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  • beige 8:01 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo Obviously I’ve gotta get on that Peace Walker train. I’ve been outa the game for the KFTS but now that MGS:GZ references it liberally, well, back in action. They released Peace Walker for PS3 at some point, didn’t they?

     
  • beige 4:18 pm on September 4, 2012 Permalink  

    Count me in the quiet minority/majority that appreciates Halo’s architecture and design but isn’t gonzo about the lore or the book stuff. I maintain that Halo is probably the best realized “Dudes shooting Aliens” genre, if that is in fact a discrete genre. Large Audrey II plant creature aside, I’ve always appreciated Bungie’s knack for weaving in environmental commentary from the rank and file in a seamless way. I remember several points in Combat Evolved where the Chief walked into a group of marines only to have a hush fall over the chattering crowd, with little cries of delight here and there from the troops along the lines of “Oh man oh man, the Chief is here! Now we’re gonna get out of this jam for sure!” Regardless of how you feel about the lore, it makes you feel cool to stomp around as a spartan.

    Most of Halo’s stuff is, frankly, kinda silly — but that’s OK. It’s silly in a kind of beautiful colorful way where guns actually shoot glowing pink barbie colored crystals and make pew pew noises, and grunts run around squealing incoherently at the slightest provocation. I don’t have any emotional investment in it, and I surely don’t care about whatever Bill Gates called “the latest in Next Generation Storytelling” (giggle) but walking around Under Cover Of Night with some smoky O’Donnell sax and synth augmenting the glowing GI Joe green screen on my sniper rifle’s display? Yeah, it’s good stuff.

    It has not been mentioned yet on this board, but anybody interested in something different — and I mean REALLY different — should really check out Asura’s Wrath. I have been playing it in little bits and pieces on Monday evenings with a friend of mine who comes over to watch the latest in Weird Games on my big TV. Those who described the game largely as an 8 hour long QTE aren’t exactly WRONG per se, but damn if it isn’t a crazy crazy experience that comes super easy to recommend for anyone looking for an alternative to “The Video Game” currently in vogue by the AAA publishers.

    You’ve got about 3 standard things you’re doing in Asura’s Wrath: Fighting in a sort of lite version of God Hand / Devil May Cry. flying or running at extremely high speeds (which turns into Afterburner), shooting things in the vein of a lightgun game, and doing some button input stuff a la Heavy Rain.

    Thematically, all I can describe it as is that some guys in Japan were watching Kratos stuff one day and were like “Wait. We’re the country that Dragonball Z and MY POWER IS OVER NINE THOUSAAAAND comes from. And these Westerners think they can out-QTE us and out-AAARGH ANGRY RAGE RAGE ANGER SO MAAAD us? Preposterous! We can make THE ANGRIEST hero and the MOST EXTREME AND CRAZY QTEs ever imagined by mankind! You wait and see if we can’t!

    … and so. Asura’s Wrath.

    Let’s be clear: Sure, it’s quicktime events, crazy camera tricks and timed button presses… but guys, it’s the god damned craziest button presses and quicktime events you ever will see. For real. Its visual design is off-the-scale awesome and totally gonzo nutbar. Weird melange of Indian and Tibetan mythology meets futuristic tech – like the Covenant crash landed into Ankor Wat.

    The basic premise is just Ninja Scroll. Asura is one of the 8 Immortal Gods of the universe who are supposed to be immortal divine forces, protecting Humanity from Demons (collectively “Ghoma”) and stuff. Right at the beginning of the game 7 of them turn into total dickheads and betray Asura, throwing him down into hell so that they can stage a heavenly coup d’etat against the existing heavenly Emperor. Asura spends something like 12,000 years getting progressively more and more furious down there in Buddhist Hell until the point that the’s had alls he can stands and he can’t stands no more, so wham bam kablam, he’s back on earth to fight each of the 7 gods one-at-a-time, Bruce Lee tower of death style.

    So begins the rediculous, totally over-the-top revenge spree where Asura’s power goes from nine thousand to nine bajillion thousand million and shit starts getting epically, supremely, Epic Level.

    Last night, after chilling out with my old Sensei at a hot springs it became necessary to fight him in a duel to the death that was so intense that it resulted in both of us being punched straight up into the moon. We both then fought in zero G there on the moon for a while, slugging it out while classical music by beethoven or rachmaniniov played in the background as we punching each other so hard that we were crashing through moon mountains. He then pulled out a katana from his scabbard that was so large that it took more than a minute of cutscene to emerge from its sheath and then flung me into orbit towards earth where all six of the arms currently attached my body burned up upon reentry. Sensei then lept from the moon to earth, skewering me to the planet with a sword that pierced the continents, emerging apple core style from the other side of the planet (China?) where people, were, presumably surprised to see it. Things were looking bad until I punched the sword in half and then, with katana clutched in teeth and posessing no arms, I fought Sensei with the shattered hilt. You think I’m making this up, but I’m not. This is Asura’s Wrath.

    (foolishness begins aroung 6:45)

    What I’m saying is that if you’re in the mood for something just gonzo crazy dragonball to the XTREME with no pretentions of being anything besides just bugfuck nuts rage WRAAAUGH RAAAGE you should play Asura’s Wrath.

     
  • beige 3:23 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink  

    @unmanneddrone Confession: I knew nothing about Mechwarrior the Tabletop Game when I played the old PC games. No idea what a PPC was, apart from “that pew pew thing that makes mechs go away”.

    Someone needs to build a new Privateer style mech game with factions and little missions you run for cash. Something that isn’t Steel Battalion I mean.

     
  • beige 3:03 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD Well, ok, maybe it’s debatable. It is the only mech game I ever stayed up playing until the sun came up, but I was in high school then. Good times.

     
  • beige 2:32 pm on August 30, 2012 Permalink  

    HEY IMMA LET YOU FINISH BUT MECHWARRIOR2 WAS THE BEST MECH SIMULATOR OF ALL TIMEEEE

    OK, so with that out of the way, just hopping in for a sec to update everybody on Sleeping Dogs, which I finished. Total playtime, 23 hours and I finished all the story missions, all the cop missions and “favors” and enough drug busts to put me at maximum everything. So yeah, it’s not a GTA style commitment. That said:

    Satisfying! Not that I haven’t played Grand Theft Auto before of course but how refreshing it is to finally play a crime game where “less is more”. Less urban sprawl equals more environmental focus. Less types of guns equals less immersion breaking “I’m running around with a flamethrower” bullshit. Less NPCs equals tighter pacing and better fusion of the writing with the main storyline. As the reviewer said, this is the game that Saints’ Row has been trying desperately to be for years.

    Obviously I liked it. Speaking of appeal elements: By far and away Sleeping Dogs’ marquee feature is just the straight up quality of its voice talent and voice acting. There are many commanding performances in the game, and the actor playing Wei Shen manages to be pitch perfect as a conflicted wound-up-tighter-than-a-spool-of-wire deep cover cop. Most of the (95% genuine Asian) cast also brings their A-game to the table as well, creating a game that draws you continually forwards with its plot and characters, never pooling around in the weeds just to unlock “islands” or whatever.

