Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cities XL 2012

For the first chapter of my Age of Empires hiatus, I'm playing Cities XL 2012. I'm just fiddling around with the mechanics at the moment and haven't decided on my completion criteria just yet. This game has a put a lot of effort in providing aesthetic views of your cities, so I thought I'd show off some of their work in my cities.
Postcard view of my first 10,000+ population city. Notice the city fragment in the background.

Even small towns can look pretty.

Motion would probably do more justice to the really up close shots where you see people strutting and cars rolling around the streets.

You can get down real low to check out the details.

From the isometric view, the building depth is difficult to notice, so a the ability for a horizontal camera makes certain areas pop.

I hope to have some bustling metropolis pics sooner or later, but I just wanted to show off the awesome work of Focus.

As a bonus strip, this comic is highly related to my current back catalogue completion.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Age of Empires 2: Age of Conquerors Finally Complete

With the sunshine gone and the darker days arriving, I've had more reason to stay inside and play them videa mahgames. So, I finally completed AoC. I started playing through it in April. At this rate, I'll never finish my game collection in my life time!

I'll be under a tombstone before I finish my collection.
Like the earlier AoE games, the campaigns too often relied on the pattern of surviving a first wave attack, rebuilding and then overcoming the stacked AI team.  While that was true for the campaigns, the mishmash 'Battles of the Conquerers' scenarios were more entertaining. These maps were generally faster paced and had more interesting objectives. Still, all the world history tied into each map, made for some wikipedia romps.

Needs more horse.
I'm taking a short break from the AoE series to try at some interesting new franchises that came out over the summer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

League of Legends Complete

A couple of months ago during a gaming session (likely while we were getting our ass handed to us by Shiva), ImilTheWinged mentioned that he still played  League of Legends. I introduced him to the game last Spring (my referral list proves it) and he's been playing since. He's also been playing regularly with a few of his friends.

LoL, best with friends.
I decided to fire LoL back up to try playing with a regular crew. Wow, I've rarely had this much fun playing a game. I haven't had the chance to play any game with the same people regularly in a long time. Playing Perfect Dark 64 back in the junior high school days or smashing demons in Diablo 2 with Steve-O were the closest I'd come to regular play with friends.

Hitting 30 feels something like this.
So, with thanks to ImiltheWinged, DavidTo, BelgarionX and Archwing I have reached level 30 in League of Legends. That does not mean I won't continue to play the game. I'm still going to play it quite regularly while beating the other parts of my collection.

Oh, and shameless referral plug if you want to try out the game.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Magicka Complete

I'm actually about a week late on posting this, but I completed Magicka and its DLC packages.

Rainbow Making
The Magicka spell system impressed me. After all the glorious applications of spell combos, other RPGesque spells seem so tame.  I feel trapped with only using a single spell in Champions of Norrath (I want to link to the Sony page here...but it's down).  I do hope more studios incorporate combination spell casting in to their games. In fact, they could use the idea and expand it to other combat types.

I also thought Arrowhead did a good job by not taking their game too seriously.  They referenced everything from SkiFree, 300, Highlander to Chuck Norris.  They were even comfortable enough to mock themselves by creating a "Crash to Desktop" spell that humourosly added lines like "Goblin Archer has disconnected from the game."

I look forward to what Arrowhead pumps out next.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Magicka: Another AoE Interlude

After chatting with ImiltheWinged on his previous visit, I was convinced to pick up a copy of Magicka and it's assortment of DLC, including the ridiculous Magicka:Vietnam.

Fortunately, like Limbo, Magicka is a great game.  The controls feel right, the game's length is appropriate and most importantly, the concept is focused.  There's no meddling with inventory, there are no (save one) side quests, and there is limited character progression.  The game feels fantastically arcade like.  This doesn't mean there isn't content, the content is in the actual levels and combat opposed to long-term mechanics.

Magicka is about dousing things in water and then applying electricity.
The game's achievements look doable and entertaining, so I plan to tackle them all before putting it down and returning to Eurasian history.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Streets of Rage 3 Hurts

ImiltheWinged came by last weekend in attempt to finish Streets of Rage 3.  We failed miserably.  We even tried to cheat using level select to the furthest point we reached, but still died.

Thanks to Shiva (see picture), we were slaughtered.  This guy has cross screen tracking attacks, blocks combos, breaks throws, has 5 life bars and beats up kids on rollerblades and kangaroos.  He just hurts. I'm going to have to practice playing this game just to feel comfortable attempting to tackle Shiva.

Anyhow, we put SoR3 down and started giving Gain Ground a whirl.

Ya, it goes something like that...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

AoE2 AoK Complete

I thought AoE1 took me a long time to complete, but AoE2 took even longer.  At least AoE2 entertained me.  Still, finding time to beat a 2 hour map is tough. Let alone finding time to beat 30 of them!

