25 May, 2014

Keepalive: EDF 2025, Orcs Must Die 2, The Last Story, Wolfenstein (2009)

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 25 May 2014

EDF 2025

The game is still fun enough to experiment with that I keep firing it up. There are still weapons I haven't tried, which is fairly insane.

Orcs Must Die 2

Chris and I finished the main campaign. I may have gone a little trap happy at times.

The Last Story

Listening to Garnett talk about it on the latest John and Garnett: First for Gamers Podcast, I decided to pick up The Last Story, a Japanese RPG for the Wii. Here's a bit of video to give you the gist.

It's sort of an RPG and sort of a third person action game. I haven't really kept up with RPGs at all. They take too long. But I'm enjoying this enough that I've already picked up The Last Remnant and am leaning toward trying out Dragon Age at some point. The fact that the second Dragon Age didn't pick up the story from the first, and was widely reviled for being a tarted up budget game in full price clothing kept me away from the series.

Also the demo for DA2 was kind of a slog. I'm liking the combat in The Last Story much more.

Wolfenstein (2009)

Since I'm not playing the new Wolfenstein, I thought I'd go play the next most recent one again. I really like that game. The DooM 3 engine had issues, but the physics made for some delightfully hectic explosions.

There's well over two dozen bits of debris bouncing around that room. It's pretty great.

And while I know Conan answered the question "what is best in life" differently, I suspect it's because kiping Nazi gold wasn't a thing yet.

I may occasionally be heard to exclaim Nazi Gooooold, like a Spanish soccer announcer as I loot. Part of my fondness may also come from this web comic.

Unfortunately, there was some sort of rights snafu with the game and no one can buy a new copy any more. I know a lot of people didn't like the 2009 game because it didn't provide multiplayer remotely on par with Return to Castle Wolfenstein, but I think it's a fine romp.

Also, while I do think there were some kind of shenanigans going on with the Steam reviews for the new Wolfenstein game, I will eventually play it. I'll just wait for a deeper discount than I would have otherwise. Call it the bad PR penalty.

Pre E3

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 25 May 2014

Microsoft Forced to Abandon Nonsense

Microsoft released a lot of bad news recently so that by the time E3 coverage started up, the only news left would be good. In Microsoft's world, bad news is actually nice for consumers.

Netflix and other services used to be locked behind subscribing to Xbox Live. Yep. You had to pay a subscription to take advantage of a subscription you were already paying for. As of June 6th, that's gone, and the Xbox One will finally have caught up to the Nintendo Wii. :P

The other piece of bad news is that they will now sell the Xbox without Kinect for $400. This means that their slightly inferior hardware will now only cost the same amount as a PS4, not $100 more. They have removed every differentiator they had, and their system is less powerful.

Microsoft has never won a console generation. They won North America in the last gen, but they still lost to Sony worldwide. Yet somehow they thought they were in a position to dictate terms to consumers. I'm glad they got humbled. I don't want them out of the race, because nobody wins when a single manufacturer, regardless of who, is in the driver's seat. But Microsoft was hosing customers by double charging for access to video and trying to hose customers on used games and on a peripheral they had no plan to make worthwhile. They deserved this.

And now they'll have to seriously revamp the system's interface because they assumed people would always use voice commands and left it a terrible rat's nest. They deserved this.

Wii Online Dead

As of May 20th, only games that made you pay for online will work on the Wii. I don't have a list of which titles have paid multiplayer, but basically it's killed multi for just about everything anyone might care about: Mario Kart, Monster Hunter, Smash Bros. They're all dead.

Why would Nintendo do this now? Because Mario Kart for the Wii U comes out May 30th. Mario Kart always moves hardware and now Nintendo is pulling an even worse move than EA. At least EA would wait until the next iteration was out before killing the servers of the old one. But EA wasn't desperate to move hardware like Nintendo is.

Much like Microsoft, Nintendo brought nothing substantial to this generation.

But at least they tried.

Sony Parent Company Issues

Sony Entertainment has posted losses for six of the last seven years. And some investors want it broken off from the rest of the company. I don't really know what this means for the games business, but it's a huge distraction, and that's never helpful.

But they've got the best indie support, VR on the way, and they haven't been slipping on banana peels like their competitors seem to be.

Wrap Up

According to Arthur Gies on the latest Rebel FM podcast, gamers will have a lot to play this holiday season. It'll take something amazing to reverse the larger trends, but one killer app can make all the difference.

E3 officially starts June 10th.

20 May, 2014

Bethesda Needs a Boycott

written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Bethesda is deleting negative reviews for Wolfenstein: The New Order on Steam

The game has significant bugs, but instead of owning them, Bethesda has been deleting negative reviews for the game. How do I know? Steam lets users rate negative reviews as helpful or unhelpful. The most helpful positive reviews have hundreds up upvotes. The most helpful negative reviews on the site have 1 or zero votes each. Knowing that a game doesn't run is very helpful, so there's no way this is legit. People are posting their system specs and saying exactly where they're having performance issues / crashes. There is no way this is legit.

I know they're not the greatest games, but I actually enjoyed the last Wolfenstein. I was thinking of buying this one. But that seems like a long time ago now.

[EDIT: I removed the accusation that fighting over the review probably took down store.steampowered.com. I don't really know that. It just happened at the same time and I was mad.]

