On Generic Games

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saintchristopher:
Anyone remember Black? once you ignore the barely-there story, it's the closest thing to a for-the-hell-of-it shooter I've played in the last 5 years.

It also has probably the most satisfying weapons/bullet physics in a game that isn't Max Payne. Every bullet you fire actually goes someplace, and bullets don't magically disappear if you're out of range.

Not to mention the sound design is awesome.

All that aside, however, the game needed more checkpoints. If it were up to me, I'd have cut each level in half and separated it. We'd have twice as many levels of half the length. Which would be fine, because now levels would be about 40 minutes each instead of 80 minutes. Only the first level is of appropriate length.

Also, weapon balancing. Shotguns aren't good enough, and the AK is much too good. For a weapon that's usually inaccurate in games, you can basically snipe all day long with the AK in Black. But that Magnum is really awesome.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: On Generic Games

Yahtzee Croshaw takes on gaming as generic as this sentence.

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READ THIS!!! EAT LEAD: THE RETURN OF MATT HAZARD it is probibly the funniest joke game, and exactly what your asking for

and while your at it PLEASE look at the oddworld games, they went out of buisness bout '05, in their peak, and have made the highest quaklity games i have ever played

Yahtzee

"There hasn't been a mainstream, space-based, flight sim in ages, because you only have to render some ships, some floating rocks and a fuckload of empty void. Just about the only thing covering that niche right now is EVE Online, which is a little inaccessible to anyone with a boredom threshold shorter than sixteen years."

That may well be because Egosoft have taken 9 years, 3 games and 2 expansion packs (including Terran Conflict) to still completely miss the point about what makes a space game fun, each new entry to the series progressively stagnating the genre even further. I suspect other devs have been put off by it and frankly i don't blame them. See my X3: Reunion review if you like and don't worry about your recollection being tainted because if you've played (or at least attempted) 1 X game you've played the whole boring lot.

Try Freelancer, space game interfaces don't get any simpler than that; if you want to go to another planet, click on it, press F2 and off you go. To salvage cargo from an opponents wreckage, just press B to beam it on board. The list goes on. Or freespace 2, for it's thrilling combat.

Wait; So he just complained that games aren't original enough, then on the next page described one of his fantasy games by taking ideas from about twenty actual games? Yahtzee is overcome by nostalgia. To him games have to be exactly like the old things he enjoyed, or he complains endlessly about them.

I can't believe that no one has mentioned that Aaaa is a second generation to Screwjumper on xbl! I tried the demo for both and thought they both sucked. I have to say that due to this Yahtzee has lost a bit of credibility for me...

I had an cheesy insult at the end but decided to remove it and comment instead on the irony of "Generic Games" when Aaaa does the same thing to Screwjumper that Yahtzee gripes about in his article. Introduce new gimmicks that were not in the predecessor. I guess it's ok as long as it's not a shooter, right?

Well Yahtzee, it was good while it was good, but I must say that I'm finding you and the rest of the Escapist website to be a bunch of sellouts and won't be visiting anymore.

Goodbye!

Ok, now I am confused. One week, your calling for games to be more indepth and call out the stupidity of games like Duke Nukem for being mindless gun fights, then another week call for more games like Duke because its what you think the genre needs to move back towards.

I'm not a fan of this old shooter revival movement.
Don't get me wrong, I grew up with games like quake, doom, goldeneye, perfect dark, Turok etc. And I really had a blast over the years playing them (Mmm I still remember all the time I put in unlocking absolutely everything in both Perfect Dark and goldeneye). But I went back and played everything I used to love for the old nostalgia feeling (I even gave serious sam a shot the other week), and quite frankly those games bore me to death now.

Walk forward, point, shoot. Just make sure you do the pointing part as fast as you can, and that's about it.

Regenerating health, a cover system and what have you serve to add more depth and variety than the above to your little encounters. Of course that's provided they're designed and integrated well, which in many cases they aren't, and are indeed just checking of a list of standard features to which the developers are begrudgingly bound.
But there'll always be bad games out there, what matters is that the ones that do it well provide a much deeper, strategic form of game-play than the oldies. And thus to me at least, are much more entertaining to play despite the fact they might not be as cool/fun to look at or talk about (what with the whole generic space marine in the future setting thing we have going on).

