Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Games of '09 PC Games

First lets clear some, there will be no games of the decade, the decade hasnt finished until 10 ends. Bloody people and their inability to read years properly, thereby perpetuating errors to ad infinitum.

So my favorite games? In no particular order whatsoever.

Makes the wait for Diablo 3 just a touch bit better and substantial worse at the same time.

CoD: MW2:

Because sometimes you need to play a game that is just point and shoot kill the other team and who cares if the game has no value for any form of skill whatsoever, it is fun, carnal fun that has you swearing at 1811 using pieces of shit. Oh, but the single player is utter shit; stupid story that has more plot holes than the local hooker's nylons. 

Champions Online:
Because beating up people hasn't been this awesome in quite some time. Sure it doesnt change the MMO at all, but I don't think change is a constant requirement for games, sometimes you just want to jump into a horde of robo-dinosaurs, beat them all up then fly off to beat up frog aliens who are threatening your city. 

Batman AA:
Because Batman is awesome, and this game gets that right. Even if most of the riddles were too easy, the combat was a touch simple, and the boss fights were so console games 3 generations ago; this game exemplifies how a good, nay superb presentation can go a long way to making you overlook otherwise deafening defects. Also the solid story helped a great deal, errr, minus that Joker boss battle bit.

Empire Total War:
Because writing your own history of the world from your chosen nation is just as awesome with musket warfare. Also conquering Canada and making it part of America was somewhat strange for me. Winning a battle with my last dozen Swedish troops to wipe out a faction, only to have his 6 allies declare war on me the next turn. Just what I didn't want, but also precisely what makes me enjoy the game. 

League of Legends:
Okay so you like Defense of the Ancients. But you are getting sick of the Warcraft III interface, and could go for some better graphics. Also you're wondering where else the DotA gameplay can go. Well LoL has some answers. They aren't all the best, but it is there. The game has lots of balancing to work out, needs more modes, maps better stat tracking, but it is a wonderful start. Oh yea and it is free. So like try it.Dragon Age: OriginsUh because it is a Bioware RPG. Go play it now. Just go. You get to kill huge dragons.

Okay it is like Diablo with guns, with more attitude. I throw a bird out that acts like chain lightning. That explodes people. 

Harvest Massive Encounter:
Free-form tower defense that utterly rapes me. But it is utterly simple, brutally tough, and a perfect game to burn through podcasts with. You can make death stars with it.

Defense Grid:

Because Harvest Massive Encounter doesnt have levels or a story or lots of interesting tactics with lots of towers, there is a more traditional tower defense game that was made with lots of care and effort and made me go through the game grabbing every single Steam Achievement, well accept 'Nail Biter' Because I'm just that good.

King's Bounty The Legend:
It came out it 2008? Screw that! I played it this year and it is awesome it gets in my 2009 list. Great art style, great gameplay, challenging and charming. I saved a zombie woman, made her human and married her. Now my kids give me stat bonuses. Also the sheer diversity in how you can form your army is pretty broad. Undead? Archers? Knights? Gryphons? Dragons? Insects? Any mixture of the above, go for it, you can pretty much make it work.  

Plants vs Zombies:
Presentation over everything else. The gameplay isn't better than anything in Defense Grid or Harvest Massive Encounter, but it does prove that being unique and different does count. Oh and the actual strategy is quite solid, if the game is a little too click laden for my taste.

Warhammer Dawn of War 2:
Anything that puts more thinking into strategy games is good with me. Sure the multiplayer just turned into a micro-fest, but Singleplayer let you think over your moves far more than most supposed RTS games let you.

Personal Spite of the Year Award: Demigod
The game that somehow I should have enjoyed, but ended up loathing with a hatred beyond reason, Demigod just did not mesh with me. I can't tell if it was the maps that felt like Quake 3 maps (a previous game of spite for me), the lack of choices in the heroes available, the interface, or the difficultly in getting anything close to a decently matched game going. All I can say now is that it didn't work out, and it might be my fault. I'm sorry Demigod, can we still be friends?

So there you have it. If I get around to I'd like to do a post about console games. We shall see. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Big Business Impacts On Gaming

The recent news that Dante's Inferno the upcoming beat-em up hack 'n slasher has again pulled a PR stunt is shocking to me. PR Stunts are not new to the gaming industry but they usually are limited to one choice stunt at an event and then the game is usually out. But with Dante's Inferno over the past year I can count up several PR stunts that have brought this game to my attention over and over again. Maybe thats precisely what they want, I mean I honestly would not care at all about the game otherwise. But now I'm thinking about the game too much. Such that I'm thinking, if this game needs this much coverage just to attract people to it, what is the real story about this game's development? 

The question I'd like to address is the notion that EA is attempting to beat their competition through pure publicity? At the end of the day Dante's Inferno could be good, or mediocre but will it come close to matching the craze that is God of War III, its key competition. And do not forget there is only a month between the two titles, with Dante this February and Kratos in March, you can bet your dog/cat that EA knows they are taking on the champ in the ring in 2010. But is this how you do it?

There was a point in the gaming industry when you became a best seller by making the best possible game, but is that point long gone now. When Ubisoft brags about how great the Imagine series of DS games sells in spite of the dreadful quality capitalizing upon a  market that can't tell a Mad Dog McCree from a Half-Life? It feels like EA have capitulated to the line that their marketing department fed them: "You can't make a better game than Santa Monica, but we can sell a game better than they can." I mean I cannot understand any other reason why they would waste so much time and effort on cheap (that snag a photo of your act of lust was nothing else) ploys that accomplish nothing beyond proving that there is no such thing as bad advertisement. 

This is a troubling concept to me. Does this mean that in the future more publishers will adopt the attitude of marketing the game harder than the other guy? We know it works in other mediums, otherwise how would trash like Transformers, Robert Langdon novels, Twilight, and the current Disney music act of the week; rise above content that is genuinely moving their mediums forward (or at very least asking questions or their readers/listeners/viewers and making them think about the content before them). Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe the crap I just listed is popular because I am out of sync with quality entertainment today. But then again, I'm pretty sure anyone who has to used marketing ploys to push their game/movie/book is not concerned about pushing a medium forward (hell probably dont even care about keeping it lateral) and just want to make some money. Actually not even make some money, they want to make assloads of money, more than anyone else, they want good reviews also, but not because they want their game to be enjoyable for those who play it, but rather because good reviews are a means to an end. Good reviews = easier to sell the product with a shiny sticker that says "Indigenous Gaming Newts calls it spittle inducing good times!".

Course I could be wrong, and Dante's Inferno was alloted a shit load of cash the developers didn't need, so they authorized crap loads of tacky and blatant PR stunts to burn through that wad of cash. It could happen. 

And in comic book stuff: Rage of the Red Lanterns is pretty awesome, can't wait for Blackest Night when the collections start to come out next year. 
That will be all. See you in a few months.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Play Batman: The Animated Series Theme Music Here

Well, I played Batman: Arkham Asylum. Not to be confused with Batman's AA class, which consists of him punching you in the face until the drinking stops. I jest. Anyways as you've probably heard it is the greatest comic book based game ever made, and I have no desire to disagree. It is an excellent title and fans of good games should try it out. I just wanted to talk about it because it deserves to get more said about it. 

Fans of Batman should also check it out, as it bears little resemblance, beyond Joker taking over Arkham, to the Graphic Novel written by the ever so esoteric Grant Morrison. And fans of good games and Batman have no reason what so ever to not pick it up. Those who might also be interested: Fans of beat-em ups; Fans of stealth games; And fans of games that are just plain old pretty to look at. 

The game is interesting because it exists in a sort of limbo, being moderately placed within the world of the Animated series, but clearly not (the art style and time period of the game are at odds with the show); And yet not existing in the world of the comics either. Perhaps we can expect this to indicate that there will be a separate canon established for Batman's new gaming franchise (which clearly there will be given the amount of praise lavished on it).

And that's all I have to say about it. If you want a full review go check the big boys (or small boys) they've got very nice ones. Hell Yahtzee at The Escapist even enjoyed the bloody game, and he doesnt like anything. The combat is fun and works, the stealth is fun and diverse enough to keep you entertained, the gadgets are gadget-esque and you punch giant muscled giants in the face then ride them around like cattle. What else do you want.

Oh I'll add that the final fight was so out of character and so "gamey" that it almost ruined the entire game for me. The whole event seemed out of character for Joker (GASP HE'S THE END BOSS? what did you think it would be?) but then I suppose you can just argue that the Joker exists as a character who lives to be different. So I'll let it slide. Still "gamey" end boss fights are so friggin' kitschy that I can't bring myself to play the game again. I'll just remember it. 

Oh yea Harley = Pure Hotness.

If I Was Only This Much More Super!

Alright well I've had Champions Online for quite some time now, pushed a character pretty far into the game, level 30, and while I do not feel that I have seen everything the game has to offer, I feel I've seen enough to get a nice impressions/review piece out. Which is interesting because I've put easily 70 hours into the game over the past month and that does not feel like a significant portion of time to offer anything truly concrete about the game beyond impressions.

So lets just dive into it, I enjoy Champions Online. As far as MMOs go it is not trying to change anything, I wouldn't even say that it is trying to perfect what has come before. It is simply trying to exist as an awesome experience for those of us who adore Superheroes and wish we could do that. So put bluntly, if you do not enjoy comic books then you most likely will not enjoy this game. Plain and simple, there is too much service paid to comic book cliches to make it anything else beyond a comic book nerd's fantasy made real. You will venture through cities beating up gangs, you will stop super villains in fantastical bases, you will feign defeat to surprise a villain in their lair. You will find an amazing travel power and most probably beat/slash/incinerate/freeze/mentally assault thousands upon thousands of thugs into what I can only assume is death.

