By Sparky_Buzzsaw 5 Comments
This is your captain speaking! Please, ignore your seatbelts, grab a drink from the waiter and/or waitress nearest you, and feel free to use the sick bags as needed. This... is Sparky's Update, and odds are, it's gonna get you higher than that oxygen mask!
This week, ladies and gents, I slayed beasties. Lots of them. Specifically, I killed a ton of orcs in the stellar Orcs Must Die 2 and staved off the zombie hordes in Dead Rising 2. I also continued to shoot many, many robots, Hyperion personnel, and
primal beasts ferovores bonerfarts bullymongs. I can only praise Borderlands 2 so much before it gets tiresome, and that time came... ohhhh... a few minutes after it was delivered to my house, so I'll spare you the specifics on that one and just say that I've hit level 50, killed Donkey Mong, and had quite a bit of fun in co-op.
Short update this week, then!
Awash in a Sea of Orcs
For those not in the know, the Orcs Must Die! series is basically tower defense combined with light 3rd person shooter elements. You take control of a war mage, who must protect a gateway from hordes of oncoming orcs by setting up traps, defenders, and barricades. It's a very simple formula, one you've seen before. The first game was charming, with a moron of a male protagonist that stole the show. In that game, you could earn a limited number of skulls per level based on your performance and how much currency you spent on defenses. By ignoring defenses, you could take on the orcs yourself, but without weakening them first, they would easily overrun you.
Its sequel, which was on sale on Steam for around $10, doesn't make any grand sweeping changes to the formula, but what's here makes it far and away a better game. You can now earn unlimited numbers of skulls from levels, giving you more of a reason to repeat them and invest further into traps and defenders you might not have otherwise cared about. It implements some nice optional modes as well, such as taking on classic levels from the first game and a survival mode. The difficulty is ramped up just enough to make the game challenging (I'm playing through it first on easy to get a good idea of the layout, since I'm awful at tower defense games), but it's still a very accessible game.
Co-op is also new to the series, but I haven't tinkered with it yet. Basically, the game reintroduces the protagonist from the first game as well as another hero. When taking on the game alone, you get a bit of banter between the two characters at the beginning of each level, but only ever see one of them. It can be a bit off-putting, but it's a minor quibble. Man, I love that word. Say it with me now - quibble. Delightful.
A big part of the charm comes from the game's sense of humor. The same idiot protagonist is still pretty darned funny, coming across as though Lenny and Bruce Campbell had a war mage baby together. The orcs themselves have some great lines too, and there's enough variety that they don't repeat themselves to the point of tedium. You will, obviously, hear some repeated dialogue, but it's a game based on repetition and incremental improvement, so that's to be expected.
Give this game a shot. Seriously. I'm not doing it great justice here, but if you can, at least try a demo. I know tower defense is a genre that some feel has been played out, but there's enough good humor and great gameplay here for me to highly recommend it.
I've Covered (Zombie) Wars, You Know
My adventures with Dead Rising 2: Off the Record have continued this week. I must say, the checkpoint system in the story mode does the game wonders, but I'll admit a certain degree of frustration with the seemingly blatant broken parts of the game. Take the wardrobe, for example. You can only exchange your outfit for DLC, Frank's original outfits, or your previous outfit. There's no space for holding items beyond that, meaning you'll have to waste a lot of time tracking down your favorite clothing articles again.
That said, the entire game was worth the $10 purchase solely for one reason - the sandbox mode. It's not polished - as a matter of fact, it's hilariously fastened together with duct tape and prayers. But wow, it's spectacularly fun. Basically, it drops you onto the rooftop of the mall area, gets rid of the story missions and the timer, and turns survivors into tough little mini-bosses, complete with weapons and large amounts of health. The psychos also respawn, though that's less pleasant. The best part of all? Scattered throughout the world are challenges, during which you can net a bronze, silver, or gold medal for your efforts. These include everything from "Kill X number of zombies in a set amount of time" to... welll... variations on that theme. OK, so the challenges aren't all that creative. But they do a lot to emphasize the best part of Dead Rising, and that's slaughtering zombies by the dozens with weird, wacky weapons.
If you didn't like vanilla Dead Rising 2 or its predecessor, this won't change your mind. It's still broken. The game design is sometimes stupid. But look past those flaws, or look at it as a zombie-killin' marathon, and it's a fantastic little gem.
-If you haven't, watch The League. It's a great show. For those who might avoid it because it's about fantasy football, don't. Fantasy football is just a means to an end, and that end is to deliver a smart, funny show about a handful of guys (and a wife) and their shit-talking friendship. For a great one-two punch, combine it with Archer and/or It's Always Sunny.
-Fringe is really ramping things up, though it continues to be completely unhinged when it comes to plot continuity. It's a good show, but it's one that could have used a great deal more foresight, much like every other Bad Robot show out there. I can't help but wonder what this series might have been if it were novels instead of a TV series. Oh well. The stunning Anna Tory is straight up one of my favorite TV actresses of all time, and Joshua Jackson and John Noble are terrific too. I'm sorry to see the series on its way out, but this season has been pretty great.
And that's it! Have a great week, people.