Hindsight: 4/6/13 - Summer Slammin'

It's been a pretty long while, everyone. Since last time we met, Bioshock Infinite finally came out, and all the hype from the fans and money invested into this game from 2K was both warranted and justified. Also, Battleblock Theater came out, too! Holy crap! I played that for like 3 years in a row at Comic Con.

You know what though? I am most excited for Poker Night 2. Er, I suppose I should be specific about that. I am most excited for Poker Night at the Inventory 2. Especially because of muthafuckin' Brock Samson, voiced by Patrick Warburton. The sexiest voice alive. Also, Sam is really cool, and sort of an obvious pick for the sequel. Though, that is not a bad thing at all. If Max is pure id, then Sam is reason and thought. Also, Claptrap? Eh, not really who I would have picked, but the little kids like him well enough. Also, Ash. Yeah, I never liked Evil Dead. But I DO like Bruce Campbell, who isn't playing Ash. So I don't really care for Ash in this game. I would have picked someone like Eddie Riggs from Brutal Legend or maybe even Duke (Douk) Nukem in his place. Hell, Duke needs SOMETHING to do nowadays. He should go to Poker tables and make some friends.

I haven't done a whole lot. I've played League and that's about it. Zac came out, and he's a bunch of fun. Maybe a bit overpowered. I can't really tell.

That's all for now. This was less me playing games and more me having opinions about games this time. Until next time, see ya.

Start the Conversation

Hindsight: 3/4/13 - Fucking Hundreds

Recently, I haven't played too many new games. Other than:

Hundreds - Dabbled (Awesome concept. But it's damn hard.)

Other than Hundreds, I've been playing more Skyrim with the Orkvahkiin and playing League of Legends like I usually do on a regular basis.

Skyrim: I managed to reach Level 50 as Titus, and I got the Master achievement on Steam. Finally! Also, I've picked up One-Handed weapons along with a shield. I use the Breaker combo, and by that I mean I use the Dawnbreaker and the Spellbreaker in perfect harmony. Meridia's and Peryite's power combine into excellence.

LoL: Quinn came out recently. Compared to all of the champions that come out super over-powered on release, she seems very tame. People keep saying that "she should build into a bruiser" in theory, and yet I've not once seen that work out successfully. I don't disagree with the idea, in fact it should work. I'm just saying I've never seen it work.

A friend and I have been working on an incredibly strong duo bot pair with two bruisers, Pantheon and Renekton. How strong is it? Strong enough to carry 5 ranked games to victory in a row. Double stuns, Renekton's ridiculous Ruthless Predator damage, Pantheon's excellent Spear Shot harass as well as his awesome Heartseeker Strike passive to finish off low health enemies... It works too well. The only somewhat counter to this from a ADC/Support perspective seems to be "pick Taric", and that's about it. It isn't a direct or even hard counter, but killing either enemy isn't anywhere as easy as before. By the way, thanks bot lanes who had Nidalee support. You guys were a treat. Pretty sure my last game I went Pantheon bot I went 21/8.

My friend had Bloodfury Renekton. I got Perseus Pantheon recently, to match the skin swag. Also, I got Big Bad Warwick. Now my Magewick top has some swagger as well.

That's about it for now. Stay tuned!

Start the Conversation

Orkvahkiin: My Skyrim Experience

Steam is a magical service made of cotton candy, sunshine, and unicorn giggles. Okay, maybe it isn't that fantastical, but it IS a pretty awesome service run by your friends and mine: Valve Corporation. And thanks to Valve's ability to give a shit about their products and software design, they've enabled an optional little something called "Cloud Saving". Now, you've probably heard of the concept before, but essentially, Cloud Saving is the act of taking your Save Data in your video games, putting it in a server, and making it easier to access from other computers at a later date. But wait, what does this have to do with Bethesda's latest smash RPG hit: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Well, during my playthrough of Skyrim on my first (and only) character, I had to completely stop playing the game in general due to personal real life issues. These events left me without the original computer I had to play Skyrim to begin with. It was a dark time.

