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By otakuman5000 On 8 Dec, 2011 At 12:58 AM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, Videos | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe newest addition into the Elder Scrolls franchise makes its way to our consoles in a blaze of magic, fire, and glory. Bethesda brings all of their talent and cleverness in game design into this fantasy epic for all platforms. Be it Xbox 360, Playstation 3, or PC your choice to experience the land of Skyrim; you will not be disappointed at the grand scale this fantasy world has to offer. Add to the mix a soundtrack that brings to life the feeling of older fantasy tales, and you have one of the better games of the year. Even with all that being said, there is truth to be found in all of this, and that truth will be EPIC.

 

 

 

 

 

By Inactive or EX ROG Staffer On 18 Sep, 2011 At 04:31 AM | Categorized As Contests, Featured, PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The Real Otaku Gamer Ultimate Fan series continues with the “Are you the ultimate Bethesda fan?” contest.

So here I sit, holding a gun in the air, and aiming down it’s sights. The super mutants ugly mug stares me down. grinning and grinding its teeth. I begin to squeeze the trigger. My mind clear, and resolve unquestioning. But wait! There comes the horde of Daedra. Rolling down the hill. Infinitely different in form, as they are in skill. SHIT! Never fear, your shock spell with frost damage is in hand. As you ready for this battle, that will be calculated and determined in milliseconds, the peripheral of your eye spots another problem. It’s a bandit from the dusty dunes of RAGE!!! I real up for the fallout that is about to be spread. My hands become sweaty and clammy. I realize you didn’t pack enough venison and stimpaks to absorb to blow of this fight. In other words, I just bit off more than you can chew.

Over the past few years Bethesda has become, arguably,  a household name among gamers. When I say RPG these days, it’s easy to think of Oblivion and Fallout. When I say best looking game this generation, your mind may snap to RAGE. When it boils down to what’s come out, and what’s coming out, it’s hard to show any resentment towards Bethesda.

So to show our love, we here at Real Otaku Gamer are throwing a Bethesda game giveaway. We’re giving away a Skyrim, Rage, a few copies of New Vegas, Fallout 3, or The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Also for those of you broke as a joke due gaming madness, we’re giving away several PSN and XBL cards. The prizes are listed as follows.

Grand Prize Winner:1 winner

1 Copy of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim on the winners system of choice.

1 Copy of RAGE on winners system of choice.

1 PSN or XBL card

1st Place winners: 2 winners

1 Copy of RAGE or Skyrim on the system of their choice.

2nd Place winners: 3 winners

1 copy of Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, or Fallout: New Vegas on the system of their choice

3rd Place Winners: 4 winners

1 PSN or XBL card

 

All you have to do is follow the simple rules.

Rules:

*All you have to do is send a picture of you standing next to your screen. On it    should be the Bethesda game, and the DLC of your choice.With a time stamp to verify, you are who you say you are. And yes, you can send extra pictures in if you’re doing a cos-play. Yes Cos-play is welcome in this contest. We are also an anime site after all.

An example of cos play. Yeah this was kinda johnny on the spot 😛

 

This should also have a time stamo, but you get the picture of what we need

 

*All contest entries should be sent to,  contests@realotakugamer.com

Helpful Hints:

* Try to be creative. The most creative ones sent in will be posted here.

* This should go without saying, but it’s the internet, so here goes. No nudity! If you think that’s going to win you brownie points, you’re dead mistaken.If you do, be sure all that’s going to happen is you getting disqualified from the contest, and the staff laughing at your birthday suit.

*A side note to creativity, try and be goofy. Nothing says, “I want this!” more than embarrassing yourself in front of thousands of people.

*A video is always welcome in contrast to a picture. Just be sure to try and make us laugh if you do so. Remember it’s getting posted here.

*Send all entries to  contests@realotakugamer.com. Tis email for those who are new to the game. 😀

This contest opens Monday September 19, 2011 and will end November 1, 2011.

Finally we will be giving out DLC codes all week for Fallout: New Vegas and Honest Heart on twitter. So keep your eyes peeled.

Twitters’ you should follow:

@venomousfaman1

@Otakuman5000

@FatAnorexic

@realotakugamer

 

Good luck and thanks for following Real Otaku Gamer.

 

 

By otakuman5000 On 13 Apr, 2011 At 02:23 PM | Categorized As Editorials, PC Games, PlayStation, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 2 Comments

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The latest AAA RPG is out today, filled with all the bloody combat, gray morality, and sexy women, or men, that you could want. That’s a no-brainer for a day one purchase, right?

