With Gamescom starting this week, the world of video games is starting to get hit with the usual tech show barrage of trailers. While I prefer good old fashioned gameplay demonstrations and hands-on previews, trailers offer a high level of entertainment value, if nothing else. However, if you pay close enough attention, you can sometimes cut past all of the stylized cuts and unnecessarily enhanced graphics to actually tell something about the game underneath.
With that in mind, here are five of the biggest trailers from the week, and what, if anything, we can take away about the games they represent from them.
Analysis: While I’d like to have a beer with the designers of “Remember Me,” as they’ve clearly watched “Blade Runner” and played “Deus Ex” as many time as I have, I just don’t trust Capcom as much as I used to. This is a slick debut for “Remember Me,” and cyber punk noir games will always be welcome, but it does have the misfortune of going up against the similarly themed, and soon to be released, “Dishonored.” And right now, “Dishonored” is looking better. Unless Capcom has something more in mind than the “me too” looking third person action on display in pieces here, I’m just not that excited right now. It also doesn’t help it shares a name with a Robert Pattinson movie.
Star Wars 1313
Analysis: Ok, let’s assume that Lucas Arts is obliged to churn out a new “Star Wars” game every year until the end of time. Let’s also assume that “Battlefront 3” isn’t going to happen (and believe me, it’s not). If that is the case, then I’m at least happy they are considering options in the “Star Wars” universe outside of the usual suspects of the series. However, is this a game that really needs a teaser like this? Is anyone just so jacked up for the next “Star Wars” game that a one minute and thirty-four second trailer, with about 4 seconds of gameplay in it is going to make them rush to their computer and set the hype pyre ablaze? I doubt it. At this point, until Lucas Arts has something more substantial to show, the vague chance that this game might not suck, and actually be original is the best thing they have going for them. They don’t need to ruin that with more of these generic trailers.
Crysis 3 – Multiplayer Hunter Mode
Analysis: I had zero interest in “Crysis 3” before this trailer, and now I want nothing else. This looks highly reminiscent of “Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory’s” Spy vs Merc gameplay, in that it combines two different styles of play into a unified concept. The multiplayer in that game is highly underrated and virtually unduplicated to this day, and it’s about time someone re-explored it. Also, this looks like the “Predator” game we were never going to get, which makes me more excited than I feel I can freely admit. If it can even come close to combining those two things together into a cohesive, balanced multiplayer experience, I might have to allow myself to actually use the word ‘epic.’
Tekken Tag Tournament 2
Analysis: First of all, “Can’t you tell where I must unleash this awesome power” is now going to be exactly where I tell every cab driver I’d like to go. Second, how long was he sitting in the back eerily glowing before the driver asked him where he wanted to go? Was the driver hoping he’d just disappear the next time he looked? Finally, as far as debut trailers go, if you’re going to avoid showing gameplay, this is about the best way to go. “Tekken” was always at its best when it was just having fun, and this is a fun trailer. If Namco doesn’t try to screw with the formula too much, and sticks with that loose and easy motif, I’d say the time is right for the next King of the Iron Fist Tag Tournament.
Assassin’s Creed III Naval Warfare Trailer
Analysis: As I mentioned, it’s going to take a concentrated effort for the next installment in the “Assassin’s Creed” series to suck. Ubisoft has proven they’re not scared to explore new ways to expand and improve “Assassin’s Creed,” and while the results have been mixed in some cases, I see no harm this naval gameplay could cause the franchise. Plus naval combat in this time period is rarely explored, and so far this game looks to actually be doing the idea right instead of treating the concept as an afterthought. As for the trailer itself, it features that perfect mix of style and intrigue that you expect from the series at this point, and keeps the well-oiled hype train this game is running well on track.
I would never expect a decent LoL article to come out of a radio station, but I suppose as games gain traction in the media we’ll start seeing some decent content everywhere. A Grand Rapids station put together a quick list of 10 old mechanics in League of Legends that were (mostly) broken. It’s an interesting look back at the game if you haven’t been playing for more than 6 months, especially since the post includes video.
