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Around the Gaming World News Report 03.30.12

March 30, 2012 | Posted by Chris Ferrell

Hey everyone, welcome to the latest installment of Around The Gaming World. If this is your first time checking in I try to cover some of the major stories for each console in addition to news, which in my opinion, is the news of the week.

I figured the Mass Effect rant I went on last week would attract some feedback, and I’m happy to debate the topic with everyone. To start with I am not one of those fans writing off BioWare due to the end of Mass Effect 3. I fully admit that I was disappointed by the ending, mostly because it just tried too hard to be smart and seemed to be different that the tone of the three games. It reminded me a lot of the ‘God did it’ explanation used to wrap up Battlestar Galactica. 95% of the game was fantastic in my opinion; the end just didn’t seem to have the same quality as everything that preceded it.

Just to be safe, if you have not played Mass Effect 3 and don’t want to be spoiled, please skip ahead to the Xbox news! Next week Mass Effect 3 will have been out for 1 month and I’m more than happy to get into a debate that involves more spoiler points.

Possible Mass Effect 3 Spoilers Begin Here

Some of the events in ME3 brought tears to my eyes and some brought a smile to my face. I was all in. Yet I had no problem with the ending at all and have yet to see any logical reason to explain why I’m supposed to see it differently.

Posted By: lethargic (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 04:02 AM

First of all, I only took an excerpt of your comment. There were moments in Mass Effect 3 where I teared up as well. One of my favorite characters received an emotionally moving ending that that had an emotional resonance. I just wish the end of the series could have made me feel the same way. I was saddened that the game was over but when it was all over I was left more with a ‘what the hell’ feeling than shock or surprise.

Yet I had no problem with the ending at all and have yet to see any logical reason to explain why I’m supposed to see it differently.

Posted By: lethargic (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 04:02 AM

Then you haven’t been looking.

1.) Despite their promising that your choices would actually matter, everyone gets the same ending, because there really only is one ending, pallette swapped. So all your work gathering war assets? Doesn’t really matter unless you REALLY want to see the thing in green.

2.) Plot holes galore. How exactly does your party member get to the Normandy after being on Earth with you, for starters?

3.) The Mass Relays blowing up kills almost everyone. Seriously. The Arrival DLC for ME2 established that when a mass relay explodes, it pretty much takes out the entire system. So no, it’s not just that the loss of the Relays means no more significant intergalactic travel, everyone dies.

4.) There are a crapload more. Just look at the Bioware forums for a list. It was a rushed, botched ending, and it tarnished what was up to that point a stellar game.

Posted By: Vordeo (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Vordeo, you’ve had a lot of the same thoughts I had. Shortly after I beat the game I started thinking of the consequences of Shepard’s actions. Regardless of what choice you make, Shepard is responsible for continued genocide. He just proved the synthetics and the organics could make peace. Literally it was one of the last missions before the end. Also, the destruction of a Mass Relay is proven to destroy solar systems. It happened in the ME2 Arrival DLC and there has been nothing stated to show it wouldn’t happen this time. Vordeo, you picked up on a lot of the plot holes I was noticing.

No, it really wasn’t. You don’t think the people who made the game actually knew how it was going to end years ago? Just because your a baby that can’t handle a story not ending the way you feel it should doesn’t mean they botched it.

Posted By: lethargic (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 02:19 PM

Have you beaten the game lethargic? I’m just curious, because there are plot holes in place. In fact, a lot of conspiracy theorists have stated these plot holes prove Shepard has been indoctrinated and that the end is just a dream that will be corrected with future DLC. That being said, if the ending stays the same there are plot holes that make no sense. When I beat the game my final teammates were Garrus and Liara. When Normandy crashes Liara walks off the ship. How does she get on Normandy when she was just with Shepard on Earth. Just because folks are seeing plot holes that don’t line up it doesn’t mean they are crying about it. I think it’s more trying to figure out how the plot hole came into being. Also, there have been multiple reports that the end of Mass Effect 3 was handled predominantly by a small team lead by Casey Hudson and that the bulk of the Mass Effect writers were not involved.

If you don’t like the endings to ME3, don’t buy the game. The fact that death threats have been sent to Bioware staff is an outrage. I’m not buying ME3 after pouring 200+ hours into the first two but despite my disappointment I don’t feel the need to hop on the internet and act like Bioware committed a felony.

Posted By: Guest#2303 (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 01:06 PM

The death threats and things like that are ridiculous and do nothing to legitimize fan complaints. The sad thing is this overshadows the non violent ways in which gamers have expressed their displeasure. $80,000 were raised for Child’s Play in protest and fans pooled $400 together to send BioWare cupcakes to show they still had faith in them making right. Gestures like this will get overlooked because a bunch of idiots decided to bow up and make stupid threats.

