Thursday, 30 July 2009

Bit of fill today… I didn’t really do much last night except play it a bit of WAR.

I must admit, I did some very sad sight-seeing; I went to see Emperor Karl Franz, a well known Warhammer character. Turns out the man is a giant; I’m not exaggerating, he must have been twice my height. I even took a postcard snap of us together.

My hero...

I’m off to see the Grand Theogonist (Volkmar the Grim; basically, he looks after the spiritual wellbeing of the Empire) next.

You can also see in the picture modelling my new set of armour; I had inadvertently been collecting RvR Medallions which can be traded in for equipment, and had saved up enough for my first set. Together with my new hammer, I’m looking pretty swish; I had to work for a while at RvR to build up enough Renown Ranks (the ‘experience’ you gain in PvP combat) to equip everything, but it was worth it. I get a shed load of Strength from wearing it all, which is awesome for soloing.

I’ve also moved onto the next tier map: Troll Country. And there are a lot of trolls… I can focus on levelling again now, rather than RvR. That said, Tier 2 does contain the first Keep, so that’s something I can join in on at some point to see what it’s like.

Anyway, might not get much chance to play this evening as I’m off fencing, but I definitely want to hit Rank 13… We’ll see how it goes!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Peter has been feeling ecstatic lately

I downloaded Dwarf Fortress again last night. I haven’t played it in months… It’s still on the same release as when I was last playing it, so I guess not much has changed. I haven’t been keeping up with his latest developments on the DF blog, but I gather he was working on poisons, internal injuries, alternative liquid types… All sorts of cool stuff. Those rivers of blood will soon be a possibility…

So, for those of you who don’t know, Dwarf Fortress is an absolutely astounding game. It’s kind of a cross between Sim City and Dungeon Keeper, with elements from many other games (like The Settlers, Civilisation, and even The Sims) thrown in. It has been called a Roguelike, but if you know what that means you’ve probably already heard of DF.

UPDATE: Looking back over this, I’ve ended up writing a review… Meh, nevermind.

The basic premise is that your party of Dwarves (7 to start with, with more immigrants arriving each season) has decided to leave their current home and set up on their own. The game generates an extremely detailed (and huge) world map; everything from the effects of river erosion and weather to wars and political strife is simulated, with your fortress taking up only a minuscule fraction of the overall map; what’s more, all of your games take place on the same world map. This means, for instance, you can reclaim old fortresses to save you tunnelling out a mountain again (well, so long as you clear away the scattered remains of the previous occupants).

You get given a handful of points to train up and equip your dwarves, then you’re dumped in the wilderness… The rest is up to you. You set tasks for your dwarves, they run and do them. Tunnel out the mountain, start chopping down trees, mining precious ore, smelting metal, smithing goods and weapons, trade with your neighbours, harvest food, train up an army…

Your first few fortresses will, inevitably, end in disaster; my first fortress had me accidentally tunnelling through into a channel connected to a river and flooding my fortress (fortresses, being underground and made of stone, tend to fill up from the bottom). You’ll run out of food, become wiped out by besieging goblins, or simply succumb to the stench of death as dwarves start locking themselves in their rooms and starving themselves. You’ll get the hang of it with time, though, and as you gain more experience, you can tackle more ambitious projects. Maybe you could try running an entirely underground fortress; it requires a source of mushrooms to grow in caves for food, an underwater water supply, magma to use as fuel (you’ll have no trees!) and a healthy breeding program (you can’t rely on immigrants!). Or you might decide to try the infamous water/lava cannon to hose your opponents. And, like all dwarf fortress players, you will spend hours fashioning intricate traps and defensive fortifications to stop marauding kobolds and goblins (the notorious Boatmurdered fortress had a magma channel rigged up which flooded the outside world with molten rock to ward off Goblins and… well, and Elephants).

The true stars of the show, however, are the dwarves themselves. You don’t have any direct control over their actions; they more or less go where they want, when they want. This can be frustrating when you just want them to finish moving those last couple of stone blocks out the way so you can continue laying down furniture, but it does mean you don’t have to worry about them starving to death. Well, most of the time.