You will have fun. For a time. There is a  problem in that the game tends to keep you in an area just 1-2 hours longer than you would prefer to be. Upon entering a new section there is a euphoric realization of the new sights and sounds before you and how refreshing they are; for me the biggest was the Robot Cowboy section with an amusement park, that just took my breathe away. But then 4-6 hours later the feeling of this grand unique setting was worn off almost entirely as I struggled to make my way through the canyon. Had the game only put me there for 2-3 hours I believe looking back I would only have my Euphoric memories, but now in hindsight I have the two conflicting opinions. One of sheer amazement and the other tedious boredom at wanting to be blown away again. And I was when I did move on, but the cycle continued.

It isn't a horrid scenario but it meshes terribly with the feeling that the amount of content just barely scrapes you along. You need to grab every quest available to push follow the leveling path. Miss one (difficult because you can access a list with all quest givers shown on it which will then highlight them on your map) or worse come across a broken mission and you'll find yourself struggling to keep up with the missions. If they would increase the exp reward (or alternatively lower the leveling requirements) then it would let you leave missions alone giving you different stuff to play through later with alternate characters. 

Luckily the core gameplay is an absolute blast. Combat is a joy, with plenty of options available for you to approach your foes. Do you focus on one at a time and drop them like dominoes one after another. Or do you max your AOE and kill them off in one huge explosion. I honestly cannot tell you which is better, but it keeps things different, sometimes i use my cone attack, other times my single target high damage attack, or my close range flurry of melee attacks, or my sphere aoe to annihilate everything (which also pulls everything in sight to attack me which is dangerous but simultaneously awesome). Combat keeps you paying attention, you have to watch for indicators to block, (which have saved me numerous times from fights I could have lost)  and in general stay on your toes. 
It is true the game requires someone to go over the power set descriptions and delineate everything about them, because often times they have simply left code up that really fails to explain what they do. Thankfully the Powerhouse exists for you go and sample your prospective powers before you are locked in with them (although respecs are possible). So really if you grab a power that doesn't work as you would like it to or expect it to you can only blame yourself for not trying it fully out. 

But how does the game function as an MMO? Well that's interesting because it is true that you will constantly see people, hear their chat logs, and on occasion fight for mission goals. But for the most part, you will be soloing unless you and a friend are constantly grouping (this will also make the game easy as pie for you, as there are very few missions that require more than one person let alone two). The game does not care at all about who last hits or deals the most damage to a target; you hit it once you'll get credit, although actually resources and experience are allotted based on damage dealt. You get credit for your mission just by tagging the target once.
Another unique facet of Champions is how the servers are split into shards, or up to 100 people, this means there is never a need for server transfers, nor will you and your friends ever have to recreate a character because you did not know what servers you were each on.

Of course I really should not end this before discussing the largest perceived problem with the title, the end game drought. I honestly cannot comment on this issue at the present time. I have been busy with plenty of content so far and promises of more content several time a year seems sufficient in my opinion. I will be sure to address this in the future should an issue present itself towards the pro or the con. I will say that playing through with my alts is very tedious. You just do missions you have already done (albeit you do them better the second time around) and aside from playing a radically different powerset (the various powers really do differentiate themselves from each other) there truly is little reason to replay the content beyond utilizing unique powers each go around the proverbial merry-go-round.

Crafting is another issue present within the game. It exists and you can do it, but the main reason is to build very useful healing items and damage shields that can prove their worth in battles that are not going your way. The gear you can craft usually is on par with loot found or earned from missions. The requirement for learning special recipes needs to be explained however, as there appears to be random drops earned from breaking down components. It all adds up to craft system that has some perks but seems more like a bullet point rather than a fully developed feature.  

And I'll end on the positive note. The character creator. It is without a doubt in my mind brilliant. If you can envisage a character concept you can make it pretty damn close to what you want. You will want to make alternate Champs simply because it is a joy flexing the creative potential of the creator and making a robot dragon who uses rocket boots because your nemesis tore your wings off.

I should also comment on the nemesis system. It is very cool. But shows up 10 levels too late. It is very fun building your rival and explaining your feud that led to the nemesis status between them, but the fact that it arrives at level 25 instead of 15 or sooner seems strange. The concept is perhaps the lone unique idea that Champions has and they decide to make you work towards it. I suppose in a game you'll be playing for months to come it will not be a huge impact but I would like to be able to at least form the Nemesis at the same time I make the hero so I can build them around a single, perhaps contrasting, concept. Once you get it though, awesome, nothing like seeing your traitorous brother trying to kill you over and over again.

So in closing. Champion Online. Bring almost nothing new to MMOs. Yet surprisingly still a compelling and unique experience thanks to its central theme of being about superheroes. If you like combat and comics, and are not turned off by the prospect of spending the next year or so playing the same game, then I think you'll find a charming game in Champions. It is clearly not built for everyone, but for those who can find something to relate to. Well they will really enjoy it. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Words Go Here? Seriously!? Go Figure.

So its been quite some time. Lets talk about games. Good games of course. I'd love to be able to dissect horrid games, but I'm just not going to pay money for games that are bad.

So lets talk about games I have played. Street Fighter IV & League of Legends (finally NDA was lifted!).

First lets get Street Fighter IV out of the way. I'm playing it on the PC with a keyboard. Which is interesting, because it falls somewhere between the gamepad, and the arcade stick, certain moves are very easy to pull off once you get the finger motions down, while some are very hard, (I'm looking at you 720-ish degree spins). However my limited time (according to Steam roughly 10 hours) with game has revealed several things to me.

1. Damn I suck at Street Fighter IV. 

2. Damn this game is very beautiful. So much love and care went into making the visual fidelity of this game stunning. The filters are a nice touch also.

3. Damn this game is basically a simpler version of DotA or rather AoS (Aeon of Strife) styled games are basically team oriented real-time strategy versions of the fighting game genre. Much of your success in both genres is based upon the amount of knowledge you have going into the match, and from there quickly analyzing your opponents' play style to figure out an effective counter style. In Street Fighter it consists of learning every character in the game's moves and combos and how to effectively avoid/block or otherwise negate such moves. In DotA exact same thing; you need to understand what skills each hero has, what items complement and counter those skills and further you need to understand map layout, how the fog of war breaks lock-ons during chases and so on. It seems to me the AoS is a logical extension fighting game principles applied to a RTS game where the only function is a competitive multiplayer environment. The core difference being the team environment contrasted against a fighting game's simply One versus One. The sheer strategy and fine skill that is involved in both is surprising. But then any competitive really ultimately falls into requiring effective strategies and sufficient skills to obtain victories so I suppose this is more of a general statement of human competitions in general rather than merely an observation between fighting games and DotA clones.

So, if you enjoy Fighting games, you will probably find Street Fighter IV a worthwhile purchase. Too bad the sale on Steam already ended. Oh and Sagat needs a nerf. What do you mean fighting games don't get patched?

Next up, since I've gone on and on about DotA clones it seems appropriate to move onto League of Legends. So the game functions like DotA, two sides smash grunts at each other forever. Each side gets 5 champions and they vie for their side's victory. They level up gaining more skills and gain gold for grunts, champions and buildings destroyed. The player functions as the summoner. A benevolent god-entity who exists to order his Champion around. You as the summoner are granted two skills that usually have cooldown timers of 2-6 minutes. You also possess runes and masteries. For masteries think WoW talent trees. Slightly buffing your champions stats and abilities. Runes are basically swappable meta-game items that further buff the stats and abilities. You can have 3 pages of rune setups.  For quick swaps of various builds based on what character you use for that match.

The game feels like a logical extension DotA. Which makes sense because the brains behind League created most of DotA as we know it, Mr. Guinsoo, if you will. The game plays out largely similiar to to DotA, with a very similar map to DotA's. Albeit with some subtle changes, shrubs can be used to hide in, which are great for ambushes. Perhaps the most notable change is the shift away from hero kills = team win which very much dominates DotA. Very rare is it possible for the carry to rise up and lead your team to victory as is the case in DotA. Rather effective use of pushes and team defends of your own base are essential to your victory. It is possible to dominate a team through kills, but often unless there is a follow through with a strong base push, champion killing serves little purpose beyond fattening the wallet, although not especially well. 
Further the art of last hitting has been greatly reduced. Denying is out. Although last hitting enemies grunts is still viable to slow passively slow your attack. Towers are absolutely devastating in the League, making assaults very risking without extensive grunt support or having exceptional items are the purpose of tanking.
And the item system. It is probably the best method to use DotA's item recipe system and have it make sense to newcomers to the game. It gives you nice flow charts of what items to buy, lets you skip buying smaller parts if you already have the raw cash, and most items allow you to build your champion in a diverse way. They have stats that boost everything about your Champion: cooldowns, spell power, attack, attack speed, dodge, movespeed, hp, armor, magic armor, dodge, if you want to boost it, odds are there is an item that will grant it.

The style of the game falls directly into comedic hilarity. Which is an interesting choice. Because the game has no desire to make you feel connected to some realistic scenario that might play out in some mythical realm. Simply put the game is aware it is a game and doesnt try to convince you otherwise. Sure they do right up Champion descriptions detailing who these figures are, but really, they don't matter. 

At the end of the day I like it. There are some changes I would like to see with match making; mainly just that the only mode of play available for legitimate matches is the Blind Pick option, whereby you can not see what champion the opposition has chosen until the match has already begun. I want to see all random, drafts, and no duplicates modes made available. This is a very minor gripe that I have though, and largely just works to keep things interesting long after the game has been out.The gameplay is very solid, the controls are tight, lag is non-existent in my experience for well over 90% of games played. All this adds up to game that when it actually launches will keep me coming back for more. Now I just wish I had some friends to play it with.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Some quick impressions of some of the games I've played recently:

Shadow Complex:
Very fun, although very easy. It is clear that a lot of effort went into the game, and it shows. Very pretty. The 3D aiming is really trippy, and confusing at times, but it largely works. Taking cover from enemy fire on the other hand... not so much. It is not a huge deal, you simply have to shoot the enemies first. A solid title to pick up if you enjoyed the old 2D metroid games. Best of all is that game gives you a plethora of tools at your disposal and lets you decide how to get past the various obstacles. I somehow skipped the hookshot and got it second last, but my skill with the foam gun meant it didnt really matter. And yes, everything you've heard about the foam gun is pretty well true; it is a fairly unique weapon that helps the game stand out just a tinsy bit more... Not that there is much competition in the Metroid-esque game genre. 


