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Dungeon Defenders PC Review

Please note, every censord word in here is actually "c1ass".

I have to admit that I have willingly spent a lot of time playing Dungeon Defenders and for a good portion of it, I've really enjoyed. The unique blend of RTS and action RPG has a lot of potential. Plus, I have a fondness for co-op. However, Dungeon Defenders is not a fun game. It is a compelling game, with seemingly endless potential for additional content, but that potential is wasted on arbitrarily limiting scenarios that are built around forcing a player to grind and level character classes that are intolerably imbalanced and not fun to play.

Let me explain. When you start the game you're given the choice between a Mage, a Knight, an Archer, and a Monk. Oddly the characters are given a difficultly rating, with the Mage and Knight being considered easy ****s, the archer is medium, and the Monk is Hard. What this translates to is that the knight and mage have useful towers and the Archer and Monk do not. Remember this game is large part tower defense. What this translates to is a game that can be completed solo as one of the easier ****s, and can not be completed solo with the other ****s.

Not only that, but each ****has different attacks. Everyone has a primary attack and a secondary attack. The main attack of the mage is blast that can be charged for additional damage and AoE. This attack never needs recharging. His secondary attack is a useful radial attack that pushes back all enemies around him. Sounds cool right? It is. Meanwhile, the archers main attack is their weapon, and their secondary attack is... reload. Seriously WTF?



This imbalance is further exacerbated by the multiplayer focus. One would think that a game with 4 playable character types and a 4 player co-operative campaign would be most enjoyable with 4 players, one of each **** Its not. What a 4 player match ALWAYS becomes is one mage or a night setting up the primary defense and everyone else doing whatever, usually just getting in the way. Since the enemies increase in number and health based on the players, this further renders anyone who dare play the Monk ****useless.



Of course, this is just in the main campaign. There are many Challenges in addition. These, however, usually place further restrictions rendering some ****s even more useless. At least two challenges limit the range of the ranger's ranged attack. This same challenge also inhibits the use of towers and hero powers. This makes that ****essentially useless in the challenge and is basically a huge glowing neon sign, placed in the game by the developers, telling the player, "You need to level your Monk ****". Oh, ok... lets see, what level does my monk need to be? Oh... 60? Well, where am I supposed to level him? Oh, in the campaign... where he is useless. Wonderful....



There are just so many things in this game that scream "bad design". Its even more disappointing for me because conceptually, I love this game. The problem is that it intentionally reduces itself to a grind and lets loot drops and compulsive leveling be its only thrill. If the game was balanced more and had a tighter focus on strategy, over just plain leveling, then it would be an inspiring gem. Its innovative, but, right now, its rough. Eventually, the developers might polish it until it shines, but I'm not waiting. At that point, someone else will have made something better. Basically, this game is not worth your time.

Score 5.0

The Frightening Future Of Digital Distribution

Historically, I've never been a big fan of Steam. Valve's software distribution software has always irked me as a little too clunky and a little too pushy with ads. Truth be told, I have always prefered gaming on a console. Well... I finally have been converted.

It is a combination of things that changed my mind. The platform has undergone improvements and downloads are much faster. Additionally, there are some the great weekly specials (and far less intrusive ads). A final reason is the increased selection of unique titles. However, I'm not writting this blog because I've finally figured out why people like Steam, I'm writting it because I am afraid of the future... very very afraid.

ebay paypal

For those of you who don't know, I'm a pretty avid Ebay seller and, although I still haven't got around to writing that sellers' guide, I've always been able to make extra cash by selling off some of my unwanted items. At times my Paypal balance can be several hundred dollars, but in my mind those paypal dollars are different from the ones in my bank account. To me, Paypal money is play money.

For a long time, the only use for my Paypal money would be to buy more physical goods off Ebay again. Usually I would use them for a while and then return the item to Ebay where it would find its way to a new home. Now, however, I've realized something that might be the death of my resale activities. I can buy games off Steam with Paypal!

Circle of money

The great thing about my previous activities with Ebay and paypal was that it was self perpetuating (see image above). I would essentially be buying new stuff with old stuff, and then when I got bored, selling the newer stuff for even newer new stuff. It is similar to what many people do at Gamestop, by trading in used games to use towards an immediate purchase of a different game. Now that at least some of the money is going toward digital downloads, I wonder how long it will be until I have a large digital backlog of games I no longer care about and no opportunity to resell them.

No money

So, while I do love the immediate gratification Steam (and soon Xbox Live) offers by accepting my play money in exchange for games, I realize they come at the cost of future sales and thereby, future game purchases. I know that currently I have an extensive backlog of XBLA titles that I don't play and am now building the same thing on Steam.

At the risk of sounding old, if Digital Distribution is the future then I'm happy staying in the past. The convenience is a trick and I am keen to the game they're playing (with the games I am buying). I can't say I will avoid digital entirely, but it will affect my purchasing decisions.

Catherine

I got it! I'm playing it on the Xbox 360 and I really like it. I made it halfway through night 5 on normal last night before I had to quit and I can't wait to play more. For me the puzzles are very enjoyable and the narrative is very compelling. I like!

The game that you grew up with that did not grow up with you.

Pokemon Black Version Review:

Do you remember that friend you had in grade school who everyone liked because of their eccentric and loud behavior? Do you remember how annoying it became as you matured and how sick you were of it by the time you reached Junior High? Pokemon Black is like finding that person after high school graduation and realizing he still gets-by by repeating the same irritating behaviors. Pokemon is not a game, its a time capsule from 1998.

