20 July, 2014

Keepalive: A Bunch of Stuff I Don't Care About, Naruto, Stacking, Xenoblade Chronicles

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Bunch of Stuff I Don't Care About

That's a bit harsh, but it's basically true. I finished Lifeless Planet, a game where you were supposed to be colonizing a planet full of life, but when you arrive it's a wasteland, and there are vintage Russian buildings there for some reason. It was fine but never really grabbed me.

Darkout and Windforge I played for a bit and immediately put down. I've played Terraria. I've played Minecraft. Starting at the bottom of a tech tree, mining copper and coal... no thanks. Plus both games have pretty bad visibility, Darkout because dark and Windforge because of it's attempt to give it's blocks some isometric perspective. I only ever died from falling in both.

Abyss Odyssey is a new 2D brawler by Ace Team, who did the bizarre 3D fighter Zeno Clash. The fighting in Zeno Clash was never perfect, but I remember it being better than Abyss Odyssey, where certain attacks seem to come from nowhere and the whole thing just doesn't feel like it has any weight to it.

I probably spent the most time with Reign Maker, a match 3 fantasy game. But that's mostly because it's easy to play while listening to podcasts. I'm not really a fan of match 3 games. I think the last one I was into was Wario's Woods for the NES, and that's mostly just because it's the closest Toad's been to the badass he was in Super Mario 2.

I think part of the reason I'm not being particularly patient with these games is because I finally organized my Steam list to show "backlog" games at the top. I had a little over thirty, and now I'm a bit under thirty. Some of these are games I had laying around for years and was just never in the mood for. So now they'll get played for maybe half an hour and summarily dismissed because they don't have a great feel right away. :P

NARUTO SHIPPUDEN: Ultimate Ninja STORM 3 Full Burst

I'm never writing that out again.

But speaking of great feel...

Nothing is even happening in this picture. Naruto and Sasuke are just flipping around the environment for no reason. But it makes simple maneuvering for position look flashy and delightfully absurd.

Sort of like throwing exploding clones of yourself at someone.

Or being rewarded for doing well with a golden pig statue.

Yeah. It's my kind of nonsense.

I won't give the cut scenes as high of marks. Pacing is often weak. And so far the female characters are mostly sex objects or hopelessly devoted to a male character. :\

And the lack of any tutorial also put me off initially. I had to go into practice mode and look at the poorly implemented (two moves per page) command list to figure things out.

But it's made by CyberConnect2 (who also developed Asura's Wrath) so the fighting is serviceable and the set piece battles are suitably huge and ridiculous. I'll keep playing it.


It's a cute puzzle game where you play a nesting doll that gets inside of other nesting dolls and uses their special abilities to solve puzzles.

And it's very pretty.

Xenoblade Chronicles

It's still there in the background and nice when I'm in the mood for something fairly low key.

13 July, 2014

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 13 July 2014

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (4 of 5)

I don't really care about Metal Gear in general. Heavy handed messages about militarism coupled with waiting for security guards to do their rounds is not my idea of a good time.

Luckily in Revengeance, hiding in a box like this is largely optional. Most of the time you'll be playing a Devil May Cry style action game and doing stuff like this:

Raiden has just sliced an enemy in half, exposing his blue glowing spine full of delicious health and energy. Why wouldn't a blow that slices the rest of a battle cyborg in half slice the spine in half? Because video games.

Here we see Raiden running from a helicopter, the natural enemy of most video game characters.

And here we see him slicing it into pieces. Yep. Slicing helicopters into pieces with a sword.

340 pieces is my personal best.

This is now and forever shall be my favorite Metal Gear game.

06 July, 2014

Keepalive: Redshirt, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified, Garry's Mod, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 6 July 2014


I thought there would be more creative writing to come out of Redshirt. I certainly enjoyed writing that previous post. Trying to explain the actions of a character I was playing as though she was a real person and not just me pressing buttons was surprisingly rewarding. But the truth was that after that first session, I pretty much gave up on romance. I still had some friends to hang out with. But they died on away missions and were replaced with friends in higher positions who could help me get promoted.

In the end I had my tray table up and my seat back in the full upright position.

Generally speaking I can't recommend the game. I got messages from characters who had died on away missions. The scroll wheel didn't work except in weird sections of some windows which made navigating the interface a pain. I seemed to get random stat bonuses and penalties for no reason at times. But it gave me one good creative writing project.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Here we see a picture of the most important character in The Bureau.

Here is a close up.

I bought The Bureau to wear a fedora and shoot aliens. I think the designers knew that at some level because the last thing the main character does before the player takes control is put on that hat.

There are even mechanics for the hat getting blown off your head by nearby explosions. And you can go recover said hat. No hat left behind!

Unfortunately there comes a point, fairly early on, where you switch to a special forces sweater and can't wear the hat any more, even though it's still sitting in your office, taunting you.


As for the rest of the game, it's middling. I turned it down to easy because I got tired of having to go revive my idiotic AI companions. There's a decent twist near the end and a decision that you don't know the ramifications of until it's too late. But I won't miss this one if there's no sequel.

Garry's Mod

Chris and I decided to muck about with Garry's Mod a tiny bit. Here we see Chris, who bolted a seat to the inside of a bath tub, taking a ride as I carry him around with my physics gun.

We later attached rockets to tubs and skidded hither and yon. The craziest part was Chris building a basket and flying us around by lifting it with the physics gun while we were standing inside it.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

That used to be a hatchback. But using Revengeance's slicing physics, it is now rubble. Basically Revengeance is a stylish action game with slicing. It's delightful so far and makes me wish Bayonetta (which I suspect uses the same engine) would also make it to PC. I tried to play Bayonetta on the 360, but after playing DMC4 and the DMC reboot at 1080 and 60fps, Bayonetta felt blurry and clunky.

I suppose fighting a Revengeance boss that uses a spear made out of robot arms will have to be crazy enough... for now.

This is mostly a game for fans of the genre (me) and Metal Gear completionists (absolutely not me). The game doesn't mind killing the player early on and doesn't explain as much of the mechanics as it probably should, so I suspect many people wouldn't enjoy it. At some level it's trial and error, but there's enough awesome stuff so far that I'm willing to forgive.