However! For no good reason, I decided to utilize Steam's Cloud Save tool just for Skyrim. This would end up being the Deus Ex Machina in this whole convoluted story. When I was able to return to Tamriel for more Skyrim, I was able to find my Cloud Save already waiting for me. And Titus was as well.

Titus: Orc Dragonborn. Orkvahkiin.

Needless to say, I'm very happy with being able to return to Skyrim, and Tamriel in general thanks to Cloud Saves. Thanks, Steam. You've done me good for as long as I can remember.

Who is Titus? Titus is the Orc Dragonborn who wanders Skyrim, slaying dragons, ne'er do wells, and other bad dudes who wander the Tundra Landscape. Also sabre cats. Those guys are dicks. Though, canonically, I can't see the actual Dragonborn being an Orc. Though, I can imagine several of the townspeople going about their daily lives, making small talk, and then the skinny Nord farmer mentions: "Hey, you guys heard that the Dragonborn is back? He's an Orc, too! Who saw that coming? Where's the brave Nord hero when you need one?"

My experiences with Skyrim have been fantastic. I've never played Morrowind or Oblivion before, both games I've heard good things about, but I fell in love instantly with Skyrim. Bethesda makes sure to put a lot of "little things" into Skyrim that make the game that much better. Let me regale you with a story...

One day, Titus ventured North, toward the town of Dawnstar, a sizable community frozen to the bone by the harsh ever winter of Skyrim's wastes. Once in the town, Titus found the local smith, and spent some Septims on some Iron Armor. After his business concluded, Titus headed back out into the cold wilds of Skyrim. But hark! The call of a mighty wind serpent filled the air, and Titus knew he had a destiny to fulfill as Dovahkiin. Titus challenged the mighty dragon, and the behemoth landed into the forest. Titus took out his large great-axe, and swung into the monster with tremendous force. The monster in turn breathed fire from its mouth at the Dovahkiin. Titus took the full brunt of the scorching flames and yet still swung his axe in the creature like a crazed man. After great struggle and pain, Titus landed the killing blow on the dragon, planting his large axe into the snout of the beast, and it fell dead and lifeless into the ground. The citizens of Dawnstar saw the whole thing, and rushed around the large corpse of the dragon. And within an instant, the Dovahkiin took the very soul of the dragon. The Orc bathed in spiritual energy, and he gained the dragon's strength. Dawnstar's residents were speechless. Some remained skeptical, others became believers. Truly he is the harbinger of a new generation. The Dragonborn has returned.

A good way to start the day.

That whole adventure was probably the apex of my Skyrim experiences. Seeing those townspeople huddled around the dead dragon really got me down to my bones. Uh, no pun/wordplay intended. That adventure took place pretty early in my Skyrim career, as you can see Titus has a Dwarven Helmet and not the Helm of Yngol, which I found pretty recently.

Skyrim remains to be an incredible open-world game. I hope to get the Dragonborn DLC pretty soon, and maybe Dawnguard too at one point. I could never be a vampire though, considering how being a vampire breaks the game, and how weird and silly being an Orc Vampire would be. I highly recommend it even to this day, two years after the game has been out. As for me, well, my adventures aren't over. I have much yet to find and discover. More Forsworn to slay, more dungeons to explore.

P.S.: Titus is Level 46 as of this writing. I am still going, man.

-ManiacalMech, 2/20/13

Start the Conversation

My Top 3 Games of 2012

At this point and time, it has been more than a week since 2013 became a reality. The apocalypse was a no-show, and the future still took place. A lot of good games came out last year that I really enjoyed, but I did not play enough games that came out this year to make a top 10 list because I was playing other games in general that had caught my fancy. Games like Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, League of Legends, Fruit Ninja... the list goes on. BUT! I did happen to play a couple games that came out this year that I really liked. Without further ado, let's get cracking.