But yeah, let’s just focus on how we’ve been trained to expect happy endings customized to us personally in everything we do, instead of being happy with playing one of the best games ever made.

Posted By: Cactus (Guest) on March 23, 2012 at 06:42 PM

I agree with Cactus that Mass Effect 3 is probably one of the best games I’ve played. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a happy ending even if I made perfect choices throughout the game. I expected a bittersweet ending where Shepard wouldn’t see the end of the war. But, I did expect some resolution in regards to what happens after Shepard makes his choice. My concern is the ending doesn’t seem to make sense due to the plot holes and there are many unanswered questions. Just my opinion though.

Possible Mass Effect 3 Spoilers End Here

Thanks for all the comments on Mass Effect 3. BioWare was right that the end of the game would elicit powerful feelings from fans. I just don’t think they were expecting such a vocal response of unhappiness. Just to reiterate I wasn’t happy with the ending, however, I acknowledge that BioWare can end the series however they choose.

New Apps Go Live – Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it added access to various cable networks including Comcast Xfinity, HBO Go and Major League Baseball (MLB.TV) to Xbox Live, which allows users to watch TV, listen to music and participate in online gaming through the Xbox 360 console.

More Xbox 360 users are turning to the console to participate in online gaming and watch more entertainment. In fact, for the first time ever on Xbox, entertainment usage has surpassed multiplayer games usage — even though online multiplayer gaming still grew year over year. Total hours spent on Xbox LIVE worldwide have increased 30% year over year.

Via: Mashable

Firstly, it’s about time these apps were rolled out. They were promised and promoted heavily with the release of the current Xbox Dashboard. I have Comcast, however when I tried to download the app I was told the servers were done. Major Nelson was reporting that Comcast was having issue with all the demand. If people’s first tastes of Comcast on Xbox not working that’s not good. Hopefully the app is up and working the next time I try it. I haven’t tried the HBO Go app but news sites are reporting that if you are a Comcast subscriber, like I am, then the app is not supported. Comcast subscribers are unable to make use of HBO Go on anything aside from the iPhone and Android cell phones. My hope is that the Comcast app will have most of the HBO programming… but I can’t check it until the app is working again!

What is probably the most interesting news to be released is that entertainment usage has surpassed online gaming on Xbox Live. Microsoft has stated for a long time that they wanted to make the Xbox 360 the centerpiece of home theater systems and it’s looking like that’s starting to shape up. I wonder how many people are cord cutters that are making use of Xbox Live.

What is the Xbox Lite? – Rumors of a new Xbox have been running rampant for quite some time, though they are now taking a slightly different shape. The rumored next Xbox won’t be a generational leap forward. This comes from an anonymous blogger by the name MS Nerd who has been posting on Reddit. According to MS Nerd the next console will be a stripped down version of the current Xbox that focuses on ‘Arcade-style game’ and Kinect apps. The device will be “price-competitive” with Apple TV and is apparently slated for a late 2013 launch.

Via: Tech Radar

Based on the success of Microsoft’s online streaming and Xbox Live apps I tend to believe there might be some truth to this rumor. Microsoft’s success with apps on Xbox Live has been remarkable and surprising to many. I was surprised to see just how successful this has been. I’m sure Microsoft has watched the success of items like the Roku box and on a more limited basis the Apple TV and seen potential in a new market to exploit. There is no definitive streaming internet box, though to be honest the Roku is damn good.

If Microsoft entered the internet box business I think they would have a lot of success. The current Xbox works really well for streaming content and playing games. Cutting back to simple games and streaming content would require less hardware which makes the $99 price point easy to hit. Simple games and streaming video for $99 isn’t a bad deal. The current Roku plays one game, Angry Birds, and sells for the same price. If Microsoft releases this Xbox Lite that allows for casual gaming in addition to videos I think it could be a success. Of course, this is all a rumor so who knows if it will actually happen.

Playstation Orbis? What? – Rumor has it the next PlayStation is codenamed Orbis, will combat used games in some form and is being planned for a holiday 2013 launch. The rumor suggests that the new Playstation will not feature PS3 backwards compatibility. Its hardware specs will consist of an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU, with the ability to show games at a resolution of 4096×2160. It’ll also be able to display 3D games at 1080p. The PS3 is only able to do it at 720p.

Rumored Concept Art

Via: Game Tyrant

So this isn’t the first time a new Playstation has been rumored. The fact that multiple sites are picking up the news means either there is a grain of truth or everyone has been duped. I think that some of what has been rumored about the Orbis will end up being true. Both Sony and Microsoft greatly dislike the used game market. I’m sure they are looking into new ways to tie a purchased game to a console so it cannot be resold.

