SWTOR Launches!

Bioware’s highly anticipated massively multiplayer star wars RPG went live today at 12:01am.

We’ve been playing early access for a few days now (including an almost non-stop play session over the weekend) and are coming away from it surprisingly pleased. It’s safe to say you can expect some early impressions of the game by sometime tomorrow. Giving you a rundown of what to expect in the first 20 or so levels.

For now, we hope you all enjoy exploring the vast expanses galaxy on your own!

Good luck and may the force be with you.

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TGB’s Favorite Nostalgic Remix (Of the Week!)

I’ve been playing games for a long time now, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that music is a huge part of what makes me love/hate a video game.  Music can set the tone for an entire experience, it can help make a game stand out and feel special.  If your like me then you probably have a few special game themes that you hold dear to your heart.  Perhaps a catchy tune like Super Mario’s 1-1 theme. Or a piece that creates epic mood for an entire game. (Hyrule Field anyone?)  Well, like the video game industry, the music industry has evolved.

Because of this we decided that, for a bit of fun, every week we would scavenge the internets for our new favorite remix of an old video game song. Well, not just remixes. Any redux, re-orchestrated or remastered video game piece of music counts too.

So, without further ado, our pick of the week!

Boy does this tune bring me back. This song would definitely fall into the “catchy” category. Originally debuting on Sonic Adventure 2 for the Sega Genesis, “City Escape” captured almost everything that was awesome about old school sonic.  It was catchy, fast, and pumped you up for your adventure. (Not to mention it had some sweet guitar riffs). This version, remixed for SEGA’s upcoming game; “Sonic Generations” has been modernized, and now has more of a dance/electronic sound to it. This may not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great remix of an even greater game. If you don’t mind being forced into involuntary humming,  feel free to give this one a listen.

Are YOU ready for Battlefield 3?

Unless you’ve been living under rock for the past 8-12 months, you’ve heard the news that Battlefield 3 is coming.  In just a few short hours Battlefield 3 will be released to online soldiers everywhere who are waiting to answer the call of battle.  This game is set to raise the bar for the multiplayer FPS experience. Complete with 64-player carnage, dozens of weapons, huge maps and…JETPLANES!  It’s it good thing we’ve all reserved a copy.

Whats that? Didn’t reserve a copy you say? Are you mad?

It’s time to your arse in gear and follow this handy guide to:

 OBTAINING A COPY OF BATTLEFIELD 3 AT THE VERY LAST SECOND. (A HANDY GUIDE)

Unfortunately due to your lack to attention to your gaming calendar.  You’ve forgotten that tomorrow, October 25 2011, is the release date for Battlefield 3! Not only are you going to miss out on playing this huge game, but for the next 24 hours your friends will be nonstop talking about how awesome it was when Jimmy blew up those 2 tanks while parachuting down from the sky. You don’t want that, we don’t want that.

So, now you have 3 option’s… each could land you a precious copy of Battlefield 3. That’s the good news. Unfortunately the bad news is our team of highly trained experts cannot decipher which of these options is the best course of action. Your going to have to decide that for yourself.

Option 1. Sleep outside your local electronics store.

This option will require the utmost determination on your part. In order to obtain a copy of Battlefield without a pre-order, you’ll have to make sure your one of the select few who manage to secure one of those precious, unreserved copies of the game. You’re going out there, into the brave unknown, equipped with only your lawn chair, your psp, and your hot pockets.  With any luck, you’ll survive until morning, and walk out victorious with your own copy of BF3. Not sure if you’re up for it? Think of it as “field training”.

Pros

  • Guaranteed copy (or death)
  • Totally cool war story

Cons

  • Chance of being mugged
  • Possibility of death by bear attack
  • Sleep Deprivation (due to fear of bear attack)

Option 2. Convince your local GameStop manager to commit fraud.

