Saturday, August 18, 2012

TF2: Mann vs Machine is live! And some thoughts.

Hello, and welcome to this week's "My worst fears". Subjects: apocalypse in the hands of robotic destroyers and drowning in peanut butter.
So, as you probably already know, TF2's new co-op mod Mann vs Machine launched a little while ago. If you've played Killing Floor, you already know the basic gist of the game - you and few teammates (in this case, teams of 6 members) try to hold back waves of attackers. By killing attackers, you gain money which can be then used to purchase upgrades to your items in between the waves. This new mode is free for all players, though you need to buy a Tour of Duty if you want the "super rare" loot that drops once you've completed the tour.

Just look how smug he looks. Bastard.
So, how's the execution then? It's... nice, actually. It can get somewhat challenging at times, and feels like good fun. The AI of the robots is nothing to call home about, but that's why they are more numerous. And sometimes come in different variations, such as rapid firing or giant. There are also two new types of enemies, tanks, which can take a few cruiserships worth of ammo before getting destroyed, and sentry busters, who seek out engineers' sentries and other stuff and self-destruct among them, taking everything with them. But players also have a new tool to assist them -  a 'flask' of sorts which can be fulled with certain types of one-time use effects, such as getting ubered for 5 seconds, dealing critical damage for 5 seconds, instantly upgrading all buildings to maximum and stuff like that.

As said, it's nothing innovative and it's been done better before, but it's a nice refreshing change of pace to the original TF2 mayhem. Right now the biggest problem is that the official servers are so loaded that it can take between 20-40 minutes to get to a match. You can also try to find servers using the server browser, which can be a bit trickier though.

All in all, it's a free update to a F2P-game and it works, there isn't really anything to complain about. Go try it now!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Meet the Pyro: now in video form!

So, Valve actually managed to release "Meet the Pyro" on due time. Congratulations are in place.

So, Pyromania-updates have rolled to TF2 and now here's this vid, see below or view from YouTube via this link.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Batman: Arkham Asylum (X360)

Oh boy, I've been meaning to write about this game for ages. By which I mean, when it came out. Let's get this out of the way then, shall we?

Batman: Arkham Asylum is obviously a license game, and license games tend to have a certain kind of... reputation. Worry not, Batman is actually a good license game. Well, mostly, but we'll get to that later.

So, the story of the game is fairly basic - Joker gets locked in AA, but it was actually his plan all along and chaos ensues. The story is fairly basic, but it works well enough to maintain interest in the game and getting the player to move through the game. Along the way Batman meets some of the more iconic villains of his history - Poison Ivy, Bane, Killer Croc and so forth. Of course, since the game is about Batman, we also have all kinds of gadgets to use, including Batarangs and gliding with the cape.

Most of the gameplay consists of Batman doing sneaky things and moving in the shadows, sneaking and lurking around, constructing plans as to how to take out the many minions and henchmen of Joker. And this is where the game excels, the sneaking is masterfully done and feels just right, and when it comes to fighting hand to hand, the game really shines. The combat is fluid and building combos feels incredibly tight. This is one of the best combat systems in any beat 'em up-games ever, if I may say. The combat is spiced up by different kinds of henchmen - some have no weapons, some have pipes or electric batons and some have firearms, and firearms are something to be wary of. Luckily Batman has "detective mode", through which he can easily find the armed henchmen and find ways to disable them.

So, the combat system is great. How about boss fights? Sporting quite legendary names in the villain repertuary doesn't unfortunately mean the boss fights are good. They are easily the weakest part of the game. Only two boss fights are something I'd say to be actually good, and those would be Scarecrow and Killer Croc, and Croc isn't all that good. Bane-fight is ridiculously stupid and simple, and Poison Ivy is your run-from-the-mill boss fight where you have to hit her thrice in certain spots (don't understand it like that, perv!). But Scarecrow is one of the most memorable parts of the game.

The game has great attention to detail. Many places have hidden Riddler-trophies, and finding all of them unlocks all kinds of cool stuff. Batman's cape gets more rugged as the day progresses on the Arkham Asylum, and so. Returning to old locations is often rewarded since you now have new gadgets giving you access to places you didn't have previously. The game has a good visual style and looks very nice.

All in all, if you happen to stumble upon this game for your platform of preference (PS3, X360, PC), I'd really suggest picking it up. It's one of the biggest games of this generation, and rightly so.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Elder Scrolls MMO to be announced in May?

Oh my.