Joan d'Arc
All of the campaigns were lots of fun, with very few lulls. I did accidentally make a few of the missions boring by killing everything rather than doing the objective. The idea behind that was I was expecting the following objective to require some hardcore defending, but it turned out I just needed to do the one thing and I was done *shrug*

I <3 Mamelukes
I'm looking forward to AoC because the New World civs are awesome and because I don't know much about El Cid or the extraordinarily interesting history of Spain. Onwards!

Friday, April 15, 2011

First Full Achievement Game!!!

After four play-throughs and some practice runs on the tougher segments, I completed the No Point in Dying achievement. I actually managed to die only twice.  Both of the deaths were on easier parts, which was kind of odd.

I completed all but one of the hidden egg achievements without the help of a guide.  Apparently there are some super hidden easter eggs, but there's no way in hell I would have found those without a youtube guide. Anyhow, after finding the last egg with the help of a walkthrough, Limbo became my first full completed achievement game.

Now back to uniting the disjointed tribes of Germany...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Short Distraction

I'm taking a short break from Age of Empires to play Limbo. The lady picked it out for me as a birthday gift. I won't lie, I'm astounding by her ability to choose such an appropriate game. As I said to her, "It's like I walked into a clothing store and picked out an article you liked and perfectly fit you."

I beat it in one sitting and that seems to be the perfect length. I'm now working on unlocking the achievements, which include finding hidden areas and a masochist don't-die-too-much play-through.

The puzzles are excellent. The difficult ones are challenging without being cheap (read: no pixel hunting or vague object uses).  I really dig the "AHA!" moments when I figure out how to solve a puzzle.

The girlfriend also enjoyed watching my repeated failures that resulted in gruesome deaths (death by crushing, then chopped up by a buzzsaw and pushed in to a pit). I also laughed a fair bit as I discovered the various forms of dying.

Anyhow, just a short diversion until I'm back uniting Germany as Barbarossa.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Golden Axe 3 and Some Play-through-collection Changes


So once again thanks to ImiltheWinged, another game has been knocked off the list. In what I must say was a smooth run, we drop-kicked and pounced our way to the Golden Axe.

Streets of Rage 3 still murdered us though.  Apparently the Western localization is much harder. In the Eastern version, only the enemies health increases with harder difficulties, but in the Western version, the enemies attack power also increases (thanks Alex Sargeant). I have some faith we'll retrack Mr.X next time.

I've also made a slight adjustment to my game completion plan.

I've decided picking up new games is okay between beating old series. There are some sequals that came out from series I've already covered while clearing my pile of shame (Sonic 4) and some new IPs that I can't wait a decade to try (Magicka, Limbo). I'll still wait to pick up new games based on old series I haven't gotten to yet. I may also play some free games that can be found online. The catch is of course that any new game I pick up or try out, I promise to myself I will see it to completion.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Distracted by Death Worm

I got a little distracted on YoYo games.  I found a game that is simple and amazing.

Death Worm
Added: 24 February 2009

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Rome has Risen!

As I guessed, the scenarios in the expansion were superior to those in the base game. 

The challenge of each scenario was more consistant, from scenario to scenario and through out the scenario. Instead of having an initial tough 5 minutes followed by a cake walk, the RoR scenarios generally peaked in difficulty near the end.  This was mostly because the difficulty was no longer fending off attack waves when I was weak in initial the stages, but because the enemies usually guarded objectives with the toughest units in the game.

The scenario setups were also more unique. Instead of a bunch of coastal maps where you are required to build a base from scratch and slowly wipe out a single empire, there were many different types of maps, stronger starting bases, less required research and varying setups of computer players.  The repeated slog of building a navy, siege weapons and priests to slowly push through an empire was gone.

Okay, navy domination was still key on some maps.
Map aesthetics were also vastly improved.  The landscapes looked more natural and finer details were added to certain sections of a map.  There were alcoves with hidden ruins and planted trees running along paths.  Long past were the squarish islands with only a purely functional building on it.

Note the bridge and more detailed expanses.
No two scenarios felt quite the same.  Oddly though, the final scenario was a complete throw back to the easier original campaigns.  It was ugly, easy, required a bit of building up and the goal was just to kill off an opponent.

Another odd failure was the lack of CGI campaign videos.  There was simply intro or outro reward to the campaigns.  The only new CGI video was the game intro...which wasn't even that new
 because they just the old intro and added some horrible layer over it.

I think my favourite part about going the AoE series is the feeling of walking through history.  The game provides decent historical information about the empires and people in the game, and encourages me to look up more.  I now have a better feel for when certain events took place relative to others and a better understanding of the huge diversity of the people that lived in the Mediterranean.

Anyhow, on to Age of Kings!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

All Games Should Have Knee Presses and Drop Kicks

ImiltheWinged swung by to try and finish off the Streets of Rage series and put a dent in the Golden Axe trilogy.

