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Tordah's week in gaming - Rebel scum and Strogg minions

Hey everyone.  
It seems like my initial intention to blog weekly was a bit over-ambitious. Writing takes time (at least for me) and a week goes by way too fast for me to keep up, so here I am - still trying to find some kind of routine with it all. I think restricting this blog to talking about 4 games every second week is a realistic goal to strive for. Hope you enjoy the read!

Forza Motorsport 2

 I guess everyone has moved on to Forza 3 at this point, but for me this was my first introduction to the series. It might even be the first pure racing simulator that I play, I'm not sure. The closest that I've played is probably the PGR series (which I totally love), but that doesn't count, does it? 
This is not a good racing line, that much I know.
This is not a good racing line, that much I know.
Anyway, so Forza 2 is a pretty great game. The graphics are good and I'm positively surprised by how differently the vehicles handle from each other. I'm driving with all the assists except the braking line set off, and the computer difficulty at medium, and I usually win every race quite easily. I've tried a few races on hard, but I quickly realized it stopped being fun with that kinda AI pressure. Having to restart the same race over and over again due to a bad start, or a badly calculated turn halfway through the race that ruins all your chances of winnings is just aggravating. The rewind button from Forza 3 will surely feel like a godsend the day I play that game. 
I have one major complaint about this game though, and that is the severe lack of tracks to race on. I swear, I raced the same goddamn track 4-5 times in an hour at one point. It gets pretty tedious after awhile. Also, Forza 2 has no personality whatsoever. I know it's supposed to be a hardcore simluator, but come on! There needs to be something. I find the lack of music during races disturbing. Even an awful soundtrack like Burnout Revenge would be better than nothing. 

Quake 2

So I finished up the second Quake 1 expansion not too long ago (had some great levels in it, definitely worth playing) and decided to continue my playthrough of the series with Quake 2. Man, I had forgotten how completely different this game is compared to the first one.  
 Take that, grunt!
 Take that, grunt!
Gone are all the vicious and hellish monsters, dark and occult-themed levels, and weird awesome weapons. Quake 2 feels much more deliberately paced and "tactical" in nature, for a lack of better description. I found it hard at first to NOT run head first into every new room and strafe around like crazy while shooting, like I usually did in Quake 1. That rarely works in Quake 2 for several reasons, mainly due to the narrow and compact level designs, and secondly because of the slow-firing weapons (or maybe the enemies are just tougher to kill?). In fact, everything about Quake 2 feels very slow coming off Quake 1, but I guess that would be true for ANY shooter you play after playing that game...
Anyway, I guess I'm about halfway through now so I've started to get used to the differences. Oh, and I have to mention those goofy bear-like creatures you usually encounter in caves.  I'm never gonna stop laughing at them. Seriously, what were they thinking?

Star Wars: Empire At War

I picked this up on the Steam deal when it was 5 bucks (including the expansion). Having never played, nor heard much about it before, it was a complete impulse buy. All I knew was that it was a Star Wars RTS and that it had gotten decent to good critical reception at its release. 
      The land battles are typical C&C-like scenarios.
      The land battles are typical C&C-like scenarios.
Okay, so I'm gonna be honest here. I have no idea how to play this game. I've done a couple of missions in the campaign and I feel no wiser than I was when I started out. You have this space map/overworld with a bunch of different planets (most of them hostile or unknown), and you get different objectives on what you need to do, like attack this planet with ground forces, send droids to spy here, etc. You can build buildings and troops on most of the planets that you control, and you can then move those troops around between the planets as you see fit.  
However, what I don't understand, is how to balance how many troops you need to take with you into battle and how many you should leave to defend. Basically, when you send a space fleet to attack another planet, you'll want to send everything you've got to ensure victory, since you don't know what their defences are. However, enemy fleets can easily attack any of your planets at any time and if you don't have enough defenses to withstand the attack they'll destroy all your buildings on that planet, which is bad. Now, I'm playing this on easy and the AI is still giving me a hard time. I'm not saying that it's a bad game (yet), but it does a really poor job of explaining the game mechanics properly.  
The ground battles are easy to understand as they tend to play out like straight-forward Command & Conquer missions, and have thus far been my favourite portions of the game. The voice work and audio have been really good, too, and visually I think they've captured the Star Wars essence really well. 


Another Steam impulse purchase. Yay!  
Fun and addictive, your name is Droplitz.
Fun and addictive, your name is Droplitz.
Droplitz is neat little puzzle game, similar to Pipe Mania or Pipe Dream. Your goal is to save as many "droplitz" as possibly by rotating different pipe pieces on a board and creating path for the drops to flow down. You can score combos by creating several active paths at once. The board also changes theme and color frequently ala Lumines Live, which is always refreshing. When you run out of droplitz, you lose.
It's a very simple concept, but a lot of fun. For 1,80 € I definitely think I got my money's worth.  
Thank you for reading!