Friday, October 28, 2011

Wrath of Heroes: So, My Wrath Then

"You have been asking whether you can post about your beta impressions. We asked, and here is the official statement:

At this time, we are no longer enforcing the confidentiality provisions set forth in the Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes Beta Agreement. Players in the beta are still bound by all other aspects of the Beta Agreement to which they agreed when they signed up and installed the game.  

So, it ‘s good news! We look forward to your videos, blogs, or other impressions from the beta!"
 So says the Wrath of Heroes Facebook page. So be it then.

These impressions are ALL from WELL before today and WELL before the game is released.

I was there the second time the closed Beta opened it's flood gates, me and a bunch of people I know, all of them WAR vets. Funnily enough, I haven't seen them there since. I haven't asked why, partly because it's none of my business but mostly because I don't care.

Wrath of Heroes is, in a shell casing, WAR scenarios non-stop. If you played WAR but never got much into closed oRvR then WoH isn't for you. Until I (unwillingly) gave the Beta a rest, which was roughly a month ago, there was no progression system whatsoever. There was a level indicator but there was nothing you gained from it and you couldn't rub that shameful excuse for an epeen on anybody's face. There was a Tactics screen with a "Coming Soon" over it so I'm guessing that's what you'll end up spending your money on. I sincerely hope that the first things they introduce aren't new costumes though. That would surely turn me right around shouting "go suck sick donkey cock" over my shoulder.

The lack of a progression system wasn't a problem for me, though, and it certainly didn't stop me having a blast with the game. Because I did, I had loads of fun with it. The hours would fly by as I laughed manically at the corpses of foes. Good times. As it stood, the outcome of the game depended solely on the wits and skill of the people playing it and not on how long they'd had to grind for their awesomely shaped bow and exquisitely sharp arrows.

So what's it like? Well, I never played LoL so I can't compare but I've heard say it's LoLish. Let's take Mourkain Temple as an example. At start you choose which hero you would like to start with. The choices range from Shadow Warrior and Sorcerer for ranged dps to things like Witch Elf, Slayer and "Vampire Chick" as melee dps. There are more but I'm not in the mood to get into it. Each has 5 skills to use with the most powerfull ones with longer cooldown times. There is no AP and, hence, no restriction apart from cooldown on what to use. 

The two things that took me longer to get acclimated to were there not being a friendly target and... well, targeting. It all feels a bit random at first, especially with all the closed beta subscribers eager to up their kill count and shouting at everything with less than 90% life. Healing is strictly AoE centered on your location or melee healing.

After I got tab-targeting to work properly, or me working it, everything went smoothly and my Shadow Warrior soon became a force to be reckoned with. My record is a 13 kill streak. The game is kind enough to stroke your ego by plastering on the screen how many spawns you've ended without getting spawned yourself.

Word has it that they "learned from DAoC" and decided to go for a three faction game. A lot could be said on this topic, including that they learned this not from DAoC but from WAR winging, but what's the point at this time? One could even compare them to the government: they promise, procrastinate on delivery and then congratulate themselves on a late and non-inspired response.

Now, now, I'm not getting my panties in a bunch. As stated, I quite like it. There's a scenario where the one purpose is to kill as many of the opposition as possible in the middle of the Saccelum arena. How much fun is that? Plenty.

As far as F2Ps go, I'm no expert, but I'm hoping it'll do well enough that I can play it regularly against more than just the same 20 people over and over again.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Starcraft: Eeeexcellent

Yep, that was the most I got from Starcraft, the first installment. The Science Vessel dude is played by the guy that voices Mr. Burns, one Mr. Harry Shearer, and I kept clicking it to hear him say "Eeeeeexcellent."

Other than that, what can I say? If you played it when it first came out it would surely be a huge hit. The game is good, I don't deny it. But does it age well? I bet a few thousand Koreans would say "ABSORUTERY".

Starcraft's Campaign Editor
I can't help but be a bit biased towards the game. Many moons ago, before I found the man I would later come to call Mikey, I dated this one person who could become... a bit obsessed with things. At the time he became a bit obsessed with crafting up a campaign for Starcraft. He did the maps and he did the dialogue and then he asked me to voice the dialogue for it. Now, little ol' me was glad to help out, at first, only because I had the silly notion that he had actually heard me speak before. It is no secret that I sound like a hamster, particularly after my voice... exists my mouth. I sound fine to me but whatever recording I hear of me just sounds overly squeaky and childish. Seeing as he was dating me at the time I had thought he had realised this but it turns out I was wrong.

After a few excrutiating hours of me spewing out the same line over and over again we both finally realized that this wasn't happening. I gave Starcraft a "you better hope you don't ever run into me in a dark alley, bitch" glare and we parted ways until late last week. I couldn't go on using the term "Zerg" without knowing what I was talking about.

I managed to play through the entire Terran campaign, taking a few days off to clear my mind of the three songs the soundtrack is comprised of. I can't say I didn't have fun. Then it was time to tackle part II, the Zerg campaign.

I was pleased to see that the Zerg part of the game wasn't just more of the same with different skins over the units. The gameplay is widely different and I suspect that, had I gone past the first two missions that serve the purpose of acclimating you to this new setting, I would discover that the strategic part of it would have to be approached differently as well.

