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This generation of gaming has, in my mind started to stagnate. To clarify, this generation started with the release of the Wii U in 2012 and the PS4 and Xbox One the next year. Innovation and creativity have traditionally been a huge factor in game development. Considering gaming’s roots as a nearly dead industry in the 80s, developers had no choice but to innovate in order to draw a crowd. Now that gaming has gotten to the point that it rivals even the film industry, it feels like it’s started to let some of that success go to its head. Now, there’s entirely too much focus on gaming’s past, leading to a regression in new content in favor of older games. There’s also a safety net of successful franchises that developers don’t want to stray too far from.

As for older content, each console this gen is guilty of this. Nintendo, Microsoft, Sony, and even multi-platform companies have decided to repackage old games on the new systems rather than expand them or come up with something new. There have been a plethora of remakes this generation. This includes titles such as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, The Last of Us Remastered, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Rare Replay, The Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD, etc.

The games included in these aforementioned titles are all great, but their success can be credited to the generation in which they came out. For games like Skyrim especially, there hasn’t really ever felt like a need to keep re-releasing it. There was a remaster for current gen systems, but it only brought a limited amount of mods to the table. This amount is even more limited on PS4 and there was absolutely no need for a PC version since modding the original can make better visual changes. It’s also getting a VR version soon and a Switch version with Amiibo support. Bethesda is so focused on the success of this game that they’re seemingly not expanding their horizons here. This doesn’t even begin to get at backward compatibility, which is such a resource drain for Microsoft that they struggle to put out anything new.

That isn’t to say we haven’t gotten new games. We have, but a lot of what we’ve gotten doesn’t push boundaries at all. As a result, the games we get end up feeling like overpriced DLC rather than a new installment in a franchise. These games aren’t bad, in fact, they’re far from it, but they don’t wow us like their older installments do.

A good example of this is Gears of War 4. Agreed by many on the internet to be The Force Awakens of gaming, Gears 4 plays it really safe and doesn’t change all that much. The story is good, but when you pick up the controller, it just feels like a slightly more refined Gears game rather than a new thing or a big expansion on previous conventions. It’s probably the best Gears experience out there, but it’s such a small upgrade from previous games that it hardly qualifies as something new. I get the same feeling when I play games like Uncharted 4 and Halo 5. I also got the same feeling watching the Assassin’s Creed: Origins trailer at E3 and I didn’t even pick up a controller for that one.

Even new IPs like Horizon: Zero Dawn and Bloodborne, which are both great games, struggle to innovate. Yes, the amazing aesthetic, music, and graphics in both games are innovative. However, even those games are hampered down by gameplay borrowed from other series. Bloodborne’s gameplay is just a faster, more intense version of Souls gameplay and the something similar can be said about Horizon and the new Tomb Raider games. They’re both very unique takes on pre-existing formulas, but it still feels more like a gameplay sequel rather than something new.

There are two titles that stand out for truly innovating this generation. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is probably the best game I’ve played in years. Although it’s a franchise game, it, like most Zelda’s before it, stands apart as its own thing. This game especially played with the conventions we’re used to in Zelda titles (and gaming general) and made a truly open world where most anything is possible. It combined Souls-esque combat with action RPGs in a way that makes it a unique gaming experience. Another title that looks to be doing something similar with its formula is the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey.

The second title is Overwatch. While Breath of the Wild is probably the best game I’ve played in years, Overwatch is probably the most addictive. It makes a unique hybrid between two popular genres, first-person shooters and MOBAs. Rather than changing the conventions of both genres, it combines them together to create its own genre. In doing so, it doesn’t need to challenge conventions, it forges its own. It, like Breath of the Wild, is a truly distinct gameplay experience as a result.

I spend most of my days working towards my Writing and Rhetoric degree at the University of Central Florida, but I spend a lot of my down time keeping up to date on the best TV, movies, and video games the industry has to offer. Here I put all of that extended time to use discussing each of them in-depth.

Gaming

Helldivers 2 Players Face Overwhelming Hordes of Factory Striders

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In the ongoing conflict against the Automaton invasion fleet, the Helldivers 2 players have successfully halted their advance. However, the situation has now reached a tiresome stalemate. Yet again, the machines refuse to take a break from their relentless pursuit of progress, with reports emerging of the Factory Striders being deployed in record-breaking quantities.

There have been reports of alleged machines that were supposedly encountered during Operation Swift Disassembly, which was just the beginning of a larger campaign. However, these accounts should be taken with a grain of salt, as they are unverified and seem to be more on the imaginative side. Factory Striders have gained a reputation as formidable weapons platforms that can produce more Automatons while enduring significant damage. If the machines are able to withstand such a relentless assault, it will be necessary to develop innovative strategies.

Have you come across groups of Factory Striders in Helldivers 2? Which strategies are proving to be the most effective in taking down these armored brutes? The Orbital Railcannon Strike will prove to be a valuable asset in the comments section below.

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Gaming

Todd Howard affirms that the timeline of the Fallout series is coherent and well-constructed

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The recent release of Amazon’s adaptation of Fallout has ignited a renewed interest in the series and brought attention to the captivating alternate history that forms its foundation. Fans have expressed concern that the TV show’s events might be at odds with the plot of the Obsidian Entertainment video game New Vegas. Warning: Spoilers ahead for New Vegas and Amazon’s show!

Bethesda Game Studios director Todd Howard and Fallout TV executive producer Jonathan Nolan recently sat down with IGN to discuss the timeline. Howard was taken aback when showrunners Graham Wagner and Geneva Robertson-Dworet presented him with the surprising concept of obliterating Shady Sands, the bustling capital of the New California Republic, in the aftermath of the events in New Vegas. Howard eventually warmed up to the idea: “After discussing it, we realized that this could be a significant story moment that many things hinge upon.”

It seems that they had to make some tough decisions to ensure everything fell into place, but Howard emphasizes the importance of preserving the integrity of the Fallout timeline: “We take great care with the timeline. There seems to be some confusion in certain areas. However, all the events from the previous games, including New Vegas, did occur. We take great caution in that matter. We’re really pushing the limits here, but the explosions occur right after the events of New Vegas.

What are your thoughts on this? Is it up to par? Even though it may not have a significant impact on the overall quality of the games or show, it is comforting to know that those in charge are paying attention. We value your feedback and would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Gaming

Evaluating Fallout 76’s Value in 2024

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If you’ve been keeping up with the new Fallout show on Amazon Prime, chances are you’ve been relying on PS Plus Extra and PS Plus Premium to access and enjoy one of Bethesda’s legendary RPGs. We decided to bypass the highly acclaimed Fallout New Vegas and Fallout 3, opting instead to explore the vast landscapes of West Virginia in Fallout 76. Infamous for its initial reception, Todd Howard’s “Fallout with Friends” has evolved significantly over the past six years. However, does that imply the game is of high quality? Is it worth playing in 2024?

As we ventured out of Vault 76 for the very first time, we were determined to find the answers to those burning questions. Recalling our escapades on the Push Square YouTube channel, we encountered quest-giving NPCs—a feature that was surprisingly absent upon release—awe-inspiring bases built by fellow players—and an abundance of loot that could easily burden us 76 times over.

In the midst of the vast array of open-world online experiences, we found ourselves quite enthralled by the combination of 50s classics playing in the background as we obliterated the heads of ghouls. And to top it off, we were able to enjoy all of this with our friends. Exploring the wasteland in the company of a ragtag band of survivors adds a unique element to Fallout 76, setting it apart from other games in the series. However, does it manage to prevent us from uninstalling and transitioning to one of the mainline entries in the series? To discover more, be sure to watch the complete video!

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