Initially I had my doubts, by the second level I was concerned. It was moderately fun, but failed to pull me in. The art style seems like it is trying too hard. But the game's story is fairly interesting, certainly different. The best thing about it is its diversity. It mixes things up quite regularily, such that you do not get stuck in the motions. And this game lets you fight your way through fights however you decide. Maybe you want to use the guns (if you can call them that) or maybe you want to beat people up using a regular combo. Maybe you want to just through people around. It lets you decide how to win, well except against the big guys, you just gotta smack them around with large blunt implements. And first person melee combat. Sure it works, I already saw it work back in 2006 with Dark Messiah of Might Magick, a game that holds a special place in my heart, despite its numerous flaws.

The Path:
This game clearly is not for me. It is more art than game. The gameplay seems to be get lost, get scared shitless that a wolf is gonna eat you, then quit the game because you just wandered around for 4 hours and nothings happened, and you like games that at least tell you what the point is; and I swear if someone tells me that there is no point IS THE POINT, it will not be pretty. I'll admit the presentation is there, indie quality, but it definitely has it style. I just cannot fathom what the purpose is. The game seems like a blend of art and games, with emphasis placed on the art rather than the gamplay. Meh, I'll just step back and say that the game totally was not for me.

Interesting puzzle game. Has quite the learning curve, although only on the larger boards. You really need to practice to get good at it. Once you do though, it plays as well as any puzzler I've played. 

Alright now this game is simply awesome. I talked about games giving you options earlier in the post, and this game really gives you freedom to get from point A to point B, and you can usually get there through at least 4 routes. Build towers, throw rocks, Swing off platforms, build bridges. Basically get through it however you want. Very fun. Although that last level. Well lets just forget its there. After all things are about the journey, not the destination.

Champions Online:
It's City of Heroes, with a new coat of paint, and loot drops. Simply put, my dream game. I really liked it. Such that I purchased the lifetime subscription, which I tend to do. Hopefully I dont get burned like with Hellgate; oh god the memories, I should never think back to that. Anyways, I'm pretty pumped about the launch on the first of September.

Puzzle Box game. Literally. You get boxes with puzzles on them and you solve them. They are pretty tough later on. But the game is more about speed runs, which is something I really couldnt care less about. Its not bad, its just there is not a whole lot to it. The puzzles dont have multiple solutions, and after I've revealed how much I adore multiple solutions this game does not mesh well. 

On a side note I'm pretty sure thats why I hate adventure games. The requirement to collect arbitrary items to move on always has burned me, I want to adventure, not solve problems that question patience above logical analysis.  

Democracy 2:
Okay I have not put much time in the game yet, but my short time managing a country that values liberalism above all else was brilliant. I failed miserably but adored every moment of it; apparently going 300 trillion in debt is a bad thing. I had this brilliant planto cut the military completely, but forgot that all my political capital comes from ministers agreeing with my policies (which they didnt, the stinking alcoholic, war mongering, capitalists) and so the budget spiralled out of control. But when it was working, hoo boy... what a rush. The game is probably very niche in appeal, but I like.

And thats it. I'm torn over my next purchase. Should it be Batman, Borderlands, or Alpha Protocol. I'm getting Uncharted 2 already, and Dragon's Age in November, with the slate left empty for December. I fully intend to get Alpha Protocol at some point in the future, but I dont mind waiting for it to drop in price or have a sale on Steam or some place. I think I'll wait on Borderlands, maybe try a demo. And I think I'll probably just wait for a sale on Batman as well. I pretty sure I figured out the ending anyways. *wink wink*

Ciao for now.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Storm That Supposedly Rages.

Apparently there is a "huge" hub bub going on about Shadow Complex. It is being covered on every gaming blog everywhere so what the hell why not throw in my 3 cents. 

Not the game itself of course, because that would quite frankly make sense and render the entire argument much simpler. Rather the cause for concern is that the game exists within a universe that was created by one Orson Scott Card, a well known writer, which means that his own beliefs are well publicized. He is apparently quite against the notion of non-traditional marriage (or men marrying men/women marrying women if you need it put bluntly) such that he advocates for and funds groups to actively prevent the notion gay marriages in America. 

The issue is that should we, as gamers, boycott this game (shadow complex) because of the involvement of Mr. Card in its creation. Put simply and in my own personal opinion. No. For a couple reasons, some related to game, some less so.

It feels like the entire boycott is fruitless. Mr. Card's payment likely does not relate to the game's success, I suspect he is already paid for his services/use of his IP. I could understand a boycott if the game was about getting into some power armor then proceeding to hunt down a secret "terrorist group" that is promoting gay rights. But the content within the game shares no connection to Mr. Card's own personal beliefs. I do not think it is fair to the dozens of others involved in the game to right-off their game simply because they actually hired a real writer to give their game something substantial.

Let me finish this by saying that boycotts get thrown around so much nowadays that they have completely lost any relevance to anything gaming related. Why? Because you can say one thing on the internet then turn around and do the opposite. Starcraft 2 boycotts, Diablo 3 boycotts, Arma 2 boycotts, L4D2 boycott, boycott boycott boycott. Seriously its like the only way gamers think they can affect anything is by linking arms and trying to stop the bulldozer.

What should gamers do? Simply voice your opinion, talk to developers, send them emails, twitter them, stop by their office if they happen to live near you. Just be cordial, polite, and able to effectively compose your argument such that it does not come out like some pedantic forum troll's bile speech. 

People say money talks. And I suppose it does. But talk talks much louder, and usually more concisely. If you do feel that this is an issue to you, then not only should you withhold your money (that includes NOT playing the demo, why should you get enjoyment at all?) but you should actively tell Mr. Card and the developers at Chair why you did not purchase their game.

Thats my 3 cents on the non-issue as I see it. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thought Experiment!

Okay so here's a thought. When you think of a franchise which specific title comes to mind? I mean when someone says "Call of Duty", what game jumps to your mind? Do you immediately think of Modern Warfare, or rather do you think to those quaint idyllic times shooting Nazis in the face? Here is a quick run down of how it works out in my mind.


I think of Quake II. Specifically of a corridor, in the first level with those lil grunts running at me with their pea-shooters and the awesome death animations they had.

Call of Duty:

I do in fact think of Nazis killing time. Specifically the Expansion Pack, where you hold a house during Battle of the Bulge, with tanks coming at you as you frantically run around grabbing bazooka rounds which are located in a horrid spot, and then you have to run to another spot to fire safely from some cover. Oh and the Nazis keep on storming your tiny house. Then the flyboys come and carpet bomb you to safety. With sweeping music that brings a tear to your eye. 

Duke Nukem:

"Shake 'em Baby". Simple.

Final Fantasy:

The Fourth Title, which actually is not my favorite, but rather the first one I played.  Specifically I remember how you play ass a bad-ass who becomes a pussy.  And thats pretty much Final Fantasy games, seriously unless  its a bad guy, then eventually any FF hero will start to cry, or save a box of kittens/puppies, and tragically punch something in frustration. At least 12 made it clear that the main character  was this from the get go.

Okay, so thats all well and good, that I identify certain parts of games specific games with entire franchises. But if I dwell on this, it appears to me that a game, or rather franchise memories, are built upon the first memorable experience you have within said franchise. Which leads me to believe that it basically amounts to the first part of the franchise you played. So I started with CoD 1, and I buy the others because I trust in that franchise (well when it is being made by Infinity Ward at any rate) because I have that memory of my first experiences in the game. That brings up the question of why I bother getting excited for any Final Fantasy games when I know half the characters are going to be unlikable cry-babies; I'll just give that one to the hype-machine.
Thats pretty much all I got. For now. 


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Games That Defined Me

Shamelessly ripping off, you know what they say about imitation. Anyhoo figured I should probably reveal games that helped to mold me into the gamer you now know and well, you know me. Gonna keep it to the PC games that defined my formative gaming years. Console games would greatly lengthen an already lengthy topic.

Lemmings/Danger Dave/Shareware Stuff

Okay so the deal is I didnt get a computer until I was around 7-10... I'm fuzzy on the details, and my mother refuses to acknowledge that she ever started the whole thing so I know it occurred at some point around then. Anyways those old shareware games you could find at the Shopper's Drug Mart bargain bins were what I cut my teeth on for home PC gaming. It was alot of Apogee side scrollers, although Commander Keen never wound up there shockingly. The main thing my mom bought was a typing program game because she wanted me to at least gain something from the computer. Although problem was that the computer was MS-DOS, which meant that if I wanted to play a game she had to be there to type in the cd/ and dir and all those other commands. Eventually I picked them up and figured out how to boot games up from the floppy disks.

During this time my mother had a friend whose house I was ferried off to, and they had another PC there. But it had Windows 3.0! What an amazing surprise to see you could click to play! Anyways it was really just playing more Apogee type sidescrollers, something about a guy and a jetpack named Dave, a Tetris rip-off (that was still very addicting), and a game that was beyond all my comprehension created solely to make people smash monitors. Lemmings. Oh how I tried to stop them. I made them build bridges, I made them have parachutes. I made some block. But invariably, I always lost. But the options! There was diggers, and exploders (although I couldnt fathom why you would want that.)

