Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Tooth fairies

Lots of things happening today. For once, I got a wisdom tooth removed. It’s pretty painful, even though the procedure wasn’t overly bothersome. It’s mostly now, afterwards, that I’m knocked out by the pain. Thankfully, I’ve got my new computer to occupy myself with. Seems like the tooth fairy does exist, after all. I’ve just gotten it up and running with my new 24″ screen and all, and I just couldn’t wait to download some games to try it out. So I logged on to Steam to grab Left 4 Dead or something, but it’s taking ages to download! The games are so big these days that a regular DSL connection (24 mbit down, 10 up) just won’t do it. I’d really like a faster connection, but there aren’t any options, really.

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Finished the single-player campaign of Gears of War 2 this weekend (on Normal). It was decent, not much more, and the finale was somewhat disappointing to say the least. But having beaten the game, I decided to take a little trip into Gears of War 2’s multiplayer. I played a fair bit of the first game’s multiplayer, and having read about the new game modes I was a bit curious to see how well it actually worked.

A couple of hours later, I turned off the console with mixed feelings. I first tried the Horde mode, which was a bit confusing at first, but still pretty straightforward: survive 50 rounds of increasingly difficult mobs of monsters. Fair enough. What it resulted in, however, was a trash-talk fest with a bunch of 14 year olds using their headsets rather vigorously and a game mode that felt more like a time sink than an engaging challenge. Still, it’s fun to shoot at stuff, to some degree.

I then attempted to try the more deathmatch-oriented multiplayer modes but I was unfortunately stuck in the matchmaking lobby for 10 minutes without the hope of ever finding suitable matches. This leads me to think of two possible reasons: either there’s very little people playing Gears of War 2 online (on a Saturday night even!) or the matchmaking system is completely messed up! Either way it was a disappointment, and I ended up playing a round of Uno instead. That’s right, Epic. Uno.

It took me about 10 seconds to find a four player game and they all hung around for the whole game, never even using their headsets. Something tells me that there aren’t a lot of 14 year old kids playing Uno, which I think can only be considered a good thing. So, Uno – Gears of War 2: 1 – 0.

Left 4 Dead

Run! Free popcorn!

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately playing Left 4 Dead on PC. I knew from the beginning that it’d be at least an interesting game, but ever since I tried out the demo I’ve been completely hooked. Smart move, Valve, you just knew that all you needed to do was release a two-map demo and you’d reel everyone in, didn’t you?

Anyhow, I’ve finished all four campaigns several times and I’ve also given the Versus mode some time as well. I wasn’t all too interested in playing Versus as infected to begin with – it just seemed tacked-on, somehow. But playing a couple of rounds of Versus as a Boomer or a Hunter was more than enough to make me almost favor that mode. There’s just something incredibly satisfying about creeping up on another human player and messing with him just when he’s the most vulnerable.

For a game that contains so little content, Left 4 Dead sure makes good use of what it has. I’m very curious to see where Valve goes from here, what added content they’ll provide. While the most obvious features might be new maps, I’d like them to flesh things out on other levels – some new weapons, perhaps some new survivor types (a four-player SWAT squad perhaps) and some new special zombies? Hell, that’d make those four campaigns worth grinding through at least fifty times more! Yup, I’m into it that much!

Also, it’s nice with a coop game that takes its coop so seriously. There are plenty of incentives for teamwork, and the biggest one would be the mere fact that keeping your buddies alive will ensure your own survival as well. Yeah, it’s very difficult to survive without a friend nearby – all it takes is one special zombie (a Hunter or a Smoker) and you could be downed and killed. I don’t think any zombie game has ever conveyed this aspect better, not even Resident Evil or Dead Rising. This is probably the first real zombie game that manages to maintain the mood and the panic of the ideal zombie apocalypse scenario. Great, great stuff!