Posts Tagged With: Video Games

3/9/15 Now Playing: MonHun 4G, Diving to Hell, and the Huns

Welcome to the first entry in a weekly (Or close to it) series where I blog about games I’ve been playing. A “Now Playing” game blog, basically. (glog?) Some of the games I mention may get a more detailed post at some point if I have more to say about them, but the idea is a fairly short blurb about a couple games in order to keep this page active and get my opinion on them out on the internet. Enough intro, onto the content!

 

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

This has definitely been the monster taking up all my time (that I’m hunting).  I love that it’s portable so I can play pretty much anytime I have a chance. Waiting for food to cook? Combine some bowgun ammo. Slow moment in a Youtube video or TV show? Go an an expedition. Have to poop? Hunt a pair of monsters and spend at least double the time I really needed to in the bathroom. I know plenty of people complain that it’s not on Wii U or another home console, but I know my time spent on the game would be far, far less if that was the only way to play it.

I was way into Tri, and always played a few of the earlier games, but 4G is by far the best MonHun I’ve played yet. Traveling to new cities keeps returning back to base fresh, the cutscenes are very personal now that they include your hunter, and the online on (New) 3DS works flawlessly for me. I think I put in around 80-100 hours on Tri on 3DS and I’m already almost there on 4G and I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

I’m currently in High Rank, HR4 online and the first few High offline quests. I just got my first suit of High Rank/S armor: Tetsucabra. I missed this badass looking set the first time around and I’m glad to get another chance to make this relevant. I’ve been using Heavy Bowgun pretty faithfully since I started, and the cool gunner armor is a huge reason for that. While I love gunning with some melee hunters in Multiplayer, it’s pretty painful in single player. I’ve always wanted to main a gunner weapon ever since I first saw the armor for them in MHFU on PSP and I’m glad I finally have done so… I am definitely NOT going to do it again next time though.

Current thoughts on MH4U: The wait, though painful, was worth it!

(And I still haven’t gotten a  Gore Magala plate even after about 15 hunts…)

 

Helldivers (PS4)

5/5, 100%, A++. I love this game. I figured I’d like it, sure, but holy crap am I deep into Helldivers. Last time I played my PS4 this much was with Wolfenstein, and it has been redeeming the console since the disappointment that was Dragon Age: Inquisition. It takes a generally boring genre and does every single thing it needed to do right to make it awesome. The guns feel distinct, you have to move and aim tactically, there is perfect pacing between fights, and it has drop-in/out multiplayer. So many twinstick shooters just got the arcade rout of making you overpowered and throwing hundreds of enemies at you as soon as you press Start… Helldivers masterfully puts you through an ebb and flow of stress as you go through it’s randomly generated maps.

If an enemy patrol spots you, you have about 1 second to wipe them all out before they call in their usually heavier armed and armored buddies. Generally you only succeed at this about half the time, which is actually involves of my few complaints with the game: Enemies can see you while they’re offscreen and you can’t see them. Occasionally you do get signs of their prescense like shadows or audio cues though, and your handy dandy scanner (That you have to stop to pull up, another pacing tool executed well) will let you know around where the enemy patrols are.

Anyway, I could probably gush for a whole post about why Helldivers is a great game, and probably will later,  but I’ll end it here for now.

Current Thoughts on Helldivers: Very fun solo or with pick-up grounds, but AMAZING with buddies. Don’t write this off as just another twin stick shooter.

 

 Total War: Attila (Steam)

I’m already running this post longer than I anticipated (There’s a reason Verbosity is at the top of the site), but I had to mention Attila. I’m a huge Total War fan, but Creative Assembly’s games are generally crappy at launch. Attila was a delightful surprise in this regard. I went in wary, and did my research by watching pre-release videos on YouTube and just about all of them echoed the same thing: Attila is good.

It seems to take all the improvements that Rome 2 needed (And mostly got) and ran with them. The campaign is varied per faction with new hordes, factions that have no standing cities but instead move all their buildings with an army, and the ability to fully abandon or raze cities, leaving the land barren for anyone wishing to move in. The battle AI is quite improved from Rome’s launch. It even successfully pulled off an ambush on me while I was defending a siege that turned the tide of the fight and made me lose! No Total War AI has managed to do that without heavy mods before… much less a launch game!

Current Thoughts on TW Attila: Surprisingly low on bugs, and high on fun! Attila sets a new standard for TW launch games even if it is largely based on Rome 2’s patches. A good stand in for Medieval 3, which is what I really want.

 

 

Check here next week for another entry, although it will probably be much more light… I’m getting married this weekend!

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My posts from Metaverse Mod Squad’s blog: Community Management and Moderation Tips!

I wanted to make a shameless self promotion post and link any visitors to 2 other blog posts that I’ve written for my company: Metaverse Mod Squad. I’ve worked at MMS for just over 5 years(!) now.  Here’s my contributions to our company blog!


