Nothing gets the blood pumping like a good heist! And if it is truly a good heist - things will go wrong....so very very wrong.
Monaco: What's Yours is Mine is a top down indie heist game where you can play with up to 4 players either local or online co-op (you can also go solo). It has a very beautiful 8bit+shaders art asthetic (similar to Terraria in that regard). It has a fantastic piano driven soundtrack that sets the mood - beit stealthy sneaking around or ramped up insanity when things go off the rails. My advice is to play the game with friends. Playing solo can be rewarding and really helps get you familiar with the mechanics of different characters and the in game mechanics of traps, alarms, etc. but the real charm of this game is found when instead of one clutsy bumbling nincompoop tripping alarms and alterting attack dogs....you have four people. The multiplayer is great because you can choose from many different characters who all have different special abilities which cause the levels to play out differently based on what mix of classes you choose.
the Cleaner can knock unsuspecting enemies out
the Locksmith can pick locks uber-fast
the lookout and show your team where the guards are even through the fog of war
the mole can spoon his way through walls to change the level
the gentelman can wear many disguises and go undetected
the readhead can user her charm to swoon enraged guards and make them forgot they were about to fill you full of led
the hacker can inject virus into the electrical/computer systems
the pickpocket has a companion monkey that helps collect coins faster / from a greater distance (coins are important!)
So far I've really enjoyed playing with the Cleaner and the Mole but honestly there are some characters I haven't even tried yet!
The story is given to you via cut scenes with charming dialogue from each of the charactes that lead you from mission to misison. It took me awhile to get into the game and even comprehend what was going on and at times I've lost where my character is on the screen. The screen has brilliant colors and busy action and lots of darkness as you have a "line of sight" mechanic that shows you where your character can see - when that little area gets filled with guards, dogs, other players, coins, fire, etc. it can get pretty disorienting but after awhile you become attached and familiar with your character and you begin to see things more clearly.
Depending on your mix of characters in your group you can plot and plan to attack the level based on your teams strengths and layout of the level. Levels are typically multi-teired (i.e. 1 screen does not equal 1 level). Most levels have "equipment" that you can pickup and use, a bandage kit to heal, a shotgun to waste face, a wrench to speed up actions, a laser guided crossbow for the silent kills etc. For the cost of 10 gold coins you can get a reuse out of these items. Collecting all the gold coins on a level will unlock a level of increased diffiulty. You can plow through the game basically ignoring the gold coins but I think if you make it your plan to get 'em all you'll have a more fun time and will be playing more as the game is intended.
The game has 16 levels + 16 more difficult variations of those levels (I believe that is how it works) and is well worth the ~$15.00 (or ~$45.00 for a 4 pack) especially if you have some chums to play with locally or online that love to laugh. Rumor has it that a level editor will be released soon (not sure if that is for both PC/360 or not).
So my wife and four kids are all gone to her parents for the week. Leaving me and the dog at home (I have to work and watch my crazy dog - who can't be kenneled because he would kill the people working there). So I decided to drop some bones on some games.
First up Starcraft 2 Heart of the Swarm. Easy decision for me. I love Starcraft 2. I play it with some real life friends and we have been greatly looking forward for HotS to drop. I pre-purchased and am ready for some zergy goodness on Tuesday night with the boys.
Next up ARMA III. I also pre-purchased ARMA III which gets you into the Alpha build right away. I've put in a little time (maybe an hour) so far and it seems pretty damn polished for an Alpha build (retail is due in June). It has about 4 or 5 little single player mini missions (each exposing you to a different part of the game infantry play, scuba diving, vehichle play etc.) and then it has online where you can jump into some big co-op or team play modes. I tried to jump in a big 64 man co-op game but my game crashed (alpha it is I guess) and that was that. Overall so far it looks much better than Arma 2 and it seems to run better as well.
