Delayed Responsibility

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Delayed Responsibility Sadface

Posted by deckard47 on November 24, 2010

So Marky Mark will be Nathan Drake in David O. Russell’s Uncharted (Link). This makes all of us here at delayed responsibility Enterprises really depressed. As you obviously know, we’ve always backed the Fillion on this one. When all of us get this sad, it looks like this

Sad Delayed Responsibility Cat

Sad Delayed Responsibility Cat

Are you happy now Russell? This is all despite the fact that I dig Three Kings in all of its late ’90s music video irony glory. Plus, the Fillion isn’t in action star shape anymore, is he?

Less-than-ripped-but-we-still-love-him

Less-than-ripped-but-we-still-love-him

Then again, I’m certain he’s just one Sony Pictures mandated trainer away from being in better physical shape than anyone, ever. My dreams have been shattered.

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News: Rules of the Game Opens!

Posted by deckard47 on April 20, 2010

This is not us!

So, the super secret thing I was telling you about is this: Rules of the Game.

It’s a new site whose direction and design were conceived by SimonFerrari, a site which mixes critical games writing, commercial reviews, and academic games-centric writing and theory. Bobby Schweizer, Mariam Asad, Tom Gibes, Ben Medler, and (bien sur) Simon make up our academic writing crew. Ryan Theodores is our Events specialist, and myself and Andrew Smale make up the critical writing crew (though that list is bound to expand). In fact, you should head over to our Writers page and just look everyone up, because everyone who writes for or on Rules of the Game is awesome.

It’s an exciting new thing, and I think I’ll let Simon speak for me here (on what the site is about):

RULES OF THE GAME is a collaborative effort between game studies academics and game critics dedicated to an understanding that the expressive power of games comes directly from their rules and how players interact with those rules. The academics on our team are graduate students in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Digital Media program, established upon the idea that in order to criticize one must know how to design. Our critics come from a wider range of backgrounds and focuses—from narrative design, to cultural studies, to genre studies, to photography, to game history, and on and on.

I’m terribly excited about this. I’m excited to be working with some really awesome people, and I think it’s going to be a place where I can write really fun and interesting stuff, something I enjoy doing, despite appearances. I’m even more excited to see how all of the different pieces shape the site as we move forward. I can only imagine what interesting, fun things we’re going to explore. There’s already some cool stuff up on the site. Ryan talks about Fathom and Queens, while Simon has two pieces up, one is his critique/pseudo-defense of Final Fantasy XIII, and the other is his analysis of Orbient‘s art style. Finally, I have a somewhat positive review of Metro 2033 up. It’s a tasty set of articles, if I do say so myself, and there will be more and more soon enough.

That’s it, really. I’ll probably post regular, weekly updates (here) listing cool stuff from Rules of the Game, for those who may be interested. I’ll close by parroting Simon a bit: this site is going to eschew as many bad habits and preconceptions as possible (or as we are comfortable with). We’re open to reviewing and analyzing video games, board games, card games, board games, or any other kind of game you can throw at us. We’ll cover whatever it is, and we’ll cover the hell out of it (in a totally clever way), or as Simon puts it “you can be assured that we will always respect your efforts.” Until later.

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News/Articles: GSW and a MYSTERIOUS SECRET

Posted by deckard47 on April 19, 2010

This shit is mysterious

There is in fact a new GSW piece up (by me!). It’s all about Red Faction: Guerrilla and Die Hard. If you’ve read “Naktomi Space,” you know where this is going. If you haven’t, then you totally should. Read it that is. Here’s a bit from the GSW column:

Games that create interesting, properly interactive worlds are special. Games don’t even have to be incredibly “interactive” to convince gamers that this world is exactly the kind of world that the player’s avatar would move through, in this kind of story and this kind of game.

Many is the game that forgets this rule and takes one kind of story and world and plugs the worst possibly matched gameplay and interface into that world. I loveMass Effect 2, and I like the direction Bioware is taking their third person shooting, but the world Commander Sheppard moves through isn’t an epic, highly fluctuating one (as the world of Sheppard’s words and deeds certainly is). Instead, ME 2’s world is dead, a beautiful clutch of austere worlds and rooms, each less believable than the last.

