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Watch Dogs Drinking Game Patch Changes August 21, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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The new patch for Watch_Dogs launches today in North America on all platforms, and among many of the requested features the game’s community asked for, Ubisoft has brought some changes to Watch_Dog’s infamous drinking minigame.

So how was the drinking minigame changed? Here you go:

  • Increase round fail time by 20%. More time for player to finish.
  • Increase button cycling time by 50%. More time between button switch.
  • Increase player reticle radius by 25% in collect button mode. Allow easier button press succeeded on bad latency tv.
  • Increase player reticle last frame velocity impact on this frame position (inertia friction) by 70%. The player reticle slow down faster when no input from player -> easier to stay on the spot targeted & More precise player control.
  • Increase player input factor by 50%. More precise and more reactive player control.
  • Reduce max force applied randomly to player reticle from 0.35 to 0.29. Less strong random impulse for drunk effect.
  • Reduce moving target speed by 15%. Easier for player to time his button press on a target.

Watch_Dogs is out now on the PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. It is coming soon to the Wii U.

New Watch Dogs Patch Coming August 21st to All Platforms August 21, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Game News.
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UbiSoft’s multiplatform title Watch_Dogs is getting an all new patch on all of the game’s platforms. The patch is expected to include several bug fixes and tweaks to the single player and multiplayer game based on community feedback.

Here are the full patch notes.

Single Player Added Features

  • REPLAY OPTIONS – After having completed the main story line, players will now have the option to reset previously played Gang Hideouts and Convoy Missions. – (ALL PLATFORMS)
  • DRINKING GAMES – The Drinking Games were re-tuned based on community feedback. – (ALL PLATFORMS)

Multiplayer Added Features

  • HACK YOUR FRIENDS – You can now select available friends via the grid and hack or tail them without their knowledge. This can be disabled under online options. – (ALL PLATFORMS)
  • CTOS MOBILE – Mobile players disconnecting will no longer result in the gameplay ending for the console/PC player. Console and PC players will play their match to the end and receive some Notoriety points for doing so. – (ALL PLATFORMS)
  • MULTIPLAYER BAD BEHAVIOR – Players who are frequently disconnecting from multiplayer matches will be pooled together and paired only against players with similar online behaviors. – (ALL PLATFORMS)

Single Player Fixes

  • POKER – Fixed a bug in which players were getting stuck playing poker if they used the camera against the last opponent in a low stakes game. – (ALL PLATFORMS)
  • MISSING PERSONS INVESTIGATIONS – Fixed instances in which the wrong text was appearing in Portuguese language. – (ALL PLATFORMS)

Watch_Dogs is out now on the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, PS3 and PS4. It is coming to Wii U soon.

Has Zero Punctuation’s Quality Dropped? August 21, 2014

Posted by Maniac in Editorials.
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Since 2007, gamers worldwide have flocked to The Escapist website every Wednesday to watch the latest game review by Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw for his weekly series, Zero Punctuation.  In his early days, Yahtzee was able to critically slam the mainstream games that we all love with his ability to point out problems with games that gamers and critics could easily miss for a variety of reasons. In a lot of ways, he was the quintessential critic, and his videos made for a wonderful weekly treat.  Not only could he find tons of issues with the games he played during a five minute humorously animated video, I felt watching his weekly reviews encouraged critical thinking over a subject better than anything I ever was assigned to do while in school.

The first Zero Punctuation video I ever watched was a review of the first Bioshock game.  I watched it a few weeks after I completed playing Bioshock for myself, and I was pleasantly surprised.  In his review, Yahtzee said that the game bore far too close a similarity to a game that Bioshock’s director had made before, System Shock 2, and went into explicit detail about each of the similarities.  I still to this day haven’t actually played System Shock 2, but I found myself really impressed by the fact that Yahtzee was able to find so many flaws with a game I thought was otherwise perfect. This made me a weekly viewer of his series.

2007 was a big year for good games, but the year eventually drew to a close. In 2008, several really bad games were released and gamers everywhere asked him to review as many of them as he could.  As expected, he utterly destroyed them with his critical eye.  In fact, I enjoyed watching him slam some utterly terrible games, like 2008’s Alone in the Dark.  Not only did he point out all of the game’s failures in a well written review, he made it hilarious by having it described by two game developers he aptly named “Terry and “Gonad”. However, the streak of bad games would not always be there for him and eventually good games would find their way onto shelves again.

Over the past two or so years he’s still been at slamming the games he reviews, but after watching so many of his more recent videos I’ve noticed a disturbing trend.  The games that he’s been slamming…are actually good.  Typically this doesn’t bother me as I don’t mind having something I enjoy get roasted, but after watching some of his more recent reviews I found myself disagreeing with his points a lot more than I thought I would.  Originally, his reviews would come from the general design of, “well I bet you didn’t see this…or see THAT” and he would point out genuine problems with the game.  That is a good path to take when you’re a critic, point out the flaws that nobody else has seen.  Instead he just seems to attack good games for the sake of attacking them, which is in my opinion a pretty lazy approach.  The general theme of some of his more recent reviews could be boiled down to, “Yeah, I played it, it’s just NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR MY HIGH STANDARDS and that’s what makes it bad.”  While that may work for some if the critic is a highly successful individual, my standards for criticism are higher than that.  He fails to convince me that his standards are anything special, OR that his concerns with the game are in fact genuine problems, failing to provide me a reason why I shouldn’t buy it.  If you’re a critic who fails to get the person reading your review to trust your judgment, then you’ve failed as a critic.