As boring as the artistic direction and storylines are in gears of war or crysis or left 4 dead, I have a hell of a lot more fun approaching each situation differently and actually having to think about how to handle each enemy creatively (relatively, for action type games anyway) Than I do running into each new area doing the exact same "Shoot everything in front of you really fast" routine.

I went back recently and played back through Serious Sam: First and Second Encounters. It does an amazing job and making you change how you play based on the situation. If you are being attacked by a wave of kamikaze beheaded either wait for them to get close and start a chain reactions or pick them off from a safe distance. Tons of secret areas that give the game replay value and the amazing scale of the fights. Serious Sam HD will be my go to game for a while after the PC release. 8 player online coop or multiplayer on a single PC, PC yes not just on Console. The weapons made you feel badass and the story was just enough to make the game not random. You also never know if that max health pack will cause a trap or spawn a horde of enemies or is just a normal health pack, the first time through at least. It makes it really memorable.
The sheer scale of the battles in Serious Sam still is really impressive.

I do agree though about Crysis and Left 4 Dead, the number of different ways to approach a situation makes it so much more fun. Playing Crysis like the predator where you grab the men one-by-one and taking the bodies to a hiding place, or going through it where you try to do it in the most absurd way possible. It was really enjoyable running toward a group in speed mode then jumping in strength and crushing one of the guys with your boot and fist and taking out the others in swift order. Left 4 Dead with friends, finding out the best ways to make it through expert, every time you die you try to think of a better place to go or different weapons to choose.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Actually, I'm given to understand that Earth Defense Force 2017 might be right up my street...

Don't do iiiit!

Forgive my intrusion, but if what you don't want is something bland, repetitive, boring, and horribly designed*, then steer clear of this game. While it is true that the gameplay really does consist of doing nothing but murdering tons of dudes, with one or two vehicle sections, it does it so horribly it's like Painkiller's evil twin brother who promises boxes of delicious chocolate, but when you eat it you realize it's nothing but a load of shit. It only has maybe 3 kinds of levels, A cave structure, a beach, and a city, and each of them are incredibly uninspired. There are about five or so enemies with the more powerful ones being designed exactly like the smaller ones, just bigger. Also unlike Painkiller it's weapon selection is like virtually anything you could find anywhere else. I hope I have saved you the trouble of tracking down a crappy game that would only dissapoint.

Cuddly Knife:
Psinkiller wasn't a very good game. Now Stranger's Wrath is a great game.

With the only thing in common between those two games is the unconventional two-fire weaponry.

And Painkiller was great AND NO I'm not being a Yahtzee fanboy, I played Painkiller when it was released year ago back in 2004.

Anyway, the old formula is a great one but it will need to have some style, I mean Doom will always have that retro charm while Serious Sam is ironic since its not serious at all haha! And Painkiller is over the top in general, mostly in it's religious/mythological setting.

And Yahtzee, if you want to try Earth Defense Force 2017, besides the insects (of which theres a good few of), there also multiple kinds of robots on the ground and flying and the odd giant Godzilla-esc monster. Boiling water is fine, but why not a projectile flamethrower? Or better yet a tank?

I'm not reading 4 pages of comments to see if someone else already said this, and I know it isn't really relevant to Yahtzee's job(reviewing CONSOLE games), but there are plenty of mindless Flash games out there. They give you simplified controls, but more than enough weapons and enemies to use them on. Madness Interactive is a prime example. It's a 2D shooter in which you progress through stages in a slummy city where everyone wants to kill you for some reason. You beat the first enemies with your hands, then use the weapons they were holding to kill more enemies, taking their weapons when you run out of ammo, climaxing with fighting a flying dude who has a machine gun, and resembles Jesus, while also taking out tons of cannon fodder. If you can't be bothered to do that, there's a practice mode where you just create weapons with the touch of a button, then use those to obliterate enemies called in with another button. Returning to my point, games like this are available for free on the internet when you tire of these generic shooters with their fancy supersoldiers and extra powers and sophistimacated storylines.

Not that anyone cares, of course.

I had the same idea!!!

GTA4 would work so well if all the pedestrians were replaced with zombies.

That would be worth another 60 bucks. Of course somethings would have to be upgraded to suit the zombies, but it'll be great!

