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10:46 PM on 04.26.2010

Operation Darkness: Hitler vs. Werewolves

it's just one of those things you have to see to believe.

[embed]172115:29423[/embed]   read


7:29 AM on 04.16.2009

NPC's do not deserve to have eyeballs

If a quarter-century’s worth of video gaming has taught me anything, it’s that people take shortcuts. Time is finite, and work infinite; it’s understandable. We all do it.

But most of us don’t do it like this:


no, no that’s alright…



That’s right, eyeballs. Suikoden Tactics features over 50 playable characters, each with their own semblance of a personality, but I guess there wasn’t any left over for non “plot” related characters…


[i]You rich, white, heterosexual males are all the same! With your power, and your privilege, and your eyeballs!
[/i]


I mean, okay, overlook some frame skipping here, unbalanced enemies there, it’s expected. Unintelligible interface, unskippable animations, unavoidable loopholes, whatever...


[i]Couldn't have seen that one coming…Oh, wait. I guess he really couldn’t…
[/i]


But is it that hard to slap a couple eyeballs in an NPC’s skull? It’s not like you aren’t going to recycle their faces a hundred times anyway!


[i]Doesn’t it just break your heart? The young idealistic hero really cared about that guy, in the blue, who was a merchant…what was his name again?
[/i]


Oh and by the way, that plot? It's about a kid looking for a bunch of cannons that turn people into fishmen. No, seriously.   read


9:18 AM on 04.03.2009

The definitive Saints Row 2 video

Anthony Burch did such an amazing video review of Saints Row 2 a couple months ago that when I finally played it, there was nothing to say that hadn't been said. Except for one thing...

[embed]127375:18494[/embed]   read


7:17 AM on 03.05.2009

Play Freespace 2, dammit.

I’ve hit a console gaming brick wall of late, so I’ve turned to my trusty XP partition to do a little hardcore PC gaming. I’ve been spending time with some old favorites, System Shock 2, Outcast, and Freespace 2. Running with the Open Freespace Project’s enhancements FS2 looks awesome, but even without the extras this was always a great, polished game. Given the chatter on reddit+destructoid lately, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to highlight my favorite part of the game’s main campaign. Apologies for the spoilers.


Frakkin' Cylo- um, I mean Shivans!

The final mission of FS2 is a two-parter, where you and a few squads are working to escort a cap ship to jump node. This takes some work but once done waves of new Shivan ships jump in and you are left to fight it out. You discover a nearby star has gone supernova and the blast wave is heading your way. If you make it back to the jump node you escape, if you don’t you’re fried. Either way you get a cool ending that acknowledges your heroic efforts and alludes to a future, final conflict with the Shivans.

Now, lots of games have multiple endings, but what sets FS2 apart is that the way the game ends is performance-based. As open-ended as Deus Ex was, seeing the different endings amounted to saving your game, choosing from a conversation tree, then loading and picking the other ones. KOTOR did the same thing. Throughout the FS2 campaign you can win missions without meeting all your goals and the plotline acknowledges it, so it is fitting that the finale works in this context.


Get out! Get outta there!

I strongly encourage anyone who’s at all interested in flight sims to check out Freespace 2. You can buy it from Good Old Games for $5.99, grab a joystick, and install the enhancements. Go to hard-light.net to find support and mods, including the entire Freespace 1 campaign. After that, check out Beyond the Red Line, a Battlestar Galactica standalone total conversion.   read


11:03 AM on 02.18.2009

Vampire Rain...the movie?!?

I seldom have anything nice to say about the games I play, and realize that to a casual observer it would seem I should find a new hobby. But all of you know better. A video game is like pizza- even when it's bad it's good. Or is that sex? Whatever. The point is that there are gems buried in all the shit we play; gems buried in all the shit we do. Sometimes it just takes some digging to find them. That, and a healthy appetite for shit.

Take Vampire Rain, for instance. No, seriously:

[embed]122044:17648[/embed]

Special thanks to kn0thing for the Don LaFontaine impressions. Now there was a man with a healthy appetite for shit...   read


1:18 PM on 01.23.2009

Riding the Brothers in Arms Highway to Awesome Town

Yes, it's yet another World War II First Person Shooter. Sniping Nazis, scampering through bombed-out European towns and planting the American flag to the sound of soaring instrumental music. But there's a twist: You won't win if you run and gun, you don't storm Normandy Beach, you've got to utilize fairly smart AI teammates, and for once I enjoyed just about every minute of it.

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway makes it clear from the start that you are meant to work in teams. Combat revolves around suppressing and flanking, and even in the early missions you'll eat lead if you aren't playing the way the designers want you to. If you stick with it, you'll settle into a nice groove: Spot an enemy platoon, set up one team behind cover to suppress the baddies, then leapfrog your teams toward the enemy until they are close enough to be killed with grenades. Alternatively, you can have multiple teams suppress the same enemy while you sneak around and kill them all yourself, but this can backfire, as often once one group of Nazis are killed another team spawns on top of where they were. You can also use your own grenades to flush Nazis from cover and there are few things more satisfying than watching a bunch of them run screaming their girlish German screams only to get shot up by your heavy gunner team.


There are literally hundreds of Nazis hiding in this idyllic village.


What's so cool about this system to me is that your AI teammates do a very convincing job most of the time of acting like smart, but obedient partners. They shout at you to get behind cover if you are careless, they relay orders from you to each other, and once dug in behind solid cover they won't get themselves killed if you stop watching over them. In many ways this game operates more like a puzzle game than an FPS. You can think of your teams as pieces on a board that need to be moved to the right places and under the correct circumstances, with the solution always being to surmount an enemy position.

