Memory lane – filled w/Total War!

Originally posted at GameSpot on November 6, 2010

This past August 7-8, 2010 I played one of (in my opinion) the greatest games of all time – Shogun Total War: Warlord Edition again.

I haven’t played in a while, but due to a recent PC acquisition I loaded it up and took a trip down memory lane …

… a lane filled with Total War!

I was a little rusty and lost my first game, but by the second I found my stride.

Didn’t end up finishing that game (we replaced the computer I was playing on), but I’m looking forward to installing the game again and playing.

With the news that Shogun 2 coming out, it’s great to still appreciate and enjoy the original.

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Hope delivers

Originally posted at GameSpot on September 23, 2010

I went to the official Star Wars: The Old Republic site thinking I might grab a wallpaper or two, just do a little research on the game.

I don’t have a PC able to handle a game like that and probably won’t for a long time, but the game still looks cool and I enjoy reading up.

Went to the media section, the latest trailer was called “Hope.”

Wow.

If something can emotionally grab you in less than five minutes, you know it’s good.

The trailer was awesome – the narration, the action,familiar Star Wars music – it was all there. So many sweet moments packed into such a small space …I’ve still got the chills.

(As I was watching my wife heard me gasp and came over to check it out. We watched the entire thing from beginning to end – and she gasped at the same place!)

Yep, it’s that good.

It is worth getting a new computer for one game? The Star Wars: The Old Republic “Hope” trailer makes me want to say yes.

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The New IL-2 (and the dust on the old one)

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 19, 2008

Good news: IL-2 Sturmovik is getting another follow-up in IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey. I’m a big fan of flight simulator games, so this comes as good news. Now if I can just get a PC to play it on. . .

Truth be told, I haven’t even played the original IL-2 Sturmovik, and it’s not for lack of wanting to. I have the game; it’s placed neatly on the rack with all the others. But since the game came out right around the time my PC decided to become obsolete, it has sat on that rack for years – serving as nothing more than eye candy.

It’s a sad tale, I know. It’s the same story with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty for the PC. I wanted the game so bad I bought it thinking my machine could handle it and if it couldn’t, I would soon get an upgrade. But, that upgrade never came – and the game sits on the same rack, collecting dust.

I really don’t mind – I ended up playing MGS2 on the Xbox thanks to my wife, and now a bigger and better Sturmovik is soon to hit the shelves. I don’t know if I’ll get a PC upgrade or a Xbox 360 next (assuming I ever get either!), but I’ll plan on getting IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey when I do.

I suppose I could get it on the DS, but we’ll have to see what the general consensus is before I do that. Flight is hard to do; I love it on the PC, but everything else is a toss-up.

I have learned my lesson about getting games your system can’t handle though. I know the next time I buy a Sturmovik game, it will be when I know my machine handle it. And once I do, look out friendly skies!

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Waiting! for Snake

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 13, 2008

With Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots now just out, all things Metal Gear have been at the forefront of the gaming world.

While this has prompted many to go out and actually buy the game, I prefer to wait. And by using the word prefer, I mean I don’t have a Playstation 3.

However, waiting has been the name of the game when it comes to Metal Gear and me; after I watched a friend of mine play it, I had to wait years before I actually went through the game myself on the PC. When Sons of Liberty came out, I had to wait until my girlfriend (my future wife) bought me the game as a surprise. I’m still waiting to play Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and since I want to play that before MGS4 I’ll being waiting for this last installment even longer.

Am I complaining? It sounds like it, and I suppose I am – a little. But good things come to he who waits, and I’m looking forward to the day I’ll be able to finish the long, twisted road that is the Metal Gear Series.

(One last note – I was able to view some of the “Metal Gear Retrospective” on Gametrailers.com, and it was very well done.)

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My other ride is the GTVA Colossus

Originally posted at GameSpot on March 5, 2008

I haven’t played it since last December, but two nights ago I hooked up Freespace 2 again and actually made some progress. Last night I made it to the mission “Rebels & and Renegades,” having decided to take the assignment offered to me by the special operations.

Naturally, I failed the first time through and was executed. NTF policies are harsh, but what can you do?

And now, some random thoughts on the game:

– According to various game guides, this Special Operations story loop is three missions long, so I hope to complete it soon and get back to the main campaign. This “side quest” will be interesting, but I hope I don’t get bogged down on a tough mission – something like that could make me put the game away for another few months (or years), and then I’ll never finish this thing.

