Monday, December 27, 2010

PLAG End of the Year Round-Up

So it's been forever and a day, but Lynsey and I have just wrapped up another podcast detailing our selections for the best and the worst games of 2010. Listen below or check us out on iTunes!

Also, we bought our tickets to PAX East tonight - are you going?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Issac . . . Where Are You Going?

So I just got my first taste of Sprawl.

The “Dead Space 2” demo has been released on Xbox Live and after closing the curtains, shutting off the lights and strapping on an adult diaper I summoned up my courage and dove in.

Oh man – let me tell you what.

The first thing I noticed about the controls were that they were exactly the same as the first game. Not that I expected them to be any different but it was really nice sliding right back into that control scheme. Anything that can help give you a sense of control in the world of “Dead Space” is a big bonus. There were some slight visual changes such as the electronic “bread crumbs” taking on a more curvy appearance in lieu of a rigid line and, of course, changes to Isaac’s RIG.

The second thing I noticed was how much more responsive the melee attacks were. In the previous game, Isaac’s punch and leg stomp seemed really sluggish and not very satisfying. That is not the case in “Dead Space 2” - the attacks are violent and precise with brutal results. Enemies even drop items now after you stomp on them, not after simply dying.

My favorite new gun is by far the spear gun that impales enemies and sends them sticking to a concrete surface behind them. It works seamlessly and can even aid in setting up traps. For instance, I had a lot of fun pinning those Necomorphs with the exploding arm sacks to the wall and then blowing them up as others approached.

Very, very, very satisfying.

The new levitation mechanic is crazy fun and very simple to use. By clicking the left stick you can easily push Isaac upwards, steer him with the right stick and then gently bring him back down with another click of the left. That is going to be great fun to use although I suspect it will get me lost more than a few times.

But what of the big question: is “Dead Space 2” scary?

Well folks, if I could share my sweaty palms and sore throat with you I would but go ahead and download the demo for yourself. Just . . . put a towel under you. The only thing that bothered me was that every time I got frightened in the game it was the result of a jump scare. However, it is only a demo and hopefully the atmosphere of the actual game will be more varied.

Regardless, I'm excited.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cut Off The Limbs, Lara!

Okay people, first and foremost: I promise this blog is still alive. Things have just been very, very busy for Lynsey and me these last few months but there will most certainly be an effort to update more in the near future. Please know that even though we may not always respond we very much appreciate every comment and reader we get.

Truly <3

Now, on to business.

There were two pieces of news that came out today that are definitely worth mentioning. First were two new videos posted by GameInformer showing new footage from the upcoming, "Dead Space 2". The first (and most interesting) shows the game's art developer, Ian Milham, explaining some footage from the multiplayer which I admit I was really indifferent toward and now, having seen it I'm . . . well, I'm still pretty apathetic. The original "Dead Space" was so intensely effective largely due to the overwhelming sense of isolation; I'm still really not sure what the purpose of "Dead Space" multiplayer is and I can't help but notice the pretty glaring similarities to "Left 4 Dead 2". I'm certainly not saying I won't give it a shot but I really just don't understand the appeal.

The second video is more footage of the Milham explaining what players can expect in terms of scares in the sequel. It's nothing we haven't heard before - less cheap, jump scares and more atmosphere - but it's still exciting to watch.

For me though, the biggest surprise today came from Crystal Dynamics and the surprise announcement of a re-boot to the Tomb Raider series:

Despite the series hit-or-miss history, I've always had a soft spot for Ms. Croft and considered "Tomb Raider: Underworld" to be the most overlooked game of last year. This re-boot of the series which promises a young and experienced Lara as she struggles to develop her sense of adventure - and self - has me really, really excited.

It may also seem like a superficial thing - mainly because it is - but this cover also has me more hopeful for a more realistic, gritty Lara. It's silly but I'm honestly dying to see a muscle flex in her arm as she pulls herself up a rock face.

That, and less jiggle-action.

I suppose time will tell.