It seems Tom's Guide has some exclusive information from "industry source" that there will be an Elder Scrolls MMO, taking place a millenium before Skyrim, which sold a boatload of copies.

Also, according to the source, "Elder Scrolls Online will have three playable factions". Read the full article from here:,news-14481.html

What do I think about the likelyhood of this happening? Let's consult Futurama.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Games of 2011

I think it's about good time to talk about the games of 2011 - which were the biggest names for me? Lots of good games came out, but I'll try to talk only of few. Consider these mini-reviews, I'll talk more about these later.

Frozen Synapse (PC/Mac/Linux)

Frozen Synapse is a we-go turn-based tactics game developed by Mode 7. It is fairly simplistic in view, but at its heart it contains lots of possibilities to do tactics, covering, feigning and all that. Frozen Synapse managed to re-ignite my love for small-scale tactics games. It is extremely simplistic on the outside, but its looks are clean and informative enough, and at its heart it is really, really hardcore tactics game. The multiplayer-scene is still alive, though some doomsayers have been claiming its death. And the multiplayer is where the game really shines - theres no better feeling than outsmarting another human player. The soundtrack is also very, very well composed and works well with the semi-futuristic setting.

Binding of Isaac (PC/Mac/Linux)

To say the least, when Binding of Isaac was announced I was fairly sceptical. It was touted as a roguelike, it looked like twisted Zelda born out of blood and shit and it played like a twin-stick shooter, developed by one half of Team Meat. What could possibly come out of that?

Hi there Isaac, how are you doing?
A lot, that's what. The strange-sounding mix works surprisingly well and is addicting as narcotics. The game features standard roguelike features, such as permadeath (you die, that's it, start again) and random dungeon generation. That is where common features end - the rest is twitchy twin-stick shooter meeting Zelda-like dungeons. You'll encounter lots of items during your playthroughs, and on your playthroughs you'll unlock many items which feeds the addiction. It's a game well worth playing.

Deal with the Devil, and gain these nice horns!

Dungeons of Dredmor (PC/Mac/Linux)

Another commercial roguelike, this time with more to-the-roots-attitude, developed by Gaslamp Games. Turn-based, slightly humorous (depending on your taste on humour, I didn't find any good jokes) dungeon crawler. The customization options for your character builds are many - you get to choose 7 skill trees out of around 30, and these define your character very strongly. During playing you can take side-quests, try to enchant your weapons and all that. It's fairly well done, though it has some glaring flaws.

One rarely gets congratulated for dying.

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (PSP)

Another tactics game. Unlike Frozen Synapse, Tactics Ogre lives and breathes JRPG inheritage. It has lots of stats, interesting character development system, challenging battles and best of all, actually interesting story with choices and consequences. It feels from time to time more like a puzzle-game than tactics-game, but that's okay, since it feels just so damn right.

The Witcher 2 (PC)

Probably the game I expected the most from 2011. It's a big-budget, beautiful, epic and mature fantasy RPG with grey-and-grey morality. It's themes are larger than its predecessor (even if Witcher 1 was larger game in a way), and its combat system almost as divisive as The Witcher 1's. The story branches greatly, and depending on your choices in Chapter 1, you end up in one of the two different places in Chapter 2. Absolutely gorgeous, even if I prefer the first one. Enhanced Edition update coming for free soon.

Dark Souls (X360/PS3)

Game of the Year for me, and easily. It's an action-RPG to the core, and feels very arcade-y. You will die, time and time again. And you learn from each death. It's brutal, merciless and fair. It's dark, and subtle. It doesn't spell the storyline or the world straight away for the player - it's all hidden in the subtexts, little words and sceneries. It has innovative multiplayer-system. It doesn't tell you much, so you must experiment a lot. And doing so, you can die. Dark Souls is a fresh breeze from the past, when games were hard and fair, and completing them wasn't something that would just happen. Prepare to die.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Katawa Shoujo finally released!

So, who would have believed it would actually come out? Who actually knew of the game? I definetly didn't until a few weeks ago.

What is Katawa Shoujo? It's a visual novel, or dating sim, or a bit both. I'm not sure, since I haven't played it yet. So, the basic premise seems to be "take some girls to dates" and so, with a little bit of a twist - each of the girls (as well as protagonist himself) have some disability - some girl has no arms, some has no legs, one is deaf, and the protagonist has suffered a heart attack at a very young age.

Since I can't offer any opinions on the game yet, I'll just direct you to two very different opinions:
John Walker's critical impressions on RockPaperShotgun
A more positive review by Inushinde

You can download the game for free from the Katawa Shoujo homepage.