Tuesday, August 27, 2013

MechWorld Warrior of Online Tanks!

With the plethora of f2p games around there are no shortage of games to play. The downside, for me atleast, is that I just don't have enough time to play everything. Currently I have a sub for The Old Republic and World of Warcraft, although I haven't played much of WoW, I'm still kind of playing The Secret World and slowly working through the massive backlog of games. Now add to the mix two new f2p games, MechWarrior Online and World of Tanks, and even with my pretty open schedule I find it difficult to find time to play everything.

 Both games are very similar in what they do. MWO allows new players to choose from four free mechs to battle with much like League of Legends does with its free champions rotation, WoT actually gives you one light tank from the countries represented in the game and you can research and upgrade them as well.

I'm not sure what I expected with MWO, but with WoT I had this idea that it was an open world style MMO like World War II Online was and it was going to be super difficult and overwhelming to play. I was so glad to find that WoT is just like MWO in that regard - once you choose your vehicle or mech of choice you then click on launch and you're put into a match with a group of random players on a specific map and must duel to the death!

I started playing MWO first and while it took a few games to become comfortable with the game, it did make jumping into WoT much easier because of the few similarities they share. You launch the game, pick your weapon and jump into a game, it's that easy. What happens once you're in a match is not so easy.

I have really enjoy myself in both games and get my butt handed to me as well. There's always this excitement when loading into a match followed by this tension as I make my way around the battlefield which is almost always followed by a sigh of sadness as I sit there watching my burning mech/tank on the screen. No matter what, I am having loads of fun in both games.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This Is Madness! Madness? This...Is...DLC!!!

A number of years ago I remember standing here in the office at work having a conversation with my Manager about Dragon Age DLC. I remember making a remark about how I didn't like DLC because the cost of purchasing all of it would end up being more than what you paid for the original game with a fraction of the content.

Fast forward to today when said Manager tells me how excited he is for Total War: Rome 2 and reminds me that he took the day off just to soak in it's Roman goodness. I know little about Rome 2 but I do know there is a preorder bonus for some faction on Steam and there will be both paid-for and free DLC after release. I also made some snide comment about how paying for factions is part of why I have been less than interested in Rome 2.

Thing is, I am pretty much calling the kettle black here and I know it. It seems pretty hypocritical of a person who has sunk money buying Riot Points for silly champions and skins in League of Legends to complain about DLC. And yet, I'm still kind of bothered by the Rome 2 DLC.

Part of my issue may stem from the fact that Rome 2 is going to cost $60. $60 freaking dollars!?!?! I'm not here to argue value vs time investment nor the fact that I think games are just too expensive because those are topics for another discussion. But at that cost knowing there are factions being withheld or added later just doesn't jive with me. On the other hand Creative Assembly is going to offer free DLC and I should be happy, right?.

I think this quote I say from a PCGamer article that talked a bit about post-release Rome 2 DLC sums up what I am feeling at this moment:

"In Medieval II:Total War I unlocked the side factions for play by destroying them in the campaign. In Shogun 2 I unlock them by paying $5".

If you were wondering, Shogun 2 was the last entry in the Total War series.

Do I think that DLC is bad? No. Do I think Rome 2 DLC is bad? In the long run no. Do I think there is good and bad DLC? Most definitely yes. Do I think that a DLC Season Pass is a waste of money? Only if not purchased on a holiday sale of some sorts.

In the end I have no leg to stand up on when it comes to complaining about DLC seeing as I've purchased my share of it over the years. I've also used the 'if you don't like it then don't buy it' defense for DLC to random Internet morons.  That statement applies to me with regards to Rome 2. DLC has become the cash shops for retail games and if I don't like it, well there's nothing telling me I have to buy it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Not My Kind Of Game.

From differencebetween.net:

Definition of Objective and Subjective
Objective is a statement that is completely unbiased. It is not touched by the speaker’s previous experiences or tastes. It is verifiable by looking up facts or performing mathematical calculations.
Subjective is a statement that has been colored by the character of the speaker or writer. It often has a basis in reality, but reflects the perspective through with the speaker views reality. It cannot be verified using concrete facts and figures.

Definition of Game: activity engaged in for diversion or amusement.

I bring these two things up because of the Gone Home phenomenon. By the very definition of what a game is I can objectively say that Gone Home is a game. I personally prefer more from my games so I can say subjectively that it's not a game.

