Tyger, Tyger, burning bright

A den for thoughts and discussions on games, life, tigers and art.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rotate a quarter circle from down to forward.

Recent gaming has included Magicka, Super Street Fighter 4, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and the Dragon Age 2 demo.
Magicka - Cute 3/4 top-down action game in similar vein to Diablo. The spell cast system of different elemental combinations leads to some innovation, however once you learn the shield variations and elemental beams its novelty wears off some. The fake-Swedish voice acting from the NPCs is unintentionally funny, but the gore seems a bit over the top and out of place for a game with this design.
Quick Review score: 7/10

SSF4 - I loved SF 4, and this one is no exception. I'd be playing it now if my X-Box hadn't of eaten the disc when my daughter was jumping around next to it >.> Definitely one for fans of brawler, beat-em-ups and the Street Fighter line. Keep it classy!
Quick Review score: 8/10

MvC3 - Oh I wanna take you for a ride. Slick graphics keeping the "comic book" sort of feel while also retaining some of what we've seen in SF4 and SSF4. The character line up is certainly more diverse, however there's still many balance issues with some characters and the on-line is a step back from what they had going on in SSF4, much to the detriment of the game. Worth waiting for some patches and DLC to be released before a final purchase. Deadpool is a riot, however I can see people getting tired of his antics after too much exposure. I am also not a fan of the different control scheme and button layout.
Quick Review score: 7/10

Dragon Age 2 - A review of a preview of an incomplete project. Looks the same as any "standard" adventure/RPG on the market currently. character creation was disabled in the demo so I couldn't fool with the sliders any. I like the revamp of the abilities trees visually. The snip of plot was interesting, however somewhat predictable given BioWare's track record with intro scenarios. (Hint, make a mage healer) Dialogue options are excellent, I like that instead of colored text you get an icon instead to hint at what sort of answer you give is going to be (olive branch, angel wings, comedy mask, fist, hammer) I do look forward to this sequel once it hits shelves. I might even pick it up on launch. then again, I should probably wait for a patch or two first. <.<
Quick Review score: 9/10

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

How do you like your fantasy?

I have just finished Brent Weeks' The Black Prism, and as I gather my collective thoughts about what the experience has been I consider a question I had asked several of my friends in hope of edging out an idea on what I should eventually write a book about.
"What kinds of stories do you like to read?"
I have discovered I really like action. I like the tension of reading about a character's charge through enemy lines and not knowing if they will be struck down. I like the rise of heroes and the telling of the defeat and victory. the book was good and the fantasy staple of a world with magic in it is taken to a different direction in this novel. However I really wasn't getting into it until I was about 1/3 of the way through the book. Mr. Weeks' Night Angel trilogy had me nearly at the beginning as I read about these people in a terrible situation up against all sorts of odds. I wasn't quite as taken in this time early on, however the last half of the book had me wanting to read more, and the last few chapters swept by as I couldn't put the book down.
There's more to liking just action, however. For one it can't be gratuitous body parts being shorn and blood and gore, I skim those sections. What really interests me is how the characters, if I've come to care about their success, will get out alive. Many novels I've written are brutal to characters I come to identify with or care about. As soon as one of those characters is done in, my interest in completing a work drops measurably. I don't care to see if they are avenged or not, the narrative hook that had me buy into the story was gone. Killing off named characters doesn't make for a bad story, in fact it's sort of unrealistic if the heroes never suffer any losses, however if there was significant time put into building up a character, the jarring loss halfway or later in a novel unseats me and diminishes my enthusiasm.
If my friends have anything to teach me, its that when I get to writing my story(ies?) my characters better be flawed, human, strong in a few areas, but weak in others, and hopefully, engaging enough to have an interest that lasts. I probably shouldn't just off them either. Probably.