Monday, October 5, 2015
Welcome back to Coffeecola!
First off, I was a guest on the new @VideogameBreak TV show which is now airing on local Seattle stations. The show is just now getting off the ground, and host Carlos Rodela does a great job with it. If that name sounds familiar, that you might know him from the @VideogameBreak Podcast,and he’s also @Onawa on Twitter.
In any event, here the first two complete episodes are also on YouTube in case you don't get local Seattle TV.
Episode 1 - Mad Max, Senran Kagura 2, Underfall and CYOA games.
Episode 2 – Game preservation and journalism stuff
So, what have I been playing?
I just finished Blood Bowl 2 (PS4) and it's been taking up all of my free time over the last week or so. Although I've never played the tabletop game that it’s based on, developer @CyanideStudio has taken a second stab at porting it to electronic formats, and in this case, the second time's the charm.
For those not familiar with Blood Bowl, it's essentially football played by fantasy races (elves, orcs, ratmen, humans, etc…) along with a large dose of violence and fatalities.
Now, if you read this blog with regularity or you know me from the @Gamecritics podcast, you might be wondering why I'm even remotely interested in a sports title, and the answer is: I'm not. Despite the fact that American football is definitely the basis for Blood Bowl, it plays a lot more like a turn-based strategy RPG than it does like Madden, and that's what hooked me.
While the tutorial doesn't quite do its job and the production values are lower than I'd like, there's no denying the deep strategy and tactics here. Playing a great match is like XCOM on a field, and with all the special abilities, cheating, and bizarre circumstances, it makes for an incredibly entertaining experience.
Now, while the online is pretty robust and you're able to have a full season with friends, I was thrilled to see that the developers have included a full single player campaign, complete with special challenges, cutscenes, and an actual ending. I haven't tried multiplayer, but I had a great time with the story mode, and a special shout-out goes to the two voice actors who played Jim and Bob, the announcers. The pair did a great job, and really help sell the entire experience.
Although @GC_Danny is handling the review for @Gamecritics, this title comes totally recommended by me, and I give it an absolute thumbs up. It's easily one of my favorites this year.
While on the subject of games, the good people at @MommysBestGames just released a bundle on Steam, and it's a pretty killer deal. For only $8, players can get four lovingly- handcrafted indie experiences from the twisted mastermind of Mommy’s Best, Nathan Fouts.
For those of you unfamiliar with Nathan's work, it just so happens that I reviewed three out of the four games offered in the current bundle. They are:
1> Weapon Of Choice – 8.5/10
2> Shoot 1UP – 8/10
3> Explosionade - 8.5/10
So, if you know how strict I can be with games, then you know the scores I gave his work are no joke -- that’s a lot of great game for not-a-lot of cash. If you like indies and never tried these when they originally debuted on XBLI, now’s your chance.
Now, about TV and movies...
While we’re waiting for some of our favorites to return (Season two of The Flash, yo!) the wife and I were checking out some other shows that we heard were good, and one we tried out was iZombie.
This show is based on a 2010 comic by Roberson and Allred, but to be perfectly honest, I didn't care for the book, and I was more than a little surprised to see that someone had picked it to develop into a TV show. That said, we gave it a spin, and I'm happy that we did – it’s been a nice little treat.
In a nutshell, the main character is infected with a zombie virus, but by eating brains she maintains most of her humanity despite being incredibly pale. She works in a medical examiner’s office, so she has frequent access to food, and a side effect is that when she eats a brain, she remembers some of that person's history and takes on some of their personality. Naturally, since most of the people coming into the morgue have been murdered, she uses this ability to help solve the crimes.
It's a goofy premise, but luckily the show doesn't take itself too seriously. It's more about getting fun performances out of the cast, and everyone does a great job. Also, someone in the writer’s room must be a gamer, because they drop a lot of game references that are actually on-target and make sense. I was impressed! I'm about halfway through the first season, and we're down for the rest… It's light, peppy, and pretty cute.
One final thing for the blog tonight… As parents, we're always on the lookout for some quality entertainment that the whole family can watch -- Something that's not too intense for the young ones, and not too insipid for Mom & Dad.
I'd heard a lot of good things about the 2014 remake of Paddington, but the movie trailer looked like absolute crap. I couldn’t understand where the good word-of-mouth was coming from, because just seeing those few seconds of clips from the film really turned me off. However, it was for rent on iTunes for .99 one rainy afternoon, so we risked the buck.
I have to say, I was quite surprised by the quality of the film -- the trailer was full of kiddie crap like burps and pratfalls, but the film was actually quite smart, had a lot of sophisticated visual storytelling, and told a wonderful tale rich with magical realism.
If I was the director of the film, I would've been pulling my hair out at how stupid the trailer made it seem, but I'm glad that we decided to give it a chance… Everyone in the entire family enjoyed it, and I can't recommend it enough to families with kids. It's a movie that's entertaining on many levels, and much, much better than I had ever expected. Absolutely recommended.