Monday, December 30, 2013

Burst Fire

Ok. Slack. Whatever. Self depreciation elsewhere.

Last night took a crack at 4 new games:
Bad Hotel, Jack Lumber, Hero Academy and Rogue Legacy. I also downloaded Postmortem: One Must Die (extended cut) but Rogue Legacy happened and Rogue Legacy which Rogue Legacy.

Turns out i played them in order of the most interesting of the night at least, and i feel that in terms of lasting impact this order will continue to remain true.

Bad Hotel is a tower defence game. Which feels odd as you start. feels real odd. feels dead simple with a garish colour branding and wicked simple clickity gameplay.
and you play for about 5 minutes and the obscure pulsating rhythm of the money beat gets under your skin. the lack of fixed building positions gives you an unusual type of freedom in the genre, and the silly monsters just dont ever actually piss you off. i didnt find myself screaming at the world ending bastard green seagull, merely thinking to myself 'bugger, he got through'.

you are a dude running a hotel. there are building the earn you coin, and building that take more coins but shoot stuff. stuff attacks you. different stuff attacks in different ways. boom. go.

through it all there seems to be a solid distillation of the core mechanics inherent in most tower defence games, so as it flits between its two types of phase (chillax and build stuff, crazy enemy spam) you just plug away and then you either win or don't. its straightforward approach and gameplay make it both easy to pick up and hard to recommend.

I played it for about an hour, and i feel like it was nice enough but i wouldnt really care if i never played it again.
id rate it worth a gold coin, but i think anything above that will leave you a little disappointed.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


So trying out something different I thought id give left 4 dead a try.
Zombies are fun to shoot. This game is fun to play. Sort of.
I guess I came into it expecting something a little different but I walked into this and had no idea what to do. Which ends up being partially due to some of the cool stuff it does. I did not realise that the game was designed with drop in play in mind and personally ive not had much experience with this stuff. So i waltz in and I think yup some shooty time and im looking for play single player campaign, but straight up its giving me options for multi player. Straight my busted old ass feels very lost.
That all said, when you actually get to playing its pretty cool. I can see why its become a long time favourite and how it helped solidify valve's position as designers and developers. (As opposed to distributors and sale mongers.)
The gunplay feels fun in the same way that half life 2 did, which given the same engine is unsurprising.
So it does everything it said it would and a little extra on top.. why do I feel somehow unsatisfied?
I believe its to do with me personally,  having a fragile ego I dont like to feel stupid. But more interestingly, I think its the pervasive multiplayer element. I enjoy it much when its working but so far ive had a couple experiences that dented the corners.
Trying to look for a game when no players exist.
Trying to join a game to hear a (possibly) 11 year old complain about local servers.
Trying to remain patient while laying prone for a bit too long, while others ran around clearing the area, and he next bit.. and the next bit.
The thing is that these problems, such as they are, are inherent to wide open multiplayer... and I still want to get amongst it and kill more infected.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


So ive recently finished portal 2, which was excellent. Ive got batman arkham city down and ready to load, and im halfway through asscree2.
It occurs to me that these days a sequel isnt a bad thing. In the movie world, these things are being put together as contracted three parters.
Games development seems to be headed the same path - though not in all cases, and studios get shuffled, spliced and transferred along the way so the end result may vary.
Portal2 was delicious in every aspect. The gameplay was solid and a great extension of the existing elements. The same could be said of the whole production, in fact. The story development, scripting, voice acting, all of it brilliant. Although writing that I feel that a good 75% of the awesome shown here is indeed based on wheatley and glados. The same game without those elements would still be rock solid, and still held as a new way of things about what fps action can achieve, but those personalities are so strong and well written that they actually make the shape of who you are. They manage to add dimension to the voiceless protagonist. No very often done, and rarely so well.
Onto assassins creed 2.
I know I didnt actually write up many of my criticisms and none of my suggestions to AC, but if I had they would have been all taken into account.
Radial city development so not to get a whole sector unlocked that you would never use again. Win.
Non linear character development. Win. Even if its linear skill progression and obviously tiered equipment I can still choose and work towards purchasing those things.
Collectables that influence gameplay and are not just achievement based. Double win. For me, while I love the cheeves its frustrating when there is no in game tie in. Even as simple as as it is here - collect things to make it easier to collect things. And collections you would likely work through anyway as your character improves.
I also like the instant dispatching of basically any foe who is unaware or unprepared in the middle of a fight.
I also like the hire-able groups. There actually feels like an attempt this time to allow different styles of play.
And this is all gameplay stuff. I quite like Ezio. He is brash and pigheaded, but he is renaissance italian, so... yeah.
I sill find desmond boring, but he has been pushed out of the way as quickly as the assassins creed baby simulation experience.
I am much more engaged in two, very much so and im actually now interested in how it will all play out, instead of just whether it will be any good.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

restart before ignition

so my original intention with this blog was to basically chew through my gaming pile of shame and simultaneously push myself to write a little more. the latter is self explanatory but the former i had actually put some thought into.

