Monday, February 2, 2009

The Maw, L4D, Kingfish, Twilight  

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Games: My friends over at Twisted Pixel sent out a press release a few days ago announcing new DLC levels for The Maw. In a nutshell, these are three levels that got cut from the final version for various reasons, and now that the game has met with some success, they've decided to release them for people who can't get enough of the hungry purple monster.
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At $1.25 each, that's a pretty reasonable price for getting a few extra servings of one of the best DL games to come out in recent memory.
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Also under the games heading, the wife and I have been playing Left 4 Dead co-op for the last day or so, and I've got to say that I'm kind of surprised that this game ended up on so many “Best-Of” lists. I mean, it's fun in the sense that any game is enjoyable when you play it with someone you like spending time with, but we haven't even finished all four of the scenarios yet, and we’re sort of getting bored.
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I kind of believe that if a videogame needs other real people in order to be fun, but it's not a good game to start with, and L4D seems to fall into that category. Pretty much every review on the Internet says that the single-player mode is worthlessly blah, but I don't feel as though 2P co-op is much better. It all sort of blends together after a while, and mowing down endless numbers of grey zombies just gets old.
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When I first saw the game, I was impressed by the sheer number of enemies that were onscreen at once, but now that I've spent more time with it, I feel as though it's almost a mistake… there rarely seems to be any rhyme or reason to the enemy locations, and the sheer numbers that get thrown at you are ridiculous. I find myself almost wishing that each level was crafted to be a more controlled, directed experience. A real story mode would be nice, too.
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Anyway, I can say that the high point of playing L4D is that I've discovered that my wife is a more ruthless, bloodthirsty combatant than I am. I would often be holding back and trying to assess the situation, only to see her running ahead, throwing caution to the wind with guns blazing.
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It was kind of cool.
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Food: The wife took me out to dinner the other night, and we went to a place that I have been wanting to go for a while -- the Kingfish Café. I'll have some pictures up sometime in the next few days or so, but the food was superb, the joint was classy, and the service was great.
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Although I don't eat it very often, I'm a big fan of soul food, and this was some good stuff. I definitely recommend it to any readers in the Seattle area. Located at the top of Capitol Hill, a few blocks north of Madison on 19th, it's not too far out of the way if you ever find yourself in the city proper. I'll talk more about this later, but man, was it good.
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Books: Finished Twilight. Finally. It's not that the book's thickness was the hold up; it's actually pretty quick reading. I think the reason it took me so long to finish was that I just couldn't ever get into it. I think everyone on earth knows the basic story so far so there's no need to recap, but after wrapping it up, I can certainly see why it's so popular with teenage girls and lonely housewives.
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The amount of schmaltzy over-emoting and instantly-intense reactions is a little silly, and I just couldn't take any of it seriously. I certainly don't mean any disrespect towards Ms. Meyer, but I think it's pretty plain to see that I am absolutely not in the target audience. I'm glad that I read it, but at this point I have no interest in any of the sequels. I congratulate the author on her wild success, but I'm also quite okay in saying that her work is not for me.
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5 comments: to “ The Maw, L4D, Kingfish, Twilight

  • Hargrada

     

    Though I haven't read it myself, I found this blog post on the Twilight novel amusing.


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    While I understand the argument that 'co-op necessity' equals a sub-par game, Left 4 Dead calls me back again and again. To me it succeeds in creating a framework for four-player games that become more than the sum of the parts. With the addition of pals ( and even strangers ), it blossoms into something else. Offline co-op is good, but again, not as thrilling. With the addition of too many more elements the game would become too complicated for a streamlined, action-packed, four-player romp. It seems that the designers intended it to be as such - a four player experience; and, playing with less people doesn't return the best results. Is that a knock against the game? It's going to be an absolute 'yes' for some people and an absolute 'no' for others. I think it's a great, new style that will endure and grow ( and get better ). In any case: happy shooting!

    My girlfriend loves this one, as well! That's a huge plus. I'm assuming that your wife is into this one? What are some other recent titles that she's really liked? Or liked watching? I've been thinking about some games to buy to share with my lady...


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    to Hargrada: OMG, that was one of the best dissections of Twilight I've read. Thanks for posting that, I thought it was hilarious. And totally correct.

    to Brandon: I actually totally agree with what you said about the game being a ‘framework’ -- that's exactly what I see it as; just a framework.

    It's a fun virtual place for people to go and mess around, but in my mind, that's not the same thing as being a well-rounded videogame. Of course, I think it's pretty clear that L4D is not even trying to be a well-rounded videogame, so I don't really hold that against it, I just find it to be not as good as it could have been.

    I'm not one for multiplayer in general, although I do like playing co-op in games that have a beginning, middle, and end. (Gears, Saints Row, etc.) The wife and I will run through the various L4D missions a few times, but I think after that, neither one of us will have any interest in coming back to it.

    I see what it’s going for, but I can't help but be disappointed that it's not more than it is-- I mean, after all, this is from the same people who made Half-Life, so for them to turn out something that's basically a vehicle for some shallow multiplayer is Valve plucking some low-hanging fruit and then calling it quits.

    Despite my feelings on L4D, I do agree with you in that I think this style of ‘game’ is only going to grow in popularity. It's certainly not my bag, but it's not hard to see that a lot of people enjoy it.

    (L4D aside, when the hell is anyone going to make a really good ‘survive the zombies’ co-op experience? The first game that combines co-op, open-world, and zombies is going to be a monster hit. I seriously can't believe that no one's done it yet.)

    In response to your other question, I think the wife plays it (and plays it well… she kicked ass at Army of Two, also) but I wouldn't say that she really likes it that much. In general, she's much more a platformer/adventure fan. She really loved Okami, The Maw, Tomb Raider: Legend, Gurumin, and she’ll go for any hack’n’slash like Baldur’s Gate (PS2) or the Bard’s Tale. Rock Band, too.. but hell, who *doesn’t* like that? ; )


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    Did you see Stephen King's comments bagging on Meyer today? Pretty funny shit...


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    No, I didn't... link me!