Much of the enjoyment of the game comes from the interaction of the surprisingly complex and in-depth dwarf behaviour with the procedurally generated content. The dwarves’ odd behaviour is easy to interpret as all-too-human character quirks, and your collection of sprites soon take on their own personalities. One of my stonecrafters, for instance, got a reputation as morbid when he repeatedly carved menacing spiked balls out of obsidian. Or there was my self-obsessed engraver; he had worked his way up to Legendary level, and repeatedly carved masterpiece images of himself carving masterpieces. What an image to have on your bedroom wall. You’ll care for them, and when you start reading their thoughts as saying things as ‘Snorri has seen too much death recently’ you’ll not be sure whether to laugh or cry.

Actually you will; it’s laugh.

Okay, so the graphics aren't great. Still, that's one sweet-ass dining room

So, what’s the catch? Well, the learning curve of the game is almost vertical but, for me, the learning is what I enjoy. Not to sound shallow, but the graphics are as bad as you can get; the game is based around ASCII characters (though I generally use a graphical tileset mod) and the user interface is pretty much non-existent (That said, the engine behind it is complex; there are proper fluid mechanics, for instance, which allow you to create artificial waterfalls, irrigation channels or wells). And, really, that’s about it for downers. I haven’t even talked about Adventure mode, which is a whole other game mode where you can explore the world with an individual character.

To sum up, Dwarf Fortress is a game for serious gamers who want to lose hours of their life watching little computer people. The game is free (yes, free) so you have no excuse not to check it out. Two thumbs up!

The home of games

Saw this today:

All I can say is…

Boo frickin’ hoo; You console players can sit there playing your version with an inane control device, worse graphics, and endless teenage kids playing online, while I’ll be enjoying it twenty five pounds cheaper on PC. Proof if proof were needed that PC games are, in fact, the best. Epic win.

Monday, 27 July 2009

...The Priest dies.

Where is your faith on this dark day? Chaos rides against you – will you let these beasts destroy your hearths and homes, or will you trust in Sigmar and fight? Forward, men, and drive back this Chaos rabble! For the Empire! For Sigmar!

- Damaslaus Vannemut, High Chaplain of Sigmar

So, I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend playing Warhammer Online. I meant to do some hardcore levelling, but I ended up getting constantly distracted by Tier 1 RvR (that’s Realm vs Realm; Order vs Destruction, Player vs Player, whatever you want to call it). After a whole weekend, I’m only up to Rank 10, so I still haven’t started getting mastery points… But whatever.

I’m mainly working on my Warrior Priest, though I have a Chaos Chosen up to Rank 5 on a separate server just to see what Destruction was like. I had a Priest for quite some time back when I used to play World of Warcraft, but the Warrior Priest has a few differences.

For a start, there is no such thing as mana (which has the side effect of reducing boring downtime between fights). Your heals are powered by ‘Righteous Fury’, which you build through dealing melee damage. In a pinch, you can unleash Supplication, but this leaves you vulnerable if you are counterattacked soon after use. Ideally, you want to balance standing back and healing with charging in and doing damage. In solo play, you can almost act like a tank; I’ve taken on 4 or 5 same level mobs simultaneously thanks to the Warrior Priest’s healing abilities and, in 1 on 1 PvP, they are hard to kill without a very high damage output. You always need to watch out for ranged DPS, though; if you can’t hit them, you can’t build Righteous Fury, and if you can’t build Righteous Fury, you can’t heal!

Unfortunately, the Empire tanks, Knights of the Blazing Sun, don’t seem to be able to hold aggro very well; either that, or the players I’ve grouped with just haven’t been very good tanks. Consequently, as you can be pumping out a fair whack of healing, you can often attract the unwanted attention of several mobs and end up comprehensively owned, especially during the end stages of Public Quests, where Champion and Hero level mobs are inevitably involved.

You see, there's this thing called ‘Aggro.’ It's a very complicated, very technical roleplaying expression. Loosely translated, it means "The priest dies."