The lack of backwards compatibility really doesn’t surprise me. Sony has proven with the PS Vita and the current crop of PS3 systems that backwards compatibility is not one of their concerns. Very few PS3 systems can play old PS2 games and the PS Vita requires you to re-buy games you have physical copies of already. I’m not sure I believe the tidbit that the system will display graphics at 4096×2160. What right now can support that resolution that consumers already have? Nothing and it strikes me as overkill and over exaggeration of the rumors.

Spring Fever on PSN – In case you’ve missed it Sony is running some sales on gaming content on PSN right now. The sale ends this week so make sure you go and buy now if you’re interested in some of the on sale games.

Spring Fever Discounts:
Closure 20% off
Splinter Cell HD 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas 2 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Classic Trilogy HD 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory HD 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow HD 50% off
Tom Clancy’s End War UMD Legacy 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2 UMD Legacy 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Predator 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas – UMD Legacy 50% off
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Essentials UMD Legacy 75% off
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 75% off

Via: PlayStation Blog

If you’re a big fan of the Tom Clancy games this is one hell of a sale. I’ve played the Rainbow 6 games and the Splinter Cell games and found them to be a lot of fun. For the prices they are being offered for currently I would be sorely tempted to buy them if I didn’t already own them.

Nintendo’s Next-Gen Console with Current Gen Hardware – Details are beginning to emerge that would indicate the Wii U’s hardware is roughly equivalent to what is currently in the Xbox 360 and PS3. Darksiders 2 director Marvin Donald said in a video interview:

“We’ll have a few new features for sure, but I think visually, for the most part, it’ll be pretty much the same,” Donald said of the Wii U version of Darksiders 2, which is being planned as a launch title for the system. “So far the hardware’s been on par with what we have with the current generation, so, based on what I understand, the resolution, textures, polygon counts and all that stuff, we’re not going to being doing anything to up-rez the game, but we’ll take advantage of the controller for sure.”

Via: ArsTechnica

In all fairness, I have never been a big fan of the Nintendo Wii. Nintendo still builds fantastic handheld consoles but I really think they have lost their way when it comes to the console. The Wii sold huge to start with and once other companies jumped on the motion control bandwagon it seemed to taper off. One of the biggest complaints about the Wii was the lack of HD graphics and hardware that was roughly equivalent to the GameCube. Last-gen hardware was billed as a next-gen system.

It seems Nintendo hasn’t learned their lesson if this interview is accurate. Both the Xbox and PS3 smoked the Wii in regards to graphics. While it’s good that Nintendo has moved into the HD arena I think it would make more sense to push the envelope in regards to graphics. When the Wii U releases it will look good when compared to both the Xbox and PS3 but wait 1-2 years until Microsoft and Sony move on to their next console and I’m sure it will blow the Wii U away graphics-wise. In the short term the Wii U should payoff for Nintendo but I don’t see it being a winner in the long run.

Child’s Play Says No More – Gaming charity Child’s Play asked the organizers of the Retake Mass Effect campaign to stop accepting donations because some of those that pledged thought they were helping fund development of a new ending to Mass Effect 3. While the impromptu charity drive raised $80,000 Penny Arcade, the gaming website which runs Child’s Play, had concerns about the money that was raised and the confusion it caused fans.

In a post on Penny Arcade, Jerry “Tycho” Holkins explained that Child’s Play project manager Jamie Dillion “has been buried under mail about this situation. Apparently some of the people giving to the cause seemed to think that they were paying for a new ending to Mass Effect.

Via: Joystiq

First I have to say that the original idea of getting gamers to donate to Child’s Play to show they were committed to their complaints and not just bitching online was a smart thought. Obviously, this didn’t work because the internet is filled with stupid people who for some reason thought they were buying a new ending. Gamers get crushed for ‘complaining behind their computer screens’ and not ‘doing anything to fix’ what they are complaining about. The motivation to donate to Child’s Play showed that fans were willing to do more than complain about the Mass Effect 3 ending. The fact they raised $80,000 is great for Child’s Play, the resulting confusion is not.

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I had a lot of fun responding to comments on Mass Effect 3. I think it’s a fun topic to debate because there isn’t really a right or wrong opinion. Feel free to leave comments based off of my responses on Mass Effect 3, let’s keep the debate going!

Thanks for checking in for your weekly dose of gaming news. It should be interesting to see how some stories, such as the next version of the Xbox and PS3, progress over the next week. Before closing everything up for the week I’d like to take a moment to shamelessly self promote myself. I had a chance to review MLB 12″: The Show and thought it was pretty fun. For someone who hadn’t played a baseball video game in years it was a lot of fun once I got over the learning curve.

I’m currently reviewing a game set to release for the Xbox next week. I will say this much, I’m having a lot fun with it and look forward to the review going up on Wednesday. Check in then to see it.

As always, please make use of the comments to let me know what you are thinking. Feedback is always welcomed.

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