Games journalism is moving forward and breaking new ground with prominent figures such as Matt Lees and Cara Ellison use Patreon to crowd-fund support for exploring new avenues. Matt looks to be branching into doing YouTube on his own terms while Cara is travelling and getting into embedded journalism with indies. And then of course we get articles which spend the first half talking about how to breathe. I won’t link to that, save to say I didn’t see the point. The question is, what can we do here at Reticule Towers to give you what you want. Let us know in the comments.
On a less serious note, lets get on with Our Week in Games.
Battlefield has been my surprise game of the past week as I’ve been playing both Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 with the majority of my time spent with the most recent title. I don’t know whether all of the technical hiccups have been solved by DICE now, but I haven’t experienced many problems this past week. While I have enjoyed Bad Company 2 and Battlefield 3 in recent years, neither have quite managed to capture my attention in the same way that Battlefield 2 did during my days with the -=256=- clan. I don’t really expect number 4 to hold my focus in quite the same way, but it is already shaping up to be a more rounded multiplayer experience in my mind that 3. I’ve only been playing by myself, but I feel like the maps are of a higher quality and I find the combat to be tighter and more focused.
When I was playing at the start of the week, I was struggling quite severely with a very poor framerate which was really hindering my enjoyment. I took a quick visit to the Test Range, a feature that I absolutely love by the way, and tweaked by graphics settings a little bit. After a bit of playing around, I was able to hit a fairly regular 60fps on medium settings at 1920*1080 with my creaking nVidia GTX 460. Combine this with a slight tweak to the responsiveness of my mouse and I was on my way.
I don’t have any specific moments to cite as my favourites, but I’ve managed to avoid any servers where players are just following the same routes and giving themselves up like lambs to the slaughter at choke points. My play sessions have seen varied combat across land, armour and in the air with helicopters and jets. I’m not sure what DICE have done with these since BF3, but I can once again fly them with my keyboard and mouse without crashing every five seconds. It isn’t love, but it is an admiration for a very good multiplayer experience.
Funnily enough, I also picked up the original Battlefield 2 complete collection on Origin for a few pounds. I’ve got my discs somewhere, but it is nice to have it tidily stored on Origin, I might have to revisit that classic soon. If anyone wants to add me, my Origin name is ChrisWales.
I was at a bit of a loss as to what to talk about this week, but if Chris is going to wax lyrical about running around and shooting men in the face, well then I might as well join him. This week my Steam account took a brief break from updating ArmA 3 for long enough to let me actually play it and immediately I remembered how unique Bohemia Interactive’s series actually is.
ArmA’s not a game about shooting men in the face, it’s a game about finding ways to not get shot in yours. The majority of my bullets are fired not as deadly pin-point headshots, but in panicked bursts in brief half-second windows where I’m pretty sure I can poke my head out without getting killed. Of course, I’m usually wrong and end up bleeding out behind what I thought was a piece of fairly solid cover, but the point is I tried. There are very few games that make me actually care about dying, and ArmA’s mix of long periods of walking followed by longer periods of being dead is one of them.
Some would call it heresy and an affront to ArmA’s dedication to realism, but I’d love to see a sci-fi battlefield sim constructed to such fidelity. I want to see robots trudging across muddy fields whilst hovering gunships with lasers light up the sky. I want to see the future of warfare without losing the cog-in-the-machine feel that makes ArmA so unique, the ability to place you in the middle of a battle without insisting that you be the centre of it. Mainly of course, I just want to see giant robots on a photo-realistic battlefield.