I hope that was exciting for you as it was for me. I rather like this one, because it’s about RF: G and Die Hard, but I also like it because it’s not complete shit. So that’s a recommendation, of a sort.

The second thing I wanted to talk about is the secret! It’s really exciting. It has to do with Simon Ferrari, he of the improbably porn-like (I bet he loves it when people point this out to him) name, among others. It’s going to redefine the way you think about life. Or it might just make you think about what it means for a person like me to say that something will “redefine the way that you think about life.” In other words it might annoy you because of how awesome it will be. Either way, I’ll be writing more about it soon.

That’s it. I’m playing X-COM: UFO Defense and Zombie Driver. Right now. One is fast and fun, but it makes me cry because of how bright and busy it is. The other is fun, but it’s so difficult and obtuse in places, it makes me mildly frustrated. That just means I want to play it more though, so “frustrated” is not by any means an attack on the game’s good name. I bet I’ll be writing about one or both of them soon. So, this post has mostly been a post about what I’m promising I’ll do soon. Now I know why you all come here. It’s for the cold, hard, facts, and viciously clever criticism I bust out every day. Thanks.

[PS: The photo there at the top is there because it’s the coolest thing that shows up in Google when you search for “mysterious.” It also has Gabrielle Anwar, Patrick Stewart, and Vinnie Jones, and giant poulpes. Plus, Stewart plays Captain Nemo, which is 100 times as badass as anything else, ever]

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News: Rockstar San Diego and Metro 2033

Posted by deckard47 on January 9, 2010

Two things caught my eye today: the now (or soon to be) famous “Rockstar San Diego Wives'” Letter (link here), and a new video for the exciting-looking Metro 2033 (link aussi).

Let’s get the easy (but less depressing) stuff out of the way first. Metro 2033 is a game that a lot of people (including me, until the most recent Edge arrived on my doorstep) probably thing of as “a STALKER game that isn’t be the STALKER people.” It is not that. It sounds like a much more driven, linear experience (from the recent Edge article, it really sounds like their Half Life, if I may be reductive) as evidenced in the above video. It looks quite impressive, from a world-building and graphical perspective. The game itself is apparently still a little iffy control and balance-wise, but I’d love to see a different take on the post-apocalyptic that wasn’t direct from STALKER and Fallout land.

Now that other thing I wanted to talk about: Rockstar San Diego. There’s a letter, apparently written or overseen by the wives of people who work for Rockstar San Diego, detailing Rockstar San Diego’s reprehensible treatment of their employees (it’s a similar situation to the old “EA Spouse” letter from years ago, it’s just a bit less detailed). Still, it’s pretty damning, as shown in this bit of the letter:

Little is there to motivate continuation as they also have lost a free vacation week between Christmas and New Year. Without time to recuperate and no efforts made to alleviate the stress of such conditions would procure on an employee after a period time, serious health concerns. Yet, now the health concern becomes another financial concern as the stripping of medical benefits surfaces to realization. It becomes rather worse rather than better as employees gain experience and become “senior”. Instead of appreciation, numerous non-exempt designers and artists have had their overtime pay cut as a result for being “too senior”. Looking to upper management provides no comfort rather the contrary. With unsuitable behavior from a newly promoted studio manager that vulgarly speaks the F word in most sentences and those who refuse to look at the workers’ faces as they pass in the hall, it is clear their attempt to ignore the injustice they have implemented on their once valued and appreciated employees. Perhaps it should be them who explain to our children and loved ones the absence of their increasingly frustrated fathers.

As pointed out in the comments, the letter is in need of an editor, but the point it makes (and the points made in the comments by people who are, apparently, either present or former Rockstar San Diego employees) is an unpleasant and immediate one. I’ll re-post one especially interesting bit of commenting:

And don’t believe for a second that it’s just the management at Rockstar San Diego. It goes straight back to the boys in New York. Their lack of understanding of the development process has led to this whole mess. When you let a team create a game for 2+ years, building technology with little or no feedback, then jump in months before the project is to be shipped and *DEMAND* sweeping changes, you’re going to have deadlines slip, unstable fixes, and unhappy workers.