    The quality of the writing is excellent across the board often straying into your known Hong Kong cop cliches but always in a non-jarring way that fans of Asian action movies will appreciate. Slow mo, guns blazing leaps over banisters mixed with horrible down-and-dirty meat cleaver violence. Great stuff. I appreciated that most of the “higher level” suits and outfits brought Wei closer and closer to looking like Chow Yun Fat complete with shades and natty black suits. Also, unlockable Ong Bak cameo outfit.

    Since we here at the squad appreciate good endings, I’m pleased to report that the Sleeping Dogs team absolutely nails the last 3-4 missions of the main plot. As we all know from current fiascos this year sticking or fumbling the ending of a great game can make or break the way that the title is remembered once the credits roll. Your Planescapes, Red Deads and your Spec Ops’ remain high in mind even years later, when you reflect sagely back on good times and nod your head. Sleeping Dogs joins the ranks of the Truly Good Ones with a finale worthy of its cinematic pedigree, leaving the player with a satisfying, contemplative finish.

    On an unrelated note: great to see Extra Credits doing a double feature on Spec Ops: the Line. Don’t watch part 2 unless you want spoilarz, but I’m truly glad to see this game finally getting some of the respect that it deserves in the gaming press, albeit very slowly.

    I’m not surprised that it took many weeks for the public consensus on Spec Ops to crystalize. It’s a thinky game with thinky themes. You don’t just read Catch 22 and then walk away going “yep yep, got it!”.

    People need sufficient time to think. For me, Spec Ops was one of those rare titles that immediately lit up the lightbulb in my head as a noteworthy “must-play” bellweather for those who enjoy talking seriously about games and having quick points of reference to fall back on when it comes to certain tropes. Like Journey, Spec Ops brought something very new to the table, and I was glad to see the Extra Credits guys having a lot of the same conversations about “mechanics as metaphor” and “why X was done this way” that Lynette and I had immediately on completion. The Line is an important game in our little taxonomy – while it has no lack of discernable flaws I agree with James that it absolutely deserves its place in the required reading canon. Great to see other people agreeing with me.

     
  • beige 9:18 pm on August 28, 2012 Permalink  

    Reading this article about free to play games on the iOS store made me legitimately feel sick. I mean, Dragon Vale, which is one of the most grossing (free) games on there — is making $400,000 PER DAY. That’s the cost of my remaining mortgage, PER DAY. $109,500,000 per year. This is me, staring down 25 years of mortgage to pay off what these motherfuckers earned since I ate breakfast this AM. For their iOS game.

    The comments field is a bizarre setpiece of people either saying “Yeah! Go little developers, or alternately devs saying “how do I get in on this action?'”. I can’t square it in my head, it makes me feel dizzy. Most good, Uncharted-quality games cost… what? $50 million? To make? I have no idea. An entire studio of hundreds, maybe thousands, of developers spread out across the entire world all laboring at once for a year to create Dead Space or whatever. Then there’s these… probably like, 5 guys. Each making a cool 20 million per year spread evenly, on digital rent from Dragon Vale.

    It makes me feel… I dunno… like, “I’m a programmer. I could program that. Of course I could.” Then I remember about how those other guys mortgaged their house and everything they owned and went bust on the iOS store. Remember, I guess, that there are millions of people striving for this pie and only 0.0001% of them or whatever get rich.

    It puts things in perspective though. How many dollars do you think that the guys who made Spec Ops… or Sleeping Dogs got paid to do what they did? So good and satisfying. So many orders of magnitude greater than Dragon Vale. So much blood and sweat for what? An $80k per year paycheque until you got fired because nobody bought your awesome AAA game. What possible impetus beyond just passion for the medium would keep someone going, creating the kinds of things I want to play when free-to-play (do you want to buy more coins yes/no?) makes probably a hundred times more than most small businesses per year.

    I make it a point (ususally) to buy games that are specifically NOT free to play because I get annoyed at the constant trolling and prompting for me to rate things, or to buy widget X or Y. This is not the kind of game design I want. This a-la-carte, first hit is free methodology is not conducive to good holistic play experiences or to good art. It brings down the caliber of gaming across the board. Who is buying this? As the Vita dies a slow and painful death, WHO IS BUYING THIS?

    These guys, driving their ferrarris. I wonder what they do with it all? Buy private islands? Invest in the art game scene? Spend it all on Dom P and bling bling? Philanthropy? How do you even justify that? How can you possibly justify it? The Last Guardian is probably never going to come out and I can’t play Pandora’s Tower… but these guys can make, like, no shit Oil and Gas Mining Company profits from Dragon Vale.

    There needs to be a pay it forward clause here somewhere. You get to keep 20 million, OK, but the rest needs to go to advancing the art.

     
  • beige 6:13 pm on August 22, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD I hope you saw this.

     
  • beige 6:58 pm on August 21, 2012 Permalink  

    Alex didn’t pimp it here, so I will. You should go read Tactical Tuesdays (and the other columns on Games are Evil too)

     
  • beige 4:51 pm on August 21, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo There’s always one surprise per year – your Borderlandseses or Demons’ Souls. They come from nowhere and BAM, awesomeness. Sleeping Dogs has the most torturous development cycle and the worst pedigree possible (True Crime? Really?) it’s impossible NOT to believe that a steaming mess should be the inevitable result.

    What seems clear is that this is a work of passion on the part of United Front. I think I’ve read a few times that “this is the game they really wanted to make”, even if it took 7 years or whatever — only all other previous iterations used to be wrapped up in B-list franchise junk as a concession to whoever was publishing it. Squeenix just said “nope, go live with whatever your vision is”. Great.

    Not to butter it up TOO much. I mean, it’s still just Super GTA Asia, don’t expect something transcendental or genre busting. I think maybe a good comparison is Darksiders. The original Darksiders took the Zelda model and then did a big “what if…” on it. What if combat was actually visceral and exciting rather than dumbed down to a Nintendo level? What if a whole bunch of DNA from other ideas like Portal or FPSes could be subtly injected into the experience to improve those things we always found lacking about the Zelda trope. You’d get a Zelda game that out-Zeldaed Zelda. Sleeping Dogs is this to GTA.

    I was mentioning to Lynette how satisfying it is to have an open world crime game that takes its subject matter seriously. There’s no farting noise radio shock jock radio stations, no off-color South Park style knowing wink parodies on the billboards. No Rockstar joke asshole characters like Brucie or whoever. It’s all straight up Hong Kong action cinema. Music and atmosphere is always an appropriate mix of fish-smell and incense laden China — commercials on the radio are in Cantonese, music alternates between Phatt Beats with Chinese rappers busting rhymes I can’t understand or twangly jangly Blade Runner style trance music or Chinese military marches blaring out of the radio when you get AM in from the mainland. When you’re acting like a triad guy you’re being rewarded for your brutality and your ruthlessness. When you’re “off duty” then you’re penalized for doing unsociable things like, oh, running over random pedestrians and causing mayhem. Because you’re a fucking cop. Duh.