- Flintlocke’s Guide to Azeroth

Realm vs Realm is fantastic fun; we can be talking 20 or 30 players a side on a busy day, throwing waves of attackers at each other trying to take hold of objectives; very few people seem to play Warrior Priests as healers, so I get lots of thanks from Bright Wizards (of whom there are thousands) who aren’t used to being healed in the middle of fights… The odd resurrect doesn’t hurt, either, if only people would stop hitting the respawn button as soon as they die.

Once I’ve got a few more Prayers (abilities which affect everyone in your group) I think I can make even more impact; I just have to decide which mastery tree I want to go for. Wrath increases your offensive abilities, and the cost of healing, and Salvation gives you a bunch of pure healing abilities and not much else. Unlike WoW, hybrid builds seem to be permissible in WAR, so I might go for that.

In more general terms, I’m pretty happy with the game; its flavour is most definitely more ‘nu-Warhammer’ than classic warts-n-all, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Warhammer, meaning less grittiness, death and dirt. I don’t think that would translate well to the type of game WAR is, though, so it’s not a huge complaint. Anyway, they’ve managed to retain some of that classic Warhammer feel; hearing your character exclaim ‘Bollocks!’ when they fluff an attack always make me smile.

If anyone is up for a free trial, let me know; I get a referral bonus and can get you an invite to a busy server (i.e., the one I’m on); we can run some Public Quests or hit up some RvR stuff. Especially if you want to play a Dwarf; I have another Slayer character ready to level…

...Darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas...

I was talking to a friend earlier about Left 4 Dead; he was saying that he usually played as Bill as, when he didn’t, Bill always ended up startling the Witch.

Now, this is most likely rubbish… As far as I am aware, there is no difference between the various characters in L4D, but I find it interesting when people start attributing human characteristics to AI routines.

For instance, many years ago, I spent vast amounts of time playing the original Unreal Tournament. I got it into my head that Locke (one of the AI controlled Bots) had a personal vendetta against me; he always managed to nail me, always seemed slightly faster and more accurate. I eventually started to loathe him, and every match with him in became a grudge match.

Of course, it turned out that I’d once fiddled with the Bot settings and had happened to turn up Locke’s skill adjustment to max… Still, it’s a good story, and ended up making the game more fun.

I’m going to write up some stuff about Warhammer Online later, so stay tuned for that…

Sunday, 26 July 2009

'sall in the game though, right?

As has been pointed out to me, I've blogged about RTS games quite a few times recently... Thought I'd change it up and post a link to my current favourite program. Check out the clip of Omar in action from early in the second series... The man is pure class. My favourite bit is around 6:30 onwards, but it's all good.

He's even wearing a tie...

Anyway, I'll be back next week with some non-RTS related blathering. Probably mostly to do with Warhammer Online and Monkey Island, both of which I've sunk a fair few hours into this weekend.

See y'all later!

Friday, 24 July 2009

And they shall know no fear

Further to my post yesterday, I just wanted to share with you what I’m up against… I’ve taken a few reviews from

got hold of this as like the first one (apart from the cut scenes, lol) but all you ever seem to be able to do is the same maps over and over again with a different boss at the end each time. YAWN!!!!

the first one was more similar to command and conquer, you could build your little base, build loads of little tanks, then go and smash the poop out of everything. unfortunaltely this game misses all that and you just get a choice of 4 teams to take into battle with you each time and level up your teams at the end of each level.

in all honesty this is not a great game :(

See? ‘build loads of little tanks, then go smash the poop out of everything”. How does that constitute strategy in any way, shape, or form? Here’s another:

The lack of base building reduces the skill required in the game dramatically turning the campaign into more of an RPG than a strategy game, and the skirmishes more like RPG but the creation of units keeps it a strategy game just not as good a proper strategy game like DOW soulstorm. None-the-less still enjoyable just not really strategy but it depends what you like and what you were expecting.

For a start, if you thought Soulstorm was good, you’ve obviously not got a critical eye for video games. How does having to rely on the various strengths of your troops and not simply their number reduce the skill required? It may reduce the amount of things you have to keep track of at any one time (and, hence, reduce frantic clicking), but that’s because it’s not simply a ‘select all troops, click on enemy,’ game with resource management to keep track of as well.