Gone Home is described as an interactive exploration simulator. I have not played this game, but it seems that the goal of the game is for you to walk around your house looking at stuff. There could be a little more than that but for maybe a two hour experience at twenty bucks, I find the whole premise to be kind of boring.

I will never tell anyone that they're wrong if they do enjoy Gone Home nor will I say that Gone Home is not worth the money because that's all personal.

I don't plan on reading every review for Gone Home, but I have no idea why it's receiving such high scores. My first thought is that the subject matter is why it's getting such praise. My next thought is that game critics are just cynical, pretentious people who constantly pine for innovation from the games industry. Of course that's a cynical way for me to look at it.

I don't hate Gone Home as I have not played it and it would be nice if I appreciated what Gone Home is trying to do, but I really don't. The reason I am not into Gone Home is the same reason I don't care for Journey - not because I dislike good games, they're just not games to me. I cannot argue what is or is not a game as clearly those are both games, I just prefer more.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What I Think of Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City.

Watch this video.

Who wouldn't want to play this game! I know after watching this trailer one day on Steam I sure did.

So what is RE: Operation Raccoon City? It's a third person action game that begins prior to the events of Resident Evil 2. You play as one of four members of a U.S.S., or Umbrella Security Service Delta Team sent to Raccoon City to retrieve the G-Virus. Of course things go terribly wrong because if not the game would be even shorter than it already is, and you find yourself going to various locations fighting infected and Spec Ops soldiers in the hopes of being extracted from the city.

ORC was built to be a four-player co-op game. Yes you can play a private campaign by yourself with three AI squad mates, but ORC's gameplay is balanced around having four human players. If you take a restrictive FOV, a cover system that requires you to stick to walls which for the most part is broken and useless, a complete lack of a dodge mechanic, enemies that are bullet sponges, and mix that together with a game that likes to throw as many enemies as possible at you in small areas, what you get is a rage induced coronary from a game that is way harder than is should be even on casual difficulty. It's ok to make a game challenging, but ORC falls within the realm of cheap rather than difficult.

That's not to say everything is bad in ORC. The audio and visuals are quite good and the story is serviceable and doesn't get in the way. My favorite aspect of ORC, and the only reason why I played so much, is the gunplay. If you've played a modern military shooter within the past say five years then you know what to expect with ORC. There are a number of weapons to unlock and pick up in the game, each with its own characteristics such as accuracy, damage and ammo capacity. Standing still gives you the best accuracy but at the risk of being hit by enemies. Move around and you suffer in accuracy as you increase a weapon's bullet spread while eating through precious ammo. The gunplay is not revolutionary, but I found it to be very enjoyable.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is a competent, but generic third person shooter. It breaks tradition by forgoing the puzzle aspect which is a halmark of the franchise and instead focuses on the action. While I found enjoyment in the gunplay, I find ORC's focus on co-op with a difficulty exacerbated by bad gameplay decisions such as a lack of a dodge mechanic, bad FOV, a broken cover system and bullet sponge enemies to be less enjoyable.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Shadow Has Been.....Run?

There's this little game called Shadowrun Returns, you may have heard of it, it just came out after being a successful kickstarter. Honestly I had no idea about this game till a few months ago when it was on the front page of Steam. I know little about the Shadowrun universe and certainly didn't know there was a kickstarter for a game based on the source material.

I'm not writing a review here and am going to avoid any spoilers as well. I did however just want to share a few things about the game and express how much I really enjoyed Shadowrun Returns.

The Shadowrun universe is kind of neat - imagine fantasy creatures from the D&D games in a cyberpunk world like Blade Runner. The game is a top-down isometric game in the same vein as the Baldur's Gate series or the old Fallout games that takes place mostly in Seattle during the year 2054.

I really like the look of the game, the music and atmosphere, the characters, the writing, even the combat was quite fun. The only criticism I would have is the story - it starts off so well and is very interesting, but about half-way through the game it spirals a bit out of control and heads off in another direction. It's not bad by any means, I just found myself wanting more of the stuff at the beginning of the game rather than what I was doing towards the end of the game. It only took me about thirteen hours to finish the game and honestly that is just fine.

Shadowrun Returns is actually just a framework for mod support through Steam Workshop, the actual story in the game is called Dead Man's Switch. I'm really looking forward to the many story campaigns that the community comes up with.

For twenty dollars Shadowrun Returns was a great investment. I find myself wanting to play through the game again with the other races and classes despite my feelings about the latter stages of the game's story.