Here’s another question: Do you go ahead and put down $60 + tax of your hard-earned money on it, knowing that there is already DLC on PSN/XBLA, and that all this content will probably be available next year with the core game as the “Game of the Year Edition”? Do you pay $60 for a game that by all accounts plays like it’s still in beta-testing in hopes that the designers will release patches to make it run correctly in the next few weeks?

One of the defining features of the seventh generation of consoles has been Internet access as a standard feature. While online capability for game systems has existed since the early 1980’s, this is the first time we’ve had the infrastructure that enables everyone to be online, in the form of Xbox Live, PSN, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, or Steam. On the plus side, it has made gaming a truly social pastime. We can get onto Xbox Live, join a party with our friends, and rock it in everything from CoD: Black Ops to Bomberman. It has also brought us downloadable budget games that would otherwise have never been green-lighted by the platform holders or would have never been made due to the costs of publishing. The Internet has given us more freedom than ever before in our entertainment choices. And that’s a good thing.

Unfortunately, not everything is quite so rosy. Online-capable consoles have brought the ills of post-release patching, DLC, and DRM into our living rooms. Through the Internet, a publisher now has the uncontested power to control how much access you have to the games you buy, whether or not you have that access in the first place, and how you share your gaming experiences with your friends and family. Much of this access is determined by how much something can be “monetized” by the provider. Because consoles are now Internet-enabled, publishers looking to meet key deadlines like Christmas can also push a game out the door before it has been thoroughly tested or even completed, with the idea that any problems that crop up or even missing game modes can be addressed by the release of an online patch after the game goes to retail.  The Internet has given content providers more power and control than at any point in the past.

Let’s take a look at some of the buzzwords of contemporary gaming.

DRM

A well-known anti-piracy campaign from Britain in the 1980's

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is not a new concept. This concept was codified in the Digital Millenium Copyright Act of 1996, at a time when the “information superhighway” was being rolled out for the general public. Prior to 1996, it was simply known as copy protection, exemplified with famous slogans like “Don’t Copy That Floppy (disk)” and “Home Taping is Killing Music.”

Game production is increasingly expensive, and it’s understandable that the publisher and developers want a return on their investment. When a game fails to perform at retail, designers are laid off, a promising franchise dies, and in the worst-case scenario, the development studio may get shut down completely. Another result is that publishers are encouraged to stick with sequels to proven franchises like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed instead of introducing new properties. Publishers will often lay the blame for underperforming games on piracy, and more and more frequently, on the secondhand video game market. While it has always been commonplace for gamers to sell, buy, loan, and rent games, it is only within the past two years that publishers have raised the alarm over the used game market. Nevertheless, in the eyes of a publisher, every pirated or secondhand copy is a lost sale, and they seem particularly galled by used game sales, since the money that changes hands on a used sale is strictly between the seller and the buyer.

In order to counteract piracy and the used game market, publishers have long tried different methods. In the 1980s, it was common for publishers to implement copy protection that required the user to type in a piece of information from the game’s manual or packaging, the information being printed on paper that would show up as solid black on the Xerox machines of that time. As technology advanced, so did copy protection. Today, DRM often includes giving a limited number of installs of a game and requiring the game to periodically validate itself online with the publisher’s main server. While PC games have sported DRM, such as the notorious SecuROM, for years, these practices have now spread to consoles as well. Specifically for consoles, publishers have tried offering DLC with new copies as a positive incentive. EA and THQ have also experimented with a more punitive form of DRM, the online pass, where the buyer of a used copy of a game is required to pay an additional fee if he or she wishes to play a game online.

DLC

DLC, or downloadable content, is a more controversial issue, since unlike with DRM, there are potential benefits to both the publisher and the end user. DLC takes different forms depending on the game and genre. For FPS’s, it usually comes in the form of map packs for the multiplayer modes. Fighting games usually relegate it to extra characters or costumes for existing characters which do not impact the actual game. In RPGs, it can take the form of side quests as well as optional weapons or armor. Sometimes the DLC is fairly superficial, but other times, it is quite extensive, as with Fallout 3’s Broken Steel pack, which allowed continued play after the core game’s rather abrupt ending and upped the level cap from 20 to 30. In addition, there are many free-to-play (FTP) games whose revenue largely comes from DLC, known as microtransactions. This model has long been popular in South Korea and China. In the United States and Japan, it has been adopted by a number of MMORPGs who are not able to compete with the popularity of World of Warcraft as subscription games. It is also the revenue model of choice for the new breed of “social” games made for platforms like Flash, Facebook, iOS, and Android.

