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Hamumu Revumu: Of Orcs And Men09:39 AM -- Sat August 22, 2015

Of Orcs And Men

TL;DR: A linear action-strategy-RPG, with stealth action... yeah, it's different!

Gameplay Gist: This game surprised me multiple times. From the trailer videos that made me buy it, I expected a normal action-RPG: slash at the monsters with your sword. It is not that, the videos are lying. Rather, the combat is in real-time, but you can slow time waaaayyyy down to issue orders to your two guys. But that's not all. Before you get into a fight, you can sneak up on guys and backstab them in typical stealth-game style (avoid line-of-sight, avoid dogs since they can smell you, the usual things), so there are less guys to fight when you do reach a point where two guys are facing each other so you can't avoid being seen. The entire game is totally linear (minus the ability to take on a few side missions or not), you just play one level after another, where you traverse from one end to the other, killing everything on the way. But it is fun to do that!

Kombat Kuality: The fighting, once I actually understood it (which was not during the incredibly vague tutorial, but rather a few fights later as I pieced it together), is actually quite fun. There's hardly any variety to it, you'll pick a couple of things and really stick to them, but it's satisfying to have the big guy taunting everybody onto him and laying down AOE smacks while the little guy is tossing daggers at specific targets. Even more fun is that the big guy can throw the little guy at enemies for huge damage or to get him up to archers you can't otherwise reach. So, don't go in expecting a hack n' slash like I did, but if you expect a real-time tactical battle where you are giving orders to two different units, you should have fun with that.

Story Stupid? The story was alright. This is an extremely profane game. The writing was not done by a native English speaker, and it shows sometimes as they awkwardly insert F-bombs in places where they really don't belong, but boy do they like inserting them. In the end, I was compelled to find out what would happen. Like I said, it's totally linear so there's really not much to consider, you just sort of travel through this storybook, fighting the words on each page to get through. But it's a decent story, about Orcs having been enslaved for a long time and the underground among them fighting for freedom, and of course various political maneuvers. And it has a nice small, realistic feeling, story-wise. You don't travel the world seeking the parts of the Chalice Of Power to defeat a dark wizard, you really do a small enough thing that it's feasible that two guys could be doing it (and even then, you require the help of a lot of other people), and yet it does have international, possibly world-changing, repercussions. Pretty well-done now that I think about it.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: This is not a AAA game. It shows, with some clunky quality issues, but if you can respect the effort of the indies who made it, it's really actually well-done in many ways. It's almost too good to not be AAA, except it's definitely not good enough to be AAA. If that makes sense. All in all, in many ways, it's not what I expected for sure, but in the end I just kept going because I was having a lot of fun. It's also pretty short, which I totally appreciate. That's what I want in a game.
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Hamumu Revumu: Wolfenstein04:48 PM -- Thu August 13, 2015

Wolfenstein: The New Order

TL;DR: Good nazi-shooting fun, pretty much normal FPS stuff.

Gameplay Gist: This is a story FPS. So you watch a cutscene, then you travel a (mostly) linear path killing everyone in the way, dive behind cover, throw grenades, collect ammo and oddly scraps of armor that you fuse to your body apparently to protect yourself, then you reach another cutscene, and the cycle continues. That's really it. There's a level-up element in the form of "perks" you unlock by accomplishing certain feats (like "kill 15 guys from cover with the pistol" to make your pistol hold more ammo). That's sorta fun, but there's not enough of it. You can pretty much ignore it completely and just play the game. There is a nice element of stealth here, where it's an action FPS so if you fail the stealth, you're totally fine - you're still capable of gunning down everyone in a 3-mile radius, and the stealth gameplay is nicely simplified. I enjoyed stealthing as much as I could and was very disappointed whenever it came to a point where stealth wasn't possible (which was often, towards the end of the game).

Kombat Kuality: Great. As FPS shooting goes, this is perfectly good. The downside I would say is the weapons aren't super interesting. You do eventually get a couple interesting weapons, but 99% of your shooting is just a pistol or machine gun, standard bullet blasting. It's not Borderlands! You have a few tricks up your sleeve like slide kicks and the ability to shoot while sliding which I could never ever do, but for the most part it is point and shoot, well-implemented.