Now, given that (as I am honor-bound to note) we have no idea how much of any of this is true, I’m still curious to read that little snippet up there. If that person is telling the truth, then the people who made Redemption may have been completely screwed in several ways while they were trying to make this game (more so than normal, considering this is the video games industry).

Of course, video game developer employees getting screwed is not only unsurprising, it’s almost expected, in a quiet, shameful way (especially at big companies like EA, Rockstar, Activision, and others). If even a fraction of the stuff the people in those forums (and the people who wrote that letter) are saying is true, the I hope that A) Redemption is awesome, and they’re recognized for their work, and B) Rockstar owns up to their mistakes and tries to make amends.

I’m willing to bet that last part won’t happen, especially if people don’t dig deeper and figure out what’s what, and how things can be made better for the teams affected by bad management policies and unfair work conditions. Of course, I’m not contributing anything concrete to the conversation with this post, but if ever there was a time for some actual investigative video games journalism, this is the fucking time. It’s not like we all don’t know that many of the companies that make are games act like this and treat their employees like this (even though there are plenty of companies who are great to work for). Let’s see what happens.

Posted in News | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

News and Hype: Mass Effect 2 and Save Games

Posted by deckard47 on December 29, 2009

Because I know you are all waiting, breathless, your save games clutched to your chests. You had better be.

This here (linky) is a long post on the Mass Effect 2 forums concerning what will and what will not carry over when you transfer your old Mass Effect saves into the new game. It is both practical (how do PC users do it, etc.) and exciting. It tells you about all of the little things that your previous playthrough will affect, from starting alignment and money, to slightly plot-related things. It’s not much of a thread (after the initial post, it degrades into those Internet people being rude), so I guess I’ll throw this Gametrailers ME 2 page in for good measure. It has a ton of trailers (one which I had not seen when I first linked to it, amazingly), and hopefully it will make the next 4 weeks pass less fretfully.

For everyone else (and me!), there are ME playthroughs to complete. I may not be in love with the voice of male Shepard, but I feel like I should have a character to take into ME 2 that is both a renegade (all of me women renegades are on the hideous 360 version. Bah) and a dude. As always, I’ll probably spend hours trying to create a guy (who doesn’t look like their stubbly villain) who looks like a human. This is how far I’ll go for my Mass Effect love!

Somehow, I’d managed to stay away from the Mass Effect 2 site until tonight. I’m not sure how that is even possible. As you all know, in the weeks and days preceding Dragon Age‘s release, I was almost intolerably obsessed with the site and its codex. Now, I discover a similar trove (an evil trove) of delights on the ME 2 page. Here, for instance, is a link to Tali’s page (with, of course, a video). No need to thank me. Slightly less exciting (but still exciting) than Tali’s page is the page on the Vorcha, one of ME 2‘s new races. Not only do they look cool and scary, but their name also sounds quite similar to a certain class of Kilngon warship.

Maybe I should stop now. There’s a whole page detailing the Mass Effect 2 armory, but what I really want are lore entries. Of course, most of the lore is already in place, thanks to Mass Effect. Still, there are new races and enemies, weapons and vehicles, so I hope they reveal some of that stuff closer to the drop date (January 26th). That’s a long way off, but I’m sure that commander Tom Shepard (it’s actually really weird to give a character your own name, I’ve discovered) can keep me company until then.

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Heads Up: Child’s Play at Sleeper Hit

Posted by deckard47 on December 3, 2009

So I’ve been remiss in my Editorial duties. Forgive me, Internet, and people who work at my site. If you will.

