Zomney 2012

I try to keep politics, and my views on politics, off the internet and safely tucked into the comfort of my mind.  I don’t pretend to follow closely enough to help anyone make a decision on who the best candidate is.  I am, however, a Canadian.  As such I have a heavily vested interest in who becomes president of the United States following the November 6th election.  I urge everyone to go out and vote.  If you aren’t sure who to vote for, maybe this will help.

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Game Review Friday: Pokemon Black & White 2

I am a little behind with Pokemon right now.  I was out of the country when the latest iteration of Nintendo’s lucrative collectable cock fighting game was released.  I picked it up Monday morning and have put in somewhere around 13 hours at this point.  I have three gym badges under my belt now and am working on my fourth.  So how does Black and White 2 stack up to previous franchise entries?

First, if you were expecting something new from the series, guess again.  Pokemon games follow a formula that has worked forever, there is really no reason to change it.  You will take a team of Pokemon, make them stronger, beat the gym leaders, the elite four, and the champion, just like in every Pokemon game to date.  The formula is simple, and it works.  It has guided me through dozens of games over the past 8 or so years since i first discovered the series.

Where Pokemon Black and White 2 really hits its stride is with the little additions.  They have implements a medals systems that is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Xbox Achievements.  It is a small thing, but gives you something extra to do.  They have also upgraded the Pokedex, adding in a habitat section that lets you know where you can catch Pokemon you have seen.  It seemed like a stupid addition at first, but then I found out that you get a little badge in your Pokedex every time that you catch all the Pokemon in a given area.  Pokemon was always about grinding until you were strong enough to take on the next gym leader, and now that grinding has a second purpose as you try to get all of the various badges and medals the game has to offer.  It’s those two little additions that have really sold me on the game.

There is also some kind of shopping mall that you are handed over control of, but I haven’t gotten far enough with it to see if it adds to the game or is just a pointless distraction like the movie studio where you can make movies of your Pokemon battling and watch them in a movie theatre.  I don’t see myself spending much time with either of these activities.

The only downside I can see to the game so far is that it seems like the difficulty has been scaled back quite a bit.  I haven’t had a single situation where I felt like I might not win a battle, or a single puzzle that was difficult to solve.  Maybe the later gyms will add a bit of difficulty, but for now it seems almost too easy.

The bottom line on this is that if you already play Pokemon games, you don’t need this review because you already have this game.  If you don’t play Pokemon games, I suggest you do, and Black and White 2 is a great place to start your own Pokemon adventure.

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Game Review Friday: Borderlands 2 – Part 2

Why hello there! I know that Pauly usually does these and he actually already did one on Borderlands 2, but I was just so excited about the Mechromancer, I had to come and share!

image courtesy of gamezone.com

The Mechromancer was due out next week, but Gearbox kicked some serious ass and released Gaige this week. What’s the big deal you may be asking yourself. For shame! There are few things in life cooler than wielding your own personal pet robot and Gaige does that! Named Deathtrap, your pet robot will go around and whoop the asses of the baddies for you. In your skill tree you can beef him up to be even more epic.

So yes, if you didn’t pre-order, you can still get here via the Premiere Club DLC for 800 Microsoft Points. While roughly $10 may seem a little steep for one character, you also get a golden key and a handful of super awesome weapons to start out with. Worth every single virtual penny.

Now back to playing! Enjoy and stay awesome!

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Game Review Friday: FTL

I first came across FTL (Faster than Light) while browsing through one of my favorite Youtube channels, yogscastsjin.  As part of the Yogscast, he mostly does minecraft related videos, but every once in a while he will branch out a little and do something different.  Watching his first foray into FTL got me interested, but I quickly became obsessed.  Money has been tight, with two weddings in as many months to attend, and I held little hope of getting my hands on this game before November.  Well, I am happy to say that my lovely wife Redd got me FTL for my birthday last tuesday (thanks for the birthday wishes, btw.  (if you didn’t give me any birthday wishes, thanks for the birthday wishes…asshole)).  Now I can give you my impressions.

So FTL is a classic “rogue-type”.  Basically that means it is an unforgiving game that requires you to work as hard as possible at improving your chances of survival, and then you die.  You will die a lot playing FTL, it’s actually part of the fun.  Play sessions are typically short, sometimes you will get lucky and find the right combination of stuff to keep you alive just a little longer.  At the end of each play session you are awarded a score and next time you try to do better.

The game does a good job of helping you get back into the game, by giving you different ships you can unlock by completing different achievement criteria.  I have unlocked two ships so far, with two layouts for one of the ships.  Each ship and layout requires a different play style, which helps keep the game fresh.

My only complaint is that FTL rewards having a good memory more than it does exploration.  You will run into the same scenarios over an over again, and as long as you know which option to choose you can come out on top.

The thing that really brings FTL forward is the space combat.  You have to choose where to direct your weapons to disable different systems on the enemy ship.  Using ion cannons to take down shields so that you can destroy their weapons systems is a common tactic, however sometimes the game will tell you that they are powering up their FTL drive to escape so you need to direct your attention there.  The combat is varied and fresh and there is a real sense of urgency, because if you die that’s it.

Overall, I am excited to keep playing.  It’s too early to say whether this game will have the lasting power that I think it will, but for now I would say to buy it.  You will be encouraging developers of great games to keep doing what they do best.  FTL started as a kickstarter asking for $10000 and ended up bringing in $200,000.  I think I have done something wrong with my life.

I’m done here.

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Excited for Devil’s Attorney

I came across Devil’s Attorney today while reading on of my favorite blogs, Touch Arcade.  It is a game being released by 1337 Game Design, creators of Dark Nebula and it’s sequel, the aptly named Dark Nebula – Episode 2.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have never played either of those games, but that doesn’t take away from the awesomeness that is Devil’s Attorney.

It will be hard for some to resist comparing this to Phoenix Wright, but I think the sense of humour will help set it apart.  Devil’s Attorney is due to be released on October 11th, and has made it’s way to the top of my list of games I can’t wait for.  Check out the article on Touch Arcade for another video that shows more of the humor the game has to offer and a little bit of gameplay.

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