Mostly Everything

(More than) a week of PC game launches

Hey it’s me Jayvee. I’m still here. It’s been more than a week since my last update. Blame it on the handful of new game launches the past few days. If you’re on the PC and looking for new titles to play, here’s a compilation of some of the free (and not so free) games that are worth dipping your mouse and keyboard into. I actually won’t include Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2 and the new WoW expansion as these are already no-brainer titles that you must pick up if you enjoy the genre — Borderlands 2 is an RPG-action first person shooter that is already claiming the title for biggest game sold this 2012. It outsold its precursor. You can pick up a copy in Datablitz. Guild Wars 2 is of similar interest, being a skill-oriented MMO that appeals to gamers who have absolutely no time to play World of Warcraft. Two good things about it — no monthly fees and the game doesn’t penalize you for not playing often. Then of course there’s Mists of Pandaria which comes out today!

See, that whole paragraph was dedicated to games I haven’t recommended. Let’s do this!

Planetside 2
Screenshot above. If you’re into stuff like Battlefield 2, meet the original title that started massive scale combat. Planetside 2’s title is such because it really makes you feel like you’re in a huge planet where several mini-battles are happening in different areas of the map. Although still in beta, you can try requesting for an invite. The game will be free to play online when it launches.

Mechwarrior Online
It’s been a long time waiting, but you can now check out Mechwarrior Online in its beta form. If you were a fan of the original Mechwarrior series of games from way way back, the franchise continues in a free-to-play online skirmish. You can reserve your pilot name and get into the beta here.

FTL is finally out of invite-only and for USD $9.99 on Steam you can get what I dub as the “darling indie game of the year.” If you like the grit space opera feel of Joss Whedon’s Firefly and absolutely love Star Trek, FTL brings the desire to command your own rickety starship to life. To me, FTL is the Left 4 Dead of the space simulator genre, where you always barely make it alive to the next jump point. Rerouting power, killing fires, dealing with boarding parties … all in a day’s work for an alliance space captain. And yes, you will die. A lot.

Torchlight II
It’s finally out — if you enjoyed Diablo III but after a while suffered from attrition of repetitive grinding, well guess what? Torchlight II absolutely delivers a better experience in bringing in end-game content even just early on. Rares and uniques at level 3? Most definitely! I classify Torchlight II as somewhat similar to Guild Wars II in the sense that the game doesn’t make you work too hard to feel like you’re doing end-game content as the item drops are insane and the spells all look rather powerful even during the early levels of play. There is a bit of a hardcore element to it since Runic decided to not allow you to completely re-roll your skills (you can only re-roll the last 3 skill points you bought). Runic also opened the game up to support 3rd party modding tools so expect the shelf life of Torchlight II to go on for a couple of years. Also, 6 player multiplayer and LAN support. Yes folks, this game supports offline LAN play, just like the good ‘ol days. It’s USD $19.99 on Steam.

Black Mesa
The original Half Life re-invented for the modern day computer. This game is an absolute must acquire. It’s fan made, endorsed by Valve and enhances on the original Half Life experience from the 90’s. Best of all, it’s free.

Half Life was an important landmark in the gaming industry because it took first person story-telling to a new level with scripted events, making your typical shooter more than just about blowing things up. The new and re-imagined Half Life runs on the Source engine which Valve uses for its games such as Left 4 Dead and Counterstrike.

Mostly Everything

Unboxing The Witcher II: Assassins of Kings Premium Edition

The wait is over. I would have bought the regular “el cheapo” edition but Datablitz didn’t have it. They only had the Premium Edition on sale so what the heck.

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Starcraft II prepaid cards are now available

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty is one of the most expensive retail box games to ever be sold. It costs PHP 3,500.00 and that’s already considerable cheaper than the regional pricing in other countries. The price is a barrier for students who want to enjoy Starcraft II as a platform for the new DoTA. So Blizzard SEA has issued prepaid cards allowing you to enjoy a legit copy of SCII from your home. More info here.

3 Day Pass — PHP 50.00
7 Day Pass — PHP 100.00
30 Day Pass — PHP 350.00

You can buy these in Datablitz and in these other establishments.

Mostly Everything

Two weeks with the Medal of Honor Reboot

I’m not sure what was more annoying — getting spammed with cheap knife kills in Modern Warfare 2 or getting one-shotted with semi-auto sniper rifles in Medal of Honor.

But nonetheless, EA’s latest shooter has gotten me hooked. OK a bit of perspective — I’ve been playing the MoH series since Allied Assault in 2002. This really upped the bar of first person gaming with its cinematic rendition of the Omaha beach landing. At that time, a game that could live up to the experience of Saving Private Ryan was an A-OK in my book. Then came the rest of the series — Spearhead, Pacific Assault, Airborne … and parallel this was Activision releasing the Call of Duty franchise. And thus was planted the seeds of competition. With two successful releases of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, EA was left with a reboot of their Medal of Honor franchise. Playing the patriot card, they decided to develop a Medal of Honor reboot according to a real world coordinated assault on the terrains of Afghanistan against the Taliban forces.

Medal of Honor’s single player is your typical run off the mill military shooter, with the Tier 1 boys fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan. You take on the role as several operatives from the army and special operations divisions, notably as ‘Rabbit’ who belongs to Tier 1 as a frontline sniper and infiltrations specialist. I was particularly surprised that the story arc, presented from different points of view of the assaulting forces, was well stitched, giving the overall impression that yeah, this is military stuff and we’re working with clockwork precision. I was afraid that it would be a Modern Warfare 2 ripoff, DICE’sDanger Close’s accurate portrayal of the real war on Afghanistan from the accounts of soldiers had its own merit.

Of course, military shooters are bought for its replay value. Apart from a Tier 1 mode that allows you to complete the game scenarios in record time and win medals, the multiplayer skirmishes is still at the heart and soul of Medal of Honor. Medal of Honor takes the fast paced arcade action of MW2 with a more simplified class system and vehicle-enabled combat from the Battlefield franchise. The result is a series of 10 minute skirmishes to attack and defend objectives, control point domination, and team death match games for quick fix in-and-out play. The leveling system is pretty much run off the mill allowing new loadout for weapons such as gun barrel customization and targeting mechanisms. A rally point system from kills also allows offensive and defensive assists for your team. If you accumulate 50 points without dying, you can choose to either call in a mortar strike or engage a UAV in the playing field to track enemies. At higher levels, you can equip your teammates with flak vests and ammo upgrades.

Medal of Honor is currently my source of 10-minute escapes from reality. The game runs smoothly on my MacBook Pro amazingly (with Windows 7 Ultimate on BootCamp) and still looks great on a GeForce 320M graphic card. It’s a no-regret buy for less that PHP 1,500.00.

I guess the real question is, how does it compare to Call of Duty: Black Ops?

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LEGO Universe is coming this year!

Wow, I’d play this. Finally, after 2 years of delay, LEGO’s first massive multiplayer game is set to come out this 2010.