I still think the title sounds like a Quake Mod

8 05 2016

Over the past few weeks I’ve been playing a ton of new games, or games that are new to me. The most recent acquisition for me has been Rocket League (hence the title of this blog post), which is now also probably one of the biggest threats to any of my further productivity.

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So cool

There isn’t much else I can say about Rocket League that hasn’t already been said. It’s an excellent “sports” game without really being sports. Since instead of human athletes you have cars driving around trying to knock a ball into a goal in a massive game of soccer. There also exists a hockey game type as well, and they just recently added 2-on-2 basketball. I’d say the basketball mode is probably the most difficult since with the other two modes you’re mostly dealing in horizontal shooting, Basketball (or Hoops, as they call it in-game) requires you to master being able to get the ball into the air so that it goes in the hoop.

 

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Everybody get up it’s time to slam now

The nice thing about Rocket League aside from its relatively quick matchmaking and match runtime (5 minutes per match not counting OT), it’s that the game is simple to learn but difficult to master. I’ve only played it about 3 hours but I’ve already definetely got a good grasp on the basics and even some more advanced stuff. It’s easy to see why this became a breakout hit especially in the context of eSports. I highly recommend it to anyone. It’s usually $20 which is already a good deal but it also goes on sale fairly frequently so if you want to save a bit wait until Steam’s Summer Sale hits.

I’ve also been playing another competitive multi-player game, The Culling. The Culling is basically your standard Hunger Games/Battle Royale scenario, a bunch of people trapped in a given space (in this  case a portion of jungle) forced to scrounge for supplies and fight against one another until one person lives. You can craft weapons, gear, and armor but for the best chances of winning you’re better off finding weapons either in crates or just looting them off people unfortunate enough to get killed by you or by others.

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How irresponsible to just leave a Calvary saber lying around like this.

The game is still in early access so there’s a lot of jank, combat still isn’t quite locked down but it’s still a lot of fun and definitely worth the $15 it retails for. There’s both free for all and team battles, and so far I’ve only won one of each in about 14 hours of play. But you’re still guarenteed to unlock a cosmetic item no matter what so even when you lose you still win.

Next up is Dodge Roll Games Rougelike Bullet Hell Twin Stick Shooter “Enter the Gungeon”. Tough as hell (which is why it’s only 5 levels long I suppose) and I still haven’t had a clear run. Then again in terms of Roguelike-ish games I think the only one I’ve really beaten was FTL. The game is a lot of fun though. It controls really well, the graphics are nice, and the nice referential touches for the massive number of guns and enemies in the game is really on-point.

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Lastly I’ve been playing Star Fox Zero, the much-awaited (at least for me) next entry in Nintendo’s Star Fox franchise. This game is understandably polarizing due to things like the controls being too complicated and the controls not being complex enough. As well as things like it being too much like Star Fox 64 and not enough like Star Fox 64. In case you haven’t figured it out yes I am making fun of people for fans of this series being really fickle and having no idea what they want (and people who play games in general, really).

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As someone who tried and failed to grasp the gyro aiming controls of Splatoon, I had no such problem with Star Fox Zero’s controls. Yeah it kinda sucks that gyro aiming is mandatory but I dealt with it because damnit I care about this series and as long as the controls aren’t the actually unnecessary garbage that was Star Fox Command’s forced touch controls I will deal with it. The game plays great, looks great, and the people who dump on it  unnecessarily are the same kind of people who already hate  Platinum’s games so why do you even listen to them?

That said it’s not perfect and I definitely think that while it’s probably an 8/10 for me it’s most likely a 7/10 for most people. I do hope it does well enough to get a true sequel and hopefully move the story in a direction that isn’t “directly off a cliff” like Star Fox Adventures did.