    One thing that makes immediate sense when you play Sleeping Dogs is how much better the GTA experience becomes when you remove guns from the equation. Much like Yakuza, guns are nominally there in the world but you solve 99% of problems by beating the hell out of other people. This is lampshaded in fact, as Wei’s (department mandated) “beat ’em up but don’t outright murder people” point of view actually becomes a major plot point later, as in the world of Chinese gangs that behavior is equivalent to hanging a sign that says HAY GUYS, POSSIBLE POLICE MOLE HERE over your head when you’re doing undercover work. It didn’t take long for the other gang bangers to be like “why DON’T you like killing people, Wei?”

    In fact, I have seen one gun total so far in my play so far. I picked up a heavy pistol from a hidden lockbox I discovered, then stood there with it in my hand going “I have a gun! So….. yeah.” I couldn’t ride a bike with it in my hand, couldn’t seem to put it away or hide it anywhere inconspicuous. Ran around for a while, then had to throw it over my shoulder into some bushes. Just something I didn’t want or need complicating my life. Super refreshing.

     
  • beige 1:35 pm on August 21, 2012 Permalink  

    Playing sleeping dogs, I have to wonder: How come nobody else thought to do a more cop-focused crime game in an open world, rather than have you simply running from the cops all the time?

    I’m loving the duality of being an undercover agent. Somtimes I’m out with the Water Street Gang hijacking minibusses and doing the Rival Turf thing, other times I’m tapping cameras to spy on drug exchanges, flagging suppliers and doing covert police surveilance with my phone. Taking incriminating pictures, gathering evidence, then radioing for the Chinese police and watching over CCTV as they swarm like flies in a huge drug bust on those guys from The Wire. FIVE OH MAN FIVE OH.

    Sleeping Dogs is easily on the way to being my favorite open worlder since Red Dead. Some samples of what I did last night:

    Trained with my childhood martial arts master down at the local kung-fu dojo. He expressed some reservations about my current life choices and tried hard to get me back on the YMCA path with a little discipline. Also, he taught me to kick someone’s kneecap sideways which is as brutal to see in action as it sounds. Located a couple of the missing Tang dynasty jade figurines that were stolen from the dojo a few years ago.

    Went on 2 dates with girls in and around Hong Kong. They were nice pleasant dates, no gangstaz and hoes to be seen. Wei was a total gentleman. We took some photos for a blog from various spots around Victoria park and walked around for a bit arm-in-arm talking about university. Later on we went and sang some hits of the 80s at a karaoke club. Leveling up my social link allows health lanterns to appear on the minimap.

    Later on I went back to the karaoke club and put someone’s head through a urinal by way of making a point about how much Winston Chen wants to be the club owner’s best friend. Protection money collected.

    Stole some knockoff watches in a heist that went down in the most hilarious fiasco way. Oh Jackie, if I know anything about narrative law you’re so fucked.

    Discovered an underground fight club, got my ass kicked seven ways from Sunday by hard dudes. Wei, spitting blood, covered with scratches, kicking a rock petulantly as he left. “FUCK!” Chinese thugs laughing their asses off at my failure.

    Cracked a few lockboxes, hacked some CCTV cameras. The feeds now show up in my hideout, I can spy on drug deals in grainy VHS-style surveilance glory.

     
  • beige 6:05 pm on August 20, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD – never heard of it… but am on my way to rectify that problem!

     
  • beige 2:46 pm on August 20, 2012 Permalink  

    Roguelikes? Uh, Spelunky says hi. Well, really it says WRAUGHTRLRLRERNRRR!!! and then hi. God damn Spelunky.

    Many finishings!

    Papo & Yo:
    We stayed up until 1:30 in the morning finishing this game in 2 major sittings. Then we sat around and talked about it. It’s that kind of experience.
    For all the negative reviews, I was expecting something a lot less competant than we actually got. Sure, maybe a lot of the puzzles don’t have some kind of metaphorical bent… a switch can just be a switch. It’s OK guys. If this wasn’t a game about son/father relationships everybody would just call it Ico an nobody would think twice about criticizing the mechanics.

    As it stands, really solid work from the auteur to your brain. The game is highly personal and as been said before on the box, basically defies your attempt to put a numerical metacritic score on it. Just reading reviews it’s easy for me to sort of draw a line and think “unrelatable childhood” “”unrelatable childhood” “sympathetic childhood” “unrelatable childhood” down the line of the reviewers. I think if you’re tone deaf to the part of the game where the author is trying to explain his feelings to you, the audience, then maybe this game isn’t FOR you. I don’t get much out of your average chick lit or Can lit book either, and I have no problem thinking that maybe these aren’t FOR me. If you rated this game a 60, well… yeah.

    Me, I thought it was well done and moving, expecially the ending. I’m glad that the author took the time to exorcise his demons in a public way. So strange, but I’d certainly like to see more of it.

    Rain Slick 3: Finished the game with both “true” and “bad” endings. Ended very abruptly, but I was still impressed that they were able to do something that essentially resembled FF VI at least in mechanical terms. Had a few larffs, enjoyed myself for the duration of the little quest. It’s over now, decent effort from Zeboyd even if it ended abrubptly on a cliffhanger without much resolution.

    Dust: Elysian Tale:
    Started this, played it for 45 minutes or so, enough to know that
    1) It’s really top-grade A quality stuff. For serious though – metroidvania with crafting, slick platforming and a fun technical battle system that rewards skillful comboing without penalizing button mashing or more casual players.
    2) Beautiful art style! So pretty! But furries…why?
    3) I HATE the squeaky chirpyvoice of your Navi analogue. Argh, no. No no no.

    Sleeping Dogs:
    The bomb diggity. If I hadn’t balked to go watch the Woman in Black last night I probably would have been up waay too late. It’s everything it’s been described as: GTA Asia in Hong Kong with Batman style combat and rediculously thorough leveling up trees.

    Liked Wei Shen immediately. This is the kind of protagonist I can get behind. Also immediately charmed by the game’s habit of just injecting Cantonese into everything, including mix-and-matching words randomly into sentences. Hey man, let’s [cantonese: haul our asses] to the night market and get some of them [cantonese: awesome] meat buns. Sure, why not? As expected, almost everyone is Chinese (duh) and the intricate network of filial obligations, honor relationships, historical he-owes-me-a-favor cash ins, dragon heads, red poles and whatnot is dizzying for a gwailo like me to try and get his head around. I’m lost some of the time, but in a good “man, this sure seems like it’s got some Chinese versimilitude” way. Also, I feel for the poor cops who are doing the stakeout work with the giant “The Wire” style photo board. Dog-eyes Chen, happy grin Chen, Lucky Chen, Li Pao, Mother Pao Chen. Randy. Shit, no wonder everybody has a nickname in china. Cellphone conversations are fucked up.

