So Sam Fisher, Sully, Captain Jack, the Saints and some creepy aliens walked into a bar...yeah that’s all I got but it gives you an idea of what to expect this week.
Late summer arrives and brings with it such staples as backyard BBQ's replete with pumpkin beer, NFL training camps, PAX Prime and, ahem, "great" games. This week's new releases feature some classic 2D platforming as Mickey's favorite sidekick, an action RPG on the Red Planet, everyone's two favorite italian plumbers on a rescue mission to save their girl and a turn based strategy game based on a popular board game.
Forza fans have had a couple of solid months to digest interviews, press conferences, reveals, and forum postings, but what does it all mean? For every question answered by Greenawalt and crew, that answer raises two more questions. It’s like trying to wash a fucking Gremlin: more unbathed Gremlins appear every time you get one clean.
With four months to go until launch for Forza 5, we still have a good amount of time to speculate, and more actual and factual information coming at us every day. So, with an air of dignified excitedness, here’s a bit of what we know so far.
The Track & Car List...So Far
2008 Aston Martin DBS
2013 Aston Martin Vanquish
2010 Audi R8
2013 BMW M5 F10
2013 Chevrolet #1 Andretti Autosport Dallara DW12
1976 Ferrari 312-2
2013 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta
2011 Koenigsegg Agera
2012 Lamborghini Aventador
1976 McLaren M23
1993 McLaren F1
2010 McLaren MP4-12C
2013 McLaren P1
2012 Pagani Zonda Cinque
2012 Pagani Huayra
Turn 10 has stated that Forza 5 will have hundreds of cars, almost certainly more than Forza 4, which should put it over the 500 mark. No word yet if the garage capacity has been enlarged to accommodate avid collectors and duplicate cars in different classes.
Open wheeled and Indy cars have also been verified, and a couple of them already appear on the car list. A few lightweight open-wheeled cars could cause problems for the Radical R8, which has enjoyed almost a singular presence, just below the radar of R1. Potential go-karts from Caterham, BOC, and Ariel could give the Radical a run for its money if they make the cut and don’t get screwed by the PI system. Could we also see a game version of the very cool, yet underperforming, Plymouth Prowler?
Only 5 tracks have been verified for Forza 5, and only one is a new track to the series:
Top Gear Test Track
The Ol’ Stuttgart Stutter
One brand that players will not see at launch is Porsche. Turn 10 has verified,however, that super tuner RUF will be making a return with its trademark high performance and mega horsepower 911 models.
Does this feud between EA and Turn 10 mean that we will not see Porsche this game, or is Turn 10 waiting to hit us with another 20 bucks down the road?
The Return of Drivatar and Autovista
Drivatar, a largely unused feature from the first Forza Motorsport, is coming back to the Forza series in a big way. So big, in fact, that it’s the only feature that Dan Greenawalt wants to talk about in interviews, other than the game’s 60 frames per second graphical integrity and reflective surfaces.
The historical version of Drivatar gave players the ability to teach the AI their driving style and, theoretically, the AI would mimic that style by going out and competing in races that the player delegated to the Drivatar, while taking a slice of the profits. Basically, it’s a hired driver that has been sandbagged with the player’s idiosyncrasies, which was a hard sell for players who bought a racing game to race, not to delegate races to an idiotic AI driver.
Turn 10 has not only updated the concept behind Drivatar, but also its application. Players no longer have to specify Drivatar training when they wish to teach the AI a few things: this Drivatar training is constantly and unobtrusively occurring any time the player is racing, either single player or socially. Drivatar may have been an unused feature in the first game, it may very well be the main event in Forza 5. Cloud computing teaches the player’s Drivatar to drive like that player, and that Drivatar will be available in multiplayer races for other players to challenge themselves against, even when the player is offline. The power of the cloud allows AI to be 600% more realistic, will permanently end griefing, and means the end of single player racing forever...okay, that may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but the addition of realistic AI has some very exciting potential. Preferential treatment will be given to those folks on your friends list, meaning that you can choose to race against their Drivatar over some anonymous clown, so it’s like always racing with your friends without having to strap on a headset. Or listen to them belch into their microphone. Or tell fart jokes. I need new friends...
