TI6, EHOME vs. EG: How EHOME Faltered, EG Staged a Comeback

In what can confidently be declared as one of the greatest matches of DOTA2 in the history of everything ever, game 1 of the EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses went to EG, having bided their time, staged a clutched throne rush and producing a thrilling last minute comeback. The fallout of the nerve-wrecking 75 minutes match witnessed EG moving on and EHOME dropping to the lower bracket.

Dagon

EHOME had all of the radiant T1 and T2 towers down by the 20-minute mark. They were ahead in farm, in kills, in XP. IceIceIce as Timbersaw kept the lanes pushed out and Old eLeVen as Beastmaster provided vision all over the radiant side of the river. EG were hesitant to do anything; PPD was picked off nearly any time he happened to leave base. All the while old chicken continued his free reign in the enemy jungle for farm and items for his Juggernaut. EHOME must have taken Roshan at least four times. Fenrir had a stash of that sweet, stinky cheese in his inventory.

There came a point where an EHOME victory was all but certain. So, what the devil happened? Why was Key Arena filled with thousands of EG fans ejaculating “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” Prompting PC Gamer’s Chris Thursten to Tweet:

Two factors led to EG’s victory: 1) Their ability to read the situation, and 2) EHOME’s mishandling of an early advantage.

Put simply — and as nicely and professionally as possible — EHOME’s early advantage went to their heads. Contrary to the more controlled and paced play style they generally favor, it seemed that this early aggro gave them a little too much confidence. To be fair, this dominance was rightfully earned; EG did not give this to them. EHOME just played smart…

… that is, until they started sieging radiant high ground. Old chicken specifically was overextending himself too often. Iceiceice seemed to forget that the DOTA2 user interface has a map in the lower corner, often getting ganked because of zero (0) awareness. The supports did the best they could to maintain dominance of the radiant side, but EHOME’s cores started getting too cocky and thus team composition started breaking apart.

Dagon

EG saw this. Even though they had less vision, they read how EHOME was behaving when besieging and capitalized on this. Using PPD as Ancient Apparition as bait, EG would stage counter ganks, relying on the head-strong EHOME cores to come in for the kill. With those threats removed Universe would then drop some damn effective chronospheres while SumaiL dropped the stars on remaining the remaining EHOME roster.

And so it went for nearly another 60 minutes. EG paced themselves, resetting fights and reacting to EHOME tactics. Iceiceice kept the lanes pushed. Juggernaut kept farming. Roshan was highly contested. Buybacks were commonplace. But it seemed with each passing minute EG somehow kept gaining ground back, and EHOME was consistently underestimating their opponents’ draft.

There came a point after the 60-minute mark when EG had to get creative and act fast. Iceiceice was become too tanky for rightclicks and old chicken’s six slots made it hard for Universe to trade punches with him. What to do… What to do…

THIS!

THIS!

SumaiL was the first to purchase a dagon. Then Zai. By the time they both had a level 5 dagon, PPD starting getting in on it. Evil Geniuses were having themselves a laser party. And that party came a’knockin on the dire’s front door.

Yes! EG chrono’d, brawled, and zapped their way back across the map, dodging golems and saw blades. They rushed mid, took out the barracks. In the last few minutes, both teams fought dirty right there in front of the dire ancient. Kills were had. Buybacks were bought. Both teams sent their carries on a Hail Mary mission to the opposing side, and the game quickly turned into a base race. EHOME had siege creeps flooding the radiant base.

The clutch moment was when we got the notification that Universe was now equipped with a Divine Rapier, giving him the edge in the race. He activated his Boots of Travel, plopped right in front of the dire ancient and demolished that sucker before EHOME had time to preemptively declare ‘gg’.

Commentators were speechless. The crowd was bezerk. I still can’t even. I think all the the Dota community still can’t even.

The fallout of that spectacular 75-minute match carried over into game 2 where EHOME was clearly deflated and tilted. In a rather unspectacular match, EG was the victor mere minutes before the 40-minute mark.

And this is only the semi-finals.

Props to both teams for giving us so damn good Dota.

The International 6, Day Three: Evil Geniuses Vs. EHOME

The schedule for The International tonight is quite the humdinger. This stage of the tournament is when the games get scrappy, dirty, increased in variance and tremendously fun to watch. Four teams will move on, two teams will be shown the door – and still quite a handsome consolation prize.