    Love the little Asian flavor details. Offering incense at shrines (clap clap, bow) to increase your health max, getting into accidents all the time because for some reason it took me an hour to realize I’M DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD, duh, and cars’ steering is on the right too. Something nuts like 4 seperate skill trees (cops, triad, martial arts and “face”) all leveling up independently. I like how acting like a straight cop (not injuring innocents, following procedure, staying in touch) earns you shields you can spend on Cop Things (better and less obtrusive ways to break into cars, better car chase perks, unlocking weapons in police car trunks) while being a scary-as-hell motherfucker levels up your triad terror skills, making it easier to shake down people, ram heads through air conditioners and do “that thing you do in battles when you start being so Bruce Lee terrifying that enemies cower and scoot away from you on their butts at high speeds and jump out windows to get away from you”. Satisfying.

    Also “FACE”: Great stat. Basically your rep and pimp presence. Level it up by doing cool things for the community, helping people out. Getting known as a serious player in the neighborhood. Clothes are a big deal, collecting specific sets of them (hats, shoes, pants, whatever) give you bonuses, but you need certain FACE levels to pull off certain outfits. I have a pair of shoes I found in a collectible box that belong to the “Master Negotiator” set and I can’t even equip them until I hit face level 9. Instead, here is Wei Shen slumming in a knock-off bootleg p-diddy t-shirt and baggy jeans (“minor thug set” +5 hand-to-hand damage) that I bought from some scabby merchant behind a fish stall. Because face level 0 is all I can pull off with my worthless reputation. A loser is me. Oh, also everything, EVERYTHING is bootleg knockoff. At least in my awesome world. Chick at noodle place won’t even give me the time of day. Straight gangsta.

     
  • beige 5:57 pm on August 16, 2012 Permalink  

    @angryjedi My leanings are way towards “Let’s go mess up some Endermen” than another version of horde mode. Horde mode still confuses me with its ubiquitous popularity in every damn genre.

     
  • beige 1:44 pm on August 16, 2012 Permalink  

    @unmanneddrone Sleeping dogs is in the hamper, but I’ve got to get through Papa & Yo or Persona first. Don’t like to have too many irons in the fire at one time. Don’t worry, I’m twitching to update everybody on Infernal Affairs.

    Several stores I went to here in TO reported selling out of both versions though, so that’s a good sign.

     
  • beige 1:27 pm on August 16, 2012 Permalink  

    @randomeurocoptalk A few months ago I actually started in on the Wallander mysteries. Started with the first book – Faceless Killers – which I read as both the book (first) and then watched with Kenneth.

    Kenneth does a fine Kurt, but if you have to explore one or the other I would definitely recommend the books. The mini-movies are OK, but you’re missing a lot of that subtle first-person-reflecting that happens when you’re dealing with an actual novel. Part of the Wallender “deal” is the constant CONSTANT repeating motif of him just driving around Sweden’s bleak countryside on his way to one place or the other while listening to classical music and chewing over the case in his head. The movies just kind of fast forward through this part, showing a volvo show up here and there, as well as omitting lots of the little incidental scenes and details that make the books a case study in the detective.

    Still, you could totally do worse. I also recommend Karin Fossum for those interested in investigating Scandinavian Noir. Read “Black Seconds” not too long ago, wheee. If you live in Sweden you get a +10 racial bonus to writing Let The Write One In style bleak depressing miserable fiction, which makes them naturals at unglamorous crime.

     
  • beige 1:51 pm on August 15, 2012 Permalink  

    Because I know you’re curious: Started Papo & Yo (Papo & Me? I dunno, I don’t speak Spanish) and found it quite remarkable so far. Knowing that this is a one-man joint I wasn’t expecting AAA level production values, but the game has nontheless quite surprised by the quality of the artistic presentation. Playing a little South American (I assume?) kid who communicates in Spanish via subtitles is a new one on me, and makes a terifficly creative alternative to Dudebrown.

    Of the various games I’ve played, this one is easily the most autobiographical. It’s impossible to run around in Papa & Yo and not try to imply context about the artist’s life overtop of everything you see. These little secret caves and waterfalls nestled in and amongst run down, grafitti festooned slums… is this what life was like growing up? The white lines that bisect everything and provide the backdrop for all the puzzles and mechanisms… was that dream of magic chalk something that the author carried around with them in his daily life? It’s easy to imagine that a kid like that living with a father like that used to dream of fantastic hideaways and magical powers that would let him escape his world into something better. I used to imagine the same things when I was a kid – scratching a door onto an ordinary wall and stepping through into Narnia or wherever. The addition of Lula the awesome gundam action figure (who serves as your switch puller and your jetpack) is poignant once you begin parsing the constant protector-figure imagery.

    And yeah, then there’s Dad — which is to say, the Monster. They take their time getting around to Dad — maybe 45 minutes or more before you even see him onscreen. Most of the time he’s chill, content to eat his coconuts and laze around sleeping or aimlessly wandering. When frogs are on the scene though, all the monster’s thoughts turn entirely to getting a frog fix, and once he gets it, all hell breaks loose. I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when the flaming, furious roaring creature came for me, smashing everything within its range of contact — but I was. From gentle, lazy beast to hulking imminent threat with almost zero warning — yeah, that’s what this game is about. Watching the kid pick himself up off the ground battered and shivering with a look of wariness was an uncomfortable feeling. One thing is for sure – it takes way more balls to make a game like this than it does to produce some bullshit like “No Rushin'”.

    I’m only 2 hours or so into it so far, but I have to say that anybody who frequents this board and cares about games that try to “communicate something” should absolutely give it a try. The closest comparison I can make, strangely, is to Ico. It has that same sense of silence and isolation – great halls full of nothing – but in a more vibrant and distinctly flavored South American package. The light puzzling aspects are also very Ico-esque. Nothing too intellectually challenging so far – like Ico, you ususally know what you want to do or where you want to go. You’re there to experience the world and to receive empathic transmissions from the director to you.

    I’m sure I’ll have further thoughts once I get deeper into the game, but definitely one to watch. For $12, you could do way worse.

     
  • beige 7:04 pm on August 14, 2012 Permalink  

    @unmanneddrone I’m curious of this underbelly of which you speak. Are we talking like, The Wire only in Darling Harbor?

     
  • beige 7:02 pm on August 14, 2012 Permalink  

    Re: British Police Procedurals. Hell yeah. Cue my wife in… 3… 2…

    So. How the heck do I rank the following in terms of “what I should be concentrating on?”