Remember when you got home with your unopened copy of Forza 4 and couldn’t wait to pop it in so Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson could verbally walk you through Forza 4’s Autovista feature? Yeah, me neither. However, Forza 5 is promising an upgraded Autovista and will now feature all 3 presenters: Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond. I give this feature a whoop de-fucking-doo. If Turn 10 wants to associate themselves with every car fan’s favorite show from across the pond, why not allow the presenters to lend their voices as announcers and include a Blu-Ray disc of Top Gear’s Greatest Hits or something?
We still know very little about Forza 5, and if history is to repeat itself, information will be doled out very slowly. Will Turn 10 finally fix their PI system? Will AWD cars be competitive this time around? Does the presence of Drivatar indicate changes to the storefront, auction house, or monetary system? Will a player’s Drivatar utilize vehicles from that player’s garage? Will Turn 10 limit moderators’ abuse of storefront bans? Will painters and tuners be given more toys to play with in Forza 5? Has anyone seen Pickle lately?
A new Forza game is always exciting, but the fact that this game is on a new console makes the wait almost excruciating. My interest in this title is very high, and I will pass on any relevant news as it happens. We still have a few months to go until launch...come on, November!
Feel free to post any specific questions in the comments section so we can get them answered, if possible. This community has a voice, and we want Turn 10 to hear it.
It’s another lean week for video game releases. This weeks’ games feature a visual novel romance game (ooh, exciting!) and cleverly named games ending in “-ia.” Hey, we told you it was a lean week! At least we have the release details of the new Bioshock: Infinite DLC to look forward to...
In Boston, we’re in the midst of one of the worst heat waves in recent memory. A good way to beat the heat is to stay inside, preferably with some sort of AC or fan to cool you off. This week, while not as busy some, features a decent amount of niche games that will help you forget the humidity outside. Stay cool and game on!
It's another weak week of new releases. Read on to see if there is anything you can add to your pile of shame.
Turbo: Super Stunt Squad
Remember the character in The Neverending Story who rode a “Racing Snail”? He jumps on it and everybody’s like “Snails be slow as shit!”, but then it takes off at like a thousand miles an hour and everybody was like “Damn! That snail be fast as shit!”. Well, apparently DreamWorks made a movie with snails and other small bugs and mollusks racing each other, and (like all kids’ movies) a game tie-in is being released on every conceivable console.
Dynasty Warriors 8
Hey! You, there! Yeah, you! Do you like repetitive stress disorder? Does your thumb have a callus the size of a grape on it from constantly hammering away on the “Strong Attack” button? Do you like massacring thousands of nameless Chinese soldiers for no better reason than that they were in your way? Then Tecmo Koei has the game for you! In fact, they have the exact same game that you’ve played for the last decade, but with slightly prettier graphics. Here comes Dynasty Warriors 8: The Same Old Shit! (subtitle subject to change).
Shin Megami Tensei IV
The Persona spin off (Or is it the other way around? These are two seriously convoluted series.) continues on the 3DS. Get ready for more incomprehensible plot twists and weird fight sequences that still somehow tell a riveting story. Plus, as it’s a JRPG, someone will have amnesia. It’s a rule. Plus, it’s on the 3DS, so.....free headaches! Bonus!
Time And Eternity
American PS3 owners finally, finally get the chance to play the game that has a Metacritic rating of 37%. There’s a wedding, assassins show up and somebody has a “dark alter ego”. More generic JRPG goodness from Namco Bandai.
The Serious Sam Collection
Four downloadable Serious Sam adventures are presented here in one package, along with all their available DLC. You get both volumes of Serious Sam HD, Serious Sam 3: BFE (with the Jewel Of The Nile DLC) and Serious Sam Double D XXL. All four games have added Achievement support, so your friends can see just how many headless, bomb-carrying, screaming guys you’ve killed.
