Just Finished: Warhammer 40,000 – Space Marine

In the midst of my “what game do I play today” shuffling, I managed to beat Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine.  I enjoyed my time in it, mainly because the combat is just unadulterated gory fun, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was ready for it to be over before it was over. It kind of made me realize that I feel this way about most shooters and their single-player campaign. Without some sort of RPG or leveling mechanic in a game that is combat focused, it leaves you with basically all grind and no rewards. In single-player RPGs, I don’t mind the combat grinding, because I know it’s all going towards my character’s progression and will make the future combat more enjoyable with more abilities or items at my disposal. In Space Marine, I just kind of felt like I was going through combat rooms over and over, just to see the next one, and eventually the last boss.

The only reason I can look past the repetition and waves of mindless AI combatants is because Relic Entertainment completely nailed two aspects of the game: the graphics/art design and the combat. The graphical fidelity and art design is superb. Relic Entertainment knows a thing or two about making Warhammer 40,000 games and has become the master at expressing the table-top iconic units and world in video game form. Being Relic’s first foray out of RTS games since “The Outfit” in 2006, I think they completely knocked the combat out of the park. The feeling of picking off waves of Greenskins with your Bolter and slicing down Chaos with your Chain Sword is exhilarating.

The Good:

  • Combat is fun
  • Graphical fidelity and art design is excellent
  • They nail the ranged/melee hybrid combat
The Bad:
  • Level design is a bit dull, both in flow and art assets
  • Without any real character progression, combat gets repetitive as story drags on
The Other:
  • Enemies love to remind you who and what you are: “SPAAAAACE MARINNNESSSS!”
  • If you’re getting the sound-stuttering problem, alt+tab and set spacemarine.exe’s priority to “High” in the Task Manager. Fixed it right up, for me.

The best news to come from the DOTA 2 info-leak yet

2 will have bots (with what sounds like interesting A.I.). OK, I’m on board.

This update also enables the practice bots. While they’re still a work in progress, they’re a great low-pressure tool for trying out new heroes and item builds. While practicing with them, note that you can ping the minimap to send commands to your allied bots – ping an enemy tower to tell them to push a lane, an enemy hero to ask for assistance in a gank, and so on. At the moment they only know how to play a subset of the current heroes, but they do know how to use all of Dota 2′s many items.

They’ll also use text chat to indicate their plans, so you can join in. For example, they’ll:

  • Let you know when they’re coming to your lane for a gank.
  • Communicate when they’re fleeing or losing a fight.
  • Indicate their high priority targets in upcoming team fights.
  • Expose their thinking about whether they should push or defend their lanes.
  • Call for assistance versus Roshan if they think the timing is right.

If you’re interested, here are a few features we’ll be adding to them next:

  • User specified difficulty levels, so you can tune them to your skill level.
  • Deeper control over your allied bots, so you can “command” your team at a high level. For instance, you might want your team’s carry to not join a fight, and instead keep farming their lane. Note that they do a good job of making these kinds of decisions themselves, but if you really want to be hands-on, you can.
  • Support for several more heroes.

The one simple thing that has shown to be a determining factor in my enjoyment and attachment of a MOBA game is the ability to quickly and easily practice abilities, champions/heroes, builds, and other variables. The easiest and most enjoyable way to do this? Bot matches. Sure, one can argue that the best way to learn is to play against quality opponents, and I agree with that completely, but when you’re just trying to get a quick handle of how a hero’s abilities synergize together, a bot match is a perfect way to execute this without potentially dragging your team down in a “ranked” match.

Source: Official DOTA 2 Blog – Twice the blood shall I shed!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: “[Patch] 15th September 2011 (630)”

Eidos Montreal has finally addressed the terrible “stuttering” issue that has been plaguing a lot of the PC players of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I, myself, had some major stuttering issues in the city hubs of DE:HR and I can confirm that this patch has improved my game’s performance greatly. Now the minor frame-rate dips I get are just a result of my CPU bottleneck, and not poor optimization software-side. Thank you, Eidos Montreal for supporting your game post-launch and listening to your customers. Take a gander at the patch notes below.

The new patch addresses a variety of issues as well as adds some new features:

Fixes:
– We have addressed various issues that can occur for players that would result in ‘stuttering’.
o Stutters that are the result of graphics driver shader processing are now removed or significantly reduced.
o Stutters that are the result of data streaming have been removed or significantly reduced.
o Performance has been improved and made more stable on dual-core systems. This could previously also result in stuttering.
– Fixed issue where some players couldn’t complete the Motherly Ties side quest.
– Fixed an issue where doors in Omega Ranch sometimes wouldn’t open.
– The TYM medical card should no longer fall through the table if an NPC’s body comes into contact with the card. Players already stuck in this area will need to revert to a previous save before the card fell through.
– Occasional hangs for some players during video-playback have been fixed.
– A crash on startup when running DX11 on a single-core CPU has been fixed.
– An issue causing Eyefinity setups to not be correctly detected for some players has been fixed.
– Fixed an issue where the HUD would get permanently disabled for some players.
– Fixed certain issues that caused the mouse cursor to be able to leave the game-screen on multi-monitor setups.
– Fixed an issue that caused the mouse cursor to not be visible in-game when the user has mouse trails enabled in Windows. We still recommend disabling mouse trails for a smoother in-game mouse cursor.
– Fixed issue where ammo count for collected guns is incorrect when Adams weapon is augmented.
– In DX9 mode:
o Fixed error message for some users when trying to use FXAA Medium or FXAA Low anti aliasing modes.
o Fixed shadow-mapping ‘lines’ on some graphics hardware when using anisotropic filtering.