    • Papa and Yo
    • Darksiders 2
    • Dust: An Elysian Tale
    • Sleeping Dogs
    • Persona 4: Arena

    Aaaaand, I also downloaded Orcs Must Die and Resonance and started fooling around with Asura’s Wrath last night with some friends for a bit of a larff.

    Rainy season FTW. I’m set till Christmas at this rate.

     
  • beige 2:53 pm on August 14, 2012 Permalink  

    Oh man, Mace Griffin. Wasn’t that the game where they had Henry Rollins doing the voice of the main character? I think I played it for a while with one of my friends back in the day. All I remember is that he was SUPER ANGRY all the time, which means probably Rollins was a good choice.

    Just reading the PAR’s take on Sleeping Dogs. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, and I’m pleased to say that (unbelievably?) the whole True Crime Hong Kong thing seems to have shaken itself out much better than anybody could have hoped for. An Asian gangster story with good writing and well acted dialogue (in English and Cantonese!) featuring Arkham City style fight mechanics and set in and amidst crowded temples and the mean streets of China sounds awesome to me. Super glad to hear they went for the “Less is More” sandbox approach and focused on content quality over content quantity. I’ll be picking this up tonight, so expect to hear some more gushing about Sleeping Dogs if the title pans out the way I think it might. As much as I like Kazuma Kiryu, the Yakuza series is a hell of a long way away from Infernal Affairs at this point in time.

    Oh yeah, and the cell-shaded Metroidvania that is an Elysian Tail does look pretty damn awesome. It’s not officially out yet, which is probably why there’s been no official talk about it, but I can say already that it seems a no-brainer use of some Microsoft Spacebucks.

     
  • beige 4:11 pm on August 13, 2012 Permalink  

    Second thing I want to mention here is Persona 4 Arena. Wheee!

    By total random coincidence this weekend also happened to be the week I got a copy of “Persona 4: The Animation” which, as you might imagine, is the anime version of Persona 4. Caveat: You have to enjoy the appeal elements of Persona 4 to enjoy the show, but that said… “the Animation” is an absolutely *fantastic* translation of the game into a TV format, at least as far as the few episodes I’ve seen. It is SHOCKINGLY close to the source material, even as far as the weird little calendar prompts when the scene changes to “Tuesday, Raining” or the display of the hero’s social link / stat pentagram at commercial breaks so you can see how his extroversion stat or whatever is coming along each episode. It was a trip down memory lane to watch things like the “jumping into TV in Junes” moment again.

    SO… back to the fighting game. I haven’t played the new Mortal Kombat so I haven’t yet experienced “the most ridiculously thorough single player campaign” in fighting game history. Because I haven’t experienced this, I have no problem calling P4:Arena “the most ridiculously thorough single player experience in fighting game history”.

    You’re either into this or you’re not. Much like Persona 4, there is more than half an hour of pressing X and reading text BEFORE YOU EVEN HAVE YOUR FIRST FIGHT in the fighting game. Just think about that for a sec. The Scenario designers went buck wild here, unrestrained.

    It’s like this: Do you like the Persona crew? Would it make you happy to spend tons more time with these characters, laughing your ass off? Reminiscences from Yu Narakami about the whole business with the TV land from last year, phone calls with Yosuke, nurse porno jokes, hanging out with Dojima and Nanako. Getting the band back together. Oh yeah, wait, and fighting. Somewhere. But mostly it’s about hanging out. Me? I love these characters. Showing up to spend time with them again is the reason I bought the damn game in the first place. So I’m totally happy about this.

    There is an “arcade mode” that shortcuts all this of course, for people who just want to get stuck into P4:A and start mixing it up, and interestingly “arcade” seems to have a paralell (but not exact copy) of the “story mode” plotline, so you have to play through both to get the full picture. The story part is just for people who like “story” in their fighting games. Arcade is different.

    … and the fighting. Wow!

    2 buttons for character, 2 buttons for Persona. It’s not about the complexity of the button inputs, it’s about how these systems interact. Always been curious about how Yosuke and Juraya would actually look if they were fully animated, flying around on the screen in all their gorgeously cell-shaded glory? Want to know how Kanji’s huge hulking persona throws down against, say Aigis from P3? Well, you can see that now.

    Don’t even get me started on the color commentary, because it’s fantastic. Default is to have Rise up at the top of your screen with the mic like a boxing umpire, throwing out blow by blow dialogue as your characters trade bon mots and leap around. So much personality is injected into everything it’s ridiculous and regularly laugh-out-loud funny. Even the interface elements are stylish as hell, as you’d expect from a Persona game… and of course all your favorite music from P3 and P4 is here and remixed up.

    Basically, it’s a fantastic experience for people who fall into the “likes Persona / likes fighting games” category, of which I am one. Can’t wait to get home and play some more.

     
  • beige 3:50 pm on August 13, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo Watching the trailer over at their homepage but can’t make hide nor hair of it. I assume somewhere underneath this exterior is some kind of rocket simulator? Looks interesting.

    I, myself, spent the weekend doing a couple of things in the game related space (and plenty of stuff in the NON game related space)

    a) Finishing Blacklight. This game has come under tons of hate by the Xbox Live community, and I think most of it is totally undeserved. I really liked Blacklight and thought that huge portions of the griping were harsh. It’s a very Shadow-Complexey side scrolling platformer / shooter / atmospheric exploration game set in ruined Seattle and starring a guy from British Columbia. So, yeah, props already for the weird Canadian overtones.

    Blacklight’s problem (and you’ll hear this in absolutely every review) is that it COULD with some very minor and sensible modifications have been one of the Xbox Live Arcade greats up there in the realm of Limbo and Braid. Here is your path to 95% guys:

    Step 1)
    Fire absolutely everybody involved in the English naturalization, release new script and re-record all dialogue. These gorgeous visuals and sumptuous, atmospheric music speak of a team who knew their artistic pucky. The basic cutscenes are good and well drawn, the meta-plot is solid and interesting. You don’t have to redraw anything — just GET RID OF THE ENGLISH WORDS AND VOICES. The ham-fisted lines and terrible, terrible delivery totally undermine everything the artistic team was trying to do with their beautiful quiet little game. Judging by the names in the credits we’re talking a bunch of Spanish or Mexican guys at Team Tequila. This game would have been fantastic IN SPANISH with subtitles. Just make Mr. Park Ranger protagonist a Spanish speaker. Ditch the growly old man Solid Snake voice for a person who is supposed to be a nature-loving introvert. It’s what’s in the design doc. Failing that, just turn down the “dialogue” to zero volume and play it with subtitles only. Maybe some of those comic booky lines play better as things you read. “Light… it’s just another kind of Darkness….” NO.

    Step 2)
    Get those load times down to a manageable level! This is a platform exploration game much like Another World or Limbo that expects you to succeed by dying all the time. Sure, no problem there. The 10 seconds of watching a reel-to-real tape spin was cool the first time I died and restarted, but it got old very very quickly each and every time a trap cut my head off. If you guys had been able to do a Meat Boy here, nobody would care.