The tournament will open with the lower bracket matchups which consists of Alliance vs. Fnatic, and Newbee vs. Liquid. Alliance will most certainly wallop Fnatic. And, regardless of who emerges this victor between Newbee vs. Liquid, that team will most certainly wallop Alliance tomorrow.

After the deciding lower bracket match of who exactly is going to wallop Alliance tomorrow, we’ll move on to the upper bracket where the first matchup is between MVP Phoenix vs. Wings. Both teams have had a rather even-keel climb, winning some, losing some. MVP specifically have stuck to generally tried-and-true drafts, with QO performing competently in position 1 as predominantly either Juggernaut or Phantom Assassin.

The real battle tonight — the one I am already surging for and hate that I have to wait until the very end — is EHOME vs. Evil Geniuses. This one… hooo baby. This is going to be some serious Dota.

DOTA 2 ESPORTS TEAM EHOME

From the very beginning of TI6, EHOME has been solid. Starting as a wild card, they scrapped and fought their way into the upper bracket where they currently sit, pitted against EG. As a team, as a business entity, they aren’t nearly as conspicuous as EG. This unassuming presence also translates into their playstyle. They draft and play in an unorthodox way that, while may not be the most bombastic spectating experience, still yields results. They are all about the slow burn, flexibility, making versatile heroes do tremendous things.

This is why I love them. They skirt around the meta and thusly totally befuddles their opponents. Their position 4 is just as effective as their position 1. Take, for example, yesterday’s second match against Alliance. Team leader iceiceice as Sven seemed almost like a position 1 decoy alongside Fenrir as Shadow Deon, while old chicken as Mirana, old eLeVeN as Sand King, and old LaNm as Elder Titan constantly rotated lanes, chained stunned for miles, and took objectives with the ease and grace of a flock of swans. old LaNm on ET was especially fantastic, totally the unsung player for that match.

Evil Geniuses EG SumaiL DOTA2

Evil Geniuses on the other hand has had a successful, albeit rocky, series of engagements whose outcomes have placed them where they are now. The champions of TI5 seemed a little rattled from the group stage but still readily pounced Newbee last night.

What makes me most nervous for EHOME in this matchup is SumaiL. A versatile player, SumaiL alone could bleed EHOME dry. Where EHOME dodge the meta with unusual tactics, SumaiL can potentially be EG’s tip of the spear; all he needs is one crack in EHOMEs armor and the damage will be deep and irreversible.

If SumaiL goes with a Storm Spirit or Huskar pick I will be sweating bullets for EHOME. If he goes for position 3 or lower, then I’m going to pop some popcorn and watch these yankees go down.

EHOME vs. EG — East vs. West — Champions vs. Underdogs

GonBGud

Retro Video Games: What Was Lost

Nick wanders back to the glory days of Retro Gaming and contemplates what exactly has been lost between then and now.

Axiom Verge (2015) is perceived across the board as a throwback to gaming’s retro days. The 16-bit graphics and 2D platforming are the first evidences of this claim. Digging deeper, the game’s listing on Steam has been given the user-defined tag of ‘Metroidvania’.

This tag is a popular one now, denoting a game that shares characteristics with the Metroid and Castlevania serieses, both of which have titles that originate back to the mid 80’s – those sweet, blessed ‘ol timey Halcyon Days of yore. Those days when we should have been outside basking in golden rays of sunshine and playing with the other children but instead diligently hunkered down indoors and soaked up a different kind of radiation altogether.

Yes! The core mechanic in Metroidvania games is that of exploration, part of which requires the dedicated player to backtrack to areas previously visited, most likely equipped with an item that unlocks a new doorway or blasts a wall made up a of strong material or grapples specific points in the ceiling wherewith to swing gracefully over a lake of acid that was hitherto unpassable. Bossfights also served as prodigious gatekeepers, requiring the player to exercise grit and reflexes to defeat the monstrosity in order to further continue exploring. Often the spoil(s) of victory included that very item needed in three sectors past to open the way.

Super Metroid Start Screen

Axiom Verge possesses these things along with holding merits of its own. And seeing as how I think Super Metroid (1994) is one of the greatest games ever created, reason therefore dictates that Axiom Verge is right up my alley. I hearkened back to my retro gaming days recalling the righteous triumphs and blood-boiling defeats. But whichever way the scale tipped, I always had the dedication to press forward.

