Saturday, March 31, 2012

Beyond Good and Evil for PS3

This is one of the prettier games I've seen in a while.  The artwork is smooth and considered.  Enjoy the look, as you wander around solving puzzles, doing quests, and occasionally getting into brawls with bad guys.  You get paid for taking photos to catalog the world's wildlife.  It encourages you to take a closer look, as you run around the world.  The game is ten bucks for about twelve hours of gameplay, and I think it's worth it.  Treat it like a nature hike .. on another planet.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Killzone 3 for PS3

In a year full of pale sequels, I'm pleased to say this one's very good.  I played through the single-player story on wimpy mode.  The dialog is predictably "gritty," and it includes the usual storyline of the maverick soldier who refuses to leave his men behind .. but once you relax into the cheesemo, predictable "war hero"  stuff, it's kinda boy-game fun.

The multiplayer is where this one really shines.  Natch, you get the usual deathmatch mode, and the capture-the-flag style modes.  The "operations" mode is really fun tho; it's basically a mini-story where your team completes (or defends against) a progressive set of missions.  e.g. blow up the doors, take a strategic position, then destroy the mainframe.  (Should they update that to "destroy the 'cloud?'")

The other interesting thing about the multiplayer mode is that the choice of "careers" for your character doesn't seem to actually include a "heavy grunt" sort of character.  Everyone is specialized for something: heals, turrets, sniping, stealth &c.  The talent trees for each are quite short and narrow, and different maps are better for different careers.  It makes you try more than one career, and switch them up to match the map and your teammates' styles.  Well done!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Osmos for iPhone & iPad

Osmos is simple.  You're a floaty-glowy bubble, squirting around in space.  You can absorb smaller bubbles, adding their mass to yours in the process, while bigger bubbles can absorb you to death.  In a representative round, the goal is to "become the biggest."  Off you go, absorbing bubbles to get bigger, which allows you to absorb larger bubbles, and so on ... and then you look up and an hour has passed.

The physics are great, and the gameplay is super smooth.  But the other winner is the soundtrack -- fricken excellent on headphones -- transporting you into a world of groovy bubbling grooviness.  The replay value is excellent .. so if you don't have a chance to listen to a level's music the first time through, you'll have plenty of other chances when you come back for more.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Super Meat Boy for PC

There's a section in the Bhagavad Gita about a million deaths that are fated to happen, right?  Super Meat Boy is like a pre-battle meeting with Krishna, if Krishna was a devilishly difficult platformer that packs in nods to other games, other game makers, and other gameplay styles at every possible spot.  It's an epic of game playing.  You'll find yourself gasping "argh" as you die just millimeters from the end of a level, only to smack the keyboard and start the level again.  Just one more and you'll get it.  Sure...  Keep your RSI braces handy -- you won't be able to stop playing this one.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Split/Second for PS3

Split/Second is a car racing game, and I'm hit-or-miss on my opinion of those, but I just finished playing this one all the way through. You know those crazy car chases in movies, where they're flying through an abandoned industrial sector, with stuff blowing up all over the place? It's like playing those scenes, yourself. You're racing on and off streets, with "real" cars -- but you accumulate powerups that let you trigger explosions in front of the competition, which plays like a kart racing game. The AIs match your skill well (if you pick slow cars, they pick slow cars) and the courses are varied enough to be interesting, but repeated enough to be familiar by the end of the game. And there's nothing like triggering an explosion moments before the finish line, to knock the opposition out and jump to first place just in time. Zoom!