#3: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Are strategy games fun? Personally, I would say that actively playing RTS games, building units and ordering them to kill dudes isn't fun, but the part where you win most certainly is. So what makes XCOM: Enemy Unknown any different or any more entertaining than most RTS/strategy games?

The freeflowing, yet turn based combat and being able to control a squad of (hopefully personalized) soldiers to fight ALIENS on homeworld Earth defies any other game's sense of fun I've seen yet. It's a unique feeling, being able to customize one of your own soldiers to your exact liking, and then to have him die on the battlefield, because you FUCKED UP moving him behind that bench that seemed like good cover at the time before those fucking Mutons showed up. Well, either that, or the Random Number Generator decided that a Muton's 30% chance to hit was enough to reduce that soldier from 10 to 0 health in one hit. It really is incredible, the sense of stress and enjoyment you feel while playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown. You realize that your mortality is all too real, and that any wrong move can wipe your dudes out in an instant. It's a roller coaster of a ride, and damn if I like to think that I feel control of it every so often.

And when you're not getting wrecked by alien forces out on the battlefield, you're back at HQ (which for me, was in North America) researching that dead alien's insides, upgrading your guns, and selling all those weird "alien surgeries" to the Gray Market. God knows what use those guys have for it. And when you aren't doing that shit, you're talking to the Council, a group of silhouetted dudes in business suits who represent their countries that monitor the decisions you make as the leader of the XCOM initiative. I personally love the Council spokesperson's voice as he says: "CO-MANDERR, WE TRUST THAT YOU WILL BE DISCREET ABOUT THIS MATTER".

You had me at "Fire Emblem with guns and aliens". What's not to love?

#2: The Walking Dead

I feel that Telltale's latest "adventure game" defies any sense of the normal adventure game to be consider an adventure game. Adventure game.

I say this because of its mainly cinematic feel. Aside from the small action sequences that take place with you accomplishing life threatening feats, and making tough decisions, The Walking Dead feels mostly like an interactive movie. And honestly, I feel like this is the next step that adventure games should take in their evolution. 2-D walking planes and puzzles have run their course. It's time for something innovative.

Enough opinions. Time for why I liked this game so much. Time for further opinions.

Perhaps this wasn't as much as an interactive movie as much as say... Asura's Wrath was. But who's to say that's worse for the game? Some have complained about the action sequences in certain episodes of this series, but at the end of the day, these sequences establish the line between this being a video game and this being an interactive movie. So is that worse for the material itself? I would say no. I would say that these sequences (for example, let's say the part where Lee has the shotgun in Episode 4) added to the stress you felt when trying to survive through the zombie apocalypse. Trying to get the cursor right on lots of zombies to shoot them one after another ended up creating a stressful environment. And in my opinion, I felt that worked for the game's mood.

Regardless, this was still the greatest story telling experience of 2012. The Walking Dead's narrative is told through the recent misadventures of one Lee Everett, a man trying to stick it out in the zombie apocalypse. Lee has to make due with the skin of his teeth, with the friends he discovers, and the decisions he has to make in order to keep Clementine safe. It is very much true that your decisions influence the game's future. As I played, I realized how my decisions were more along the lines of "trying to stay alive", rather than "picking my friend's side" or something similar along those lines. I'm probably a bad friend to have in a zombie apocalypse.

This game is also the best Swing Pushing Simulator of 2012. That's worth something in it's own merit.

#1: Hotline Miami

Come now, people. I created a blog post about this in my own time. The idea that this couldn't be #1 on my list would be completely false.

It's just... it's just so good. The fast as hell reactions, the proper zone of mind you need to be in to play, the intensely disturbing atmosphere created out of thin air, the best video game soundtrack of the year... It's just all too good to not rate as my favorite game of 2012.