And last but not least.....Euro Truck Simulator 2. You wouldn't believe the messages I've been getting from people on steam who see me playing this lol I tried the demo on a whim. Basically I have this racing wheel that I payed 300 dollars for and I'm always looking for something to play with it. I do love racing games (iRacing, GT5, Dirt 3) but I'm really horrible at them....and the stress of playing them is almost unbearable lol I know that sounds weird - but the thing with racing games is if you suck (I do) and play with other people they will hate you and send you death threats if you aren't playing "right". Its a weird genre - I appreciate the skill and I love the games (racing games are some of the highest quality games in terms of look and feel and level of detail) but I find it so stressful to play because the potential for me to ruin someone elses gaming experience seems to be really high in these games. Anywho on to ETS2!
So I downloaded the ETS2 demo and thought it would just be fun to hook up the G27 and bomb around in some trucks - why not. Turns out the game is actually damn good.....and addictive! I don't find it to be a very "simy" sim. That is you don't really have to know much about anything, you aren't constantly pausing the game to learn how to do something in menus or manual etc. I mean to start your truck....you hit the gas pedal lol Also I don't find the different rigs / engines etc. feel very different. They have different cockpits but really they all kind of feel and look the same (I think I have noticed a difference in how the truck feels depending on the size/weight of the load you are carrying though).
The world is huge - you can do runs all over Europe. You'll see all kinds of scenary etc. It can be disorrienting as a North American driver....in some countries you drive on the left hand side of the road....in others you drive on the right (I thought it was all left in Europe....apparently not) and some of the road signs left me scratching my head trying to figure out what they were about. I got a fine for driving in the rain without my headlights on (even though it was day time)....the overhead stop lights are on the wrong side of the street. That is if you come to an intersection at red light.....the light is right above the line where you stop....so you can't see the stupid thing without hanging your headout the window and looking up lol Also some of the AI is questionable.....some drivers are just morons.....so I guess I take that back the AI is true to life lol Apparently nobody in all of Europe knows how to merge either.....they pull in to the merge lane....STOP, signal and wait. It's like they are all my mother or something.
Anywho driving around Europe is a blast and it's gorgeous and relaxing. The game has a built in radio player which streams stations from all over Europe (and North America as well - actually you can add stations to it if you like or play your own MP3s etc.). I listen to a lot Prague Rock stations - they seem to know what is up and it's hilarious to here some Russian metal every once in awhile :) The game has dynamic weather, day night cylce, lots of traffic, a lot of varied terrain (hills, bridges, ferries, trains, windy roads, highways, backroads etc.) and it is just a real joy to drive around in. In addition to being fun just drive around in you are trying to start a business. You start out borrowing a truck but eventually you can buy your own truck (I just took out a loan from the bank and bought a truck this morning), you get your own home base garage which can upgraded, eventually you can buy more trucks and higher other drivers to drive for your company etc. Also you get xp / levels. As you level up you can unlock and buy upgrades for your truck as well as spend skill points to unlock different delivery options etc. (I have unlocked a level 1 license that allows me to transport some explosives, and a level 1 distance driving which allows me to take longer routes). Your truck and cargo will take damage if you get into accidents...the truck is reparable the cargo is not....you can be fined for all kinds of things (traffic violations....hitting other vehicles etc.)....you'll need to make sure you have enough gas (you can stop for gas a stations all over Europe) and if the drive is long enough you'll need to sleep/rest (there are rest stops at the gas stations and at various other places in your travels).
The game has a decent sized modding community already. I've downloaded a "real physics" mod which makes the truck feel a little more weighty and bounce around a little more - it also removes the road-speed governors 55 MPH restrictor which I guess is put on trucks in Europe. So now I can move a little faster :) I've seen some mods and maps that include a North America map and trucks (i.e. PeterBilt etc. ), I've seen a snow mod and some other interesting ones as well. I would love to see a "damage" mod - although that might be a rather large undertaking. The game doesn't physically show damage (boo!) so you can flip your truck flying down a highway and wipe 6 or 7 cars and your truck might be on it's side but there won't be any fire, dents, smoke, broken glass etc. That would be great :) also would love to see a multiplayer MOD (have seen people have started work on this one).
Anywho I think if you have a wheel (not required...you can play with M+K or game controller) and are looking for a more laid back kind of driving game I can't recommend this enough. I've really been enjoying it.
Just downloaded Don't Starve. An indie survival game. Very nice asthetic / sounds / visuals and fun game play - made it only 3 days on my first (and only) attempt.
