Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Justice League Heroes Revisited

When I got the PlayStation 2, my first order of business was playing Justice League Heroes. As I mentioned, I really enjoyed playing this game a few New Year's Eves ago and wanted to play again.

I jumped right in, and after a half-hour or so of button-mashing I finally figured out what buttons to push and what combinations did what. Of course I was only on the first level so it was just Superman and Batman and I was only fighting Brainiac's minions and rescuing citizens. Fun, but slow going. I did find a nice tactic in having Superman carry around a car to beat the baddies with. But that's as far as I got. I played a few more times but couldn't get any farther than the confrontation with Brainiac (another of his minions actually). I needed help, as I am, after all, The Non-Gamer. I needed Jeff.

Jeff, as I've mentioned before, has some sort of supernatural gaming skill, mad mad skilz when it comes to videogames, so I waited 'til the next time he was over and urged him to play.

With Jeff's help we got quickly through the Superman/Batman phase and into the Martian Manhunter phase against the Queen Bee, and even into the Flash/Green Lantern phase taking on The Key. And that's when I realized what I liked about the game so much. Unlike DCU Online where you deal with more new player characters than anything else, here you are established characters fighting real villains in a semi-accurate DC Comics continuity.

Now while we saved the game at the point where we stopped, I think I still may need Jeff's help to move forward. Either way, I definitely give Justice League Heroes higher marks than DCU Online. I can't wait to get back to playing. Thanks, Jeff!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Flash Friendly Blob

Tales from Space: About a Blob, another one of my free downloads from the PlayStation Store is cartoony fun that doesn’t require much thinking or much imagination. In other words, it is just The Non-Gamer's speed. And sometimes, after trying to play DCU Online, or heavens forbid, BioShock, that is exactly the kind of game you want.

The game borrows quite liberally from Monsters Vs. Aliens' B.O.B., more than it does from the original movie The Blob with Steve McQueen or any of its sequels and/or remakes. And that's kind of cool, as I said, this is more cartoon than anything else.

You're a blob, small b, and you absorb things, and you're on the move in a laboratory (or a farm if you're daring and want to try the 'hard' level). Honestly, I don't know if there's much more to it. Don't get burned, and keep moving. Simple. Just like life.

About a Blob has a nice flash animation intro in the spirit of keep-it-simple-stupid, ya know. It's easy to learn, lots of tips, all the stuff that for The Non-Gamer makes for a near perfect demo. Just my speed, I like it. The longer I played, the better I got. I had a good time. What more is there to say? Thumbs up.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Other Side

It had been a while since I cracked open the PS3. That's actually a good thing as I've been getting some writing done. Life also sometimes gets in the way. I played the prerequisite hour or so of Pain, and then went looking for something else to play.

As our current tabletop DC Comics role-playing game has been stalled by folks' busy schedule I was jonesing for superhero action so I turned to DCU Online. As I said, it had been a while, so it took forever and a day for it to download updates. Does this happen to everyone, or is it just me because I haven't turned on the machine in a bit?

When it was done I flew around Metropolis as The Red Sun trying to figure out what's what when I got a brainstorm. You have options in the game to have more than one character so I thought, just for kicks and giggles, I'd make a super-villain, and see what different. Walking through the steps of creation was easier this time. I think I had a young woman with zombie skin, inspired by Live Wire and the Joker with electrical powers. As last time, the hardest part was the naming. After several misses, I hit on the name Deadshock, although I think it's spelled 'dedshok.'

Much like my problems as a hero, I had a hard time getting out of Brainiac's spaceship, which is apparently the default starting point. Being a villain, at least I didn't have to fight my way out like before. But I did still have to find a way out.

Once out I ended up in Metropolis, and instead going to the police station I went to the villain equivalent. Same steps, same rules, same old same old, just cooler powers this time. I did take quite a delight in blasting everything in sight. I have to go to a certain place for a mission, yet I can't find it. I guess I need to buy a GPS.

Is there some sort of guide as to how to play this game? Color me confused, as I'm a DC Comics fan who really wants to play and experience this world - and I'm hopefully just limited by my non-experience with games.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Partially Fatal Inertia

Now I downloaded a lot of free demos for the PS3. Some because I knew the game, some because I thought they looked cool, and some because I thought I could write about them here in the blog. Fatal Inertia EX falls squarely in both the second and third categories. And apparently it's not even really a PS3 game, as it is only available as a download. I'm not sure what that even really means bottom line, but it is an interesting point.

Stripped down to the basics, Fatal Inertia is just space motocross, so yeah, just a race game basically, but wow, what a race game. The graphics are startling and fun just to watch, as long as you're not playing. The problem, at least for me, was, as usual, the controller. I needed lots of practice steering before I could master anything else like the racing part. It's fun though, and I can see how this would be a blast for someone who had mastered the controls.

Once you know what you’re doing as far as the racing part goes, you can worry about other stuff like smashing into stuff, running out of gas, brakes overheating, or, say, even winning the races. It was very frustrating at first, but the more I played, the more excited I was about it. That said, I still can't play, but I want to.

At higher levels it becomes a bit like the old "Speed Racer" cartoons where you can fight with the other racers as you race. Nice. It adds a whole new dimension to what I thought was just a race game. I just need one of my game gurus to come over and show me how to do this.

Monday, June 4, 2012

An Ayn Rand Nightmare

I have talked about the concept of games before as simple entertainments. I wanted to play things like Grand Theft Auto and/or The Incredible Hulk because I wanted to blow off some steam and smash stuff. The game should be a simple fun getaway from everyday life. Fantasy.

Sometimes, some of these games take fantasy a bit too far, and a bit too seriously. In books, comics, television, and film, there are such things, so why not in videogames too? BioShock is one of those games. You will become immersed in a completely new world of wonder and horror that honestly I'm not sure why you would want to go there. It's frightening, it's disturbing, and worse than that, it lectures you.

The story of this game is that you are a plane crash survivor trapped in the underwater city of Rapture in an alternate 1960s world and you're hunted by mutants and steampunk robots. Yeah, absorb all that. Turn out the lights and add even more horror to the mix, along with lots of questions and morality issues, and you've got BioShock, the love child of Ayn Rand and Clive Barker.

BioShock is a first person shooter, where inexplicably you don't even start with anything to shoot with. You begin in the water, probably having just survived the plane crash, and you are surrounded by fire. It's very pretty. Amazing special effect, but good luck moving on from there unless you know what you're doing. .

Now I know there's more to this game, as I've seen Crystal play it, but I can't get past the fire myself. It's dark and it's scary, and so full of moral ambiguity as you explore this city built on the principles of the Objectivist movement. Oh yeah, and there's enough child endangerment to make Batman look like a good father.

I wish I understood how to play, and that said, I wish I understood why people want to play. Low marks from me, at least so far, for BioShock.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Injustice: Gods Among Us Announced

The new DC Comics game from NetherRealm Studios. Looks dark and creepy, a la the Batman Arkham games, and it appears that the good guys might not be the good guys in this one. NR Studios previously produced the DC Universe Vs. Mortal Kombat game.