How do you possibly condense twelve years’ worth of anticipation into a single game? Such is the question that plagues Blizzard’s Diablo III – if you can get in to play, that is.
I was one of the (likely) hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people slamming the servers on launch day, 12:01 a.m., with reckless abandon. What did it get me? Not very many “first impressions” to write about.
It’s since been a bit of an up and down with Blizzard, but I’ve somehow managed to find enough windows of time between my personal life and the life of Blizzard’s blazing servers to beat the game (normal difficulty). In addition to some fun screenshots below, here are a few quick impressions from someone who’s been punching Prime Evils in the face since 1997.
If your trigger finger starts itching for a new FPS frag fest while you're out-and-about and away from your PC, Steam now offers the gaming equivalent of calamine lotion: remote game management. Yup, Valve's made it possible to install new games on your PC while you're "busy" at work. Yay instant gratification!
When you say the words "Class Project," most folks flash back to tedious research papers, MLA-style references and boring talks about Shakespearian characters with Oedipus Complexes. In other words: BOOOOOORING. But school doesn't have to be a snooze-fest! Case in point: Penn State's Advanced Mechatronics class, which sounds like it may just be the coolest course ever. One enterprising mechanical engineering student went after his final mechatronic project with gusto and built a working, talking, tracking and firing replica of Portal's gun turret -- then put it up on YouTube for the world to see.
Hey, remember that whole Mass Effect 3 ending thing? Mercifully, I don't plan on giving it any further attention beyond that sentence. But it did – in its less oppressively obnoxious moments – give rise to a renewed discussion about videogame endings. The general consensus? It's the point where even the mightiest fall, tumbling from a perch of lofty regard to the turgid depths of disappointment. BioShock, Fallout 3, Knights of The Old Republic II – even the most beloved franchises have proven all-too-capable of heinous back-stabbery at the 11th hour.
And those are only the standouts. Plenty of other series have committed last-second crimes both large and small, so you could be forgiven for thinking we're in the midst of an epidemic fatal specifically to fond memories. Where, after all, is your satisfaction-fueled victory lap? Why, instead, is there an angry mob waiting at the finish line, pitchforks, torches, and voices raised in a howling thunder of angry regret? Why do games seem incapable of producing satisfying endings? That's the question many gamers have been asking themselves, and they've yet to uncover an answer.
Perhaps that's because they're asking the wrong question.
Long before there was Battlefield 3, there was Call of Duty, and before that, there was Quake and Doom. All those games can trace their lineage back even further, to Wolfenstein 3D, iD's awesomely innovative Nazi-hunting FPS adventure. Today marks a milestone for the classic franchise: B.J. Blazkowicz has been blasting SS guards and chaingun-wielding robo-Hitlers for a whopping 20 years. Even better, rather than just tooting its own horn, iD's showering gamers with freebie gifts to celebrate the anniversary.
In 1697 William Congreve coined the phrase, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned”, though in 2012 its starting to look like “indie” might also be an acceptable substitution. The controversy surrounds EA’s use of the words “indie bundle” in their most recent Steam sale, and real indies have been lashing out at the company from every angle.
When people say that we're living in a post PC era, they're typically only looking at sales of mainstream, prebuilt systems -- the HP, Dell and Lenovo "PCs in a box" that grace the shelves of your local retailers. Those numbers, however, fail to take component sales and custom builds into consideration. (Sacrilege!) Now, a new report highlights just what we're missing by omitting component sales: Jon Peddie Research, a prominent research firm, says that PC gaming hardware sales will hit $23.6 billion -- that's "billion," with a "B" -- in sales by the end of the year.
The Nvidia GTX 690 is real, and it's amazing -- both in specs and in price. But while the tech world swooned at the announcement of the dual-GPU behemoth, another new product outlined at the GTX 690's unveiling holds even more intriguing potential for the gaming world at large: the cloud-based "GeForce Experience," which promises to automatically optimize the graphics settings in games based on the components in your individual PC.
Last year, Valve teased gamers around the world with the promise of eventually releasing a level editor for Portal 2. The company's been frustratingly close-lipped about details since then -- until yesterday, that is. Valve announced that the level editor is shipping as a DLC offering called the Perpetual Testing Initiative, coming to PC and Macs on May 8th for the low, low price of absolutely free.
Most notebooks that are capable of pulling off a true frag fest on the run are portable in name only, being heavy-duty 15- to 17-inch monsters with battery lives briefer than butterfly's lives. To make mobile matters worse, Alienware recently announced that its M11x is being put out to pasture. Fear not, traveling gamers: all is not lost. Maingear is, well, gearing up a new 11-inch gaming notebook of its own, the Pulse.