Now, I’m not very familiar on GameStop’s pre-order policy, but I’m fairly certain that they do not allow you to pre-order a game just hours before a release date. It’s due to these unfortunate circumstances of events that you’ve been left with only one viable option. To use your skills of persuasion to convince your local game-stop manager to relinquish someone’s pre-order so that you might reserve a copy. We leave these persuasion tactics up to you, but might we suggest the classics. Bribery, blackmail, and seduction are all tried and tested techniques. However, be warned, if you cannot succeed using any the following you may have to use… unnecessary force.

Pros

  • Slight possibility of securing a copy of the game.

Cons

  • This option may not be viable to those with a consience…or common sense.
  • Jail time
  • Loss of respect from everyone around you

3. Pre-order your copy on Origin’

Now I know that this last idea sounds crazy but I insist you hear me out. Believe it or not, you can actually visit www.Origin.com (EA’s new and improved online store) and pre-order Battlefield 3 right now. Not only that, but pre-ordering from Origin automatically lands you a limited edition of the game. This gives you access to a bunch of exclusive goodies and content.  You can also start downloading the game as soon you as you finish your order. This means no pesky wait time for an installation when the game is actually released.  This is considered the least “exciting” of all of the great options available to you.  So adventurers may want revisit options 1 and 2. (Please note that the word “exciting” is often interchangeable with “idiotic” or “bordering on insanity” in this article.)

Pros

  • 100% guarantee of obtaining a copy
  • Bonus content
  • Download early and play at release

Cons

Well there you have it, three foolproof plans that can guarantee you a chance at obtaining a copy of this game. But, seriously if you haven’t pre-ordered a copy and need to, head on over to Origin.com and grab your copy now.  Oh and make sure to check out our Review headed this way in just a few days.

We’ll be playing BF3 all day tommorow so if your interested in playing with myself and the rest of The Gaming Bible team you can send me a tell at my Origin Username!: ChintersWill

Good luck and happy hunting.

Please note that this  guide applies to PC gamers only, if you’re getting Battlefield 3 on consoles only options 1 and 2 are viable. (sorry guys)

Exclusive: Interview with Supergiant Games; The Creators of Bastion

Gaming Bible Editor Ryan Cross sits down with Developer Greg Kasavin of SuperGiant Games to talk about the making of Bastion, DLC, and the future of the company.

 Ryan: How did you guys over at Supergiant come up with the idea of Bastion? Did you guy’s have any influences?

Greg:  We came up with the idea for Bastion gradually over time, so it’s not the sort of thing that happened in a single flash of inspiration. We made only a few decisions up front: For one thing, we knew we wanted to make a 2D game, because we miss the look and feel of classic 2D games and don’t think 3D games have ever managed to fully replace them. We also chose to make a game from the isometric perspective, mainly because we like it and were familiar with it from having worked on real-time strategy games in the past. We were interested in making an action role-playing game in which you build the world around you, so we came up with this technique of the ground forming up around the player to help direct him through the environment. That became the basis for the game world and fiction. Lastly, we knew we wanted to make a game that could leave a strong lasting impression on players through its story.

The game’s feature set expanded from there, bit by bit until we felt like we had a complete game. Major aspects of play went through significant revisions during the prototyping phase, and even things like our narration technique weren’t there from the front.

Our influences on the project are too varied to mention really, because each individual on the team brought his or her own influences to bear on different aspects of the game, then we did the work to tie all those things together in a cohesive way. There weren’t any one or two games we kept coming back to, as we weren’t attempting to re-create the experience of any specific games, but rather to make something that felt fully realized in its own way. For me personally, my gaming influences range from classic computer RPGs and arcade games to modern shooters and action adventure games, to pen-and-paper games, and more – and that’s not even counting the various books, movies, and music that inspire me. I did think a lot to the late-era Super Nintendo classics such as Super Metroid, Final Fantasy VI, and Chrono Trigger for spiritual inspiration, as those games and many others have always stuck with me, but I don’t think you’ll find clear traces of them in Bastion.

Ryan: If I’m correct Supergiant Games is a talented team of only 7 people. Was it a daunting task for you guys to complete a game such as this with such few people?

