Gaming is in a constant state of flux and change. One of the things that I hold dear is the fact that I can ride this wave of change and be introduced to new and interesting ideas. I get to see the upgrades, I experience the enhanced graphics, unbelievable story lines, voice acting, choose my own adventure artform that is a different rollercoaster for each player. Its like having a front row seat to play the main character in all the books you’ve ever read.
Actually that is exactly what it is.
However, I get to pull out my N64 and race my podracer; I can be a Dragoon on my SNES again; a Plumber on my NES; relive my adventures as Cloud on my Playstation. I can do all of that and none of it is abnormal for me (well, adjusting my eyes to the graphics takes a moment). I can replay a game just like I can read a book again, as if greeting an old friend.
To game you don’t have to have a starting point. You don’t have to start playing Monopoly to understand playing Lords of Waterdeep. You don’t have to play Dungeons and Dragons to play Cyberpunk or Deadlands. You don’t have to start at the 1st edition to play the 4th edition. You don’t have to play Legend of the Five Rings from the beginning to pick a Clan and join the fight. Hell, you don’t have to play the very first release of Munchkin to understand any of the 50 million additions of the game.
There is no starting point, no “start here.” no “go.” You find what you like and you jump in. You make friends as you go, share what you love, geek out. Learn lore, kill some aliens, fight the good fight. Live a million lives, be a part of a million stories, embrace things you never thought possible.
I love that I can chat with men and women, children and grandparents, people from other countries and walks of life, sexuality, religion, race, gender. None of those things (should) matter. My gamer friends are geeks, jocks, models, musicians, managers, students, corporate gears and retail hell survivors. They are all so different it’s amazing that we share this love that brings us together.
So lets review some togetherness.
Dead Island ~ Xbox 360
Dead Island (First Person Hacker/Shooter) was the free download from Xbox Gold at the beginning of February. I wasn’t terribly interested in it at first, the intro scene depicts what I see in any frat house movie and I assumed it was very Dead Rising instead of Left for Dead. (I’m not knocking Dead Rising: awesome storylines, creative weaponry, the whole game is interesting but extremely frustrating for me to play). So, I avoided it at first. However, now that I am immersed in co-op play, I am loving it. I love the weaponry, upgrading, advancing, making your own bombs. I love the talent trees that actually influence the game. The island is expansive with lots to explore and a ton to miss, if you’re not looking for it. Different types of Zombies keep you on your toes so you don’t get complacent. I love playing this game co-op. I do not play single player. I find it to be much more entertaining, and a lot safer to play with friends. Now, lets talk about what I don’t like. I hate hate hate the storyline. I don’t like it, and I am sure that is a personality thing. It goes against the Good vs Evil in me. The characters do a lot to survive but of course that also means abandoning people, doing your own thing and screwing everyone else over. That is not something I adore. I always want to help everyone, unless those bastards shoot at me then those bastards are dead. I know that survival games touch on a far more complex scenario than other games but at the end of the day, I still want to feel like the Hero. This game doesn’t leave you with that feeling. I am going to beat it, I’m glad I have it and I may have bought it used, but free works.
Boarderlands 2 ~ Xbox
A little late to review a game that has been out forever, huh? I can’t say enough awesome things about this game. Borderlands (FPS) is beyond awesome. The first one was epic but the second one came riding in on a horse made of diamonds. (See what I did there?) It has an amazing amount of maps, a wonderful range of characters, a redonkulous amount of weaponry and seemingly endless amounts of quests and challenges. The fact that they continue to put out DLC for it so late in the game only adds to its replay value. I thought Claptrap was the NPC of my dreams, funny and wonderful until I met Tiny Tina and now I want a demented and twisted 13 year old explosives expert of my own. Each character brings something unique to the table but not in such a way that you cannot pull off single player. Handsome Jack is my video game Loki. That villain that you love to hate and hate to love. You almost root for him in points just to keep hearing Dameon Clarke deliver epic one liners after another. Of course, that means there is an amazing relationship between the talented voice actors and the amazing writers. I love that Brina Palencia came back as Mad Moxxi (I got to meet this amazing lady at Otakon) and my beloved J. Michael Tatum (who I also drooled on) made his appearance as Sir Hammerlock (like seriously my goal in life is to have a restraining order from Him, Nathan Fillion and Brandon Routh, there are more but I won’t bore you). As I said, I can’t say enough good about this game. If you don’t have it, buy it and if you love co-op, this is the game for you.
League of Legends ~ PC
LoL is an MMO. It’s PVP based, but that isn’t how you have to play. I started playing LoL on the suggestion of a couple of admins from other pages. I don’t mind PVP-like games but I tend to get rather vocal or creepy quiet. I prefer to play vs the AI, we do 5 VS 5 maps, 5 players vs 5 AI. I love the artwork for the characters. It’s a shame that all that artwork doesn’t completely translate over in game play. I find the game play simple, after picking a character that you enjoy, and looking up strategies after that, if you don’t do that you are not entirely sure what you are doing. Knowing when is the best time to buy powers, what items best suit your characters needs, hell, even the powers themselves are not things you should be learning on the fly (unless you’re testing out a new character). I typically play Soraka as a healer and I greatly enjoy playing, even if I have to walk away for a couple of days because something enraged me. I also love the option to buy new outfits for your Champions, tho I’m not pleased that you have to pay money for them; you can’t earn them in game. That, however, is very common place in free to play games. I also like that you have to earn credits (by fighting) to unlock new characters.I’ve unlocked 3, Ashe, Annie and Soraka. I can play any of them but have a preference. Soraka, then Ashe the Archer followed by Annie, my adorable psychopath and her stuffed animal Timber. Now that I think about it I could totally cosplay her. Anyway, it’s a lot of fun for a small group to play together. I haven’t done much of the other maps nor have I played vs other players. As much as I enjoy it, I am far from experienced enough to venture that far.
Betrayal at House on the Hill ~ Board Game
This is by far one of my favorite board games. I love that you are working together until one of your bastard friends stabs you all in the back and then you have to work together to slaughter your friend. Ok, thats not really how the game goes, but it’s pretty close. You and your friends enter this creepy old house (because you’re all insane) and you get to explore until something awful and evil happens. (Ok, from a writer’s standpoint and horror fan, this is hilarious to me). So once all hell breaks loose (literally) you have to gather everything you need to kill the betrayer and stop whatever evil is happening. It is a build as you go game, as your characters walk through the mansion you draw the tiles and place them before you. Each tile fills out the game board in three levels, the basement, ground floor and upstairs. You run into events, omens and even items. Once the haunt is revealed, you have to break into separate rooms (if the bad guy actually is a player, that isn’t always the case), figure out your scenarios and then come back to finish playing the game. It has 50 different stories and even if you come across the same story again, it doesn’t mean it’s going to end the same. I adore this and frequently bring it out when friends are over. If you love board games, then you need to own this game!
I’m not going to do an app review this week; the only reason being that there are no Co-Op apps that I am currently aware of. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but I just don’t know of any. Anything that I have that requires another person is like, “send me this,” or “help me with that,” which isn’t true Co-Op to me. It’s Facebook gimme-more-friends type gaming.
Until next time.