We've hit March, and we're now well and truly into the madness this week, as Cartman and the gang kick off a month of awesome games - so come and meet some friends of mine in this bigger, longer and uncut edition of Tuesday Game Room!
What have you been playing this week?
I've been plugging away at the Siege of Orgrimmar this week, plundering the likes of the Klaxxi, poor General Nazgrim, and even a giant Dinosaur for shiny purple loots (MY WEAPON DROPPED YASSSS), but still haven beaten Garrosh yet. He's a tough fight at the end of a long and tough raid wing, so the groups I've been with have ultimately shattered against his sha-infused might. The loot he drops isn't that great for Hunters, but still, I want to beat that damned asshole once and for all.
Away from the world of MMOs, I've been playing... an MMO. Although I've gotten even more Lego Marvel funtimes in my PS4 this week (I have played that game for like, 8 hours and only just realised that they actually got Clark Gregg in to voice Coulson! Awesome!), I ended up downloading the Final Fantasy XIV PS4 beta Phase 1 for its final weekend, and got reminded at just how much fun a game it is, to the point I'll probably pick it up when it fully comes out in April. Above is the adorable Taroro Taro, my Lalafellin Arcanist - I never played anything but Lancer/Dragoon during my time with the PC game so it was interesting to pick up a caster DPS, which was fun. So many DoT abilities, oh my! And after spending about an hour flailing around with controls, I ended up really enjoying using a controller to play. It looks great and runs great too, so it seems like it's a really good version of this pretty awesome game.
There's not many games this week, but what is here is pretty big. The show stopper is probably the long awaited (seriously, this game has been talked about for 3-4 years or more at this point) South Park: The Stick of Truth for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, an RPG from Obsidian with a story written by the creative team behind the long-running cartoon series that was almost killed last year by the dissolution of THQ before an Ubisoft buyout saved it. The digital release calendar doesn't let up either, with the release of The Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2: A House Divided on PSN and PC this Tuesday, with an Xbox Live and iOS release the day after. I really hope that buying the Season Pass on Xbox Live before my Gold subscription expired still means I can download it when it comes out...
Finally, on PC Firaxis are putting out XCOM: Enemy Unknown - The Complete Edition Update, which brings together the base game, Enemy Within and all the DLC packs into one release, and there's also the release of Farming Simulator Titanium Edition. Yup. Even Farming Sims get their collective editions these days.
And now, the News
Once again it's time for a few select picks from the last week of Gaming news, via Eurogamer:
- Microsoft 'never heard' of GCHQ's Optic Nerve considering to use Kinect for surveillance - The Guardian's latest investigative reporting into GCHQ's surveillance schemes uncovered an interesting aspect of future planning for the spy network's 'Optic Nerve' program, which collated data from the webcams of 1.8 million Yahoo users 4 years ago, claiming spies were interested in accessing data from the Xbox's motion sensing camera as part of a wider operation. As they did when the NSA and GCHQ were alleged to be accessing private Xbox Live messages for surveillance, Microsoft has rapidly denied the intent or their knowledge of the initiative, pointing to their role in the creation of the Global Government Surveillance Reform document late last year. With the announcement of a Kinect included with every Xbox One in the reveal of the console last year, Microsoft faced widespread criticism after allegations from Edward Snowden and The Guardian implied they handed over access to Skype and Outlook's back door systems as part of the NSA's PRISM program hit at the same time.
- AAA Gay protagonists are still a long while off: Ubisoft Writer - Video Games have come a long way in the introduction of LGBT characters and choices in the past few years, but according to Lucien Soulban, lead writer at Ubisoft Montreal, the idea of an openly gay protagonist in a Triple-A game is still far off, due to the fears it could impact sales in an ever-increasingly volatile big stakes market. It's sad to see openly gay members of the Games industry that still have to lament these fears in 2014, but the fact of the matter is that despite coming a long way, there's still so much more video games can (and arguably have to) do for the representation of diversity - be it based on gender, orientation or race - as a medium.
- European Commission to weigh in on IAP and Free to Play Gaming - Although this is only affecting mobile games for now, an investigation into providing more clarity when it comes to In-App Purchasing can only be helpful. The Mobile gaming Boom is still in its honeymoon grace period, but the concerning rise of customer's feeling duped by allegedly 'free' games is something that has to be dealt with sooner rather than later - even more so now as we're beginning to see the rise of true IAP mechanics in full-priced retail games on home consoles and handhelds.
- Bioware have internally discussed the idea of PS4/XB1 remasters of the Mass Effect Trilogy - Don't care what price. Put all the DLC in and give us new servers to play ME3 MP on and I WILL BE THE HAPPIEST MAN ON THE PLANET AND PLAY ALL OF THESE GAMES AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. DOOOO EEEEEEEEEEET. Ahem. Sorry, got away from myself then.
- Game Informer Cover reveals Batman: Arkham Knight, the final, current-gen exclusive, game of the Arkham series - Well, I say 'reveals', GAME UK ended up fudging up and revealing it early, box art and all! With the promise of a sense of finality to the Arkham games, as well as a driveable batmobile and a wider open world Gotham City, Arkham Knight sounds like it's going to shake up some of the feelings of similarity that were creeping in in Arkham City and Arkham Origins. I'm excited to see how this monstrously successful franchise plays out, but at this point equally excited to see what Rocksteady could do with either other DCU characters (god, could you imagine a quasi-God of War/Arkham-inspired Wonder Woman game from them?) or with a wholly new IP.
We'll be back this time next Tuesday for more gaming discussion, but for now, sound off in the comments with the games you've been playing, and what you're looking forward to this week - and don't forget to join us on Steam!