A Week In Gaming – Deadpool and Mass Effect 2

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Deadpool: The Game:

Deadpool’s very own game, staring none other than the ever-so-awesome Deadpool himself, was released this past week. Developed by High Moon Studios and published by Activision, Deadpool: The Game brings the awkwardly hilarious comic book anti-hero to life – and it’s amazing. In the game, Deadpool is aware that he is in a video game and is actually directing it as the game progresses. Constantly breaking the fourth wall to talk to the player directly and staying in contact with High Moon Studios in-game via his cell phone, Deadpool really brings the game to life. He boisterous attitude and aptitude for violence along with his comedic approach to everything make the game outrageously entertaining. Big surprise, no? The game also features plenty of other Marvel universe characters like Wolverine, Psylocke, Cable, and Mister Sinister.

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Deadpool, voiced by Nolan North, brings a lot to the table in the way of comedy and kick ass combat. The gameplay is hack and slash style with platforming elements. You control Deadpool so naturally you’ll have access to all kinds of weapons and guns. There is an XP system that is used to unlock new weapons (sais, hammers, etc.), guns (shotguns, assault rifles, etc.), and throwables (bear-traps, mines, etc.) to mix and match in gameplay. There are some minor yet annoying flaws in the gameplay mechanics, none of which make the game unplayable, but all of which become annoying at one point or another. One of the main annoyances for me happens to be the wonky free aim shooting mechanics, but there are some other equally confusing aspects to the gameplay. I must say that overall, the game is great. If you get some downtime and a little cash in the next few months and are looking for a fun game to play, Deadpool: The Game is the way to go.

Mass Effect 2:

So I have been streaming Mass Effect 2 for the past couple of weeks and as I near the suicide mission and final portion of the game I wanted to go over some of my favorite parts of the game with you all. I’m sure most of you have played the game, but I may spoil a few things for those who haven’t so just beware of that.

So one of the best things about Mass Effect 2 is its DLC. The Overlord DLC is one of the most interesting DLC’s I have ever played. I really love the storyline and the dark direction it takes. The mission itself is completely unique and intriguing, leaving the player a little out of the loop until the end. However the best DLC in the game is Lair of the Shadow Broker.

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Being back with Liara while helping her find, take down, and ultimately become the Shadow Broker was an amazing experience. The story was well written and the gameplay was equally fun and challenging. I also loved the environments involved, mainly going to more areas on Illium and then the Shadow Broker’s ship. While streaming, I romanced Liara in Mass Effect for the first time (I usually go solo, though I was with Kaiden at one point). This made the Shadow Broker DLC, mainly my interactions with Liara, a lot different that what I was used to. Prior to going on the mission I made a commitment to romance Garrus, and Liara knew this, so our conversation about “us” was heartbreaking. I have always loved both Liara and Garrus so being stuck between the two was hard, ultimately I chose to stick with Garrus and Liara totally understood, one of the main reasons I have always considered her to be Shepard’s best friend. Speaking of relationships, let’s get to my other favorite aspect of Mass Effect 2.

Relationships, both romantic and platonic, make this series what it is for me and in Mass Effect 2 they really took off. I have never before had such a strong connection to a group of characters in a game like I have in the Mass Effect series. Building friendships and sparking romances brings the game together. Any game can have a fantastic storyline and great gameplay, but when you throw in a handful of unforgettable friends it’s just that much better as a game.

I consider my Shepard’s best friends to be Garrus, Tali, and Liara. This is mostly due to these three are prominent in all three games. Characters like Dr. Chakwas and Joker also fall into that group of people who have been by Shepard’s side 100% of the time. Characters like Miranda, Jack, Samara, Kasumi, Thane, etc. come in and make a huge impact, but nothing like the one made by those original three. Because of this I have always chosen to take my relationship with Garrus to another level and make him my romantic partner in both Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. I feel wrong being with anyone else at this point, and until this most recent playthrough I was never even with someone in the first Mass Effect. Anyway, I’m ready to finish streaming Mass Effect 2 and move on to Mass Effect 3, though I don’t think my body is ready for all those feels right now…

I hope you all had fun reading this week’s gaming post! Next week I plan on discussing something, but I’m just not sure what yet… Since I wont be getting any new games for a while I will probably not be doing a “Week in Gaming” style post, but I don’t know. See you all next week for whatever it is I come up with.

~LadyCroft3

Game Sammich Episode 24 – You don’t know Jack

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Watch us record episode 24 of Game Sammich LIVE at 6:30pm PST below. If you’d like to chat live with us while we record, head over here, or connect directly via irc to irc.mibbit.net, in the #GameSammich channel.

Sooo apparently the president of id Software – Todd Hollenshead has flown the coop after 17 years, Sony unbreaks the bricks, Ouya spreads like wildfire, and Google might get in on the console wars?  Leadwerks is doing a kickstarter to build Linux games on Linux…what a novel idea!

Bert & Errnie are back this week spreading on that buttery banter.  We’ll also be joined by a friend of the show Dan Gardner!