Greg:  Supergiant Games is indeed a team of seven people, and it started with just two, Amir Rao and Gavin Simon. They were building a team, a technology base, and a game all at the same time. It’s true that the project felt daunting on occasion, but we all feel that nothing good ever comes easily, so it’s a positive emotion overall. We managed through it by staying very practical while pushing to do our best, knowing this game was our only chance to keep going as an independent studio. We work in a very tactical fashion, taking on numerous small tasks that can be completed quickly. By reducing the game down to a series of small tasks, we’re able to make rapid progress and get to something playable straightaway, and that creates strong momentum.

The game itself is a product of the skill sets of the team, meaning we avoid wishful thinking about features we don’t think we can execute on our own, and we always think in terms of what we can achieve with the resources that we have. It’s a very refreshing feeling on the whole, and by being this small we can move very quickly and iterate rapidly. Another thing that helped was, even though we’re a new studio, most of us on team have known one another for a long time. Having good chemistry among the members of the team, knowing that each of us is willing to do our best to help one another, really helps us get to better results.

Ryan: Obviously, the Narrator is a huge part of the story, but how did the Narrator come to be a part of Bastion? Was he planned from the beginning?

Greg: Our narration technique wasn’t planned from the beginning, though we knew from the start that we wanted to make a game that could create an emotional impact through its use of narrative. We just didn’t know exactly how our narrative would work, because we knew we didn’t want it to interrupt the flow of gameplay, which meant no cutscenes or walls of text or anything like that. Using narration emerged as a good solution during the course of the nine months Bastion spent in a prototyping phase.

A big part of the reason we were able to do something like this is our voice actor Logan Cunningham, who’s a longtime friend of Darren Korb our audio director and Amir Rao our studio director. Having a close connection to a talented actor meant we could do something big with voiceover, and as it turned out, Logan was able to give this voice performance that perfectly captured the kind of tone we wanted. The more we played with the narration technique, the more we liked it, and so it became a pervasive part of the game and our method of delivering story at the player’s own pace.

The cast of Bastion –  The Kid, Zulf, Zia and Rucks.

Ryan: The art style in Bastion is certainly beautiful, is there anything you can tell me about how it was created?

Greg: Finding the right artist to work on Bastion was a real challenge, and several different artists worked on the game on a part-time basis before we met our art director, Jen Zee. At the time we didn’t quite know what we wanted from the look of the game, we only had a sense of the fiction and the tone. Jen was able to get in there and create this lush, beautiful, high-contrast look that we felt was just right for what we were trying to accomplish. It instantly communicated an emotional range we were interested in, and was warm and inviting to look at. It added a lot to the atmosphere we were trying to create.

Ryan: Bastion has clearly received very high praise from the press and player community a like.  How does it feel for your game to receive such amazing success?

Greg: It feels great…! Bastion was our one chance as a small up-and-coming studio to create a game that lived up to our standards and showed players around the world both what we could do as a team and what we think is valuable in games. We’re very happy with how it turned out and with the response it’s been getting. For me personally, I’ve wanted to make games since I was a little kid, and Bastion is the first one I’ve been able to work on in a writer/creative director capacity, so it was a very rewarding and fulfilling experience for me. I hope we can keep making games in this fashion for a very long time to come.

Ryan: Does Supergiant have plans for Bastion DLC in the future?

Greg:  We have no plans for DLC at this point, as we held nothing back in the making of Bastion. We’re continuing to support the Steam launch these days and have made some incremental updates such as by adding new Steam achievements, though our goal with Bastion was to make it feel complete in the first place. Those interested in keeping up with the latest news from our studio should keep an eye on our @SupergiantGames Twitter feed, as that’s where we tend to post any announcements.

Ryan: So, what’s next for Supergiant? Any chance for a sequel?