I’ll say my favorite “remember when” from this list is the old brush system. Dear god. Riot was one brush-crazed company back in the day. That shit was everywhere. Innervating Locket was also an interesting item, though several strong characters made it ridiculously broken. I didn’t mind it terribly much on Gragas, mostly because AP Gragas is so much scarier than pure tank Gragas. Locket Udyr though? That was broken. Pair Udyr, Sona, and Gragas, get them all to buy Locket and you have one unstoppable push comp. As annoying as it was to see that comp played, I have to say, it added some flavor to the game.
They say a watched pot never boils. I say a watched developer never makes overdue changes. Stop watching, people, and Riot just might make a few changes. It looks like Lee Sin is finally going to get a decent nerf in the upcoming patch. It isn’t huge. It’s isn’t tiny. It is a moderately-sized nerf that could actually slow down his jungling and hurt his damage a little bit. I know, I can hardly think of anything to say.
In the patch preview, Morello categorized the Lee Sin nerfs thusly: “We want Lee Sin players to build damage to get damage.” A revolutionary concept. I’m just happy to see one of the longest-standing top-tier junglers finally get a light tap to the genitals. He’ll still be strong, but he won’t be quite so easy.
For the rest of the patch, Jax is getting some new survivability on Counter Strike and Riot is changing the critical chance mastery into attack damage per level. I’m actually really happy about that second change. I’ve had several games in which an opponent — sometimes even an AP carry — gets an early two crits in a row and just screws me out of lane. Nice to see that kind of stuff disappearing.
Riot has used the same formula for new champion releases for quite some time now. They release a champion sneak peek, usually in the form of a comic, and follow up with an ability/lore reveal and finally a champion spotlight. This week they skipped the comic entirely and just dropped an art spotlight on us. People seemed a little confused at first, but since it’s a chick riding a boar, I think we can probably forgive the change of pace.
You can see Sejuani’s model in the spotlight above. I have to say, I like the concept. First off, she has a flail. I know, I can hardly believe it’s not a sword either. Also, she’s riding a giant tusked pig. Again, pretty awesome design. I have to wonder what her skills will be like, though. Some early “leaks” suggested she would be a tanky DPS (shocking, right?) with significant initiation and slowing skills. This part I’m not nearly as excited about.
From the looks of things she should be out next week. Keep your eyes peeled this weekend for her lore/ability announcement. I would assume Riot will give us that much prior to her launch.
I was really happy to receive this video from a friend today, particularly because it fits so well with the slight content shift you’re going to see at the site. Both DotA 2 and League of Legends have their roots in a game that was originally developed as a map mod for Blizzard’s Starcraft. While this video from Machinima doesn’t cover the history in full detail, it does give a nice overview of one of the fastest growing segments of the video game industry.
If you’ve ever done any kind of work on a video game, you probably know how difficult it can be to track down bugs. Hell, just reproducing a bug can be a pain in the ass. That’s the beauty of the internet. With a game like LoL, Riot has a couple million people reproducing bugs every day, like this little gem from Jedidwag. In the video above you can see the magic behind one of the crazier ult bugs in the game: Garen’s Demacian Justice.
I’ve been hit by my share of questionable Garen ults, but I always chalked it up to lag or animation timing or whatever. If Jedidwag is right, though, Garen’s ult has a reproducible bug that dramatically increases the range. When Demacian Justice is cast while Garen is spinning it will land on the target even if that target moves out of range. There are some restrictions on the distance, but you’ll notice some truly insane distances in the video above.
The Shyvana Spotlight is out, as is the character, giving us the first look at the latest champion to join the League. I’m not surprised to see Trinity Force show up on the recommended build for her, but I did think it was cool to see a Guinsoo’s Rageblade on her. I can’t help but wonder if that will be the optimal build, or if players will just build the typical tanky build.
It’s hard to say how I feel about her based on the spotlight alone. She seemed to be doing decent damage, but she doesn’t have any of the more conventional nuke skills. She reminds me of Skarner in that way – appears to do solid damage without any really exciting skills.