– Whatever the outcome, I’m glad to be out of the nebula – graphically, it works very well…but it still gets monotonous. Not to mention flying blind! Give me the cold expanse of wide open space any day.

– I’ll have to go back in the mission simulator and play the previous level, “Feint! Perry! Riposte!” when I have a chance. The NTD Repulse jets in and collides with the GTVA Colossus, resulting in a huge explosion. Unfortunately, it was an explosion I never got to see. There is so much going on with fighters after me, beam weapons firing, just trying to stay alive, etc., I sometimes miss some of the better scenes the game has to offer.

– The GTVA Colossus is huge. No, I mean huge. That thing flies in and takes up half the screen. Again, this game still has what it takes even after nearly nine years.

– The game really does a good job of making you feel like you’re a part of a futuristic military unit, from the first rate briefings to the in-game chatter. Hats off to whoever made that happen.

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Ice crystals cause a gasp!

Originally posted at GameSpot on February 14, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 – We were sent home from work early because the weather was so bad, and I took advantage of the opportunity to get some gaming in. It was almost a year to the day (Valentine’s Day of last year) that work was cancelled because of the snow, and it still felt just as good as it did then.

Quick hits:

Got some good time in with Super Mario World and Star Fox Command. I feel like I should give the latter its own entry, but that might come later.

Super Mario World is getting better, and that’s due directly to the fact that I’m actually progressing in the game now. Figuring out the puzzles or hitting a jump right goes a long way in keeping me playing. Just got out of the Forrest of Illusion and it’s on to the Chocolate Island. I get a little tired of the constant Ghost Houses, but I think that’s just because they’re tougher.

Star Fox Command has really impressed me. Any flight sim I’ve played has been on the PC, and while the game isn’t a simulation per say, I’ve never seen flight combat represented so well on any other platform. The DS control handles very well once you get used to it, and pulling out of a drive or making a sharp turn feel like you’re actually doing something.

The difficulty is just right, bordering on easy sometimes – but then a tough boss or missile shows up to even things out. I do enjoy the missile mechanic of the game more than I thought – it ratchets up the tension, knowing that you could have beat the rest of the level but missing one beacon means it was all for nothing.

The story is nothing too special, although the dialogue gets pretty good when the characters have extended interaction. Lines like, “Outta bed and full of beans,” tend to make you smile every time. I do enjoy the story surprises, though – you finish an area and all of the sudden BAM! Team Wolf pops out of nowhere!

– In both games, I’m found something I didn’t know I missed – the gasp! By the “gasp!“, I mean literally sucking in a lot of air – loudly – whenever something happens. In Super Mario World, this is usually when I die on the same jump for the tenth time in a row, or when I actually squeak by a difficult level. On Star Fox Command, it’s when I’m hitting that last beacon to destroy a mother ship or frantically trying to finish a level before time runs out. During these moments, it’s not unusual to hear a gasp! – or several of them.

I think the gasp! has been missing (or at least in the consistency of when I’m now experiencing them) due to the fact that I haven’t really progressed through a game in a long time. I’ve been racing with the new wheel, or just playing through games I’ve already beat when I have time like Star Wars: Battlefront II. But now I’m playing through levels, advancing unknown stories, and playing the DS in short bursts instead of sitting in front of my Xbox for an extended amount of time.

One isn’t better than the other, but I do enjoy this change of pace – and I’m excited about the potential gasps! to follow.

– Three great lines have come from my wife during this week, all related to Puzzle Quest:

“I’ve done this more today than I’ve knitted.”

She has really been getting into the game, and rightly so – it’s a great game! I showed it to her the night I got it, she said it looked cool, and then I left for work the next morning.

Since then she’s picked it up, and can’t put it down! I’m excited that she enjoys it, and so far she’s played it more than me – for the record, she’s on level 17 and I’m at 5.

“This is my kind of Fable

My wife “played” Fable with me on Xbox, and now she has a version of her own. With the knights, orcs, swords, and other Fable-ish items found in the game, it reminds her a lot of the world of Albion. Seeing her enjoying the puzzle aspect of the game and having her first taste of some RPG elements feels really satisfying – she told me she understands now why I get excited when I level up a character (Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), or want to expand my kingdom as much as possible (Shogun: Total War). Ah, music to my ears! Now she knows why I get excited over the things that I do

“I used yours since my battery died.”

Just as she was about to topple her foe, the DS’s battery died – but instead of quitting and waiting for her battery to re-charge, she finished the game on mine. I think that speaks for itself.

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