Your teams, whether machine gunners or bazookas, never run out of ammo and if some or all get killed, will magically respawn once you've reached a checkpoint, so you don't have to be too anal about protecting them. Your own character can pick up guns along the way but you're given so much ammo that it almost never matters. One less thing to stress about as you're taking down the Hun.

Things aren't all perfect of course. Pathfinding could be better. Every so often, your team will decide to take cover on the wrong side of a barrier and get absolutely shredded.


Please just stay behind the conveniently-placed corrugated metal barrier.


The suppression system doesn't work both ways. The enemy can't pin you or your team down. In fact, your team can be getting shot at with mortars and still run straight toward certain death if you tell them too.

Enemies never try to overrun you when you and your team are dug in or even throw grenades. This really limits the challenge and a lot of fights degenerate into a kind of whack-a-mole contest with you waiting for an enemy to pop up from cover so you can kill him. This in particular is a real shame because allowing the enemies to outflank you would have intensified the combat and added a lot of pressure, similar to how sitting around in Gears of War will quickly get you killed.


"You know, despite the heat of battle, I think we could just stay here together forever."


Although your team does a fine job pinning the enemy down, it seems the game designers really wanted you to do the dirty work of actually killing the enemies. Sure your bazooka team sometimes takes a few out in a blast, but more often than not it is just you and your M1 Garand laying them down.


Two more dead Nazis, comin' right up...


Did I mention all the Nazi troops scream like little girls? It's as if the Germans ran out of soldiers and had to turn to the Hitler Youth to make ends meet.   read


7:45 AM on 01.19.2009

Video game reflections on Martin Luther King day

On this momentous Martin Luther King Day, only hours away from the inauguration of President l33t, we should reflect on how far we have come, how far we have left to go, and how different things might have been if the Union hadn't been set to player one by default.



Happy MLK day, everyone. And remember: A house divided cannot stand.   read


3:59 PM on 01.09.2009

Can't wait for the next season of Battlestar Galactica? Play Lock's Quest! No, seriously.



Lock's Quest the game was innovative, engrossing, and addictive, albeit entirely too easy.

Lock's Quest the plot was also innovative, engrossing and addictive, but just a little too familiar...

[embed]117516:16875[/embed]

Like the Cylon Fron- sorry, Electronic Frontier Foundation?

Now you can support them and ruin the final BSG season for your friends all at once   read


7:11 AM on 01.07.2009

Playing With Others: My little brother reviews River City Ransom

That’s how I feel these days. Initially because a gaping hole opened in the ceiling of my apartment and it flooded, twice, and I had to move back in with my parents. But now mostly because my kid brother keeps punching me in the back of the head.

I’ve tried to culture the lad by downloading a classic to his Wii every time I see him, but we’ve already gone through Mario, Balloon Fight, Sky Kid, Wrecking Crew, and Bubble Bobble, so it’s getting harder to find something 2-player that’s both edifying and age-appropriate.

So we tried River City Ransom. It’s beyond question classic, 2-player cooperative, requires resource management, and if the kid asked me why there were no guns I could point and say “look, that dude just said BARF!”

It’s been difficult convincing him that instead of joining me in face-to-face fisticuffs with some Squid he should sneak up from behind and bash them with a pipe, but I chalk that up to development of his group work skills. On the other hand, as testament to his above average quantitative proficiency, he’s very quickly grasped the concept of us killing each other before entering a boss screen to maximize our health, and converting cash into more stable investments such as pharmaceuticals and cheeseburgers.

The shopping process itself has raised great discussion points as well, such as when Kid Brother didn’t have enough money to buy a bottle of Recharge™, he skeptically objected to purchasing a cheaper item, saying, “why would taking something called ‘Date Saver’ increase your stamina and willpower?”




Well I just don't know...Can you tell me which one of these will most improve my "kick?"


Unfortunately, because he didn’t let me do the talking like we’d previously agreed, I haven’t been able to convince his mom that this game is age-appropriate. When she asked what it was about, Kid Brother summed it up like so:

“Well, I think we’re trying to rescue my girlfriend, but mostly we beat people up for money to buy drugs. It’s fun.”

[embed]117210:16822[/embed]   read


7:12 PM on 12.24.2008

Your New Aliens Christmas Ringtone

My brother treated himself this holiday season to one of them new-fangled iphones, and now he'd like to treat you all to his homemade new ringtone. It combines our love of Aliens and Lando Calrissian, and is sure to make you the envy of all your cubemates next week.

DOWNLOAD TEH RINGTONEZ!


game over, man, game over!   read


1:14 PM on 12.12.2008

Why I suffer through Japanese RPGs

People often ask me why I play such crappy games as Wild Arms XF, and my answer’s always the same:

Someone’s got to do it.



…seriously…



Are you gonna find gold like this playing Call of Duty?

I didn’t think so.   read


10:43 AM on 11.27.2008

My game has pepper spray. Does yours?

I'm not entirely sure what maladjusted part of me wanted to purchase a dating simulator, but I'm so very glad I did.

Naturally I chose to play as the female character, knowing that nothing could stop me from becoming the sloppiest ho in town. I shamelessly threw myself at every male that crossed my path, but this approach quickly led to a case of herpes and precipitous drop in Becky's self-respect, resulting in Game Over.

Trying the opposite direction, I moped around the mountain shrugging off all male advances with allusions to broken heartedness and aspirations to rebound avoidance. But, receiving neither support nor pity, Becky was branded a prudish cold fish and retreated further into her sad solitude to contemplate suicide, while I was left to contemplate a Game Over.

Unsure how else to comport my womanly alter ego, it was clear I had to improvise. Fortunately Becky had some tricks in her purse...



I wonder what Dr. Phil would say?



Becky could have let him down easy, but what fun would that have been?



Becky never wanted to be a model anyway...   read


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