Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Xeno Herd

Today we’ve got a particularly well polished game up for recommendation. ALIEN SWARM!

Originally a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, this game featured squad level game play from a top down perspective where you work with the rest of your team to accomplish the mission objectives in “Alien” style sci-fi environments while holding off an endless tide of aliens out to get you.

 The updated game made some changes, such as not having the levels be so dark, and an upgrade in graphics as it went from the UT2004 engine to the Source engine. However the core game play remains the same, with an emphasis on teamwork, clear lanes of fire and speedy completion of the mission.
No lone wolves here, always bring a battle buddy
The game wears its inspiration from the “Aliens” movies on its sleeve, from the dialog the marines have to the sleazy corporations wanting to use the aliens for nefarious purposes. Even the little snippets of backstory and world building you get have the same feel from the movies, such as the use of cyro-sleep chambers on space craft.
They even added that little "Beep" from the motion detector radar
The game’s biggest problem however, is that midway through development the team making the game was bought up by Valve. Now while this was good for the team, and its certainly an indicator of their skills, the game ended up releasing with only one campaign. Fortunately, this has been rectified by a large number of custom maps and campaigns being made by the community, from challenge and survival maps to full blown campaigns that could be mistaken for maps made by a professional team.

Wave survival maps are simple, but fun
Since release the game has been updated with an onslaught mode, and a “Brutal” difficulty level, over the mere “Insane” that was the previous hardest difficulty, so there’s no shortage of challenge if you’re into that (having personally played that, that mode and difficult DON’T screw around)
You WILL all die horribly at least once
I greatly recommend playing this multiplayer game with three other friends. Whether you only do one run through of the original campaign for a quick hour's worth of entertainment, or decide to dive into the custom maps or try to survive the harder difficulties and make a weekend of it, the game is certainly worth the hard drive space. If nothing else it should tell you which of your friends can handle working as a team, and who will freak out or forget what they’re supposed to do once a situation gets bad.
Sorry, but you'll only get everyone killed, so have fun with the zombies!
Alien Swarm is available for free on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/630/

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Region of the Mentally Unstable Deity

Up next we’ve got a neat little browser MMO called “REALM OF THE MAD GOD”, wherein you stomp around the titular realm of the Mad God and you proceed to SHOOT THE HELL OUT OF EVERYTHING. Good practice for when mutants eventually overrun the earth.
The game works from a top down perspective that’s follows your 2D pixilated adventurer as you roam about shooting things. Basic RPG and MMO standards apply, HP, MP, EXP, all the alphabet soup abbreviations are there.
As are the typical names people use in MMOs
You’ve got a small inventory that’s supplemented with a permanent storage vault in the game’s city. The games gimmick is that perma-death is always on, and that’s its built around going through multiple characters. The idea is that you find awesome stuff that you cant use for your current character, so you go back and stick it in the Vault.
Later when I'm a ninja I'm totally gonna be kick ass you guys
 You take a class, level it up to a certain point, and then a new class is available. HOWEVER: only one character slot is available. Want to try out that new class you unlocked? You better find the nearest angry mob of gnomes and start looking for hugs.
Really BAD practice for when mutants overrun the earth
 Like all multiplayer games, and MMOs in particular, its far better when played with friends, roaming around shooting things (its basically “Bullet Hell, the MMO”) and theres even a spell that allows you to teleport to another player, no matter how far away they are, for free, and it only has a ten second cool down.

HOW THEY GET YOU: The game might be free, but theres things in the game that cost real money. The game uses two different currencies for different things. Fame is what you get when one of your characters die, and the other is gold which you get for real money, both of which are used for a number of things, but it’s the gold that gets you the good stuff. Like most Free-to-play MMOs, you don’t NEED to buy things with real life money to enjoy the game, but they certainly help, and one of the big things that the gold gets you is another character slot, which would allow you to keep unlocking classes without having to kill off that character. Get particularly attached to your wizard because you killed some of the games big bosses with it? Either slap down five bucks to keep it while you try out other stuff, suck it up and run head first into some zombie wizards, or just stop unlocking classes entirely.
They give you one hundred for free when you start though, which is nice
That aside, REALM OF THE MAD GOD is still a fun little browser MMO, and its fully possible to you just drop in and play it, no registration needed (thought that probably allows you to name your character, I was stuck with Risrr as a default) I recommend getting some friends together and killing some time by shooting monsters.
R.I.P Risrr, you were taken too soon
Realm of the Mad God is available for free at http://www.realmofthemadgod.com/
Or you could play it on steam, if you're into that http://store.steampowered.com/app/200210/
(page includes trailer)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


 In today’s broke, jobless and rapidly approaching apocalyptic society, most people have had to give things up to make ends meet. Things such as eating food that isn’t ramen, basic utilities, their hopes and dreams, and their dignity.

Starvation now or heart disease later
 Something that gets put on the chopping block fairly early is entertainment, given how you don’t need that to live, and people have more pressing things to worry about such as “Do I have enough leather clothing and sports equipment at home to cobble together a mad max outfit?” or “Can I built a wrist-mounted crossbow out of stuff in my apartment?”.

You gotta be prepared, you wont fit in with the rest of the biker gang otherwise
 But you don’t necessarily need to stop playing video games, there's stuff out there you can play for free
"No shit"
No, not like that, I’m talking about stuff that is free to play, abandon ware, or just stuff that’s on the internet but you don’t need to pay for it to play it. That way you can continue to enjoy video games without having to resort to illegal activity to pay your rent! (If you haven’t already done so)

A better plan B than growing pot in your bathroom
That’s the point of this blog, I’ll point out the free stuff to play that’s out there in the dark and unknowable recesses of the internet and then you get to play it. Sounds more productive and helpful than blogging about what I ate for lunch.

 This isn’t a review site though, there's a GLUT of those on the net. I’ll put my own two cents in of course but if you want a more in-depth look at anything I talk about here there are far better places to go, this is just me going “hey, check this out”

First up is a little game called FAÇADE.

Dont you give me the Dream Works face, Trip

To start with, lets see what the developers had to say:
"Façade is an artificial intelligence-based art/research experiment in electronic narrative – an attempt to move beyond traditional branching or hyper-linked narrative to create a fully-realized, one-act interactive drama. Integrating an interdisciplinary set of artistic practices and artificial intelligence technologies, we have completed a five year collaboration to engineer a novel architecture for supporting emotional, interactive character behavior and drama-managed plot. Within this architecture we have built a dramatically interesting, real-time 3D virtual world inhabited by computer-controlled characters, in which the player experiences a story from a first-person perspective. Façade was publicly released as a freeware download / cd-rom in July 2005.

You, the player, using your own name and gender, play the character of a longtime friend of Grace and Trip, an attractive and materially successful couple in their early thirties. During an evening get-together at their apartment that quickly turns ugly, you become entangled in the high-conflict dissolution of Grace and Trip’s marriage. No one is safe as the accusations fly, sides are taken and irreversible decisions are forced to be made. By the end of this intense one-act play you will have changed the course of Grace and Trip’s lives – motivating you to re-play the drama to find out how your interaction could make things turn out differently the next time."

Huh, sounds legit. Here's what the internet had to say:

Not much I can say that will describe the game better than that, you can be whoever you want as there are an absurd number of names available, though the best one is undeniably "GONZALO". Act like a normal person and try to save their relationship or you can go batshit insane and talk about something else entirely. Or both, its up to you.

Façade is available for free at
No sign up needed, and if you're looking for a way to kill an hour or so its worth it.