Crysis 3’s multiplayer beta opened up last week and I spent a little time leaping around as a nanosuited operative, trying out the two availible game modes: Hunter and Crash Site, the latter of which returns from Crysis 2.
In Hunter mode, a team of ever-dwindling CELL soldiers has to survive against invisible, bow-wielding predators, and every kill the Hunters get adds to their own ranks. While this may sound like it makes for a tense multiplayer mode, the rounds are fairly short and the Hunters seem a little too over-powered, considering they’re invisible and the new bow is a one-hit kill. At one point I went on a five-kill streak with the bow when I was standing about ten feet from a group of enemy players, so oblivious were they to my presence. While the CELL team gets motion trackers and EMP grenades, the abilities given to the Hunters more than outweighs this puny advantage.
Crash Site, for those of you who didn’t play Crysis 2, is a territory control game type, where alien pods will land somewhere on the map and one team has to hold down that location to gain points. While this mode is a lot more fun than Hunter, there are several balance issues that need to be worked out before release. Continue reading The Hits and Misses of the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta
XCOM is a roller coaster. It all starts out very fun, a little daunting, but once you get the hang of things, it seems like it will be a smooth ride. Then, things take a turn. The difficulty jumps up to a degree you didn’t anticipate and suddenly every alien turn is a stress-fest as you wipe your sweaty palms on your shirt while you pray to whatever deity you believe in for the aliens to miss their shot or FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LEAVE MY HIGH-RANKING SNIPER ALONE, YOU BIG BULLIES!
But then, with patience, careful movement of your soldiers and a hell of a lot of research and resources, things level off again. Suddenly, that sniper who struggled to finish off a Thin Man is double-tapping (attacking twice in a single turn) her way to victory, seemingly all by her lonesome. Your assault soldier’s useful shotgun is a now an Alloy Cannon of death and you almost feel bad for that Berserker that is about to get shot directly in his ugly face. Almost. This has been my XCOM experience. Continue reading XCOM’s Peaks and Valleys
To continue our theme of What We’re Playing Monday, I thought I’d take us on a dismal tour of my future, one in which I gain 100 pounds, lose my job and become a hermit that only plays Sim City.
OK, so maybe the future isn’t set in stone yet, but seeing as how much I enjoyed my time in the closed beta this weekend, there’s certainly some kind of dark timeline where all of this takes place. Although, considering how much fun the game is, maybe it’s not necessarily a dark time line after all? Continue reading Sim City and the Nature of Addiction
I grew up playing the old X-Wing game for the PC and it’s been sad for me to see that genre fall out of favor with gamers at large. True, that game was perhaps a little too complicated, but even simple space combat games have been few and far between the last couple of years.
Born Ready Games, with a Kickstarter backing, has decided to reboot the space combat genre and bring us Strike Suit Zero, a game for the PC that has not only spaceship dog-fighting but also lets you pilot a kick-ass mecha. Yes, you read that right: about an hour and a bit into the game, you get access to a Strike Suit, a prototype fighter that has the secondary function of transforming into a giant robot.
The controls for the game a pretty straightforward: as a fighter you get plasma cannons, a machine gun and a variety of missiles. Using the machine gun to strip the shields of enemy fighters and finishing them off with your plasma cannons keeps your fingers busy and doesn’t make you reliant on one weapon as the plasma guns tend to drain fast, especially when they’re linked. Once you get the Strike Suit, a simple tap of a button (or key, but I really recommend playing with a controller) turns your snubfighter into a death-dealing, missile spewing machine. Continue reading Bringing Back Space Combat with Strike Suit Zero
I love stealth games, but they tend to stress me out. The idea of sneaking around without getting caught always tends to add a pile of burdens on top of me, like the game is judging me if I fail, and will punish me with extra waves of enemies should I find a way of royally fracking things up.
And while most stealth games do a poor job at making stealth just as fun as the shooting counterpart (or throw out a poor attempt at both), FarCry 3 makes sneaking around exciting, challenging and maybe even more fun than mowing down bands of pirates with an assault rifle or rocket launcher. This is mostly accomplished through an excellent skill system that rewards you for stealth kills and chaining takedowns together for some brutal, silent mayhem. It adds a dash of style to a mechanic that is normally slow and methodic, even in a (mostly traditional) first person shooter.
