Archive for March 1st, 2012

Weekly Little Big Planet: a muppet of a sack

, | Features

Let’s Meeting Circus troupe. A breath of fresh air after a real dry spell in the community levels of late. This week was especially harsh. Then this level comes along with a circus theme, with Muppets. Muppets? What? I suspect this has something to do with the fact that it is a competition entry, and not a tribute to Bret McKenzie’s recent win, although I can find nothing about the specific contest (LBPC7) other than other entries. No worries. Playing this level was prize enough.

The name of the level and the translated text within it are bonuses though. “Did you watch the present swing? It was great force!” I find these things so endearing, and touching. Far from poking fun by including them, I must admit a slight sense of awe. If I were to have to take a whack at titling something of mine in Japanese characters, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue where to begin. I love it when these LBP designers at least try to do so. Many thanks, Attacker444. You made this with one week? Damn. Well done.

Get your money for nothing in Payday

, | Games

In this new golden age of co-op shooters (thanks Left 4 Dead!), Payday: The Heist is one of the best games you can play for hearty accessible gunplay, a gratifying long-term leveling system, and a handful of dynamic memorable heists. And this weekend you can play the PC version for free. Give it a shot and remember that you have to grind the easier missions a few times to build up your character for the tougher missions. Be sure to play with the difficulty settings for greater risks and therefore greater cash rewards. Because cash is, of course, your experience points in Payday.

Once you’re sick of the bank, which is the equivalent of the game’s tutorial, try the crackhouse a few times to see how it can unfold. And when you really want a challenge, see how many of the diamonds you can snag — they’re basically big fat xp gems that are yours for the taking! — before setting off the alarm in the Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper mission. That one is actually my favorite for how unpredictable it is. Just ask the CFO.

Although Payday: The Heist works best with three other players, you can bring along AI buddies. They won’t use any of the game’s nifty toys, take hostages, or have the common courtesy of bringing along extra ammo for you, but they do have their own infinite supply of bullets and they’re very conscientious when it comes to reviving you.

Payday is available on Steam free of charge through Sunday at 1pm California time.

Nexuiz mixes dice, guns, simpler times

, | Game reviews

It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game like Nexuiz. I know this because I keep hitting the reload button after firing my gun. You know, to keep a full clip. But no such thing happens in Nexuiz, a game that recalls a time before reload buttons. This game, which has a history as a Quake mod, is a throwback to the 90s, as fast as Quake, as slick as Unreal Tournament, and as blissfully unencumbered by narrative as any skill-based shooter.

But if that was all Nexuiz was about, who would need it now that we can play Quake in a web browser? Fortunately, Nexuiz — prounounced “Nexwheeze” in my mind — has something else up its sleeve.

After the jump, the dice are as loaded as the guns Continue reading →

Crusader Kings II cruel to be gavelkind

, | Game reviews

I’m a bit ambivalent on Crusader Kings II. Not because I don’t love it. I do. What’s more, I deeply admire what Paradox has done here. Paradox is the most ambitious and important developer of strategy games since Sid Meier.

But there’s something mildly sadistic about Crusader Kings II’s complexity and reach. Maybe even passively aggressively sadistic. I’m not saying it’s not accessible, because it is, to an extent. You can jump in and shuffle characters around to get an intricate Sims Medieval experience. Pause the game, climb around the latticework of relationships, and you’ll find a richly detailed dramatis personae. Now unpause the game and watch your own Shakespearean history unfold. There is no game quite like Crusader Kings II (the more primitive but equally ambitious Crusader Kings 1 excepted).

Getting medieval, after the jump Continue reading →