There were two indie games I REALLY wanted to pull the trigger on but for the sake of my marriage I just got one. Both aren't out yet but if you "pre order" then you get into the beta now. One was Don't Starve and the other was Sang-Froid - Tales of Werewolves. Both look great - I opted for Don't Stave because I've been keeping an eye on for this one for awhile and I've noticed a relentless stream of new content being added to the game and I'm really in an "explore and do your own thing" kind of mood :)
Both are available on Steam.....if my wife isn't looking I may click buy on Sang-Froid sooner than later :)
I'll be back in a few days with a review of the current beta build of Don't Starve. In the meantime Don't Starve came with an extra copy for a friend if you pre-ordered. So I have a give away - just PM me and tell me your favorite indie game from the last few months and the name of an indie game you're looking forward to! First PM with those two questions answered gets the steam key!
You can pick up indie title To the Moon for $3.39 on steam this week (actually for another 7 hours) which is 66% off.
To the Moon is a critically acclaimed indie game (average metacritic score of 81). It is a retro-style RPG with a fantastic sound track and an incredible story. By all accounts there isn't much in the way of fresh and exciting or innovative gameplay but the story and setting are said to be brilliant. Worth gambling the price of a cup of coffee and a muffin on if you are in the mood for gorgeous music and a brilliant story.
"Dr. Rosalene and Dr. Watts have peculiar jobs: They give people another chance to live, all the way from the very beginning... but only in their patients' heads. Due to the severity of the operation, the new life becomes the last thing the patients remember before drawing their last breath."
p.s. FTL is on sale for 50% off as well and if you haven't got that game yet then you are crazy because it's the shiznit!
I’m going to start blogging about indie games and lesser known games that I’ve found hopefully to inspire some people to check them out and maybe breaking that gaming funk a few of us seem to be in. I’m not sure how often I’ll put up a suggestions (about once a week seems to make sense to me – give you a chance to check out the suggested game.
Terraria (PC – coming to XBOX and PS3 in the next few months apparently).
Let's start off with something kind of lite and charming. Despite being lite and charming Terraria still has a great deal of depth and you'll have to be resourcful to figure it all out and you will be challenged along the way :)
When I first saw Terraria I didn’t pay much attention to it….I was kind of like “meh….it looks somewhat charming but it kind of comes off as a 2D Minecraft and I’m not really that big on 3D Minecraft so why the fuck would I want to play a 2D version?” Then a few months later I got it as part of a Steam Sale (I think I got it for $2.49 down from the regular price of $9.99….it seems to go on sale quite frequently usually at about $4.99). Small download, minimal system requirements so I figured why not.
After about 2 hours I was fully hooked on the game. Here’s what the game offers you the player:
Charming graphic style – it’s like a stylized, colorful 8 bit style graphics look. It is very colorful and the colors kind of dance around. It’s really a beautiful game.
Music – again the music is kind of the old school computer game music but to 10th degree. It’s very well done and it does a good job shifting the mood as things become more intense and dark.
Minecraft Elements – Well it is kind of Minecrafty J the world is randomly generated, you can explore left/right/up/down for hours, you can dig and dig and dig discovering new ores and other hidden treasures (and monsters!), you can build structures and you can craft items.
Moving away from Minecraft - All of that is very Minecraftian (did I just make up a word). Where Terraria deviates from Minecraft is that it is more of a “game” than Minecraft in the traditional sense. You can do all that stuff for hours on end and play it like a sandbox / lego game and be quite content. But it has these other elements…..like if you start building structures meeting certain criteria then NPCs will appear….a Nurse….a Merchant….a Demolitionist….and more. You start build this little town of RPG style NPCs that can help you out. In addition to the NPCs there is world corruption – dark parts of the map where evil lurks….eventually the evil comes for you. At the beginning of the game when it becomes night the evil will come for you (similar to MC in that way again) but it starts to ramp up after a while you’ll be fighting boss characters (who will come under certain conditions – one of the conditions being that you can summon them!). Through the acquisition of NPC’s and the summoning of Boss characters you get a game with an RPG like progression. There isn’t really a story / lore – you are kind of making it as you go.
