Gauntlet 2014

Gauntlet 2014 is a great follow-up to the original Gauntlet.. though a little on the short side.  Like the original, it’s got fast-paced action with plenty of enemies, and there’s also the addition of skill progression and the option to play with friends too.  I love the art style, too..

Gauntlet Dungeon screen

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SimCity Social

During E3, I saw mention of a new, reinvented Sim City.. with city specialisation, intelligent Sims who will react to the city you’ve planned and built, and the option to work with friends and interact with their cities or create large projects together.  It’s due in 2013.. but I already know I want this game!

In the meantime, EA have released SimCity Social on Facebook.

SimCity Social places you in charge of your own city, which evolves as you interact with it.. placing buildings and roads and interacting with them either as a good or bad Mayor.  If friends are playing, you can visit their cities and interact with them too, building up a friendly relationship or rivalry.

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ScampLAN 2

The weekend just passed was ScampLAN 2, with a couple of friends bringing their PCs round to our house for gaming and silliness 🙂

We played a lot of Dungeon Defenders.. which I had a look at last week.  This game has really grown on me over the week..

I’ve now tried out all the characters, but the one I’ve played most has been the Huntress, who specialises in traps and ranged weapons.  I felt she was slow to get off the ground with.. the traps start off with only a few charges and are soon used up.. but after gaining many levels and improving both the traps and the character’s stats, she now feels quite powerful 🙂

When you level up, you can spend your points on stats for the character or for your towers.. I’ve spread my points out between the Huntress and her traps, but another friend has put most of his points into his Monk, making him fantastic in combat but with rather weak auras.  For the characters the three of us developed over the weekend, this worked very well, as it meant the mana could be spent on building and upgrading stronger towers and traps, without getting too close to the defense unit cap.  We got as far as the Servant’s Quarters during the weekend!

Another game we had a turn at was Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising.
We tried to play this previously, but thought we might do better if we were in the same room and able to communicate a little better.  However, as in our previous attempts to play, we found barely-visible enemies were able to take us out with ease.. the game is supposed to be about realism and tactics, but if I’m approaching on my belly through trees and bushes, I don’t think it’s realistic to be shot down so quickly by people I can’t even see yet.

I also suffered from a rather random bug, which had my character float up into the air before being thrown back down again.. and of course, taking realistic fall damage.  This happened a few times, but settled down enough to complete the mission.  However, the fun was lacking for most of us, so we didn’t go back for a second mission.

In between the gaming I had a bit more of a poke around with VoxelSniper on Minecraft.
I had a failed attempt to add Zombe’s flying mod.. not quite sure what went wrong, but the game wouldn’t launch.. before I installed VoxelAir, which allows me to jump high into the air and land without damage, or hover above the ground.

You can jump rather a long way up.. and when I came down, I was surprised by the crazy number of mobs which had spawned!

I found an interesting bug with VoxelAir too.. after being killed while hovering, courtesy of a few Skeleton Archers and a lack of care, I respawned still hovering.. floating upwards in fact!  Using the “/give” command simply dropped a new feather at my feet, out of reach.. a friend also tried to give me a feather but it also landed out of reach.  In the end I used “/kill” a number of times and eventually spawned close enough to a feather for it to pick up.

Next up will be forming a nice piece of flat land for a huge project.. more later 🙂

With four people and a reasonably couch to take advantage of, there was also some console gaming.. though we found a distinct lack of co-op games allow four people on one console.  So many games boast “2-4 player co-op”, but don’t specify that this means two people on one console, and two on a second console.. annoying.  We tried Call of Duty: Black Ops.. we wanted the Nazi zombies, but only the arcade mode allowed all four of us to play.  We had a couple of runs on that, with me claiming the top spot for one run!  Red Faction: Armageddon failed us, as did Rainbow Six Vegas.. so we ended up shooting each other in Halo 3 which entertained us for a while!

Hunted: Demon’s Forge was picked up at the start of the weekend too, and we attempted some co-op in pairs.  We all found the game surprisingly hard, though Tim and Jason attempted to play without going through a tutorial first.. masochists!  I think the game would be a lot easier if you were able to carry more than one health vial each.. we also found the game punished deaths by sending us a long way back each time.  I’m looking forward to playing the game by myself at some point soon, too.

Another game which made an appearance over the weekend was Gears of War 3!
I hadn’t yet finished Gears of War 2, but the copy of #3 will be going home with Jason at the end of the week, and Tim wanted to start some co-op, so we’ve been playing through it anyway.. on hard!

So far, I’m loving it.. though noticing a few changes! The world has been destroyed by the Hammer of Dawn, and the enemies now include mutated Lambent creatures.. I’m noticing a huge change from the graphics of the original Gears of War as well, with the character models all being far more refined.  Good changes all round.. and still a great game, as far through as we’ve gotten this far! 🙂

Rivals to Steam

Update: it was apparently Valve who removed Crysis 2 from Steam, due to some disagreement over their contract..

Today I see a number of posts on the web announcing that Crysis 2 has been pulled from Steam as EA begin to push their digital distribution store, Origin.  The Star Wars game and  Alice: Madness Returns are also to be ‘Origin exclusives’.. so we can only assume that other games will follow suit.

I like Steam.

I have easy access to my games library, I get automatic updates.. the Steam overlay allows me to talk to friends, invite them to my game or join theirs, without having to stop playing or mess around trying to find a server that we can all get on.  Steam is not without problems, most notably when a new game is released and the servers just can’t cope.. so I like having a few games that don’t rely on it to run.. but that’s all I want.

