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12th March 2012: Aye, Aye, Captain Douche

So I've just made Captain on Star Trek Online, and am enjoying my new Intrepid class ship, the U.S.S. Codan. I went for a change for this tier's ship (tier 4), as I had been using escort ships up to this point, but this one is a science ship. It gives me less damage special skills, but more defense, buffs and heals.
Have also just started learning the crafting skill along with Mr. Gallear, who is now a Captain as well with his ship, the rather comically named U.S.S. Arthur, which is always shaking (can you feel it?).
Am really quite into this game, and DCU Online has not had a look in now since I started playing it.

The newly commissioned U.S.S. Codan

The newly commissioned U.S.S. Codan

This entire planet is made of widdly wee

This entire planet is made of widdly wee

11th March 2012: Arkham City Done

Spent the last few days going through Arkham City. Like Arkham Asylum it is an awesome game, though like A.A. it also has its irritating points. My main problem was the vast amount of stealth missions in the game. There were a few of these in A.A. where you had to sneak around a room taking out guys with guns, but in this game there seemed to be loads. I hate those crappy stealth missions. Give me a straight up fight where Bats can beat the crap out of a bunch of thugs. Loads more fun all round. The best mission I found in this game just for pure kicking ass was the Mad Hatter side mission - felt like a good few minutes of fist-flying mayhem.
The other main irritating point was how long it seemed to take Batman to turn around. I know this sounds like a strange thing to nitpick, but very often in the middle of a big fight a guy would be behind me about to stab me, and I could not counter it because Batman would not turn around fast enough. This problem was also apparent when making a jump move to evade attacks - if you didn't wait that split second for Batman to turn the way you wanted him to go he would jump in completely the wrong direction. I got well pissed off sometimes with this.
Close combat in this game is where the fun is at, and they've stepped it up even more from the first game. There were lots of different types of enemies, each needing a different tactic in order to take them out. Stick all these different types together in one big fight and it can get confusing for a tiny-brain like me, but loads of fun. I especially liked the new "beat down" move (especially when Catwoman does it - damn she moves fast), and the ability to fire or use most of your gadgets in combat with quick-fire methods. Of the new gadgets my fave was the freeze blast, which was a great help when taking out those bastards with guns, especially the sniper dudes.
The boss fights were all varied and interesting, though quite straight forward. I can't remember getting killed in any boss fight all the way through the game, it was always in those damn stealth missions. Grrr.
On top of the cool combat and going through the main story, there are loads of side missions you can get involved in. I didn't do them all, and some of them seemed a bit pointless, but some were really cool. I liked the one where you end up in a big fight helping Bane of all people, and found it amusing that he "accidentally" keeps hitting you. Funny.
Movement around the city is fast and easy, especially after getting a few upgrades to your gadgets. The only issue here is with the grapnel boost, which you can shoot out while you are gliding in order to grab onto something to pull you along faster. Problem is, it doesn't really take into account the direction you are already travelling, and will often shoot you off in another direction. Just another frustrating thing that should have been sorted.
All in all, a great game, and one that I will definitely be going through again, maybe with a guide in order to get all the secrets and side missions.

5th March 2012: Bayonetta Madness

She thinks she's hot. She's wrong.

She thinks she's hot. She's wrong.

Before getting stuck into Arkham City, I was determined to finish one of the games I own but have never finished. The list is indeed a long one, with games on PC, PS2 and PS3. I plumped for Bayonetta on PS3, which I bought a couple of years ago but never really bothered with.
The game is about a witch with amnesia, who goes around kicking the crap out of angels and summoning demons with her magical hair-clothes. Yes, the game is as nuts as it sounds. The game design is wild, with the angelic enemies looking more like monsters. And whoever designed the Bayonetta character failed miserably if they were trying to make her attractive. Her neck is so long and her head is so small compared to her body that she just looks freaking bizarre.
There are loads of frustrating things about the game. The load times are rediculous. The camera movement is shite. The cut scenes are weird, as some are fully animated, while others are just a sequence of screenshots, though with animated clothes and hair which makes no sense.
Combat is heavily combo based, but there are so many combos to learn that I just didn't bother and just mashed buttons. This works fine as it's dodging which is the main key to victory here. Dodging can be hampered in big battles by the over the top visual effects on the attacks, as often you can't see when an enemy is attacking at all - you have to go on the sound effects. In addition to the fighting and crazy-ass finishing moves (and I really mean crazy-ass), the rest of the game consists of fairly simple running, jumping and dodging puzzles.
In places it's fun, but the fighting and progression through the game was broken far too often by frustrating cut scenes, a pointless mini game and vast load times. I'm glad I went through it, but I'm more glad it's over. It's not something I can see me playing ever again.