And thus I played Axiom Verge, dutifully so, trying not to compare every little detail to Super Metroid but also trying to slip into the mind of my 13-year-old self, to channel that youthful dedication and grit needed to progress through these levels and defeat these bosses. Because, contrary to many current AAA open world video games where there are more side-quests than stars in the sky, if you don’t beat this boss, you shall not pass…

“I’m Too Old For This Crap!”

But my existential channeling failed. I could not, and still can’t, beat the final stage in Axiom Verge. Not for lack of trying, mind you, but a lack of focus, dedication.

My attention waned and has thus drifted elsewhere, to other newer games or my steam backlog or to whatever is happening on my second computer monitor or the updates which my phone chirps are ready for my attention.

Oh, Axiom Verge is a fine game, worthy of every shred of praise it has received. Other players are significantly better at it than I am. Indeed. This is a classic case of ‘It’s not you. It’s me’. And maybe this can apply to you.

Clearly, my approach to playing games has changed compared to when I was a youths. I do not bemoan this because, despite all its other complexities and toils, being an adult is awesome. If anything I use this change as a crutch, as an excuse, for the moments when I perform poorly: I’m not sharp enough for this crap anymore! I don’t have time for this!

Axiom Verge Start Screen

Still, it’s interesting to look back and consider what exactly has changed, where has my unwavering gaming grit and dedication gone?

A few weeks ago, Sir Tony ButtonMasher brought Man Crates to my attention – Specifically the Retro Gamer Crate.

This product jarred something loose in my stubborn, inundated adult mind. Here, quite possibly, is the answer to the question posited above.

Upon first visit, my attention shifted from the image on the webpage – of the gaming console, cartridges and bounty of ‘sugar intoxication’ – to my desktop PC. Now just over three years old (and aging pretty stinkin’ well, I must say) this gaming computer is tapped into the entire digital world. Its computer brain can complete computer process faster than my meat brain can even comprehend. I can steal audio CDs, Skype, download, and virus scan on one monitor while I play Endless Legend (bought at a convenient 67% discount) on another.

“Just Play the Damn Game, Son”

Retro gaming consoles, conversely, were dedicated platforms. As the Man Crate page says: “Before there were streaming services, before there were all-in-one media boxes, a video game console had one purpose.”

Indeed. Just play the game. And when I was younger the video game console was my purpose!

Whereas now, I keep an eye out for heavily discounted games that I will never physically touch, nor will I ever fully ‘own’. The transaction consists of three clicks of the mouse. The game is then downloaded and ready to play in anywhere from 45 seconds to 15 minutes.

The Retro Gaming Man Crate

The Retro Gaming Crate available at ManCrates.com

But, in the retro gaming days, these grey cartridges were the end result of weeks of chores and youthful entrepreneurial endeavors. We had to have someone drive us to the store to even attain them. The drive back from the store felt like an eternity, all the while the closest you could get to playing was gazing longingly at the box art and the cartridge nested inside.

These cartridges were all we had! Every single line of code had to be explored, conquered and exploited. And that sure enough took dedication, grit and plenty of sugar intoxication.

What the Retro Gaming crate captures is the essence of what gaming used to be. When our focus was laser-tight and our time and dedication had purpose.

One personal example comes to mind.

Rampage. The 1988 Nintendo port of the arcade classic will forever be stitched into my essence. The game, in summary, takes place over 128 days. Each day takes place in a different city of the USA. The player assumes the role of a monstrous lizard or guerrilla or werewolf mutated from human form and must destroy all the buildings in that city/day in order to move on to the next day.

Rampage Start Screen

It’s a simple premise but an absolute blast to play – especially as a kid who would be stuck at Grandma’s house for the weekend. Indeed. I don’t remember why I had to be at Granny’s that weekend but I knew that I’d be on my own with lots of time on my hands. It was a perfect opportunity to push the limits of my Rampaging abilities.

Plus, I had a goal, a benchmark to reach. Ryan Gold said that he got to day #97. That little bastard had been bragging about it during recess all week. Tired of his boasting I was dedicated to not only reaching day #97 but surpassing it, thus guaranteeing my dominance of morning recess discussions/bragging sessions.