1) - one week per game at most, 2 per hours per game at least.
i had thought that this would allow me enough time for a game that had gotten its hooks in to successfully wind its way through and out of my system without feeling rushed, but still keep me moving. the smaller window was for both games that are content light but fun to be experienced without being burnt forced for a week, and for games that just arent very good. i have a high tolerance to crap and if i think its not worth the effort after a solid two hours then im out.

2) - expectations, mid play, final thoughts.
i wanted to basically set up standard points for review to start to organise my mind as i played and to set up a reference for what i was actually thinking in case i got lost in the middle somewhere.

3) - the hook.
i kind figured that with my passion in gaming as a culture and a good reason to play and scribe that i could put myself as some kind of pathfinder for people in similar positions to me.
which is to say: cash light, free time highly variable (due to work, children, a working spouse and my own 8pm til 6am work) and not interested in new for new's sake.

i started well enough, i ran though my first game with this format in mind and then halfway through my second i realised i had some problems. I chose assassins creed as my first game. my second was batman arkham asylum. i never got around to playing either prior and it was actually an excellend choice as far as setting me straight to my plans.

firstly, the review part was completely unecessary. a large part of my pile of shame is containts a lot of reasonably old examples and doesnt need yet another cutting edge raving review to push out into the interwebs. my expectations were heavily influenced, my mid play analysis said nothing particularly new and my final thoughts were much the same. i felt as though i had things to say about the future of things, but in this example my thoughts were already 4 major releases lagged behind and it seemed very unnecessary to voice my thoughts.
basically i feel somewhat stifled by the the spot i am left in.

this also ties into my budget mindedness.

i get a lot of bundles. these tend to have either older shiny release stuff which has already been played to death by every reviewer and youtuber with a letsplay following, or is a newish indie release which again given the nature of indie mouth-frothers has already got a large enough vocal community of vehement supporters. like a local sportclub ballteam.

and i guess.. batman AA kinda ruined me. it was so good. i still want to 100% all over its face. i still want to play it, but my own rules say i ought not. and my free time means its very hard to manage my game time effetively over multiple entries.

so. effectively the best i can manage is that i will indeed try to stay true to my original idea, but not be so stuck to it to not have fun. its not paying the bills, its me trying to engage with all i have at my disposal for maximum entertainment.

instead of a weekly blog of a single game everyone knows i will try to just put up my own little record of what im doing as it relates to games or gaming culture and see if any of you are interested. to see if anyone wants to build a community of like minded people with similar challanges to overcome in their fundoms.

so again, i don't know that anything im going to want to put out there will be groundbreakingly new or at all necessary. but perhaps it will be amusing enough to stay tuned. let me know if it is.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Assassin's Creed

So i recently played assassin's creed.
the first one, not ass flag. i thought the new pirates creed looked pretty interesting and since the series always seemed interesting i thought perhaps id best actually dip my toes in and have a go.

What I Expected:
i expected a level of freedom of movement unlike any other.
i expected an engaging story
i expected a high quality production
i expected decent combat with a focus on stealth and precision assassination setups.

The First Fifteen Minutes;
In the plus column -
So, the story is a litle different than i expected, i didn't guess it had scenes in the now and certain sci fi elements to play with.
It's an attractive game, the old garbox can run it ok with some settings adjustments.
The gameplay is reasonably intuitive, i was able to get a pretty solid grasp on what i was doing quickly enough.

and in the negatives -
it takes a long time to get to the actual game. between the initial exposition and the tutorial to start playing.
i really didnt like altair.

no seriously. he was a jerk. not only that but the portrayal of his voice acting wrecked it for me. i didnt get a cocky, brash, egotistical killing machine at the top of his game, taken down a peg and then completing a journey of self discovery alongside a mission of worldly importance.
i played a boring jerk who was boring and a jerk and then apparently stopped being a jerk. but still sounded like one.
go figure.

all in all i did enjoy the games though, i found the mash of fiction to history engaging and the sci fi elements were interesting in their own rights.
i think personally id have developed the maps differently, in terms of the area divisions and the way the completed side quests effected future play. i also would like a bit more RPG into the character development, instead of linear unlocks, but really that's just to my personal tastes.
im interested to see how the series progresses and whether the things i'd have tweaked are things the designers and developers have also spotted.

that said, i will play the rest in good time and i look forward to where the story is headed.

i borrowed the game off a mate, so i didn't have a fee associated. its generally 5 bucks on sale these days and i think that's money well spent.
i played it on the garbox and it ran well enough with decent details, so i could appreciate what was going on, though the areas had a lot of flat palette texturing, not a lot of vibrancy. that said i do understand the period of history this was set in.
i myself would have also appreciated a bit more leniency with the save system, it was annoying to have to budget my play time to times i knew the kids were asleep or otherwise occupied.