I Needed a Mech, And Hawken was There

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Giant robots are awesome. Huge clanking machines, armed to the teeth absolutely send me. MechWarrior and I go back to the early 90's and I still have fond memories of Robot Jox and Robot Wars, not to mention my obsession with ExoSquad. With Titanfall out, and me with no way to properly enjoy it, I had to search elsewhere for my giant robot fix.

I'd heard a few things about MechWarrior Online and its incredible range and depth in customization, but it's been at least ten years since I last fired a railgun and I was afraid the learning curve might sour the experience for me a bit. I decided to wade in rather than dive and give Hawken a try. I'm glad I did.

The Role of The Dungeon Master

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A tabletop game like Pathfinder is a constantly evolving story. The boundaries of that story are limited by only by the party and the DM. The former is an occupant in the observatory, shining a bit of light into the darkness this direction and that. The latter, in this case, becomes the universe, the big bang that brought into being everything the party observes and interacts with. It's flowery and overblown, but the DM's role is too often misconstrued. Let's shed some light on the subject.

Free To Play

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In 2011, one tournament changed the face of esports. At Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, Valve hosted The International, a DOTA 2 tournament with a $1.6 million prize pool. In the weeks leading to the tournament, Valve followed three players from different teams as they prepared for the tournament in what would become "Free to Play," the documentary released yesterday.

Cornering the Intergalactic Soup Market; Nom Nom Galaxy Preview

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nom Nom Galaxy is all about soup. You are a lowly worker for Soup Co. an intergalactic soup corporation. Dumped on an alien world, your task is to create a vast soup factory, mine the planet for more resources and eventually corner the intergalactic soup market. Beneath the silly (but brilliant) concept is a much deeper game about exploration, construction and time management.

Originally title PixelJunk, Inc, NNG is the latest in the PixelJunk series from Q-Games. It's simplistic style and basic systems are really enjoyable. The open world environment gives players numerous avenues to search for new ingredients with the tools to get them almost anywhere, right from the start. It's mechanics intuitive and familiar, but still original.

We Need More Lemon Pledge

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I've played a few games recently that have led me to a conclusion that Monsters in any game dislike the smell of Lemon Pledge.  What began this revelation was the completion of my Silent Hill game collection; I had a good condition copy of Silent Hill, and a mint copy of Silent Hill: Origins.  While I could not finish SH Origins (the game play was just plain discouraging, a waste of money even for a die hard fan), I did make an observation between the two games.  In origins, if you go into the hospital, it is dingy and disgusting, yet abandoned, maybe a critter here or there.  Standard.

Walking Dead Season 2, Episode 2: Try to Make the Best of a Bad Situation

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Clementine. An eleven year old girl, awash in a zombie apocalypse. The first episode of The Walking Dead's second season was largely spent convincing the player that she doesn't need the kind of protection we fought so hard to give her in the first season. She's tougher than she was when we left her, she's resourceful and brave. The closing scenes of the previous episode made that all very clear. Uncomfortably so. With the player thus convinced, Episode 2, 'A House Divided' is free to deal more with Clem's attitude towards her new found group.

Cheats With a Price Tag, Part 2; The Larger Question

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We left off talking about Shortcut kits showing up in single player games. In particular, Assassin's Creed IV and it's use of these kits. Called "Time saver's" they unlock the locations of all the various activities and collectible in the game as well as removing the requirement to unlock the advanced upgrades for the Jackdaw. While it's not as extreme as collecting all of the items in the game for you, I still have some issue with the idea of paying to remove possible gameplay time.

Thinking over the issue a little more, I realized something. This kind of offer is nearly identical in design to the "time saving" micro transactions in mobile games like the loathsome Dungeon Keeper. It is a small structured payment aimed at reducing the amount of time a player must spend in game to complete a given task. The way by which it's executed in a AAA title like Assassin's Creed IV is different enough to disguise it at first glance. The multiplayer shortcut packs for ACIV and Battlefield are no different upon examination.

Cheats With a Pricetag

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start. Familiar, yes? The classic Contra code has been repeated throughout countless video games. There was a time when a few simple keystrokes could bankroll your Sims for eternity, render your armies invincible, or scout the medieval walls of your opponent's base with a Shelby Cobra.

Cheat codes are a rare sight these days. Console commands still pop up from time to time in PC games, but by and large, traditional cheats are a thing of the past. The current generation of consoles and the advent of "achievements" is largely credited with their demise, and it's a fair assessment. For many younger gamers, cheat codes are a relic of another time, something their parents ask about while puzzling over a modern controller. The truth is, cheat codes aren't gone, they just don't look as they used to.