And so, I packed up the NES, assured the rampage cartridge was stowed and traveled over the river and through the woods. Granny had an extra black and white TV in one of the small bedrooms upstairs. I had plenty of licorice on hand, which doubled as straws to slurp my orange soda. And there I planted myself, sitting on a pillow on the floor, my gaze glued to this little radioactive box sitting atop one of the dining room chairs. Thus, the weekend rolled forth with very little variation.

Innocence Gained

Whether or not I beat Ryan Gold at his own game is besides the point (plus, I honestly don’t remember), but as I sketch out this recollection I hope to illustrate the gamer’s dedication that has since been lost, something that even playing Axiom Verge could not bring back.

The dedication is more than just promising oneself to finish the game. It is about creating the setting and having the motivation to throw yourself into a game. More often than not, as adults, we try to squeeze in the time when we can, and as a result often end up skipping along the surface of an ocean of video games to explore, fathoms of which are well and beyond what we can see from the waterline.

May those afflicted with adulthood strive to channel — and make the time for — the innocence of youth, to reclaim the fervor, focus and dedication felt while playing all those retro video games.

Weekend Gaming, circa 2008

Did you hear that the video game weblog, buttonmashing.com, is now on Twitter? So, in honor of finally getting involved in some Serious Social Media (follow us, why don’t ya!), this weekend’s gaming is a throwback.

While the Twitter account represents the site as a whole, our Managing Editor Nick has been running the Twitter account to great effect. Earlier this week, he tweeted about a minor issue I had with my PC — the power supply went kaput:

So I made the pilgrimage to Nerd Mecca, Micro Center. I picked up a new power supply (an EVGA 650 GQ) and started tinkering under the hood. Prior to the power supply failure, I had been dealing with issues with a hard drive I installed when I first built the PC. Might as well try to solve that problem while working on the power supply.

I think some cabling was loose, so after the power supply was installed and I got everything buttoned up, I booted the machine up and lo and behold the issues with the hard drive were gone. My precious gigs, which I thought were lost to the ages, were suddenly there. (They were empty gigs, but I have plans for them!). To test out the hard drive and make sure everything was copacetic, I picked a title out of my steam library that I knew wouldn’t need the speed and horsepower of the SSD that I could install to the old-school hard drive. I settled on reinstalling Recettear: An Item Shop Tale

recettear

I won’t bore you with the details of Recettear, only to say it’s a mashup of a simple hack-and-slash RPG and a Shopkeeper simulator. It’s very Japanese Cutesy and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I’m addicted and I’m not ashamed to say so. I think a good portion of this weekend’s gaming will be going towards making my Item Shop the Best Item Shop.

With all systems GO!, I decided to reinstall Spelunky on the newly fixed hard drive as well, inspired by one of Nick’s recent streams. I don’t quite rage like Nick can, but Spelunky is still a never ending stream of rage-inducing moments.

So welcome to 2008 this weekend! I’ll be your host, introducing you to such wonders as Indie Darlings Spelunky and Recettear, and give you an introduction to this new fangled social media site, Twitter dot com. Why won’t you join us on this trip down recent memory lane!

What will you be playing this weekend (2008 or not)?

Huge Discount on AGEOD Games For a Limited Time

Drop whatever insignificant, meddling activity you are doing right now and head over to Bundle Stars. Right now the Grand Master Bundle is offering a discount so stupefyingly deep that your head may just cave in from the pressure.

The bundle contains nearly all AGEOD games that are currently available. It is broken up into a 3-tier system.

Tier 1 is a mere $2.49 and hosts the Roman map sprawler Alea Jacta Est and its bevy of DLC. We skip ahead a few centuries and arrive to Pride of Nations as well as its four DLCs. Pride of Nations has received lukewarm Steam user reviews but still promises to utilize some interesting mechanics.

Tier 2 will set you back $4.99. This includes the fan favorite Civil War II and its expansion Civil War II: The Bloody Road South DLC. The internal strife continues in the one-off Revolution Under Siege Gold, which side of the Soviets you choose is up to you. Tier 2 finishes off with Rise of Prussia Gold, which is an all-in-one edition with the game’s expansions already included.

Tier 3 is a modest bump in price up to $6.99. This tier includes the games in the tiers below it as well as the WWI romp To End All Wars and its expansion To End All Wars – Breaking the Deadlock DLC. Topping off all this goodness is the recent release of Thirty Years’ War.

