In Between Posts, October 30, 2011

Still no Batman: Arkham City review, but it’s coming! My time was mostly devoted to school last week. I finished up a month long assignment dealing with the different accounting cycles a business goes through and it was a doozy. The day before it was due I worked on it no less than six hours, plus another three the day it was due and considering all the work I’d done on it prior to then, I probably spent thirty hours completing it. It got done.

I played a good deal more of Arkham City. I ‘m nearly finished with the side quests but I still have a lot of Riddler related stuff to do. Add in the challenge rooms and I still have a bunch to do.

I did get a little time in with Front Mission but not enough to mention it, other than saying I played it of course. That’s everything I suppose. Now’s a good time to finish my Arkham City review.

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Games I’ll Potentially Play This Halloween

When I was bored at work earlier today I realized my only obligation on Halloween this year is school, and that’s only until noon. Seeing how I live in a rural area and I don’t get trick-or-treaters, I’ll have the rest of the evening to myself, and probably some friends. Naturally, I began concocting a list of Halloween related games I could potentially play.

The first on my list, and one I will definitely play is Batman: Arkham City. Primarily because Calender Man hinted that I should visit him on Halloween, but also because dressing up as a superhero is commonplace on Halloween.

Bloodrayne. Maybe it’s time to revisit Bloodrayne: Betrayal.

Castlevania. I’ll probably have nothing better to do on Halloween so I might as well play a game in this great series and slay Dracula.

Condemned: Criminal Origins. A really good game.

Costume Quest. I actually don’t have this, but it’s onlya download away. This role-playing game came out last October and features a group of children trick-or treating. A solid title from the well-regarded studio Double Fine Productions.

Dracula Unleashed. Or perhaps any other “spooky” game on the Sega CD like Night Trap, Mansion of the Hidden Souls, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem. I’ve always wanted to play this game and this is the perfect excuse to pick it up.

Fester’s Quest. This NES game has players controlling Uncle Fester from the TV show The Addams Family. Scary indeed.

Geist. This poor GameCube first-person shooter might just be at the right place at the right time this Halloween.

Grabbed by the Ghoulies. More ghosts?

Illbleed. This Dreamcast game seems really strange.

Juggernaut. Speaking of strange, this PlayStation adventure game is off the charts.

Left 4 Dead. What list of Halloween related video games would be complete without Left 4 Dead, or any other game featuring zombies.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers. Playing the full-motion video Sega CD game would remind of my youth in the 1990s, and it’d be the perfect excuse to write about one of my favorite Sega CD games.

Overblood. This Resident Evil clone has a soft spot in my heart, just like another spooky PlayStation video game: Space Griffon VF-9.

Resident Evil. Any game from this survival-horror series would be right at home on Halloween.

Shadowgate. A spooky point-and-click adventure game perhaps?

The Simpsons: Night of the Living Treehouse of Horror. I received this poor Game Boy Color platformer for my birthday one year and never progressed far in it.

The Thing. I did just see the new movie.

TimeSplitters: Future Perfect. One of my favorite levels from this game was a horror themed mansion.

Honorable Mentions:

Alone in the Dark
Darkstalkers
Dead Head Fred
Death Jr. 
Friday the 13th
House of the Dead
The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie’s Revenge/The Pumpkin King
Zombies Ate My Neighbors 

Anyone else planning something similar? What titles did I forget about?

Sideway: New York – Demo Impressions

I need to play Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.

So I wrote about Eufloria yesterday and the thing I’ll likely remember most about it is its minimalist art style. Directly after playing the demo for Eurfloria I tried the demo for Sideway: New York and its art style will probably be the thing I remember most about it, although it’s a very different art style.

For some reason the character I played as was turned into graffiti art. In this state, he was confined to moving along the sides of buildings as he searched for a way back to his normal self. Confined as he was, movement was limited to a 2D plane, although I could walk on any surface I could get to.

As you can see here, dude is on a rooftop.

Progressing between different walls and buildings was very cool to watch. As long as there wasn’t something hindering my path, like a rain gutter, I could walk to different sides of a building, roof included. When I did this the camera would swing around and revert to a view from the side. Being able to walk like this also added a few puzzles based around gravity, thanks to multiple ways to get onto some surfaces.

I came across a few different types of collectibles but didn’t pay much attention to what they were for. There were also enemies and this brought to light a problem I had with Sideway: New York. I didn’t like the amount of health my dude had; he would die very quickly. Another thing, because of the art style, it was sometimes hard to decipher what I was approaching. There was graffiti all around me, and unfortunately, the enemies and obstacles resembled non-interactive art when they were stationary.

This dude's a different type of pusher.

Those are minor gripes though; I could’ve taken it slower and paid more attention to my surroundings. I think Sideway: New York is a styling platformer. It looks really good in motion and the hip-hop soundtrack matched the game well. Sideway: New York was developed by Canadian based Playbrains and published by Sony Online Entertainment. It was released on PSN on October 11, 2011.

Links:

Sideway: New York
Playbrains
Sony Online Entertainment

Eufloria – Demo Impressions

Peach Nehi is pretty good.

Originally released on the PC in 2009, Eufloria is a real-time strategy video game developed by Alex May and Rudolf Kremers, with Brian Grainger composing the soundtrack. I’m writing about it now because it was published on PSN earlier in the month by Omni Systems Limited. Eufloria’s visuals and soundtrack are minimalist and relaxing, contrasting the seemingly violent nature of the gameplay. I controlled seedlings and moved them from asteroid to asteroid conquering them and any enemies in my way. After a little research however (see: Wikipedia) I found out the game is based on a scientific theory of planting trees in space.

A broad look at a stage.

