Cities: Skylines’ Impressions and Some News

Paradox Interactive’s city-building sim reached an impressive milestone today, surpassing 500,000 sales. This announcement follows last week’s 250k sales in 24 hours. 500k in less than a week is truly impressive, and the game has been received well. But 2013’s SimCity reboot also sold very well and was received well. But that all turned sour quick once the launch of the game was hindered by server issues.

Cities: Skyline will not suffer the same fate. Skyline won’t be bogged down by the same server issues as it doesn’t share an online world economy requiring EA’s mandatory internet access.

That being said, Cities: Skyline does borrow from SimCity extensively, but simplifies the gameplay. The game plays quick and loose, full in-game days whiz by in a blur, no day and night cycle will have you forgetting that time is moving, and your towns folk seem pretty content as long as you keep their lights on, and their streets cleared of garbage.

I had a 4 hour sit-down last night (I think without blinking), and figuring I was doing fairly well, just to find the power suddenly go out, leaving me with an abandoned city and piles of debt. Not my most notable achievement by any stretch, I quickly packed up my remaining dignity and skipped town, off to the next soon-to-be sprawling metropolis. “THIS TIME, MY CITIZENS, I PROMISE TO DO BETTER!”

Keep an eye out for my review soon.

In other, non-city related news…

Battlefield Hardline’s Couch Warfare

Someone has found a drivable couch Easter egg in Battlefield Hardline. The couch, appropriately named “The American Dream” is found in the Hotwire gameplay mode on the Dust Bowl Map. Seats 4, and drives faster than any of the other types of vehicles.

Couch Warfare

Couch Warfare

Unknown is if the couch is an Easter egg for the EA Access preview, or will be made available tomorrow during the proper launch. I guess we’ll soon find out. I’ll try to find it tonight for myself.

LEGO Jurassic World June Release

New info started coming out today about the next LEGO game from TT Games: LEGO Jurassic World. Announced a little while ago with a teaser, today there was a gameplay / a more fleshed out trailer. We know the game will focus not on 3, but actually all 4 movies, hence Jurassic WORLD, and will include almost 2 dozen dinosaurs, and all the characters from the movies. Briefly shown from the trailer are some of the key scenes from Jurassic Park.

Crytek’s New Licencing Deal?

Known for their Crytek engine, FarCry, Crysis, and Ryse – Crytek teased a new licensing deal today. No further details though.

Crytek is currently going through some restructuring, or “transitioning” as they work on some free-to-play projects and recent “strategic” moves. They’ve had their recently purchased rights to Homefront, moved to Dambuster Studios along with their Crytek UK staff. Crytek USA remains stateside to focus on their Engine.

Some positive news is better than all the recent negatives, or no news, I guess.

GTA Online stability released on Xbox

And finally, GTA Online gets its stability patch out to the Xbox community, improving Online stability for Heists, and fixing minor issues for both Online and Story Mode. Released last week on the Ps3 and Ps4.

Currently I’m in the process of staring at this game, on my shelf, willing the game’s sizable 43GB install to shrink so that it fits on my already over-full Xbox One Harddrive. I’m past the last notch on the belt guys, I’ve already purged 3/4’s of my library to the “ready to be installed” list. That last bite of dessert is a faded memory.

Thursday, though! Thursday, I’m picking up a 4TB external HDD for my XBOX One which should resolve all of my HDD woes.

New games tomorrow, till then, Go OUTSIDE!


EA Access and the News!

I have EA Access. I’ve had it since it’s inception. Personally, I think its a good deal. $30/ year gets you access to the EA games vault, which currently has 9 games, 10% off games and DLC, and some new releases you’ll get early access, or free game trials.

The vault currently includes: Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, MADDEN NFL 25, Peggle 2, NFS Rivals, Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare, EA UFC, and the 2 recent additions being NBA Live 15 and Madden NFL 15, which surprisingly added, only a few weeks apart. Typically a new game is added every 1-2 months. Sometimes they release little gifts too, like free DLC packs.

I guess it’s suitable for those who like sports games, or the First-Person Shooters by Dice. For me, its provided the ability to play games I wouldn’t typically pick up, unless they were cheap. Games like UFC, or Basketball or Football. I play Shooters, and NFS games generally already, and I pick up NHL annually.