 

 

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Super Mario Maker, Sky Rogue, and Stipple Effects

24 09 2015

Super Mario Maker came out two weeks ago and I’ve been having an absolute blast with it. The Mario Paint influence can be felt throughout the game; from the title screen having the same “mess with the letters to see things happen”, the Rocket eraser to clear a level, and a somewhat well-hidden Gnat Attack/Coffee Break minigame that even unlocks another version of Mario for you to mess around with via the Mystery Mushroom. There’s other stuff there of course (sound effects you can add also coming from Mario Paint in some ways) but if I went on and on about that we’d be here all day.

I could try to explain this, but I don’t think you’d believe me.

 

Super Mario Maker is a very comprehensive level editor so people can make their own Mario levels in one of four styles (Super  Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U). Players can place blocks, enemies, powerups, hidden powerups, coins, etc. etc. etc. to make their own take on Mario’s adventures or just make something really unfair and vicious if they want to keep making Expert mode really impossible . After you’ve made a level you then have to beat it before it can be uploaded for the masses to stumble through.

One of the neat things Nintendo did was go back and add things to game styles that didn’t necessarily have certain enemies when the game came out (example: Thwomps and Wigglers in the original SMB, as well as Airship tilesets for SMB and SMW, stuff like that). Another neat thing is that you are not necessarily limited by what Nintendo would do. After all, Nintendo levels didn’t have things like Spiny’s riding giant Goombas, or Bullet Bill Launchers that shoot Coins at you, or The ability to jump into a Koopa Clown Car and terrorize enemies from above. It’s this sort of expanded innovation that allows the formulas of Mario to stay grounded yet with room for expansion.

There are some downsides, of course. Nintendo doesn’t really have a good grip on curating all this user-generated content so popular level makers/YouTube personalities will always be at the top of the list while the rest of us struggle for attention. In addition, the Expert Mode of the 100 Mario Challenge (beat 16 levels with 100 lives) is nearly impossible at this point, with most of the levels in there being the kind of Kaizo-level insanity that only the obsessive can beat. That said, I’d imagine over time as people get more accustomed to what makes a good level, we’ll see less and less impossible stuff and more just plain challenging stuff.

Also we still don’t quite have everything from the four Mario games listed. Inclined surfaces like in Mario 3 and World aren’t in, nor is the Angry Sun from SMB3. But there’s already rumors of (hopefully free) DLC to add this kind of stuff, and Nintendo has expressed interest in expanding the toolset. I hope the game continues to do well so that it does.

I’ve also been playing, and modding, Sky Rogue, which is an Arcade flight sim that seems to mix a bunch of styles together, like Nintendo’s Star Fox, and Sega’s Wing War, as well as adding a slight Roguelike twist on it.


In Sky Rogue you select a plane, select your weapons, and embark on an increasingly dangerous series of missions launched from a SHIELD-esque floating aircraft carrier in an effort to defeat enemies controlling an archipelago of islands. It’s tough but a lot of fun, and I’m a big fan of the retro, low-poly aesthetic, reminding me of Sega’s mid 90s arcade games like Virtua Racing, the aforementioned Wing War, and so on.Combat is pretty tense, with players having to frequently dodge missiles while firing off their own on a variety of targets both ground and air-based; and of course since this has a roguelike element, if you die not only do you start back at day 1 but you also just might lose some of the new weapons you researched, so you have to weigh the risks and the benefits of taking such weapons with you.

The game recently got released on Steam in Early Access, and along with that also got Steam Workshop support, so that players can add their own planes, skins, and emblems. I took the opportunity to make a version of the de Havilland Sea Vixen jet fighter from the 1960s for the game, and because I’m a huge nerd I made a fake ad for it that you can see below:

The game still has a ways to go before it’s really complete but it’s definetely worth the $9.99 price tag and it’s a lot of fun. Feels very much like you’re in an episode of Macross or again playing something like Star Fox (specifically more like an All-Range Mode mission, but w/e)

Lastly I’ve also been getting back into doing texture works…which didn’t actually involve a lot of Stipple Effects but shut up I needed a third S for the title. I’m working on a texture and material pack for Unity which is going to be primarly of office textures. Things like carpet, cubicle desk surfaces, cubicle walls, and of course, drop ceilings

I’m especially proud of this because this is my first attempt in a long time of doing an emissive map for a texture and it came out great. Hope to have the whole thing done in a few weeks, time permitting.