Publishers are increasingly offering controversial “day one” DLC as bonuses for purchases of new copies or for preorders, and while that is seen as a more positive incentive to buy new than an online pass, there are protests that gamers are having content intentionally withheld from the game for the purposes of milking it. The issue is even thornier when it is discovered that the DLC is nothing more than a code that unlocks content already printed on the data layer of the disc itself, which is considered to be the property of the purchaser under the First Sale Doctrine of the Copyright Act of 1976.

Publishers claim that DLC is a way to add value for customers, particularly buyers of new copies, and certainly it is a way for them to receive additional revenue from a copy of a game that in the past would have been completely lost to them once it was sold. From gamers, the opinions are mixed. While there are those who decry DLC as “nickel-and-diming,” there are those who enjoy the ability to continue the story of a favorite game beyond the main quest. There is also the question of paying real money for virtual goods, as some “free-to-play” games can cost money beyond a one-time $50-60 purchase for a retail game.  In one extreme case, parents have reported getting bills totalling hundreds of dollars for microtransactions from Smurf Village, a popular iOS FTP farming sim, a controversy that both Apple and the publisher, Capcom, have worked to address.  In this case there is the issue of the ethics of marketing seemingly cheap, tempting DLC to kids, who are more impulsive than adults on average,  as well as parental supervision and control of their kids’ online activities.

Bugs

As anyone who’s played a Lionhead, Bethesda or BioWare RPG lately can attest, bugs in retail games are becoming more and more noticeable. Bugs can range from graphical errors like broken textures, missing limbs, and floating items, to features of the game that don’t work correctly. In some cases, a bug can cause the game to freeze up, requiring a press of the power button to reset the game and losing all the progress you’ve made.

Bugs in Fallout: New Vegas

Now, there is no such thing as “perfect” code. Every piece of software has at least some degree of imperfection. In this day and age, a game has billions and billions of lines of code, and it is impossible to nail down every imperfection. It’s also been argued that the HD generation games are more complex than ever in terms of graphics and gameplay.  The argument goes that in an open-world environment like Fallout, it’s impossible to account for every possible variable a gamer can throw at a game’s graphics or physics engine.

However, some games have been buggy and even unfinished, almost to the point of feeling like a $60 beta test. A glitch in the system because a programmer didn’t anticipate a gamer doing such-and-such is one thing, but what about random freezes, screen tearing, floating limbs? If these things are encountered routinely by customers, shouldn’t the game’s testing team have caught them? It’s also not like working on a PC environment, where a game has to run on a variety of different hardware and software configurations. A 360 is a 360 is a 360, or that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

With consoles routinely Internet-capable, a lot of developers seem to be relying heavily on post-release patching to try to fix problems that come up after release, especially when the publisher is setting an absolute deadline for the game to be released, come hell or high water. However, patches are not always timely. Furthermore, there’s also the question of what happens to a game once all the servers are shut off.

The extreme version of these bugs actually comes in the form of hardware errors, like the 360’s RROD and E74 errors and the infamous “ApocalyPS3” that happened on March 1 of last year.  These oversights on the part of the platform holders result in inconvenience and expenses for customers, and millions of dollars in expenses for the platform holders to placate their customer base and avoid tarnishing the image of the console for potential new customers.

So, are bugs the inevitable price of the kind of complex graphics and game mechanics today’s gamers demand? Is it right for publishers to expect consumers to spend more money on games that seem unfinished?

The Wallet Vote

Ultimately, the design choices listed above are dictated by what the market will bear. While angry gamers may protest online passes or DLC vocally on Internet forums, they are preaching to the choir. Unless an unpopular DRM scheme can be proven to negatively impact the sales of a game that uses it, as happened with Spore, publishers will assume their customers are OK with it. As long as people are willing to pay $15 for multiplayer map packs, publishers will keep releasing them… and perhaps test the waters with incremental price increases. It is up to everyone to vote with their wallets as to what they do or don’t want from their games.

And if we are okay with online passes and day-one DLC, those things have gotten their foot in the door. What will we be asked to do next?

By otakuman5000 On 16 Feb, 2011 At 10:40 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured | With 2 Comments

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Role-playing games, or RPGs, are games that have us, the players, take on a particular part of a story and it’s events. Most of the time, many of us want to become the hero that saves a world from it’s dark possible future. And yet, at the same time, there are some of us who would guise ourselves into a form who’s goal is to see a world’s destruction. No matter the type of persona we take, the RPG allows us to immerse ourselves within a fictional world that can change from the consequences of our own actions. The way RPGs are played and experienced however, is something that is constantly changing within the field of video games.