Added up, the total price for all these games is just a pinch over $300. Some simple computation reveals that, should you pony up and go for Tier 3 – which you might as well, and farking should, do – the savings here are somewhere in the, oh, 97%-ish area.

Man, even if historical strategy games aren’t your jam, this bundle is still worthy of serious consideration. I, for one, am all over this. I am ready for consistent historical strategy games that are made by a someplace other than Paradox Development. And the epochal coverage available in the Grand Master Bundle is more than I even know what to do with, but I’ll certainly lose sleep trying.

The Grand Master Bundle ends in eight days. But that hardly matters because you nabbed it before even finishing this post.

Ggwp.

DDoS Attack on Blizzard’s Battle.net Servers Ended

As of 10:30 pm EST, Blizzard has successfully nullified the most recent DDoS attack on the battle.net servers.

Blizzard called the doctor, and the doctor said...

Blizzard called the doctor, and the doctor said…

For the bulk of the day today the blizzard forums were flooded with gamers who were reporting slow connections speeds and/or horrendous latency problems. Blizzard Customer Support reported that the cause was indeed a DDoS attack. A group by the name of @poodlecorp is claiming responsibility for the attack.

Speculation abounds, for sure, some saying this is a reaction to Blizzard banning a massive number of Overwatch users earlier this week.

No matter. Blizzard customer support just tweeted the following:

The DDoS attacks from earlier have ended and players can now log into BattleNet. We are investigating reports of World Server Down in WoW

– BlizzardCS (@BlizzardCS)

Game on!

August Releases

August is usually a Sports Gamer National Holiday, as the Sports Gamer’s Christmas comes with the release of Madden. That usually means most companies don’t drop titles to compete with Madden. But this August is more than just Madden, which is a welcome change for the rest of us (my sports gaming days died with NCAA Football [RIP, brutha]). On to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of August 16th
F1 2016

Week of August 23rd
Madden NFL 17 – I first played “John Madden Football” on the PC. That was TWENTY EIGHT YEARS AGO. A new world of video games opened up for me when I designed my first running play and I wore that game out playing it so much.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of August 30th
Tumblestone


Nintendo 3DS

Week of August 16th
Metroid Prime: Federation Force – This is how far removed I have been from the world of Nintendo: I had no idea a new Metroid Prime game was being released. I have a bad taste in my mouth from Metroid Prime: Hunters, but I’ll always give a Metroid Prime game a fair shake.

Week of August 30th
Corpse Party: Back to School Edition


PC

Week of August 2nd
Selma and the Wisp
Lethe – Episode One
System Crash – See Nick’s review of System Crash here.
This Is the Police
Rising Islands
Might and Magic: Heroes VII – Trial by Fire
Extreme Forklifting 2

Week of August 9th
No Man’s Sky – Ya’ll can have your Madden Foosballs, No Man’s Sky has my attention this month.
The Uncertain
Hexoscope

Week of August 16th
Typoman: Revised
F1 2016

Week of August 23rd
Obduction
Worms W.M.D
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Week of August 30th
Ira
Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire
The Turing Test – I’ll file this one away in the “when it goes on sale” column.


Sony Playstation 4

Week of August 2nd
GalGun: Double Peace

Week of August 9th
No Man’s Sky

Week of August 16th
F1 2016
Among the Sleep

Week of August 23rd
Madden NFL 17
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The King of Fighters XIV

Week of August 30th
God Eater 2: Rage Burst
Tumblestone


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of August 2nd
GalGun: Double Peace


What are you picking up this month?
(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

System Crash, review of.

Successfully passing through Steam’s Green Light gauntlet, System Crash is a single-player CCG with a story campaign that takes place in the cyberpunk neo-future city of San Angeles. You, as the player, assume the role of a capable hacker conspiring with other characters as you all strive to undermine and bring down powerful and corrupt mega-corporations. Each match in which you emerge as the victor progresses the narrative branches of both the main quests and side quests, and also has the potential of adding a new card to your library and/or a few extra credits to add to your cyberpiggy bank.

Welcome to San Angeles

It is through the dialogues in between matches that the world of System Crash develops. The game wears its inspiration on its sleeve, some of the characters even donning familiar outfits seen in the movies. The soundtrack is future-fantastic and evocative.

