17 January, 2010

Keepalive: Street Fighter 4, Dark Void, Evil Genius, Fallen Earth

written by Blain Newport on Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm overloading this with everything I've been playing. Just skip to the games you care about, or just look at the pictures if you don't care about any of them.

I bought Street Fighter 4 during the Steam sale, mostly just as a way of saying "Hey Capcom. I like that your console ports don't suck so much that I'll even drop a few bucks on a game I have no intention of playing. I played three fights with Dan on easy and promptly forgot about it. I may eventually go back to finish it with Dan because I love seeing his silly storylines.

I checked out the PC demo for Dark Void (published by Capcom, but made by O2Tight). At first it was pretty terrible, as it only gave me Xbox controller prompts, but once I unplugged my gamepad, it was only kind of wonky. Using the mouse to fly instead of a thumbstick is pretty awkward. I didn't have nearly as much fun as I did with the PAX demo.

My brother bought me Evil Genius. The game has lots of character.

Here is my evil genius laughing as a secret agent is spun around in a mixing bowl. Two Playboys are eating in the cafeteria, being served by a biochemist in a hazmat suit and chef hat. Meanwhile some of my minions are admiring an enemy agent encased in ice, spoils from a long past caper.

Here a Bruce Lee wannabe is about to be dipped into a vat of chemicals. The spiffy floor reflections help with that 60s spy movie chic, and the cartoony style helps compensate for the low polygon count.

There are lots of cute animations that don't relate to torture. Minions hold their ears when they're blasting out new rooms. Valets confuse enemy agents by rushing up to them as though something is wrong with their attire, spinning them around and brushing them off to keep them distracted. But now that I've unlocked all the minions, it's falling into a repetitive pattern. I pull off a caper. I repel the retaliatory attack. Repeat. Maybe I should move to a second, larger island and start messing around more with traps.

I finally used my ten day trial of the post apocalyptic MMO Fallen Earth. The default graphics settings made a horrific first impression. Once I tweaked them, it still looked bad, but I could believe it was released in the last decade.

The frame rate bogs down in town, what with all the horses, ATVs and other mounts parked outside the bank.

This is my completely full bank vault. The game has bazillions of crafting recipes to learn. There's something satisfying about hunting and scavenging to make all your own gear. But it's mostly busy work, and the combat is nothing to write home about. I can't imagine why anyone would pay a monthly fee to do busy work, especially when there are free MMOs and Facebook games that provide the same thing, and Fallout 3 looks, plays, and has better stories than Fallen Earth.

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