  1. It’s The Little Things That Gamers Love
  2. Essential Knowledge for a Mod

Enjoy!

Categories: Game Industry, Self Promotion Blog Business | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2012: The Games

So I was watching the recent TGS podcast, and they did an impromptu awards show between TotalBiscuit, Dodger, and Jessie Cox. I decided I’d throw my relatively insignificant 2 cents in using their categories as well. Enjoy!

The categories will be as follows:

  • Game of the Year, defined as “Given the most personal enjoyment
  • Surprise of the year
  • Biggest Disappointment
  • Worst Game Played

Game of the Year

I am vehemently declairing my game of the year as Crusader Kings II, by Paradox Interactive. I really have to hand it to those guys, they know how to make a strategy game. In fact, they seem to be one of the only companies left even attempting to do so! I only recently got into their ultra-complicated brand of Real-time Historical Simulation games with Sengoku late last year, which is a great intro to Paradox games by the way. I loved the extra complication over the flashy combat of Shogun 2 (Also a great game!) and it laid the basis for my eventual love of CKII. My room-mate of the time had been playing Crusader Kings 1 and the stories he would tell blew my mind. Murder, court intrigue, ravenous expansion, brother VS brother wars… it seemed way too cool to be in a video game, and especially procedurally generated. The only problem was… it looked like total crap, being as old as it was… not to mention it didn’t even run on my huge, modern monitor even after mucking about with the resolution.

So I waited a couple months and ate up the Dev blogs of Crusader Kings II like crazy. When the game finally came out… I didn’t launch it for about 3 months due to the intimidation. When I finally did…  I lost about 2 straight weeks to what I call “Maps: The game”.

Sultan.

No matter how many games I play (Or ragequit 200 years in), there’s always more to do. New nations to control. New families to lead to prosperity or ruin. And Paradox is consistently delivering appropriately priced and extremely full featured DLC/Expansions for the game in a timely manner. The game that came out in February of this year has at least doubled it’s feature set through expansions, with many of the features even added to the vanilla game in the DLC-day patch if you’re too tight walleted to drop money… and of course deep Steam sale discounts don’t hurt the wallet if you decide to wait a bit.

**Protip: Only ever buy the fluff DLC (Visual unit packs, Music additions) on Steam sale! They end up only costing you cents instead of dollars.**

Surprise of the Year

This one is easy for me: Faster Than Light. This strategy/space sim came out of absolutely nowhere for me. I never saw their kickstarter, or heard any word of mouth about it. My introduction was a “WTF is…” TotalBiscuit made a few days before launch which made me interested, but I had no idea how completely addicted I’d become to this indie, $10 game. It has random generation, a multitude of ships to unlock (Not DLC, mind you! Good ol’ unlocking! With specific requirements to get you to play the game and everything), and very pleasing art and music. Whether you’re panicking over your suffocating man-sized Preying Mantis named Matt, or monitoring 4 different weapon systems as well as timing your cloak to avoid a hailstorm of missles, Faster Than Light rarely makes any missteps. Much like Braid or Limbo of years past, FTL has become THE sleeper indie hit of 2012, and I’m so glad I’ve been involved.

Who is GM Faux?!

And I still haven’t unlocked the damned crystal cruiser… or even beaten the end boss on Normal difficulty.

Tune your intertubes here soon for the thrilling conclusion, including the worst of the worst (IMO, of course) of 2012.

– Vazzaroth

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The dicotomy of silliness

For my first post, I wanted to talk about something that’s bothered me for a long time in video games: Should they take themselves seriously?
I think this comes down to personal preferences, of course. The Call of Duty and Madden Dude-bro crowd may call anything with cell shaded graphics “For Kids”, and the most die hard “Just one more swap” puzzle game fan might turn up his nose at any game with a story because “Games are about having fun”. But really I think there is an important middle ground that serves the gamer best. Lets look at some examples, and see if the need to dial down the grimdark, or cut back on the slapstick:

  • Bulletstorm

    Not mentioned in this post: Boob size debate.

I wanted to lead with this game because it’s pretty much the poster child for over the top. Right after “Press Start”, your character is sitting in a chair, swigging a beer, and holding a gun to someone’s head. Pretty Tarantino, right? Then, just like in Samuel “Say what one more time” Jackson’s scene, there’s a  stressed out dude in a chair being interrogated by some men who seem to enjoy casual violence. Seems like a pretty tense scene, where you can’t decide between smirking at the Anti-hero’s attempts at witty dialogue or feeling bad for the man begging for his life in front of some clearly disturbed, gun toting individuals. This could be pretty heavy stuff. Then you kick him out of the airlock and your buddy starts talking about boners… Shortly after, there’s some sort of hardboiled revenge quest set up, and a few scenes where you and your friends try to launch a suicide attack on a ship, leaving them pretty screwed up. Next is a relatively srsbuisness flashback filled with story exposition. Then you’re dumped back to present day and given the tutorial explaining how shooting people in the nuts is worth extra points.