Another issue is a lot of the time he won’t even complete a game he’s reviewing, either out of spite for or due to time constraints.  Deadlines I can understand, but if you’re getting paid to review a game and plan to put your name on that review, you owe it to everyone who is reading that review to complete it. While I understand he is on a weekly deadline for each of his reviews, Yahtzee has made his laziness and inability to finish a game he’s reviewing a point of pride in several reviews. In fact, he openly bragged of the fact that he only played the first five hours of Final Fantasy XIII, a game that typically takes a player around 20-40 hours to complete.  While you might be able to typically forgive a reviewer for being unwilling to continue a game they did not enjoy and give them a pass on that one time, this was no freak event. When Final Fantasy XIII-2 was released he openly bragged he spent even less time playing that game than he had spent on the previous one. He also bragged in his Alone in the Dark (2008) review that he refused to play the game’s final chapter simply out of spite because the game needed him to complete several side missions before he could play the ending.  Seriously?  You’re being paid to do a job, and that is review a game.  Don’t you owe it to your fans and the people who watch your reviews to actually have all the information you can about the game before posting it?

Then there are the times when he is just plain wrong.  Now I know that criticism is opinion, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but sometimes he actually provides opinions which don’t match up to what he says about the game.  Watch his reviews of the three Dead Space games for example, they actually contradict with each other.  In his review of the first game, he complains about how the game’s atmosphere doesn’t measure up to his expectations.  Having played the game myself, I thought Viseral had actually done a pretty good job with that game’s atmosphere, but I guess they weren’t good enough for his high standards.  Maybe if Visceral had added fog he would have changed his mind.  You can tell in the later games that Viseral may have taken this comment to heart by slowly shifting the Dead Space sequels from atmospheric survival horror gameplay to a more action oriented gameplay style.  If you ask me I think Visceral struck the perfect balance between action and horror in Dead Space 2 by making the game genuinely scary but still giving you enough resources to defend yourself.  Yahtzee hated this game too, and he explained it by describing the game’s opening sequence when a man trying to save you is killed and then violently turned into a necromorph.  I’m sure in Yahtzee’s mind, he felt like a member of the Academy ripping into how badly the lighting effect ruined the horrific element of the moment.  To me it just came off as a small child striking out in the dark at the bigger person in the room simply because striking him just makes him feel better.  Typically I would be all for this kind of analogy, but in this case the bigger person wasn’t harming the smaller person at all, he’s just standing there dumbfounded by the smaller person’s violent outbursts.  Yes Yahtzee, I can make crazy analogies too.  Give me a weekly gig on The Escapist.

I came to a penultimate realization when Dead Space 3 was released.  While I admit, the game was flawed in a lot of places, particularly with EA’s decision to nickel and dime gamers with in-app purchases and overpriced DLC, Yahtzee made no mention of any of this in his review of that game.  Instead, all he did was complain about the changes EA made with the game’s horror aspect and the their decision to turn the game into a third person action shooter instead of the survival horror game it was originally designed as.  When he complemented how good the atmosphere was in the first game, I lost it.   I went back and rewatched his review of the first game, and it was exactly how I remembered it.  Yahtzee didn’t mention anything about enjoying the first Dead Space game’s atmosphere in his review of that game, all he did was dump on it and make jokes about all the horror tropes it happened to use.  You shouldn’t spend five minutes trashing a game, saying how terrible it is, why you think it is so terrible, and then complain when the game designers take your advice.  It’s irresponsible and borderline unethical!

Normally, hearing some angry gamer shout at the world about why he hates something will typically have no impact on the world in general, but unfortunately because of Zero Punctuation’s popularity, game developers seem to be taking his criticism as fact, or the decision of the gaming majority when they shouldn’t put any stock into it.  Peter Molyneux himself e-mailed Yahtzee just before the release of a new Fable game with the specific hope that he would enjoy all the new additions they made to game because he saw of Yahtzee’s scathing review of the first Fable game.  Unsurprisingly, Yahtzee still hated it.  The other problem is that his series has had an effect on the mainstream gaming press.  Since Yahtzee has become popular, I can think of a ton of reviews from mainstream gaming publications which unfairly criticized games for the sake of criticism and delivered review scores that were, in my opinion, unjustified.  There are two major review travesties I can think of when decent games were unfairly judged by the majority of mainstream gaming reviewers in the past few years.  The first reviewer failure I can think of would go to 2010’s Splatterhouse, which was a game so trashed by the mainstream gaming press I would not have picked up had it not been for a well researched and thought out review by the Happy Video Game Nerd.  Another complete reviewer failure should go to 2011’s Duke Nukem Forever, which was heavily criticized for being sophomoric and childish when that was the kind of game it was expected to be.  If that isn’t enough for you, their other criticism was Duke Nukem Forever did not implement features from Call of Duty’s gameplay, like the ability to see down iron sights.  Apparently nobody told these “mainstream” critics Duke Nukem Forever was not a Call of Duty game.

Nowadays I honestly can’t think of a reason to watch his videos. He used to be a decent critic but his review of Watch_Dogs has made it clear to me he’s just phoning it in.  I think at this point, he is giving games so much hate because it is what is expected of him to do.  That doesn’t hurt anyone if his reviews are taken under that context, but if one of his reviews genuinely makes you not want to play a game you otherwise would have played and enjoyed, then the player is hurt for not having the experience they were looking forward to.  I will admit to genuinely loving plenty of games he otherwise hated, and had I listened to him and not purchased many of the games he gave negative reviews to, I would have denied myself the rich experience of playing them myself.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Play what you want to play, and don’t let someone tell you otherwise, even me.