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Monthly Archives: September 2015

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You go onto a gaming website of your choice and look up the upcoming releases for silly season. You look at your bank balance. That feeling of crushing resignation hits and you realise you can’t afford all the pretty things. But there is a bright side! Not only do you save a few quid, but odds are a large number of upcoming releases will be buggy as hell, if not more broken than a plate at a Greek wedding. So, based on nothing more than track record, development history and my admittedly flimsy understanding of betting, what are the odds of that game you really want being broke?

  1. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5
    I remember loving this franchise as a kid and it pains me to see the lack of love and attention this latest instalment seems to be getting. Virtually zero promotion and covering up the sub-par graphics with cel-shading reek of a developer not being at all confident in their product. It’s lazy, it’s uninspired and points to a game that will be a disaster.
    Broken likelihood: 1/4
  2. Minecraft Story Mode: Episode One
    Reaction to Telltale’s games have been decidedly mixed since it reinvigorated the episodic genre with the first season of The Walking Dead. In large part this is down the their continued use of Telltale Tool, a game engine developed in 2004 and saddled with more and more expectations as technology has progressed. This has led to bugs galore, with the strength of the writing saving a lot of blushes. I can’t see that changing with Minecraft.
    Broken likelihood: 3/1
  3. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate
    There isn’t a chance this won’t be broken. Considering the utter mess that was Unity and their insistence on Assassin’s Creed being an annual franchise, there’s more chance of me beating up Dwayne Johnson. I’d bet my entire life savings on this game having, at the very least, horrendous frame rate issues and texture pop-in. More likely we’ll see more game breaking bugs a’la Unity. I simply don’t have the faith in Ubisoft to prove me wrong.
    Broken likelihood: Evens
  4. Halo 5: Guardians
    If you’d asked me a year ago I’d have said there’s no way this would be broken. With 343 Industries taking over the Halo franchise and releasing a remastered Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 4 to high praise and very few, if any, bugs. Then came the Master Chief Collection and things went tits up. Yet I can’t help but feel that Halo 5 will be largely issue free. Without the pressures of an annual release cycle and learning from the mistakes made with the MCC, I think it might actually be all right.
    Broken likelihood: 10/1
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops III
    Treyarch have a pretty good handle on Call of Duty and if the beta for BLOPS III is anything to go by that run will continue. COD may have a few problems as a franchise (though those seem to be being addressed more this generation) but stability isn’t really one of them. Even Ghosts was fairly bug free.
    Broken likelihood: 20/1
  6. Fallout 4
    Like a dodgy takeaway at 2am, bugs are guaranteed with a Bethesda game. By the very nature of it’s scope it’s inevitable that problems will occur. The real question is will they be game breaking like they were on the Playstation 3 releases of Fallout 3, New Vegas (admittedly that was Obsidian, but still) and the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I hope not, but the track record isn’t great.
    Broken likelihood: 6/1
  7. Star Wars: Battlefront
    Battlefront’s an odd duck. It’s being developed by an experienced studio and with a massive licence behind it, tying it to arguably the biggest film of the year. Yet DICE’s development of Battlefield 4 was plagued by problems and their collaboration of Hardline with Visceral was a disaster. That being said, I think the power of the franchise will see it through. I can’t see Disney allowing EA to tarnish, no matter how slightly, their crowning jewel. Bob Iger would blow his nut.
    Broken likelihood: 10/1
  8. Rise of the Tomb Raider
    Another one to add to the pile where the chances of game breaking bugs are slim, but not impossible. As with any game that tries to increase the scope there’s always a risk of bringing in unexpected variables that mess with the engine. Yet short of an Arkham Knight style fiasco I can’t see anything game breaking. Bugs yes, but that’ll be the extent of it.
    Broken likelihood: 15/1
  9. Just Cause 3
    I get the feeling that if there’s significant problems with this that it might just add to the fun. It’s a silly sandbox designed for having fun in and so long as the game doesn’t crash silly bugs might just add to that. Sure there’ll be torrents of boiled piss for people not being able to have the fun they want, but I can already see the YouTube videos of people exploiting them.
    Broken likelihood: 12/1
  10. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
    The final entry on this list I can see going one of two ways. One way is that it’ll be fine. Perhaps with a disappointing single player but with a multiplayer to write home about. The other is that it’ll be plagued with matchmaking issues and server problems in the run up to Christmas. The pre-release buzz is positive so if Ubisoft can keep the server’s ticking over in theory it should be fine. But that’s relying on Ubisoft which is never a good place to be.
    Broken likelihood: 9/1

It’ll be interesting to see how wrong my wild conjecture is come Christmas time. With any luck I’ll be completely wrong and none of these games will be broken at all. Yet with the range of games on offer and with the developers involved I think there’s more chance of Christmas being cancelled.

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Fear the Walking Dead came back this week with it’s best episode so far. Damning with faint praise, considering the hit-and-miss nature of the first two episodes, but it continues to show potential. For example, police brutality as a reason for why people aren’t taking the zombie infection seriously is unexpected and clever. With that in mind, I find it problematic that the show continues to kill more minorities than your average US police department.

In addition to the three black guys from the first two episodes, we now have Madison’s Asian neighbour zombified and promptly shot in the head. It’s not that ‘Fear…’ doesn’t kill off white people. The first zombie we see in the show, Gloria, is a young white female and the first ever zombie for whom the fuck, marry, kill game doesn’t have an immediate answer. In ‘The Dog’ we had a white zombie chowing down on the titular canine. Taken in isolation this wouldn’t be so bad, but with The Walking Dead’s history of offing people of colour, it’s not a great start.

More and more characters are also jumping aboard the idiot bus. This week it was the turn of the previously reliable Travis. Considering all he’s seen so far (a zombified Calvin getting run over repeatedly only to get back up, multiple zombies getting shot but only going down with a bullet to the head, the zombie taking a shotgun blast to the face in his living room), his stance on guns is frankly ridiculous. Not only are there riots going on, but there are flesh eating monsters that can’t be reasoned with roaming the streets. Whilst not as mind-numbingly stupid as Lori not wanting Carl to know how to shoot as late as season two of The Walking Dead, it’s a worrying turn for a previously sensible character. Thankfully we now have Daniel Salazar to add to the list of characters with their head screwed on, along with Tobias and Nick of all people.

Madison was also greatly improved from previous episodes. It makes sense for her to be further along in her willingness to kill the undead following her encounter in the previous episode, but she’s still too slow in doing the actual deed. Her hesitation in killing zombies, though understandable, can only go for so much longer and she shouldn’t have allowed herself to be talked down by Travis. I think that in the coming episodes she’s going to wish she’d been more decisive. They might have been able to make a clean getaway from the suburbs and be safe in the desert when things get inevitably worse. Also, nobody gets excited at the prospect of Monopoly, let alone during an apocalypse.

It’s my hope that as the show grows it expand on it’s finer points. The crumbling of society, a closer family dynamic and characters wising up as things quickly go south. As it is, I’m worried there’s not enough to set it apart from it’s parent show and it’s repeating a lot of the same mistakes. Given time I think it can be a worthy addition to the franchise. I just hope it gets that time.