Meat & Perterders:

  • Deadpool
  • FFXIV Beta
  • Red Dead Redemption
  • Dead Space 3
  • Moar Deadpool
  • Borderlands 2
  • Rift

As always, if you’d like to live chat, head over to our website and sign into the irc chat widget.

Video will update once we go live.

Don’t forget to check out our Green Man Gaming affiliate program!

Character Paths in “Skyrim”

Skyrim-0005-WallpaperAs someone who loves story-driven games, I find the only thing that makes them better is being able to create my own character and chart my own path through the tale.

BioWare games excel at this, which is why BioWare is my favorite developer. Their stories take me down a fairly scripted path, but I’m able to navigate certain forks in the road, in the manner of a choose-your-own-adventure. It’s character development, but a very guided kind. For instance, in Mass Effect, the biggest character choice you make is whether to be Paragon or Renegade… or in between. Those are your options. Either way, you’re pretty much going to save the galaxy.

But there’s one game series that keeps me coming back for more, and one game in particular that I just can’t seem to pry myself away from: Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. I started playing it shortly after its release in late 2011 and was hooked for months. I had a female Dunmer who became Archmage at the College of Winterhold, married a kick ass mage named Marcurio, bought a bunch of houses but lazed around mainly in Riften, and eventually got a brave little dog named Vigilance who died on his very first mission with me. Then I left Skyrim for a while. Like, for six months.

When I returned in the fall last year, I made a brand new character with completely different choices. She was a Bosmer. She joined the Stormcloaks and bought the Windhelm house. She married Scouts-Many-Marshes. She restored the lost glory of the Thieves’ Guild in Riften. Mostly, she liked to kick around in the Thieves Guild armor — enchanted all crazy for stats — and the Stormcloak officer headdress, because it looked like this:

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I was mildly addicted to Skyrim during that second playthrough. I made as much progress with my second character as I did with my first, in about 1/3 the time — one month as opposed to three. I’ve already talked about this on my blog here, but there is something addictive about sandbox-style games that really reward you for leveling, leveling, leveling… instead of just story progression.

This spring, I started a new playthrough of Skyrim with my very first Khajiit character. I’ll build her a lot like my Bosmer, with archery + sneak + one-handed. I do miss my Dunmer’s two-handed wielding, because there’s nothing sexier than a battleaxe, but I’ve come to embrace being able to sneak through missions without a fuss. And I totally want to marry Derkeethus and get a modded house somewhere.

I’ve complained a bit about Skyrim not having realistic consequences for actions. For instance, you can be BFF’s with Mjoll the Lioness, who hates the Thieves’ Guild, even when you’re in the Thieves’ Guild. She just don’t seem to know about that part of your life. If you have a quest to get started, you can go do dozens of other things, taking months of in-game time, only to have the quest still waiting for you as if no time has passed at all.

But that’s okay sometimes. Skyrim triumphs the sandbox, and for me, the most fun aspect of that is building characters from scratch and seeing where life takes them. Each character is different. I’ve only completed three full quest lines over the course of two playthroughs, and I’ve never finished the main quest line. Skyrim offers so much to do and so many choices that the exploration — including that character exploration and development — never seems to end.

— Ashley

Being crushed under the weight of temptation…and candy

(source)
Don’t stare for too long or you’ll become addicted too… (source)

“You’ve unleashed a monster, you know that,  right?” said the instant message

“Well,” I typed. “I didn’t think you’d be that into it.”

“C’mon. You know I like this kind of game.” Pause. “Where are you with it?”

“Ugh. Stuck,” I replied.

“Hm. You know I’m gonna catch up soon…”

I smiled on the outside while gritting my teeth. I didn’t mean to unleash anything. I didn’t even want to start myself. I’ve been so good about avoiding these kinds of things for awhile now. But then, one day, I saw that one of best and dearest friends had succumbed.  And the worst part was that she invited me to play too. I…I just…couldn’t say no.

And now I’m hooked. On Candy Crush Saga.

Continue reading Being crushed under the weight of temptation…and candy

Reviewing Magic 2014

Wanna know a secret? I’m a terrible person. Even worse: I’m a hypocrite, and my excitement about the release of Magic 2014 is proof for that. Everytime one of my “bro friends” gets hyped about the release of a new FIFA, NBA, NFL or other generic sports title, my reply to their enthusiastic talk is: “isn’t it just the same game every year, with somewhat better graphics?” My friends hate me for that, but it gives me a feeling of superiority. I’m better than these simple-minded part-time gamers, who can be satisfied by playing the same game over and over again. My refined tastes long for new, innovative gameplay, daring plots and rich worlds, stimulating all my senses to–

BAM! MAGIC 2014 ANNOUNCED! NOW WITH SEALED PLAY! BUY THIS GAME!

Whaaat?! Magic 2014 will be the exact same game than the previous editions, but now it has a limited deck-building functionality through Sealed Play? BEST GAME OF 2014!