I played the demo for Eufloria and was immediately struck by the art design. All that was noticeable was a few round asteroids populated by small red flying seedlings and a tree or two. This was all set on fluorescent light bulb-like background, not space. The soundtrack gelled with the art design; it was sparse and calming with an occasional pickup in tempo and volume.

There were a handful of stages in the demo and I always began with at least one asteroid under my control already. My objective was to branch out and spread my seedlings far and wide. To get more seedlings I planted trees on the asteroids, which required ten seedlings, but these trees produced seedlings. These stages contained at most about ten asteroids so it wasn’t tough work, I’d just amass a large cadre of seedlings and move them around.

I did encounter enemies in the form of diseases. They looked just like my seedlings, only gray. They operated the same way so they had asteroids under their control to. To overcome my enemies I’d gather a large group of seedlings and overwhelm them by sheer number. This was a simple solution but it didn’t require much strategy. The final stage in the demo was tougher and led me to believe I wouldn’t always be able to win by numbers. Something I didn’t consider was the stats of each asteroid. They had unique strengths revolving around energy, strength, and speed.

This asteroid has a lot of activity.

It wasn’t hard to grasp what I needed to do in Eufloria so I was dismayed by how slowly the game moved, even with the speedup button enabled. Then again, I didn’t implement much strategy, opting to steamroll my enemies. That probably wouldn’t be a viable solution for the entirety of Eufloria, hopefully at least. I was impressed with the relaxed nature of the visuals and the soundtrack, and I enjoyed the simple strategy gameplay, but I’ve had my fill of Eufloria.

Links:

Eufloria
Rudolf Kremers
Omni Systems Limited

In Between Posts, October 23, 2011

Man is Batman: Arkham City good. I plan on writing a review this week but the contents are pretty much going to be “man is Batman: Arkhamy City good”. Besides my limited work obligations during the week and my limited schoolwork thanks to fall break, I dedicated whatever time I had to Arkham City, and I completed it last week, but I’m going to play through it again thanks to the new game plus feature. Besides that, there are so many Riddler-related items I have left to track down and I plan on completing 100% of the game. Lastly, there is a mode dedicated to challenge rooms (fighting dudes and stealthily taking out dudes) that I haven’t sunk a ton of time into yet.

Along with the demos I wrote about, Batman: Arkham City was pretty much it. I played a little bit more of Front Mission but that just got overshadowed this week.

Need for Speed: The Run – Demo Impressions

Need for Speed: The Subtitle

It’s been ages since I’ve played a Need for Speed game, Need for Speed: Carbon from 2006 was the last one I played through. Although I’ve been absent from the series for half a decade, I’ve kept informed and like some of the ideas Electronic Arts has implemented. Most notably, I think the autolog feature, which compares your friend’s scores immediately after a race, is quite cool. The series has diversified itself over the past few years, with EA creating a simulation style offshoot, Shift, while continuing to release a more traditional Need for Speed experience.

The upcoming Need for Speed: The Run, falls into the latter category. Portraying a cannonball run sort of race, the main character in the game wants to receive the huge payout for winning. He has to race from San Francisco to New York City and the thought of a video game around this concept is very appealing to me.

A small portion of the game will take place on-foot. Huh?

I played the demo which consisted of two races. The first was in the deserts of Nevada and tasked me with passing ten opponents before the end of the race. I failed the first time, but grew more accustomed to the game my second time. I had two choices for a car, a Lamborghini or a Porsche; preferring the stats of the Lamborghini I chose it.

The second race took place in the snowy mountains of Colorado. It was just me and another racer in this stage and it was easy to see why. The road was covered in snow and ice, resembling a racetrack for snowboarders rather than racecar drivers. The people shooting flares into the mountainside creating avalanches didn’t help the situation either. It was exhilarating to slide around at one hundred-plus miles per hour and dodge falling debris nonetheless.

Gotta make it to that tunnel before the avalanche blocks it.

Both races were fun but I really liked the over-the-top nature of the second race. The concept of a cannonball run race video game seems like a no-brainer and I wonder if this is the first example. I’m intrigued by the concept and want to see where the races take place. Need for Speed: The Run was developed by EA Black Box and will be published by EA on November 15, 2011 for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. Different versions of the game were also developed for the Wii, 3DS, and iOS platforms.

Links:

Need for Speed: The Run
Electronic Arts

StarDrone – Demo Impressions

StarDrone is also available on the PC, and maybe the iPad and Mac.

A self-described action/puzzle video game, StarDrone was released last week on PlayStation Network. StarDrone was developed in Ukraine by Beatshapers and published by TastyPlay.com. I don’t think the game is worth the eight dollar asking price; then again, you can download it on the PC for three dollars.

StarDrone presented ten stages for me to play through in the demo. I controlled an orb that floated through space randomly but I could “attach” myself to other orbs’ gravity and propel myself in other directions by circling them and letting go.

Set on top of a backdrop of stars, each stage was a confined area that was full of orbs and collectibles. My objective varied between the stages, but they all revolved around collecting something. I navigated around each stage collecting what I needed to and it was pretty easy, although my feats were never good enough to be granted anything better than a silver medal. Towards the end I was introduced to enemies and walls with spikes. The enemies weren’t troublesome, but the spikes turned one stage in particular into a challenging test of timing.

So what's going on here?

I wasn’t too impressed with StarDrone. The stage design was interesting; I didn’t feel like I was traveling the same path twice, then again, collecting objects didn’t present much of a challenge and I found the game boring. StarDrone supports the PlayStation Move so that’s cool I guess, but I’m indifferent about the game.

Links:

StarDrone
Beatshapers
TastyPlay.com