!’ ~ lol
Now you’ll be together, with everyone, online…all the time! Check out the video below, and drop us some comments, because I KNOW we have to talk more about “this” New Integration-experience. This time, they heard our call: It’s ALL About the Clans and Clan Management!
Story by: CritiKiL
Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 doesn’t come out until Nov. 8. But pirates have already obtained the video game — one of the most-anticipated of the year — VentureBeat has learned. The PC version of the game, or at least part of it, has been circulating among pirates in the U.S., who illegally copy and share it without paying Activision Blizzard or its retailers. That’s a big problem, as Activision Blizzard is expected to sell more than 20 million copies of the game in 2011 alone, according to Arcadia Research. That amounts to more than $1.2 billion in sales at retail. Piracy has always been a problem with video games, especially for PC titles. But the pirates go after Call of Duty because it’s the big prize. Every year, a cat-and-mouse game ensues. Activision Blizzard closely monitors manufacturing in the weeks leading up to shipment, since it only takes one stolen disk to set off the viral spread of pirated copies. But it’s hard to stop inside jobs.
Evidently, pirated discs began to spread quickly after an employee at a shipping warehouse (run by a huge shipping company) in Fresno, Calif., stole one disc. It’s not clear how many full copies spread this way, as the disc that was stolen was apparently Disc 2 of a two-disk set for the PC. Security may have been too tight for the thief to steal the other disc. The same course of events happened before last year’s launch of Call of Duty Black Ops and the year before that with Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. But sales of the franchise keep climbing.
Investigators are using the same tactics as last year, knocking on doors around the country and asking people nicely to turn over and delete their pirated copies of Modern Warfare 3. Rather than face fines, many complied. A Modern Warfare pirate who was caught posted a message (below) yesterday on Craigslist. In it, the person warns others not to buy MW3 before the release date because “they will come get you.” The post says “you will be fined $5,000″ and it could result in permanent banning from online play. Then the person adds, “I already went through it.”