Claustrophobia in space

Nobody wants to read good stories, because today’s sensationalism demands it. We want to get shocked. We want to get disgusted. We want to be entertained the hard way. So here’s to you, a terrible, shocking, disgusting and yet entertaining story of mine. No, it’s not. I’ve just got a slight cold and that’s it for today with the weird crap of sensational news.

I’ve recently started playing “Mass Effect 3” right after I’ve reached lvl30 with my Shephard in “Mass Effect 2”. I bought some DLC that I’ve found worth playing for “Mass Effect 2” and finished a lot of side missions and assignments, because I simply wasn’t in the mood to do a second play through. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine and brilliant game, but the story telling in “Mass Effect 2” wasn’t that impressing as it was in its predecessor. For me personally did it include too much fighting and less talking. And good dialogues are the essence that make a RPG top notch.

I’ve got almost three hours played in “Mass Effect 3” and till now I find, that this last episode of this trilogy goes the into the right direction. A meet again with various characters from “Mass Effect 1” and hopefully some characters from part two as well. The crew you’ve got in “Mass Effect 2” was, for my personal taste, a little bit too pale. The whole game was basically a collecting of crew members. Getting them loyal in the loyal missions and finally kicking a reaper’s ass. Period. The plot in the first part of this trilogy was much, much better.

Talking about plots, besides “Mass Effect” did I start playing “Alan Wake” on my media centre PC. I had a first glance of this game years ago on the Xbox 360, which was quite nice. Nowadays, on the PC with all the technical improvements that were made, is the game still impressive and draws an awesome, claustrophobic and scary atmosphere. It’s like some of the best Stephen King novels gathering in this game just to face you with all your inner fears almost forgotten. But why is it always that you run out of ammo and things so quickly? It was an issue that also drove me mad in games like “Silent Hill” and everything similar.

Currently, it’s more the “Mass Effect” that intrigues me and after that, I suppose, I’m going to continue with Mr Wake and clear his fog of amnesia.

Game of the week #2/2011 – DeathSpank – Orphans of Justice

This weeks game of the week is something special, a game created by a living legend. It’s “DeathSpank” by game designer Ron Gilbert. You might remember this name ¬†from the legendary “Monkey Island” one and two, the good old “Maniac Mansion”, the ingenious “Zak McKracken” or the amazing “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”. This man created so many great games why shouldn’t “DeathSpank” be as good as the previous games? Well, first of all, “DeathSpank” is obviously a great game, with the typcial sense of humor that you can expect from Ron Gilbert and the design is something really special, but it can’t follow in the footsteps of the previously mentioned games.

DeathSpank - Orphans of Justice

In “DeathSpank” you play the homonymous hero DeathSpank who is looking for an artifact simply called “The Artifact” for his entired life. DeathSpank finds the artifact during the game, but it gets stolen by the henchmen of a guy called “Lord von Prong”. You might have already guessed what comes next, yes, DeathSpank has to get the artifact back and has to defeat the evil Lord von Prong. The game itself is a simple hack and slash RPG with a focus on a good told story. The character customisation is mainly done by getting new items that improve your attributes and by chosing cards on each level increase that improve thing like melee/range damage or the speed of the character. You don’t have to think too much and that is good because this game is perfect after a long exhausting day when you feel like getting easy entertainment but you still want a nice story to be told.

I played this game with mouse and keyboard first but I personally find that playing with an Xbox 360 controller is much easier and faster to handle. You also don’t have to switch between two weapon sets when you play with the Xbox 360 controller and moving the character feels more ‘logical’. The combats are not too easy and not too tough and if you ever come to a situation where you find it too hard or easy you can chose a different combat difficulty. The co-op mode in this game is, let us say, okay but it’s not what you want to play the whole time because the second player soon starts to feel like the fifth wheel of the wagon. The second character can’t loot or improve his skills and equipment, he’s just walking beside DeathSpank, does some damage and heals from time to time. Besides these minor issues “DeathSpank” is a game where you can’t do anything wrong if you like hack and slash RPGs, loved games like “Diablo” or “Torchlight” and if you feel comfortable with the sense of humour from games like “On the Rain Slick Precipice of Darkness”. There’s a reason why this game is finally the “Game of the week”, so go and get it or you will be spanked.