Greg: It’s too early to tell where we’ll go from here as a studio, though we have no shortage of ideas, and we fully intend to keep going! While Bastion was designed to be a stand-alone game, I suppose I shouldn’t rule out the possibility of us ever returning to the world of this game, just because we like the world of it a lot and it has enough depth to where it could support any number of different stories. At the same time, we never imagined ourselves as a one-game sort of studio, and we have lots more we’d like to do. It’s important to us that each of our games create a sense of wonder and intrigue for players, so I don’t think we’d revisit and of our past ideas in a predictable way.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

In a dark world filled with generic corridor shooters, can the new Deus Ex title revolutionize the genre? 

By Sean Sayers – Editor, TGB team

The original Deus Ex brought about a great change in the way you play first person shooters. Rather than mimic the linear shooters that came before it, Ion Storm gave players a  plethora of options as to how they played the game. Players could sneak, hack, fight, or explore  their way through a  dark, fascinating world, free to handle objectives however they pleased. You’d think the shooters that succeeded it in the following  years would have taken  after such a fantastic game, however eleven years have passed and only a handful of quality shooters have taken note of Deus Ex’s scope of player freedom. Luckily, Eidos Montreal has awoken a sleeping giant, and opens new doors to what’s possible in an first person shooter.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place in a futuristic, cyber punk world where humans are presented with the ability to alter themselves both physically and mentally via augmentation. This revolutionary technology does not come without its cost, as one might imagine. It brings about a whole new era of chaos as there are many looking to exploit the tech. Security officer Adam Jensen unwillingly finds himself in the middle of a violent conspiracy to which he and his fellow employees fall victim to during a vicious terrorist attack on an augmentation corporation named Sarif Industries. Adam is shot and severely injured during the attack. He awakens much later to find that he’s been severely augmented, and is now somewhat of a cyborg super soldier. The story kept me engaged due to it’s good pacing  and consistency throughout. It also has a collection of colorful characters as well as  a couple of well executed plot twists.

Adam’s quest to unravel the reasoning behind the terrorist intrusion will take players to many locations all around the world.  Each of these hubs are filled with hidden areas to explore, and a handful of optional side missions to complete. These side quests are very enjoyable and amount to more than the usual kill X or fetch Y quests that are tacked on simply to provide more game time. Instead, these missions will have you solving murder mysteries, taking down crime rigs, and some even tie in with the main  plot. They add hours of content to the main mission, which alone is will take you around 25 hours to beat. You’re also greatly rewarded  for your troubles with money, and more importantly, praxis points.

Praxis points are the equivalent of experience points. They’re used for augmenting Adam to fit your play style. You can level up Adams long range and close range combat abilities, his stealth and sneaking abilities, his hacking and security abilities, and many other utilities that will improve various things from inventory capacity or armor strength. By the second half of the game you’ll feel like an unstoppable bad ass who can rip through walls, jump atop buildings, and take down multiple opponents at once. How you augment your character will directly affect how you play the game, and believe me when I say there’s quite a lot of ways to play the game.

Melee take downs are incredibly satisfying. 

Of course you will be able to fight through encounters if you chose, but don’t expect it to be a cakewalk. The AI is  smart and relentless and can quickly close in, surround, and out flank you. You’ll have to make proper use of the solid cover and blind firing mechanics if you want to last more than thirty seconds in a fire fight. In fact, should you chose, it’s entirely possible to play through Deus Ex: Human Revolution without killing anyone (aside from the mandatory boss fights). However, Taking the stealthy approach  isn’t exactly easy either. You will have to take note of where each individual enemy is looking before you make a move. If you use your wits and take time to carefully observe your surroundings, you may be able to spot an alternate path such as a ventilation shaft to sneak by undetected.

If you can’t find an alternate path into a locked room, then you can always hack your way to where you want to go. Hacking works by playing an addictive little mini game in which you capture  nodes with the goal being to work your way to a green pearl shaped node.  As you work your way through, depending on the notes security ratings and your own hacking skill, you have the chance to trip the system alarm. If this happens, you will have to quickly fortify your current nodes in order to slow the process of being discovered. You will have to analyze each layout well before you begin, and make tactical decisions as to whether or not you should play offensively or defensively, and whether or not you should use some of the numerous pieces of software you’ll gain to better the odds. Even though I saw this mini game over 100 times before the credits rolled, I never grew tired of it.