Okay, the reaction above is somewhat exaggerated, but it shows the hypocrisy that I feel ashamed of. I have become a victim of whatever mind tricks my FIFA-playing friends have fallen for, and I do not even mind! Magic is Magic, so you can’t change the game that much. Why would you even bother buying Magic 2014 then, if you own any of the previous versions? In order to answer that question, and to proof to myself that there’s more new things in this game than in any future NBA title, I’ve spent my last night playing it for you. Spoiler alert: I’ll still be a hypocrite by the end of this review.

For those who have never heard of Magic, let me help you out from under that rock sum it up for your. Magic: the Gathering is the mother of all trading card games, boasting about twelve million players worldwide who invest money in cards, building decks and battling each other with them. The game has evolved a lot since its humble beginnings, and is still the number one trading card game. Since 2009, Wizards of the Coast publishs Duels of the Planeswalkers, video games that capture parts of what the game is about, offering a good start for new and great pastime for veteran players. There’s no fancy visual representations for the battles, focusing on the visualization of the “real”, physical card game. So if you’re looking for epic battles in the style of Yu-Gi-Oh, you better pass up on this one. If you are an experienced player or want to learn what Magic is about, Magic 2014 is a good place to start.

The game plays like, well, Magic. You pit your deck of choice against that of your enemy, unlocking cards and new decks along the way. The cards are a mix from recent sets, along with a few reprints and new cards from the upcoming Magic 2014 set. Experienced players will enjoy this as a way to preview those cards, while returning players will recognize a few cards from back in the days (though they might wonder why Serra Angel is now an uncommon card). I always liked that the video games focus on the classic and “timeless” cards, leaving possibly confusing and very set-specific mechanics and synergies out of the game. Veteran players will get a chance to revel in nostalgia, while new players will not be confused by a deluge of keywords and complicated strategies.

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This brings me to my gripe with this game. It is clear to see that M14 (yeah, that’s what we’re gonna call it from now on) focuses on the beginning player. Cranking up the difficulty helps a lot when it comes to the AI, but veteran players will be bothered by the biggest problem of the game: there’s no real deckbuilding. Sure, there’s a bunch of different decks to unlock, and you can customize them within their assigned card pools, but you can’t mix and match decks. The reason for this is simply to draw players to the real game, which is where Wizards of the Coast earns its money. It’s that one limit that has always annoyed me in previous games, and this one is no exception. Luckily, the developers gave us Sealed Play, which is in my opinion the coolest feature of M14.

Sealed Play has you build a deck from the content of six booster packs, and field that deck against your opponents. Next to the fact that Sealed Play allows you to create entirely unique decks, it also teaches you valuable lessons about the fine art of deck construction. This is an essential skill if you plan to play the “real” game, and it’s also one of the coolest parts of Magic. When playing a Sealed Play campaign, you will earn new boosters along the way to fine-tune your deck, giving you more possibilities to crush your opponents and see them driven before you. What, if I can make a Conan reference, I’ll make one.

Next to this big addition, M14 boasts dozens of tiny changes. Multiplayer hasn’t changed that much (though you can also use your Sealed deck online), and the different singleplayer modes are also unchanged. In that sense, M14 is just like, say, FIFA 2014: the same game as last year, with a few changes.

Still, I enjoy the gameplay very much, will probably spend too much time with Sealed Play and ask myself in the end why Magic is still such an awesome game. I can’t wait until my FIFA-playing bud watches me playing, and simply says: “isn’t it just the same game every year?” A sigh will leave my mouth, and I will meditate on the contradictions in my life…right after I’ve finished another match.

Pro’s:

+ Great introduction for beginners, entertaining game for veterans

+ Sealed Play adds tons of replay value

+ For ten bucks, you get a lot!

Con’s:

– It’s like Duels of the Planeswalkers 2013, but with Sealed Play

– Still no real deckbuilding

– It reminds me of my hypocrite statements, giving me a bad feeling in my tummy.

At the Buzzer (06/27/13)

Episode 100: Show of the Century — The guys celebrate 100 episodes with a colossal show, including a giant Buzz In, an interview with a video game music star, two duets, new music bumpers, and much more! Also, Chris puts himself on the line, Dave finds his love for steak at risk, and Shaun plays the piano like a professional.

Headlines

Secondary Segment — Buzzfeed

Secondary Segment — Buzzcut

  • Top 3 Memories of the Show So Far

Secondary Segment — Buzzsaw

  • Shaun’s 30-minute anecdotes
  • Dave’s talk about steak
  • Chris’s not speaking in Buzzerbeater

Chris and Molly’s duet on YouTube:

Credits

Music:

  • “Main Theme (Rhythm Thief” by Tomoya Ohtani
  • “Main Theme (Valkyria Chronicles)” by Hitoshi Sakimoto
  • “With Mila’s Divine Protection” by Noriyuki Iwadare
  • “Arkham City Main Theme” by Nick Arundel
  • “id Purpose” by Hiroki Morishita
  • “Night at the Octodrag” by Thee Jaguar Sharks

Production Assistance: Tony Robinson, Executive Producer

Announcer: Molly Robinson

More At the Buzzer

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