Supernova2000:

Try Freelancer, space game interfaces don't get any simpler than that; if you want to go to another planet, click on it, press F2 and off you go. To salvage cargo from an opponents wreckage, just press B to beam it on board. The list goes on. Or freespace 2, for it's thrilling combat.

Unless you've got Vista with Direct3D 9, in which case it's touch-and-go to see if either game will actually run.

That snipe aside, there's also Tachyon: The Fringe, which makes some pretense at being a "mercenary" game (It's really a choose-a-side deal) and has Bruce Campbell as your character's voice actor, and the Evochron series, which isn't all that dissimilar to Privateer and Freelancer.

Damn right, what we need these days is the vast sandbox city like GTA4. The swarms of zombies and ability to use mostly anything as a weapon from Dead Rising. The badassery of using tanks, helicopters etc from prototype, the weaponry epicness from Dead Space (Oh man I just loved that game. The force gun is for wimps, plasma cutter ftw xD)

It would be the best game ever. xD

Or you could add the spaceborn detail from X3: TC and incorporate it into a massive zombie invasion where you can fly from battleship to battleship blowing up zombies with big guns and stuff. Switching from space to planetside throughout. xD

Jesus, imagine the amount of HDD space a game like that would need.

AmrasCalmacil:
I certainly liked the thought of your little example, although I'd imagine it would be a novelty, run around the city for a while, blast stuff with your giant laser, then... Do it again? Oh bugger. It would definately need something stopping it from not getting old fast.

At least include a chainsaw.

I hope I'm not the only person who expected you to say something other than 'tongue' when mentioning what the love interests throat was bound for.
Cough.

People say that but I think Novelty only wears off on people with a bit too much douche in them.

It's one of those things you could pick up at absolutely any time and play for 10/20/60 minutes and not need an investment.

I'd play a game like that for hours though...assuming that the zombies only got worse. I'd love to try and fend off 7 billion zombies in a single towering skyscraper even (they'd flood in from the lower doors). Add in terrain damage and the fear I might bring the building screaming to the earth from too much integrity damage.

Anywho...

I wish someone would make a game like Devil May Cry with no story/level progression whatsoever where I could choose how my character looks, what abilities they have and what enemies they get to kill, throw them in an arena and let me go nuts. Add on top all the next-gen awesomeness graphics/animation wise and the replay ability and fun to be had from that would be near-limitless.

Supernova2000:

Try Freelancer, space game interfaces don't get any simpler than that; if you want to go to another planet, click on it, press F2 and off you go. To salvage cargo from an opponents wreckage, just press B to beam it on board. The list goes on. Or freespace 2, for it's thrilling combat.

I would agree - Freelancer is still one of my fave space games even though its so old.

The game was simple but effective, with some interesting (if a little repetative) combat.
The game could be much deeper though but overall it did a good job of all the stuff it wants you do to.

I was also a big fan of X2 and X3, and I have really tried to like X3:TC but can't.

Anyway - to get back to the subject of Mr.Zee; the reason why we have so many games out there that are samey and lack imagination is cus of 2 words: "Safe Sells"

Its the same reason why developers and movie producers prefer sequels (which you hate as well :P) is that they are a sure bet. Fans of the first one (movie / game) are more than likly to buy the 2nd one.

Why make a game that MAYBE no one will like? Why push any boundaries with story telling and gameplay when people may hate it and you'll waste all that money?

So how do you make sure you get an ROI (return on investment) - Do the same thing that everyone else has been doing!! At least then you wont scare away the 'core' customers with new ideas and its likely easier & cheaper to develop stuff that is simple and safe.

Fair enough you could create a new game that completely re-defines the genre and makes millions etc etc - but the number of compaies willing to take chances (and therefore huge losses) is so small that innovation and positive changes are sidelined so that ROI is ensured as much as possible.

Your asking what is destorying games? The customers. People like us (who can appreciate a good game) are few and far between. If you had a games company and could sell 1 million copies of 'generic shooter 32' at $40 a pop to every jock and retarded 13 year old, or attempt to market 'Jesus ++' and only sell a few hundred copies. Which would you really do?

The people with money want more money and play it safe (to make money)
The people without money don't have the reasources to really make an impact.