Finally, to anyone complaining about the lack of races in the game… Idiots, the lot of you. For a start, 4 races are more than the traditional required 3 races in RTS games of yore. Next, this is an entirely new game engine and system; how did you expect them to instantly transport the 9 races across from the original series? There was a gap of nearly 4 years between the release of the original and the release of Soulstorm (not including the development time for the original, either); did you really want to wait another 4 years for the release of Dawn of War II?

Anyway, I’ll blog about something else later, this has just really annoyed me; people seem to much prefer to play the same games over and over. Don’t get me wrong, I loved DoW, I just love the direction the series is going in; it feels different and exciting. I can’t wait for the inevitable expansion packs!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

For the Emperor

I was browsing around Amazon last night, and came across the page for Dawn of War II. I couldn’t believe the number of people who had rated the game lowly, so I looked into why so many 1 Star reviews had been logged. Further to my post the other day about RTS games, I thought I would talk about it here.

The bad reviews boiled down to 3 basic reasons:

  1. Bugs and glitches in the game
  2. Problems running Steam
  3. Problems with the lack of base building

The first one I don’t have an issue with; I never encountered any bugs or glitches, but I have encountered them in the past with other games and it can be frustrating… I’ll give people the benefit of the doubt with this one. Some people are complaining about the high system requirements, which really doesn’t belong in the review… But, whatever, you get that point of view all over the place on Amazon.

The next two points are where I have my real problems.

First, Steam. Now, Steam may have been contentious when it was first released, but it is now a permanent fixture on most gamers’ desktops. I registered the game on Steam, and it was so quick and painless I actually can’t remember doing it. Steam keeps all my games up-to-date without my having to think about it, doesn’t hog system resources, lets me see what my friends are playing (and jump into their games if I want), has community features, lets you buy games and download demos with a few mouse clicks… In short, it’s what Games for Windows Live should be.

Anyone who did have problems would have had to simply spend five minutes looking on the Steam Powered forums for help. I agree that it is annoying having to connect to authenticate your game (well, only if you don’t have a net connection), but it has to do it precisely once per installation; you can then even download the game again if you lose the disc, and you can download it onto alternate PCs if you’re at a friend’s house for a LAN party; in short, unlike pretty much ANY other form of DRM, it adds value to the original product.

To reiterate, you don’t have to be online to play games on Steam. And, for the record, you don’t have to be online to play through GfWL either, or even to register.

Next, people complained about the lack of base building, how it removed tactics and variety from the game. This just shows how narrow minded and conservative people are; the only ‘tactics’ it has removed are the choices between rushing, turtling and teching. Apparently, removing bases removes the ‘epic’ feeling the original Dawn of War had.

I think this is rubbish. Let’s leave aside the issues with the game now being about actual tactics rather than rushing, multiplayer feels a lot more like a small skirmish in a much wider war. Smaller unit caps encourage you to think about how your forces are distributed; do you blob them all together over a central Victory Point, or do you spread them out to try and capture a large number of points? A game makes you do something different to what people are used to doing, and it gets abuse for it. Pathetic.

Any excuse to use this picture

Dawn of War teaches you to think about your units; yes, Warhammer 40,000 is about death and destruction on a massive scale, but Space Marines are supposed to be genetically engineered supermen. Losing just a single marine is a blow to the Imperium, equivalent to tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands or even millions) of Guardsmen; the same goes for the Eldar. The small scale lets you focus on each unit and their personality (which, lets face it, is what WH40K has in buckets), and encourages you to keep them alive. And besides, as the Total War series has shown, base building and epic games aren’t mutually exclusive; in fact, it’s very hard to find an RTS game that’s more epic than any of the instalments in Creative Assembly’s masterful series.

Finally, to the guy who bought the game for his 7 year old son, the game has a 16+ rating for a reason…

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

How can you kill that which has no life?

Today I thought I would comment on the row that has blown up over Left 4 Dead 2. I realise I’m several weeks late, but whatever!