The story and characters don’t necessarily reinvent the cyberpunk wheel but what is worthwhile is that nearly all of the characters and items in which you read about during the dialogs also have their own respective playable cards. The attributes of these cards are designed to befit the attributes of these components of the story. This approach adds some diversity to System Crash’s overall available card library, which I will give more detail later on.

The driving force behind the setup of each match are the branching objectives of the campaign. New points of opportunities will pop over San Angeles as you complete missions, new and familiar characters sanctioning your l33t hacking skills to further the overall goal of toppling those huge corporations. You will click through dialog choices, of which, at least from my experience, feels like there is little divergence in story or alignment based on how you respond; the end result always seems to be the new objective points revealing themselves on the map.

A strong point in System Crash’s overall design is that it doesn’t bog itself down in presenting the story; it remembers, thank the neon mohawk gods, that it is a card game. The dialog stays light and the characters memorable so that story objective/match selection is quick and effortless. System Crash wants to beckon you deeper into the seedy avenues of neo-future San Angeles, but it wants to do it through its card game.

C:\User\DeckNameCypher\Jack_in.exe

20160801122929_1

The card game itself is simple in setup and works in the traditional IgoUgo sequence. Each card has a credit cost. Matches begin with each player at 1cr, which increases by one at the beginning of the player’s turn. In addition to this, the orange card slot is a match modifier, which varies and is typically dictated by the narrative setting of the objective.

There are four slots in the center of the board to place agent cards, who are the primary damage dealers. Each agent faces-off against the agent who oppose it until one of the cards runs out of health and is then removed from the board. If the opposing slot is empty, the attacking agent collects Operation Points based on its attack value.

Operation Points (OP) are your bread and butter. They are what you need to amass in order to win the match. The required total of OP for victory varies from match to match, though levels out eventually at 50.

Agents come in different flavors and are characterised by their role in the story. Mecs, for example, is a class of agent that have decent attack but tremendous armor health and armor. MetroSec cops are inherently unimpressive, but are given a buff based on how many other Mec agents are in play. Assassins cannot one-shot mecs, but can make chop suey of anyone else. Hackers generate OP at the beginning of your turn, while other agents reduce the OP collection of your opponents. Etc. etc.

Behind the row of agents on the board are three slots available for tactic cards. Tactic cards may buff your agents in varying ways or help with card draw or generate OP at the beginning of your turn. Along with these cards, there are event cards and other individual modifier cards that can assigned to de/buff individual agents.

Similar to Agent cards, each of the cards described above belong to a classification and sub-classification.

Cardz

Synergy is very possible – and necessary, as sometimes a new deck must be built to counter a specific and rather challenging objective. For example, if facing a pack of aggro’d Neonmonger gang members (again, this is why there is value in reading the well-written dialogs!) it may be ideal to stock up on mecs to bear the brunt and let your tactic cards do the scoring for you.

Which side of the console are you?

The variety of classifications is a bit shallow. As it stands now there are a few classifications that just do not have sufficient representation to build a deck around. But the dis/favorability seen in this is lack of granularity is truly in the eye of the beholder. I, for one, find it to be much more manageable, not only in deck-building but in card acquisition as well. If anything, I would like to see existing classifications added upon before new ones are introduced.

System Crash adheres to the Living Card game model – meaning, there are no microtransactions. No booster packs. Every single card is available for purchase or sale from the get-go through the San Angeles’s black market… for a price, of course. So, if your random card winnings still don’t make the cut, if they aren’t giving you the edge against the AI, take your hard-earned coinage to the dark places of the black market and see how best to fill out your card library…

… Because the AI will hurl a storm of badass cards at you regardless of what is in your deck. In the early objectives the AI has a relative handicap in required OP but it has a maddening advantage in card selection. And yet, it uses these cards competently enough. One of the very first observations I made about System Crash is how well-coded the AI is. It will sometimes make questionable moves, and quite often needlessly empties its hand, but for the most part, it is a sound opponent in jockeying for OP. I would like to lob a small gripe towards the game’s absence of an in-match battlelog.

