Saints Row how I missed you

SR4 last year suddenly stopped working on PC (my PC anyway) after a patch and after looking up stuff on the interweb tubes, there was no fix forthcoming so I uninstalled WITHOUT finishing the game.  This is sacrilege of the highest order.  After uninstalling both Total War Attila and Planetary Annihilation (review forthcumming), I have space on my SSD for SR4 again, and am back on that motherfucker for real this time.  The number of costume packs for about 2$ has exploded and the full-size expansion GAT OUT OF HELL which likely reveals the return of Johnny Gat who died in SR2, is waiting pedestrian abuse.

If you have this and want to go MULTI, let me know you mraakers.



I got to play YOMI!

I’ve had my eye on YOMI, a card game that emulates video game fighting games in paper form for awhile now.  I initially assumed there was no way anyone could make an actual fun game out of this.  From experience as I’ve tried two of them from the olden days (Video Fighter [below] and Heavy Gear) as well as the goo,d but too simple, Brawl.

Circa 1994- do you remember it? Likely not.

YOMI is available to play online and I gave that a go and it was just OK, it piqued my interest further, but I didn’t think it was all that great from playing the online version, which is exactly the same as the card game except you can’t read the cards.  You can technically read them, they just aren’t the focus of the game enough compared to when they’re in your hand.  This is huge detriment for a new player because I can say after playing the physical game that YOMI is absolutely superb at pulling off what it’s trying to do and it’s not well represented in the online version since the cards are small and not in your face.  So if you are going to give it a try, I would recommend playing with pieces of paper first.

The core mechanic, well it’s just rock paper scissors between Throw, Attack and Block/Dodge.  Seems simple?  It’s crazy complicated.  The rock paper scissors part is just the most basic mechanic. You play a single card each turn. Based on what you played and your opponent has played you can possibly play more cards to combo, extra defense, etc. and this is where the game gets crazy and the rock paper scissors mind game turns into a mechanic that works brilliantly instead of putting you to sleep as it should.  Each character deck that I’ve seen (played about 6 of them) plays very differently.  Some characters are good throwers, some rush down with tons of small attacks and combos and others  set you up for a big hit the whole match.  After just a few plays, one notices the huge depth of the game.

Hand management is huge, card flow is huge, and knowing when and where to lay down your big combos is something that will take hundreds of games to master.  I am simply shocked that someone was able to pull this off and do it so brilliantly.

yomiTrogAs a game, once you have a single deck of one character, you can play– forever.  That character likely will never get any other cards you can buy (unless there is a team fight expansion that changes out cards) so if you just want one character to play, your cost of entry is 12$ and never anything else.  You could enter a tournament and win and be a champion with just that 12$ spend as YOMI is not about buying up cards and making decks like Netrunner or Shadowfist then playing, it’s about learning a character completely, just like a fighting game on the boob tube.

I’m not a huge fan of the art– it looks sort of like knockoff anime to me rather than the real deal, which Video Fighter and Heavy gear also had issues with. The overarching brand is ‘fantasy strike’ so it seems like the characters in the game are in some sort of Lodoss War style world. And a Panda? I guess… again, a minor quibble, especially since many of the characters are really awesome looking— they’re just not Last Blade 2 awesome.

Those of you physically near me, trust that you will be coerced into playing despite your hatred of fighting games.

DOTA 2- down the fucking rabbit hole (again)

there was a time when I was blissfully unaware of what this means.
there was a time when I was blissfully unaware of what this meant.

I got into the beta of DOTA2 awhile back and after installing my only experience with it was waiting for a match to start and then quitting after about 2 minutes.  Given that I played the early versions of DOTA as part of my (and everyone else’s) Warcraft 3 addiction, I didn’t think I was missing much.  How good could it be? It’s a bunch of WC3 heroes fighting each other on the same map over and over and over again and I’d done that before.  Plus,  I remember it being pretty boring compared to a straight up WC3 match– you do only control one hero after all.

However, I’m eating a bit of crow meat now–I’ve played some handful of matches here and there and am largely hooked– every time I win one of those boxes, I buy a 2$ key (the game was free after all so I feel I owe them something!).  So my few and dear readers, I will likely post a terrible amount of DOTA stuff in the next gaggle of months until the addiction passes.  The realization that I liked it hit me last night when I actually called it the Cosmic Encounter (the best board game ever made) of video games– in that the basic premise is very simple and easily understood, but the sheer asymmetry of the number of heroes turns it into something completely different every single time.  What’s more, even if you suck really bad, you can still contribute to your team if you have a basic understanding.  Going into a server assuming you will be THE carry in the game is setting yourself up for disaster, but pushing lanes, support and ganking are doable with just a bit of practice.

Please note the most popular video game on the planet is effectively a DOTA clone (League of Legends) so the addictive qualities speak for themselves.

Anarchy Reigns – Griefing out of the gate

Anarchy Reigns.  Best way to describe it is Twisted Metal without the Cars or an insane Power Stone. You run around and punch people and use specials and it’s pretty crazy.  I jumped right into Multiplayer and after two rounds– the greifing began.  When in a multiplayer Deatchmatch room that requires X amount of slots (say 4), it’s possible for a single player to bomb the whole lobby by constantly entering, selecting that they are “ready’ then un-readying it before the timer countdown locks the room.  This happened for about 8 minutes before I quit and went to the campaign game.  Gamers will grief whenever they can, naturally, but this type of shit should have been foreseen.  The game has been out in Japan for a long while now.  You can’t tell me NO Japanese tried this same shit to bomb a lobby?

Anyway, the rounds I got in were chaotic, but fun.   I’ll put up a full review when I get through a mess more of the game.