Splatoon is the best Multiplayer game of 2015

19 08 2015

I figure if clickbaity titles work so well, why not? Anyway yes I’ve been playing a lot of Splatoon lately, and it’s probably the most fun I’ve had with a multiplayer shooter in a long time. And it’s made by Nintendo. How weird is that? I don’t know how it happened but in the last year or so Nintendo went from not having a clue how to do good online to figuring it out and putting out an amazing new IP that has taken off despite the lukewarm critic reviews.

I can’t really think of a shooter as colorful as this right now except maybe for Team Fortress 2 but TF2 still deals mostly in greys and browns for its environments, whereas Splatoon is colorful. Most of that of course is thanks to the large quantities of ink that both sides end up covering the playing fields in, but even the environments normally tend to feel lively (though Bluefin Depot suffers a bit from being a bit too rusty and brown in most spots). Even better, for Splatfests when the matches take place at night, everyone’s ink is bio luminescent which is super cool.

Aside from the graphics, the gameplay is also really good as well. Matches are fast because they’re all timed, so regardless of whether it’s  a entirely timed mode (Turf War) or a mode that involves points (Splat Zones, Tower Control, etc.), the match will still pretty much end when the clock goes to zero. This let’s people quickly jump in and play a game, or two, and not spend any more than 10 minutes doing it. Other benefits in gameplay include no voice chat so people who think they deserve to have their horrible words heard by everybody cannot do so. This has also had the effect of creating a community that seems very light on any sort of terrible stuff even though this is a game with Miiverse support. Speaking of, the Miiverse stuff is integrated in a pretty cool way. If people draw Miiverse posts, they’ll show up in-game as grafitti art, signboard art, and also as art in the background of the splatfest hub world during Splatfest. It adds some liveliness to an already lively world. Plus some of these Miiverse artists are great

I also feel that with Splatoon, Nintendo has finally realized a multiplayer shooter ideal that they kind of started to get towards with Steel Diver: Sub Wars for the 3DS. The matchmaking system feels similar, as does the lack of voice communication and the rigidly timed (and fast) matches. The difference of course was that Sub Wars was not really advertised at all, wheras Nintendo went all in with Splatoon and knocked it out of the park. Maybe Sub Wars was a prototype for this kind of online gameplay, we’ll probably never know. Either way I’m glad Nintendo has created a great multiplayer shooter that can’t be destroyed by an awful community, and with them continuing to add free weapons and maps and modes to it constantly, they’re clearly ready and willing to support it for as long as they can.

 





While waiting for Unity 4.6, here’s what I did

7 12 2014

So some of you might’ve seen the little picture I did a while back, trying to work on my pixel art abilities again:Crater City
That was a lot of fun and I soon followed it up with another picture:

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But I’ve also been playing a lot of games because a lot of stuff came out in the past couple of weeks, and I was waiting for Unity 4.6 to came out (and it finally has). I’ll mostly just stick to talking about the new games that came out.

First up I’ve been playing quite a bit of Far Cry 4. The Far Cry series has certainly been a bit odd, hasn’t it. Going from a glorified tech demo involving transgenic creatures (Far Cry/Instincts/Predator/Vengeance/w/e), to a game about malaria (2), to a game about how you shouldn’t sleep with crazy (3), to the best send-up of the 1980s in years (Blood Dragon starring Michael Biehn). Far Cry 4 isn’t all that different from 3, although the protagonist is a bit less of a blank slate/SoCal douchebag, and the setting of the Himalayas is a nice change from Yet Another Tropical Paradise in Trouble. You also get the wingsuit a lot earlier, which is nice but I’ve surprisingly not found a lot of chances to utilize it.

