July 2010

Best gaming news in months: Beyond Good & Evil 2 is still in development.  BG&E was really a perfect little game, and the teasers we’ve seen have made the sequel look awesome.  (I learn this, by the way, from the game-specific news snippets on the Steam Library page, a neat idea.)

Mass Effect 2 continues to be awesome.  Except for that one boss fight which begins with a goddamn unskippable cutscene– one of my many pet peeves.  I don’t mind replaying a fight; I really mind having to watch the stupid dialog again each time.  I ended up dialling down the difficulty just to get past that fight; I think a game is failing if the player ends up wanting to rush through bits of it.

The characters are good as usual, but the game has perhaps gotten too linear.  In ME1 you could talk to a character at any time, and often get locale-specific opinions or, back on the Normandy, a character-building conversation.  Now it feels like interaction is limited to the loyalty missions and romance.  Jack, for instance, didn’t have a word to say about the krogan homeworld, which I’d’ve thought was her kind of place.  The Citadel is a bit of a letdown too.

I have mixed feelings about the way heavy weapons work.  Ammo drops are so rare that you’re likely to have less than a dozen shots for an entire mission.  That does make you think hard about when to use them; on the other hand, it’s frustrating when a guess about what the boss is turns out to be wrong.  Not infrequently you beat a big fat monster, like a Thresher Maw, only to have more baddies show up.  It feels like the game is teaching you not to use heavy weapons at all.  (I love my Hand Cannon though.  The balance of clips found is just right.)

In Borderlands, I finally got around to trying a Berserker.  This is goofy fun.  His special power is a berserk rage where your vision narrows and you punch things.  Basically all four classes are good fun except the Soldier– turrets are just not fun.

OK, off to reload Team Fortress 2 pages to learn more about the Engineer update, which proves once again that Valve is the coolest game company ever.  They’ve been intensively developing the game, for free, years after its release.  If only other companies would adopt this model…


In case you can’t afford a whole $15, the Language Construction Kit is on sale for $10.76.  That’s, like, statistically close to nothing, man. 

As for the sequel, I’m pretty much done with the illustrations and have revised the text based on some great feedback from readers.  It’s edging close to 350 pages.  I’ll be sending it out to a new set of readers very soon.

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