It requires you to not fuck up, and in order to not fuck up in some levels, you may have to try them over and over again a dozen times or more. But man, when you don't fuck up, when you throw the pipe at the dude and then smash the back of his skull in against the carpet... It's a tremendous sense of relief and accomplishment rivaling that of only XCOM. But the difference between this game and XCOM is that the results aren't randomly generated. It's all you, all the time. You are the one to react in the blink of an eye, to make the decision to go loud in a room to take all the mobsters out. XCOM isn't all you, there is chance to it. Hotline Miami IS. And that's why it is pure unadulterated magic carnage.

That's why Hotline Miami is the best game of 2012 for me. Every reason why you succeeded in every single level of that game is because you did every thing yourself manually. By the blood, sweat, and the rage induced adrenalin pumping through your body, you took out every single Russian mobster in Miami. And damn, if it didn't feel like the most incredible, twisted, depraved thing you've ever done.

What's left then? Where do we go from here? Did somebody say... Hotline Miami 2?

-ManiacalMech

Start the Conversation

Hindsight: 1/6/13 - Aliens, zombies, and Lums like you.

The new year! 2013! Hopefully it'll be better for video games than 2012 was. Not to say that 2012 was devoid of video games, I'm just saying that 2011 was better for video games than 2012 was. I mean, as good as XCOM was, Saint's Row was fucking AWESOME. Also we can't say Twenty Dozen anymore. I guess we'll have to settle for Twenty Baker's Dozen.

Video games! More importantly, video games I've played recently:

Rayman Origins - Currently in Progress (Well, after playing Rayman Run, I felt that buying/playing this was the right thing to do. Being able to control where I'm running is a fucking godsend. Too bad there isn't some sort of drop in multiplayer, but local multiplayer is just fine too. It's an excellent game, and the soundtrack is really something else. It may be either hit or miss for you.)

XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Near Completion (I have a good understanding as to why this is Giant Bomb's 2012 GOTY, and that's because this is a seriously fantastic game. I love every aspect about it: the combat, the home base, the upgrades, the diverse range of enemies and the laser guns... man, XCOM is an experience that shouldn't be missed.)

The Walking Dead - Near Completion (Don't buy it on iOS if you have other ways of playing it. There are better options than this crappy low frame-rate, unresponsive-to-touch port. That being said, I've played it on PS3 and iOS. Guess which version is better? Complaints aside, this is the greatest story telling experience of 2012. Pick it up.)

Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition - Dabbled (This was a Christmas present that enabled me to get back into SSF4 in general. As I returned to Fighting Streets, I found my old DLC costumes still in tact, as well as 4 new characters. I've tried to pick up Evil Ryu because being in control of pure power is pretty awesome. It's the same old deal with the same old new tricks. It's either your cup of tea or it isn't. I've always enjoyed SSF4, I've just never been any good at it.)

Start the Conversation

Hindsight 12/23/12

Back again for more, are you? Well then, this is another compiled list of games I've played, updated from November to December of 2012. I've gotten an iPhone, so I've played a couple of iOS games for the first time. Also, I'm going to include games that I left out of last post that I played this year. Let's start then:

Katawa Shoujo - Dabbled (I totally forgot, but this came out on the 4th of January. It feels so long ago that I thought that this came out last year. Anyway, I played Emi's route by letting fate guide my hand. Visual novels may not really be my thing, but the story was heartwarming. Though the sex scenes seemed sort of thrown in there and really just out of place in general. At least there's an option to turn those off.)

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 3 - Beaten (I can't not include the whole name on there, or else it wouldn't be proper reference. I'm not entirely sure I liked where the art style went, especially since I was so accustomed to Mike Krahulik's art style, but I do think that the class systems were completely awesome. Final note, I like how the titles of these games have two colons.)

Angry Birds - Dabbled (Holy fuuuuu is this game big. I mean I've heard that lots of people like it, but I'm pretty sure this game alone is all the Angry Birds anyone needs for a lifetime. I did the first world and then I could take no more Angry Birds.)

Fruit Ninja - Dabbled (One can't really beat this game, but it is pretty dang fun. I cut the fruits, and then more come up from the bottom, and then I cut them too. And if I cut more than 2 in a row, I get extra points! And then the colored bananas fly out and they like, freeze the screen, or they make a fruit frenzy happen! Yeah man, this game is alright.)