Catch 22..

tellmeimaninja:
Wait; So he just complained that games aren't original enough, then on the next page described one of his fantasy games by taking ideas from about twenty actual games? Yahtzee is overcome by nostalgia. To him games have to be exactly like the old things he enjoyed, or he complains endlessly about them.

I think I have to +1 this.

But to add my own two pence's worth on the subject.
Games are much like the world of fashion - what's fashionable one season would be ugly, garish, unfashionable and even downright offensive come the next season. (Much like shooters have done.)

The games devs are simply trying to take the best bits of the past and build them into the foundations of the future. (Albeit with varying degrees of success.)

The crux of my post being that if you don't like a game because it's a generic shooter or whatever - don't buy it. Or if you have - sell it and get a game you do like.

Genres redefined themselves or else we will be playing serious sam 40 by now. Somehow in this period, if a game sticks to the generic system they wont be selling much. Also without gimmicks, every single freaking game will be the same with only different monsters, levels, avatars guns etc. Its like using the same piece of code but using different texture.

Antzon:
Genres redefined themselves or else we will be playing serious sam 40 by now.

Genre classifications are only a consequence of innovative games. It's the games that redefine genres. Or give birth to them.

I have to agree on this: shooters need to get back to their roots and stop trying to use stupid gimmicks. I've been playing FPS games like Serious Sam, Unreal, Counter-Strike & Team Fortress for something like 12 years now, and still never get bored. For me it's more about the multiplayer interaction that makes each round or match interesting. Seems simple to me: if you need a gimmick to keep you interested, you probably aren't one for the genre. No big, right?

I mean, does anybody here play RTS games now that some have added FPS gimmicks to them?

Bullet time is cool to watch I guess, but the only real bullet time I felt was well executed in a game was the Monkey Matrix Moves mod for Unreal Tournament. Now that was a cool bullet time!

"Now think of my huge throbbing stiffy." :|
Well, I think if you get bored or frustrated with how the gameplay elements of action/shooters are becoming similar, look to the other aspects. Mass Effect 2 is an RPG with good shooting elements, Borderlands has a great art style, etc. I do see Yahtzee's point about generic games, though. Modern Warfare 2 has everything an action game has had: cinematic flair, lots of frenzied action, and customizable/upgradeable characters. Yet, it will sell millions of copies to people including myself who want the best of the generic action games out there. I don't care if a game is generic (to an extent) as long as it is done well.

Good article Mr. Croshaw. You know they're not going to listen to you.

I know of a couple games like you described. Left 4 Dead does a good job of letting you mow down hordes of zombies for no better reason than you need to get to the other end of the level. Throw in a few unique enemies and an AI director to keep the pacing and it makes for a tense and splat-tastic time.

I recently ran across "OMG I CREATED A GAME WITH ZOMBIES IN IT" on XBLA. The name alone was enough for me to check it out. It's a retro-style 2D overhead game where you just continually mow down waves of zombies that run towards you, picking up ammo and powerups as you go.

As others have guessed, this simplistic game gets boring after awhile. It was intense action for about 20 minutes, but after that my endurance and interest waned. Killing waves of anything is like masturbating -- after awhile it gets boring and you need something deeper.

My friend has "Earth Defense Force 2017," and yes, it IS right up Yahtzee's alley. There are times when you have to fight two bugs the size of a damn football stadium while tarantulas as big as greyhound buses shoot insta-kill webs at you, all the while ants bigger than a dump truck spit acid on you. Also there's alien spaceships.

Samurai Goomba:

saintchristopher:
Anyone remember Black? once you ignore the barely-there story, it's the closest thing to a for-the-hell-of-it shooter I've played in the last 5 years.

It also has probably the most satisfying weapons/bullet physics in a game that isn't Max Payne. Every bullet you fire actually goes someplace, and bullets don't magically disappear if you're out of range.

Not to mention the sound design is awesome.

All that aside, however, the game needed more checkpoints. If it were up to me, I'd have cut each level in half and separated it. We'd have twice as many levels of half the length. Which would be fine, because now levels would be about 40 minutes each instead of 80 minutes. Only the first level is of appropriate length.

