Archive for May 28th, 2012

Tom Chick will not shut up about zombies

, | Games

You know when someone comes up with one of those really good ideas you wish you’d thought of? Brian Kent and Matt Clark are two such people. Their podcast, Late to the Party, considers games in pairs, comparing an older classic to a recent game. They invited me to join them to compare Dead Rising 2 and Resident Evil 5. But, you know, zombies. Zombies are way too big to confine a discussion to two games. For instance, this Qt3 Games Podcast, with freelancer writer and fellow zombie aficionado John Brownlee, hits the three hour mark. Like zombies themselves, zombie discussions just keep on going. Listen to the latest Late to the Party here.

Blizzard’s State of the Diablo address

, | Games

So how is everyone else playing Diablo III? Blizzard offers some stats:

* On average players have created 3 characters each
* 80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
* 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
* 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
* The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
* The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
* The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart

Blizzard’s design update explains what to expect in the next two patches. It also has some comments on tuning inferno difficulty, legendary items, and this tidbit on balancing skills:

If any single skill or rune feels absolutely required to progress, it means that skill is working against our goal of encouraging build diversity — and those “required” skills need to be corrected.

Of course, that’s how I feel about pretty much every skill I’m using, but that changes as soon as I experiment with another skill. I can’t begin to imagine what Diablo III’s balance looks like to Blizzard, from a high level looking down at the reams of data they’ve collected. But from where I’m sitting, down in the trenches of nightmare mode, only starting to scratch the surface of the game’s tougher choices, one of my favorite things about Diablo III is its sense of tuning. From my perspective, the most powerful class is whichever one I just got done playing.

Max Payne 3, the least dear of all my Max Paynes

, | Game reviews

Let’s pretend it’s the 90s, when shooters are all about and only about shooting, when storylines have to be inserted between action bits like commercial breaks, when bullet time is the new hotness, when 80s style jumpshooting isn’t replaced by wirework yet, and when finding the next medkit is the single most important factor in determining whether you’re going to have to play this part over again.

Your tour guide through this blast from the past is not the lovable squinting Max Payne you might remember. Instead, it’s a young James Caan, or at least an uncaany valley approximation of him that goes all Breaking Bad (i.e. shaves his head) half way through the game. Your shootporn will include the latest gen technology in entry wounds, exit wounds, and arterial spurt. It looks about as authentic as the ragdoll effects. Keep working on that stuff, guys. It should look good in two or three more games.

After the jump, it’s enough to make a guy long for a funhouse level or a dead baby Continue reading →

May 28: wallet threat level Goth pale

, | Games

You know that annoying thing your buddy does when he pulls up in his car to pick you up? As you reach for the door, he lurches the car forward so you have to run and catch up. Then he does it again. And again. And it’s not funny, but what are you going to do, stand there until he backs up? That’s the situation with Dirt Showdown, which was supposed to be out this week and has instead lurched forward to June 12. Actually, it’s already out on the PC, but who plays a game like Dirt Showdown on a PC?

Maybe Dirt Showdown didn’t want to compete with this week’s Mad Riders, an ATV racing game from Techland that has a totally different name than the last ATV racing game from Techland. The one they released last year was called Nail’d. This one is called Mad Riders. See? Mad Riders is available for download for the PS3 and 360.

Also out this week is the Harley Quinn DLC for Arkham City, which is more than just a new skin to use in the combat challenges. The press release promises “more than two hours” of gameplay as you alternate between Batman and Robin, which should delight Robin fans, assuming there is any such thing.