So the place where I edit, Sleeper Hit, is having a Child’s Play Charity and Collection (here’s a link to the charity). You can donate money or games (or gaming accessories! Think how important new Guitar Hero guitars are… Right?), and you can do it here, at this link. I’ll let Ron and Melinda (the people behind our small branch of collections for this charity) explain what’s going on:

If you’ve not heard of Child’s Play, visit their site first. Then to see the effects of the charity,check this article out on Kotaku.

It’s not just gamers that can make a difference, it’s everyone. These kids didn’t ask to be sick and likely many are young enough to not really have gotten to experience life to the fullest. So giving them the gift of fun times seems like the smallest thing we can do. That being said, if helping sick kids wasn’t enough of a reason, we’re also trying to reward the generosity with some cool prizes.

So please, check out the Prize page to see the cool things you can win. Then head to the Donate page to send some money to a good charity and possibly win some cool stuff.

So there you have it. Donate some stuff. Cool stuff! Secret stuff. Donate it by going here! It’s a cool charity that gives to kids in crappy hospital-based situations who need a little help to make their situations less crappy. But if you have time/money/inclination please head over there and check it out. We’ll resume our regular broadcasting soon. Until then.

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Grab Bag: A Great Disturbance in the Force

Posted by deckard47 on November 30, 2009

A lot of things to go over. So:

There’s a new Prince of Persia game coming in May 2010 (link).  It is not a sequel to PoP 2008. It is a continuation of the Sands of Time franchise. Let me just go make myself a stiff drink, and then we can discuss this. Right. I do not dislike Sands of Time. I kind of like Two Thrones. But I am not sure what they hope to accomplish by going back to this world. They are going to need to hire some great writers (and fire everyone who want s to make the combat include more combos and weapons) to bring this series back (sans the stink of WW). They might be able to pull it off. What gets me about all of this is that this announcement is tantamount to Ubisoft saying “so that PoP 2008… That was a mistake. We’ll be going back to our regular programming.”

Maybe this isn’t the case. Maybe the next game in Elika’s series will come out in a few years. Maybe they are preparing for a potentially unsuccessful 2008 sequel by releasing a (supposedly) surefire SoT continuation. But it looks like Ubisoft wasn’t as confidant in their new series as they said they were. I wish they’d stick with it (the way they did, to great success and acclaim, with Assassin’s Creed 2), and make a second game however they pleased. Screw us critics. Of course, AC 1 may have been a critical meh, but it also sold 1 million+ copies. I don’t think PoP 2008 did quite that well. So I will wait, and mumble under my breath about kid these days, and their difficulty.

After the break, what I’ve been playing and why I like it, oddly enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Grab Bag, Impressions, News | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The Blog: This is a small post about Torchlight

Posted by deckard47 on October 28, 2009

Ok, that’s it, I’m going to have to go down to the Post Titles department and have a word or two with those people. They’re slacking off way too much.

I am very happy to announce that the people who have searched for (and mysteriously arrived at) my blog today have mostly been searching for Torchlight, and the Torchlight interview I did. This makes me happy, because Torchlight is just a sweet, fun game, and no matter which way you slice it (and espcially if you slice it with the twenty dollars the game will cost you), you should try it out. So, in honor of Torchlight, here is a link to that interview, and here is a link to the game’s nicely designed website (which might have trouble loading, because they are getting a lot of traffic.

There really will be a longer Torchlight post, later, but for now, I really think you should check out the demo, which can be found on Steam.

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Impressions: Borderlands and Torchlight

Posted by deckard47 on October 28, 2009

That’s an awfully boring, simple post title. I bet you’re all so put out.

Torchlight deserves a lot more time here, a lot more thought, but right now I’m busy playing it, and busy playing Borderlands. And today is a day for writing about Borderlands.

It is an excessively pretty game. It bypasses the ugly, plastic look of Unreal 3, the one that has turned so many action games and Japanese RPGs into hideous gobs of gray and “amazing” architecture. The people who designed the art for this game are fucking brilliant. Rocks are pretty. Remember Crysis? Go look at a rock in that game. It looks like it stepped out of Trespasser. Rocks in Borderlands are pretty, varied, and really a joy to look at. The same can be said for the characters, enemies, and environments. None of them are brilliant or super “new,” but they really convey the feel of what they are. The skags are dirty and dog-like and horribly pointy, like the monster from Pacte des Loups. In fact, the character design is like a dirty, Mirror Universe version of Team Fortress 2‘s art. The colors are strong, the lines are stronger, and each character conveys who and what it is perfectly.

