About games and gaming thereof!

Archive for May, 2012

Let’s Play Trapped Dead! ep. 1 p. 3

Meant to post this up awhile ago. I attempted, but Youtube failed. And then Diablo 3 happened.

Alright, kids, let’s review:

  • To select a character, left-click.
  • To select multiple characters, right-click and drag.
  • To use a medkit, select the character with the medkit, equip the medkit (you can only equip one item at a time), and then left-click on the character you’d like to heal.
  • To attack an enemy, select the character, equip the weapon, and then right-click the enemy.
  • To select multiple enemies to attack continuously, select the character, equip a gun, and then hold shift and right-click-and-drag. Or was it right-click-and-drag and then press shift? I attempted both, and neither worked for me.

Stupid control scheme is stupid.

Here’s Jarenth’s post.


Torchlight 2 Beta Weekend

Torchlight 2 is having their beta stress test this weekend. No, that is not a joke, though it sure as hell sounds like one.

For those of you unaware, Torchlight 2 is an action RPG in development by Runic Games, a company formed from some of the guys behind Diablo 1 and 2. Torchlight 2 has quickly been set up by its developers and fans as the “anti-Diablo 3,” since it has offline play, modding capabilities, and features stat points and skill trees while Diablo 3 has a radically different skill system.

(Of course, one could argue that Diablo 3 is more true to the Diablo way since Diablo 2’s skill system was radically different from Diablo 1, but that’s a story for another day.)

Anyway, the TL2 v. D3 dichotomy has become the biggest flamewar in the gaming community today, and most of the fans and haters on either side don’t seem to be aware that a lot of people are actually interested in both games.

And it seems Runic isn’t aware of that either, because they’re having their beta weekend immediately follow Diablo 3’s release.

I don’t know what to say.

Actually, I do know what to say: Are you serious, Runic? Deny it all you like, but your game is very similar to Diablo 3, and considering how much of a juggernaut that franchise is, this is practically the equivalent of an independent war shooter having its beta weekend immediately follow the release of Modern Warfare 3. This is a game you do not go up against under any fucking circumstances.

The first Torchlight was essentially Diablo 2 with three characters, one town, and no multiplayer. It was fun, but it got repetitive very quickly. Torchlight 2 looks more promising, but I simply can’t find myself as interested in it as I am about Diablo 3, a game that’s been coming for over a decade. I would have jumped at the opportunity to play the Torchlight 2 beta, but if given the option between that and playing more Diablo, I’ll go with the latter.

(I actually won’t be playing either this weekend, as I’ll be on a canoeing trip, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The bottom line is that the Torchlight and Diablo fanbases are not mutually exclusive, and you can’t simply ignore the release of your direct competitor, especially when it’s Diablo Fucking Three.

The more I hear and read about Torchlight 2, the less it seems like an attempt to make a good game with its own identity, and the more it seems like a love letter to the people who are still bitter about Diablo 3’s DRM. This beta event in particular seems like a middle finger to anyone who wants to play both games. I was planning on buying your game, Runic, but if this is how you’re going to play it, I might hold my money back.

So to anyone who thinks Blizzard has joined the Dark Side and has lost its way, you should probably give Torchlight 2 a look. To everyone else, I recommend Diablo 3. It’s a fantastic game, and I plan to explain why in the next few weeks. And if I fail to deliver on this promise again, I give you full permission to drag me behind the shed and beat me with a stick.


Preablo III

So, Diablo 3 comes out tomorrow, as you all probably know at this point.

Diablo 3 has to be the most controversial subject in gaming right now. It’s arguably one of the most widely anticipated games ever at this point, and yet there’s an overwhelming number of former Diablo fans expressing rage, disappointment and disinterest in the game because of its required Internet connection and real-money auction house. It’s caused any forum thread regarding Diablo to turn into a battlefield of fans vs. ex-fans, one side saying Blizzard is stupid and evil now and the other side saying they’re butthurt over nothing.

Personally, I’m not happy about the required online connection, but I’ve preordered the game regardless and am very much looking forward to it. I don’t like that you have to play on an online server even for single player, but I understand why they’re doing it (anti-piracy, more incentive to buy auction house items, etc.) and I’m confident that it won’t ruin this game for me, especially since I’ll mostly be playing multiplayer with friends anyway.

I played Diablo 1 when I was three years old. It was the first RPG, as well as the first graphically violent game, I ever played. Everyone in my family played it, and we all had fun. Diablo 2 was a rare example of a game that both my brothers and I all played obsessively. My brother Neil, who normally doesn’t particularly care for games, played Diablo 2 for hundreds of hours, getting multiple characters to level 80+ and literally decking them out in the very best items in existence without using cheats.

I’ll admit I felt nostalgia tingling through my spine as I played the Diablo 3 beta during the open weekend. As pitiful as it may sound, this franchise has played a prominent role in my life. Furthermore, I’ve loved every single Blizzard game since Warcraft 2, so it seems unwise for me to skip this latest installment.