Welcome to the 80's
We managed to beat the first two Golden Axe games, but didn't technically finish SoR3 or finish GA3.  We beat Streets of Rage 3 on Easy (because it's actually pretty damn tough), but Easy mode leaves out the final two stages. We just died a stage short on our dry run of GA3. We'll go back and finish both soon.

I would just like to say the Golden Axe series is much more fun than you'd expect.  The first two are pretty sweet in their own right.  The third one is amazing because there is a guy who looks like the Ultimate Warrior that performs absurd knee presses and drop kicks (see 3:13 in this video). 

A Fair Comparison I think
Just imagine drop kicks and knee presses in other games like Call of Duty, Diablo or Minecraft!  I promise that any game that I have control over will include at least one of these timeless attacks.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WCW vs NWO Revenge

Once I'm done with the AoE series, I'll be doing  a little wrasslin' in the ring.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Original Age of Empires Complete

The Age of Empires campaigns have been bested! And oh my, was some of it a slog.

Stone throwers and priests, the secret to 90% of the campaign missions.
Some of these maps were definately put together in the era before RTS refinement.  A lot of them just suffered from a lack of detail on the levels.  The mountain temple above was by far the most well put together piece of map.  The Greek and Egyptian campaigns rarely had an aesthetic touch to them other than a couple of walls.  They didn't even bother to add hills!  The final Babylonian campaign levels and the entire Yamato campaign picked up in pace, both aesthetically and gameplay wise.  Still, every campaign suffered from a lack of AI steam.  After fending off the first couple of attack waves, the AI pretty much collapsed in on itself.  Or maybe they were just distracted building TONS of towers.  Most campaigns consisted of defending off a couple waves of attacks and then slowly dismantling fields of towers with a couple priests and stone throwers.

Designing a base around cliffs added a subtle challenge.
Bashing aside, the game did at least off a plethora of objectives and some of the latter levels had a fair bit more gameplay to them.  The cliff-side level above required you to defending some attacks, knock out a nearby village for resources, relocate to another island for more resources and finally penetrate an island fortress. Another level that was extremely frustrating, but quite satisfying was basically a gauntlet that required micromangement to make the best of unit strengths for each obstacle.  You had to run scouts through tower fields, convert siege weapons with priests, and focus fire archers like no tomorrow.  The final campaign levels actually made me quite excited to try out the Rise of Rome ones, where I think the refinement will carry over.

No crappy campaign stuff this time, thanks.
I should also mentioned I followed along with a great guide posted on Gamefaqs by BigglesTh9.  It helped in a couple tough spots, but was also interesting to see how someone else handled certain situations.  He also added difficulty ratings for each level, which gave me a good idea of what my frustration level should be at before tackling a level.

It is super satisfying to finally beat the campaign for a game that I constantly played as a kid (it was my favourite game for a solid year).

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Age of Empires: Screenies

Here's a few shots of AoE1 for nostalgia.  Actually, I hope you never had to suffer through these horrible campaigns.

A Greek town  in need of plenty of defense from Persians. This is Zoolander world in practice btw.

Navy - the key to winning most maps.

I found Simba!
Actually, I think the map creator screwed this one up.  There is a unit on the island named "Lion King", but it's a touch North of this cliff shot.  Seriously, this is how bad the maps are.  They screwed up an easter egg! (Note: If my memory of the Lion King is wrong, I will proceed to shove my foot in my mouth.).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Shinobi Down, On to...

Hiya!  I finished up Shinobi 3 this morning.  Sadly, the PC version of Shinobi 2 had some technical problems.  So, the Shinobi series is finished for now.

Why Shinobi is awesome.

I'm pretty happy I played Shinobi.  It's a wicked game that I somehow missed out on as a kid.  I'm going to miss infinite wall jumping from all these other games.  There was something just inheritently satisfying about bouncing from wall to wall.  While not every last detail was awesome about this game, it's an extraordinary platformer.

Anyhow, there was a three-way tie on the poll between the Age of Empires series, Warcraft Series and NWO/WCW.  I've decided to go with the AoE series.

This includes AoE1 series, AoE2 series, Age of Mythology series and AoE3 series.  I'm pretty sure I'll be sick of empire crushing by the end of this.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Diablo 2: Finished

After much much longer than I expected, I finally completed D2!

This game dragged out so much simply because of the tedium of some parts, especially as a sorceress.   Nightmare Act 2 and Hell Act 2, 3 & 4 were the biggest offenders.  They tended all to just be high damage mobs with certain immunities area after area.  So, basically it was just a chain of using a single slow and boring strategy.  On the other hand, the latter of Nightmare difficult felt the most balanced.  Progress went at a decent pace and all the fights felt varied.  While I completed the 'fun' parts in a day or two, the tougher ones often took me a couple weeks because I could only play a couple zones before the tedium crept in.

For anyone who is curious, here is the gear my henchman and I finished up with:

I think my henchman had better gear than I did >.<

On to Shinobi!

Bonus Picture: Ready to rumble with the Ancients.