18 May, 2014

Keepalive: (Hammerwatch, The Real Texas, The Usual Suspects)

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 18 May 2014


Aw. Isn't it cute? Look at duh widdle bats!

I just wish there was more to it. Hammerwatch was pretty dull, even on my first play where I accidentally warped three levels ahead and didn't know it.

The Real Texas

The Real Texas is a charming adventure / action game with a silly, blocky style.

I like the idea of it, but the traversal gets fairly tedious and some of the puzzles are a bit opaque. If there'd been a walkthrough I probably would have finished it.

The Usual Suspects

I haven't been playing much EDF 2025. Terraria's safe, for now. I've also finally reached the point where I lose a fair amount. It's usually just a matter of picking the right tools for the job at hand.

I found a Ranger weapon that's pretty fabulous and look forward to finding a use for it. I'm also using one of the Air Raider's robot suits to good effect lately, so they're not all crap. :)

Chris and I continued on with Orcs Must Die 2. I found out that I don't like the blade staff, but am pretty fond of the flame bracers. Also we got an award for one of the levels that was pretty amusing.

Dawwww. So sweet!

12 May, 2014

Keepalive: (Hearthstone, EDF 2025, Orcs Must Die 2)

written by Blain Newport on Monday, 12 May 2014

Current Gaming

I haven't been playing a lot this week. I tried playing some more Hearthstone on Saturday. It seemed like a good low impact thing to do while listening to podcasts. But I got stung again by the computer stomping me just when I'd gotten some hope by drawing and immediately playing a card I'd never seen before. I uninstalled. I I'll try Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 for my digital knitting this week.

I maybe averaged one level of EDF 2025 a day over the week. The unlocks slowed down, which cooled my interest, which made the unlocks slow down more. I may wait until co-op to pick it back up again. I'm torn whether to try co-op on normal or hard difficulty. Normal is probably more sensible, but there are some great weapons you don't see until hard.

Chris and I played some more Orcs Must Die 2 on Wednesday. We tried our hand at Endless Mode, and while we only survived fourteen waves I think we each got eight or nine skulls, which probably makes it the most efficient use of ones time for upgrading. Also the trinket that summons bone golems is pretty boss (at least until the armored ogres start showing up at which point only kiting is boss).

I took a quick peek at Awesomenauts, since it came in the Humble Co-op Bundle. Meh. Damage spongey 2D combat may be more tactical, but it's also less exciting.

Upcoming Gaming

I think I'll be taking it easy this week. I might go back to Dungeon Keeper 1 for a bit, or take a look at a couple of side scrollers from the co-op bundle (Aces Wild and Rocketbirds).

Gaming News

Epic Games has been undergoing big changes. First they drastically lowered the price of Unreal Engine 4 licensing to compete with Unity. Now they've announced that Unreal Tournament 4 will be released as a free game, where users can build and sell content. Epic will take a cut of those sales, which ideally will pay for their development efforts. I wish them luck. Finding the balance between providing enough content to get people hooked on the game, but not so much that they aren't interested in buying more is a fine line to walk.

06 May, 2014

The Humble Bundle Store Sale

written by Blain Newport on Tuesday, 6 May 2014

The Humble Bundle Store is having a Steam style multi-day sale. I bit on Shadowrun Returns and Outlast for $5 each.

Don't worry though. I'm still only playing EDF 2025.

04 May, 2014

Keepalive: Ant Simulator, Orcs Must Die 2, EDF 2025

written by Blain Newport on Sunday, 04 May 2014

Ant Simulator 2014

I don't know what it is with silly animal simulators. But I ran around as an ant for a bit. I found that my Spotify playlist largely determined the texture of the experience, given that Ant Simulator 2014 doesn't give the player anything to do but move so far. For the record I was listening to 3iche by Jbara and Que Vuex Tu - Madeon Remix by Yelle. Also, in lieu of a queen, the game currently has a giant gold ant inside the ant hill, leading me to do this.

Orcs Must Die 2

Chris and I co-oped some OMD2 last week. We may have gone a bit overboard on our defender heavy strategy.

Unleash the horde indeed.


Bungie (the company that made Halo for Microsoft, among other things) is finally previewing their upcoming franchise Destiny. There's been a bunch of argument online as to whether the game looks "next-gen" or not. I don't really care. It's an FPS not coming to PC.

But I did very much enjoy the leery eye enthusiast press person Colin Campbell was giving to one of the Bungie folks he interviewed. (I don't think he meant to. It was just a side effect of the angles of the seating arrangement.)

EDF 2025

EDF continues to entertain. I've been playing through again on hard. There are fairly amazing weapons that you never get to see if you only play through the game on normal. I don't want to spoil anything for Chris, but suffice it to say that for one glorious level, my Air Raider got to be all he could be.

Then he had to go into the tunnel maps where he couldn't do any of those awesome things. :P

I've been playing through each level with all four classes. It's interesting to see the difference in approaches. The relatively conventional shooting of my Ranger contrasts the aerial close and smash play of my Wing Diver which contrasts the sometimes bizarre mix of vehicles, air strikes, and turrets of my Air Raider which contrasts my pure offense dual wielding Fencer.

According to the in game clock, I will soon have played more EDF 2025 than Fallout 3 or Champions Online. Look out Terraria. You're next.