Adam the Artist
I just finished Mass Effect 2, and was scratching my head over what I played before that. Then it hit me: Skyward Sword. It’s not often I forget a 20 hour game, but this one never really grabbed me. It had a lot of clever ideas, but I thought it was just okay for a Zelda game. I never knew flying could get so boring.
Mass Effect 2, which I’m incredibly late getting around to, has the best final battle I can ever remember playing in a game. You have all these choices, and if you choose wrong your friends die. It builds a real tension as you make your way through the mission, one that isn’t usually there. No one’s afraid of dying in a game; you just restart at a checkpoint and try again. But I was afraid of choosing wrong and screwing up the story. Story consequences. I like that. I’ll be picking up the third one in March fa sho.
All I’m playing on iOS is the Outwitters beta. I’ve been playing this thing forever, and I still get excited to check my turns. I’m proud we made this.
Alex the Codesmith
It’s around the holidays I tend to get involved in more games than my usual starcraft 2 and battlefield 3 affairs. I think a large portion of my childhood was dedicated to Tribes. So when I heard Tribes:Ascend was coming out I was all over it. There’s currently a beta going on that I’m playing with a few friends.
The game is shaping up to be a really solid tribes game. Despite their design choices for more diverse classes and loadouts the game still feels like a more robust version of Tribes: LT. LT was a mod of previous tribes where loadouts were restricted to light classes only, and as a result the CTF game had a very team-deathmatchy feel to it with a flag thrown in. It had the positive effect of allowing a shrinking community to still have intense close matches, but the game felt more shallow because the pool of players that specialized in certain niche roles were harder to find. I haven’t played in any high level scrims or anything in Tribes Ascend, but from the pubs I have played in, the game does seem to share a certain feel with LT. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I do kind of miss the whole ‘heavy offense’ aspect of the game. It was a secondary objective to keep the enemy base down, and it ultimately led to more flag captures. It was crippling when you lost your generators, and probably a bit too harsh in this mainstream game design climate. But now looking at their design choices, they really are advocating fun pub play on both sides (destroying the enemy base is less crippling, turret placements are easy to destroy with tactical strikes, etc). Although the result is your actions have less of a lasting impact on the game at hand. There were certainly games in the Tribes of old where you spent 15 minutes screaming and crying because the enemy has your base so thoroughly owned you could literally not do anything constructive, so maybe it was for the better. It certainly made competitive play extremely enjoyable though.
Another game on my radar is Assassin’s Creed: Revelations. I’ve only played a few hours in, but I’m liking it so far. Although, having played every Assassin’s Creed game before it, I’m starting to sense my interest is waning. And it’s certainly not waning because the game isn’t as good as the previous ones. It’s again, simply a matter of having more engaging games to play in the time I do have to play them. Maybe after Outwitters is done I’ll marathon this one through.
The last ‘new’ game I’m checking out is the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. This thing is massive in every sense of the word. It excels in giving the sense of atmosphere one expects in an epic Star Wars game. But the finer points are lost. Each class has an extensive single player campaign you play through, fully-voice acted Mass Effect 2 style, but the fidelity of it is pretty low compared to a focused, dedicated single player game. It’s not often I play a game to ‘escape’ or immerse myself in a world, but SWTOR can certainly fit the bill when I do have those cravings, despite it’s lackluster gameplay mechanics.
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