Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Evolve: The Beta, The DLC, and Everything


       For the past week or so there has been some serious discussion on the topic of the new game from Turtlerock and 2K.  Evolves’ basic premise is that four hunters are trying to track down one monster and kill it on an alien planet.  The monster and the hunters are controlled by players.  It’s a new type of 4v1 gameplay that is hardly ever seen outside of mods or indie projects.  Hearing the idea way back a couple of E3s ago I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed with interest.  In fact, at that time I was probably more interested in Dragon Age Inquisition or Destiny to bother to really learn about Evolve.  But the major outlets were going on and on about how great the game was and how a person had to play the game to really understand how good it is.  Outside of 3D and VR, I usually don’t take these kinds of things too seriously.  But last E3(I think), I finally saw a long play session and decided that this game might be good after all.  I played in the Big Alpha(A little) and recently spent almost a dozen hours playing in the Beta that just happened this last weekend.

     The game is FANTASTIC!  Probably my GOTY so far for 2015 and it pretty much beats anything coming out last year easily.  But “Wait!” you say, the game isn’t even out yet!  You are correct, but more people were playing Evolve this last weekend than will be playing on launch day.  Because the beta was open and free.  Which means that no matter how much the servers got slammed this weekend, things weren’t too bad.  So the game can only get better; more modes, more monsters, more hunters, and of course more accurate matchmaking because we will all have ranks that reflect our actual skill.

     While this whole things sounds like a love fest for Evolve.  Some Twitch streamers broke all their records for views, subs, and followers while the beta was going on.  The game is great was the overwhelming sentiment throughout the community.  But this was all predicated on not such a feeling of positivity.  In fact, it would sometimes rear it’s ugly head here and there on a Twitch stream.

                        “This game looks boring…”

                         “This game is the same thing over and over…”

                         “Do you think this game has longevity?”

                        “How do you feel about the DLC issues with this game?”

           DLC issues?  What have we been transported on to a developer interview show rather than a Twitch Stream?  No this is about a little issue that came up earlier in the week before the beta even started.  This was first, that XBOX ONE users would retain all of their progress in the beta and no one else would; second, that on the PC and the XBOX ONE there were these rather large bundles of DLC that came with the game if you paid more money, and third the individual pricing for the different aspects of this DLC was also explained(assumablely to show what a good value the bundles are).   Well, some journalists thought all of this was absolutely deplorable, most having not even read the press release fully that explained.  Some just felt that the whole thing, “sounded shady.”  Which for better or worse somehow always trickles down into the gaming community.  I don’t think that this kind of thing is very widespread and I assumed it was mostly just a way for trolls to troll but still there were a lot of people out there worried about not only the longevity of the game but also the strange pricing model that the game has. So let me see if I can break this down for you.

                       Monster Expansion Pack

                  Pre-order on any system and receive the Monster Expansion Pack, which includes the “Savage Goliath” skin and a new monster character.

                         Xbox One Digital Exclusives($79)

               Players who pre-order Xbox One for digital download can pre-load the game directly onto their consoles any time between now and the game's release on February 10, 2015.

               Pre-ordering digitally from the XBox One store grants users access to unique monster skins and the Third Characters Set Unlock.

                     Unique Skins:

  • Savage Goliath
  • Goliath Magma
  • Wraith Magma
  • Kraken Magma

                  Third Characters Set Unlock:

  • Parnell the Assault
  • Abe the Trapper
  • Caira the Medic
  • Wraith the Monster

                  Gamestop and EB Exclusives

        Pre-ordering from US Gamestop and Canadian Electronic Boutique stores grants users access to four unique skins:

  • Markov’s Lightning Gun
  • Maggie’s Machine Pistol
  • Hank’s Laser Cutter
  • Val’s Anti-Material Rifle

                 Amazon Exclusives

Pre-ordering from Amazon grants users access to the Instant Hunter Pack which includes instant access to four additional hunters:

  • Hyde the Assault
  • Griffin the Trapper
  • Lazarus the Medic
  • Bucket the Support

Additionally, folks who pre-order receive the Monster Expansion Pack, including a Savage Goliath skin and a download of the first new monster character available post-launch.