Anyways, eventually time moved on and so did I. Finally the mystical age of 10 hit me. Ten is big year for me. I mean I was born in '85, which meant that my tenth birthday was when Windows 95 hit. I cant remember if we got it in '95 but I remember that I got a Pentium 166 with MMX, and an S3 Virge graphics card. (I later discovered that apparently the card was one of the few ever made that actually made it harder on PCs to run games.) Now not exactly being from a wealthy family, I didnt exactly get to play a lot of games on the computer at first. I grabbed all of those old MS-DOS games and tried to get them to work. They sorta did. But for the most part the new PC just sat there. Well thats not all true. I started using my small allowance to purchase PC Gamer magazines, mainly for the demo disk, but I think I started with a Strategy Gaming Magazine and I kid you not it came with literally 40+ demos on it many were turn-based wargames only a grognard could love and I avoided them, But I foudn some fun in a title called Age of Empires, something about Hittites and spears and harvesting meat. Those kept me busy when my school work was done.

This is where friendship enters. By grade 6 I had made friends with a grand 'ole chap whose Name doesnt really matter. But eventually he showed me a little game called Doom.

DOOM/Duke 3D/Mechwarrior 2

You see this friend had an older brother and that meant he could buy things. My friend played the shit outta Doom, I had never played a FPS at the time so I just sat there and watched, as he showed me how to get every single secret in all the levels. He showed me Duke Nukem 3D as well. Ahhhh my first digital breasts. And my first hint that my friend had wayyyyy too much time on his hands. He'd use cheats to build elaborate mazes of tripwires that he'd train my FPS skills on. I never did get through them. He'd show me it was possible, but I just really wanted to see enemies get stepped on, frozen, or blown to gibs. 
Then one day he showed me Mechwarrior 2, I suppose this was probably the first simulation game I played and jesus christ, death from above, full fire, PPCs, using the fragile speedster Mech to run circles around the giant one and pick him off from afar with missiles. I never was good at Mech, but my friend was so good that I still adore the game. Most of all my friend showed me that gaming was better with a friend. Even if it meant going to his house, and having your allergies act up for a week, and possibly being mauled by his giant dog. We would later discover another game together, but that's after I played some games by myself as well.

Tie Fighter

Perhaps the first "real" PC game that I ever cut my teeth on was Tie Fighter. You see one christmas I got this gift called the Star Wars PC Gaming Collection. It game with Rebel Assault I+II, and some other ones as well. But the real crown of the collection was Tie Fighter. Full Disclosure, I sucked at the game. Really, really badly. But I was like 11, so who cares. Luckily the game had two options that rocked. "Invincibility", and "No Collisions". So technically I cheated my way through the game. But then I never actually beat the game either. Alot of the challenge in the game is simply getting the objectives done, and protecting Vader is not easy. There was also the sheer grandeur of shooting down a star destroyer with a Tie Fighter. Something I dwelled upon alot. I'm pretty sure I was a fan of Star Wars before the game. But after Tie Fighter it was alot more. 


Okay so after Tie Fighter had run its course with a mere 1000 hours or so (hey you get one good game you play the shit outta it), my Dad began to ask his friends at work if he could borrow any PC games, my Dad being a super nice guy always managed to get me some nice games. I managed to get to play Dark Forces 2, and woah, this was set in Star Wars, but you got to use a Light Sabre! It was a fun game. I even tried to play it online, but was horribly confused, stumbling into a gaming server browser called Gamespy. Anyways I, regretably, was forced to return the game to its rightful owner.  But my Dad said he had a new game for me. Starcraft. This game I did not give back. I remember getting the box, looking over the manual, reading the in depth history that Blizzard had given these races. When we went on Vacation to the lake, a place with no video games at all, I would bring the Starcraft manual with me, I loved the setting THAT much. Anyways Starcraft hit me hard. I never was good at it, in hindsight, but I didnt care, I'd play with cheats on, or stomp computers with a friend, A guy at school allegedly could rush 5 computers at once with the Zerg. I asked him if he had beat Starship Troopers. he had not. You see my love of mods is first born here. The custom map scene for Starcraft was insane, there was RPG maps, RISK maps, World War scenarios, crazy battle royals. You name it and Starcraft probably had a custom map about it. Art of Survival was perhaps my favorite. Just a single unit, against huge swarms of enemies that are mind numbingly vast and strong. Oh and there was lots of Dragon Ball Z custom maps, it was pretty big at the time. The other game brought my love of the mod scene was of course Half-Life.


I cant imagine my life without Half-Life. In game server browser! Amazing single-player. Amazing multi-player, and these strange things called mods. It was my friend who actually showed me the mod scene, well he actually just followed and he played through all the mods they presented. Typically going with the mod of week (or was it month?) but always willing to try out a new one. Anyways getting ahead of myself. 
You see my computer had become drastically slow. Oh sure Half-life ran on it. Technically. But it was pretty bad, settings as low as possible, constant jitters and stutters, it was a wonder I beat the game.

Then god, or wizards, or some great pasta bowl in the sky sent me a sign. My mother by shopping at Safeway had won a new computer! I COULD PLAY THE GAMES! granted it didnt come with a fancy 3DFX graphics card or anything, but still. Half-life became half playable. My 33.6 modem got almost doubled to a 56k modem. Starcraft ran like lightning, and I could sometimes get a ping of about 200 in half-life multiplayer. Okay so the computer was a AMD K6-2 (i think) with Windows 98. Bad sign, Tie Fighter frequently refused to boot. But sometimes would. Unreal Tournament somehow ran on it. And shockingly the PC lasted to play Dungeon Siege beyond all comprehension of mine. Yes that PC was great, I knew it wasnt the greatest, but it was free and it was all I had so I couldnt complain. Anyways, I had played Half-Life originally by renting the game from a movie store, (they actually did that!) and beating the single player. Then returned it. Then my friend showed me Uplink, Half-Life's demo. I then remember I still had the full game installed! Tried to play it. But no dice. Figured I should try the multi-player, and somehow it worked! The game did not require the CD to play multi-player. So a modding I went. As I said my friend scouted them out, and then we'd find a server, he'd ICQ me the IP address; or just host it himself (his family used cable internet way back in 1999 for a home business)


Then one day I decided to find a mod on my own. Found this strange game called Counter-Strike, was quite good I'd heard. But the download was huge. I'd need to leave the computer online a long time to get it. So I told my friend that I was coming over and we'd play it at his house first. If it was good, I'd download it later. We got it. And found ourselves in a map called De_dust. very sandy map, with a dark tunnel, and the guns rarely aimed where you shot them. My friend repeatedly would round a corner and die. Then I'd play and fair no better. The weapons system was crazy. You buy guns to use, but if you die you lose them, and most people usually died. We eventually purchased a Mac10, my friend ran at some guy near the ramp on terrorist side and somehow killed a guy. Our first kill. We were livid. Never had a kill proved so hard, or rewarding. We were addicted. We formed a clan with some other guys. My friend could join any clan he wanted with his amazing internet connection. He could host games! The only reason I got accepted was because he vouched for me. Nobody wants the guy with 200+ ping on their team. Thing was though, I was good. Beyond my friend, for awhile. Trouble was I was whenever I played my friend he was silky smooth. My computer choked on CS, and it showed. My friend was remarked at my house. HOW DO YOU PLAY? I cant remember. I just learned to play with the lag, and compensated for my poor PC by running the game as low as possible. Oddly enough whenever I played with the Clan from my friend's PC they were shocked. Counter-Strike was my birth into the multi-player FPS.  It also told me that, if I wanted to game, I needed to put the money down. It would be 2004 until I actually did that. 

Anyways that was fun. Oh the memories. How far I've come, and the industry too. My love for Strategy, & Shooters revealed. Oh and my guilty pleasure game over all that time? Carmaggeddon II. I played that demo alot, it was weird, and had these crazy challenges, but it had this timer on the demo. 

Sorry for massive text blobs.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Games Of Summer

'09 Edition!

So Summer is always an interesting time of year. It is when all the young ones return home fresh from having their brains perforated with vast quantities of information. It is when the not so young, but still pretty young ones in college get to work day jobs so that they might have their brains riddled with ludicrous amounts of information that will plague them until drunken one night stands replace them. And it is the time when the old folks scream and yell at their summers consistently remain ruined by the blight that is the collective youth ruining their nice days.
Oh and summer is when the gamers shun the sun and embrace the warmth of Liquid Crystal Displays (or plasma if you swing that way!) to spend all their precious free time on games, having squirreled away their gaming time like delicious nuts.

So enough with the rambling! The games that define this summer are interesting and seems to be forming a pattern which I shall now explain.

- To start with we have lots of kids friendly movies out in theatres, this means the arrival of the great blight. The licensed game! (booo hiss!) Yes, the annual summer blockbusters bring out the crap that is games made with no desire to further gaming as a medium of entertainment, but rather purely as a cash-in. This should not be expected from the source material however, I mean that basically all summer blockbusters are for anyways. Games of this ilk include, UP!, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Transformers 2, Harry Potter 6, Ice Age 3, Terminator Salvation, etc... there is pretty much 2-3 released every week, and almost all can be safely skipped. One possible exception might be the Wolverine game, this is however a mere exception that proves the following rule. Licensed game = Shit.

- Up next we have the time sink games. These typically are the type of games that have large open worlds to explore. GTA IV emerged this time last year. And this year we have at least 3 more similar titles in Infamous, Red Faction Guerrilla, & Prototype. Brownie points for those who will also know of Monster Hunters Freedom: Unite!, although it is rather hardcore it seems. Of course this year also sees the release of Arma II, perhaps one of the most realistic war games ever to simulate your monitor. These are the games that require a lot of time to chew through and fully digest, so an arrival in summertime seems apt to me. In addition their arrival against opponents that are chiefly movie tie-ins means they stand head and shoulders above the competition, and should do fairly well, monetarily speaking. Their quality can be all over the place, some can be superb, others are meh, or even bad. But the standard thus far seems to indicate a tendency to being better on average, with scores appearing to be over 80ish for most titles mentioned. 