Terraria takes the building, crafting, exploring to next level by adding RPG sytle NPCs, more armor / weapons / upgrades, Boss fights, platforming gameplay, dungeons etc. Terraria is a fantastic game and well worth the money. It probably doesn’t have the longevity of Minecraft. You can play Minecraft forever because the building mechanics in the game are so deep – it really is infinite in possibility. But you can expect to get 20 or 30+ hours of fun out of Terraria and it is just a fun world to exist in. You’ll find your asking friends or checking out the wiki on how to unlock the next great thing or make the next great weapon or piece of equipment. Also it has multiplayer so you can hop in with some buddies and make a night of it. I was running a server for a while and it was great to hop on and see what people where doing in the hours when I wasn’t there – then we’d get together and summon a big bad boss and co-op it – great fun. Also Terraria allows you to build up your character and all his/her equipment etc. and then you can take the character into new maps you create or other online servers other people have created.
Terraria - $9.99 on steam – goes on sale quite often and just a stellar game. The creators of Terraria are working on a game called Starbound right now and it should be out in the next few months as well. So this might be a nice transition for you.
If Terraria is our competition, I'm damned proud to compete against it. It's one seriously awesome game. *takes notes of things to copy*
Are games showing and telling too much? I think so.
It is an interesting place I find myself having played video games for more than 25 years (more than half my life). I’m in a place where I’m pretty unimpressed with most of the games that have come out. Most recently I have acquired Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3. I love the Far Cry games (even a huge fan of FC 2 – owned it on both consoles) and a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series (and a huge fan of anything to do with American Revolution era) but when I got these games (both of which I wanted very badly) and fired them up I was like “meh”. And there is nothing wrong with either of these games – they look amazing and perform great etc.
I think the issue is me. You have to know a little about me for this to make sense. I hate movies (generally) and I don’t watch TV (other than sports) really. I’d rather read a book – or play a video game than watch a movie or TV series. That’s not to say there aren’t some movies that I love and some TV shows that I can tolerate but really given the choice with my time I’d rather play guitar, do art, read a book or play video games and board games. I’ve never really thought about why this is. I chalked it up to most movies / tv shows being mindless and boring (which I still think is a big part of it). But I think more and more that I need to be an active participant in my entertainment. I need to be able to influence it and I have to be able to use my imagination and creativity in order for it to be worth my while.
Ok well playing AC3 or FC2 I would be given this freedom right? Well yes sort of. But what I’ve come to realize is that I’m just doing the same thing I’ve done before for hundreds of hours in the previous iterations of these games as well is in all the games that have come out in the last few years. Mainstream gaming (even Multiplayer which is typically my favorite type of gaming) has just become very sameish. Like yeah – I’ve done that. A lot of the AAA games lack any type of creativity. They just have “better graphics”, some performance enhancements and maybe like one little tweaked game mechanic that makes them somewhat interesting but they just keep turning out the same thing over and over again. In addition to that I think I’m a little burned out on the game showing me everything. Similar to how I like books better than movies. A book lets you create the world in your head. I tell you that the lady was wearing “a red dress”. You would think of a red dress that would most likely be different from the red dress I picture in my mind. In books we fill the gaps with our own creativity and life experiences. Whereas in a video game or movie – they show you exactly what they want. The red dress is very defined in a movie or video game – no room for your creative input. I find this to be not very satisfying at all – it has become boring.
I don’t think this is to say that I’m going to skip all the high end AAA games or anything but I’m certainly putting a lot more of my effort into indie games. I find indie game developers are putting more effort into innovative game play. They typically don’t have the art studio to be able to compete with the AAA games but they can create some interesting mechanics and try doing interesting things with their games. I’m having a lot of fun seeking out and trying all these innovative little games. The most fun I’ve had has been with an ASCII graphics alpha game called Dwarf Fortress. It has been called the most complex game in the world (I don’t know if that is accurate but it is certainly very deep) and yet it has these simple old school ASCII graphics, which even for me initially was a hurdle. I didn’t think I could get into it. In addition to the ASCII graphics hurdle the UI is pretty confusing. I don’t find it as bad as a lot of people seem to find it – but it can be somewhat convoluted and inconsistent (Tarn Adams (he’s the Developer for DF) has even said as much). Yet after playing for a few hours – you become engrossed in the game your imagination is going full tilt – I can picture the whole fortress and all my dwarfs and animals. I spent 4 hours on Saturday night just looking at this ASCII soup on the screen and I totally lost myself in it. It is a fabulous experience especially given all the super unique and crazy game mechanics in the game and how they create these situations and stories that weren’t put in place – they evolved from the AI and systems kind of interacting with each other in the game.