              Pre-Purchase Evolve Digital Deluxe PC ($79)

The Digital Deluxe Edition Pre-Purchase includes Evolve, Evolve Hunting Season Pass, Evolve Monster Expansion Pack and a giftable copy of Left 4 Dead.

            Pre-Purchase Evolve PC Monster Race($100)

   The PC Monster Race Edition Pre-Purchase includes Evolve, Evolve Hunting Season Pass, Evolve Monster Expansion Pack, Fifth Playable Monster, Two Additional Hunters, Four Monster Skins and a giftable copy of Left 4 Dead.


       That is the full explanation all in one place for you.  Most of this is simply the old case of retailers trying to get this or that silly exclusive to try and get more people to buy it.  The XBOX ONE version and PC versions simply strike me as what PSN and XBOX LIVE are doing with their GOLD editions or Deluxe Editions.  Nothing new here. 

      For some reason, this stuck in the craw of more than one member of the press and they felt all of this so terrible and the game was just too big a mess to cover properly and they weren’t going to cover the open beta at all.  And as far as I could tell they hadn’t covered the Big Alpha either except to say that it happened.  Some like Gamespot, decided to tackle the issue head on.  Which was great, but it felt a little odd, like Chris Waters, having played and loved the game tried to defend a pricing model?  To his fellow Gamespotters.

    The game as it comes in the box is whole and complete.  The user can unlock the other Hunters and Monsters by playing the game.  They can even unlock many of the skins by just playing the game.  2K is basically selling access to future content via the season pass model.  This season pass is mostly what is getting caught up in the pricing.  If the user pre-orders they get the 4th monster for free.  If not he is $15.  This isn’t that much different from any of the other pre-order incentives out there.  You can play against ANY MONSTER or ANY HUNTER whether you’ve unlocked them or not.  You just can’t play as them until you do so.  Also, the developers have already said that they aren’t charging for Maps or Modes and that those will always be free to everyone.


      I guess it is hard for me to understand the problem with any of this considering how much I love the game and how much time I’ve already invested in both watching and playing it.  I would really love to hear from anyone out there after reading this article and watching the videos what you think.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Resident Evil HD Remastered Edition(PC)


Resident Evil HD Remaster



4/5 Stars


        After a none too interesting release of the last full Resident Evil game(Resident Evil 6).  Capcom has decided to go back in time to the very first Resident Evil and bring us an HD remastered version that has the content of the Gamecube version from 2002.  However, the game has a significant graphically and audio update since that version.  The game has lost none of it’s original challenge.  While allowing the player to choose from original tank controllers or the more modern alternate control scheme which is more similar to more recent Resident Evil games.

         The very interesting thing about this game is not its’ remade status or being able to play this old game again.  But with the graphical fidelity and the smoothness of some of the animations it could be easy to mistake the game for a modern release if not for one thing.  Every time in the previous game there would be a cutscene or a major change in the camera this game simply freezes for a second or two.  It looks absolutely terrible and makes me wonder why they allowed this to stick.  No matter how good the game looks or how beautiful the textures on the characters or enemies are; the game has this one glaring flaw that assures that you never forget you’re playing a ported, remastered version.

        For people who have never played Resident Evil before this might quite a nice starting point.  There are tons of walkthroughs and hints online so that the games’ puzzle elements are quite pared down if that is how you want to play it.  The game consists completely of jump scares but they aren’t repetitive or wear out their welcome too much.  But if you have played Resident Evil in the past, even if this is the “Definitive Version” of the game.  I don’t know that it is worth the money to pick it up.  Unless, of course, you love the series; then you probably already own it.

      I never much cared for Resident Evil.  I felt like Resident Evil 4 and 5 were the best of the lot and while I do appreciate this game and all that it has meant to people over the years; that doesn’t mean I like playing it.  But a game can be important even if it isn’t necessarily fun and this game was definitely EXTREMELY important back when it came out originally.  I think it might also be important now, for people to understand how survival horror began and what made it important to people at the time and even some people now.  The game can be a lot of fun if you have never been through it before.  For the people who love nostalgia, they will LOVE this Resident Evil because the shiny rosy red glasses of how we think about an old game are definitely working just fine here(with a ton of work to make it that way).

       Oh and if anyone has any red herb, I need it…  I’m not feeling that great right now…