But I didn't go past it. It kind of slipped my mind as I started downloading new demos of games to try out on the XBLA. If it slipped my mind to play it I can't say it was the best game I've played in a long time. In my honest opinion I don't think it aged that well. I can't point to anything blatantly wrong about it. I think it's more of a "it's not you, it's me" kind of deal. The game is fine, it just isn't what I want.

All the while I played it my mind kept going back to C&C:RA and those attacking dogs and the Tesla Coils; the over enunciation of "ck" in "acknowledged", the constant stream of "on hold; cancelled". I started wondering if that game, perhaps, had withstood the test of time and if I should pull it off the shelf and give it another go. But, in the end, I was too afraid of blemishing those fond childhood memories of electrocuting allied forces and I decided against it. I left well enough alone. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hills and Rivers Remain

"Hills and Rivers Remain is a video game developed and published by Square Enix and released for the iPhone and iPod Touch in North America and Japan, and additionally for DSIWare and cell phones in Japan."
So says Wikipedia. That could be the end of this pseudo-review. However, I had a lot of fun with the game and decided it needs a bit of ego stroking. It was fairly entertaining and it kept me coming back. On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say it's right up there with Minesweeper. I like Minesweeper, even though I only understood the game 5 years ago.

H&R is a strategy thingy where you capture bases and each base grants you more troops at the start of a new turn (or is it the end of the current one? Bah!) And that's pretty much it. You have plenty of different maps, some bases boost your speed while others make your troops hit harder but the game isn't that complex. If a base is defended by 5 goons, send 7 of yours and all that. If you have horses you get there faster. Simple, eh?

Even so, the game made every bathroom trip a delight and even though my legs never quite became numb (not like Numblast. Oh, haha but the "numb" in that is actually from "numbers") I found myself having to take the charger with me on several occasions.

The game's story is as cliché as it could be but that's to be expected from a Squeenix game. Kingdoms battle each other and knights struggle with their values and the orders they're given. Not much depth there. But the gameplay experience was surprisingly satisfying enough.

Sound and song were what you'd expect them to be and, even though it pales in comparison, it reminded me a bit of FF Tactics. But, then again, most things pale, shrivel up and die when compared to FF Tactics. As well they should.

I breezed through story mode easily enough, with the odd map or two when they really want you dead. Luckily, there's a free mode where you can not only replay the maps from story mode but you're also presented with new maps (and a bit of useless trivia stories packed in) and the option to play with characters you've been playing against.

But that's the only thing remotely resembling progression the game has to offer. You unlock these maps and characters as you go through story mode but that's the only thing you get, as per my understanding. I do have a vague recollection of a message saying my troops were now more competent but for the life of me they seemed to kill and die with the same efficiency or lack thereof as before.

A good game if you need something to entertain you on your way to work/school/home/bowel release.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Call Me Lazy Bugger

But a lazy bugger you'll always save a special place in your heart for.
I'm not getting into why I haven't blogged. Nobody's really interested. Not even me.

I've been going over a few (read "around 10") oldies but goldies. Some I'm going back to because they're so awesome, others I'm playing for the first time because they say they're so awesome. Having done some soul-searching, meditation, contemplation and navel-gazing I came to the realization that I'm only living once so I might as well play certain things before I expire. God forbid I'm an old lady, taking my last breaths in my time-worn mattress when the thought occurs to me that "I never did give Half-Life a go".

I say that but I still haven't. I'm not dead yet so I'm hoping there's still time. Then again I'm expected to join in a street rally against the national state of affairs soon. Guess me having said time to try Half-Life or dedicate more than 5 minutes to Fallout will depend on my surviving that.

Still, my gallivanting charge through older games comes from a dire need to fill a gaming void in my life. I've since given WAR a rest again as it wasn't satisfying enough to justify its monthly weight on my finances, so I find myself with a craving that can only be described as "the need to equip things".

Equiping things isn't something you can just up and do in real life. You don't get up and equip a pair of pants. You don't go out in the world determined to succeed in whatever endeavor you chose to get a pair of pants that is slightly better than the ones you have on. Well, maybe you do, but I don't. I long for a single player game focused on gear grinding with a girly story. Like Mass Effect. ME3 is still a bit far to dream about, even though we already footed for a Kinect specially for it. Oooooh, Kinect how I must rant about you on some later date because you absolutely make me want to crawl on walls throwing feces at every which way. With a frown and not a smile.

I've tried RPGs, RTSs, Sims, FPSs... I've gone through my repertoire on the Ps3, 360, Wii (a fairly short one), DS, PSP, PC and iPad. I even tried Sword&Sworcery. But, as Bono has said many times before...

When I was a much younger girl, it was times like these when I could find solace in a Squaresoft release but Squaresoft has gone the way of the Nintendo and have adopted, apparently, the same philosophy: if something was wildly successful twenty years ago, give it an aesthetic makeover keep releasing it year after year until it's as popular as Barbara Streisand. But if you remember the tale of poor Barbara you will realize that people know who she is but that doesn't mean they like her.

I'll be spending the next few hours writing about the games I have gone through. This was, after all, a blog started for me to keep track of things I've played and what my impressions of them were. It has saved me from trying to start FFXIII again countless times.

Food for thought.