My initial feeling on hearing about the imminent release of L4D2 was not one of outrage, anger, or injustice; in fact, I was excited. Left 4 Dead was a good game, and they looked to be improving on it and adding a shed load of more stuff for the sequel. All good, right?

This was not the response of a great many videogame fans (well… the boycott group still has less than 40,000 members, not really many in the grand scheme of things). Their first thought was ‘Where is the rest of the free DLC I was entitled to?” See, it turns out that, as it was released, Valve assured the videogaming public that, yes, while L4D doesn’t have a huge amount of content, it would be bolstered by free downloadable content in the not too distant future. And for a while this seemed to be the case; a new (awesome) game mode was added for those who didn’t want to sit down for a whole campaign, and Infected modes were added for the second two campaigns (arguably something that should have been in from release).

However, at E3, Valve announced their plans to release a sequel later this year, to a general reception that this was a cynical cash in and a betrayal of the fans that were expecting more free stuff.

It’s the sense of entitlement that really bugs me; why would you buy a game on the understanding that they provide you with more free content at some point in the future? If you do, you’re a fool to yourself; either wait for the extra content to appear, or enjoy the game for what it is and treat the DLC as a bonus. Even then, the original game wasn’t that lacking; if we say a couple of hours for each campaign, plus maybe an hour to go through the two campaigns as the infected online, we’re already at 10 hours. Factor in the replayability of the game, the price I paid for it of £25 seems very reasonable indeed.

They’ve given numerous reasons for the decision to bring out their new content as a sequel, compatibility with people without the new content being a big one. However, I would be happy for them just to say “Shut up, and let us work on our game.”

And since when have they been wrong? Valve have never let me down as a consumer. For a start, check out the games they have developed (I skipped a couple of the smaller multiplayer ones):

  • Half-Life
  • Half-Life 2
  • Half-Life 2: Episode One
  • Half-Life 2: Episode Two
  • Counter-Strike
  • Counter-Strike: Condition Zero
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Day of Defeat
  • Day of Defeat: Source
  • Team Fortress Classic
  • Team Fortress 2
  • Portal
  • Left 4 Dead

Not a duff game on the list; in fact, not only are they all critically successful, they’re all immensely commercially successful. Further to that, their Steam service (although shaky when it first started) is now almost essential for PC gamers. The Orange Box, containing not just Portal, Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2 but Half Life 2 and Episode One as well, is quite possibly one of the best deals in videogame history*.

On top of all that, Valve have even said they’re going to continue supporting the original L4D, with additional content (and, if you’re sensible enough to be a PC user, you’ve got the Left 4 Dead Authoring Tools to tide you over; there’s bound to be some good user generated content out at some point).

Bottom line: if I’m willing to give any developer the benefit of the doubt it’s going to be Valve (with CD Projekt a close second). My prediction is that the whole mess will blow over when the game comes out later this year and it inevitably turns out to be brilliant.

* The four best videogame deals are officially (well, according to me, which makes it semi-official, right?) as follows:

· The Orange Box (Obviously)

· Baldur’s Gate box set (more than 100 hours of beardy roleplaying goodness; I got Baldur’s Gate, Tales of the Sword Coast, Shadows of Amn, and Throne of Baal, all for a penny less than £10)

· Fallout Collection (2 of the best games ever made along with Fallout Tactics, now available for five of your British pounds)

· The Witcher: Enhanced Edition (mainly for the armful of free stuff, and also anything to help support CD Projekt :D)

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

An overabundance of bigness

So, I went to see Walking with Dinosaurs – the Arena Spectacular last weekend in Nottingham. And it was awesome.

It’s sort of designed for children; there wasn’t any hard-hitting paleontological facts about Dinosaur breeding habits, for instance. What there was, was robot Dinosaurs in abundance, so it’s all good.

For those of you that have seen clips or adverts and are wondering how it all works, there are a combination of fully robotic Dinosaurs and people in costumes (with, I assume, some level of animatronics built in). The robots have wheeled (and camouflaged) bases they move around on, but their legs still move realistically back and forth; after a while of watching, you can actually believe you are watching real dinosaurs. The set in itself is impressive, with gargantuan prehistoric scenery scattered around, and the Dinosaurs themselves were massive.

