News + Features
While everybody here on Game Debate has one key thing in common (we all love video games), we all also have wildly differing views on just what types of games we can enjoy. New genres are springing up all the time, while old favourites have been given new leases of life thanks to the thriving indie scene.
A recent survey by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) raised some interesting questions. The ESA polled a number of players throughout 2016 in an effort to spot industry trends and understand why gamers were choosing to buy the games they are. What stood out to me was that the single over-riding reason why those polled bought games is because of the quality of the graphics. A massive 67% said it influenced the purchase of their games.
Over the years, few things have caused such fervent discussion among tech fans as Microsoft Windows. For a multi-billion dollar corporation it sure knows how to be inconsistent with its products. You’d think the logical approach would be to make each version better than the last, but that’s certainly not always been the case. We’ve all got our favourites, versions of Windows which we look back on with a degree of fondness.
For a brief moment a few years back it looked as Games Workshop video games were falling off the grid. Now you can’t move for video game adaptations of its classic tabletop games. Arguably two of the biggest PC exclusives of the entire year are both Warhammer-based - Total War: Warhammer 2 and W40K: Dawn of War 3. The only game which can seemingly top them on this front is StarCraft Remastered, but that’s its own separate phenomenon.
Loot crates. Dear god, loot crates. Where do I begin. The last two or three years has been an absolute onslaught of randomised goodies tucked away in locked boxes. Valve kind of kickstarted this with CSGO and Team Fortress 2, but then every Tom, Dick and Harry spied an opportunity to make a quick buck. Now basically any successful multiplayer game is packed to the gills with loot crates. Rocket League; Heroes of the Storm; Battlefield 1; Elder Scrolls Online; Overwatch. You name it, it’s got loot crates. Heck, even single-player titles like Rise of the Tomb Raider have got in on the action, and now Twitch has them of all places.
Over the years, the PC has become the breeding ground for innovation. There’s no gaming platform in the world that is more versatile, more open, and more experimental. Just about anything and everything is possible on PC. Name any gaming trend and it probably originated on PC. PC gamers are quick to adopt and try out new things. It can be wild, it can be dangerous, but that’s all part and parcel of PC gaming. However, few things were as swift as the adoption of digital game downloads.
When it’s nearly launch time for an eagerly anticipated game and my hype levels are reaching frothy-mouthed insanity, I often convince myself this is the ultimate game. I envision myself playing it for hundreds of hours, trying out multiple different character builds, and generally just bathing in its gloriousness. That never happens. Pretty much as soon as I get a sense I’m near the end of a game I end up mainlining it. The credits roll and the game is deleted, never to be seen again.
GD’s own Phatchopps recently made the bold claim that Dishonored 2 is the greatest game of all time. I know, I know, sound the hyperbole alarm. His argument stemmed around Arkane’s impeccable level design however, peaking with the absolutely astonishing Clockwork Mansion. It’s difficult to argue this specific level isn’t an absolute triumph. For those unfamiliar with Clockwork Mansion, it’s an architectural wonder which can be totally transformed by pulling levers, moving entire rooms. It could have all-too-easily been a confusing mess, but Arkane worked its magic to a tee.
I was browsing when I had a moment of existential crisis. I saw just 0.71% of Steam users were gaming at 720p resolution. What the heck have I been doing these 720p benchmarks for all these years? It turns out folks have abandoned 1280 x 720 in droves. In fact, the number of people using 720p monitors has halved in the last month alone. They are a dying breed. RIP in peace, sweet princes.
I, like many others, have found it all too easy to step aboard the hate bandwagon for Ubisoft’s ‘towers’ mechanic. Popularised by Assassin’s Creed before creeping into a huge number of Ubisoft’s games, and since then into just about any open-world game in existence. As soon as I heard a game had a form of the tower mechanic I would instinctively scoff a little. It’s game design by number. However, since playing Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not the mechanic itself that’s to blame, but the way in which it’s unimaginatively used.
We’re barrelling towards Mass Effect Andromeda’s launch at lightspeed right now. In fact, those willing to stump up cash for Origin Access can begin playing BioWare’s latest sci-fi this week. So with Andromeda on its way, what better way to get excited for it than ponder the highs and lows of the original Mass Effect trilogy.