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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Game Review Friday: Borderlands 2

Where do I start.  I usually begin these posts with an apology for not posting more.  Yeah…sorry.  I have been too busy, or my dog ate my posts or something, it’s not important.  What is important is what I have to say about Borderlands 2.

I spent a lot to time playing the original Borderlands, it was an amazing game and it is hard to believe that a sequel could live up to the original.  Before we get into whether Borderlands 2 accomplishes this monumental task, lets talk a little bit about what kind of games these are.

Borderlands is about killing things so that you can get their gear so that you can kill more things.  It is very like a First Person Shooter Diablo, in that the gear is the game.  I read somewhere once that games like this are like a pinata.  You smash things open so that you can see what is inside.  Finding out what is inside is the important part.  Anyone can go down to the store to buy some candy, but it will never taste as good as the candy that comes out of an exploding corpse.  Maybe that metaphor fell apart at some point, but hopefully you get the point.

So, as far as pinata type shooty games go, Borderlands was one of the best.  It had a great story, great game play, and a great sense of humour.  I spent no less than one million hours playing it.  I am only about 10 hours into Borderlands 2, but I would say that it is better in every way.  The story is much more involved, you feel like your character is actually playing an important role.  There are cameos for the characters from the first game, making the world feel more alive with the continuity.  The game play is much more solid, the enemy AI is improved, it feels like a very polished game.  The sense of humour is fantastic, having me laughing out loud at times.

I would say more, but this game is very new and in all honesty I want to get back to playing it.  If you want a different opinion, to see the other side of things, I suggest checking out todays Penny Arcade.

I’m done here.

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