Hotline Miami - Beaten (I have an individual post as to why this game is so awesome. For 10 US Dollars, it's a fair price for how good the game is.)

Rayman: Jungle Run - Near Completion (Man, I thought I almost got 100% completion on this thing, then they release free Christmas DLC levels. It's pretty good, but it can't compare to the actual console/PC game it is based off of. Mainly because you can't control where you run, all you can do is jump and punch. Still it's a good game.)

Start the Conversation

Hotline Miami: Why I Can't Stop Myself...

What is Hotline Miami?

Hotline Miami is coined by its developers as a "top down fuck 'em up", wherein your character drives up to a building, puts on an animal mask, enters the building, and murder everyone inside. It's pretty damn brutal, and I love every part of it.

The majority of the gameplay consists of being resourceful enough to kill everyone inside the building without dying. When I say this, bear in mind that you are just as mortal as your enemies, all of which will die in one hit. If you do die, and you will, the time to respawn is instantaneous, forgoing any possible frustration with a GAME OVER screen or anything like that.

Hotline Miami is the best and most enjoyable release of 2012 that I've played this year. It's atmosphere akin to that of an unrelenting acid nightmare was enough to frighten me (in certain parts of the game) more than any part of Bioshock ever did. The gameplay is perfect, and it will appeal to you no matter how you like to play games in general. Especially so, because of the fact that Hotline Miami has been engineered to be played a number of different ways, whether you want to be stealthy, bold, gun-toting, or just damn crazy, Hotline Miami will feed your murderin' cravings.

What makes Hotline Miami so good?

Variety

Earlier I mentioned that the main character puts on an animal mask before entering the building to kill dudes. All animal masks (except for the first one you receive) have different attributes associated with them that will benefit your character, all with human names to boot. Tony the Tiger will allow your character to perform executions on downed enemies in one swift blow, as opposed to several, which may have costed you a death in the past. A personal favorite of mine is George the Giraffe, who will allow you to look farther into the map, and in most cases, this mask will allow you to see the majority or even the entirety of the map. I won't list any more masks for those of us who have not played the game yet, but masks are one of the factors of this game that make it a pleasure to play.

I also mentioned how your gameplay tendencies will be reflected in this game, and this is very true. In fact, after every level, the game not only acknowledges this, but the game will give you a title based on how you beat the level. Some titles you may get are: "Combo Expert", "Flexible", and even "Generic". If you strive to play a different way, the game will know how you've played, and tell it to you outright.

Soundtrack

Now, I've never heard of anybody along the likes of Sun Araw, M O O N, Perturbator, or El Huervo, but all of these people have contributed to the crazy electro face-melting soundtrack that Hotline Miami is so well known for. Even Ryan Davis of Giant Bomb has stated that this is the best soundtrack of the year, and honestly, he isn't wrong. In my opinion, if Hotline Miami did not have these songs in it, the atmosphere of the game would be so incredibly different that it would barely resemble what it is now, an unrelenting acid nightmare.

I think the fact that I'm utterly disturbed by the song that the main character wakes up to in his house every single time is fucking incredible. Damn, this soundtrack is awesome. If you don't buy Hotline Miami itself, at least by the soundtrack. It really is that good.

Seriously guys, just go pick this game up if you haven't already. It's kind of short, which allows for replaying over and over, just in case you wanted more of this beast of a game. On Steam, the regular price of this game is $10, however, Steam is having a sale on it for $7.49 until January 5th. Get at it!

Start the Conversation

Ten Million: That's more than Nine Million!

Swapping without Stopping, 10000000 in a Nutshell

Recently, I beat the iOS game 10000000, or Ten Million, whichever you prefer to read it. I could see how Ten Million could be easier on the eyes, though.