Also there's 2-player free-roam co-op with hovercrafts!

Also there’s 2-player free-roam co-op with hovercrafts!

The game is gorgeous and a lot of fun, combat still feels great and you do get a feel for a more civil war aspect than in the previous game. That said I’m finding it troubling that people are talking up how cool Pagan Min is despite the fact that I’m pretty sure if you’re falling for a character created to be a cult-of-personality-type, then it’s probably worked all too well. That said, maybe the ending will reveal more about what people are saying (I highly doubt it excuses two decades of oppression, torture, and wholesale slaughter though).

The other big game I’ve been playing recently is of course, Super Smash Bros for the Wii U.

Yeah, Mario, 8-man smash confuses me too

Yeah, Mario, 8-man smash confuses me too

So this is pretty much the quintessential Smash Bros. experience for me now. So many characters, color options, costume options, so many game modes, and music from so many games, it’s an amazing love letter to all of Nintendo and its fans, from Nintendo. Granted it’s not perfect, but it’s still a lot of fun. I also had fun with the Smash Tour mode although I understand the complaints about it being way too confusing. That said I find it hilarious people are now wishing the Wii U version also had Smash Run instead of Smash Tour, thus proving again that gamers as a whole really don’t know what they actually want.

Also I think a lot of the characters are secretly JoJo characters. I mean just look at these poses:

Duck Hunt's Stand: "SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL"

Duck Hunt’s Stand: “SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL”

Also to say nothing of Zelda’s phantom attack. Also consider the fact that both Sakurai and Araki (the mangaka who created JoJo) seem to be ageless.





Smash Bros. 3DS and Circle Pad Woes

12 11 2014

So I got Super Smash Bros. for 3DS at launch, and now that I’ve played with it over the past few weeks I think it’s finally brought to light my one major problem with the Nintendo 3DS. The Circle Pad is a poor substitute for an actual Analog Stick. This became most noticeable whenever I tried to sprint, often walking when I didn’t want to, or vice-versa. Another big problem was throwing items, in that it feels like only 25% of the time trying to do a Smash-L throw of an item it either doesn’t work or my character just dismissively tosses the item over their shoulder instead of into their foe’s face like this Gordo here:

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Steel Diver: Sub Wars – A 3DS F2P FPS You’ll Probably Never Hear Of

9 03 2014

So my hiatus became a bit longer than I thought. There’s a few reasons for it and it’s not like i didn’t do any work, but I am planning to have something up and possibly downloadable regarding Shuffle Breaker this week. That said, let’s talk about the Nintendo 3DS. Despite Nintendo’s financial woes regarding the WiiU, the 3DS is still going pretty strong which is good for me since over the last year I got into it big time, playing a lot of the big Nintendo releases as well as some sports stuff like Pro Evolution Soccer 2012. But I’m not talking about those today.

A couple weeks back (or so) Nintendo did a Nintendo Direct where they announced (to the confusion of many I’m sure), a free-to-play Multiplayer submarine combat game called Steel Diver: Sub Wars. Not only was this not related by gameplay to the Steel Diver that had been a 3DS launch title, but the idea of Nintendo releasing an online multiplayer anything surely seemed odd.

I think what’s more odd is just how good it is, and how few people are going to know about it. More after the jump

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Inequal Measure Review: GTA Chinatown Wars (Nintendo DS)

13 04 2009

I know I’ve been kind of quiet, mostly due to working on finishing up my schooling. In any event I thought I’d do a few game reviews on here, just for what I’ve been playing recently. I’m not going to use a typical score-based rating system, rather I will be comparing the reviewed game to other games in its genre or series. Sort of a “greater-than, less-than” system (i.e. an inequality, hence “Inequal Measure”).

So first up is a game I got a couple weeks back and (sadly) have pretty much finished: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the Nintendo DS.
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