Links:

Official website

WikiPedia entry

Game of the week #1/2011 – Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light

So now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for the very first “Game of the week” post and it starts with a really tough decision that I had to make, a neck and neck if you want. If I want I could have done three games in one single post, but there’s only per week and after a strong battle with me, myself and I the winner is “Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light”

As you may know, the Tomb Raider franchise is at its end for years now and it was a tough job for every game developing studio to create a new Tomb Raider that the gamer will find attractive. For me personally the last three games “Anniversary”, “Legend” and “Underworld” are good games, but that’s it, good and nothing special. Something nice to entertain but nothing remarkable at all though. The Lara Croft franchise is different, the whole gameplay is different, you play in isometric viewpoint instead of third-person for example. The whole presentation is up to date and does not feel like a three years behind game like the Tomb Raider franchise, where the presentation was okay but nothing that gave a total blast. The basic idea of “The Guardian of Light” is pretty much the same to “Tomb Raider”, you walk through some ancient ruins, capture some artifacts, fight some evil guys and solve riddles with levers and buttons. “The Guardian of Light” puts more attention and love for detail into the riddles, there’s also a fine usage of realistic physics in the game which makes the game up-to-date and the riddles itself more fun.

Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light

The game has one j0ker card that kicks it directly in the front row of the game with the highest fun factor – the co-op mode. When you play the single player mode you start the game in front of a temple, and a Maya warrior named Totec tells you about the dangers inside, gives you his weapon and the adventure starts without him. In co-op mode another player can play Totec and both, Lara and Totec, have to work together to get through the very well designed levels. Totec mainly uses his shield for blocking attacks or pushing Lara to higher located levels and Lara has got a grappling hook to swing around or Totec can use a tightrope to reach some places that are barely reachable. I only played the local co-op with a friend of mine by using the Xbox controller for Windows and I can say nothing about the online mode, but I would say that it’s necessary to have direct voice communication when you play the game in co-op for the first time, because some riddles demand it.

The game itself is very well balanced, the riddles need some brainpower but they never get frustating. The ingame fights are claiming but not too tough, the dodge ability will soon become your best friend if there’s enough room to dodge off some range attacks. There are a lot of challenges and achievements to unlock in the game that will give a long time motivation to play the game or even to replay it for several times. “Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light” for PC is only available on Steam and costs around 14,99EUR. That’s a fair price for a game that is able to catch you for a long time. For more information about the story just follow the links the below.

Links:

Official Website

Wikipedia entry

UPDATE

Today’s morning did I find out, that there’s a new DLC for “Lara Croft and The Guardian Light” available. You can join the game with Kane & Lynch of the same titled game. This DLC is for free, you can also buy another one with figures from “The Legacy of Kain” games.

We’re reaching multimedia, baby!

After being away in beautiful France for nearly two and recharging my batteries and simply staying away from everything that looks like complex work on a machine simply called computer I built up my new media center after getting back home. And of course catching enough sleep. The hardware moved from my old ‘I-don’t-know-the-exact-name’ case to a Thermaltake¬†Element S VK60001W2Z case which is much quieter than the one before and can hold much more hard drives. On the final stage the case will hold nine hard drives with an overall capacity of something around 4 – 5 TB.

The media center was built for two things. First it’s a simple media center for listening to music, watching movies and pictures or simply surfing the web. Got it? Yap… Secondly does this PC replace a game console. Thanks to the fact that Xbox 360 controllers also work on Windows very well I can play a lot of games while lying on the couch. Well, of course I will I use other game controllers as well because I’m gaming nerd I have special controllers for every game genre.

For gaming I use Windows 7 Pro 64bit as operating system and for the whole multimedia thing my choice fell on Linux Mint because it’s pretty lightweight, got a great multimedia performance and I just like the overall file handling under linux because I can arrange a variety of disks much more comfortable.

The hardware itself is not very luxurious but will fit the matters. It’s an AMD 9550 CPU built on a Gigabyte DDR2 motherboard stuffed with 4GB RAM. The graphics accelerator is a Gainward 9800GT and the sound will be put out through a cool SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium. By now there’s only stereo output because I don’t have a surround speaker system but this will follow within the next two or three month. I am going to stuff the machine with multimedia content within the next days and then I will finally see how it works and give it a review right here in this blog.