- The next cage on our tour is the Beta... a vicious and savage juvenile animal, that only reaches maturity through sacrificing thousands upon thousands of not so innocent souls. The the ritual of the beta test is the only known way for it to become the final cute gold masters disc that will ship to your door. Beta's thrive in the summer months, when the developers too release that they can harvest the extra bodies that the summer holidays produce. I have seen at least half a dozen betas open in June (Section 8, Crimecraft, Aion, and Huxley to name a few) July seems to be keeping the pace with the rumours of the behemoth at the gates, Starcraft II. Who knows what others will appear to have their gaming gaming-ness refined through the tribulation of the beta beat. 

So, that's the summer of games for this summer. There is quite the eclectic mix of games out. Most crap, true, but then that happens regardless. Keep your wits about you and you'll do all right. Now I hear the Americans are celebrating something about independence from British dominance, whilst still utilizing the English language. Seems like somebody did not fully commit. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What Ever Could I Have Been Up To

Ahh yes. The posting of things that are important about the commentary of video gaming and so on. Well I'll have you know that I have no good reason for the delay. Surely I could try to argue that the search for employment has driven me straight into a despondent state of depression. But that would be a lie. I could argue that I have successfully found a new career and the pursuit of it in earnest has delayed my gaming greatly. That too would be a lie. 
Simply put, I forgot. But here is a quick summary of what games I've been playing.

DotA: Playing the shit outta this, new patch is awesome.

TF2: Also playing it a lot. Working on my scout. Found a rather interesting server where they loathe people who use any of the weapon unlocks. Being called a 'cunt scout' is annoying but then that is why there is mute. 

Crimson Gem Saga: Oi, the game is fun, but annoying. It is really old school. Which is great and not so great. 

Super Robot Taisen OG Endless Frontier: Combat is awesome to watch, everything else is sorta like some strange mash-up involving stuff, with nice pictures of very attractive anime gals.

Knights in the Nightmare: Okay now this game is like out there. I cannot possible describe it but here goes anyways. You are the stylus, and you have troops, but they do not move and they cannot attack unless you possess (you're like a ghost thing). You do not have a life bar, but a time bar. When time runs up your turn ends. Any enemies you killed get respawned (although you can partially control which enemy spawns) and you can reposition your troops. Your troops have a finite amount of attacks, and they can be given weapons that let them use skills which do the bulk of your damage, although weapons can only be used so often. Luckily you find lots of weapons so you can upgrade and combine to ensure they do not break or run out. Your troops however can only get more attacks by sacrificing them to another troop. Which means you have to play favorites. However the more used a troops is when sacrifice the greater the benefit.  

Needless to say this game is deep. Like really deep. But the actual mechanics once you figure them out are pretty simple.

Oh I should add the game is also a pseudo-bullet hell game. Yea. It is out there.

Lord of the Rings Online: Still working away at it. 

Sid Meier's Railroads!: Great little game for unwinding while listening to a podcast or something.

Rumor is there is something going down next week. My guess is Lemmings is back. 

And Starcraft II appears to have let the press into a Beta of some kind. And the beta is suppose to go on for at least 4 months. Which is nuts. But hey, it might be balanced. Probably not, but whatever.
Well there you have an update. Oh I'm also replaying Uncharted on the hardest difficulty, because I figure I should get at least one Platinum trophy.

Okay that will do. I'll try to think up some grand gaming conundrum for my next post. I swear it wont be about Demigod. I'm swearing it off from this blog forever. 


Saturday, June 13, 2009

At Worst Frustrating. At Best Boring

Sums up my current feelings of demigod. There is not enough skill in playing a hero to make a difference, and there is not enough strategy to make it interesting. Everything moves like slug, unless you purely want movespeed. Level design remains shitty-rubbish. Reinforcements are bafflingly pointless unless you save up like 15,000. And all the heroes get played the exact same way nowadays. The game has been meta'd with little point to skills that are not at peak efficiency. And there are standard item sets that  you just get. no question. The good stuff is far too expensive, and the cheap stuff is beyond worthless. Most citadel upgrades follow the same pattern. Must-have or dont even bother. It would be nice if you bought all the little upgrades they were as effective as later upgrades. But they are not. The problem is hurt even further because money is a huge problem. Simply put kills pay the bills. No kills, no money, no items, no nothing. Matches turn into a test of patience rather than skill, with the first person who decides to tower dive ultimately deciding the fate of the battle.  
In essence after 5-10 minutes of play you largely know who is going to win.
In my opinion it stems from the lack of control you have over your hero. Sure he can walk around and such. But all units have noclip on. They cant interact with each other. They walk through each other. You cant block units, you just go through them.

Meanwhile DotA lays down a massive patch that greatly switches up the game, adding multiple ways to further diversify your hero and build your own little strategies. Bugs and exploits were smashed to pieces; mainly the backdooring issue which if the patch works should end it in its entirety. Further the emergence of stat-tracking auto-hosting services gives you stats. Something Demigod still can't get done properly in a retail product. 

To summarize

Demigod continues to disappoint. DotA continues to delight. 
I'll give demigod credit that they've really tried to fix it. But they are only working on the networking/servers debacle while the core issues that plague the game remained unaddressed. But then those are my concerns with the game. And thats that. The publisher steadfastly refuses to acknowledge the core game is broken so I doubt GPG will bother to address it. I'll try another match of demigod in a coupla weeks. But as DotA gets better and better demigod appears worse and worse in contrast. Pity. Oh well.  

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Shhhhh. Be Verrrrrrry Quiet.

So, got into this beta. The game's beta had an NDA. I didnt read it, but I have heard that means I cant talk about the game. So I wont, technically. Because if I dont tell you the name of said game then I am at liberty to tell that it sorta works. But the pvp is a watered down version a genre that works better. And the other genre it is set in is better represented. So basically if you like watered down shooters, and water down MMOs, well this game is for you. Of course it was just the beta. So who knows, maybe they'll make the weapons, setting, enemies, map design, and story all compelling before the full game comes out. It looked moderately decent. So there is always that. 

The thing that really irks me however is that when you join they tell you go and read 3 excellent topics in their forums that explain the game. Too bad that you cannot view those threads in their forums until blah blah techno babble authorizes your account. No. You dont make the user wait to get a damn account authorized, you get them to see the stuff so they can understand the game you made. If that means making a pdf file attached to the file they just downloaded so be it. If it means putting the information on a website great. But do not say that it is all there in a forum that you'll just have a wait 24 hours to get access to. In 24 hours I could be playing another game completely and guess what? I am. So there you have it. 
Of course a twitch based MMO-shooter never did sit right. Planetside failed. And it seems that, oh boy, now I cant even remember the name, but whatever the name is, it does not seem compelling. 
Oh yea. Huxley. 
Whoops my bad.
Beta though. I'm sure they can fix everything. Well except the art style and enemies that's pretty hard to change this far along. 

Ciao tho.

P.S. Crimson Gem Saga is awesomely old school. and the World Ends With You finished greatly.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Winner Is You!

So I've thought about it. The E3 that has come and gone and decided that ultimately, the winners are us. Not immediately of course, but the sheer quality of titles that are coming out that seem so bright with promise and hope makes the gamers the winners of E3. The individuals companies may have done what they set out to do. But they almost all ended up looking like a tool in the pursuit of 'x' objective and will be scourned by some segment of the gaming populace for such a response. No the only way to survive E3 is to simply not attend, glance at the coverage and beam with optimism over it all. 
I've seen a lot of coverage online and most of it good. (the content, not the coverage itself who gives a fuck if IGN has bias or Gamespot cares more about looking at titties) 
The established franchises (Mass Effect 2, Assassin's Creed 2, Splinter Cell Conviction, etc...) are bringing predictable extensions of their franchises, while upcoming developers like Platinum Games bring the creativity and originality that will form the new bedrock for future franchises to be milked. 
The casual crap will come, and then will get some more, and then more. Because they sell, but once you're actually into gaming such games have no purpose, they lack depth to continue playing them and they only earn rage from the dedicated crowd who will push greater games upon the masses with every attempt.

Speaking of rage I'd like to address an issue that touched me very personally as E3 went on. The Left 4 Dead 2 announcement. Initially I felt it was too soon, I wasnt enraged, rather I simply felt it was too soon, I mean I still put a good 3-5 hours into the game a week because the content released is that compelling to me. I simply saw no reason for a full fledged sequel so fast. Games that have rapid cyclical release schedules are frequently games that I completely avoid, Jak, Ratchet & Clank, Splinter Cell, and so on. But then I read about L4D2 and saw that basically the game is introducing many new things that I find incredibly compelling. Melee weapons are not them. Daylight levels are. More story is. The removal of the corner strategy is tantamount to my side switching. Simply put, cornering (when all 4 survivors jump into each other in a corner and spam bash/shoot) is effective but stupid as shit. New characters are meh. New campaigns are neat, assuming they are good. So, Left 4 Dead 2 should be good and I bear it no ill will. But damn it better deliver or my wrath shall be, well non-existent.

