Atlus is a company I love to follow, from the awesome Disgaea, the never ending stream of DS RPGs, to the mixed rhythm game Ontamarama, Atlus has been one of the few companies that I blindly trust, their logo alone can make me get a game regardless of knowing things about it or not.
For the longest time I thought my love for Atlus was set in stone with Disgaea, born with Thousand Arms, but a few years ago I was looking through my SNES games and I found Pieces, the real first Atlus game I played and loved.
Pieces is a puzzle game... literally, the game is about putting together puzzles before your opponent does, which as expected can be either an AI one or a friend in VS mode. Once you start a match you get a few seconds to look at the image the puzzle forms, then you start putting it together from the pieces that appear on top of your side. Every time you set a piece correctly within 15 seconds of the last one you fill part of a POW bar, when you fill that you get a power up, which can go from offensive, like sweeper (removes some opponent's pieces) or mirror (inverses opponents control's), to support, like radar (arrow guides to the right way) or helper (grabs pieces and puts them itself).
Single player would be a sort of story mode where it's just you against different characters that get progressively better, among them there is a rice bowl crab, a delinquent boar, a robot and a mermaid. There are three difficulties in single player, but those actually just mean skipping levels (as in choosing "medium" would make me start on the third level l if I had picked "easy").
But the best part Pieces is the multiplayer, I used to play it all the time with my cousins and the rate at which you can get power ups and the variety of them would lead to crazy Mario Kart like battles, especially once we had played it for a while and already knew all the puzzles. And for those that aren't so competitive, there's also an "all play" option that could get up to 5 players in a relaxing "let's just put puzzles together" mode.
I know this might sound like a crappy Wiiware game, but the cute character sprites, the fun power ups and the amazing music make it one of my favorite SNES games and I title I would love to see brought back to DS or XBLA.
I'm trying to put my PAX experience in words and I find myself overwhelmed by the things i could say, but at the same time i don't find enough words to say it, it might be cause I am writing in a second language for me, but words like "great", "fantastic" or even "amazing" don't really capture everything that PAX was.
PAX was chad singing, naia drinking, mandi getting slapped by a trout, it was the multifaceted gender changing Mr. Destructoid, it was kai's cooking skills (although i didn't get to eat with him), his beer run speech, the elusive katamaya, the dan paladin sighting, gavin being his "master of self control" self while i filmed him, hamza telling old stories, the drunkcast and the failcast (even yashoki :O), husky getting yelled at by the manager of the E&C, Niero and Colette hanging out, some random guy asking the whole crowd of dtoiders to come up to his bar, the brits, the canadians, the latins, talking with the only other completely foreign language speaker the legendary Prof. Pew, hell, PAX was even the oldest of men (Hitogoroshi)! And yeah, I know it included some games, perhaps a bit of SC2, No more heroes, the Turtles Smash Game or something I actually didn't see, and also some panels, arcade games in gameworks and the necessary food, but I think most of us weren't there because the convention :P.
Of course PAX was also alcohol consumption, with hugging and kissing, with boob grabbing and that whole moving your mouth and pronouncing things, what's the word? oh yeah, "talk". With old friends, saying "hi" to them, with the people you've just "met" but with whom you've already irc'd, gtalked, skyped, twittered, facebooked, etc. for months or even years. PAX was like a rare physical manifestation of the site, the forums and IRC, where you would see a random dtoider walking around and you could just get close talk to them and hangout, it was the dtoid community Live, a chance to see how cool everyone is, and just have a pretty fucking amazing wonderful time.
PAX was one of the best weekends ever, and if PAX East starts building up to be at least a bit of what this was, then trust me, I'll do everything I can to get there...even if i ended up with consars again, it would still be so worth it.
PS: I miss everyone <3, especially the ones that couldn't make it this year.
I've been playing this game for a couple of months now, and since I never saw a dtoid review despite my constant "Aerox get Killing Floor!!", I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Killing floor is based on a UT2k4 mod of the same name, and it's made by the same guys that did Red Orchestra, so I guess that could count as good references. The game is pretty basic, it's mainly a different take on the "invasion" game mode from UT2K4. The main goal in here is to survive a certain number of waves (you can choose between short, medium and long) against a bunch of different types of creatures. As you would expect, each wave gets more difficult than the last, with more and tougher monsters each time. You get money for each kill and some extra if you survived the wave, between these you get a minute to buy weapons, ammo and armor from the trader, some mysterious girl that despite looking at the insanity all around you refuses to open her doors until the coast clear. Once you're done with the waves you get to battle the boss, The Patriarch, which looks really pissed at you for killing his babies.
The game is made to be played with up to 6 persons in co-op, but there are already mutators to get that number up to 32. There are 6 different perks that you can level up, medic, sharpshooter, commando, berserker, firebug and support specialist, each perk can get up to level 5 by achieving certain requirements (like doing X damage with a shotgun or healing X hp from teammates), the perks give you bonus in damage or defense, and also a nice price discount with the trader on certain weapons.
If you think all this will make the game too easy, think again. Killing Floor scales according to the number of players, the more players there are in the server the more enemies you'll get, and even though lvls 3-5 might find Normal a walk in the park, Hard and Suicidal difficulties still prove very challenging, I say this as a lvl 5 support specialist and a lvl 4 sharpshooter.
One of the first things I notice about killing floor was that it came out with very few maps, 5 to be exact, and although they are pretty different, they are clearly not enough. Tripwire announced a new map as free DLC to come out soon (along with the ak-47 and the katana), but meanwhile you'll be glad to know that the mapping community for Killing Floor is insane, just take a look at ]this list, come on, go on, just click it. I guess it helps out that they have a $10,000 grand prize for the winner of their map making contest, but a lot of those maps were there even before the competition was announced and are just getting updated "contest version".
As you might guess by now, the main focus on Killing Floor is the multiplayer content, even though it has a single player mode, the game is waaaaaay more enjoyable when you're playing with friends... or randoms. That's right, from this couple of months i've been playing the game i can say that the community in there is probably the best I've found on any game. It might be 'cause of the scaling I mentioned, or maybe 'cause of the lack of friendly fire, but people are usually willing to help out if they can, be that with money, tips or just covering or healing you.
Before I'm done, for those that might ask, no, this game isn't like L4D, besides the not zombies, the more open scenarios and the fact that you don't just escape, but actually win, Killing Floor has more of a hunter feeling, a "you might be deadly... but so am I!", while still having a ton of "oh shiiiiiiiiit" moments throughout the match.
I called Killing Floor "generic" when I was on Failcast, and I stick by it. Killing Floor doesn't bring anything new, it really isn't innovative, the dramatic slowmotion kills might be overdone and you could get angry when enemies get stuck on a map and you have to go look for them, but It's still only $15 bucks, a ton of fun and by far the game I've played the most this year.
BUY ITand play with me! (At least you Rocky and Aerox).