I picked up Bulletstorm and Crysis 2 from the EA store because of a 50% discount, and in order to have a few games that don’t rely on Steam, and then reluctantly installed Origin.. but now I wonder how long it’ll be before these games will require Origin.  I also have Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2, bought on Steam, but if Origin doesn’t fall on its face I guess I’ll soon need to add them there too, if I want to receive updates.

My friends play these games, so I know they’ll also be forced to install and run Origin.. but what when the next publisher decides they want in on the act?  A client per publisher?  Eww.

I don’t want to run multiple clients to do the job that one is doing now.

It’s going to mean hassle adding the same people to my friends list, hoping I’ll still be able to chat and invite them to games as easily as I can now.  I don’t really want to be forced into  advertising the latest new client at my friends: “Hey, I bought a game off this company, go and sign up to their website and forum, get loads of annoying emails, download their client, add me to yet another list.. then we can play”.

I can only hope that I’ll still be able to add games to Steam as “Non-Steam games”, at least allowing me access to the overlay so I can still talk to people who refuse to install all the clients I guess I’m going to be stuck with.

What about clients that nobody else installs?  A while ago, I was introduced to Green Man Gaming, another digital retailer.  I was given a free game, which is why I consented to downloading their gaming client, Capsule.  I have launched this client only a handful of times.. I don’t think I’ve even reinstalled it since reinstalling Windows.   I’ve not even bought a single game from them despite the fact that they allow you to sell back your games for credit, and despite the fact they have offers on from time to time.. my friends are on Steam, the majority of my games are on Steam, so I find myself barely thinking about Green Man Gaming and Capsule, let alone running it.

 

An Addition to the Guild

A friend moved his Shaman over to our server tonight, to join our guild and play with us 🙂

To help him out a little, we went over to Zul’Drak with him, and through Gundrak a few times..
Not only did this give him lots of XP, it also gave me plenty of loot, which will go some way to making up for the thousands of gold I’ve spent on herbs for Inscription over the last week 😉

It was also rather good fun, and allowed me to take a proper look around the dungeon as we went, rather than having to speed through because randoms are impatient.

I also remembered that I was carrying a Blossoming Branch from the Noblegarden event..

I had kept hold of one of these so that I could surprise a friend at some point, and this just seemed like the perfect time 🙂

Bunnies can apparently still do Heroic Leap, which is quite funny to see.  They also fit in the side-car of the Mechano-Hog!

More Amnesia

I didn’t complete Amnesia at the recent i-event, despite the previous plan to play it with a friend and scare ourselves silly with it late at night.
It turned out that there were usually too many people around that I wanted to talk to, and when I did start the game, attempts by a couple of friends to make me jump while playing actually made me less scared by the game as I wasn’t so focused on it.

I loaded up my last save to find I had obviously run on without looking where I was going.. I was in a dark room with absolutely no clue where I was.  Not only did I have no idea where I was, my lantern was out of oil.. I tried to find a torch or candle to light, when I heard something behind me..

I turned and was confronted with this.

I’m only slightly ashamed to admit I screamed out loud..

Having no weapons (I believe there are none, anywhere in the game) I attempted to run away, a whimpering wreck trying to find somewhere to get away to, but still being hopelessly lost.  This hideous thing caught up with me and smacked me to death, and I realised I should probably load up an earlier save so that I at least knew where I was to start with.

This was much nicer looking.. but I know what’s coming! :'(

Homefront Multiplayer

I’ve played a few hours on Homefront’s multiplayer tonight, using the Ground Control playlist.  Ground Control is about taking control of three areas on the map and holding onto them.. after a short while the fight moves along the map with another three spots to fight over.

As none of my friends own the game, this meant playing with randoms.. and well.. there really wasn’t much team-work to be found.  Many players seemed to either find themselves a nice camping spot or just run straight into trouble, ignoring enemy drones which really need to be taken out if they’re not going to be used to mark up the whole team.

After some unsuccessful runs with the basic Assault loadout, I switched to the Sniper.
When playing Battlefield: Bad Company 2 with friends a while ago, I found sniping to be fairly successful on larger maps.. and Homefront’s maps are all a decent size.  The risk of sniping, of course, is that you get accused of camping if you sit around for longer than a few kills.. add that to my general impatience for sitting still, and I found myself best off taking a few kills and creeping forward.. hoping the enemy weren’t able to just run around the back of me.

My favourite map is possibly Suburbs, as there are plenty of buildings to hide in, although it does mean plenty of routes for the enemy to sneak along too.  I just wish I had friends in the game, so we could do more damage!  After this weekend I suspect I won’t be returning to Homefront, instead going to Battlefield because my friends are there.

There’s only room for one..

In a normal game you would be looking out for your team mates, helping them as they would be helping you.  With ‘Room for One’, those other survivors become a threat the closer you are to the end of the level..

I played this with a friend on The Parish’s Bridge level, as we already have a rather set route and plan for rushing to the end.  I won, but it felt rather a hollow victory..

I was prepared to save him up until the last stretch, but I can easily imagine that if playing with randoms you could find yourself abandoned to the first thing that grabs you, regardless of distance through the map.  I’m quite sure this means plenty of random groups not making it very far at all.

There might only be room for one in this newest mutation, but I don’t want to be alone.  Aww, I know..  This game mode feels like a lose-lose proposition to me. If I’m playing with friends I want them to survive, and don’t particularly want to leave them behind.

Next week, I believe we have ‘Headshot’.  I think this will be a bit more of a challenge, as my weapon of choice is the auto-shotty, however:  bring it on!