And now a quick list of things that have me Hopeful:
L4D2; Scribblenauts; AvP; Bayonetta; Alpha Protocol; Assassin's Creed 2; Mass Effect 2; Old Republic; Dragon's Age: Origins; Metroid: Other M; Alan Wake; CoD:MW2; God of War III; Uncharted 2; Golden Sun DS; League of Legends; Batman: Arkham Asylum; Dissidia Final Fantasy; White Knight Chronicles; Sin & Punishment 2; Final Fantasy XIII

That'll do. God knows how the hell one is suppose to play all those games. At least they arent all out at the same time. I'mma go and try to finish some of the portable games I've been getting of late.
Some Robot Tensei OG, with Crimson Gem Saga,  and Knights in the Nightmare due to hit my house very soon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Figured I Should Digest These Ones A Bit


Stuff looks good. Funny Host. Presenters were gawdawful boring. Do not show talk about your game/movie and then leave without having shown anything. Because Now I'm likely to actively avoid your game just to spite your existence. Red Steel 2 has a gret art style, and Splinter Cell is... well its splinter cell, never liked them, so I dont care what they do. Sam Fisher is a character who hold no heft in my world. Is he suppose to be an American James Bond who feasts upon the shadows. I suppose my main problem is I loathe games with night. I always question why is this at night? So I specifically cannot see the shitty graphics/textures/character models you were too lazy make look nice in Sunlight? Yea, thats what I thought. Assassin's Creed 2 looks great, but no news if they've actually made some interesting stuff to do in their vibrant city-scapes. The Thing about Imagine games however killed the conference. Please. Do you honestly think we give a flying fuck that you can sell shitty games to tweens. I mean honestly, Oh look all the Mario games are sold out and all thats left on the shelf is this Imagine Dresses game, whatever will I get. When such an event occurs I tell the customer this. "You are better off going to another store that has games worth your Child's time, just do not buy that trash." 
Do not brag that you swindle small children out of their allowance. Sounds like a fucking cigarette company. I'm sure Ubisoft is listening to this so they really should heed my advice and simply focus on games, and try not to brag. Seriously, gamers hate bragging. We love to do it ourselves but hate it when someone lords it over us. Although snagging No More Heroes 2, thats a lil better.

Nintendo Conference:

Apparently Nintendo felt that rollercoaster is the best ride to model your system after. And what a ride it was, from random jerking the Casual audience into a climax, to crushing our hope to dreams, to some really great anouncements. After its over you feel like you just had sex, and then find out she took your wallet, and your computer, but hey it was a good time. So new Mario games. Galaxy 2 should be interesting. New Metroid game seems like some kind of fan-dream team project pulled from the minds of crazy die-hard Nintendo fans. The Vitality doo-hickey is well. It is not for me. A balance board I can sorta understand, but a scanner? Yea, suckle that casual tit until its dry Nintendo. Nintendo, I just dont know what to make of you. You sort of try to convince that you care about the hardcore. Meh, at least your games are cheaper than the other ones. 

Sony Conference:

Um. Games, lots of games. A new PSP, without a UMD slot. Should be good, too bad I already got a PSP and am not really interesting in another at this point. Good to have options I suppose. Games, like God of War III, now with more killing! some Agent game that we know nothing about but it'll be BIG. Speaking of big, how about MAG, the game with 256 multiplayer sessions. Yea, I know, spray and pray becomes a legitimate strategy again, I mean you're bound to hit somebody. There was other stuff too, Like FFXIII which seems nice.

But by this point there is so much information about so many games that it is easy to get lost, I could talk about any of them for paragraphs and on. I simply do not know what to do with all of it. It is too much and I just wanna play some games. Man, I really feel sorry for those people who are down at the actual E3, that must be bad. Yet good.

Oh Uncharted 2 beta = great fun. Kinda burned out on it now though. Deathmatch to 25 points is super short. The Capture the treasure (Plunder as its called) is wicked though. Wish people would how to throw the treasure though. Seriously 4 people gather around and watch as one guy fails to throw it. The entire enemy team rolls in and drops us all. Co-Op though... little buggy, fun though, not when you fall through the ground though. But thats why it is a beta right? I may have said too much. Egads! Its all good stuff though! The game is very good. And is on my must buy list now!   

Monday, June 1, 2009

EA's Conference

Okay, So I think I get why I didn't like Microsoft's conference so much. Watching the EA conference was all about the GAMES. Microsoft pushed their games to be sure. But then they ramble on about stuff that is on the periphery. Stuff that is not playing games, and thats what I want to play games. 
EA being a mere publisher is only concerned with their games and so thats all they showed. Bringing in the devs, and pushing their partner plan.
The games they showed look nice. 

The Old Republic's cinematic was amazing, and definitely raised the hype for the game itself.

Brutal Legend looks good.
Just glad to get a look at the games. Trying to sell your system is completely outside of my concerns. The games are why I game, not because it plays music/movies/TV/lets me blog on my TV... 

Apparently Ubisoft has a conference later today. What could they show?

Microsoft Press Conference Impressions

Some nice looking games. And then a buttload of frivalous stuff that doesnt interest me whatsoever. I use my PC more than my 360 because it is easier to type stuff in and use a mouse than to use a  gamepad. 
Lots of stuff to pull non-gamers, but still tech-centric individuals in. Facebook/Twitter/
The new Project Natal stuff seems interesting. But showing it at a press conference is one thing. Getting it to actually work is another. There is potential, but then The moon has potential to smash into the Earth at some point so Potential doesnt exactly mean much. Hell DNF had potential.

The Lionhead demo of Milo is incredibly interesting, but Then Lionhead tends to exaggerate their projects.
Also, it may inadvertently destroy mankind. Good job Molyneux. I do think that some of the facial recognition stuff would have great applications for gaming.

Side Note; Business Type People with patting themselves on the bat makes me squirm. Maybe it is expected but regardless I dont like it. 

Overall I think Microsoft is all right. They've got a bunch of interesting stuff that is not gonna a damn thing for gaming, and is unlikely to pull any new consumers in. The Natal stuff will at best raise eyebrows, of skepticism. It did in me.

One other thing. Apparently Microsoft has completely abandoned the Windows platform for gaming, because I did not see anything about it. So Microsoft can piss off, PC Gamers are sick of this bullshit from them. Either try or don't but dont half-ass it. You can't say you're committed to the PC platform and then not even bother to put in a Sizzle reel, let alone an actual segment on PC gaming, for your E3 Press Conference.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Where's My Dictionary?

This has been a long time coming, but it is an issue that is dear to me, even if in the end my core arugment might be summarized as mere semantics, but I do not really care. The use of the term strategy, in Real Time Strategies has long irked me to great end. Because having focused rather extensively upon military history my professor took a class to carefully make sure we each understood what Strategy meant in war. He established it by stating that it took place involving certain numbers of troops, and if you went smaller then you descended into the realms of tactics. And there is a difference between tactics and strategy. 
Tactics wins battles, strategies win wars. 
Since almost all RTS games are more about battles than an overall war, it should stand to reason that tactics is what matters in the game. Being able to have better memorized a specific build order, or micromanage your troops to effectively maximize their damage outputted while minimizing whats taken has next to nothing to do with strategy. 
Basically I'm saying that the 'Craft' series by Blizzard, the C&C games, and the billions of their clones, have all failed to bring strategy into the RTS genre. This extends beyond mere multiplayer matches, most singleplayer games leave out the strategy as a part of the storyline. Which I can understand is necessary in many cases, but it means you are not playing a strategy game. You're playing a game in which you given tactical control of a series of battles to linearly progress onwards to the next battle. There are some actual "strategy" games, but the only dominating my thoughts at the moment would be Total War, and it is a partial Turn Based.
I should be clear, this is not a condemnation of the style of play that dominates RTS games, but rather a critique that most of them fit more into FPS style play than strategy gamers will care to admit. Precise skill and control is far more valuable in RTS games than it should be. I mean strategies are carefully formulated, but in an RTS time is of the essence so it is better to get a shit load of something. Put simply, it is my thought that RTS games contain as much strategy or less than a shooter. The only true strategy games are turn based games. Where you can form plans, respond to changes effectively and generally see a strategy fall apart and try to salvage it.
One of the most horrific moments of late is watching the Starcraft 2 Battle Reports, which feature two pros battling. The fact that blizzard is actively encouraging the use of workers as meat shields, the micromanagement of units for peak performance is complete garbage. It only promotes the multiplayer game as something that advocates a ludicrous style of play that has no real world significance and completely ignores the advances done in recent years of RTS. Sure Dawn of War I & II and Company of Heroes are just as guilty as being more tactical than Strategical, but the Relic openly admit to it; Supreme Commander attempted to bring the Strategy into RTS and made significant inroads. 
I'll still get and adore Starcraft 2, but the multiplayer is not a part of RTS games that has any appeal to me. Micromanagement fests between economy and battles is not my idea of compelling strategy gameplay. Being hit by an early game rush accomplishes nothing other than tell me that the game embraces quick reflexes over sound thinking. And if I want to play a game about reflexes I can play DotA, TF2, L4D, or any other number of shooters. If i want a strategy game I play turn based ones.  I'm pretty sure that story interests me more than the actual gameplay of 'Craft' games ever has.  Well that and the custom game modes that inevitably show up.

Thats all I've got to say and matters of 'strategy'.


Well Since Everyone Else Everywhere Has Done One!

Here goes my E3 Predictions:

Microsoft will make a big deal about something that no one will care about and will be largely ignored, but will still have enough wowswers stuff that they arent pushing yet that it wont really matter too much. There will be no mention of their Games for Windows beyond the plastering of the logo on games that are being pushed on 360. 

Sony will show lots of great new stuff, lots of their old franchises that we're all waiting for, and some system changes that are not really all that compelling to anyone. They'll do something with the PSP but it wont amount to anything.

Nintendo will try to seem hip and cool to the hardcore and casuals and they will fail miserably. It will not matter though because critical acclaim is now irrelevant to Nintendo. They'll show a brief sizzle reel that will wow the dwindling hardcore gamers they do have. 

The Third parties will show us all the real good stuff and will rise to conquer the earth as we know it. Which it turns out is in fact just a lot of basements in very small sections of urban centers. Weird. 

There you have it. I spent all of like 5 minutes thinking those up so if they turn out to be right I demand worship.

