2010 Round-Up / a view to 2011

Worry not as I’ll not be trying my hand at the prediction game as I’d likely get them all wrong. No this post is to write about my gaming year and what I’m looking forward to in new one.

The year 2010

It was a busy year, much of it spent attempting to get the balance of work/family/gaming right since mini-troll came along. Thankfully being married to a gamer makes having a gaming as a hobby much easier.

Here are my gaming highlights of 2010.

  • BF:BC2 : This game demonstrated how a FPS should work and play, it made ‘Modern Warfare 2’ pale in comparison. Great single and multi-player experience.
  • EVE : I have tried my hardest with EVE but really can’t get into the groove with this game for longer than a few weeks.
  • Fable 2 : I eventually got into how this game worked and it became one of my favourite console games of the year.
  • City Of Heroes : Sadly the Going Rogue expansion didn’t revitalise our interest in CoH and we left our subscriptions to expire.
  • DoWII – Chaos Rising : The sequel/expansion to the 2009 game was OK, but I felt it wasn’t long enough or maybe lacked content. I was disappointed overall.
  • GSB : See my last post.
  • All Points Bulletin :  It had potential but didn’t deliver and suffered from cheaters,lag & too high specs. That said I really enjoyed the short time I spend playing this with the KIASA folks.
  • Assassin’s Creed II : I’m still playing through this game, but I have enjoyed it immensely, it certainly improved on the original.
  • Blade Kitten : This small XBLA game was a really enjoyable combination of platform and puzzle genres, I look forward to future releases.
  • Trials HD : Another XBLA game that I thought was rather beautifully realised and reminded me of Junior : Kickstart.
  • Deathspank : This game gave me a lot of laughs, certainly glad I got it, I may even complete it one day.
  • Minecraft : There isn’t anything that hasn’t been said already about this game, it let your mind go crazy for a while.

With many MMO games going free to play (or with a free to play element) there certainly is alot of choice out there , unless you dislike the Fantasy genre, the you are pretty much forgotten about.

On to 2011

There have been many games announced or pushed back into 2011 or are games that I hope will start their hype-engine during 2011.

  • Planetside:Next (working title)
    As indicated in Smeds annual livejournal update http://john-smedley.livejournal.com/1998.htmlthe game is coming and by the sound of things is nearing beta, which was a big surprise to everyone. So as we all try and figure out how the game will change, we are also reforming connections with past allies, looking for the best way to approach the outfit setup and dusting off our Gauss Rifle. We all have our fingers crossed that the core game will remain but a shiny new engine and anti-cheat measures will be the predominant features. I for one hope that as more players are drawn into FPS games, thanks to the Call of Duty, Halo franchises, the populations will be rather healthy.
  • Torchlight 2
    I really enjoyed the first game and the opportunity of being able to enjoy the game in Co-op is very appealing to me. I’m hoping that the game continues to the excellence of the first and is naturally a stepping stone towards another game or a more on-line centric game. After hearing about the XBLA version of torchlight coming soon I wonder if we will see Torchlight 2 release in 2011.
  • DC Universe Online
    This game looks set to launch early in 2011 Today, It was nice to see that SOE didn’t feel the need to prove themselves against Cataclysm and postponed the launch, plus it gives a little more time to add more shine. A solid game that everyone says looks very polished already and with well designed gameplay. I’m still unsure if i want to invest in this title at launch, but I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on it.
  • Age of Empires Online
    AoE was always the perfect RTS for me, it never felt too rushed, anything beyond fun. I’m hoping that this new F2P model will bring back a little of that old school magic back that drew me into the game originally.
  • The Sims Medieval
    From what I’ve seen of this game its looking to branch out the Sims game into new areas, not just obtaining goods for your pad but actually taking place in a different time. This is very interesting as the Franchise was looking to stagnate and appeared to be treading water with same-old-same-old content updates. This certainly looks set to rock the boat in this genre.
  • Dawn of War II: Retribution
    This third game in the DoW 2 series looks set to make the greenskins and tyranids playable races and rumour has it that base building may be making a comeback, well of sorts.  Most likely will add increasingly more content for multi-player and not much for us single players that aren’t interested in it. Hopefully the one good element of this game will be the removal of the Games for Windows Live, which has certainly hampered this games success.
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
    The first of the franchise relaunch titles, Will be interested to see how the game will treat all those fans that have been playing games like Splinter Cell etc since Deus Ex 2. The expectations will be high for this game and it may struggle to meet them.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine
    This game will be a must for any fan of the Warhammer 40k universe. The game set you as a squad leader with a team of various troops each skill differently and from what I read you will control only one at a time for their unique perks. After reading about this I did wonder if it would work in a similar style to Full Spectrum Warrior, but then I feel that maybe too complicated to combine into the 40K world. This is very high on my ones to watch this year, even if it doesn’t release.
  • Max Payne 3
    The return of the man that slows time to ensure there is maximum carnage, infact the Rockstar look to the game sees the hero look like a cross between John McClane(of die hard fame) & Stone Cold Steve Austin, I’m not completely sold on the look but we’ll see. Sadly it looks like the game may have been pushed back beyond 2011 at this time, hopefully more news will appear.
  • The Secret World
    This game has been simmering away building up followers and momentum in the last year or so. Funcom are building the game on the same engine as Conan, which removes that whole “hang around 2 years while we build the engine then another 2 for the game” approach yet history indicates the game was originally started in 2002. The game is rumoured to be without classes and levels, a brave move that could work very well if it’s managed correctly. I’m looking forward  hearing more about the game in 2011.
  • MechWarrior
    Nothing says “Fight me” like a massive robot armed to the teeth. Our 3rd reboot hasn’t seen any love in quite some time and playing in the BattleTech universe is likely to be a first for newer gamers.
  • Guild Wars 2
    The hype-bubble has really put me off this game and it’s not even out. Yes I’m interested in knowing about an upcoming game but for GW2 it feels like it’s being pushed into your face continually. I’ll play it when can be bothered.
  • Battlefield: Play4free
    Building on the success of their Battlefield Heroes game EA are making a non-cartoony Shooter game based on the Battlefield series. The videos and demos look good, just wondering what cash-shop options will be purchasable and if they give too much of an advantage.
  • Battlefield 3
    Just as I was completing this list I hear that EA are aiming for a new Battlefield game aside from the free to play version. I think the Battlefield franchise is certainly one of the most popular, if not the most popular FPS on the platform.
  • All Points Bulletin : Reloaded
    If they can pull of a relaunch of APB I will be very impressed, but the amount of work needed is going to be rather large I’m afraid. We’ll just have to wait on this one and see what happens.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic
    I’m not a big fan of the Star Wars Universe, that’s not the say it doesn’t entertain or interest me. But I really don’t have that same faithful dedication that others of my age have. The big idea with TOR is making story line a large part of the game rather than just a medium to level.

