Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Very different, in that there are pickups (weapons, ammo, etc.) freaking _everywhere# (at least comparatively). It's also very short, plays fast, and throws a lot more special infected (notably, Tanks) at you.
I'm curious as to which of these gameplay tweaks are a nod to those changes in L4D2.
At least it gives you new, interesting achievements, and I still need to check out the online additions to decide how angry I am about paying ~$7 for the DLC ("degree"; not "whether").
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Liking it so far, though I think after it, I want to find a darker roguelike game. If I can't find one, I may make one.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
This a the kind of game that makes me irritated at game reviews/reviewers.
This is a solid licensed title that is ambitious and has so much going right for it, that -- especially given the stigma for a licensed title -- it's great.
Nihilistic Software should be commended shoving so much stuff into the game -- from the basic hack-n-slash to the much deeper combat and combo system, to entertaining and stretch Xbox Achievements (50 grapple kills, 100 dismemberments, etc.), to technical implementations like environmental cloth and destructibility.
Its tale is knit together by game writing great Susan O’Connor, and has a stellar score from Michael Reagan (Twisted Metal: Black, God of War / II, the underrated music from Brute Force, etc.).
Besides, the fact that you can pick this game up for ~$10 bucks anywhere should make it a no-brainer for Conan franchise fans.
Since few games are perfect, here are a few of the rough edges Conan does fall into: camera, platforming, polish, gratuitousness, and quick-times.
Seriously, I have had very few good fixed cameras in third-person titles. When the camera is not good, don't make it fixed. Conan uses a fixed not-good third person camera.
I like platforming -- in platformers. I don't like platforming in third-person actioner titles. I'm fine with the puzzle mechanic, and lightweight platforming-esque maneuvers that complete said puzzles. But jumping from ledge to ledge with the above fixed-camera implementation? Anger-inducing.
Like I said, kudos to Nihilistic for putting so much into the game. It does feel like in places the polish falls down, with unexpected clipping, some texture issues, etc. that almost made the game feel unfinished to me in places. That may be a horribly unfair assessment, and the reality is all games (unfortunately) have some level of bugginess and rough edges.
Other than that, a few of the environments feel a little bland -- and they feel that way because other areas (think a hall populated with rich props, interesting textures, cloth banners, etc.) are not bland at all.
Some people are probably going to call prude on me for this one.
I'm not talking the violence (which most games let you dial down) -- I'm talking the topless girls you rescue throughout the game. It'd be nice from a philosophical level to be able to "turn off nudity" like you can "turn of gibs" in so many games (and hey, in essence it's the same mesh and animation sets across most or all of the girls, so it should be easy). There are some tween kids I'd say could play a game like Conan despite the violence, but I wouldn't endorse the title for that same demographic, because of its obnoxious titillation.
Developers who use quick-time events, I am convinced, hate gamers. That's my bias, but other than Resident Evil 5 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance coming close to making not totally sucky QT events, I hate these things. What's worse than a cut-scene? A cut scene where you can't passively watch, and can't really control. The industry calls these "quick-time events".
And Conan? While most of the QTs are irritating, the final boss battle implementation is horrific. I finished the game months ago, and it's taken me this long to write the review, because the QTs in that fight pissed me off sooo bad -- and not in a Ninja Gaiden "this is hard and is kicking my butt and I am going to beat it" kind of way, but in a "you are f***ing kidding me? Another cheap interruption?" kind of way.
See, where Conan is strong is its implementation of combos (X+X+X+Y, for example). But to make the final boss quick-time events "harder", devs decided to shrink the time you have to hit the button that you're supposed to mash. Problem is, if you're in a combo, it has to finish out before it registers the QT button, and usually stomps on it. This is maddeningly infuriating, and made me almost hate the game, even though it was just that last, bad implementation that soured me.
Devs: Quick-times are bad. Stop using them. Thank you in advance.
Anyway, pick up the title if you can. At sub-ten-bucks, it's a fun, brainless brawler at the least, and a deep combo license treatment for franchise fans in the extreme.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
It's a fun, goofy, solid little NDS 2D platfrom title that makes good use of the two screens, and marginal use of the touch screen (in that you need to touch to select some things on menus, etc.
I like the whimsical nature of it, and think it'll be a fun platform offering with decent story and jokes to keep me playing through.
Friday, April 24, 2009
This is a fun little, stylus-dependent game, and it's a great gift to franchise fans. Its implementation style fits nicely with the quirky Dragon Ball IP style (gone grittier in later Dragon Ball Z and GT incarnations).
I totally dig getting reintroduced to longtime favorite characters, and unlocking figures for display and animating, while a little gimmicky, is something I really appreciate.
It's not all perfect, of course -- in particular, the stylus-only combat can be a bit dicey, and I don't like that I have to use the stylus for moving around -- I'd much rather use the D-Pad in a more straightforward way.
I'm probably 10-15% through this overall massive little title, so I'll hopefully write more about it later.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Co-workers Vince and Mike shamed me into playing it, I'm glad they did, it's awesome, but I've been stuck at the very end for too long, and there are too many good games to play for me to keep beating my head against a wall.
This is a great strategy title for the Nintendo DS not just from the mechanics (air, land, and sea, units are diverse, complex, and surprisingly deep), but for the little morality lessons and characterizations packed into Nintendo's touch-screen handheld. While some of the villains are a bit stereotypical 2D J-pop, protagonists Brenner and Will, in particular, are quite a bit of fun (even if they are bit Captain America and Bucky).
You basically pit your military units against the game's AI or a friend over wi-fi (haven't tried the latter), and try to capture bases and/or wipe out all of the opposing force(s).
I dig the interface, it was easy to get into buying and deploying forces, and (up until the end) has a great learning curve.
Oddly, my favorite part of the game is the story / conversation mechanic. Check out the official Website and click on any of the characters to see it, but in essence it's two 2D cutouts talking to each other, with animation limited to eyes and mouths, and fading out of the listener and fading in of the speaker. Worked for me really well for some reason, and I'm going to play with it some more with mock ups and such for my own projects.
Anyway, good little addicting strategy game for Nintendo DS with high production values, solid story, and some elevating attributes. High recommend.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
I mean, I've been looking forward to it -- this is From Software, and the makers of my beloved Otogi franchise.
And Ninja Blade is _very_ slick, and the standard combat would probably keep me well-engaged.
On the other hand, I hate these so-called quick-time events in video games. Why interrupt a gorgeous gameplay moment or cinematic with these annoying QT button presses that steal my eyes from what's happening onscreen?
So, if I get to it, I'll borrow or rent this title before deciding whether to buy or pass.
I need more info.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
While not the best entry in the genre (for me), Orcs & Elves is a fun, engaging, fairly addictive Nintendo DS title -- especially since you can easily get it on the cheap (less than $15)
Originally a mobile (phone game), the Nintendo DS version shows its legacy roots, in that more content should have been created for the latter version.
That said, I definitely like the map and touch-screen inventory management implementation, and spellcasting on the DS is pretty slick, even if a bit gimmicky.
You can use the touch screen to navigate, but I recommend the directional pad, and the implementation of the NDS bumpers for turning (a shortcoming in other genre implementations), is much appreciated.
I wish there were more art assets for the NDS version -- that part, in particular, seems necessarily skimped on.
Overall, it's a very playable NDS title, and I recommend it for both fans of the genre, and people wanting to get their feet wet with it.