Story Stupid? The story is pretty good. I was interested. It's very silly, but in a way that takes itself so seriously that I don't know, I felt like I was missing a tongue somewhere in a cheek. But it definitely has a lot of characters you notice and pay attention to without really wasting excessive time with pointless dialogue or "journals" or whatever that you wouldn't care about. Or at least I didn't pay attention to those - there are indeed some articles and stuff you can find in the game, but I quickly stopped reading them. The story is quite insane, and it's ludicrous how your character is some kind of unkillable monster in human form, and that they send you personally to do everything, but hey, it works as videogame logic.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: I was happy to keep going in this game. I had fun all the way through... or I did, right up until the stupid final boss. Yep, like so many games of yore, this is a game that has to ramp it up beyond all reason (and far beyond any fun) with the final boss just to make sure you have a challenge, or that it's epic enough. Surely you can make a final boss feel epic without making it ten times harder than everything before it? Prior to the final boss, nothing in this game was hard at all (and that's hows I likes it!). I died a few times total in the entire campaign. But that boss was insanity. Anyway, good game, super melancholy tone totally at odds with the "shooting nazi robot dogs" gameplay, very enjoyable. Very adult as well, not recommended for children.

Super Score: 84/100 Kampfengrupferkriegpanzerdrakken.
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Volleyball Dice!08:04 AM -- Fri July 24, 2015

Hey, it's time to learn a new game. This is a game I invented a couple weeks ago. It may or may not be good. It's a simple dice game, along the lines of Farkle or Yahtzee. It probably sounds a little confusing at first, but if you play a few rounds you will catch on:

Volleyball Dice

SETUP AND CONCEPT
This is a quick game for 2 players. Each player gets 6 dice, representing their 6 team members. A round is played until one player is out of dice. Then everybody gets their 6 dice back and the scoring player serves for the next round.

SERVE
One player serves by rolling their dice and lining them up in a row in front of them (keep your row nicely aligned - both players need to know which die is in which spot!)

FOOTWORK
The other player does footwork by rolling their dice. They put their dice into a line as well, and they decide which of their dice to match with which of the opponent's. The rules are:
  1. If the dice are equal, both stay.
  2. If one is higher than the other, the lower die is removed from play.
BUMPS
If the receiving player now has less than 6 dice, they can do up to 2 bumps before returning the ball. To bump, you roll one of your dice that are out of play. Put it back in your line anywhere that is unoccupied *provided* that it is equal to or higher than the opponent's die in that spot. If there is no spot it can go, that bump is a failure and the die remains out. You don't knock out the opponent's dice when bumping even if your new die is higher than theirs.

RETURN
Now this player returns the ball. They don't do anything - the dice they have in front of them is their return. The first player has to roll their remaining dice and do Footwork now, followed by Bumps, and then they Return it back, all following the rules above.

SCORE
When somebody runs out of dice, that means the ball has touched the ground on their side of the court, so the other team scores a point. The scoring team now serves, starting a new round with everybody back up to 6 dice.

Play to whatever number of points is appropriate!

OPTIONAL RULE
This is probably a good thing to add: If you roll 3 of a kind on a serve or footwork, it's an Ace or Spike respectively, and you win the round on the spot.

NASTY OPTIONAL RULE
Games going too long? Try this: if you fail a bump, just like in real volleyball, you've dropped the ball and thus the other team scores immediately. Now you're not going to bump unless you have a really good chance to place it!

EXAMPLE ROUND
P1 rolls to serve. They get 5, 3, 1, 6, 4, 2.
P2 rolls for footwork. They get 2, 1, 4, 3, 1, 1. (sad!)
P2 decides to line their dice up as follows:

P1: 5 3 1 6 4 2
P2: 2 4 1 3 1 1


This was actually a bad play (P2's 3 should've been played against the 2 or 1, where it would win, but that would make this example really long!). As a result, some dice have been knocked out:

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: x 4 1 x x x


So now P2 tries to bump to get those dice back. The first bump is a 1. That can't be placed in any open spot (it'd have to beat a 2, 4, 5 or 6), so it's no good. P2 bumps again and gets a 4. Hooray! They can put it up against either the 2 or 4. It doesn't matter which because bumps don't knock out the other player's dice.

P1: 5 x 1 6 4 2
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


P2 is now returning the ball (they don't roll, their return is just their existing dice), so P1 rolls their 5 remaining dice for their Footwork, getting 3, 1, 5, 5, 1. They place them like this:

P1: 5 5 3 1 1 x
P2: 4 4 1 x x x


This is a knockout blow! All 3 of P2's dice are gone, and P1 has won this round. Looks like P2 must have hit it into the net. P1 will serve next round and everybody has 6 dice again.

So that's Volleyball Dice. Give it a try with your friends!
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Hamumu Revumu: Enslaved08:08 AM -- Sat July 18, 2015

Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

TL;DR: Don't bother.