If you’re abstaining from D3 because of its always-on DRM, I respect that. It’s your choice, whether you base it on principles or a lack of a reliable connection. Hell, it took me awhile to decide whether I’d be buying the game myself. I wouldn’t dare take the choice away from you.

But you are not a holy crusader battling the forces of evil. You are not a courageous protester standing up against corporate injustice. You’re just a guy (or girl, of course) who’s decided not to buy a game because it doesn’t let you play offline. And that’s fine, so long as you don’t talk about it as if Blizzard is “evil” and anybody who’s buying the game is stupid, wrong, and/or “part of the problem.”

I understand it’s easy to get upset about the fact that its required online connection won’t stop Diablo 3 from selling incredibly well and being loved by critics and gamers. I’m against the always-on DRM template, and I don’t like that it’s being used in a game I’m so interested in. But this won’t become the norm for every game, no matter how well Diablo 3 does. Even if it’s adopted by EA, Activision and Ubisoft (and I doubt all three of them will put it in every game they release) there will still be plenty of other studios who don’t use it. Thanks to Steam, Desura, Kickstarter and so on, there are plenty of avenues for independent developers to release high-quality games with no required connection.

It’s easy to hate anybody who supports Diablo 3, but consider where I stand. Diablo 3 is a game I’ve been looking forward to for years. I played through the beta and enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t like some of the choices they’ve made regarding it, but my internet connection is generally reliable enough for it not to be a huge problem, and from my perspective it seems like a game that will be worth every dollar I spend. This doesn’t make me “weak-willed;” I’ve done my research, weighed the pros and cons, and concluded that this game is worth purchasing despite its flaws. It’s not ignorant; it’s what you’ve done for literally every game you’ve spent your own money on.

It’s easy to preach about “the principle of the matter” until you realize that if you were truly 100% against the idea of a publisher trying to keep control of its product after it’s been sold, you would have stopped buying games as soon as they added serial keys. The truth is that everybody draws a line at some point, and you shouldn’t hate us for drawing our lines a bit farther down the road than you.

In short, if you don’t buy the game, that’s fine. Just don’t patronize those of us who do.


Trapped Dead! ep. 1 p. 2

Here’s part 2 of episode 1 of our zombie conga line smacking adventures:

I can actually attack now! Except mostly not really, because the amount of ammo they gave me is so miniscule compared to the massive number of zombies we fight that I left most of the killing to Jarenth and his mighty baseball bat.

This game could have benefited from more weapon ammunition, at least in multiplayer. Perhaps even the infinite stockpiles you find in Left 4 Dead 2. I know it’s supposed to be about tense survival, but when you expect us to kill that many zombies it’s a bit unreasonable to expect the professor to use such few bullets.

In single player you control both characters simultaneously, so it makes sense to hold the professor back and only use him in emergencies. But in multiplayer, each player controls one character. So whoever gets stuck as the professor (i.e. me) is going to get bored.

Then again, examining the ways this game could be improved is like analyzing Duke Nukem Forever. Where does one even start?

For any who are curious, Jarenth is posting each episode on BSOA as well. Here’s the link for today.


Let’s Play Trapped Dead! ep. 1 p. 1

Well, here’s my third attempt at a Let’s Play.

My first attempt was playing Unreal with a friend of mine watching and co-hosting. It sucked. I learned a few lessons there: don’t choose a game you don’t know will be interesting to watch, don’t use Livestream Procaster to record footage for an LP, etc. We went on for awhile before we concluded that nobody gave a shit. Oh well. Count your losses and move on.

My second attempt was Magicka with three friends playing cooperatively with me and co-commentating. It had better potential, but also sucked. More lessons I learned: make sure to include audio from both the game and Ventrilo, and more importantly, don’t make an LP with people who just want to play the game and don’t really give a shit about making an LP that’s entertaining for other people to watch. We only made one episode before we tossed that idea aside.

Now I’m playing Trapped Dead with buddy and fellow internet blogger person Jarenth from Blue Screen of Awesome. It has in-game audio and our voices, we both deliver commentary and hopefully funny banter, and we’re playing a game that we found downright fascinating in an eerie sort of way.

Trapped Dead is an absolute mess. In single player it’s a tedious, frustrating mess; in multiplayer it’s a hilarious, bewildering mess. The control scheme is bafflingly unintuitive, and every input command has an obnoxious delay. In single player you have to play as carefully as possible to overcome these issues, which makes the game akin to pulling teeth. In coop, however, the challenge is alleviated by giving you an infinite number of respawns, turning the game into Zombie Conga Line Smacker 2011.

More episodes should be coming in the next few days. Helpful comments and criticisms are appreciated as always. And since everyone on Youtube tells me to subscribe all the time, I guess I should tell you the same.