I think this game really suffers an identity crisis. It WANTS to be the over the top action shooter, but it also attempts to be a story based, “Cool tough guy shooter” in the same vein as Halo, but it doesn’t succeed at mixing those two very well. A great example of what they should have been aiming for is the Serious Sam series. The story is there, and serves as a framework, but never gets in the way of the games’ goals of being action packed and shooty. Bulletstorm ended up with this weird vibe where you were never quite sure where you would end up next. Kind of a turned upside-down version of the Only Sane Man trope, where the main characters seem to be the only batshit elements in what is a fairly serious world otherwise.

My Verdict: Pick a side, and focus, Bulletstorm.

  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (All of ’em)

The CoD: MW series serves as an interesting contrast to Bulletstorm. It’s set in the real world. It’s modern, and based around modern issues we are meant to relate to. And for the most part, it takes itself pretty seriously. It tries to tell a story, and sometimes even mixes in REAL HUMAN DRAMA© occasionally. After all, this is the first game where you play a victim of a nuclear blast, slowly dying of burns and radiation. A real stark illustration of the horrors of war and all that jazz. Then you cut to the multiplayer where there are men wearing skull facepaint running around in full sprint, wielding two sawn-off shotguns and getting 10 knife kills in as many minutes while dodging bullets and mines. Then you go to the next game in the series and it explores the ideas of whether killing innocents is worth keeping your cover with the badguys in order to save even more lives. The good news about the Cawd: Muhwuh games is that they don’t do a whole lot of ping-ponging between ridicules and dramatic. They pretty clearly separate the two between single and multiplayer. Especially highlighted in the Treyarch Call of Duty games where you can dial the crazy up to 11 in co-op and kill Nazi Zombies with a partner.

My Verdict: You done good, kid. If you want to have both, at least separate them so you don’t have to deal with depressing, emotional scenes followed by zany dialogue and undead goose steppers.

  • Team Fortress 2

And finally, my favorite. To me, TF2 is the greatest example of goof done well. This is a game of Rawket Lawnchairs, bows and arrows, shotguns galore, and slapping people in the face with questionably conscious fish. The game confines almost never try to tell a story, although they do subtly set up a (awesomely exaggerated) world around our cast of characters. This is more chalked up to Valve’s excellent talent for exposition without cutscenes than the game’s inherent silliness though. While playing, you are almost always thinking of ways to dodge incoming explosives rather than the motivation behind why two armies of infinitely respawning clones in different colored clothes are fighting over a pit of gravel. The “Meet the” videos are also a stellar example of crafting depth into a game without letting it interfere with the core gameplay.  Now, I’ll admit the silliness level has ramped up considerably over time with TF2, but it’s something the devs have embraced wholeheartedly so it seems to work pretty well, I’d say. Mix in a heaping helping of biting Comedy and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a great game. And don’t forget:

My Verdict: You may have turned away some with your antics, but you can’t please everybody. And I think you’ve done a great job pleasing everyone else.

So if you’re noticing a trend, good on you! It seems craziness and fun tend to go hand in hand, and also holding hands in a weird 3-way handshake is Multiplayer.

Guess which one is Crazyness and which one is Fun.

It seems that Multiplayer just lends itself to story-lite gameplay, and everyone can appreciate a good “OH MY GOD DID YOU JUST SEE THAT” moment, which you rarely get in dour, story driven affairs.  I can’t really see the likes of Heavy Rain or LA Noir having a multiplayer side (Although maybe co-op, that’s another entry for another time) outside of something ambient like you see in Dark Souls or the PSN game Journey. Whereas most single player games benefit from a little bit of world design, details, a cohesive story.

Any commenters have examples to the contrary?

Sincerely,

@Vazzaroth

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Birth of a Blog… I am sure that’s never been used before.

I am a clever and unique individual! Thinking up alliterating titles. Look at me go…

Anyway, I’m going to be getting around to starting a public online space to post my musings about things that hopefully other people want to hear musings about. Specifically Video Games, a bit of Nerd Culture, and of course a heaping helping of opinion pieces. And there is no way this thing is getting away without at least a few Adventure Time references somewhere. I’m still learning how this site works and, for that matter, what exactly I want to do with this blog-like device I find myself managing.

 

To begin with, I’m going to probably be toying around with a couple different names for this. So bear with me because I predict some of them are going to HORRIBLE. If you’re actually reading this, I’m open to suggestions or constructive criticism regarding name choice. And I truly cannot WAIT to compromise my personal morals and pimp my URL all over the twitters and other “social media” outlets.

So, in summary, let’s see if this project goes down on a flaming ship of apathy and laziness, like things are apt to do.

 

Yours Truely,

@Vazzaroth

Categories: Self Promotion Blog Business | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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