Bringing a wrecking ball to a haxx0r fight

The card attributes themselves are also rather heavy-handed, which works both for and against the game…

Indeed. These suckers hit and tank hard. Even some 1cr, opening move cards feel obscenely unbalanced. Whatever the credit cost of cards, this wonky feeling then ripples outwards, making it therefore difficult to craft intricate, granular decks.

Conversely, playing with ham-fisted cards is exactly what makes playing System Crash so tense and exciting. The AI could enact a devastating wipe to your side of the board. However, you have access to the exact same armory of cards and can set yourself up to repay the offense, and then some, all within perhaps a single turn or two. Or there is always the enraging possibility that you may never be able to recover. There is a modicum of control that must be set aside when booting up the game.

System Crash may not be delicate in its gameplay, but it still requires thoughtful and deliberate placement. Within two or three turns from the onset each turn played feels monumental. It is all about cutting your losses and not being afraid to take a punch or two or fifteen.

True to the setting of the game, the matches are bombastic; the fighting is dirty and maybe just a little bit rash. With a single card placement your mood can swing from desperation to adrenaline-fueled elation.

System Crash takes you to a grim future where you may or may not be apart of the solution. San Angeles is bursting with opportunities to test out your resolve in digital guerrilla warfare. The deck-building may not be deep enough to satiate some players, but for others, like myself, it is the perfect start. I can only hope that the future of the game may not be so grim as the city in which it takes place.

System Crash is available today on Steam.

Weekend Gaming – Atlas Reactor, System Crash

There’s been low-level chatter amongst the ButtonMashing crew about investigating Atlas Reactor. The game is currently F2P, and will be so for the next six days. So, since Dota and Heroes of the Storm and Rocket League have been on the backburner for quite some time, we figured it is time to try a new team-based PvP game where we get snippy, huffy puffy at each other.

4v4 PvP

Personally, I think Atlas Reactor looks very promising. It is one of those examples of genre merging that yields something fresh and exciting. I like that it is a primarily tactical game and coordination with teammates is essential. Plus, the psychological element, the game theory, the need to get into the heads of your opponents’ will also give an advantage – So cool. And then, when all tactical decisions have been made, the orders are all carried out simultaneously, the potential spectacle value of just this is enough to warrant checking the game out.

On other fronts, we’ve been given a review code for System Crash. It is a cyberpunk CCG with a singleplayer campaign steeped in heady subterfuge and electronica music. I’ve only been able to dip my toes in but I can confidently report: So far, so good! The presentation and setting is convincing. An initial impression is that the AI is a conniving little devil, it doesn’t mess around. And I already despise haste cards – unless, of course, I am the one playing it, in which case: I love haste cards! Expect a full review of System Crash sometime early next week.

What are you playing this weekend?

Weekend Gaming – The Confusion (not a video game)

A thought keeps recurring. This thought goes something like: Take a break from video games for a little bit. If anything, for as long as it takes to finally – FINALLY – finish reading The Confusion. You’ve only got 150 more pages to go. Neal Stephenson is your literary comfort food. Instead of poking around, aimlessly playing stuff from your steam library, return to Mr. Stephenson’s world and dwell happily therein.

Not a Video Game

Not a Video Game

But then I read about new updates made to Thea: The Awakening which perks my curiosity. Or, I get pulled back into the undertow of the twin-stick madness of Waves, of which I crushed my previous high-score of 93mil with a staggering 1.2bil. And then fellow ButtonMashers put a little bug in my ear about Hex: Shards of Fate, and I tinker with that for a little bit. And then I just randomly booted up the Risk-like domination game Lux Delux. And then I wanted to give Prison Architect another shot. And then I found it Bastion is 5 years old today, so I wanted to revisit that…

And then… And then…
And then…

I normally don’t like just skipping along the surface like this. I like to be able to dig into a game. And while every single one of the game mentioned above are totally legit, I haven’t allowed myself to gain any traction with them. This can lead to underwhelming and unsatisfying gametime.

Maybe it is time to heed this recurring thought. This need to tip the scales in favor of the printed word over video games always seems to happen mid-late summer for me. All things considered, perhaps this is the weekend where I make a clean break from the desktop and burrow into the reading chair to finally finish the last fraction of The Confusion.

Play doubly hard for me this weekend, dear reader. I’m sitting this one out.

Writer of Words, Shaver of Heads - Neal Stephenson

Writer of Words, Shaver of Heads – Neal Stephenson