Phantasy Star 2

In the 8-bit days, RPGs were games that tried to give players a griping enough story to keep them coming back for many hours. While not advanced as more current RPGs, the places and characters within the game had to be dynamic enough for players to either related to or take some interest in what events unfolded. This is the main foundation with any RPG, to have the player immersed within a place that has enough places and characters to interact with, giving the illusion of being within another world outside of our own. Without this total immersion, a player can not take on a role within the world the game sets up, and thus the entire experience is a failure. More recently, developers of RPGs have adopted different methods of finding ways to enhance the way players become immersed within their games. This would include aspects of visuals, music, character relationships, and player relationships to help build upon the aspect of being a part of another world.

Mass Effect 1 Gameplay

The importance of visuals in an RPG are as simple as one might believe. If a person can’t clearly accept what they see in front of them as part of some aspect of a reality, fictional or otherwise, how can they be truly immersed within that reality? If a player is suppose to be looking at an apple, how can they accept that it is an apple if what they are looking at does not actually look like an apple? Or a weapon? Or a person or creature? What players, and ultimately all people, notice first is what they see on screen at any given moment. More current games have adopted the use of three dimensional space and modeling to give more life-like appearances to objects within a game’s realm. The more closer something is made to look as if it is actually real, the more a player can accept that is part of the world around them and can be intrigued to explore other aspects of that world.

Final Fantasy X

The second characteristic that a player will notice is sound. Companies like Square Enix and Atlus Games, makers of both Final Fantasy and Persona, are known for creating musical scores that help enhance the emotions of what is happening to characters during their games. Usually, a main score will be composed, followed by other scores for different times and events, so that a recurring and recognizable theme can be heard throughout the RPG. This can help set up the mood or emotions to be felt about a particular place or person that is presented to players, allowing them to associate that place or person with the world they come from and accept their existence. Now these days, more and more RPGs are turning to musical pieces to give them their own individualities. This can let the music show how unique an RPG world is, and what sets it apart from other places a player might know of from past experiences.

Persona 3

Story is what really separates RPGs apart from other genres in video games. The relationships characters have with one another and the actions they take are what players really pay attention to when playing an RPG. This is mainly because in an RPG, a player can affect other characters, themselves, and even the world with the actions they take during the course of the game. Fable, Mass Effect, and Fallout are all contemporary games that are prime examples of the amount of consequences a player’s actions may have on the world around them. However, not many earlier RPGs allowed a player a large amount of customization of the world they were in, this was mostly due to the hardware limitations of earlier times. The ability to have the option of changing something about the world a player is within only further expands upon the immersion factor. This can help a player feel that they are in control of how a story plays out, and not necessarily tied down to a linear chain of events that transpire as they play. The benefits of this can come in the form of alternate endings, different series of events leading to an ending, or even an entirely new beginning.

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of Stary Skies

Yet, does the immersion of an RPG really need to stop when a player turns off the game? Can the world of an RPG possibly extend beyond the forth wall and keep players tied to the alternate world of a game? More and more these days, RPGs are trying to bring their worlds closer to the players by allowing various multiplayer features that add to the fun factor of being immersed within their worlds. For an RPG, why does a game have to stop when you finish the main story, or when you get stuck at a very hard spot that requires hours of grinding? Why not bring in a friend to help you out? Or maybe two, or three even to join in on the action? This helps make players feel that they are not alone in experiencing the world an RPG has to offer, that there are other players out there willing to share in being part of the experience. Although a huge part of MMOs, traditional RPGs are fairly new to having more then one player as part of the experience they have to offer. Games like  Dragon Quest IX and Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles allow players to get the full single player experience, and get even more out of the game playing with friends, before and after they have gone through the game solo. Whether it’s completing a side quest or continuing the main story, everything is always better when hanging out with a few buddies in a strange world.

The Role Playing Game genre is something that has come a long way throughout the years in gaming. We as players, and as people, are always looking for new ways to experience a story and feel what it is like to be part of a new place we‘ve never heard of. An RPG can satisfy our need to want to escape from our current reality and explore places and characters we have never come into contact with before. New features, modes, and stories that are developed and implemented will help players enjoy the experience of playing an RPG style of game. And with time, RPGs will evolve more and more sophisticated to fully immerse us within the stories of the worlds they tell.