Also, weapon balancing. Shotguns aren't good enough, and the AK is much too good. For a weapon that's usually inaccurate in games, you can basically snipe all day long with the AK in Black. But that Magnum is really awesome.

Say what? The submachineguns' bullets stop registering after about 70 yards or so. But yes, "Black" was a great, true shooter.

Yahtzee haven't you just described your ideal game as being Dead Rising but without the time limit?

I don't get where Yahtzee's hate from Telltale came. Telltale basically rid adventurers of all the stuff Yahtzee himself said to be the adventurers worst flaw, that is, terribly contrived and impossibly convoluted puzzles. Even the gimmick of combining items in Tales of Monkey Island wasn't bad, as whenever there was some items to combine, I knew it right away, and whenever I was trying to frenetically combine items there wasn't any items to combine, I just thought there'd be BECAUSE of the contrived combinations you'd be forced to do in old adventurers. Not to mention Morgan LeFlay is such an obvious parody of a fanboy (in the case, fangirl), not some insertion to point out fandom.

Anyway, I haven't bothered to get Wolfenstein, but I can agree with Yahtzee about what he's saying with "Generic Games". I mean, one of the genres I like the most is strategy, but pretty much since Warcraft and Command & Conquer 90% of the strategy games could as well be, well, Warcraft and Command & Conquer with a different skin, and perhaps better graphics. I thought the ultimate fuck-off the industry has gave us (or rather, will give us) is Starcraft II. They're blatantly not even trying to change the formula. Oh, the campaign will play differently, with you choosing your battles and habilitating units. Except missions will require an unit for another mission, so you actually just follow it linearly in the end... And then there is Supreme Commander 2. The original is praised to shed off usual strategy cookie-cutters like "only one superweapon" and stockpiling resources, then we hear of a sequel with tons of exciting new additions but that will basically strip down the game to become a cookie cutter.

The worst part is that games NEED to adhere to cookie-cutters to even BE competitive in the market. SupCom 2's changes are being implemented so the game can be economically viable. Shooters that don't follow the mold don't get good profits. If you look at the very games Yahtzee has claimed to be his most loved ones, like Psychonauts, they were complete commercial flops. I'm sure that Brutal Legend will blow minds, but I'm also sure that if it wasn't for the big music names into the game it would struggle to even cover its production costs. Even the new Batman, if you'd go and strip away the Batman from the title, it'd still be a terrific game, but then I doubt it do any commercial success. You basically have to accept that games will either follow the mold or need big names from OUTSIDE the gaming industry to sell well. Hells, all these terrible, terrible licensed games are still being churned out just because having barbie or Ironman in the cover makes it guaranteed to sell a few million...

Back up to about a year ago.. maybe two and I had a little program called FPS creator... now I wasn't that good with it, I couldn't add many story elements and such but I knew how to add and create weapons and enemies and the areas were drag and drop... so I tooled around with it, basic premise of the game was that you were kid napped by Nazi's for what ever reason put down a bunker that must have been miles underground and you escape and kill Nazis for what ever reason... and that was it, play tested it with my brothers and cousins, they though it was cool. Eventually after about 7 levels of fighting Nazis over various maps and corridors of my creation I got bored, didn't like the setting any more... didn't want to fight Nazis any more, didn't like the guns any more, I was planning and starting a whole new game again... but then it hit me, why bother just add some thing entirely new to my game that already has 7 levels, I mean it could be as wacky as I possibly wanted it I didn't have much of a story to fuck up(my story was kill Nazis and escape the bunker). So I did. I made my 8th level the same but half way through the level things change slightly with completely different enemies, At the end of the level you got abducted by aliens and had to fight your way off the mothership. This continued till I got bored of the new weapons I created so again I changed it a good few levels in... I crash landed the ship... out side a hospital.. you wake up inside the hospital some time later to find it dark and filled with zombies. Now this went on for a while with no main objective other then kill, find guns and kill some more escape the hospital and then get on to the streets and escape them until I though of a new wacky idea to put in my game.

Now I suppose your all wondering why this as any relevance to the topic, well the reason I'm putting this is because that's what (from read Yahtzees rant) I think he would call a near perfect shoot'em up (I wont speak for him my self and if he doesn't think this is near perfect then he's welcome to give his reasons) it had little story, no female hang abouts (mainly because I couldn't do friendly A.I) and no main character who talks gruff and thinks he's the biggest bad ass to have been a playable character, all it had was a large variety of weapons and shit load of different enemies and a variety of different setting with the most unluckiest none speaking lad on planet earth.

