All posts by Toby McCasker
Battlefield 4

By on June 25, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Battlefield 4 is not very good. Never in my gaming life have I had to endure a game like this, much less one that’s part of a franchise I’ve more or less loved unconditionally since discovering it. If I didn’t have that history, I would’ve bailed the first time it hung eternally pre-game, or crashed my entire setup mid-game, or after it crashed post-game and forgot that time I nailed a headshot from halfway across Rogue Transmission.

Yes, even with the thick rubber band I was wearing that day, I still managed to do something OK, and some proof I wasn’t wasting my life on an EA afterthought would’ve been cool.

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Battlefield 3

By on June 18, 2014 at 11:49 am

My lack of online aim is pretty legendary. If my squad could take my guns away and pat me on the head they would. I’ve even had DMs from random players who are like, “Bro u NEED an aimbot lul.” That’s an actual quote from a guy I got the drop on and only managed to tag once or twice… with an entire clip.

For people to actively notice you can’t shoot straight in the middle of things exploding and everyone dying? That’s embarrassing.

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By on June 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Murdered: Soul Suspect feels hollow, and that’s not just because you’re a ghost. Remember the good-looking but detached dalliances you might’ve had with Asura’s Wrath and/or Beyond: Two Souls? This is like that. It has that exact same inconsequential feel of having been intended as a movie, but made by people who ended up in games.

Which sucks even more in this case, because MSS’ narrative is only compelling in so far as it’s a mystery. Every well-worn cinematic cliché and dramatic device of the afterlife is good and accounted for here…

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The Evil Within

By on May 27, 2014 at 11:31 pm

First things first: at the time of writing, Bethesda popped up out of the hedges and told us out of nowhere that The Evil Within’s release has been pushed back to October, “so Shinji Mikami and his team can even further balance and refine the game.”

This is not a massive surprise. The preview sesh I was at was pretty suspect, consisting of an opening sequence and two E3 demos, both of which were incredibly conspicuous. Why? Because of how utterly random they were.

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By on May 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I’m crap at games, but I’m not that crap. Man, if you play shooters for this long, it’s almost impossible not to be kind of OK at them. And yet there I am, getting shot up. Sometimes, yeah, I was eating chips and not giving a care. Sometimes though, I know what’s up because — the firefight I just bafflingly lost? Very obviously the product of lag.

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By on May 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm

“Hey, it’s that guy again.” She’s pointing. “He has killed you like, one million times.” She thinks she’s hilarious and breaks into a powerful Cheshire Cat grin. “One million times,” she whispers. I think she’s exaggerating for the sake of comedy but she won’t hear of it, and dances around the lounge room making it rain one million times. A lesser man would have crumbled by now. But I am no ordinary man. I am a man stalked by other men; by that guy, again.

It’s true, he has killed me a few times. OK, a lot.

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By on May 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

The other day, someone – I forget who, some kind of games person with high scores all up in hair – was saying something to the effect of, “Shooters are gonna be like the 2D platformers of the ‘90s.” It’s hard to imagine now, but those were massive then. It was all you could see on the gaming horizon. Mario and Sonic gave us such follow-along luminaries as Bubsy the Bobcat, Cool Spot, Boogerman (rad), Global Gladiators (ack), Jazz Jackrabbit, and even Zool. Remember Zool? Probs not. Will we be saying the same in a decade when some plucky young upstart who still thinks life is OK goes, “Remember CoD?

If we’re being specific about CoD, I hope so. But if we’re being broad and talking about FPS games, I hope not. I like them! So do a lot of good sociopaths. They’re all you can see on the gaming hori- wait a minute.

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Child of Light

By on April 29, 2014 at 1:30 am

Child of Light is a patchwork of old-world devices loved to deathly new life (you what?). Scroll to the side, jump up and down. Shove a box over here and nab some floating orb things there. A hideous spider! Kick its ass in turn-based combat. Level up with XP and climb mad skill trees. Puzzly platforming turn-based RPG gaming? What is this, Soviet Russia where the games play you?

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By on April 23, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I hate guns. Hate them. I often sit around thinking about how America has 99 problems and the gun is a big one. They know it, too. Obama wants to take those guns away, just ask the internet. The people cling to their grammatically unsound Constitution and cry, “How will we protect our homes tho Bamms?” It’s hard not to sit there and go, “Fair call. If there’s a home intruder, all bets are off – but why does it need to be a lethal killing stick? Why not replace everyone’s guns with phasers set to ‘stun’?” They’re bad, don’t like ‘em. I play a lot of shooters though, and I love shooters. I love shooting all them things. Uh?

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Red Faction

By on April 16, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Sometimes games can start some hell realtalk. Out of nowhere, bananas, you’re committing some heinous act and what makes it feel so heinous is that only the implication of it maybe happening was there. I’m not talking the DIY depravity of Grand Theft Auto. That is clearly an open invitation to do bad things on a massive scale, and this in some way dilutes the impact of it. You know why you’re there. You came to party. What about when you’re just there? First-person shooters make this weird personal phenomenon all the more personal, because hey, you’re you, not the back of someone else’s head or the top of it.

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Bad at Aiming

By on April 9, 2014 at 8:34 pm

I was always bad at my job, so it’s lucky I hired myself. Technically no one gets hired out here on the field. We’re all just sort of smashed together and asked to come in on Sunday to explode things. Sundays are just like every other day, which makes this job a pretty simple one. A smoking monkey could do it. Sometimes, hey, $moking_Monkey is actually doing it. He’s killing everyone. Dead-eye shot from a lot of paces. There’s no way he’s being made redundant.