The weapons are something else entirely. Every new gun is a wonder to look at, let alone fire. Picking up new guns, even bad ones, can be exciting. Guns have tons of odd protuberances and parts, parts that get switched out and added in, so your shotgun looks like an MP5 and your assault rifle looks like a green Stormtrooper carbine. It’s endlessly entertaining, much like the shooting. Note to all FPS/RPG designers. This is how you do it! This is how you design a game with guns, that you spend time shooting. Don’t make gunfire a boring animation or cinematic or something that has no tangible relation to the playing of the actual game (hey Fallout 3!). Make it integral to the game in a physical, enjoyable, inescapable way.

The missions are all fetch/assassinations, and the main story is instantly and advisably forgettable. The little robot guys sings way too much, and he sings whenever he sees you! Strangely and wonderfully, there are audio diaries that are often the subject of non-critical, smaller side quests. I say wonderfully because they are really quite well written and acted. Unlike the silly floaty computer woman who whispers in your ear, these audio diaries tell small, unconnected stories that are fun to listen to. I’ve only listened to the first set (about a scientist acclimating to Pandora’s barren landscape) in its entirety, but the writing (and the woman voicing the part) were very convincing and interesting. This is how you do audio diaries, people. You don’t pretend that they can stand in for real, ingame storytelling and character interaction or environmental narrative. You use them to add “unnecessary,” fun, interesting stories to the world.

Finally, you probably will want to make sure your friends are interested in this game before you buy it. As a single player experience it is a long, boring slog. In 2 player co-op it is pretty fun. In 3 player co-op it is completely and entirely fun. There is nothing else I can compare it to. Not Diablo (and that’s a bad comparison, in many ways), and not one of the tens of other 4 player co-op games out there. The dungeons alone are worth the price of the game. Believe me, I was surprised at this. I hate dungeons. They signal the arrival of bad design, bad AI, bad stories, and bad gameplay experiences, in everything but Diablo (and maybe Dungeon Siege). In Borderlands, they force you to play the game in a different way. It is more immediate, more deadly, and wonderfully hectic. You will die much more, and revive yourself and others much more, and it will be extraordinarily fun and exhilarating.

Owen, Henry (that is his spy name) and I played a lot of it yesterday, and then Owen and I played a ton of our own campaign. I have three level 11ish characters now. A Siren, a Brick, and a Soldier. The soldier is my SP guy, and is thus less fun. The Siren is really a lot of fun, although I’m worried I broke her build-wise. Luckily, you can re-roll for a fee (also, developers, always let me re-roll in this kind of game). My 3P character, Brick, is interesting. I don’t like Berserk. It is kind of boring. On the other hand, I love rocket launchers. Can a I make a rocket launcher build, with supporting powers, and no berserker powers whatsoever? We’ll see.

I’m trying to figure out how to explain my excitement and delight here. This game, like Torchlight, taps into the part of me that loves to collect, hord, spend, and upgrade. It also taps into the part of me that loves shooters, colorful worlds, and playing great multiplayer games (for now, it outstrips Torchlight in that area). I’m going to discuss (briefly) the game’s absolutely atrocious PC launch. Aside from the people angry with the differing US and foreign release dates (ha!), the game started with almost completely broken multiplayer. To even host a game online (LAN is pretty bug-free), you have to forward a bunch of ports and fiddle with your router and computer. It’s not too hard, but it is extremely dumb, especially when you take into account the fact that the Borderlands readme has the info for the port forwarding. So basically, they broke their multiplayer for everyone, and then expect us to fix it. That’s utterly incomprehensible to me.