Insects. And Spiders. And robots. And UFOs. And Godzilla.

EDF2017 has no shortage of things for you to shoot the fuck out of.

I'm sick of all these sandbox-RPG-adventure-romantic generic shooters as well. But... Apparently, people want it! For example when Doom 3 came out, it was beat down by reviewers and gamers alike for being 'too simplistic' and 'a throwback'. Not alt-fire? No leaning? Oh dears, what a fosile! Let's hurry and rather go play Unreal Tournament, which has all those features!

When gamers get a taste of bullet-time, they want it everywhere. Gravity gun - every game has to have it, otherwise it's shite. Etc. Apparently the public doesn't understand that games aren't made of bullet-time, leaning and I-don't-know-what. Games should be fun... But if the world would actually work that way, we wouldn't have movie licensed games, would we?

BTW Yahtzee - as for space sim, well I've played DarkStar One for two straight weeks now. Boring, sure, but it's a first such game in years. And I got it from Steam for some 5 euros... Just like the rest of my 40 Steam games...

Sgt. Sykes:
I'm sick of all these sandbox-RPG-adventure-romantic generic shooters as well. But... Apparently, people want it! For example when Doom 3 came out, it was beat down by reviewers and gamers alike for being 'too simplistic' and 'a throwback'. Not alt-fire? No leaning? Oh dears, what a fosile! Let's hurry and rather go play Unreal Tournament, which has all those features!

When gamers get a taste of bullet-time, they want it everywhere. Gravity gun - every game has to have it, otherwise it's shite. Etc. Apparently the public doesn't understand that games aren't made of bullet-time, leaning and I-don't-know-what. Games should be fun... But if the world would actually work that way, we wouldn't have movie licensed games, would we?

BTW Yahtzee - as for space sim, well I've played DarkStar One for two straight weeks now. Boring, sure, but it's a first such game in years. And I got it from Steam for some 5 euros... Just like the rest of my 40 Steam games...

I loved Doom 3 it was scary as shit, specially the first few levels were you didn't know what to expect, deeply atmospheric, swapping between torch and gun made it scary as hell.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: On Generic Games

Yahtzee Croshaw takes on gaming as generic as this sentence.

Read Full Article

you know, i could send you a copy of earth defense force 2017

its a decent fun shooty shooty over the top game :D

aside from that, agreed on most points, although a GTA like city with that many enemy's would be fun, it would also get very boring after a while. i would keep it just for special occasions though

I don't know about Yahtzee's point on the RPG element, cover-taking stuff. I find that having a little more depth to the shooty fun really makes the experience come alive for me.

What I think we need is a good shooter MMO (like CrimeCraft, I guess?). Maybe some of you have played Gunz: The Duel, which was almost as fun to play as its name was ridiculous. Too bad they shut down the international version; now it's only available in East Asian languages. I think they eventually planned to include quests and instances as part of the gameplay experience, which would have been awesome, but F2P MMOs have a nasty habit of promising more depth and complexity to their games and then not delivering.

Anwyay, I have to say I totally agree with his point about space sims. Imagine if EVE online played more like Freespace 2, fast-paced dynamic dogfighting action, instead of playing like a version of Homeworld where you only control one ship and have a two second lag between performing an action and your ship actually doing it. And for the bigger ships, you could shift to a third person perspective and concentrate less on maneuvering and more on aiming your turrets.

I disagree with Yahtzee. Games where you do nothing but shoot are either extremely difficult and nerd-locked, or extremely easy. Shooters where the traditional formula is discarded (such as Gears of War) make it even more fun when you are forced to return to the traditional shooter, at least in my opinion.

And by the way - A city the size of GTA IV's full of endless crowds of zombies that you can bisect en masse in huge sprays of gore?
Wouldn't that be cool!
A game where you can run to the top of buildings, see the city splayed out before you and then rain bombs on the streets?
Wouldn't that be cool!
And imagine if you could have little stealth bits and throw cars at the zombies and had the military in it and everything!
Wouldn't that be............................ Prototype?

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