Highlights of the show included a Stegosaurus (on of my favourite dinosaurs) and an ENORMOUS Tyrannosaurus rex. I must admit, even though I’m an ‘adult’, I was still a little scared when the T. rex leaned over the audience and roared in our face… It was very primal!

Another good moment was when the lady behind us commented to her friend that she was going to bring her 15 year-old daughter, but that she decided she’d grown out of it; James and I both found this amusing.

In other news, I’ve decided to get the full game of WAR. There are loads of worries over on both the official and the gameFAQs forums (fora?) about the future of the game, but, y’know… What the Hell. I’m going to get straight on a busier (hopefully EU server) and start a new character; I might go with Slayer again, or possibly Witch Hunter. Maybe Warrior Priest.

Or Chosen or Disciple of Khaine on the destruction side. We’ll see.

Anyway, managed to find a load of players the other night; had a classic moment as Thogrizan (or Thog, my character) and Soulfaces (a Warrior Priest) were retaking control points from the Destruction side around Mount Bloodhorn. A group of enemy players was retaking the points we were capturing as we moved around the map, but as there was quite a few of them, we decided against taking them on toe-to-toe… As we moved off from our hiding place to the next control point, I had the suspicion we were being followed; turning, I could see a band of six Destruction characters charging down the hill towards us, full pelt, dark magic crackling around their eyes, and squigs bounding alongside.

We looked at each other, contemplated a heroic last stand, then, as one, turned and ran for our lives. Hilarious :P

I’ll (hopefully) be blogging this week about my other new purchase; The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition. It’s going well, must be just over halfway through at the moment. Will share my thoughts at some point!

Monday, 20 July 2009


Just a single picture for now... post to follow in the next couple of days!

The EVIL that is base building

I’ve been playing a lot of WAR over the past few days; I’m getting on pretty well with it, am really enjoying being a Slayer! The lack of other people is really bugging me, though… I don’t know whether it’s the time of day that I’m playing, the server I’m playing on, the area, or the fact that there just aren’t many other people playing the game. Whichever, I’m tempted to give the full game a go, as the large public quests definitely look like they would be fun with a group of other players/friends/strangers.

Anyway, WAR isn’t the main thing I wanted to talk about in my post, though it is still vaguely Games Workshop related; in a recent conversation, someone mentioned to me that the reason he wasn’t too keen on Dawn of War 2 was that there was no resources and no base building.

What the eff?

I took issue with this. To my mind, RTS games have (for far too long) focussed on resource gathering, build queues and base building. Yes, supply lines and resource management are an important part of any war effort, but since when were they part of actual frontline combat? It has been an unfortunate part of RTS games since Westwood invented the genre with games like Dune and Command & Conquer. At first, it allows for some fun sounding tactics; raiding your opponent’s depots, or ambushing their harvesters. However, to have to go through the same rigmarole with every battle in every game is turning the genre into an economic-‘em-up.

The problem is, when you focus the game on these two aspects, the game becomes about either building up a large force quickly and rushing your opponent, or hiding behind a large wall… and building up a large force to rush your opponent. With enough troops, any battle becomes pretty much solely about attrition. And who wants to spend time aligning their Barracks when they’re supposed to be fighting a war?

The RTS genre is stagnating, drowning under the weight of its antecedents and clichés; I’m far more excited about how things are done with Real-Time Tactics (RTT) games.

You see, I much prefer my strategy to focus on the actual movement of units around a map; y’know, matching up the strengths of your units with the weaknesses of your opponent’s (and hopefully avoiding letting them do the same). Games have been doing this for a while (Shadow of the Horned Rat for one), and there have been an increasing number of RTS/RTT games over the past few years which have gone for this approach, with a good recent example being Ground Control. Hopefully, this is the way the genre is moving, with games released like Dawn of War and World in Conflict. Even games like the total war series keep the resource management to an overworld map and leave the battlefield for tactics!

Unfortunately, Starcraft II looks set to bring the economic strategy sim back into fashion...

