Men of complicated wartime tactical combat


Purchased Men Of War last night form GamersGate (only £10!) It's a fabulous WWII real time tactical game (I hate to RTS as strategy is rarely involved) as recommended by the dudes at RockPaperShotgun. Basically it is to Company of Heroes what Operation Flashpoint is to Call of Duty!
Anyway played it far too late last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, the realism lends the game a more restrained pace that is more suitable to tactical thinking.

Overall a definite 9/10 if you like your games deep, not too polished and with plenty of micro-management.

...ok, VERY lacking in polish. The voice over makes the original Resident Evil sound like Hamlet acted by Sir Ian Mckellen.


Why, every year, why?

It's the same story every year, I should be worrying about whether to buy Far cry 2 on PC or 360. I should be weighing up the pro's and con's of mouse control compared to a 65" screen, but noooo. As so astutely pointed out by the lads at Penny Arcade, the problem is worse. Much worse.

Not satisfied with the excellent Crysis Warhead, Brothers in Arms and Warhammer (for those people who can afford to commit a thousand hours to a game) and Spore in the last few weeks we have a full on assault on my attempts to start studying, apparently nobody buys games at any other time than the last week of October.....

We have the trifecta of PS3 titles finally tempting me to re-purchase one of the black behemoths...

Little Big Planet, Resistance 2 and Motorstorm: Pacific Rift

Then we have the previously mentioned Far Cry 2 across all (non-Wii) platforms, plus, Red-Alert 3, Fallout 3, Dead Space, Gears of war 2, possibly Diablo 3, Treyarch might yet make a decent CoD, Saints Row 2 and Fable 2.

Recession, what Recession? It does seem, just like every year, that many companies producing great games like BiA, the kind of game that just lacks the cache of bigger titles could well get lost in the mix.

Things have gone so insane I wouldn't be that taken aback by a surprise release of Duke Nukem Forever. Maybe George Broussard will push it out quitely next month...


Tying it all together

Just a little mention of this great game “Braid”, now available on the Xbox Live marketplace for the sum of 1200MS points (about a tenner). I’ve been playing Geometry Wars 2 and thoroughly enjoying it’s frenetic yet strangely calming gameplay, and now, what do you know? Only another great XBLA game that is it’s polar opposite.

Braid is a strange one, a magical and oddly compelling tale, of Love, time and a Princess told through the medium of Super Mario style platforming by way of Blinx style time manipulation.

I won’t try to describe it in any great detail, suffice to say that even if, like me, you are not great with platforming games this needn’t be an obstacle to exploring the beautiful hand painted worlds. Central to the game is time manipulation, and whilst more advanced versions of this are in each game “world” the central mechanic of rewinding time is always present. The difficulty of the game is thus understanding your abilities and the world, rather than your gamepad dexterity. I can’t recommend it enough, don’t forget every XBLA game has a free trial.

I found the story rather affecting as well; an unusual admission in respects of a platformer!


Too Ordinary

So, I finally tried the Too Human demo

First impressions:

Take the basic structure of Knights of the old republic (not necessarily the good bits)

Add equal parts the over-long cutscenes and hackneyed storyline of MGS

And slap down a big old hunk of confusing and derivative DMC combat

Yeah, not really worth the wait. Oh, hang on, I wasn't actually waiting anyway...


Crysis looking even better?!?

Damn, but I haven't for ages! Curse my work ethic (study that is, I do as little real work as possible :) )

Still, I did find time to check out the latest release of Natural Mod for Crysis, quite simply the dev teams aim is to improve the naturalistic look of the game and essentially give player sa graphics "bump"without a framerate hit. Pleasingly I seem to have gained quite a few fps running this mod and the graphics do seem a little nicer (I like the God rays seem a little more pronounced, though I suspect they'll seem like lens flare used to by next year!)

Well worth the small 20MB download and doesn't mess with your config files or controls. I'm getting a nice 30fps with all settings high/very high.

Oh, and Kudos to Ironclad games/Stardock on sins of a Solar Empire. Lot's of fun, and looks pretty damn good on my main machine. Even more kudos that it looks good and plays well on my laptop with Intel's new integrated graphics chipset the X3100. Though thinking about it, that may say more about Intel finally producing a non crap GPU...


Do you like pointy hair RPG's?

Well, as usual Yahtzee at Zero Punctuation has launched his usual stream of invective at another much loved title, this time Mass Effect. His review of Super Mario galaxy has also just gone up for those who are interested in just what Princess Peach has been up to.

I always find it amazing how willing we are to put up with tiresome plots and dreadful game mechanics. I hardly noticed how bad the character dialogue "wiffle" was in M.E. so good were the graphics (and I was busy drooling), and Nintendo fans always seem willing to overlook pretty much anything...


Madness? this is GAMING

Phew, is it over yet, can I return to my normal life of work and study yet? Damn, it's been a "tough" month in gaming. I'm sure that whatever your poison, the last few months have been busy gaming wise. My personal time destroyers are those above, combined with Halo3 and Bioshock. And of course for the Wii owners Mario is now dominating the Charts, and even the PS3 is getting in on the action, with it's version of AC, plus the very solid Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted. Oh, and not to forget those rhythm action games either...

Hate to say it though but I was a little disappointed overall by all these top games. Assassins Creed is pretty great, but could easily have been so much more. Mass Effect had terrible performance issues and some pretty dull RPG elements (still an 8/10 game mind you). Uncharted had a little too much generic combat and terribly bad grenade effects (I care about these sort of things). Bioshock was great, but somewhat overrated. Halo 3 was a pleasant surprise in that it was, as a friend remarked, just like Halo1, this of course being a very good thing. For me, only Crysis stood tall, providing truly sumptuous visuals, impeccable storytelling via great voice acting and animation all rapped in involving and varied combat. Sadly, I feel that the days of plenty on the PC platform seem to be coming to an end with less and less AAA titles every year. One suspects that without World of Warcraft the PC market would be even more of a footnote now that so many genres are best represented on consoles.