Ten Million is an action puzzle game for iOS that involves matching 3 icons up to make your character attack beasts and monsters while running down a never ending corridor. The objective of the main game is to keep your main dude as much to the right as possible. If he is pushed all the way back to the left, the run ends, and you have to try again. Fortunately, runs are

very fast to go back into again, so death is at most a minor inconvenience. The goal of the game as a whole is to reach 10,000,000 (Ten Million) points in one run. If you are able to do so, you'll earn your freedom and beat the game.

Ten Million's gameplay is two-fold. The puzzle swapping aspect that takes up 2/3rds of the lower portion of the screen vastly affects the upper portion of the same screen, with your main character trudging through the corridor whilst killing enemies. Matches made on the lower half will directly change the upper screen's world. If you match up 3 swords, your main character will bump into a monster, attacking it. If you match up 3 keys, your main character will unlock doors and chests. Everything you run into must be dealt within a certain amount of time. If that time expires, your run ends.

You can also upgrade your character's capabilities through the doors you find in the main hub world. The gold, wood, and stone that you come across in the runs ends up being used as currency as you enhance your main character's attack and defense.

My Experience/Opinions with 10000000

Let me first start by saying that the device I used to play (iPhone) the game was a bit rough at times because of the touchscreen, which was faulty at certain points when I needed it most. But, in reality, this isn't a real complaint because there is no consequence for death, so you can go as many times as you please. I'm just saying I might have died a couple of times right when I could have matched 3 swords together, but the screen did not quite place the icon in the exact right spot, hence my death.

The game's difficult and vague game mechanics are very taxing to work with in the very beginning of the game. However, as I stuck with it, I found myself learning a bit more about Ten Million's nuances and quirks, and I also found myself becoming just a little more proficient at match pairs of 3 squares, as well as not dying as quickly between runs. As I got the hang of the game's mechanics, I was able to truly play the game.

I don't think it took me more than a week to beat Ten Million, but it was quite the experience. In fact, this game is very addicting, I found myself unable to put the game down. In my opinion, if you have two dollars to spend on iTunes, then I recommend buying this game. It's rough in the beginning, but if you stick with it, you'll love every minute of it.

Start the Conversation

Hindsight 10/30/12

Hello, it is me. I don't know what made you look at this page in particular, but hey, you're here. I'm just gonna list off some games that I played this year.

  • Spelunky (PC) - Beaten (680 attempts. 679 Losses, 1 Win. I feel accomplished, but I wouldn't do it again.)
  • Azura's Wrath (X 360) - Beaten (I appreciate the format of "this is a movie more than a game, but its totally batshit".)
  • League of Legends (PC) - Uh. (It's hard to rely on this as a medium to enjoy yourself with. Which is why I stopped playing it.)
  • McPixel (PC) - Near Completion (This game deserves every bit of attention it gets. It's mindless, but I didn't come here for a story.)
  • Orcs Must Die! 2 (PC) - Beaten (As War Mage, and damn was it just plain fun. Also, I never played the first one.)
  • Persona 4 Arena (PS3) - Dabbled (Teddie's pretty ridiculous, but Mitsuru is just waaaay too OP.)
  • Saint's Row the Third (PC) - Beaten (There is no equivalent to the highs you will experience in this game. Though it's only good for one playthrough.)
  • UMvC3 (PS3) - Got Good at It (At one point, I was one of the best people in Vanilla in California. As Haggar, at least. I swear, man! I don't kid about this!)
  • Borderlands 2 - Near Completion (We will BURY THEM UNDER AN AVALANCHE OF LEAD! VLADOF!!!)
  • L.A Noire - Beaten (I wanted to play this more as an interactive movie, so I used a walkthrough for the whole game. I don't have much else to say.)
  • Portal 2 - Beaten (It was alright. I'm not sure it lived up to the hype that the guys at Giant Bomb gave it. I got it for like, $12 during a Steam sale.)

I feel like there's more, but I don't remember any others right now. I personally look forward mostly to The Next Great Sequel in the Saints Row Franchise. Shit'll be the tightest.

Start the Conversation