So I love this game, and even the first 24 hours of deep rage it inspired in me cannot quell my love. I’m willing to forgive their unskippable opening movies (about 2 minutes worth), horrible mouse/keyboard menu navigation, and its bad in-game voice chat.  The second point there especially enrages me. If you start a process, like buying something, with the mouse, you must complete it with the mouse. You cannot use keys to complete it. Like the Enter key. You can often only navigate menus and the like using page down, and it is really difficult to select, drop, or compare items. This is so strange, coming from a company that grew up on PC games. When all of my menu options still have the console word associations (Really? Enter=select, and Esc=back? No shit), I know that someone couldn’t decide whether to completely redesign the UI for the PC and mouse. Even worse, what if they did decide, and picked this UI? What if this is their half-assed, increasingly confusing and cluttered idea of a good way to use the mouse and keyboard together?

Again, when I play the game with three people, all is forgiven. The game is so good that I forgive its many egregious sins, and enjoy myself anyway.

I’m done for now, but think about this: Torchlight, a game made on a much smaller budget than Borderlands, plays flawlessly. There isn’t a bad, unintuitive, incomprehensible bone in its body. It plops you into its world and then gives you the tools to enjoy that world, without a hiccup or mistake along the way. It is a joy to play, in every sense of the word. Borderlands may be a better multiplayer game, but Torchlight makes it look like a high school science project, from a design/comprehensibility standpoint, and that’s not because of Borderlands super-duper complexity. It’s because somewhere along the way, the Gearbox people decided to break their game in multiple ways, in multiple places. And then they told us to fix it.

I can only imagine that when Runic ships the free-to-play MMO Torchlight in a year, it is going to be an incredibly well-designed game, and it will put a lot of other games to shame, including Borderlands.

The moral to this story is: Tom is a really mean guy, but he totally loves Borderlands and Torchlight, and so should you!

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Dragon Age: Supplemental

Posted by deckard47 on October 23, 2009

Dragon Date: something in a horrible Eldritch language you can’t even pronounce.

Last night, after performing my various editorial duties, I realized (with Owen’s help) that I had forgotten to include every possible character permutation in my Dragon Age characters. Now, I’m not going to create one for every gender and every class, but I want to explore every background for every race. This means two humans (mage and noble), two dwarfs (noble and commoner), and three elves (city, wood, and mage).

Of course, after going back in and adding my one new character, I realized that I had to make a bunch of physical changes to the characters I already had. In so doing, several things became abundantly clear:

They’re still getting that hair thing down It’s better than any other game I’ve seen, especially when it comes to longer hair. But, all of the hair is very, um, “European.” Likewise, all of the darker skin options don’t actually look nonwhite. They look like the white people I went to high school with, the ones who discovered what rub-on tan was one day and never looked back. Was it so hard to include skin tones that people who didn’t look “tan” (or that people who were white, or some non-existent version of brown) might want to play as? As it is, it looks like the cast of the OC (when you try to make characters who aren’t super-white). This is compounded by the hair. I think there is one option (for human dudes, not for elves or dwarfs) for dreadlocks, ans the rest is straight Euro/East Asian hair. Which is not terrible (that’s my hair!). It’s just incredibly noninclusive.

Aside from that, I wish they’d given me some better facial expression options. You can be dour, smirky, or totally high. There are places in between, but those are the recognizable portrait expressions. Likewise, it’s annoying that female characters get a ludicrous number of color and skin options, while guys get skin and tattoo options. On the other hand, women also don’t get to play around with all of the sweet beards (there are some sweet beards, and I say this as a beard and mustache hater). In fact, when I realized I couldn’t give my wood elf guy a sweet beard, I was very disappointed. Why we can’t have makeup options for our fantasy dudes is a mystery to me (I especially like the option for women to make your lips green, a la Jade).

Which is all to say that the game gives you an outrageous number of customization options. I just wish they gave me more! So I’m a complainer, as always. Although (and I can’t remember where I read this, I think it was someone quoting PC Gamer UK’s review of the game), apparently if you create a darker-skinned character, your parents (if they exist ingame) will still be white. OOOPSIES! Bioware, you might want to fix that before launch. Although, let’s be honest, what company would fix that, or see it as a “fix” that was needed at all? Would it really have been that hard (when they were making the game) to make it so your relatives’ skin tones matched yours? In my (non-game designer) head, that seems like a simple, mandatory “feature.” Right?

