Archive for November, 2011

What.. I mean?!… what just happened

So you’re all aware of the news ads for WoW and tonight I saw this for the first time

You serious Blizzard!?!

So if I understand this ad right, if I play WoW I’m going to dump my loved ones, shut myself in and become the very stereotype that gamers have been trying to cast off for years???

Not amused at all….

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Writing this, I found out that reviewing a Zelda game is a lot trickier than what I would expect. The series has been out for 25 years, sold millions of copies and at this point I believe nearly everyone with a passing interest in video games knows what the series is about. So, I’ll focus on the aspect specific to this one, namely the Wii Motion Plus controls.

It’s all about control

Skyward Sword is the second game in Zelda series to come out on the Wii, the first being Twilight Princess.While Twilight Princess was a success the one downpoint many reviewers agreed on was that the Wii controls felt off and didn’t really do the game justice.

That’s where the Wii Motion Plus comes into play. For those wondering, the Wii Motion Plus is an upgraded Wii controller that allows more precise controls and better detection of motions. Instead of just taking into account where your pointer is at like the basic controller, Motion Plus is aware of the whole positioning of the controller which can turn your controller into a sort of sword hilt…. for example…

So how does controlling Link’s sword with the Motion Plus feels? Pretty good! If you swing from right to left, Link does the same, left to right? works too! In fact you can do vertical, horizontal and diagonal cuts in both directions, a stab and overhead strike and chain them all together in whatever crazy combo you want. The game also uses this a lot to challenge you and enemies will block to the left or leave one particular opening forcing you to use to the correct strikes.

All in all, the swordplay is some of the best I’ve seen in any game and Skyward Sword shows us a glimpse of what motion control can bring to serious games.

But there’s also some downsides… Skyward Sword uses motion control for nearly everything in the game and while 90% it’s fantastic, you’re also feeling you’re touching the limits of the technology sometimes. Motion Plus is great for broad movement but it shows its weaknesses in precision movement.  Some precision movement, especially when flying or placing puzzle pieces to open doors requires you to twist and turn precisely and you often end up twisting your hand in an uncomfortable position trying to make the right movement. It becomes worst when you have to be precise while under pressure due to enemy attacks  or time limits.

Overall, the Motion Plus controls are a plus to this game. There’s some shortcomings but nothing game breaking and after some time you start learning how to overcome the precision limitations so it’s not too bad. By the time you’re done with the early part of the game, you won’t even pay much attention to the controls. My point here is that in the end, the Motion Plus is worth it even if there’s some adjustment to be made.

Fine but is it a good Zelda game?

Let’s forget the control for a moment… is it a great Zelda game? Hell yeah! Absolutely, one of the best out there for sure and I’d even dare say it’s as good if not better than Ocarina of Time. Great graphics,great dungeons, great story, great everything! It’s a Zelda game in every aspect and it’s simply a blast to play through. It has a bit of a slow start but once you get going it just keeps building up to being ever more awesome.

I’ll sum it up by saying this. If you’re any kind of Zelda fan you have to own this game. If you like video games at all this is probably one of the best games you can buy this year.

The list:

The monkey loves:
-The overall experience. There’s so many little things I just love about this game so I’ll just lump this all together.

The monkey liked:
-The experiment with the Wii Motion Plus and the effort put into making it integral in a real game.

The monkey disliked:
-Slow start to the game. For a while at the beginning I was wondering what the hell I was playing.

The monkey would like to see improvement:
-Fine controls. Motion plus is great for broad moves but for precision it shows some frustrating flaws.

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Been a while since I did a friday World of Tanks post but I’ve been playing some recently so here I am. If you play WoT for any decent amount of time you’ll notice victory or defeat often hang in the hands of a few players. A great player in a good tank in a top of list position may win you the game all by himself and a bad one can lose you the game just as easily.

WoT, like any team PvP game has that famous 80-20 split. Only 20% of the players in any given game will really make the difference. When those players are in the opposite team you need to be able to identify them quickly so you can stop them and if on your team, supporting them in their actions might just assure you victory. Today, I’ll look at 3 types of players you have to watch out for.

The line breaker

This guy is usually driving the biggest tank around and has little to fear from enemy shells. He also knows that wherever he goes it’s likely a number of people will follow. Unlike the dumb big rusher who just rushes across field thinking himself invincible, the line breaker knows where to go to maximise his damage. Generally, his plan involves breaking your battle line, ravaging your rear and then mopping up the survivors.

Stopping the line-breaker: Sadly, the very nature of the line breaker makes him difficult to stop since he knows little can damage him. His plan hinges though on keeping moving and that’s his weakness. You need to stop him moving and hold him still as long as you can. By doing so you’ll also stop his following force (they never keep pushing) and it will give time for your team to either isolate the big guy by destroying the followers or just pound the big one enough to destroy him.

The pro scout

This one has one goal and one goal only, spot key members of your team so his team can engage your team at very long-range. What makes him different from the suicide scout? He stays alive and he doesn’t try to spot your entire team, just the right people.

The pro scout plays off the fact that most early games consist of the two teams staying hidden in the hopes of scoring easy kills. By spotting one or two members of your team at a time and by not dying, he directs a lot of fire on your team and weakens it slowly until you can’t fight back.

Stopping the pro-scout. Kill it!!! Kill it now!!! Seriously, this guy will make your team lose quickly if he’s not dealt with rapidly. If you can manage to kill him safely do so but if needs be this is one occasion where a sacrifice might be needed. Think of it this way, would you rather do a 1 for 1 tank trade or wait until you lost 3 tanks to finally kill him.

The ambush base defender

Bases defenders usually come in two flavor, the weak one who was afraid to go up front because he couldn’t do much… and the powerful one who was waiting for the softened targets to show up.

This guy strategy is pretty simple. Either his team win without his help or he wipes out the remaining attackers who defeated his team. Often when a team break through the main line, they rush the back disorganised and weakened from their previous battle and this is what the base defender plays off. He simply picks them off one by one.

Stopping the ambush base defender. The solution is simple but requires a bit of guts. When you do break through the opposing line, keep organized and if you get shot at or your buddy explodes next to you, keep moving forward. Ambush defenders are often alone and can’t destroy all of you at the same time. Keep pushing and you’ll win with sheer numbers.

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Winter is coming…

It’s cold… it’s 26f, it’s snowing heavily and it’s making me depressed… here comes 5 months of freezing to death, cold slush and heavy clothes…

@Winter Not a fan dude! Go away!

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On endings

I’ll try following Grimmtooth’s advice and not turn this into a “I’m gonna play Swtor! Suck it WoW players!” post but recently I’ve been giving a lot of thoughts to the end of my WoW career. For me this is huge because it’s the MMO that made me fall in love with the genre back in 2004… seven years ago! We’ve had our up and downs and I’ve done my share of “I quit” only to come back later but this time it feels really different and I believe that I’m done for good with WoW.

Why would this time be different? Because of a game like Swtor? No… while Old Republic is a nice exit strategy the reality is that after seven years of the same game I’m simply done. Beyond the recent changes and announcements the fact remains that after seven years of the same game, the bosses, raids and instances start all looking the same and that sense of adventure and discovery that got me hooked  to the game is gone. So while it’s entirely possible that in a few months/years I feel the urge to come back, right now this truly feels like the end of something important.

Mind you, this is not my “I quit WoW” post yet… I plan on doing that later but right now I’m more concerned about how to go about things. Do I do a last round of my favorite places? Do something silly with the Effers or just keep on plugging on Ragnaros until the bastard is dead. In short how do you end a seven year adventure?

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