Archive for February, 2011

Daily Little Big Planet 2: gateway drug

, | Games

Something is happening to me to more I play this game. Well, a couple of things. One is, I want to play this game more. When I started posting these dailies I was just popping in to try the community levels as a curiosity. I would jump on and try a few levels, take some pictures, and leave it at that. Increasingly I find that I load up LBP2 and decide to warm up with some story levels first. I tell myself I’m doing this in the name of research and background, but I’m lying to myself. I just like playing this. How else to explain why I spent half an hour this afternoon roasting (blowing up) marshmallows?

The other thing that’s happening is that playing these community levels is piquing my interest in other games. Games completely unrelated to LBP2. I really did not expect that. I like it.

I found today’s level by using Mm Picks in the community section. These are picks the folks at Media Molecule have played and “deemed awesome”. My mileage varied. I’ll talk about that later in the week. For now I want to talk about how playing today’s level, Plants vs Zombots, made me want to go shopping. It’s a simple story. I’ve seen friends play the game. I’ve read reviews. I’ve heard gushing. I’ve shied away from it because I think I suck at strategy. Then I landed in this little user generated homage to the game…and I got it. Now I want to buy it. This LBP community is so rich. It’s not just variations on a sackboy theme. It’s so much more than that. I’m finally understanding why Tom gently recommended introducing my first-grader, who isn’t into gaming yet, to this game. Creativity abounds in this place.

I’d say more, but I’ve got some shopping to do.

In Rift, the revolution will not be reset

, | Game reviews

For the first few hours of Rift, you might think you’re playing a polished if not unimaginative World of Warcraft clone. As you discover nice features like the translucent map display, the single button to sell all your vendor trash, or the instant “join group” button when you come across a big fight, you’ll think, “Hey, these guys really get it!” It’s something refreshing in a new MMO, particularly from a first-time developer.

But you might think there’s otherwise no real hook to this generic fantasy world of elfs and goblins and mages and spiders and so on. I mean, just look at that screenshot.

After the jump, you have no idea Continue reading →

The game Bulletstorm could have been

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Given the spread of opinions, I finally broke down and bought a copy of Bulletstorm. I was hoping for Painkiller 2. I got Gears of War 2.5.

While slogging through the rote combos and QTEs and humor [sic] and that oily EA sheen, it occurred to me that I had already played the game Bulletstorm could have been. I played it two years ago and gave up on it. Then I revisited it and discovered a game with more raw charm, creativity, and gameplay in a single headshot than Bulletstorm can wring from all its bloated lists of dudebro skillshot jokes.

After the jump, you, sir, are no Necrovision Continue reading →

Killzone 3: beyond warzone

, | Game diaries

I can’t get enough of the warzone mode in Killzone 3, which is spoiling other multiplayer shooters for me. It’s a great way to bring the maps to life without running you through the same wringer over and over and over. I can think of no better way to bring an elaborate playground to life than to constantly change the objectives.

But it’s only fair to give the other two modes a chance. Guerrilla warfare is just team deathmatch and the only nice thing I can say about it is that, uh, it’s the only mode where you can play in Killzone 3’s butt-ugly purple jungle level. If you thought Felucia from the Star Wars prequels was ugly, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Operations, however, is actually a mode I’ll try again. Whereas warzone is epic and wide-open, operations is focused, weirdly intimate, and often over quickly. It’s walks the two teams through the same set of linear objectives, ramming them directly into each other over and over, with one team attacking while the other defends. The moment the attackers fail an objective, the match ends.

Between objectives, you see silly cutscenes starring the players. As the Hellghast tasked with defending a shipping dock, we fail and I’m treated to a little movie in which I’m blown over a rail to my death. In the next round, as the ISA failing to capture a cargo ship, I’m taken prisoner and punched in the gut with a rifle butt by the got who got the most kills on the other team. It’s a ridiculous but cute interlude, better than simply having your name on a score list where no one pays attention to anything other than the top slot and his own slot.

Operations also lets you play your role a bit more directly. Warzone has plenty of yahoos running around doing ancillary stuff (for instance, I spent several matches over the weekend trying to figure out why anyone would bother will this silly jetpack). But in operations, everyone is almost always at everyone else’s throat. If you want xp, this is a great way to make sure you get it.

Up next: Killzone 3 with a fake plastic gun
(Click here for the previous Killzone 3 game diary.)

February 28, 2011: wallet threat level kind of red

, | Games

You’d think this would be a slow week. New releases include a boxing game from Electronic Arts, an MMO from someone you never heard of, and an expansion to an RTS that isn’t Starcraft II. Wallet threat level green, right?

Not quite. I don’t know the first thing about EA’s boxing game, but unless I can be Chun Li or Spider-Man, I’ll pass. The Retribution add-on for Dawn of War II is disappointing in a few ways. The Imperial Guard are a great addition, but I don’t understand why everyone isn’t bored to tears by these campaign missions. And the AI continues to be nearly useless for skirmishes.

But the reason this week is a clear and present danger to your wallet is because you’re probably going to want to play Rift, from a new developer called Trion. If you have any interest in MMOs, this is one you should see. More on this later today.

Daily Little Big Planet 2: 28 seconds later

, | Games

Simon Pegg will not be amused. Meh. Eff that guy. I’m fine with fast zombies. Speed is not the problem with the zombies in today’s level, Zombie land! Part: 2, and its sister levels. I died a lot because of their speed (pictured), but that’s to be expected. At least I wasn’t infected. No, the problem with these zombies is that they are spawn campers. Jerks. If you’re not careful you can lead them right to your little spawn portal and if you die, there they congregate and kill you over and over and over again as you spawn. Which I have to admit, is pretty funny.

After the jump, the cool and the not cool Continue reading →

Daily Little Big Planet 2: sanding the floor

, | Games

As Tom suggested, we’re leaving behind the random Lucky Dip levels for these dailies. At least for awhile. We’re playing the story in LBP2 a bit more, and dabbling in a bit of co-op. These things–along with the helpful direction of our friends–are guiding us as we choose community levels going forward.

Except for this one, where I’m cheating just a little bit.

After the jump, a loophole too far Continue reading →

Killzone 3: assassination tango

, | Game diaries

Warzone, my new favorite way to play a multiplayer shooter until Section 8: Intolerance comes out, cycles the teams through different randomized objectives. For instance, assassination missions. One team is informed that it must kill a particular enemy player whose identity and location will be revealed in thirty seconds. The other team is told immediately whom the objective will be, and they have thirty seconds to form a defense around him.

After the jump, I single-handedly determine the outcome of two assassination missions Continue reading →

There is no room in Rift

, | Games

Well, that’s encouraging. Rift hasn’t even launched yet — this is just the headstart for pre-orders — and the player population on every single server is listed as “full” as of a half hour after the game went live. Well, I might as well see what happens if I try to join a server. I mean, what am I gonna do, not play? Here’s how that worked out:

To be fair, Rift’s queue time seems to move considerably faster than real time, so I’m guessing this is just some provision for managing the initial flood of users. But it’s a strange first impression to basically be told the game has no room for you and won’t for several hours.

If you plan to play Rift and you’d like to join the folks on this forum, here’s where you can find us when we actually, you know, get into the game.

New Elder Scrolls V trailer shows 100% more gameplay

, | Games

I think I’d call this the second best trailer of the year. Stirring, gorgeous, epic, and it has Max von Sydow yelling the word “Dragonbone!” again, whatever that means. I could hear him yell that all day. In fact, I think I’ll make that my ring tone.

Looking good, Bethesda! Way to show up Dragon Age the day after EA releases a demo.