Full Force: PS4, Xbox One, Wii U in Next-Gen War

Full Force is GFN’s weekly look at some of the biggest news in geekdom, from video games to anime to movies and everything in between. We also welcome your comments below, if you want to join the conversation. This week, our panelists take a look at the three next-gen consoles now that they all been out for at least three months.

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The Playstation 4 and Xbox One have been out for almost three months now. Have you picked up one (or both), and if so, what’s your verdict? If not, why have you stayed away? Continue reading Full Force: PS4, Xbox One, Wii U in Next-Gen War

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King of the Hill Tournament, Season 1 is OVER

Greetings GFN!

When I started doing this whole casting Dota thing oh so long ago, I had no idea how quickly things would get rolling, or really what form they would take. Strangely enough, almost straight after I started a new trend arose in the lobby games I was playing with friends – a trend that soon became an all consuming obsession with becoming ‘The King’…

In short? A winner-stays-on (or King-of-the-Hill) tournament. Each match would consist of a challenge to the reigning king (the victor of the previous match). The king and the challenger would draft their players from the people in the lobby, and then play a regular Captain’s Mode game (where team captains are also responsible for drafting the heroes that their team will play).

The results were…. unpredictable to say the least. For those who want to watch without any spoilers, here’s the playlist of the entire first season right down to the nailbiting final match.

For those who want to skip to the juicy bits there will be a highlights video out within a few days on my youtube (choosing the choice bits from 11 hours of footage….) – but here’s a brief rundown of what happened:

1: Matches 1-4 see Davidy rocket into an undisputed 4 point lead over the entire field. Playing a range of strategies and reading his opponents like a book, the pace for the tournament was undeniably set…

2: Match 5 sees me take a shot at anti-Monarchism. I’ve been casting the last 4 matches, watching Davidy’s every move and had spent 3 days coming up with the perfect strategy… And it works! After overthrowing the king I’m immediately dethroned myself by Kick in Match 6, ending my dreams of world domination.

3: Matches 7-10 are a repeat of the first 4 – I’m casting a lot and Davidy, after successfully reclaiming his crown, rockets up another 4 points. The current leaderboard is:

Davidy: 8

Me: 1

Kick: 1

So Davidy has already won the tournament, which would run for 15 matches. Silver is still up for grabs though, and I’ve been doing lots of thinking…

4: Match 11 and I again challenge Davidy after spending a few days cowering on the casting couch coming up with stratagems. Breaking out Spirit Breaker (an incredibly effective early game hero unpopular at the moment as he scales badly into late game) I leave Davidy’s spirit broken with one of the quickest wins in the tournament thus far! Unfortunately his immediate counter-insurgency in Match 12 robs me again of my right to be King!

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By this stage you may have noticed things were getting very Game-Of-Thronesy

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5: Match 13 and the results seem set – Davidy is a mile ahead and likely to win the remaining matches if things continue. I’ve got my 2 points so I’m 99% likely to grab second… when a new challenger arrives. Phaedrus (new to the tournament) challenges Davidy and, in without a doubt the most epic, back and forth, nonsensical game EVER (no lie) becomes our new King. Scoring a victory over Lua Phaedrus is now tied with me in second place…

Davidy: 9

Me: 2

Phaedrus: 2

Kick: 1

6: Match 15 – PHAEDRUS, FIGHT ME! I’m the challenger in this epic battle to determine the silver medal. It’s been a long journey, but my victories have always been off the back of long sessions analysing my opponents from the shadows! Will I be able to beat this randomly-occuring, Davidy-beating, new guy who I have no data on!

Well you’ll just have to go and watch it yourself! Our epic final was certainly epic, but it was also the shortest game in the entire tournament – any bets on who was forced into calling GG?

As always please check out all my stuff – you know the drill:

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Going With Your Gut Instinct in Telltale Video Games

If there’s one thing I love most about Telltale games, it’s that when I play them, I often regret my snap decisions.

In these story-centric, episodic games, you’re presented with dialogue options that include a timer bar, which gradually depletes as you start running out of time to make your dialogue choice. If you don’t make your decision in time, you’re stuck with a default choice (or, like, silence). The games give you a ton of other decisions too — who will you save from the approaching zombies? to whom will you give the limited food rations? will you torture the criminal or try to bribe him into talking? — and they often have time limits, too.

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In other words, it’s a lot like real life. We face decisions every day, and we have to think fast. We don’t have five minutes to review dialogue options before we carry on with our conversations. We have tough choices to make, and we don’t always know which is “right” or “wrong.” As much as I love my Mass Effect games, life doesn’t give us color-coded responses to hint at how others will perceive them. We go into life blind, we make snap decisions, and we have to live with them.

Similarly, there are no easy take-backs in the Telltale games. Once you make a decision, you’re stuck with whatever consequences unfold — whether they’re good or not. I don’t look up anything about the episodes before I play them, but afterwards I love checking out other people’s playthroughs and seeing what could-have-been. But I don’t replay the episodes. Not right away, at least. I have to play through the entire game first, living with my first decisions even when I regret them pretty much immediately after I make them.

The-Wolf-Among-Us-episode-21An easy example is in the first episode of The Wolf Among Us, when you get a chance to name your prime suspects in a serial murder case. I named Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum as my prime suspects. Minutes later, I had Tweedle Dee and the Woodsman (another suspect, though a little more downtrodden and less likely, in my opinion) in a bar, and they were both making a run for it. I had to act fast — who was I going to chase down and arrest?

Given that I had just named Tweedle Dee one of my prime suspects, I should have gone after him. But I didn’t. My immediate reaction — not my brain, but my gut instinct — was to run after the Woodsman.

As soon as I made the call, I realized what a dumb thing I had just done. Why hadn’t I gone after the more suspicious guy?! He was getting away! But that’s the beauty of Telltale games to me. The games force you to make quick, instinctual choices and then live with whatever happens next. It’s almost like giving the reins to your unconscious mind.

I might replay the Telltale games again, but I’m not incredibly motivated to see every possible decision’s outcome. Even when I make choices I regret, my canon playthroughs feel right to me. My brain might not be very happy about my decisions — some of them are pretty silly — but they belong to me even more because of that. They’re not over-thought. They don’t come from the part of me that tries to manipulate video games or strategize through every single detail. When I play Telltale games, it’s just me, thinking on my feet like I do in real life, and then seeing what comes of it.

— Ashley