Night. Ciao.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We Are Intrigued

I've never really thought of myself as an uber-min/maxer when I play RPGs. But my sister recently started playing Mass Effect because she wanted to play a game and that was the only one that really has any appeal to her; Her appeal being JRPGs, or games with obscenely pretty male protagonists. Anyways I watched her playing a bit and was shocked that she did not fully explore conversation options, and tried really hard to bite my tongue when she went to the level up screen. I mean I quickly realized that playing an RPG is all about your own experiences when you play it. And just because I played the game a specific way in no way means that she should follow mine. If hers works great, if it doesnt she can figure out how to get past it herself or can ask me for help.

I think this is a problem with hardened hardcore gamers we see a game and immediately think of the cost/gain effect in gameplay terms. But Casuals just look at the game and experience it, they dont care about trying to find which skill/item set maxes their damage, nor do they care if they miss an extra quest that gives them a wicked +5 Fire damage Mace. 

Maybe thats something we hardcore could learn again. But then again, you cant regain innocence once you've lost it. I even though I might try to simply experience a game, I think a part of me is always going to continue to try and game the game to the fullest for those min/max benefits. Meh I guess as long as I enjoy the game at the end of the day what does it really matter? 
Okay. Thats all.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Seriously. Since the new TF2 update, the servers are alive again. It is nice. And the new item system, while confusing the crap outta everyone, seems to be great for new player to try out new weapons. 

Oh and Star Ocean 4. Pretty fun. Great boss fight I had today. But the cinematics. Dear god. Its like they asked how to make them as bad as possible and then one upped that. 

Thats all I got right. I'm told it is an American holiday so that would explain the lack of news.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Ohhhh My Favorite Little Game I Love To Hate

Oh Demigod. So faithful. I just don't know what I'm gonna do with you. On the one hand you have many appeasing factors. On the other hand I have no clue if it is balance issues or a lack of general knowledge about what to do.
See in DotA if you've got skills you can pick up the knowledge along the way. But if there is no skill involved and just memorizing what items to buy and how to level your character up then the so called depth of said game is gonna be short lived. Hence unless I feel like reading dozens upon dozens of blog posts how each character should be built to deal 'x' foe,  assuming he is using 'y' build, then i will have 'z' chance of victory assuming that my partner is somewhat decent as well, and assuming the other opponent is also moderately skilled. 
But then I realize the core problem with Demigod.
I have never played a Multi-player match with more than 4 players total. That means 2v2. 
Perhaps if I could try a 4v4 or 5v5 I would be greatly illuminated as to things, as matchups are far more interesting when you have a diverse field of demigods to combat with. 
Yes I believe I have made a realization here. 
2v2 Demigod is boring and devolves into who luckily got matched up with Demigods that they have inherent advantages over. 
4v4 or 5v5 however. THAT would be a match I would be interested in seeing.
Too bad the system apparently can barely manage 3v3's and it is highly unlikely that I'll ever get to play a good 5v5 match. 
For the record 5v5 is DotA's standard size. Accept no substitutes, if you arent in a 5v5 match then you are not playing DotA proper. You are playing some side gimmick that has no real worth. 

It would seem Demigod may be similiar. Hopefully they release a massive patch that will enable the removal of P2P hosting and switch to servers for gameplay. Because that would be far, far, far better.

Oh Demigod. I only bitch because I care.

Super Duper Quick Observation

Funny how Duke Nukem Forever's biggest press release after being announced was that the game is dead in the water some 12 or so odd years later. 
That will be all.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Oh It Is Truly Is A Grand 'Ole Time

Headshotting people, getting achievements, backstabbing and being backstabbed (since I suck with the spy). The new patch is out and brought something very strange with it that highlights an issue that is very important when patches come out.
They changed the method in which the new weapons are unlocked. Suffice it to say they used to be tied to the achievement system. But now they are like random loot that you get for... well, thats the problem no one really knows why certain people are getting weapons. Often times duplicates. 
The point is developers need transparency behind the changes they make in a game. So if you say you changed something. You need to explain precisely what those changes are and what they are trying to accomplish by changing it. 

Allegedly Valve will explain the new unlock system later today. So that is alright.

Another game that is pretty good with the transparency is Demigod. Although to understand the aims of patches one needs to find the dev journals on the demigod forums and read those. But the results are quite interesting providing very detailed explanations to thoughts regarding why certain choices were made and so on and so on. 
DotA used to suffer horribly from 'bad patch notes' syndrome. Whereby you would read the patch notes and find horribly vague things like 'x' item altered, 'y' hero remade, 'z' hero slightly weakened... Nowadays the map maker, Icefrog, realizes the first thing the community would do was gut his patch notes and expand them so people could actual understand that the item's cost was increased 100 gold, and its damage increased 2 points. Or that the hero had its Str gain lowered by .4 per level.  Now Icefrog includes the detailed patch notes himself since it is just easier, although more time consuming.

So word to the wise. Do not treat the gaming community like fools. Give us the gritty details (well not super technical gritty) to explain what is going on with each point of a list of changes. Most devs are usually pretty good with it.
But finding something like:
- You now find new and old items as you play, instead of through achievements.
Gives us absolutely no fucking clue as to the meat of what the change actually does. And demands further explanation.

Meh I'm probably overblowing this whole scenario, I mean in 12 hours we should have the TF2 blog update which explains the whole thing. Then we can get back to bitching about how now that we understand it in detail, we fucking hate it, and want the other way we hated back.

Yeesh. There is just no pleasing us gamers is there?


Monday, May 18, 2009

Just In Case You Forgot Who Was The Best

Valve steps up to remind us all why they are one of the big guns of developers. This week it seems will be a batch of double update goodness for Team Fortress Two. Originally slated to simply be the Sniper Update week, with the traditional bundle of goodness that accompanies any TF2 patch, we were abruptly surprised to learn that the Spy update had infiltrated to also get out this week. Today we discovered a Meet the Spy video, which Valve had virally leaked over the weekend. (Side note, I really need a better network because the viral video did not reach me, which means I'm tragically out of the loop. Although maybe that is a good thing...) Anyways, Does this mean we can expect further double doses of update goodness in the future. Perhaps, but who knows. We are left with 3 remaining updates, the Soldier, the Demo, and the Engineer.

After which there is rumored to be a tenth class in production that will be rolled out.

All I can say is Valve makes the wait for Episode 3 non-existent. Who cares when there is such compelling multi-player between Left 4 Dead, and Team Fortress 2.
Just thought I'd put something out there.
Also, Bow and Arrow = Wicked.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just Suck It Up and Say It Already

So I feel the need to ammend an earlier argument I had against Demigod. I stated that I felt the devs would be unable to continually patch it.
But Visiting their forums I found a brief video of their madness after working on fixes for 48 hours straight. It is enough for me to admit that if they continue with this kind of devotion the end product will be quality.
Too bad the game is still working on fixing connection issues. But they are committed it appears, so my hats of to them.
Now if they could just make one truly great map, with some actual design elements within it. And get some balance patches out already, seriously, the game is more or less pretty balanced but you can always make it better.

Oh and for Lost fans. Wasnt that an awesome Season Finale, quite epic. Well minus the ending, I mean I loved the cut to white, that was awesome, but the complete lack of any reveals for next season is gonna me nuts. Great episode though. Hope Sayid is dead, not because I dislike but because I think he needs to finally be able to rest, he's gone through so much. Hope Juliet doesnt die, because she's smoking hot, and Sawyer and her were great. Hope Jack is dead, because that flip flopper deserves it by now. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It May Be The Most Important Garden Ever

So Plants vs Zombies, or Lawn of The Dead as it should have been named, is put simply an outstanding game. First of all it is cheap. $10. You get a lot of good gameplay for that price. It is from the makers of Peggle, but I believe it is head and shoulders above that game. Peggle is addictive, but there is alot more interesting gameplay in PvZ. 

It has its basic lawn defense gameplay, whereby you plant plants to shoot back the invading zombies. You need to manage sunflowers for resources and deciding how many sunflowers to plant is crucial to your home defense. Even more robust is the number of flowers available to use, there is well over 50. Each person will find their own favorite strategies. Personally I prefer to use the kernel launcher, with starfruits and spikey traps. But the options available are incredibly diverse and profound. The options are often limited more by your mind than anything else. 

Needless to say, the game costs 10 bucks, is awesome, so just get it. Worst case scenario, you dont like it and you are only out $10. 

I'll end this post by saying that the new Batman game looks pretty fun, and have my fingers crossed. Also Wolverine looks fun, but not $70 of fun. $30 and I'm sold.


Friday, May 8, 2009

Thy Imprenetrable Fortress Is Not So?

So, I was thinking about things at work today, as I often have much free time. And I noticed that our sales were quite low in general. We were not meeting any goals or anything, and while I brings me no immediate cause for concern, it is somewhat striking for the video game industry as whole. Here's why. 

We've heard the analysts brandy about sayings like the games industry is recession proof. But I think that is something of a misnomer, because the video games industry has simply been recession proof. Which is all great and fine. But things change. Demographics change, your core audience is altered and your expectations get bigger and bigger. 
Put simply, the industry that survived prior recessions does not resemble the current industry that faces this recession. As such, it is foolish to expect the gaming industry to automatically receive a free pass because 'well last time it did not crash so why would it this time around?'
I am saying this because look at the current climate, lots of developers are struggling. But more interesting is that publishers are taking it much harder, regardless of how they react, they are taking losses. Sure they can take the hit. I'm not worried about the future of gaming. It will always go own, so long as there are people out there with PCs who want to express themselves. But the issue is that gaming has become too successful, a business ruled by corporate interests first and game quality second. 
But is that such a bad thing? Most things in the world are governed by corporate interests. Sure it tends to mean that if you don't understand how to tell quality from crap you'll find yourself knee-deep in crap without noticing it. But the crap only illuminates the good stuff all the better. 
Thats all I've got. Gloom and Doom. But meh, I wanted to talk about so I have.
Will the recession knock out the gaming world. No. 
Will it subdue the current giants? Doubtful, but who knows.
I know this. If gaming publishers ever go to beg for a hand out from the government, It will be a sad sad day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

So I Know This Guy Actually Its Not Even A Guy

He's an alien from Tau Ceta province, anyways he has this problem. He really likes playing games, especially on his PC, but you see he has Steam, which he feels is awesome (rightfully so I think). But the problem with Steam is they continue to get compelling titles brought onto the service, that are merely a click away from being purchased. As a result this alien friend of mine, Bob from Tau Ceta province, sees good games that he'd like to purchase and he sees them with a nice little 10% off discount for the first week. This immediately compels him to purchase whatever great title it happens to be. For example last week King's Bounty emerged. Clickity-Click Click, and he bought it. Yesterday, Men of War arrived on Steam, Click Click Cluck, got it. Now getting game's quickly, easily, and at a reasonable price is all well and good. The problem emerges with so you are buying a game a week. 