    Step 3)
    If some of your puzzles are really obtuse — Like, say, hypothetically speaking involving crawling through a window sideways and then turning around to fire a gun at a nondescript window ledge up above your head and then crawling back through that same window all the while being chased by zombies — then after maybe 3 times when the player has died pointlessly attempting various pointless things you could just put an on-screen prompt on the screen mentioning the window ledge and how you should be noticing it. Maybe.

    Really, that’s it. I mean, there are some quibbles along the lines of “Don’t constantly lampshade serial killers in your game if you’re not going to do something with it — it’s in bad taste” but otherwise no big deal. These 3 things, would have been 95%, I guarantee it. Don’t believe what you heard about the game length – it’s fine. 2 nights or so of play, maybe 4 or 5 hrs total. For a well crafted mini-adventure that’s all you need.

    Such a shame to see such a beautiful little game faceplant so hard at the finish line…

     
  • beige 8:37 pm on August 9, 2012 Permalink  

    SquadCraft: Who’s up for doing a big raid on the Ender Dragon this weekend? “Finishing” minecraft and all that? I would want to do it as a group with whoever wanted to participate, in as broad a range of timezones as possible, WOW-raid style. Take screencaps of everybody pixelatedly high-fiving. Thoughts?

     
  • beige 1:33 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD Whatever happened to that game where you play sharks vs divers? Man, that was some awesome shizz.

     
  • beige 7:27 pm on August 7, 2012 Permalink  

    Speaking of iOS games that are actually good: Fieldrunners 2 is one of the best tower defense games I’ve played in recent memory, though it’s hard as a beeyotch on anything beyond chump difficulty.

    “Great Big War Game” looks great in an advance-wars kinda way. Have not played it yet, but I’ve seen the Joystiq review here: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/08/04/portabliss-great-big-war-game-ios-android/ It’s nice to have turn based strategy that actually involves a single player campaign.

    Also, Squids 2: Squids Wild West, for all your squid curling needs.

     
  • beige 3:27 pm on August 7, 2012 Permalink  

    Man oh man. Just scanning some of this EA vs Zynga stuff. Amazing. Not that I love EA – far from it – but I hate Zynga so much more. I love that their legal brief BEGINS with EA saying “OK, Zynga’s just been ripping people off for years now but they finally picked a fight with someone who has the financial resources to take them down for all this shady stuff.” Then, just pictures of Bingo Blitz and Tiny Tower and the Sims next to obvious Zynga clones.

    They didn’t HAVE to drag all the little guys into the limelight as wounded orphan examples, but obviously “we’re doing this!” extends to 100%. High-larious. I just wish that the Zynga execs hadn’t secretly cut bait about a month ago so so they would be forced to go down with the ship.

    *kisses fingers* Mwah.

     
  • beige 10:46 pm on August 1, 2012 Permalink  

    Yo yo, SquadCraft types may be interested to know that I’ve updated Squad World to Minecraft 1.3. Just load up your client (which should automatically update itself) and then connect. Boom. Now, I have no idea what implications this will have for our existing world — whether we’ll have to range far afield now to find those temples or what-have-you, but we’re definitely running 1.3. Just hopped in to verify it.

    Now go find some emeralds or something! Maybe we should throw up a portal to Terra Nova and start exploring some uncharted land?

     
  • beige 8:53 pm on July 27, 2012 Permalink  

    Good lord, did you guys see this thing about the retailer exclusives in the UK for Dishonored?
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/07/27/dishonoreds-dishonourable-pre-order-rat-trap

    It’s nucking futs is what it is! No wonder they can’t (apparently?) coordinate an Olympics!

     
  • beige 9:14 pm on July 26, 2012 Permalink  

    @cgrajko As my library edjamacated wife would say: “Define the apppeal elements!” Uncharted: Character-driven cinematic action with a strong focus on storytelling and relationships. Also guns. Lots of guns.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s not the shooting that your girlfriend has discovered the joy of (though what the hell do I know? Maybe it is.) What are Uncharted’s appeal elements:

    • Strong Characters focusing on relationships
    • Well written plot
    • Interesting setting
    • Third person camera, alternating between various types of “doing stuff”
    • < 10hrs playtime.
    • Humor
    • Violence is in service to narrative.

    That's just my 10 second guess. That said, there are other games in that vein:

    • Assassin's Creed: Great choice. Prime deviation from Uncharted: Length of playtime to completion. Secondary: Sandbox world, will not change as much. Not as cinematic. Pros: Great characters to identify with, well written and acted, violence in service to narrative, some humor. High production values.
    • Mass Effect Series: Primary strength is characterization and choices, but the pacing is much different than uncharted. Third person camera, focus on shooting. Sci-fi world is not as engaging as some.
    • Red Ded Redemption / LA Noire: Hugely character driven, also lots of shooty shooty. Focus less on relationships than mass effect but compelling plots with complex heroes.
    • That new game by the Gemini Rue guys, if she can handle the charm of pixel art.
    • Sly Cooper series. Huge on characterization, fantastic art style, tons of humor and laughs. Great sound effects, hilarious Saturday Morning Cartoon feel.
     
  • beige 6:18 pm on July 24, 2012 Permalink  

    @redswir1 Boo. This is why we can’t have nice things. We’re on the US’s shit list as some kind of pirate utopia. Intellectual property rights = suck.

     
  • beige 3:49 pm on July 24, 2012 Permalink  

    All yall guys need to come with us on a field trip to Northeast Squadonia. Lynette and I set out in a NE direction across the desert last night and arrived at a crazy region where bizarre procedurally generated topography looked like something off the Bionis’ leg and there were both a small and huge NPC village just chilling there at the doorstep of the great plains. The big city is 780 meters straight north of the point where the cidadel’s jungle block meets the western desert block.

    We’re probably going to build a pilgrimage road all the way up there, with shrine stops along the way. Takes a minute or two of overland hiking to get there, but it’s a pleasant Oregon Trail style adventure — all rolling hills and plains before the absolutely batshit crazy mountains begin. Prime candidate for an overland rail line once the branch to Wolf Base is complete.

    On that note, watching Bowley set the torch to the giant glassed-in, wood filled tunnel connecting the continents and watching fire burning down there in a tunnel below sea level was the highlight of my night last night.

     
  • beige 3:46 pm on July 23, 2012 Permalink  

    Squad World marches forward! It does my heart glad to see the earth taking form under the constant ring of picks and hammers.

    Our Outlook Citadel — once just “some random mountain in the jungle” now has an fully armed and operational Aerie complete with huge vaulted great hall, romanesque living quarters courtesy of Rampant Bicycle, skytop treehouse courtesy of Sinfony and the Thane Krios memorial arboretum and nature preserve, home to flora aplenty. Also, a sweet ass Voltron style rapid descent hatch (stand on the plate, press the button and WHEEE) for all your rapid exfiltration needs and an elaborately constructed secret entrance which opens magically behind an an innocuous waterfall. Walk behind curtain of water, stand on pressure plate for 1.5 seconds and Open Sesame the very earth of the Citadel itself parts to let you in! It’s not magic, it’s redstone!