Oh, and the lack of Borderlands is killing me. 3 days. I’ve preloaded it, so I should be able to play it Monday night at midnight, right?

Oh, and while I’m here complaining about everything (about a game I will love forver and ever), Bioware, I want full-body tattoos. Don’t let Fable 2 upstage you!

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Borderlaaaaands!!!

Posted by deckard47 on October 20, 2009

Just pretend I’m a star ship captain marooned deep beneath the surface of a dying planet, and that I can’t play the PC version of Borderlands till next week. Then weep for me.

Although, you don’t have to weep that hard, because Among Thieves and Torchlight will keep me company until then. The single player campaign of Among Thieves finished, I have now turned to multiplayer. This doesn’t mean I haven’t forgotten the SP though. On the contrary, a new (“Grueling?”) campaign has already commenced. I expect to relish every line of dialogue and every cutscene twice as much. That’s right. I bet you thought I couldn’t relish anything that much. You were wrong. Silly you!

On a less self-congratulatory note, Torchlight may be available to me tonight (or tomorrow, you know how Steam lies about release dates). I’m quite excited to play it, as my time with it at E3 was both fun and far too brief. Now that I think about it, the game’s art and style are actually quite similar to Borderlands. It’s fitting that two games happy to sport bright, extravagant art should drop within a weak of each other. Excellent. I suspect I’ll be playing the steampunk-y alchemist or the gun-toting Vanquisher. And I will absolutely have a little kitty cat companion. I am overly excited about that last bit, of course. Cat!

Oh, and I would be remiss (God, I say that too much) if I didn’t mention this: I played my first co-op Among Thieves last night, and it was amazing. Brinstar, Simon, and I played Gold rush, Onslaught (or whatever it’s called), and the more story-like co-op. It was incredibly fun. I hope I can entice them back for the same soon, along with others. It is really quite fun, especially Gold Rush. Those damn soldiers keep choking me to death though! I especially appreciate the choking/death indicators. They’re like Left for Dead‘s damage indicators, only Uncharted-y. Awesome.

Oh, and can I say that I enjoy the mini-stories in the co-op missions? They’re awesome! I mean, the stories are alright, but there’s more of the banter. Also I love how Elena yells that she’s “GOT THE TREASURE!” I have no idea why she is so excited. I guess it’s treasure, right?

Also, look, a new link up there with the links! It’s called Tap-Repeatedly, and I’ve only read a few posts back, but I think I like it.

Finally, this post is dedicated to Owen, who can’t play Among Thieves right now (haw haw!) and is instead playing KotoR. I’m so proud of him!

Posted in Impressions, News | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Take A Little Walk to the Edge of Town…

Posted by deckard47 on October 15, 2009

Where the viaduct looms like  bird of doom, as it shifts, and cracks.

Which totally relates to Borderlands! Because it sounds like Nick could be singing about  borderlands, somewhere. Maybe. I think about 3 of you enjoyed that. Including me. Sorry.

On a more relevant note, Owen demanded that I post the Borderlands skill trees, for easy access. Look no further: mage-fighter Lilith, sniping Blood Crow-owning Mordecai (the blood crow alone might mike him my guy when I pick this up), the heavy-hitting Brick, and the warrior/healer Roland. I did steal all of those links from RPS, by the way.

I’m getting kind of excited for this game. Among Thieves is wending its way toward a grand finale, I feel, and while multiplayer will doubtlessly keep me going a while (as will a host of review games, including the interesting Cities XL, and soon, Magna Carta 2), I’m really looking forward to playing co-op Borderlands on the PC, where I can aim my guns like a real boy. Sorry, console types, but I’m bad enough at online games. I don’t need to hop onto a console and use analog sticks to badly aim at enemies: it’s like I’m using a divining rod to fire bullets.

