Crazy day for me! My blog from the other day got front paged and mentioned by the Bethblog twitter account. I don't want to seem like I'm bragging or anything, but I was genuinely thrilled that happened. I love getting front paged, its always an honor, and I love Bethseda. It's very cool to think that some folks that are actually working on Dishonored might have read my blog, hope they liked it!
I also finally went out and got my Borderlands 2 pre-order taken care of – which you would think I would have have been more on top of since they pretty much sold me on the pre-order bonus character, the Mechromancer.
Ever since the concept art for the Mechromancer (now known a little more comfortably as Gaige) was released I knew I was in love. Punk rock riot gurl with a soft spot for killer-robots - I AM IN.
The fact that she resembles a hard-nosed version of my old City of Heroes character Kit-Bash is just the cherry on top. I almost resent the fact that every time I roll Kit up in a game from now on I'll only look like I'm ripping off Gaige but fuck it – small price to pay for the fun I'm likely to have.
Pet classes are an old favourite of mine. They fall right in with my affinity for "soft control". I enjoy any mechanic that lets me tip the odds in the teams favour by distracting, harassing, and mitigating the efforts of the enemy without outright disabling or killing them.
Confuse spells and the like are a classic example. If an enemy is too busy fighting it's friends it isn't doing much to you! Slow effects, knock-downs, temporary obstacles and barriers; you see these little ways of annoying your foes in all kinds of games across all kinds of genres. RPGs obviously, but you also see them in action games, fighters, and even the odd-FPS like Borderlands.
But very few things do soft-control better than disposable goons.
Having a few extra hands on deck can mean all the difference in a fight, even if they aren't particularly powerful on their own. Every shot fired at one of your hapless henchmen is a shot not fired at you or your team. Think of it as 100% damage mitigation – lets see the team Tank do that. Every little bit of damage they inflict while your reloading, healing, or hiding is just gravy, added free damage. And if they happen to distract the enemy enough to let you slip into a more favourable position or hit a soft spot on their flank, so much the better.
- I hope I can paint it pink.
From what I understand, Gaige's Robot-Pal the Death-Trap (D347-TP) is a single high value unit, not just some piece of easily replaceable fodder. So I may have to adjust my typical strategies a little and take more care keeping it alive. But that's fine, I like to micro-manage too.
Fortunately, along with the noob-friendly Best-Friends-Forever skill tree (the unfortunately dubbed "Girlfriend mode") there is also an Ordered-Chaos tree that promises a much more intricate high-risk-high-reward style, which is something else I love in games.
Which is why I'm likely to start with Zer0 until Gaige comes out.
- Nut-stabs are automatic crits you know.
I originally wrote Zer0 off when I saw him in the first few trailers. A cybernetic ninja that doesn't talk much and is oh-so-hella-cool? #Darksiders2
But as more details have come out, it turns Zer0 is pretty fucking goofy and cool.
For one, the typographical tick of replacing "O's" with "0's" doesn't just extend to his name, it appears in almost every reference to him. His skills, his Sw0rd, his bi0graphy. Its so lame it becomes cool again, much like Mortal Kombat's great zeal for spelling things with a "K".
A few alternate costumes like a motor-cross helmet and a Alien-esq distended cranium seem intent on making him light-hearted and fun. Much like how Mordecai in the first game was a stand-in for the typical gamer (going on about his high-scores and whining like a baby when he died) I think Zer0 is going to be a gag on pop-culture ephemera and internet stupidity. I can't know for sure of course, but the character definitely seems to be much more tongue-in-cheek than I originally thought. I wouldn't expect Dtoids very own Anthony Burch to write a straight up Cyber-Ninja without taking the piss out of him somehow.
- Also, Ashley Burch of HAWP fame will be joining the fun as a psychotic little girl. Now all we need is for Handsome Jack to be revealed as Papa Burch and the game will be perfect.
Looking at Zer0's skill trees I know just how I'm going to play him. I've always been a big fan of sneaky characters and asymmetrical fighting, so I know I'll love his invisibility and decoy abilities. Critical hits are always fun so I'll pump up his backstabs, flanking hits, and headshots as much as possible. Probably won't be the best way to play him, but I'll have my fun.
I was glad to hear that all the controls in Borderlands 2 will be completely re-mappable. Following a little Pro-Tip I picked up playing TF2 for the 360, I plan to swap the melee button from the stick-click of the first game and put it on a face button while putting jump in its place. It just makes more sense if your going to be clicking melee all day, and its handy for maintaining control in the air since you never have to take a thumb off a stick to jump.
...OK, that's enough overly specific neckbearding. Sorry.
I'll be playing it on the 360 when it comes out so feel free to give me a shout if you want to play it! I mostly duo-ed through Borderlands 1 and I would love to get the full 4-man experience in this sequel that looks like a vast improvement on the original.
Oh yeah, Mark of the Ninja came out! I've been watching my bro play it and I fully recommend you pick it up! Who would have known that a 2-D XBL game would be the title to finally get stealth action completely right? It's amazing. I'll probably be picking it up myself if only to enjoy the thrill of hanging murdered security guards off streetlights.
Why the hell wasn't this out for Summer of Arcade? I think we can all agree that SoA was a huge bust this year – and it's all the more the shame because it could have been one of the best ever.
Can you imagine if SoA came out with a working version of Hyrbird, Wreckateer (Microsoft has to show some kind of support for Kinect afterall), Mark of the Ninja, and the incredibly addictive Rock Band Blitz? Best hypothetical SoA ever. They all came out in the last few weeks and Ninja is already Xbox exclusive for crying out loud. Too bad we got stuck with the dumpy reality of a broken Hyrbrid, a disappointing Dead Light and the wretched Tony Hawk: HD. Fucking travesty of wasted potential.
One last awesome thing – my girlfriend wrote a blog about her experience with horror games on her tumblr! I may be bias, but I thought it was pretty damn good! Give it a look. I always enjoy playing games with her. She isn't completely foreign to games, but she isn't loaded down with a history of presumptions and prejudices while playing either. While I nerd-rage about the "lack of feedback" in Downpour's combat or some other precious sentiment, she actually appreciates the tension and uncertainty it presents. She comes at things from a different angle than me and it's always a refreshing and fun to get her perspective.