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.