Good Game: The Gaming Week in Review (Nov 4 – Nov 8)

Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One continue to dominate the headlines this week leading up to each one’s release in just a few short days; and the ongoing soap opera that is Grand Theft Auto Online might finally be out of its dark period…

 

 

 

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Sony gains another launch game for PS4, while Microsoft loses one for Xbox One

It was only a few weeks ago when the impressive launch lineup of Sony’s PlayStation 4 was hit with a minor and unexpected blowback, after two of the next-gen system’s hotly anticipated launch titles, Watch Dogs and DriveClub, were both delayed into 2014. Well now this week we’ve learned that PS4 owners will still have another opportunity to get some racing time in on day one of the new console’s release, as Electronic Arts has bumped up the release date of its next-gen racer Need for Speed: Rivals to coincide with the day and date release of the PlayStation 4. The highly anticipated game will now make its debut on November 15 alongside the PS4, while the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC versions are still on track for November 19, and the Xbox One bringing up the rear on November 22.

In other news, it looks like Xbox One owners are going to have to wait just a little bit longer to play PopCap’s addictive Peggle 2. Originally slated as a downloadable launch title for Microsoft’s next-gen console on November 22, PopCap has confirmed that the colorful sequel to the popular arcade game has been pushed back a few weeks into December, but that it will still definitely come out before the year is up. Personally, I’m not so sure how much I believe them. Peggle 2 is easily one of my most anticipated arcade games for the rest of 2013, but the seeming lack of real concrete news we have about the game as of this writing leads me to believe that a further delay into 2014 may still be a very real possibility. After all, considering how the release of Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time suffered from numerous delays and vague timeframes earlier this summer, I’m staying guardedly optimistic that Peggle 2 won’t see a similar fate in the coming weeks.

Call of Duty: Ghosts gets released this week, alongside some impressive numbers and expected controversy

Not to be undone by the insane success story of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V in September, Activision tried to follow through on their promise of putting Call of Duty back on top of the charts, and by default, in the center of the spotlight. Shortly after the long-awaited release of Call of Duty: Ghosts earlier this week, Activision proudly announced that they had sold $1 billion of the product into retail stores across the world. However, the important piece of information to note here is that this does not account for everyone who actually bought the game out of these $1 billion Call of Duty: Ghosts products. Comparatively, Grand Theft Auto V had made nearly $1 billion by means of sales to the gamers themselves, so it’s kind of hard to say which game did better exactly because each one is using different standards of measurement. If I had to guess though, considering that Activision made this lofty designation of sales to retail chains, then it makes me believe that the actual sales of Call of Duty: Ghosts fell a bit shy of what Grand Theft Auto V managed to achieve, otherwise they probably would have told us about it.

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Now even though everyone is free to play Call of Duty: Ghosts to their heart’s content on current generation consoles, the area of focus has actually shifted to the game’s upcoming multiplatform release on both the PS4 and Xbox One. Specifically, it was revealed that Call of Duty: Ghosts was only capable of running at a native resolution of 720p on Xbox One and scaled up to 1080p, while the PS4 version of the game is said to have a full-fledged 1080p. Naturally, this caused an all-out flame war across the internet over why Microsoft’s next-gen console was seemingly unable to handle what the PS4 clearly could. So do you think the lower resolution will be another turning point for Call of Duty fans to pick up the game for PS4 as opposed to Xbox One? Do specifications like that matter to you when deciding your multiplatform game purchases for next-game, so much that they could be potential deal breakers for a specific platform?

And finally, it was also uncovered this week that a certain cutscene in Call of Duty: Ghosts seemed to be a frame-by-frame replication of a cutscene that gamers had already seen years ago in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. If you watch the side by side comparison video of both the cutscenes in action, you’ll be able to tell right away that the cutscenes are more than a little similar, if not all but identical. Now there are a few different ways that we can handle this news. The first way is to call the developers extremely lazy and taking shortcuts by reusing prior assets and animations and hoping that no one would notice. The second way is to say that this cutscene is a sly homage to the legacy of Modern Warfare 2, although I’ll admit that’s probably not as likely.

And finally, we could always say that the yearly iterations of the Call of Duty franchise, and the arguments of them being the same game rehashed time over time again, has finally reached the ultimate point of fatigue, in that the developer had unknowingly created the same exact thing that they already created several years before. Which of these do you think is the most accurate explanation for this certainly odd discovery?

Sony and Microsoft both reward loyal fans as their next-gen consoles inch ever closer to release

A few long-time Xbox owners have been receiving some surprisingly wonderful emails this week, granting them some highly favorable freebies to coincide with the Xbox One launch on November 22. Most of these emails state that the recipient will be rewarded for their loyalty by a free copy of Xbox One-exclusive Killer Instinct with all of the additional content already unlocked, while a very lucky few are said to be receiving the actual Xbox One game console completely for free! The freebie emails come under the heading “Welcome to the New Generation,” and although there seems to be no specific guidelines for which Xbox owners are among the ones who will actually be receiving them (or how many people are getting a free Xbox One, for that matter), it’s still a pretty awesome sentiment, nonetheless.

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Not to leave their own fans out in the cold, Sony has also announced a special voucher that will be included with each and every PS4 on the market, which is certain to benefit a wider range of gamers in the long run. The voucher in question will offer PS4 owners a free 30-day membership of PlayStation Plus for free, in addition to a $10 credit for use in the PlayStation Store. Not too shabby either, Sony! I’ll still be crossing my fingers in the meantime that someone is miraculously going to give me a free Xbox One out of nowhere, but until that happens, I can always plan what I’m going to buy with that $10 of PSN credit and be happy (or jealous) for the 1% who found a Microsoft golden ticket in their inbox.

Rockstar starts dishing out stimulus money to Grand Theft Auto Online players

What a rollercoaster ride this one has been, hasn’t it? Unfortunately, Grand Theft Auto Online has been a rollercoaster with way more downs than ups, although it finally seems like Rockstar is approaching the light at the end of the tunnel. After countless bugs and glitches that made Grand Theft Auto Online all but unplayable to many following its release at the beginning of October, Rockstar had announced that they would be making it up to every GTA Online gamer who logged into the online portal at any time during the month of October by sending them a cool $500K of in-game currency.

While it was always a little bit up in the air as to when gamers might be receiving the much-anticipated cash bundles, it looks like Rockstar has finally held true to their word and set out the apology money to all eligible players (so if you happen to be one of them, you’d better go log in and check your account!). What’s even more interesting though, is that it also seems that Rockstar has given players the full $500K all in one go, despite previous reports that they would be splitting up the money into two separate deposits of $250K, in order to uphold the economy of the game world. But whatever, we’ll certainly take it!

Furthermore, the 1.05 patch to the game is said to fix all of the bugs that had initially plagued Grand Theft Auto Online, so players will finally be able to experience the innovative multiplayer world as Rockstar had originally intended (not to mention with a pocketful of $500K this time around!).

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