Not that anyone gets made redundant unless they realise, “I’m redundant.” I have just realised this.

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Staying Up Late

By on April 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

I’ve decided to start sleeping on the gross old couch in the lounge room because a) Emergent alcoholic, and b) Closer to gaming systems. What this means is that sleep, ha, sleep. Sleep doesn’t happen anymore. And so I have become a sparkly vampire like mother always suspected I would, and with these unconventional new sleeping patterns comes a new way of experiencing my git-yer-gun online multiplayer shenanigans. A time to kill, sure, but depending on what time it is that might be easier said than done.

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Bear Simulator

By on March 26, 2014 at 2:53 pm

You know what I think is cool, is when something plays itself out. I don’t think it’s cool at the time, though. No one does. I mean, no one wants to sit there playing dumb games with no imagination. That’s bad. The good part is when everyone starts turning their backs on boredom, when there is a demonstrable cultural shift away from a status quo. The thing that played out and got boring suddenly realises it has to get interesting. In its blind animal panic, sometimes it will overcompensate and literally became a panicking blind animal.

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Need for Speed Ad in Battlefield 4

I’ve been playing Battlefield 4 a lot, see, and even months after it came out it’s still pretty messy. The number of times I have somehow dominated everyone completely and utterly with my best m8 Crappy Hand Gun and then suffered a sudden crash is still a lot. The history books will never know my bumbling triumphs.

A few days ago I was haunting the internet looking for gullible people to take my anger out on, as you do. It backfired, ‘cos I found this instead, and I got even angrier. According to a boy and his screenshot, EA are now putting ads in your Battlefield 4 when they should be, I dunno, fixing this thing.

No Day'z Later

By on March 12, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Forgive my cynicism (or don’t) but I’m not into Kickstarter’s vibe at all and, until this week, I couldn’t really figure out why. It was always an inkling; a something-something about every person and their dog/cat/cat-dog suddenly being given an elevated platform with which to beg for money that, I thought, was pretty galling on a mysterious level. Then I saw some class-A titanium rip-off derp like No Day’z Later in the queue for internet Centrelink and I realised: Yeah. That’s why.

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Shadowrun Returns Dragonfall

By on March 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Dragonfall sucks, because it’s awesome. Hey, what-who? It does. You know why? It’s so much better than the base game that it should be the base game. It is what everyone’s introduction to Shadowrun Returns should be, such is the intensity with which Harebrained heard the critique and used it to affect improvement in just about every area that needed it. It if does anything wrong, it’s that new players aren’t able to play it straight up, ‘cos it’s DLC.

And what DLC. My goodness.

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South Park: The Stick of Truth

By on February 17, 2014 at 11:37 am

The thing with South Park is, it’s not very serious. It is, if you might allow me this open invite to catcalls of U CANT WRITE OMG I AM BETTER WRITAR THAN U, totes cray. Let it not be said Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s satire is stupid, no way. It is the opposite of that. But you would not reasonably expect these two goons of anything-goes to lend their barely animated precious to a hardcore goddamn turn-based RPG. Or maybe you would. They are kind of nerdy fellers with their hearts on fire. Trey has still not gotten over a woman who cheated on him 15 years ago. Her name was Liane. Yes, like Cartman’s mum. No, he will not let it go.

Obsidian have demonstrated a similar kind of obsessiveness in developing the nuances of Stick of Truth, at least from what I saw munting through the first hour of it. Mechanics aside, it is an RPG that loves and hates RPGs, much like South Park itself loves and hates all the silly things that people do.

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By on February 6, 2014 at 5:03 pm

As life goes on, you get bored with the surface of things. Things that are pure aesthetic, like Michael Bay movies, lose their luster. Immediacy is not that fun anymore. There is no realisation to divine here, only a headstone to spitfire youth and choices made under the duress of $5 jugs. The depths of things are where your mind goes now. You start to see the subtext in great art – in movies, books, graphic novels with assassin nuns – where before it was something that stretched you, required your head to hurt. Now it is just plainly there: “This is actually about Ronald Reagan’s hair.” It is one of the joys of aging past the 24/7 boner stage. Then you play a game like Loadout.

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By on January 29, 2014 at 11:52 am

I like shooters very much a lot, but they could stand to learn a thing or two about the A to B. Let us be Steve for a moment about the beloved: Very few of them care as much about narrative as they care about your muzzle flash illuminating the panties of male power fantasies left, right, centre. There are, of course, exceptions (IN BEFORE HALF-LIFE I KNOW I KNOW GOD KEEP IT DOWN), but for the most part I do not remember what just transpired between the killing and the more killing – and I certainly don’t recall the bittersweet taste of the bad guy at the end’s blood, ie. A Very Important Impetus.

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By on January 22, 2014 at 4:09 pm

I went to play Thief recently, where I bumped into regent Tim Colwill who was also there to see Thief. Do you know that when Tim goes to things like this he wears a branded polo shirt with his name on it? Oh my god it’s hilarious. Anyway so I can’t write about Thief because Tim is presumably going to write about Thief. But there was something else I realised on the day, and unlike most of my waking thoughts it did not feature an army of sentient donut men come to claim us all.

Instead it was the realisation that Square Enix are necromancers. I am quite normal, I assure you.

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