    Best of all, for the most part we’ve been able to maintain the majestic natural presence of Overlook Cidatel. It’s still there, a mountain in the wilderness with a picturesque lagoon in the front yard — innocuous on the outside (save for some ornamentation in the skyline) but on the inside it’s a Delicious Cadbury egg anthill of activity and metalurgy.

    Below the Citadel, in the bowels of the earth, the Squadway (chariot of the people!) brings rapid transit solutions to the masses. Thanks to the Bowley-led Big Dig Initiative, one can now get from the Citadel to the Observation Tower in mere seconds by activating the miracle of powered-rail redstone minecarts! Even now, the Squadway’s western branch inches ever closer towards Wolf Base, safely sheathed and protected from the waters of the ocean by a groovy 1960s pyrex glass tube.

    Below the earth, the hunt for the tsuchinoko-like slime continues. An entire afternoon of carving out little 8×8 chambers at a depth of 40 or less from bedrock has netted me the kingly sum of 2 slime balls and a sign proclaming “You now stand at coordinates 0,0, 2.5”. Elusive little bastards, all of them, but necessary for the deliciously useful slime balls and from thence, “sticky pistons”. I may have to set the difficulty to “hard” just to poke their wiggly little spawn rate.

    Culture and the arts too. Pet Houses! With pets!. Bayou camp upgraded with pumpkins and rare herbs. Cultured farms! Captain Carnage’s serene treetop overlook keeping watch on our central camp like some kind of lapis and gold encrusted Gandalf. And to the west, from Citadel, Jedi’s road stretches mysteriously towards the horizon, into the desert.

    It’s a fine day to be digging, I tell you!

     
  • beige 3:08 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink  

    How does one capture video from a PC for uploading to the YouTubs? I might do a day1 walkthrough of squad land.

     
  • beige 2:24 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink  

    What’s up with gas masks on everybody these days anyway? I get the ambiguous faceless thing but suddenly everybody’s lookin’ like Borderlands.

     
  • beige 1:30 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink  

    @unmanneddrone Watched the Giant Bomb quicklook for that one a while back, couldn’t make hide nor hair of what I was seeing. Swedish Diablo meets RPG in the tundra forests of postapoc Scandinavia? Giant bears? Random JRPG style encounters? Looked awesome though, if somewhat confusing. Sadly, my gut tells me that there won’t be a ton in the way of “awesome story” to be had in Krater, but the charm and flavor of what’s going on is worth the price of admission. Will pick it up for sure.

    A great night of Squadcrafting with @bowlisimo, @cptcarnage and @rampantbicycle. Those logging on to the server should check out the new Sniper Wolf Memorial Subarctic Research Station, aka “Wolf Base” which was set up underneath the Taiga beacon. Basically, I’ve found that if left to my own devices in a minecraft world what I enjoy doing is playing at some combination of architect and interior decorator. Enjoy your dimmed second floor bunk areas with gravel inlaid floor mosaic and backlit glass light fixtures squaddies. And somebody bring back a bucket of lava for the fireplace in the main lounge.

    Also, bad ass treehouse going up courtesy of Bowley and the Capn’. Yub nub. Thanks to whatever mysterious person left a grand stone bridge over to Wolf Island. Came in handy when we were doing time sensitive corpseruns.

     
  • beige 5:59 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo I saw you up there. Squad Bastion is frigging immense — like the tower of Barad-Dur. Tonight I may come up and watch the sun rise, surveying the land.

    We need a diving board off of that thing.

     
  • beige 5:58 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink  

    @zegolf F:NV is one of the only RPGs I’ve quit in mid-stream and never picked up again. I can’t explain why (we were mostly done, past level 30)… I suspect Dark Souls was involved.

    That said, you can easily buy more expensive coffees. It’s a deal if you ever have a thought about going back in there — I’m not going to stay your hand.

     
  • beige 1:54 pm on July 19, 2012 Permalink  

    SquadCraft world update: Cool terrain features within exploration distance:

    a) The Rift: Godawful and mysterious huge rent in the earth positioned less than a minute’s hike South from the Squadcamp Bayou bunkhouse. A tiny cavemouth no more than 30 blocks across disappears vertically straight down for a hundred blocks or more, farther down into the earth than the eye can see. Begging for ladders and vertical lifting mechanisms. Watch your step. This one can surprise the traveller walking across the fields.

    b) Gruetooth Cave: Little hole-in-the-wall cavemouth to the NW of Bayou, just off off of a swamp. Looked innocuous at first but damn — once we started exploring we discovered a massive cave structure that extended down into the bowels of hell itself. Bowley singlehandedly carved a needle-thin backdoor that extends up and outwards from the cave’s deepest floor, emerging maybe 1km North of Bayou camp in the middle of a pine forest. Marked exit with cairn and torches.

    c) The (Yet-Unnamed) Channel Vent. To the NW of Gruetooth, across a small channel of ocean, there is a small hilly island covered with Taiga biome fir trees and snow. Sailing around the island, the visitor notices a mysterious fissure where waters of the ocean flow downhill into darkness underneath the island through a crack in a lip of rock. Not much headroom, but looking down the sluice one can see that large portions of the taiga island may in fact be both hollow and interconnected. Begging for some brave soul to take the waterslide down into the darkness to explore. A large beacon with 5 torches was built on the shore to guide travellers looking for this feature.

    d) (Unnamed) Desert plateau / Desert dungeon? Jedi built a long road one block wide that stretches West from camp into the desert biome. At the point where the road (currently) ends, one can walk north a minute or so to come upon a large, pyramid shaped hill in the middle of the desert. There is a large natural cave in the front of this hill, but more interesting is the Ali Baba crack in the western edge where a grand natural staircase slopes downwards into the darkness of the hill’s interior. An arch with torches was built over this entrance, inviting explorers.

    e) Rivia Falls: Immediately to the North of Squadcamp is a jungle biome which is vast and difficult to explore. There is an honest-to-god heart of darkness style river that bisects this biome, cutting through the center of the jungle in a wiggly line which is navigable easily only by boat. If you take a boat along the river, in the deepest center of the bush you will come across a tall mountain covered with moss and hills that thrusts up out of the trees. This mountain is also the source of an impressively picturesque waterfall made of many component water sources which cascades down the hillside into a small lagoon. We have put a sign there announcing that some day it will be converted to a large Squad Basecamp. I have plans to build a GI Joe style bunker in this structure, possibly connected to Bayou Camp by road or minecart.

    That is all from Uncle Travelling Matt.