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Are you looking for Nathan Drake?

Posted by deckard47 on September 21, 2009

Of course the answer is yes. Wish he’d shave though.

It’s Uncharted 2 news/demo time again, and you know what that means! It means that way too many people are showing up here by searching for various versions of Nathan Drake. Which is not a bad thing, really. I mean, it’s a possibility that on the day of the game’s release, I may be mysteriously, suddenly, horribly ill. So ill that I have to stay home and fight Owen for the controller. Maybe. Haven’t decided yet.

Anyway, because I’m the giving type, I thought I’d link to this amusing, possibly diverting article over at Eurogamer. It’s part of their “tech side” of games series of articles, and they examine the new Uncharted 2 multiplayer content. Wonderfully, they find it to be quite awesome. Really, it’s not too exciting an article, but it’s nice to know that while I’m making gleeful noises and making Nate jump in and out of pools of water, someone else is paying attention to something serious about the game. Although, to be honest, I might be making on of the be-hatted enemies roll around in the water. I’m not picky.

What you should take away from this post (aside from the fact that I am not in fact giving anyone anything: I am a liar) is that today is the day when the mostly new Uncharted 2 multiplayer content drops. Considering I’ve only ever played the crumbly courtyard mission at E3 (where they wouldn’t let me invert. What the fuck), I’m looking forward to it. I expect to get my ass handed to me by mostly everyone, but hopefully a couple of rambunctious young sexual harassment-types will accost me. Because, you know, I miss those guys. I miss them as they hoot and croon their strange, alien insults accross CoD4 maps. It’s been too long boys.

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The Witcher 2: Witchy Enough for the Witcher

Posted by deckard47 on September 18, 2009

That’s right, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings (which makes me think of Cigars of the Pharaohs, of course).

Here’s the video.

So. Excited? Yes! The graphics look about as good as you’d expect (sharper, less wonky than the first game) and the new physics (courtesy of Havoc, which hopefully means us ATI folks won’t get screwed again) make combat and spells look pretty amazing. They also seem to be making an effort to create more autonomous, interactive worlds. I especially like the soldiers doing push-ups, and the barrel trick. Geralt looks a bit funny (some kind of wacky pony-tail), but he seems to be stoically Geralting on, unsurprisingly. Oh, and they’re pulling a bit of a Mass Effect with their conversational camera angles and dialogue system.

No info on what the release date will be. Normally I would let them tell me in good time, but I really want this bad, now. Much like The Witcher before it, this game looks to refine a lot of mechanics taken from other recent RPGs. Hopefully, they’ll get it all right again (or more right!).

Oh, and that dialogue is obviously performed (in odd English) by the guys who made the game, right? Become Geralt sounds awesomely hilarious.

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GoG is Amazing

Posted by deckard47 on August 12, 2009

And I’ve never purchased a game from them, despite getting in on the beta ASAP way back when. But I was going through their “community suggestions” section, a place where we get to vote on what game we want them to re-release next. There’s lots of cool games, many of which I haven’t played and want to play. But then I saw this:

Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive Technical Manuel

You can bet your ass I added my name to the list of excited gamers waiting in line. I didn’t even know this existed. As a person who owned copies of a lot of these manuals (in fact our house always had two, since Owen would buy them first), the TNG manual was always my favorite. This is so cool. I’d recommend going to their site and checking out the page. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t add your name to various games, increasing the chance of a re-release. After all, System Shock, its sequel, and Planescape: Torment, are up there in the top three. I haven’t played a single one of those games, and I really should.

Of course, the list of “wanted games” also reveals some horrible truths. For instance, people want both James Pond and James Pond 2. Really? People also want a lot of the Army Men games. There are more people want the Army Men games than there are that want Zeno Clash, hilariously. Still, there are a lot great games out there waiting for GoG to pick them up, so get voting.

[edit] Oh my God, they have Chex Quest 2. And Chex Quest 3. I need to go sit down. I didn’t know there was more than one of those games!

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