With eighty-four playable heroes at time of writing, League of Legends surely ranks amongst the largest and continually updated multiplayer games on the market. The fact it is also free-to-play in no small part secures its place amongst the most popular competitive multiplayer experiences. The range of character abilities, in-game items, skill tree options, and team compositions also makes League of Legends one of the most dynamic games around. Until recently, Riot Games offered just a single official game mode tasking players to fight against waves of NPC minions to destroy an enemy base, a spiritual successor to Defense of the Ancients, the much loved Warcraft 3 mod. Balancing such an expansive game has certainly never come easy to Riot. Now with the launch of Dominion, an entirely new map known as the Crystal Scar built for a new game mode, Riot, must practice a new balancing act that has more to do with community relationships and expectations than with game mechanics.
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So, I never touched Demon’s Souls. And it wasn’t because I was scared (okay, maybe I was a little bit scared). It really was that I don’t have access to a Playstation 3.
This was disappointing to me, as I heard all of these stories about the game’s ability to evoke tension and fear because of its punitive nature (death packs a real wallop in the game, real loss). People either hated the game’s punishing nature or spoke about it as if it had the ability to change your life (or at least the way that you see most video games) through its sense of the value of death and its consequence.
Culver City is one of the more curious neighborhoods of the Los Angeles sprawl, a sort of industrial version of Pasadena with much of the filmmaking history of Hollywood but with only a fraction of its tinsel. Despite being wedged between Santa Monica and downtown, it feels distinctly suburban here, even just a tiny bit upscale—but still definitely middle-class, white-collar knowledge labor, not the town of either executives or bohemians. Even having lived almost exclusively in Los Angeles for the last five years, I’ve only visited two, maybe three times, and never before on (what might loosely be defined as) business.
I knew better than to expect anything on the scale of a major expo. The IndieCade independent games festival is only in its fourth year and is very much defined by its outsider status. While it does deliver a slick presentation, it isn’t the audio-visual heart attack of E3. The term “adhocracy”—which Naughty Dog’s Richard Lemarchand used to describe his team’s development process at a Saturday panel—would seem to apply well to the overall structure of IndieCade. Games here exist pervasively and at the margins as much as they do in defined spaces, which well suits some of its featured games’ attempts to deconstruct and reconfigure play and space.
Nothing says vacation quite like a beach full of zombies.
After the controversy and excitement surrounding the release of its trailer earlier in the year, many gamers wondered whether that possibly exploitative, possibly sophisticated bit of a teaser for Dead Island was really representative of what this open world, survival horror hybrid would be.
This week the Moving Pixels podcast attempts to answer that question as well as considers other elements of the zombie-infested beach fronts of Dead Island.
A new piece of DLC is coming for Dragon Age II called Mark of the Assassin. But I’m done with Dragon Age II. I played it, enjoyed it despite some flaws, beat it, and plan to go back to it eventually (i.e. sometime before Dragon Age III). However, this coming DLC has piqued my interest due in no part to its content, but rather to its creator.