Review Miscellany

Posted on : 05-14-2010 | By : Brian | In : D&D, Indie Games, News, Reviews, Video Games

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I’ve been playing a lot of different games this week, and I’ve got some stuff coming up; I figured I’d give little capsule reviews of what I’ve been doing, and talk a little about some stuff that’s upcoming. In no particular order:

Dead Space: I’m possibly a bit late to the party on this one, but I picked up Dead Space for a really good price around Christmas and just now got around to playing it. I’m not finished with it yet, but I’m eight hours or so into it and I’m really enjoying it. The atmosphere is suitably creepy, and while it doesn’t really create fear (what video game does, really?), it does succeed in creating an awful lot of tension. The fact that the main character, Isaac Clarke, doesn’t speak is a little bit strange considering how much he gets spoken to, especially when you take into account that there’s a character in the game who is supposed to be personally important to Isaac. The game spins a good yarn, though, and the combat is pretty good.

The Humble Indie Bundle: This is a group of indie PC games, for which you can name any price you want, pay it, and get them all. You can choose how much of your money goes toward the developers, and how much goes toward Child’s Play. There are some worthwhile games in the bundle, and while I haven’t liked all of them, I like enough of them that I’m happy I paid for the bundle. Plus, it’s for charity. Go buy it.

Of the games in the bundle, I’ve played World of Goo, which is excellent (I own this on Wii, too). It’s got a great Tim Burton-esque aesthetic, and even has Danny Elfman-esque music, and the puzzling is very, very good. I’ve played about twenty minutes of Aquaria, and I really like what I’ve played. Simple controls but apparently deep gameplay, and the music and art style are fantastic. Gish is sort of a mixed bag; it’s got a really neat premise and some cool mechanics, but the controls are frequently fiddly and annoying, and I feel that the game gets in its own way a lot. Samorost 2 is a Flash-based adventure game that is visually very charming. The problem is that there are a lot of pixel hunts in the game, and some of the puzzles are a little obtuse. Worse, there are puzzles that you can bring almost to completion over the course of a few minutes, screw up one thing (without realizing that you’re doing anything wrong), and have to do the whole thing again, from the beginning. It is very short, though, so you should at least give it a try. The other two, Lugaru and Penumbra: Overture I have yet to spend any real time with.

D&D Encounters: I got to play in Encounters again, and had a blast. I’ve played two different characters so far, both from the Player’s Handbook 3. First I played a human monk, which was very satisfying. I like the monk class quite a lot; very mobile and capable of some pretty spectacular stuff on the battlefield. Flurry of blows is also one of my favorite striker damage-spikes because of its versatility. The second character I played was a longtooth shifter seeker, which was also a lot of fun. I didn’t do a whole lot of damage (I was using a javelin, meaning that all of my attacks dealt 1d6+4 damage, even encounters and dailies), but I really felt like I was effective at controlling the battlefield, and my daily power made a significant difference in how the encounter played out.

My Home Game: My friend Dean isn’t going to be able to DM his mini-campaign for a while, so the campaign I’m DMing is resuming. I’m very excited to get back into the DM’s seat, and I’ve got some stuff planned. I’ll be updating the wiki as we play, as usual, and I’ll probably post some of the more exciting encounters on this blog, for your own use. Game day is the 23rd, which is only a week away!

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