Bayonetta gameplay footage on Youtube

2nd March 2012: Two New MMORPGs

So I recently got stuck into two new computer games. First up was DC Universe Online. Before playing, I really should have looked online to find out what was what to help me make my character, as I was a bit lost and there's no real in-game explanation as to what skills do what. But I ended up with lizard-like villain Smashgob Slimefist. I wanted a character that would be a good all-rounder, so I went with nature magic and hand-blaster weapons. This would give me some damage at short and long range, some healing and shape-shifting.
The feel of the game is quite different to the main MMO I have played in the past (WoW). That there is no mouse pointer on-screen was weird to begin with, and most of the attacks are done with mouse button combos rather than attacks triggered from the keyboard. This is because the game is quite simplified so to be playable on console.
Initially the game felt like a button-masher with a couple of special skills added in, but once I had unlocked several different combos it became much more playable.
I definitely like it that your fast movement is usable right from the start. It's so much better than having to level up to get your faster move like in WoW (I can still remember needing lvl 40 to get the first slow horsie lol).
Another massive boost that this game has over others is the complete control over how your character looks. It doesn't matter what items you have equipped, you can choose to use their appearance or not. Much better than in WoW, where unless you have a complete set of armour you look like a right mess.
You also seem to level really fast. Smashgob is upto level 16 after a fairly short playtime, and max level is only 30 I think. If you know what you're doing you could level VERY quickly on this game.
It's a fairly simple game, with basic gameplay - go here, bash enemies, repeat - but I haven't done any PvP or grouping yet and I imagine those things will be a lot more interesting.

Smashgob Slimefist

Smashgob Slimefist

For the last week or so I've been on Star Trek Online, as Mr. Gallear had been asking me to try it for a while. In usual fashion I decided to name my dude and all his officers after characters I had made for previous things, and in this case from my Star Wars stories. So for this game I made Macan Vesso, Science Officer (yes another healer, I fall for it every time).
There is a lot more to learn with this game than with DCUO, as you have both space combat and away missions. Away missions have gameplay similar to a lot of other MMORPGs, with a third person view with attacks and skills triggered from the keyboard. The main difference here is that you take an away team along with you, NPC characters who will help (or sometimes hinder) you in the battle. I expected space combat to be very fast paced, but it's a little more tactical than that, with maneuvering of your ship the most important thing to keep enemies in your optimum firing arc and hitting them in their weak spots, with some emphasis on managing power levels and using special skills that your officers give you. I expect it will be quite cool once I've figured out what the hell to do and what all the starship subsystems are for.
Since its launch the game has felt the sting of many critics, and in fairness I've already come across a lot of bizarre bugs. Check these out:

Despite its flaws I have to admit I'm quite getting into it, even though I'm not sure what all the stats and systems actually do yet. I like the flexibility you can get by training your officers in different skills for both ground combat and space combat, and the main story-driven quests are quite good (called episodes). I especially liked the Devidian story arc on an old space station, which got quite dark and mysterious by Star Trek standards.
I've done no away mission style PvP yet, but I have grouped up for a few war zones and fleet actions. For someone who is new to the game, these space combat game modes are much more intense and hard to follow, with enemy ships, phasers and torpedoes flying all over the screen. Enemy players who know what they're doing are really difficult opponents for a noob like me, and I have really liked that nobody has yet got on my back as I repeatedly get blown to bits.

I'm really not sure if these games will hold my attention long term, but the fact that they're free means I can pop on whenever I want which is ace, and how it should be. I'd no doubt still play WoW on and off if I didn't have to leave a subscription open, as would pretty much everyone I know that has played WoW in the past. It has to be said though these games are definitely not as polished as WoW, not even close, especially in terms of character animations and how they move around the environment. I would never have opened subscriptons to play either of them (well, I will no longer do any subscription game as they are all far too expensive), but I have no problem shelling out a few quid here and there for any unlockable extras I might like. In fact, I've already bought a liberated Borg officer for STO.

In terms of the future of this page, I'm hoping to do more stuff on these two games, as well as try other free online stuff. I was originally eyeing up League Of Legends, but after seeing some footage I'm not sure. And I've recently (finally!) ordered Arkham City, which I have been itching to play for a while.

Macan Vesso and away team

Macan Vesso and away team

Fleet action action

Fleet action action

Do the Thriller dance

Do the Thriller dance

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