Summer is typically a little slow for game releases. This week however isn’t so bad with a new Sid Meier game and NCAA Football 14. If culture wars and college football are your type of thing, this may be your week.
Attention 2o2p readers!!! Shameless Plug Alert!!! Shameless Plug Alert!!! This is a big week for the gaming community. This week the rubber hits the road for Sony and Microsoft as E3 is finally upon us. Will Sony unveil the PS4’s top secret design? Will Big Brother, errr...Microsoft, showcase the Xbox One’s gaming capabilities as promised? Or will we get another in depth look at Microsoft’s advanced DVR? Will we see 4th generation gameplay? Is the used game market obsolete? Tune in to 2o2p this week for answers as our E3 coverage promises to be bigger, better and bolder! Ok, now that we got 2o2p’s shameless plug for our awesome E3 coverage out of the way, onto the new releases! This week affords you the opportunity to be the mayor of Furrytown and avoid mushroomheads whose sole purpose is to, you got it, turn you into a mushroomhead.
Path of Exile (PoE) from Grinding Gear Games has reached the halfway mark for its open beta. For the uninitiated, PoE is a totally free to play (anti-pay to win) action RPG in the style of Diablo and Torchlight, except it does many things, much much better than either of those two titles.
While PoE received minor and moderate patches and updates almost on a weekly basis thus far, this week we’ll see the first major open beta game-changing update. Here’s what you Exiles can expect:
Anarchy League is a new 4 month Standard League mode. This plays pretty much like the current Standard League except there are 13 different rogue exiles wondering about that you will randomly encounter. These characters are equipped with the same type of weapons and powers that player characters have and will drop a ton of loot on death.
Onslaught League is a new 4 month Hardcore League mode. Monsters will all have 20% increased movement, attack and casting speeds. As always, if your character dies in this mode, it’ll end up in Standard League just like the current Hardcore. This mode was done at the request of players who thought the game was too easy.
Each of these new leagues will run for four months, at which time your character will be placed back into Standard League, if you were playing Anarchy or Hardcore, if you were playing Onslaught.
Both Anarchy and Onslaught will have a new feature called challenges. There are eight challenges to be achievable over the long haul and need quite a bit of commitment. Players who manage to check off all the challenges in both leagues as complete over four months will be awarded a Path of Exile T-Shirt by Grinding Gear Games. As an example of a few of the challenges and their difficulty, one is to receive 34 different items via vendor recipes and one is use all of the currency items.
Why would you want to play these new modes? Well, new different loot is the reason why, you loot whore! These leagues have the following new items : Moonstone Ring, Amethyst Ring, Diamond Ring, Turquoise Amulet, Agate Amulet and Citrine Amulet. These items are taking the place of Prismatic Ring, Onyx Amulet, Thief's Torment, Lori's Lantern, Astramentis, Carnage Heart, Eye of Chayula and Kaom's Heart which will not drop in either of these two new leagues. Also there are six new unique items, two drop only in Onslaught, two only drop in Anarchy and two will drop in both.
I won’t run through the huge list of all the other changes, but one fundamental gameplay change is a reduction in monster damage. Even though, at first glance, it’s pretty overwhelming the amount of build diversity that should be possible. The reality of the situation is most of your build choices have to be wasted on health and energy shield/armor options especially for higher level characters. This severely reduces the amount of choice a player has and this change is suppose to address that, along with giving people Onslaught mode who want the ultimate challenge. Since this is a fundamental change, everyone will be awarded a total character respect resetting their skill tree and letting them re-apply all their skill points.
For a complete list of the upcoming changes, look at the patch notes on Grinding Gear Games forums: http://www.pathofexile.com/forum/view-thread/403446
So I thought I was gone, you thought I was gone but apparently I’m not gone. I’m like the cousin that came to stay the week but that was three months ago and I still haven't paid rent. I’m like the stray cat you picked up out of the garbage and fed once and now never leaves your side. I’m like the clap.