It’s always refreshing to play a new twist on a familiar game mechanic, and FarCry 3 does this in a number of ways. Because of this empowerment, FarCry 3 doesn’t make me nearly as nervous to play in a stealthy manner, and it’s making the game all the more fun for me. I’m not fretting about getting spotted, but rather, given just the right tools to adapt — and have a blast doing it.
How do you guys normally feel about stealthy gameplay mechanics? Do you tend to sneak around or come into a situation guns playing? What are some of your favorite stealth games? Go!
So for this week’s “What We’re Playing” Monday, I’m taking us back to the Before Times, the Long-Long Ago, to November 2011 and the world of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Because the release schedule between December and now is a bit dry, I decided to go back and actually try and beat the latest entry in Nintendo’s fantasy series. While reviews for Skyward Sword were pretty phenomenal across the board back in the day, I’m finding the game to be a rather middling experience.
That’s not to say that Skyward Sword is bad, per se, and it’s certainly a small step up from its predecessor, Twilight Princess. While the motion controls do work well on occasion, most of the enemies are a little too stalwart in their defenses with very little room to get a strike in, leaving you waiting for an opening that you won’t hit if the controls decide to go wonky on you. The boss monster design is pretty comical, especially the man-boobed tentacle monster, which is a shame because Zelda bosses have typically been memorable and intimidating. The secondary bad guy, Ghirahim, seems to indulge in certain design tendencies that Zelda has previously managed to avoid. Perhaps one of the most annoying small things the game does is to do the introduction of crafting items every time you pick them up when you load a save. Continue reading Skyward Sword and the Middle of the Road
There are 34 story missions in Far Cry 3. In my over 10 hours of playtime, I have completed 6. Out of 34. So what have I been doing with the rest of my time?
Whatever I want.
Far Cry 3 has brought out a new side of me, one that has no interest in hurrying through the story, but rather would like to take my time, hunt some animals, do some hang gliding and see the sights. Maybe liberate a few outposts or activate some radio towers, which then unlocks even more of the map, which in turn gives me more things to do. It’s a beautiful cycle. I’m going to get back to the story soon, I promise, but for now, I am loving just doing whatever catches my fancy. Continue reading Far Cry 3: Getting Sidetracked
In keeping with “What We’re Playing” Monday, I thought I’d throw up some examples of Hotline Miami’s phenomenal soundtrack. Part of what makes the 2D shooter so much like crack is the fact that the music so infectious and hypnotic, evoking that iconic 1980s synth sound of a bright but dark Miami. In some ways, the violence of the game coupled with a kicking soundtrack almost makes it feel like Drive: The Game — which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Sushians, welcome to our first ever “What We’re Playing” Monday post. I know. You can probably barely contain your excitement.
This weekend, I spent pretty much the entirety of Saturday afternoon obsessively picking my way through Hotline Miami, a top-down 2D stealth/challenge room shooter by Dennaton games, gifted to me during the most recent Steam Sale.
For those of you unaware (which means you haven’t listened to the newest podcast), Hotline Miami is a violent game about busting into rooms full of bad guys and taking them out in the most brutal, daring way possible — all while maintaining twitch-quick reflexes.
The thing about this game is that it is old school, throw your controller across the room hard. You bust into a room full of mobsters, and you have to rehearse how you’re going to eliminate them quickly and methodically, one by one. If you’re not perfect, you get your brains blown out. As such, it requires a certain amount of rinsing and repeating, as you attempt to clear the same rooms over and over, racking up an absurd amount of deaths.
There’s something strangely addicting about this kind of gameplay. I’m not sure if it taps into that old part of us that was used to trial-and-error gameplay, the kind that required you to get a level absolutely perfect, step-by-step, if you ever wanted any hope of progressing. All I know is that on Saturday, I was a slave to Hotline Miami’s drug, trudging through half of its levels all in one sitting, sometimes shouting in triumph, sometimes cursing and swearing the game off forever.
All that to say — if you haven’t played Hotline Miami, you should certainly give it a try. It’s probably one of the more addictive games I’ve played in the last year. Have any of you guys played it? What are some other games you’ve played recently that relied on this kind of rinse and repeat drug? Go!