Left 4 Dead Better than Left 4 Dead 2?

I’ve been playing Left 4 Dead 2 a lot recently, and despite it, and its prequel being understandably similar, (they were released a year apart so how different could they be), L4D2 fails to improve on all aspects of its predecessors, which is unusual for a video game.

 

Firstly, I thought the overall tone of the first was better. It seemed a lot darker and grittier as you’d expect a zombie game to be. L4D2 on the other hand seemed almost cartoonish in the graphics department and  I understand the decision to change a lot of it to during daylight or at least dusk since it probably would seem a bit samey with the same appearance in the second. That’s why I think they should just have kept releasing new maps for it, rather than a new game a year later.

Secondly, I feel they overcomplicated L4D2 in a way. The first’s simplicity was great, it was just four people, a limited amount of guns each with their own distinct strengths and weaknesses and the same with the enemies. None of this laser sight and explosive rounds rubbish. The more open-ended environments didn’t feel right with me either. There’s nothing like a series of narrow corridors and a swarm of enemies or a tank charging right at you to get the tension going.

Though I know I’m in the minority. It just seemed like the changes to the game engine were pretty inconsequential, the only one that actually made a difference or set it apart from the original in any way was the addition of melee weapons but they could have simply patched this into the first game. I think I’m just bitter at paying £20 for what is essentially DLC.

That said, L4D2 is still miles better than most online co-op games and I’ll probably buy whatever future instalments they ram down my throat.

 

 

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Mirrors Edge 2 to use Battlefield 3 Engine?

Footage of the Frostbite 2.0 engine has recently surfaced, demonstrating the technology behind upcoming tactical FPS Battlefield 3 and part of the video demo shows a scene bearing an uncanny similarity to the art style of Mirrors Edge:

Frostbite 2 Engine

Mirrors Edge

The screens show a similar colour palette, with the original Mirrors Edge’s trademark stark red tone and distinct radiosity, particularly in the wall textures but that’s not all that’s similar.

Take a look at the white barrel in the screenshot then compare it with one from Mirrors Edge. The rings around the barrels are an almost perfect match:

The fact that both Battlefield 3 and Mirrors Edge are being developed by DICE adds weight to the theory since a game developer would most likely want to make the most of a brand new proprietary engine.

However at this point not much is know about a Mirrors Edge sequel. Last year, executive producer at DICE Karl-Magnus Trodesson said:

“I can’t really comment on that because we haven’t officially announced that we’re working on it”, adding: “But we were very happy and proud of Mirror’s Edge one as a studio, so we are thinking about what we are going to do in the future” and other than this nothing is known about the project.

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Crysis 2 – What does the lack of PS3 footage mean?

Crysis 2 is less than 2 months away from release and so far, only footage and screenshots from the Xbox 360 version has been released.

So what could this mean? If you cast your minds back to Red Dead Redemption you’ll remember that up until its release, the Xbox 360 version was the one chosen for display and when the comparisons inevitably happened once it hit the shelves, the PS3 version was shown to be slightly inferior, graphically speaking.

I think it’s a given that the PC version will blow the console versions away. I know it’s incredibly tiresome to praise the original Crysis’ graphics but it’s true, however it’s also unfair to compare the PC to a console. It’d be like comparing an iPad to a Kindle….

However it doesn’t seem likely that the PS3 version is inferior. In April last year Crytek admitted that it was “getting slightly more performance from PS3 compared to 360”. Similarly, in an interview with Gamastutra in June 2009, Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli claimed that they had almost maxed out the PS3.

While no PS3 screenshots or footage have been released, footage of the Cryengine 3 has been displayed running on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC conveniently at the same time.

Here’s a screenshot from the demonstration, PC is the screen on the top, PS3 on the left and Xbox 360 on the right.

 

 

The PS3 version clearly shows superior lighting and slightly more detailed textures, particularly on the bricks, seemingly in line with the argument of the PS3 version being slightly superior.

If this is the case, and it’s entirely possible that by the time they’re released both versions look identical, then why would Crytek choose to demo the slightly (I can’t stress ‘slightly’ enough) inferior looking version? It’s the opposite of what game developers normally do. It could be out of loyalty to Microsoft, after all, the original Crysis did sell extremely well on PC.

I guess we’ll have to wait until late March to know for certain.

Crysis 2 in released March 22 in North America and March 25 in the EU

Has EA snuck Bad Company 2’s Vietnam Expansion Pack onto Consoles?

PS3 owners hoping to play a few quick rounds of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 may be surprised to be greeted by a mandatory update a whopping 1752Mb in size.

On the official Battlefield Blog, EA explains the mammoth size as being “in preparation for our upcoming VIP Map Pack 7 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam” and offers a “complete list of fixes” which are:

– Acog and Red dot scope now equippable on MK-14 and G3.

– Fixed a bug on PC where the G3 would do less damage than intended.

– Reduced VADS push back and damage to balance it with the ZU23.

– Fixed a bug where Vehicle Countermeasures would fail to remove tracer darts at high speed.

– Reduced the reload time for Vehicle Countermeasures.

– Slightly increased the AT4’s damage vs armor to emphasize its anti vehicle role while keeping it balanced vs armor.

– Increased the AT4’s top speed and acceleration so users spend less time exposed when firing.

– Increased the AT4’s splash damage so it competes with other AT weapons vs infantry. The AT4 still has the least splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Reduced the splash damage of the Carl Gustav to bring it in line with other explosive weapons. The Carl Gustav still has the most splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Increased the 1 shot kill range of the M95 body shot to counter its lower rate of fire.

– Fixed a bug with the SVU that gave it better close range damage than other semi auto weapons.

– Reduced all weapon damage to the MCOM by 50%.

– Fixed a C4 vs MCOM exploit on Atacama Desert.

– Fixed a bug with FOV when aiming the M1911.

– Lowered the close range damage of the AN94 to highlight its long range role.

– Increased the accuracy of the F2000 on the move to highlight its role as a mobile AR.

– Increased the close range damage of the shotguns to give them a greater advantage vs slugs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the M60 to balance its accuracy advantage vs other LMGs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the MG3 at close range to balance it with other high rate of fire weapons.

– Slightly increased the damage of the UH6

The list is obviously not complete and changes to benefit the release of a new map pack and the Vietnam expansion pack have evidently been left out of this list since it’s highly unlikely that 20 very simple and very minor changes to weapon and vehicle specifications would rack up a size close to 2 gigabytes of data, such patches are usually well under 100Mb.

It seems likely that EA have actually put in all, or at least a majority of the data required for the upcoming map pack as well as the Vietnam expansion pack, something which contains just 4 new maps, 6 new vehicles and 15 new weapons and would easily fit inside an update 1752Mb in size.

If this is the case, it means that when Bad Company 2: Vietnam is released, you’ll just be paying $15 to unlock content already existent on your hard drive, a practice that EA already have some experience of, with the actually content downloaded once purchasing Bad Company’s Onslaught mode being less than 1Mb in size. Gamers could also pay to unlock content in EA’s Tiger Woods 2007 that could easily be unlocked by playing through the game. A quick web search reveals hordes of gamers frustrated by this increasingly common practice, one which is not just utilised by EA.

It’s easy to see why this is done, paying for extra content and not having to wait for it to download is a lot more appealing than the alternative but then it’s also easy to see why the principle of paying for content you already possess can be irksome to gamers.