You’ll have to hide corpses from patrolling guards.

For those who are a bit more creative, there are even scenarios in which you can create your own path. You can move or stack objects around to reach otherwise inaccessible areas, and if that doesn’t work then you can always try busting down walls. Even skills that you wouldn’t expect to be useful outside of combat such as immunity to toxic gasses can be used to access locations that would otherwise kill you. Eidos Montreal gives you so many options on how to approach a situation it’s almost overwhelming. That’s Human Revolution’s biggest feat; it welcomes and encourages all different kinds of play styles. It’s all very well balanced and I never got the feeling that playing a certain way would make my experience any easier; it’s completely up to you how you want to play.

A bit of this freedom is lost however during the rather dull boss battles. If you feel you are about to encounter a boss, then you’d better stock up on as much ammo as you can get your hands on and be prepared to run and gun for the next couple of minutes, as that’s the only way to defeat them. There’s nothing unique or special about  any of the boss fights, nor are they memorable in any way. It feels like a missed opportunity when compared to the abundance of options you’re presented with for the rest of the game.

Human Revolution also manages to impress with its slick presentation. It has a very distinct look to it and a style that links a dark cyberpunk vibe with an elegant art style reminiscent of the renaissance. This  approach to visual flair combined with some excellent hi-res textures and lighting keeps Deus Ex looking sleek throughout. The presentation is far from perfect however. Some impoverished character models and poor animations keep this from being an A in the graphics department.  That being said, it’s easy to overlook these short comings as Human Revolutions art Style provides an incredibly immersive atmosphere to get lost in.

The game’s sound design further compliments this feeling of immersion with all around good sound effects and memorable sound tracks, some which may sound a little familiar. The voice acting is strong for the most part aside from a few iffy’ voice actors, though there are admittedly a few moments which even the main characters voice actors don’t sound like they’re giving it their best performance.

The Verdict:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution accomplishes everything it sets out to do. It throws players into a believable world troubled by the problems of an ever changing human society. It gives players the ability to go about doing things however they desire. It’s of course not without its flaws, repetitive interiors, sub-par boss battles, and clunky animations slow the game down, but aren’t enough to stop the revolution. Just like it’s predecessor, Human Revolution is a game designed to be replayed, and you will need to do so in order to see everything. If you’ve been craving a deep shooter that does more than provide a shooting gallery, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a must own.

Final Score: A-

Top 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2011

2011 is a big year for gaming, the sheer number of AAA titles being released in the coming months is mind-blowing. It’s sure to dig a hole in all of our pockets. Gaming Bible editors Sean Sayers and Ryan Cross sat down and discussed what they think are the Top 5 most anticipated titles that will arrive this year. Keep in mind, they are well aware that there are many more fantastic looking titles to be released this year that didn’t make this list.  This list here is simply the ones that we are the most excited for.

So, without further ado, we present The Gaming Bibles Top 5 Most Anticipated Games! (of 2011)

5. Dark Souls

Ryan:  A couple years back, I walked into my local gamestop with a tough choice to make. In one hand I held Demon Soul’s and in the other, Killzone 2. At that time I was having a hard time finding a deep, fun RPG I could lose myself in. Demon’s Souls fit my status quo, but in truth I was extremely wary. Wary because I had heard whispers of the games ruthless difficulty. Was I willing to sacrifice 60$ for a game that might bring more frustration than enjoyment?  In the end I walked out with Demon Soul’s, and I’m glad I did. Because as I played Demon’s Souls, I discovered a part of me I never knew I had. A desire for a challenge. Sure the game was difficult, but nothing measured up to the sense of accomplishment I felt after a particularly hard boss fight. Demon’s souls might be renowned for its difficulty but that’s not all it had going for it. The game was filled with epic boss battles, brutal level design and some truly epic lootz.  Not to mention intuitive multiplayer design and a deep crafting system. Now, Dark Souls, the games spiritual successor, is just a little over a mere month away? And it promises all of that and more?