     
  • beige 12:02 am on July 19, 2012 Permalink  

    Those interested: Minecraft server is up and running. Pete and I are fooling around in it as we speak. If you want to know the IP address, email me at mwhiting at gmail dot com or hit me up on Steam or wherever and I’ll shoot the deets over to you.

    I’ll be applying a whitelist in the future to keep the riff raff out, so don’t forget to include your minecraft name so I can add it to the list of good guys. Let’s keep the server address strictly on the DL so that random peoples don’t cause damage. Our seed is SquadCraft… Pete is just preparing a landing zone.

     
  • beige 9:03 pm on July 18, 2012 Permalink  

    @cptcarnage Bad asss. I need one of those built and set up in my TV area for steamboxin’. Set you back a pretty penny?

     
  • beige 6:16 pm on July 18, 2012 Permalink  

    Squadcraft: Random world seed, carefully selected and vetted awesome seed or just “SquadronOfShame” and see what happens?

     
  • beige 1:20 pm on July 18, 2012 Permalink  

    FYI, Squad minecraft server has been purchased. I’ll set up a world when I get home tonight and send some connection info around and we’ll be building in no time. Stake your claim today!

    My goal will ultimately be to make this: Bond villain style secret staircase leading into Squad Command. A quest board has also been proposed.

     
  • beige 3:28 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink  

    I’ll volunteer for renting a server from these guys (recommended by Pete)

    $10 a month for 9 player slots, and I’m happy to fund for a few months. If we decide we really like it for some reason we’ll start passing the hat around for someone to paypal me $10 when your turn comes up.

    http://www.multiplaygameservers.com/game-servers/mc-minecraft/

    Who’s in? If we get more than 9 player slots, great.

     
  • beige 3:11 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink  

    @UMD I will have to check out Salvation Prophecy. That review looks… intriguing.

     
  • beige 3:08 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink  

    OK Squad Minecraft, let’s do this!

    L and I have been playing on the Xbox 360 the last couple of days, but for whatever brain reason this is, I get frustrated that the Adventure Update has not been applied yet and I cannot “win” Minecraft by going on quests and defeating the Ender Dragon on my console. I know this worldview defeats the whole point for most people, but for me it’s very necessary to always be working towards something concrete.

    Also I want very much to create a giant Justice League style hall of Squadness with Yorgle the dragon etched in glowing rock on the floor. You know, considering how multicontinental we all are and soforth. So yeah, how do we get this rolling?

    @feenwager I found myself scanning the surprisingly good reviews for Rainbow Moon on the PSN last night wondering why I, who has been in the mood for something RPGey in a hella way lately, hadn’t even heard of it. Sure it’s Japanese, but it’s a character-buildey kinda thing. Anybody in the squad know anything about it? Could be worth a look. There’s always The Last Story too, coming out in a few weeks. That one’s a no-brainer as far as I am concerned.

    http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/rainbow-moon

     
  • beige 8:31 pm on July 16, 2012 Permalink  

    @bowlisimo Thanks for the heads-up, that was fascinating. Depressing, but fascinating. I don’t hate these guys on principle, I just want more kickfunded games and more Spec Ops risks to balance their Far Realm flavor.

     
  • beige 6:23 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink  

    @pepperized No, the old amiga game “Dungeon Master”, which Grimrock is a direct ripoff (spiritual successor?) of. Though to be fair, in my last D&D session with my friends my DM totally ripped puzzles whole hog from Legend of Grimrock, which he had been playing, and served them over at us. It’s weird to encounter walk back walk forwards turn on and off switches puzzles on a gameboards I tells ya.

     
  • beige 5:55 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink  

    Grimrock = Modernized Dungeon Master complete with grid based walking round and build-it-yerself spells. What, you don’t know what Dungeon Master is? You didn’t have a friend who owned an Amiga? GET OUT!!

    .. just kidding.

     
  • beige 5:41 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink  

    I see ARMA lurking in the wings there. Read today that the DAY-Z mods have been downloaded more times than they’ve actually sold copies of the real game. Makes me happy, but is $25 the time to jump in? Surely there’s going to be a zombie flash sale at some point.

     
  • beige 5:39 pm on July 12, 2012 Permalink  

    Jebus, Grimrock for $5 and Crusader Kings for 90% off. VALVE Y YOU DO THIS TO ME?

     
  • beige 3:58 pm on July 10, 2012 Permalink  

    Hi all. Mother-in-law visiting so I haven’t been updating as much as I should. Awesome to see those EVO updates though. I know jack about these particular games but as you say, even to a layperson it’s nailbiting stuff. Keep those links coming.

    Bowley: Free Mass Effect Extended Cut soundtrack available over at Bioware forums, in case you missed it.

    UMD / Pete: Played an entire afternoon of Endless Space last Sunday. Crazy throwback to the days of yore. Started out with the Pilgrims and got my feet under me pretty well after about an hour of play, though I had already quit for the night after 5 hrs or so when I realized that you could “hurry” your space projects by spending “gold” (dust) a la Civilizaion. DOH.

    Thoughts:

    • Comparisons to MOO are apt enough. You’re 4-Xing all over the place, colonizing worlds, building spaceships and all that. Looks purdy for sure and I like the ambient atmospheric music quite a bit.
    • Ships are extremely pretty, though it was probably 2 hours in or more before I had my first space battle. I like that each of the different races have visually distinct ship designs, but I felt disappointed that creating custom ship designs has no outward visual impact on what the little models are. Would have been nice if my 2 destroyer class boats (one long range, one close range) could have looked different somehow on the little star battle map.
    • The 2 minute battle timer with the 3 phases is a fantastic concept. I love both the “card play” angle and the fact that every encounter has a long range / medium range / melee range phase. Bunkering a ship down with shields that just “reflect everyting until you get into shotgun range” is totally an option.
    • The tech tree. WTF wheeeeeee
    • That said, I do find the game kind of personality-less and sterile on the whole after you become acclimzatized. This is not altogether a bad thing: “Sterile Space” is a trope and it certainly has a distinct flavor which for the most part I always enjoy. Clean interfaces, crisp lines. I just miss things like dialogues with the giant warlike rhinoceros people blustering at the galactic conference and little pew pew visualizations of troops invading planetary surfaces. Booting up a “diplomacy” panel and just having a selection of text prompts that have no reaction whatsoever to anything I choose is kind of a let down.
    • I think what I’m saying is that I miss the trademark humor and the loads of personality inherent in MOO. They should have injected at least some character or dialogue into the meet-and-greet angle of first contact. As it is, the whole game tends to feel like a very cerebral and absctract (though very well executed) exercise in glalactic logistics. I get that they’re a small studio – just didn’t realize how important the whole talking heads / frowning barbarians angle was to me in Civ before they took it away.
    • On the whole, Endless Space is a super good first start. I’d love to see them blow this concept out with more bells and whistles.
    • Oh, and someone should really explain to you “how to win” when you start playing the game. Seriously. Those ‘tutorials’ are terrible.
     
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