The Binding of Isaac/The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb
Remember how cool Legend of Zelda was when you were just a dumb little babby? And how scary basements were? Then if you grew up in a Christian household, you’ve got quite a background for The Binding of Isaac to flashback at you. The combat takes some getting used to, but eventually you can get the hang of it, and with some good item drops, become a true monster to be feared.
If you missed Zelda, were scared of nothing, and weren’t exposed to religion growing up, Isaac is a respectable place to work back from should you want to experience something close to an interesting, flavorful life.
Dungeons of Dredmor
If the jokes in Dungeons of Dredmor don’t first slay you, the monsters surely will. No kidding, Dungeons is funny and incredibly difficult, but the RPG system is good and the turn-based combat gives you just enough hope to think that maybe, one day, you can kill all those monsters on the screen that were behind the door you just lock-picked.
The first Guild Wars 2 beta weekend event is done, and here are my thoughts after spending an obscene amount of time playing this weekend.
Structured PvP feels like a misnomer, as it’s really hard to tell just what this style of play is trying to achieve. There are capture points and per-map gimmick mechanics like NPCs or trebuchets. The capture mode may be simple for an audience to grasp, but it wasn’t fun to play; structured PvP tries to borrow elements like how players fight each other from Dota without any real thought. Elite skills that will maybe be used every couple minutes or so are interesting in longer games that may last 30 or more minutes, but in a condensed 15 minute gameplay mode where the losers don’t have anything at stake in the fight beyond a 15 second respawn this concept doesn’t hold up as well. Resource management is a key to having fun in any competitive game or sport, be it actual resources from a RTS or weapon and power-up spawns from the most simple FPS; elite skills alone won’t cover up the lack of any other resources to be used and managed in GW2 structured PvP.
Unlike structured PvP, World vs. World is complex and forces players to make interesting choices that will have lasting repercussions; it’s not the system’s fault that most of the time people will just swarm an objective with the least amount of resistance and trade losable objectives. WvW suffers from being too big, which isn’t a problem per se as long as players are having fun, but something at a smaller scale with the same complexity of the resource mechanics and multiple ways to attack and harass the opposing teams with a decisive victory after a period of time (30-60 minutes) might be a good replacement or complement to structured PvP.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to play Guild Wars 2 (GW2) multiple times at trade-shows so when ArenaNet & NCsoft started a pre-purchase beta invite program not putting the money down to get in wasn’t even up for consideration. The first of an undetermined number of beta weekend events for pre-purchasers like myself is starting up on Friday, April 27th. I have some ideas of how I want to approach this period, consisting of the following activities:
Trying out races and classes that I wouldn’t normally play.
Given that anything achieved in the betas will be wiped from existence there’s no real use getting too attached to any characters created. I am particularly drawn to the ranger, mesmer, and thief professions and imagine I will be playing those at launch so I’d like to play as some of the ones I would otherwise steer clear of, notably the warrior and guardian classes. Throw some furry charr action in there and I should be getting a very different taste than what I’d prefer to invest in.
This article was written as a contribution for “The First Ever SMPS.Net Games of the Year 2011 Thing” which you should really go and check out for a broad range of well-written lists covering many games, old and new. This article has had a typo corrected, screenshot captions added, and uses some different screenshots than it originally included, as well as a link to new a video of me playing Dark Souls.
A Possible Glimpse of Things to Come
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has great references sprinkled everywhere, rewarding exploration.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn’t quite live up to the original game, but it was a respectable, thoughtful effort. While boss fights fell flat, the hacking, sneaking, and upgrading of abilities made for an enjoyable experience that could be a glimpse of bright, promising future for the franchise and gamers alike.
A non-tea-bag taunt in Monday Night Combat.
To say that Monday Night Combat is an intelligent game is an understatement as it mixed personality and gameplay to create a fun, balanced, and unique competitive multi-player game. Using sound to balance an invisibility cloak, or rewarding players for doing a scripted, non-offensive taunt to earn some money instead of tea-bagging are ideas that will hopefully permeate game design in the coming years.
Well, I wanted to get my thoughts on Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime 2011 wrapped up and on paper in a timely manner, but then Deus Ex, Space Pirates and Zombies, and real life interfered. My apologies are offered in advance for the bad photography which may be blamed on little practice and no training of any kind.
Let’s start with the game demos, leading off with my game of show:
A sample of the improved writing I witnessed in Torchlight 2.
Bonus points for Runic's hand-sanitizer at each demo station.
Runic had an understated booth that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved on Friday. Toydonut and I were able to get into relatively short lines and were playing in equally short order. Torchlight 2 is everything Runic said it would be, i.e. Torchlight with co-op. Playing as an Outlander I was able to accept a quest (complete with well-written flavor text) to kill a boss monster, team up with a couple other demoers, and then go down into a two-level dungeon and kill said boss in the span of 15 minutes. The addition of a skillbar and UI improvements made killing fodder hordes feel easier than ever. As a demo, Torchlight 2 came off as being incredibly well-thought out and the concentrated approach it took to represent its gameplay distinguished it from anything else on the floor that I experienced. All of this with an announced price-point of $20, the reveal of the final class (Embermage), and a launch date before year’s end make Torchlight 2 the game to get most excited about for later this year.