Nintendo, being the company continually praised for its innovative attitude, takes a much more financially responsible approach to the Pokemon franchise and continues to rehash the same content iteration after iteration. While I can't argue with sales, and the "if it aint broke" attitude, I question how they're still getting away with this. In my mind, 250 new monsters does not a new Pokemon game make. However, Nintendo comes up with a few new collectible beasts and suddenly has, not one, but !THREE! new top selling games for its handheld console. After 13 years, I expect more.

Pokemon does not exist in a vacuum. Its expansive world was impressive on the 8 bit green-screen tank that was the original Game Boy. Now, the franchise is floundering in a sea of more enjoyable and creative on-the-go games. Without a major reworking of the gameplay, it is inevitable that the series will succumb to irrelevance. As is, the game is best described as simply "boring" and I would encourage anyone to spend their gaming dollars elsewhere.

Score: 2.5 Terrible

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Connecting your gamespot and facebook accounts.

I've been commenting a lot on The Escapist and Kotaku and I love how they integrate with Facebook. Since I started this account before the Facebook connect was added, I was wondering if there was a way to keep all my contacts and history and just link it so I log in with my Facebook account. Is that possible? If so, how do I do it?

4 year old w/ a Laptop.

I had an entry level laptop that I repaired ages ago, but the owner never paid me so I still have it. I've given up waiting on them and decided its about time that device got put to use. So... I gave it to my 4 year old son! I installed Super Meat Boy and put some kids videos and music on it. He thinks its awesome! He has a little trouble carrying it around.

So, I personally think I'm an awesome parent for this, but I know there are other opinions. What do you think?

Gaming, Hobby or Pastime?

It occured to me recently, while debating the pointlessness of Gamefly with myself, that there are two different types of people who play video games, "those who play because because they have nothing better to do" and "those who play because there is nothing else they would rather do". OK, that second one might be a little extreme, but I remember that there was a time when I played video games to avoid being bored, but now (as an adult) I don't have the luxury of boredom. If I want to play video games, I have to MAKE time for it. Because of this, my expectations on what that game should deliver are considerably higher than they were previously. It explains a lot about why I like the games I like. Anyway, I figure most people on this site are like me and would put aside many other enjoyable activities for a new game they've been dieing to play, but there are probably plenty of others who turn on the game console when they don't have anything better to do. Which type are you and why?

A sandwich of moldy bread. Dragon Age 2 Review

If you make a sandwich with moldy bread it doesn't matter how good the stuff in the middle is.

Score 6.0

Difficulty: Just Right

Time Spent: 40 to 100 Hours

The Bottom Line:"Hard to describe"

Dragon Age 2 is a game that aspired to greatness, but was obviously hindered by deadlines. Completing Dragon Age 2 is a stupefying experience and will leave most players feeling awkward and unfulfilled. Its not that the game is bad, there are a few brilliant moments. The real problem is that the game just treats you badly. Playing it could be to compared to finding a pretty girl who wears ugly cloths who you can only appreciate upon seeing her undressed. However upon seeing her beauty exposed she instantly proceeds to vomit in your lap and rush out the door. The ending of DA2 is equally unexpected and confusing.

Dragon Age 2 has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is slow but eventually builds to an involving and in-depth second act only to fall in a crashing heap from the abrupt stop that is the end. In the course of the game, you will become attached to a few of your companions and feel like you've established your own version of the main character, Hawke. There are subtle differences as you play through the game depending on your decisions, but the ending will always be the same. Also, if you attempt to restart, wanting to see some of the bits you might have missed, you'll be frustrated by the artificial limitations placed on you in the game's first act. If isn't enough stop you from playing through a second time, then the repetitive dungeons will.

In summary, Dragon Age 2 is a game that many people will play but few will really fall in love with. It is the sandwich made with moldy bread. There are some really good bits and pieces in there, but taken as a whole it really leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Its sad too, because with a little more attention to detail this game could have been something special. Hopefully Bioware will look at this as a learning experience. My personal recontamination is that any potential player should avoid this game.

Rate Up by following this link.

Obsession Complete. Dragon Age 2

I have a tendancy to have a one-track mind and sometimes it gets me in trouble. I found myself obsessing over Dragon Age 2 and felt I needed to finish it so I could let my mind focus on other things. So last night I sat down, turned the game on, played for 15 minutes and realised I was staring down the end game credits. I almost didn't even know what happened.

The end of the game is a short, unfufilling, unexpected mess. Its like developers got to about the 80% finished mark on the games and the slapped a bow on it and called it done. Its screams that they were not ready for the games "due date". You could also say it tastes like a cake that could have spend more time in the oven. I don't think it leads to DLC or to a sequel. I think it just was not finished.

While the game has many moments where you feel that the dev team took the cheap way out. There is still some good in there. I liked the characters a lot. The combat is fun, even when its wasted on underwhelming final boss fights. So, I'm happy I'm done and might pick it back up again in a month or so. This game should have been an A+ title, but it didn't reach its full potential so I'll give it a "C+". Thats not my review, but it would be the report card I would give to Bioware.

A worthy successor (Dragon Age 2)?

There has been a lot of talk about Dragon Age 2 and if it lives up to the legacy of Origins. I can tell you now that it is a very enjoyable game that is compelling and fits well into the lore. That said, Dragon Age 2 is a totally different game. While I definitely like parts of it, there is something missing. There are lots of places where the game feels cheap, like Bioware didn't have the budget (or care to allocate the funds) to really flesh the game out. I think people would be much happier if the game was called "Dragon Age: Hawke's Quest" or something instead of being labeled as a full numbered sequel.

A big plus for it though is that I am playing on Xbox 360 and the game is much more playable than the first. I would go so far as to call this the defacto Dragon Age game for consoles. It feel a lot like Mass Effect 2.