Gameplay Gist: It's a 100% linear action-adventure game. You get to level up and apply points to a skill tree, but not in any way that matters. It's basically a movie you have to play through. There's a cut-scene, then a specific setup of enemies you have to 'solve', then the next cut-scene. No exploring, no choice of path. There is platforming stuff too, super simple.

Kombat Kuality: No. The fighting is bad. You fight with a staff and you have weak and strong attacks. But you don't mix them up in wacky combinations, you do weak, weak, weak, strong. And that is IT. You never do anything else. You CAN, but it doesn't do anything special, it's just individual attacks if you don't follow the basic combo. Aside from that, you can shoot laser beams at guys, but there's limited ammo for that, so you never do it outside of specific scenarios because you never know when you'll get more ammo. And since there's no re-visiting areas, or exploring, there is a fixed ammo supply. I hate that.

Story Stupid? Meh. Mediocre. Very very sexist story to be sure with the damsel in distress who constantly screws everything up, but otherwise semi-sorta-interesting. What's strange is that there is kind of a big twist to the story, but the entire twist is contained in the final cutscene. They really needed some stuff to build up to this twist (well, there are these flashes you get, and you wonder why, but that never builds up towards anything, it's just a total mystery until the final scene explains it bluntly). It felt weird. It seemed like any other game would have peppered in clues, and then had the revelation happen over the course of the final level in pieces, to make the final showdown meaningful. In fact, the 'final boss' in this game is basically the usual second-to-last boss of a game. Sort of a big showdown to get you into the throne room, where you would normally have an ultimate battle. Only in this one, there's no battle in there, just the last cut-scene. Last remark: the ending also kind of cuts itself off - it seems like it should have a big choice between one ending and another, but then it just picks one, and you never know what could've happened.

Wrapid Wrap-Up: I kept playing this game to the end. I didn't really want to, as the leveling-up is pointless, and the gameplay was never quite fun, but it was never bad enough that I didn't want to reach the conclusion. It did manage to pull me on with the mystery - I wanted to know what was going on. I was tempted to go to Youtube to find out, but finding the 'solution' to each battle was just barely interesting enough to keep me playing (the most helpful thing was looking in a FAQ to see how many chapters there were, so I kept thinking I was close enough I might as well finish). Not a terrible game but truly truly a mediocre one.

Super Score: 57/100 Illogical Technologies.
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Steam Summer Gaming07:45 AM -- Sat July 18, 2015

So, the Steam Summer Sale came again (in the summer!). As always, I stocked up on insanely cheap games and lamented the death of the game industry. But I got a lot less than I used to, because with a backlog of well over a hundred games in my Steam account, and maybe an hour a day to game, I realized it's time to get picky. So I went in with a mission: I wanted action-RPG (or 'action adventure') games with skill trees and leveling up. That's the kind of thing that absolutely hooks me, so why waste my time with lesser games?

Of course, in the end, I found very few such games I didn't own! It was kind of depressing. And yeah, I got more than a few games of other sorts, but I did manage to keep it way down from my usual.

But then I took another step - I spent an hour or more going through my Steam list and breaking it down into categories! Oh how I love organizing data. So here it is. "Favorites" are games I'm currently actively playing (Clicker Heroes isn't exactly a game, but I do load it up every day, which I should stop doing because it's stupid....), "Active Fiddling" are ones I'm not really playing, but I'm theoretically coming back to every so often to peck at a little more.

"Big To-Play" is where it's at - these are the 'big games' that I'm planning to play through to completion in one fell swoop, one at a time. This list is bigger than I had expected, currently at 61 games. Odds are I won't actually play them all, and many I will try out and quit because they are terrible, but I am glad to have this handy list of monster games that intrigue me. Without such a list, I'd probably just spend the rest of my life opening that "Borderlands" category exclusively, and that's not good for me!

After that self-explanatory "Borderlands" category, there's "Check Out" which are games that intrigued me enough to buy them, but I don't know if they're really worth playing, or in some cases, I don't even know what they really are. So I hope to open those up and eventually move them to another category.

And then it goes on with other specific categories in case I want to pop open a fighting game or a puzzle game someday when I am in the mood. But my main goal is to crank through those Big To-Play games. I really enjoy immersing myself in a fun action-RPG and figuring out what skills I want to pick up in it, so away I go!

I've started this process already, a few weeks ago (when the summer sale happened!), and I'm actually a few games into it at this point. I plan to bring you reviews as I go. Stay tuned for your first review, up next!
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