So with all the hype about a new PS4 and a new XBOX etc. I find myself more drawn to the OUYA. Show me what the indie devs are doing. They have something to say that is worth listening too. I’m 100% confident that the next Killzone or Halo or Call of Duty is going to look and perform amazingly on these new machines – heck I might not even be able to tell if it is real life or a video game but I don’t think it will matter. They’ll be showing me games I’ve already played (albeit in a better looking format) and / or games as they want me to see them instead of letting me have some creative input and that frankly bores me.
I think anyone who has played Minecraft or Terraria or any of the Roguelike ASCII games knows what I’m talking about. The graphics don’t make the game – as a matter of fact high end graphics might actually detract from the gaming experience. I’ll take emergent gameplay and the ability for me to get lost in my own head over high fidelity and “tried and true” game play mechanics.
Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to put some Nine Inch Nails on and play some Cataclysm or Caves of Qud and get lost in a grimy desolate world.
So in my quest to find more great free games (still playing lots of DF!!!) I found The Battle for Wesnoth.
What an amazing game - for free! the production value and features are amazing. If you like turn based tactics type gameplay you will love this game (i.e Final Fantasy Tactics). I see it is also out for the iPad/iPhone for 3.99 and I would say it is worth that price as well :) but for the price of free on the PC (Linux / Mac also - actually I'm playing on my Mac) it's a no brainer.
The game has a charming art style, nice music, multiplayer, single player, tons of mods (modding is built into the game, create your own maps, scenarios, units, art, music, AI, etc.).
There is a ton of depth to the tactics including unit types (i.e. Elves are better in the woods), movement speed, terrain, day-night, magic, bonus effects etc.
If you like quality turn based tactical gameplay you have to check this game out. It is really amazing. Hit me up and we can do some MP :)
So I picked up a book on how to play Dwarf Fortress. Getting Started in Dwarf Fortress: Learn to Play the Most Complex Video Game Ever Made.
The book is good so far. Hilariously it is on O'Reilly who make programming books and not Brady Games or a similar game guide press. I haven't really passed the beginning parts that I seem to be pretty good at doing so far but I've still learned somethings and picked up some great tips. I can't wait to get the parts which is after the initial setup parts (i.e. I haven't successfully traded yet, I've grown some farm goods but I don't think I've reaped the rewards yet, I don't know how to make booze, I made 1 trap but don't know the different types of traps, something was stealing my fish and lobster and I don't know how to stop it (some animal)....etc. etc.
Anywho as fas as I can tell this might be the most comprehensive way to learn how to play DF (in addition to trial and error of actually playing the game).
So installed DF on my Mac my PC and my work computer for lunch time dwarfing. I have three games on the go and I've started a couple of games over to get the start I wanted (i.e. I messed up a couple of games). I love the Soundsense add-on for DF. It is a very high quality soundtrack and audio track for DF that uses in game cues to trigger sounds for the game. It is really well done.
Once I get a better grip on how the mid / late game goes (I've got my start down but I haven't really spent much time after the initial setup of my fortress) then I'd love to do a Succession Game. The idea is that you put in 1 year in game time (really just a couple of hours of real time) and then passes the game save on to another person and they do a year and pass it on etc. It's kind of a way of doing a multiplayer version of DF (man a MP game of DF with fortresses all over the map and raids etc. would the most epic thing ever!).
The most popular Succession Game for DF was run by the people over at something aweful. Each player documented the journey they had and development of the fortress. They did a really good job and it's an entertaining and epic read.
Here's a webcomic version if you want pictures and less text lol but I really enjoy the actual forum entries listed above.