Friday, February 19, 2016

Games of 2016: Winter p2

January: Wolfenstein (PS4), Zheroes (XB1)

I was ready to talk shit about this dumb-looking white guy, too...
Wolfenstein: New Order might be my favorite fps game ever. It took me a few hours to discern it from your average FPS game with another white male lead. The setting is great, though; the graphics are stellar, the controls are very responsive, and the two gimmicks work just fine. I'm referring to dual-wielding and leaning. The former works just like it should, adding a longer firepower, which is especially devastating with two shotguns. For the lean mechanic, you hold on L1, and can quickly crouch, lean out from cover, and even raise up on your tippy-toes to fire over cover with the movement stick. Finishing this game with my buddy left me feeling so uber-satisfied, and I'm only glad that there's a lot more content waiting for me. Wolfenstein's cinematics were able to make me give a shit about that white jarhead soldier because the writers were on point with context. BJ Blaskowicz Blazkowicz is one of the last Allied soldiers, after Germany wins WWII. This characters has existed for 30 years or so, since the first Wolfenstein, but your character's ethnicity is important because he passes the Aryan test, allowing him some natural infiltration abilities.


There's a side romance story with one of the characters Anya, which at least has the visual payoff of a couple sex scenes. I think this is acceptable because romance in movies and games is often a waste of time. Live action relies on the actors' chemistry, but rendered scenes rely more heavily on good writing, which is a lot easier to control. Also, in a mature game, if you're onboard with the violence -- ohh, there's LOTS of that in this game-- then you've earned the right to see some T&A. So often are we subject to bullshit romance without any payoff more than the couple finally being able to show their affection publicly. Big whoop.
This boss, which you actually fight, is about 3 stories tall.

The game has giant scary mechs, blasting out garbled German in robot voices, sadistic high-ranking officers, and a milleu of vibrant characters that react off of your stoic main character. Bethesda, id and Machine Games did us good on this one!

Zheroes is a comic-style beat-em-up game, free for Xbox Gold members last December. The game's two characters are styled like Mr and Mrs Incredible. There's nothing particularly great about this game, but I can't complain about a free game with couch co-op!

February: Star Craft II (PC), Dishonored (PS3), Guns Up (PS4).

My favorite Christmas gift was Star Craft II. I sure as heck haven't played it much, and all of that has been multiplayer skirmishes. Another mode is an objective-based survival mode, which has you building a base and protecting nodes from being reached by the enemy team. I hope to write more about this game as I play more, but it was worth mentioning that it, like every other Blizzard game, is rad! My main complaint about this game is that the units are so small that they feel insignificant. I've always been more of a fan of Warcraft III, where your armies are a little smaller, along with heroes that level up. Starcraft II's quickly-dying units mean there's a lot of back and forth with base and roaming armies, rather than WCIII's spawn-explore-micromanage abilities gameplay. Great game, nonetheless.

Gorgeous, and the palette isn't supposed to be vibrant.
I think I'm playing Dishonored at the wrong time to fully appreciate it. It's another Bethesda game, right after I completed Wolfenstein and had such a stellar experience. Dishonest is gorgeous in it's depressing and blandly-colored European slum backdrop, and plays very similarly to Bioshock with a stealth element. You chase an objective and clear out enemies with special abilities or weapons, and loot while dodging traps and listening to awesomely-voiced NPCs. The platinum trophy for this game sucks, though, because it diverts you from letting loose. There's a trophy for completing the game without any abilities, and the other trophy is to complete the story without alerting anyone. Both of these encourage you to COMPLETELY play off the beaten path. I understand I'm complaining about something totally optional, but team in charge of these trophies could have been more creative in their design. I'm glad I got off the hook without insanely time-consuming multiplayer-based trophies. Fuck multiplayer trophies ALWAYS.

Guns Up, like Gems of War, is another free to play game with very-accomplishable trophies and short gameplay. You spawn army units that follow their own (often terrible) AI to destroy enemy bases. Each round takes 3-5 minutes, and your profile gains levels and munitions--the in-game currency to buy better units and upgrade your base. You do the latter to survive waves of attacking units, and get permanent fixtures for your base, as well as more munitions, for surviving beyond 2 minutes.

As you're deploying units from your ever-creeping truck, you also pick up specials to cast on the battlefield. These include a decoy, which makes the enemy divert their fire away from your units, to a napalm or missile that does heavy damage to either buildings or moving troops.

That anti-air tower protects against missiles, bombing raids,
paratroopers and napalms!
The game's creative point is that you completely design your base, adding and upgrading buildings. If you want to place your tent, which spawns soldiers at intervals, at the entrance and keep all your sniper towers near your main base, you can do that! You can add fences to divert their units, and explosive barrels next to cover in hopes that stray bullets will make it go boom! Between rounds, you can place and angle the buildings to your liking. When you're ready to see your base get destroyed, you hit DEFEND and an endless wave of increasingly-stronger enemies shell the shit out of your base.

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