How in the name of the great googamooga is one expected to actually play them all an acceptable amount? 

Bob told me this morning that there are dozens of games he has purchased through Steam and failed to even start them up. Many he has played a coupla times before being forced to move on to the next title. 

Worst of all, Bob is in charge of export and imports for the Tau Ceta gaming commission (they handle gambling and such not video gaming as one may expect), as well as prisoner transfers from nearby the Staffholdt Prison cluster.
Needless to say Bob cannot find the time in his section (roughly a month) to alot for all the requisite gaming time to play his games to completion. I told Bob to piss off. There are alot of people who only wish they could have too many games to play.
Yeesh some people.

 Side Note: Crafting in LotR:O... little pricey.


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oi Vey

Seems like a tough time to be a game's publisher. Make good games and you lose money. Make shit games and you'll probably lose money. Make Wii games and you might make money, but you could still lose money.

EA and THQ have recently posted significant losses of late, and last year they put out some very compelling software for gamers, that did fairly well critically and in units pushed. So the question that arises to me is what is wrong with their business models? Lets be clear though, large publishers like EA, Ubisoft, and THQ have incredibly huge "money banks" if you will, and a bad year is not the end for them. However what it does mean is certain developers will get the axe, often times despite quality. 

Do they simply have too many games that are costing too much, are not compelling titles and do not sell? Or is it that a AAA title takes too much money to develop and as such the profits cannot possibly add up to match it. Are they blowing money producing far too many copies far outstripping any possible demand? Is piracy bleeding these companies dry as they often claim? 

Is there any possible solutions? I've got a few but most are not exactly sunny and great.
They could charge more for games. Increase the cost and you get more money. But then push it too high and people begin to feel like they are being ripped off.
They could charge less. Decrease your profit margins with the hope that a cheaper game will sell more. Valve has posted some very interesting findings of sales on Steam resulting in huge increases in units sold. However much of the Steam community strikes me as being fairly affluent and content with most games. Further the Steam purchase system seems to be built for impulse purchasing.
They could get advertising involved even more so in games. I mean television works because of advertising. In television I have read that it takes roughly 20 failed shows to get one hit. That is horrid and seems fairly in line with what goes on with game development. We get a lot of shite games, plenty of decent enough games, and a coupla games that are worth our time. The problem with the comparison to TV is that you do not have to pay money for each show you watch, you pay a flat rate and get them all regardless, the whole thing you invest is your time. This appears to make advertising in games rather difficult to work. Because if you buy a DVD boxset, you do not want commercials to play. And further you expect to be able to skip them.

Overall the whole game's industry is a strange beast. Rest assured, though the industry is not going to up and disappear, as long as there are profitable giants like Valve and Blizzard there will be enough incentive for those Venture Capitals to try to duplicate them and reap the benefits. Tragically it seems like alot of interesting IPs/game ideas might die for it to happen.

In other news Plants vs Zombies is pretty compelling for a Popcap casual game. Full of plenty of strategy and zombie killing goodness. I heartily recommend it to all, especially given it $9.99 price point. Maybe there is something to be learned from a publisher like Popcap. Good simple games, that many people can enjoy and bring in the profits. Sure they are not producing Half-Life or Fallout or Company of Heroes, but they are not in danger of anything.

Also, your Demigod update, game is slowly growing on me. Getting into game's is better but still not as robust as it should be. I'm winning games, but I feel it is more because of opponents lack of skill rather than my superiority. There is some definite problems between Assassin heroes and Generals, that the generals by and large are superior as long as they dont die. Seriously the game has big issues with addressing the reward for pushing. Towers give no experience or gold. Killing grunts gives no gold, only experience. Summons give no gold or Experience. Heroes give moderate experience and shitloads of gold. Control of the map is important, but if you die trying to gain control of the map you're hooped.
But it is fun, and the heroes have good diversity, although standard builds are emerging as people figure out what skills are worth getting/maxing and which get left behind. Updates continue to be fairly regular so there is no reason to be negative though. I'm not giving up on it. 
LotR:Online is still a fun game. But i think I've talked about it enough.

Cya round.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

There's More Than A New Paint Job On This MMO

So, I've put considerably more time into Lord of The Rings Online, and I feel confident that I can state that while it is roughly a WoW copy, a significant difference is the much greater emphasis on the story elements that it is able to pull from. WoW, is good but its story never truly makes you feel attached or valuable to the world, it never makes you feel like anything more than a good samaritan, at least from experience with it a few years back. 
I should also like to point out that I have finally returned to The World Ends With You, and it is a great little title, in so many ways. Art Style, Music, combat... all unique and pulling from that Platinum Games/Clover Studio/Suda51 japanese developer resurgence. It is refreshing to turn it on and just have a game play unlike anything I'm used to playing. Most importantly though is that all the previously mentioned elements coalesce with the story. I simply really feel attached to the story of the game. I mean the amount of games that are set in modern times, in your average urban environment can be counted on one hand, but then you mix this strange type of death/spirit game competition, and the strange use of ghosts/noise as opponents. The sheer diversity of how combat flows makes me love to turn the game on. You get these little 'pins' and they determine what attacks you get. But there are dozens of different types of attacks, and only 6 equip slots to put them. Further, you can level up your pins to make them stronger, some will evolve. Further, there is different types of experience available and only certain types will make some pins evolve a specific way. Needless to say, the game is a touch complex, but I adore it for the depth, because it gives the game so much more reason to come back.
I also got Final Fantasy Tactics A2, and it seems good so far, but i haven't put enough time into it yet to say too much. I like the changes to the Judge system, and how your clan operates. Not a huge fan of how they modified the experience/leveling system, but i understand the necessity to prevent exploitation from people who felt the need.  I do think the MVP feature is nifty, but not really sure what happens when the trophy is fully built, eager to find out though. 
Oh and Left 4 Dead now has pretty detailed stats. Apparently I never miss with the uzi (literally 100%), and headshot them far more often than seems possible. And I think it is missing alot of my gameplay. But oh well, nothings perfect and I still like the stats function.
Oh and Demigod is starting to develop for me, but the utter lack of any depth beyond skill order and items to purchase makes me question if it is a worthy successor to DotA. I am currently leaning towards DotA because the higher skill demand makes winning or losing feel like it was more than just picking the right skills and items.
Thats my thoughts. Ciao. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Survive This?

So Left 4 Dead released some new stuff. Two new versus maps (which are in fact merely the other two maps that were not yet versus compatible made so they are) and a brand spanking new Survival Mode.
How are they. Well they're fun. But they're different. 

The versus maps are easier to address so lets start there.

After playing through Dead Air and Death Toll on versus it makes you question a few things. 

0. Was there a huge surge of people to decided to start playing Left 4 Dead again now that there is new content?

1. Did the player base recently all become newbies somehow?

2. Are these maps simply just too new for people to understand how to survive them?

3. Is this why these maps were not available for versus play up until now?

I say this because wiping is fast and frequent in these new maps. Prior to the the patch you could randomly join some guys in versus and be reasonably sure that you would do alright assuming the other team is stacked full of friends who have pre-planned everything. Post-patch 

The three above points cover my main thoughts as to why there is so much wiping in versus.

Lets get rid of #3 and #2 right away. Go play the old versus maps and you'll see early wiping occurring as well.  Although #2 may explain why it is much more so in the new stuff.

This means everyone either sucks now, or people came back after not playing. You can figure that one out.

I will say this. The versus maps that just came out are far more difficult than the other two. There are many more options for flexible and diverse attacks and further the fact that many are unaware of where attacks are likely to come from means that it is harder to defend against them.

Simply put, we've got a compounding situation. The new maps brought back people who had left, but the new maps also confused many. 

The maps themselves? They're good. But like a said they feel pretty lop-sided in favor of the Infected side.

Survival Mode.

So the other half of the update is a new mode that seals off sections of the maps and tasks you to simply not die. How is it. It is either too easy, or too hard. The one map made specifically for this task "Last Stand" is exceptionally hard. But it is in a good way. You can't simply adopt one strategy for it and find success with it. I've tried numerous strategies that all work fairly well for a time, but ultimately crash and burn. 
That is the problem with the other survival maps, culled from prior content, they are making the best out of what they have. Some are easy, and involve just standing near the ammo and dropping tanks with 3 auto shotties ASAP, while the M16 guy picks off smokers and other specials from a distance. 

Overall I really enjoy survival, but it makes me want to play with friends more so than any other mode. You really have to be comfortable with these people to tell them your opinions on where you think you should shoot zombies from, or rather what the general plan for your survival will be.

So the survival pack? It sure was good for me. And really free content... kinda hard to bitch about it. 
Strange side note. I've seen more girls in Left 4 Dead matches since the patch, which is worth noting because girls either hide their gender, from fear that everyone else in the game will begin to hit on them. Or they wear it on their sleeve and torment all the guys in the game to make them feel shit. Please note I am not suggesting that more girls playing Left 4 Dead is the reason that there are so many wipes. In fact the girls were better than most other players, myself included. 
Well yea. Zombies and Girls and such. CRAZY!