I tend to avoid characters like Shyvana, mostly because I have trouble estimating just what I’ll be able to do in a fight. In a lot of the encounters in Phreak’s video I probably would have backed away from kills that he was able to secure. I’m not sure what it is about the slow trickle of death, but it just doesn’t turn me on.
I’m hoping to get a few games with her today to see how she actually feels. Check back for more on the League’s first dragon.
It’s long overdue, but the Trundle Champ of the Week wrapup is finally here! I went with a little more casual commentary style based on some feedback. Let me know if you prefer it to a more scripted style.
My first few games with Trundle went so amazingly well I couldn’t help but think the League’s only real troll might be a little overpowered. He’s incredibly quick in the jungle, has the tools for ganking early, has the damage output for sustaining into late game – where are the weaknesses? His one weakness is probably that he’s melee. Seriously. I think that’s his only weakness.
The flipside to all of that is that no one plays him. Like, no one. In the 50 or so games I’ve played and recorded, I’ve been the only person to play Trundle. I think this is mostly due to the fact that his skills are not exciting. You don’t take big chunks out of your opponents. You don’t get to stun people. If you miss your pillar by the slightest amount it continues to stand as a lasting monument to your failure. His ultimate is utterly boring.
Despite all that, he’s still powerful. In the video above I show a lot of different ways that Trundle contributes to the team. I think the most important thing you can do for a team as Trundle is to build tanky. Get an early GA and then follow up with some damage. The GA allows you to tower dive early and survive into late. It de-prioritizes you as a target in those early teamfights, which gives you the freedom to choose your targets carefully, make the best use of your ult, and rip through a team.
Skills and Items
When I play Trundle, I like to focus on beefing up defensive stats and debuffing enemies with Rabid Bite and his ultimate, Agony. I level Rabid Bite first, and then alternate between Pillar of Filth and Contaminate. Both skills provide great benefit with each level, so I just go back and forth, grabbing his ultimate at levels 6, 11, and 16.
For items, I get a Wriggles, Merc Treads or Berzerker’s Greaves (don’t forget, Contaminate gives him CC reduction), Guardian Angel, and Trinity Force. If the game goes beyond that point you can either get a Banshee’s for survivability or the damage item of your choosing. I would personally go for Infinity Edge, but if the enemy team doesn’t have much in the way of Exhaust or Ignite, go for a Bloodthirster. You will probably be the last man standing more often than not, and that Bloodthirster only adds to Trundle’s sustain.
If I Could Change One Thing
If I could change one thing about Trundle it would be his ultimate. The skill is definitely strong in its current form, but I would like to see it offer a little more punch. I think Riot could easily shift more damage to the front end, improve the animation a bit, and increase the cooldown. Yes, increase the cooldown. I know his ult is great for killing dragon and Baron and the occasional golem if you’re low on health, but it’s just too boring in its current form. I think we would see a lot more Trundle players if he was just a bit more exciting to play.
Don’t forget to Subscribe to the Fearless Gamer YouTube channel for notifications when my newest videos are up. I should have Veigar later this week but I am heading out of town for a wedding so I can’t promise anything.
I realize it was a bit of a tease to post that I was playing Dominion yesterday without a full writeup. Well, there was no writeup because I was busy making this video! It’s a full game of Dominion with lots of commentary by yours truly.
For those of you at work or who can’t otherwise watch the video, here’s a quick summary. Bascially, Dominion is pretty cool. I only got 4-5 games in yesterday, so my impressions are based on limited experience, but still, it was a lot of fun.
There are loads of new items in the game, which you’ve surely seen in the store on Summoner’s Rift. There’s also a new buff in the game, which is pretty much my one complaint about Dominion. The buff gives the bearer’s attacks a nuke proc and also grants the bearer a shield that refreshes if he isn’t hit for 10 seconds. At max rank it’s a 525 hp shield. I think it’s a little broken, but I explain more in the video.
Check out the video, and as always, comment, subscribe, and like the video if you enjoyed it.