I think this could be my most wordy blog post for sometime, but then I enjoyed the topic.

Alright Sunshine! Whats the word on APB

Well unless you’ve been living on the moon, or perhaps you were ill, or just out of contact with the gaming scene in some way, you will have seen that RealTime Worlds Multi-player Cops and Robbers game All Points Bulletin (APB) launched at the end of June/start of July. I should mention that I took part in the beta testing but dropped out as I couldn’t make alot of the schedule play-times.

In the last week I’ve been loading in to lay down the law in San Paro, after working through the tutorial which was rather familiar and playing a few 1v1 missions I headed out in to the Action districts to play for real. The selection screen for the districts is rather good and indicates the populates levels in each area. Additionally if you have any friends online you can see their location, allowing you to jump into the same one as them. I spent a good few hours teaming up with DokChaos while we got to grips with the missions and later on the guys from Kiasa, kicking ass for TheDepartment.

Whats on offer

This game certainly brings some new ideas to the gaming table. To avoid me blabbering on about nothing for a whole post I’ll attempt to bullet point those features which have made the game fun and enjoyable for me:

  • Customization – the game has nice customization system that some may argue isn’t that detailed, but I will say it’s got enough settings for you to get the starting elements of an avatar setup. Put it this way it got more options that Warhammer Online, yet fewer than Champions Online.
  • Teams – Grouping is rather simple and you can generally find at least one other person to group with, which in this game is better than running around solo.
  • Higher Ranks There is a problem in many PvP centric games in that the person who has played longest is all powerful and will have the best gear etc. Now even though there benefits from being a higher level it can negated by calling in backup and thus it doesn’t have a negative impact on my enjoyment of the game.
  • Unlocks – The unlock-able costume/vehicles/weapons seem to come thick & fast, I not once felt like I was just grinding out levels, the gameplay does a great job of distracting you from XP watching.
  • Fast Paced – If you want it to be the game can be pretty much non-stop missions and action, but it’s nice to chill out and redesign your avatar in the social zone.

What annoys me

This is a rather new game and it has some rather big issues that I feel it will need to be resolved if the game is to remain as a shortcut on mydesktop:

  • Memory – the amount  recommended for the game is 4GB which pretty much rule out any one running Windows xp 32 bit, which still appears to be the most common OS around for gamers at the moment. I have 2GB and when the game is in full swing I’ve encountered the Low on Virtual memory message in Windows.
  • 64Bit – The other option that recommended is that for the OS to be 64bit, a step that I’m trying to avoid as I’m not sure how many of my games/apps support 64bit.
  • Loading Zones – the loading times aren’t great. I understand that there is a whole zone to load, but I’m currently playing the game on the lowest graphic settings, do i need to load in all those High-Res graphic files that I have no urge to view as i aim to reduce my crash numbers?


The overall feeling I get from this game is that it wants to create a kind of drop-in environment that matches you with a group and allows you get into the missions and action without delay. Currently this is never a possibility as the zone loading times are so boringly long and number of crashes I’ve had to deal with means i see alot of those loading screens. I think something simple like purchasing ammo and equipment could be a mundane task that a player could perform while the game loaded their world and character. Thoughts?

If the memory leaks are resolved and us “run if the mill gamers” without 4GB of ram can start to last a few hours in game without a crash (windowed mode helps to regain control of your PC without a hard reboot), the potential is there for this to keep me coming back time and time again.

I’ve not mentioned the payment model as I hope to give a little more detailed reporting around that area in the future.

One last thing to note, given the rather simple control systems I think  that this game will certainly be distended for the Console market in the near future, even if it’s a cut-down version (zones/options) to suite the console hardware this is certainly one to watch in the next 6 to 12 months.