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

You've got the touch

Okay, so I was listening to the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack on my way to work this morning (as in, the original 1986 animated feature, not the Michael Bay abomination) and was struck by how AWESOME it would be to have it as DLC for Rock Band/Guitar Hero. They’ve already included The Touch by Stan Bush (all you need to know about Stan Bush is that his greatest hits album is called Capture The Dream) as free DLC, surely the next step is to include the rest of the soundtrack?

Or, they could go even further… They’re working on LEGO Rock Band, how about Transformers Rock Band? Imagine how cool it would be to rock out to Instruments of Destruction as Optimus Prime himself? With Megatron on drums!

Anyway, extreme nerdy fanboy-ness aside, I installed the Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (hereafter simply WAR, the best acronym ever) 10-day free trial last night. I had a run around as my first character, a Dwarf Slayer, just to explore the starting area. It seems pretty cool; basically just like every other MMO, but this time set in the Warhammer world. Lots of the early Dwarven quests involve beer in some capacity, usually combined with slaying Goblins. Which is, basically, how it should be.

Graphics are okay, nothing spectacular, though the characters seem nice and unique. I’ll try and cram as much as I can in before the trial runs out (I’d like to give a Chaos character a whirl as well, but unfortunately you don’t start out wearing your Chaos armour… it’s nice that you have to earn it, but I just want to look like a badass). Annoyingly enough, I can’t seem to get on the Europe servers (possibly something to do with my only being in a trial), so will have to try and catch people in Oceania when they’re awake if I want to group! I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on it at some point, and will add my character and server name here when I get home.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Wish List

Right, it's been exactly one month since I last posted, so I thought I'd chuck something up quickly so people don't think I've abandonded my blog. I thought I'd tackle that old chestnut, the wish list.

Brütal Legend
Okay, Jack Black's skills as an actor may be questionable (to say nothing for Ozzy Osbourne), but Tim Schafer is a bone fide videogame genius. This game looks awesome; there is no more appropriate word to describe it. None of the ideas in it are particulary new, but the pulling together of elements with a rock-solid, consistent theme and a cracking (and funny) story is
really going to show people why single player games still have it.

No more words are needed.

I hope the Star Power (no pun intended) of Jack Black will be enough to punch this through to the mainstream (the advertising for it has been a lot heavier than with Psychonauts as well). This game DESERVES to have commercial as well as critical success, but I have a feeling as it's trying to do something fresh and different it may alieniate newer game players.

As a side issue, the reissue of Monkey Island is looking pretty hot too; just the opportunity the world needs to play through the game again (and it will, no doubt, show up the new version released by Telltale... this is not a condemnation of them, by the way, Monkey Island was just THAT GOOD).

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Okay, so bit more mainstream this time... I've been excited by this game for a while now; the combination of 3rd person beat 'em up and sneak 'em up REALLY strikes my fancy, not to mention the fact that I get to pretend I'm Batman. It also helps that I think the Joker is possibly one of the best comic-book villians ever put to paper. I've made no secret of the fact I love the Hitman games, and this seems to be taking a similar approach, only it now encourages me to take out all the guards on a level and not just my target!

Anyway, the graphics look good, they've got the classic voice actors in to do Batman and the Joker, the story seems classic comic-book fare, and the gameplay looks very swish. You even get a replica batarang when you preorder!

Dragon Age: Origins
Unfortunately not a PC exclusive... Again, I've been a Bioware fan for some time; I LOVED the original Baldur's Gate games (which this is being pitched as a sequel to) and they've done some pretty awesome games since then; maybe less so Neverwinter Nights, but Knights of the Old Republic was good, and what I've played of Mass Effect seems really good too.

This guy was awesome, too

My only fear with this game is they go overboard on the GrimDark (there, I've done it now, I've linked to TV Tropes... your afternoon is gone, mwahaha!) and slosh a load of sex and bad language in there. The Witcher was bad enough, I don't think I can stomach many more concessions to the teenage market. If they keep it nice and complex, and mature without being smutty, I'll be happy!

Okay, that's enough of that, it's tired and I want to go to bed. I'll be posting again soon, I even have a topic in mind!