I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but 2011 was a monumental year for video games. The last four months alone have given us some of the finest gaming experiences of the last few years. Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City are still vying for my personal Game of the Year slot, but even with these two juggernauts on my mind it’s hard to forget the games that were smaller but still managed to pack a big punch.
My biggest surprise of 2011 was Sonic Generations, the return to form for the Blue Blur that we’ve been waiting for ever since Sonic Adventure 2. There are no Werehogs (which I love to point out smugly is a misnomer, as “were” means “male human”, so “Wolfhog” would have been more appropriate), no goofy side-kick levels and no swordplay. It’s just straight up speed in classic or modern flavors and I kind of love it for that. If you’ve been hesitant about Generations, it gets my personal seal of approval. It’s not Game of the Year contender material, but it’s a solid title that earns its praise.
Another game that caught me off guard this year was Magicka, the isometric magic-casting game that took the PC world by storm. This game took co-op and turned it on its head by making your friends not only your greatest allies but your biggest threat as well. Four out of the five GS crew members played a night of Magicka and it was a howling good time, even if it did turn me into a raging asshole.
Rayman Origins also gets a nod from me as a sleeper hit, but what about you guys? What were your big 2011 games that no one’s talking about?
Ever since Eddy built his new gaming PC, we’ve been planning to do a little Magicka and last Friday we had our chance. Eddy, Nick, Jeff and myself all hopped on Skype and booted up the co-op magic fest and a blast was had by all. Well, mostly by all; I discovered that day that I have a bit of a tendency to be a (huge) jerk when people don’t perform to my exact specifications.
I can’t quite remember the specifics of the incident now, but having completed Magicka before, and therefore being an expert at the game, I am sad to admit that I wasn’t exactly the best guide to be shepherding a group of noobies through this unforgiving game. Just because I know how to do most of the powerful spells off by heart, and I’m willing to sacrifice an ally for the sake of casting lighting, doesn’t mean I’m the nominal leader.
Even though cooperation is at the heart of the Magicka experience, I was letting my own hubris get in the way of teamwork and to my fellow wizards at arms, I apologize. Now that my sordid laundry has been hung out to dry, metaphorically speaking, I was wondering if any of you have a similar horror story. Were you playing a game with a friend and you tweaked out on them? Do you maybe just want to laugh at the fact that Magicka turned me into a huge douche? Cast some comments!
Fresh off my little essay on how war gaming needs a break, I decided to flex my hypocrisy muscles and try out Magicka: Vietnam, the new war flavored expansion for the co-op monster slaying fest. The neat thing about Magicka: Vietnam is that only one person needs to have the DLC; everyone else can join on them and play through the levels, although they don’t get access to the fatigue and helmet wearing wizard skin. Kitted out with an American flag staff and my trusty M16A1, I hopped into a Huey and prepared to face the hordes of Goblin-Cong that no doubt awaited me in the jungle ahead.
Magicka: Vietnam takes the crazy spell-casting insanity of the main game and plants it firmly in a battlefield setting, giving all your enemies firearms and having you fight alongside infantrymen. You can use a gun, much like the M60 in the main game, and you can duck behind cover, a replacement for the block move that was rarely used. If you’ve played Magicka proper, you can pretty much guess how the expansion plays, but add a rocking 60’s soundtrack and some summonable napalm strikes and you’ve got a great recipe for a few awesome hours doing co-op. The expansion includes one scenario based mission and one survival map, but they can be replayed for quite a while as you try out the new guns, and it’s always fun to see how many goblins you can nail in one napalm hit.
Continue reading Magicka: Vietnam DLC Hoists Me By My Own Petard
It’s Super Bowl Sunday, so naturally that means it’s practically a holiday weekend here in the You Ess of Ay. Everyone gathers around the pigskin shrine to worship the gods of beer, brutality and testosterone. These gods require ritual sacrifices of meat and snack foods, apparently.
Regardless of your religious affiliation this weekend (go Steelers), one thing I’m sure we can all agree on is that many video games have been played. As for me, I’ve been tearing through Gran Turismo 5 like a mad man in the past week, with some 999 on the side as well as Game Dev Story. Up next after I’m done with these games are Little Big Planet 2 and another game I’ve had my eye on: Magicka. If you’re unaware, Magicka is a Diablo style adventure game that you can purchase on Steam, where several players battle together to link magic spells and decimate droves of enemies. It sounds like a blast, and is getting a lot of praise.
So, what are you guys playing this weekend? Who do you have in the Super Bowl? And have you heard of Magicka? Go, go, go (Packers)!