I’ve pre-ordered Battlefield Hardline, which will grant me 1 week early access, so keep an eye out for first impressions of that, starting March 12th, 2015.

The Game Developer Conference is currently underway in San Fransisco, March 2-6, so on that note, lets move on to some news:


Phil Spencer and Halo Master Chief Collection:

Game Informer had the chance to speak to Xbox Head Phil Spencer at the GDC conference about the Halo Master Chief Collection launch, and continuing troubles, and what the teams have learned going forward with the Halo 5 release.

Spencer discussed, at length, the steps they’re taking to ensure that the Collection package is becoming more and more stable, and ensured that the teams are still hard at work to ensure that it happens as quickly as possible.

He also discussed how the Halo 5 team is handling the launch, with earlier, dedicated beta testing, not for promotion, but for stress and bugs.

I’m not a big online gamer, as I typically play games for the single player and co-op aspects. But in the case of Halo, even the co-op functionality was affected. Game crashes, controller latency on the client side. And it continued to plague the game for months.

I have yet to complete Halo 1 or 2 with my friend, and haven’t even started on 3 or 4. Now that the recent “big content patch” is out I will try again and give it a shot.

343 have apologized and gifted 1 month free Xbox Live Gold, and the Halo Reach campaign to those who suffered at launch. It’s a nice thought, and appreciated. I’m just hoping that Halo 5 works, as this collection’s launch was not a stumble, but more like accidentally walking off the cliff backwards.

Phil Harrison Leaving Microsoft?

At GDC, rumours have started to circulate that Corporate VP Phil Harrison is expected to leave Microsoft after only a few years. Microsoft and Xbox Head Phil Spencer have declined to comment at this time.

SimCity Developer, Maxis Emeryville, Closed By EA

Maxis’ headquarters in Emeryville, CA are closing up, as announced by a former employee on Twitter, and since confirmed by EA. Current development is being consolidated to the other Maxis offices.

Maxis was the creator and developer of the SimCity titles and The Sims. The original SimCity being 26 years old now, and 2013’s reboot of the series was poorly received and also suffered from a lot of launch issues.

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the simulation type games, and had no qualms with the SimCity 2013 reboot. I would agree that some parts of the design were poorly conceived, as it required an online connection to play, for the “online market and resource module” to function. Also the area of creation and lack of land modification tools made it less fun.

I did appreciate the level of detail for the traffic and simulation aspects, but there were a lot of complaints that it wasn’t actually as deep or accurate as we were lead to believe.

Shadow of Mordor Game of the Year

This year at the Game Developer Conference Choice Awards, Monolith’s action title Middle-Earth Shadow of Mordor picked up the Game of the Year award. Earlier in the year, at the DICE awards, Shadow of Mordor picked up eight awards, but not the coveted GOTY. Unfortunately this game is still on my shelf, waiting to be played :'(.

The full winners list is as follows:

Best Debut – Stoic Studio (The Banner Saga)
Innovation Award – Monument Valley (ustwo)
Best Technology – Destiny (Bungie/Activision)
Best Audio – Alien: Isolation (Creative Assembly/Sega)
Ambassador Award – Brenda Romero
Best Visual Art – Monument Valley (ustwo)
Best Narrative – Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (Cardboard Computer)
Pioneer Award – David Braben
Best Design – Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft (Blizzard)
Best Handheld/Mobile Game – Monument Valley (ustwo)
Audience Award – Elite: Dangerous (Frontier Developments)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Hironobu Sakaguchi
Game of the Year – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Monolith Productions/Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)

Wireless Adapter for Xbox One Controller on the PC

Exciting news for me, as this is really the only way I can play PC titles that require any sort of moving and looking at the same time.

I was trained on the d-pad with the Nintendo and S-NES, and then single thumb-stick on the N64. Since then, the dual thumb-stick has been permanently engrained. I can’t WASD and mouse with the same accuracy I can with the controller.

I currently use the Xbox One Controller on the PC within Steam, but wired, so this announcement, and guaranteed future purchase, will allow me to play PC games in bed. Good, or Bad? … Who knows?

That’ll be the news of today/ last night.