Archives for July 2009

Kings Bounty On ‘Da Cheap

A game that I play on my laptop almost weekly is Kingís Bounty. If I had played it in 2008, it would have been my FGOTY. (Iíve not said much about it because Iíve not completed it.) At any rate, more people should play it. Steam is selling it at 50% off for $15. You are stealing it.óOh, and Steam added the Kings Quest and Space Quest games today.

Epic blogpostage

This may be the most epic blogpost I’ve ever endeavored to read: It’s a Secret to Everybody. Ever wonder about the origins of video game characters’ names? Wonder no more. See you in a few hours.

Cheap Game of the Week – Viking: Battle for Asgard


Just so I don’t step on the “Weekend Gaming” posts, I’m moving these to Thursday.

Overview: What if someone made God of War into a sandbox game?

Pricing: $10 to $15 used and $15 to $20 new. Although I can easily find it for $10 used about twice as often as I see it for $15, so save your pennies!

Rip-Off Warning: While not common, you can still find this game for $40 or $50 new.

Platform: XBox 360 (Reviewed), Playstation 3

Is it worth it?: The biggest problem Viking faces is that it is a game with an identity crisis. It promises epic battles, but there are zero real-time strategy elements. It has an “open world”, but you get the feeling there is a certain order of events and the game resents you for not playing along. In fact, some scripted lines still get played even though you may have already accomplished the quest they are talking about. The combat has a definite God of War vibe but with a terrible camera and Skarin, our protagonist, really has trouble tackling more than a couple of enemies at a time. Also, just for grins, there are stealth sections as well. As a badass hyper-muscled viking barbarian beserker he is exactly as good at stealth as you would expect.

Despite the identity crisis, or maybe because of it, there is actually a lot to keep a player amused and the first stage of the game is actually a lot of fun once you realize you can’t charge a hoard of twenty enemies. There is a definite change in pace keeping the protagonist from being a one man army and relying on raising his own forces for the larger battles. Taking control of dragons for the magical equivalent of airstrikes is a nice touch as well, but used way too sparingly. Unfortunately, in the larger battles for control of a territory, the player is often tasked to take on many enemies at once, which the combat system is just not well suited for.

The graphics are well done and incredibly visceral. Despite the ease at which Skarin can get overwhelmed, he can perform fatalities through a one button no penalty quick-time event which he brutally dismembers and/or decapitates his target. Surprisingly, this never gets old.

Unfortunately, this game wants to be like God of War so bad that they incorporate quick-time events into fighting enemy champions, which provides a more cinematic battle but turns it from an exercise in skill and timing into a frenetic version of “Simon”.

Final Judgement: Pass or purchase? I’m going with “Purchase” on this one. I frequently passed on it because neither the game box, the advertisements, marketing materials, or even other gamers seem to be able to describe what the game was about or even how it played. Viking is certainly trying to accomplish too much and does nothing well, but it does very little poorly either. This game is hours of amusement for very little money and while I finally began to tire of it on the second region (of three) the first third of the game was certainly worth playing.

Curse You, Microsoft

Curse you, Microsoft, your crappy UI design, and that piece of junk called a dashboard. I loathe your ten step click and move process to do anything. My son and I booted up the 360 to play a little LEGO Indy co-op and by a combination of button presses on both controllers, we just purchased ĎSplosion Man. There goes my Fallout 3 DLC. This arcade game had better be good. (Just another in a long line of reasons I cannot wait for our 360 to bite it.)

I Just Saved You At Least $20

Gamestop is offering a lot of new games for $20. I personally donít think any of the newer games are AAA titles. (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed comes close, but you know our thoughts on that title). Bionic Commando made the list.

Let me begin by saying Bionic Commando is my Forced Unleashed for 2009. Only this title Iíll probably not play through. Right now, itís my reigning champion for most wasted potential in a game this year.

18404_normal Iíll start with the gripes because itís all I have.

The Swing MechanicóItís stupid. Attaching and beginning the swing is easy enough. However, when do you think would be the best time to let go and swing to the next item? No, itís not at the end of the swing. Itís just right after the bottom of your arc. Yes, there is an indicator of when to let go, but it appears and disappears so fastÖI donít want to be frustrated playing games. Just the tutorial was an adventure in frustration. Think the platform jumping of The Force Unleashed with the repetition of Mirrorís Edge. (Ooo, two frustrations added together. Yay!)

The Shooting MechanicóPew. Pew. Literally. The only indication you have for hitting an enemy is that they twitch and the red bar above their head depletes. Think standing seizures. Think shooting with a BB gun. Itís what it sounds like.

The graphicsóItís hard to explain. It looks pretty, but there are times where it appears that the 3D world has been pressed flatóespecially in some cutscenes.

The Level DesignóThis game screams to be open world. Nope. Itís linear and youíre held in place by almost invisible ďradiationĒ. Thereís nothing more fun than swinging up a building and realizing that their must be something up on top. Hey, they game is letting me get up there. It makes sense, right? Nope. Radiation. Itís like getting to the end of the maze and there was no cheese.

The Dialogueóyou said the ďFĒ-word in the intro. Youíre big and bad now. Almost every time he falls he poops from his mouth. I heard it a lot.

The Arm MechanicóOf all the gripes, this is the least. When it works, itís awesome. Only there are times where thereís nothing to do with it. There are parts of levels where youíre just platforming, swinging to your next group of enemies. An open world street-brawler with special arm moves would have been killer. I guess Iíll go play Prototype.

I put in an honest five hours. Granted one of those hours was in the tutorial. I think I now know why itís averaging $20 out there when it just came out in May for $60. Biggest and quickest price drop of any game this generation? Maybe so.

Take your $20 and get Bionic Commando Rearmed.

This didnít get a full review because I didnít finish it. I played five hours with the PS3 version. Disagree with me? Let me know in the comments.