The Visible, Violent Deaths of Sniper Elite 3

sniper elite 3

Over the weekend I put a decent amount of time into Sniper Elite 3, Rebellion’s latest foray into the realm of shooting a lot of Nazis (and Italian soldiers!) in the face and testicles in slow motion, and I have to say I’m digging it quite a bit.

I’d describe Sniper Elite 3 as a “rough diamond” of sorts. The folks at Rebellion have done a great job of making a fun stealth title and if you like sniping then this is definitely the game for you. Just be aware that there are a few hiccups that might detract from your experience. Continue reading The Visible, Violent Deaths of Sniper Elite 3

Having Some Dumb Fun with Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2

sniper elite nazi zombie army 2

About a month ago I got gifted a copy of Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2 on Steam and I didn’t bother playing it until this past weekend. I didn’t expect much from it, but I was surprised at how fun it ended up being.

If you’ve played Call of Duty’s zombie mode, then the set-up will sound very familiar: four WW2-era soldiers battle the Nazi zombie horde while searching for a way to end the onslaught. The difference here is that Sniper Elite is very much focused on long-range combat, so you’ll mostly be pulling sick headshots on a lot of shambling zombies. Unlike CoD’s version, the zombies (for the most part) in NZA2 are the slow, shuffling variety so you always have a fighting chance. There are a few “super” zombies like the machine gun guy or the summoner, but as you progress the zombies don’t get faster and more resilient, which I greatly appreciated.

Nazi Zombie Army 2 is by no means perfect, as I found that actually controlling your character was fairly sloppy and the cover system was basically useless. What NZA2 does well, however, is giving you slow-motion shots of your bullets destroying undead Nazi skulls and in the end, isn’t that all we really want?

A friend and I played this for a couple of hours on Saturday and I had a blast. The fact that it was free definitely helped, but it was much better than I expected and it got me interested in the Sniper Elite franchise in general (which has a three-quel coming out, wouldn’t you know it). Has anyone played any of the Sniper Elite series? What do you think of it?

Taking a Swing at Mario Golf: World Tour

mario golf world tour

It’s been a good ten years since we last saw a Mario Golf game, but longtime Nintendo sports collaborators Camelot are at it again with Mario Golf: World Tour, a 3DS title that came out on May 2.

The Mario Golf games have either been strictly arcade-like or had some light RPG aspects and World Tour seems to straddle both of these disciplines. Playing as your Mii in the “Castle Club” mode, you use the tried-and-true power bar to control your shots and for each course you complete (whether it’s a practice round or a tournament), you unlock a new piece of stat-altering gear in the pro shop which you can put on your golfer. Continue reading Taking a Swing at Mario Golf: World Tour

The Impossible Architecture of Monument Valley

monument valley game

This post was written by my girlfriend, Laura, who is a long-time gamer. She mostly plays on Nintendo platforms, but enjoys the occasional iOS title as well. She’s currently working as a web developer and enjoys many nerdy things including Doctor Who. You can follow her on her Twitter account, @euphorialjc.

Monument Valley is a charming iOS puzzle game from a London developer called ustwo. It was released last Thursday (April 3) and features levels inspired by MC Escher drawings.

The game is fairly short, with a very minimal story and only 10 levels, but what it lacks in length, it makes up for with beautifully crafted sound and crisp, colorful visuals that feel almost reminiscent of TGC’s 2012 hit, Journey. Each level could easily stand alone as a fantastic piece of art for your living room, and there is something very smooth and serene about how the levels move and shift as you work your way through its puzzles and optical illusions. Continue reading The Impossible Architecture of Monument Valley

Killzone Shadow Fall and the First Rage Quit of 2014

killzone shadow fall free fall section

I was enjoying Killzone Shadow Fall in spurts. Sometimes, I would tolerate its mundane tasks and other times, I would actually lose myself in the gameplay for a bit. I wasn’t having a bad time, per se, but I wasn’t exactly overjoyed every time I booted the game up. But with only 9 missions, I figured I could manage my way through. The graphics were really quite nice, actually, with blue as the new brown, a refreshing change from last-gen.

So I trudged my way through, having already lost the narrative, something about a Cold War and experiments and weapons and using my drone companion to hack a lot of consoles. But then the free fall sequence slammed into me, halting my progress entirely. So I tried it again, thinking that it was my unfamiliarity with the controls that were hindering me. After all, it was a free fall through a city of collapsing skyscrapers and buildings, so this was clearly a big set-piece in the game, one that the developers wanted gamers to see. So I tried again. Continue reading Killzone Shadow Fall and the First Rage Quit of 2014

Spelunky Makes Me Want to Stab But I Can’t Stop Playing

The brave adventurer lets the damsel take the lead.

I made it through this year’s Steam sales largely unscathed, if only because I already own most of the games that went on sale. I did still pick up a few things (because I have no willpower), but the one game that has captured my attention the most is Spelunky, a “procedurally generated” platformer that is maddeningly difficult, occasionally cruel, full of cheap deaths, and surprisingly addictive. I’ve already put in more than eight hours of playtime, and I’m starting to wonder why I do this to myself.

Spelunky has a lot of mechanics designed to make you throw your controller at the wall. Health is limited and hard to refill. Dying means starting over completely. Checkpoints are non-existent and short-cuts require beating every world multiple times under specific conditions. Half the monsters in every level can kill you with one hit, and most of the traps you come across cause instant death. Sometimes the levels are dark or under water or full of the undead and oh if you take too long a giant ghost starts chasing you around until you die or manage to escape. You get the picture.

Continue reading Spelunky Makes Me Want to Stab But I Can’t Stop Playing

Going Back to the Well with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

warhammer 40,000 space marine

Sometimes after your interest in a game has waxed and waned and you think you’ve plumbed the depths of the value you can get out of it, occasionally it’s a good idea to reinstall or boot up old titles to see if there’s anything you missed out on the first time around.

This happened to me recently with Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, Relic Entertainment’s foray into third-person character action games. I liked the game quite a bit when it first came out (you can read my review here), but in the intervening time Relic added a co-op horde mode to the game called Exterminatus, which I missed out on the first time around. It follows the usual horde-mode set-up of allowing you and three friends to battle through 20 waves of enemies with occasional objectives, but what makes it shine is Space Marine’s solid gameplay.

I had forgotten how fun and satisfying Space Marine felt to play. Considering that your average Space Marine is built and looks like a walking tank, it might be easy to forget that the melee combat in the game is fast and fluid, and the shooting benefits from the combat-roll ability which is basically your “get out of jail free” card when you’re being mobbed by Orks and don’t have a chainsword handy. Add in two or three friends backing you up against insurmountable odds and throw in a bunch of frenzied yelling when you’re up against the wall and you barely manage to pull through and win a round and you’ve got yourself a really good time, especially out of a game that I had pretty much given up on a couple years ago.

Has anyone else experienced this? Have your friends ever dragged you back to an old game that got some post-launch content that you originally passed up on, only to find yourself having an awesome time?