Feature Additions:
– The Enter and Numpad-Enter keys can now be bound to game actions in the keyboard control menu.
– Intro logos can now be skipped on all but the first run of the game.
– Added windowed mode.
o Selectable in the menu, and can be toggled between windowed, fullscreen, and fullscreen windowed using ALT-ENTER.
– Added an option to change the text language of the game. This setting only changes the text language, the audio is controlled by the language option in Steam.

On top of this we are continuing to monitor for any issues that may need to be addressed in a future patch. One extra feature we can already confirm for a future patch is support for Nvidia 3DVision and Nvidia Surround.

We hope this patch will allow players to further enjoy Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Source: http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=121897

My Playlist [9/3/11 – 9/10/11]

In the above graph, I notice an extreme lack of Gatling Gears, the one game I had set as my go-to game to complete this week. What happened? Deus Ex: Human Revolution and The Witcher 2 happened. I finally got around to jumping on the DE:HR launch-hype-train and an equally qualified (albeit, a little late to the party) addition of The Witcher 2 to my Steam library. I’m enjoying both games so much, I’m not even sure which one I should buckle down with and really sink my teeth into first. Deus Ex has the lead so far.

I also jumped into a few League of Legends matches. I’m not sure how, or why, but I continue to play LoL despite ending every play session with a sour taste in my mouth due to its imbalances and poor community (par for the course, for DOTA games). I think I’ve decided to just play HoN when I get the itch for some DOTA-clone action. DOTA 2 beta can’t come soon enough.

Rounding out my playlist is Faerie Solitaire. A guilty pleasure, if you will.

 

Hard Reset demo now on Steam

 

Hard Reset is a throwback first-person shooter in a modern age of gaming, brought to you team members who were responsible for games such as Painkiller and The Witcher. Sounds good to me.

In the only remaining human city of Bezoar, Major Fletcher, an Army Combat Veteran and soldier of the CLN, is dragged into a conflict between two of mankind’s greatest enemies. He is to discover that nothing is what it seems to be.

Hard Reset is an action-packed, single-player shooter for the PC. With over-the-top destruction, loads of enemies, great weapon variety and a beautifully realized cyberpunk setting, Hard Reset is sure to shake up the shooter scene.

The full game launches next week, on September 13th at a very reasonable and consumer friendly price of $29.99 (or save 10% be pre-ordering).

 

My new weekly (game) focus initiative

This thread on NeoGAF made me think. User “Fernando Rocker” says:

I have literally hundreds of unplayed games… and still, I don’t feel like playing. I just started to play Chrono Trigger DS a few hours ago and I just played the game like 10 minutes…

Lately, I have noticed that I enjoy talking about videogames or collecting them than playing them.

What’s wrong with me?

=(

With every game I purchase on Steam, I always worry that I will chalk it up as just one more game to go to my backlog of games I still need to finish. No more of this.

Every Sunday I will pick a game in my massive library of Steam games to focus on, and hopefully complete. The problem isn’t that I am unable to beat games, but rather that I have so many to choose from that I dabble a bit in a few, but rarely get much accomplished in a single game on a given day off. No more!

One deck for this week: Gatling Gears

When the Empire begins its reign of destruction in a thirst for natural resources, it’s up to Max Brawley, a retired Gatling Gear pilot, to stop them. Together with his niece and his trusty Gatling Gear unit he must fight his way to the heart of the Empire and eliminate the destruction at its source.

 

Super Monday Night Combat Trailer

Whoever Uber Entertainment hired or staffed to throw together this trailer knows what they are doing. Absolutely love it. Must have deadly kitten-mini-turrets!

Super Monday Night combat is the next game from Uber Entertainment, following the success of Monday Night Combat on XBLA and PC/Steam. Monday Night Combat was the first successful attempt to bring the MOBA(DOTA) genre to Consoles, and also in a third-person shooter packaging. Following in the path of League of Legends’ success, and just like High Rez Studio’s Smite, Super MNC will be a free to play MOBA game.

Read more at Kotaku’s exclusive.

Interesting interview with Na’Vi’s Puppey (DOTA 2 “The International” winners)

Just a little insight on his experience playing DOTA 2 at Gamescom and his thoughts on the game so far. I really agree with his response to the internet-ragers who are up in arms with negativity towards a game they haven’t played or even seen first hand.

“I think the criticism is childish. The public does not know what they want. The first time I took a glance at DOTA 2, I didn’t like it also, but in three days I could stop playing it — because in reality, when you play the game — then you will start enjoying it. ‘Cause no game is really made for watching. They are made for playing. So, first play the game, then judge.”

Source: dota-two.com

My year so far (in games completed)

Since jumping into the MMORPG fray back in high school, I’ve had an on-again-off-again relationship with standard single-player campaign games. Without the infamous “carrot-on-stick” and character persistence that MMOs give the player, I found it hard ever make it past the prologue of most single-player games. This problem is multiplied when I know I have a good 15-30 hour en devour ahead of me, as I’ve experienced with pretty much every Bioware/Bethesda RPG that I’ve tried to play this generation.

Noticing my lack of follow-through completing these $50-$60 games I was investing in, in relation to my growing Steam library backlog, I decided that this year I would start keeping track of every game I “beat.” By beat, I mean completed the campaign and/or story, but not necessarily going after every achievement. Making a mid-year look back at this list of mine, I noticed a trend of shorter and more instant-gratification games being the ones I enjoyed the most.

Hit the jump for my thoughts on each game I’ve beaten (in rough chronological order) in 2011.

Read More »

Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes is finally coming to PC/Steam!

 

Might & Magic – Clash of Heroes is now available for Pre-Purchase and comes with the “I am the Boss” DLC!

Might & Magic Clash of Heroes takes place 40 years before the Heroes V saga. Scattered across five different regions of Ashan, five special heroes must travel their own dangerous paths to grow in strength, unravel a demonic plot, and ultimately save the world from Chaos.