The Midagedgamer Report for 3-29-2013
The Battlefield 4 hype machine's been started with the release of a 17 minute video showing single player gameplay as well as details about platforms and special editions. The video also highlights the new Frostbite 3.0 game engine which promises a better lighting and weather system as well as new animations and of course what every father wishes for his son, "Improved,efficient destruction"
If you're dumb enough, I mean interested in pre-orders you can get a special "Premium" expansion pack and if you do it through Origin you'll get additional exclusive content from their "Digital Deluxe edition" . Release is scheduled for the fall on PC and current generation consoles. That begs the question of how console sales of the game will be affected by a refresh of both major console platforms in the same time period.
I chafe at the word "Premium" almost as badly as I do with the word "Pre-Order" Ask anyone who bought SimCity or Diablo 3 on Pre-order if they got their money's worth. Fool me once shame on you, Fool me twice EA? Don't think so. I'm happy to wait for a sale six months later or better yet just skip it altogether. In case you're still interested, pre-order price is set at 59.99 across all three platforms (Xbox, PS3 and PC) with Gamefly offering a 20%off coupon. Hmm, discounts on a pre-order this far out? I'm suspicious.
BioShock Infinite has launched and if you buy a physical copy of the game from Irrational games they'll get it to you for 1.99 shipping. Amazon's got free shipping by the way and Steam will download it to your hard drive today. If you want it it's going to set you back $60 no matter who you buy it from. So far reviews have been decent with a 94/100 reviewer score on Metacritic and an 8.9 user score although some reviewers have been a little disappointed in the pace of the game.
If you've always wanted to "play a movie" it seems 2013 is your year. It started with the Walking dead Game in 2012 which was designed to be a companion to the popular television series on AMC. Released by Telltale it follows an episodic formula similar to their recent "Back to the Future" series.
Now we have two new titles trying to cash in on the trend. Defiance is a game based on the upcoming television series on SyFy channel of the same name. Star Trek: The Video Game launches April 23rd just weeks ahead of StarTrek: Into Darkness set to hit theaters May 17th. While not a direct adaptation characters, voice acting and design are all consistent with the movie. Defiance will be available April 2nd at $60 and Star Trek: The Video game will set you back $50.
If you happen to be taking in a ball game at Coca-Cola park in Allentown PA. you may want to check out the men's room. They're installing video games at the men's urinals that activate when you approach them. Don't ask about the controller. I bet they're going to sell a lot more large sodas from now on.
Are you one of the lucky few who already has your OUYA console? They started shipping to the kickstarter backers but the rest of us will have to wait till June 4th to pick ours up for $99. Early adopters of the Tegra 3 powered android console will find a library of 104 games so far from a deep bench of 8000 developers. The console will also run apps like XBMC and Flixster. The games are all free to try out but nothing's free forever so have some plastic money at the ready once you run into that free-to-play paywall.
I hesitated to include this last bit of news in this week's report. That's primarily due to my distaste for gaming benchmarks and the subjective analysis that comes from them. Weeks' worth of fanboy articles have been written based on nothing more than a bias toward a particular brand and 1 Frame per second.
So here comes Ryan Shrout of PCPer who's been racking his brains out trying to come up with a different way of quantifying graphics card performance. In the process it's also showed up how weak AMD's crossfire multi-card GPU performance really is. You have to give it to the guys at PCPer, AMD's been a major sponsor but that didn't stop them from calling it like they saw it. In fact it's because of that candor that I had any interest at all.
Without trying to summarize 16000 words of what Ryan's been up to I'd direct you to his article for the specifics of his new process of evaluating graphics performance. As I understand it, instead of basing ratings on data that hasn't made it to your monitor yet like FRAPS this method is based on what you actually see. It's called Frame Rating and uses an external capture card to collect the data then process it and display the results graphically on-screen without interfering with the system being tested.
For a primer on what Frame Rating is see this article.