Three words: Sign. Me. Up.

Oh, and did I mention the game is harder than Demon’s Souls?

4. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Sean:  The Wii has had several of Nintendo’s Iconic characters receive official exclusives on the Wii. Mario, Kirby, and Samus have all had their chance to shine in the spotlight with quality titles on the platform. But the Wii is now on its last leg with the Wii U around the corner, and Link, one of the most well-known characters in all of gaming, has still not had his face in the spotlight with an exclusive title. (Unless you count Links Crossbow Training…) Skyward Sword is set to come out November 20th of this year, yet very little info has been revealed about the game. From the looks of recent trailers, it seems very likely that in Skyward Sword, you will be able to navigate and explore through the sky similar to  how in Wind Waker you could traverse the sea. More importantly, it’s going to be one of the very few Wii titles that makes use of Motion Plus controls. If Nintendo does it right, swinging and waggling your Wii mote may actually feel like swinging a deadly weapon, providing for some incredibly immersive and fun sword play.

Even if you disregard all of that, this is still a Legend of Zelda title, and Nintendo has yet to leave me disappointed with this series.

3. Rage

Sean: ID software is known for being the grand daddy of all things FPS, having jump-started the genre in 1992 with the creation of Wolfenstein 3D, and then refining the genre even further a year later with the release of Doom. ID has made very few attempts to bring their expertise with shooters into the modern generation of games, having last tried in 2009 with the somewhat disappointing release of Wolfenstein. Rage is ID’s attempt to restore the chaotic mayhem they were once known for into the genre, set in a harsh post apocalyptic world filled with blood thirsty mutants, warring factions, and a cast of unpredictable characters.  The shooting mechanics in Rage look sublime, with a unique collection of weapons and gadgets which are all fully customizable with several different types of ammo and attachments. We’re not just excited for Rage for its guns though, it also boasts a surprising amount of open-ended game play including RPG like elements like side quests, and an inventory screen as well as a Twisted Metal like vehicular multiplayer death match mode.

Rage could end up being ID’s first major breakthrough FPS title since Quake 3.

2. Battlefield 3

Sean: What can I say, I’ve been through a lot with the Battlefield franchise. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stormed the beaches of Normandy, traversed through the vast jungles of Vietnam, or fought street by street to take the battered city of Karkand. The most recent entries in the series, the Bad Company games, sacrificed the large scale battles the series is known for in order to focus on a graphics engine with a large attention to detail, tighter shooting mechanics, and the ability to render complete destruction of the environment.  It’s funny to think that there hasn’t been a proper Battlefield game in almost six years. Yet with features like, the return of  jets, a massive arsenal of 55+ weapons, and the possibility of  completely decimating  the environment, it would seem Battlefield 3 is combining the best of traditional Battlefield games with the perks of the Bad Company series to make for one incredible monster of a war game. It also helps that Battlefield 3 boasts a massive arsenal of over 55 customizable weapons, stunningly realistic animations, and not to mention PC exclusive 64 player carnage.

It looks like the king of large-scale shooters is finally ready to reclaim his throne.

1. Skyrim:

Ryan: If you haven’t heard of Bethesda’s latest fantasy RPG by now you’re either A. Living under a rock or B. well.. there is no B but you get the point. Skyrim is set to blow us all away once november rolls around. It’s a series I hold dear to my heart because no one does RPGs quite like Bethesda. The sheer size and scope of Oblivion and Morrowind are impressive even now, and Skyrim is going to be the biggest of them all.  With a massive world to explore, hundreds of quests to complete, over 150 dungeons to conquer and Dragons to slay, come 11.11.11 gamers will be locked in their rooms playing what may go down in history as one of the greatest RPGs, ever.

Step aside real life, I’ve got a world to save.