Mein Laben

Happy Weekend TAY!

Another frigid but short week is over for many. Time to buckle down this weekend and get chipping away at your four in February.

I finished Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris last week with my buddy. When it works, it is great fun, but the game is marred with loads of technical bugs that kept us from fully enjoying it. My grappling hook kept releasing spontaneously and this actually prevented us from being able to complete one of the challenge tombs. The game is also short, which is never a bad thing in my books, but in this case it almost feels like it is over just as it is getting started.

There was lots to love though. The co-op gaming is excellent and the visuals are a nice step up from the previous title. Though, I still feel like I might have spent too much at the $7 I paid for the game. Square Enix really should have spent some extra time and money polishing up the game; you really don't want to sully the name of Lara Croft. Overall, it is fun for co-op if you don't mind the bugs and maybe the console versions of the game have less issues than the PC version.

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Finishing up Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris let my friend and I return to Orcs Must Die 2 which we started early last year just before we were sucked into The Elder Scrolls Online.

Orcs Must Die 2 is a must play for co-op fans (and it's pretty awesome single player too). The action based tower defense game is a marvel of balanced gameplay. It was so much fun that we decided to just start the whole thing over and very much enjoyed returning to each of the previous levels in the game. I can't wait until next week to play more of it.

My son and I were able to get another couple of levels done in Halo 2 Anniversary after making several more attempts to pass the game stopping splitscreen co-op bug that had halted our progress. I ended up doing that level single player with Xander watching so he could at least see the confrontation with the Prophet of Regret. Once that was done, we continued on through several more chapters with nary a bug to be found.

On the single player side of things, I have been thoroughly enjoying Wolfenstein (2009). The level design is great, the story is interesting, and the supernatural powers are loads of fun. I am enjoying collecting the secret gold and intel in the game as the secrets are well hidden (and fair in their hiding) and the collectibles go towards upgrading your arsenal. This is the way to do collectibles. There are also some subtle references to Heretic and Hexen (and the original Wolfenstein) that are fun if you recognize them.

The game isn't without issues though.

First off, the game is WAY too easy. I started the game on Hard and quickly bumped it up to Uber and still it is almost a cake walk.

The other major issue is the gunplay. While it is always fun to mow down Nazis, the gun behaviour is pretty awful. There is no recoil or swaying of weapons, making everything dead-accurate. I'm using submachine guns like sniper rifles. I know I'm playing with a mouse and keyboard and maybe this issue is a holdover from the consoles, but I really miss having to deal with recoil and having my sniper rifle sway when aiming. It is no fun being super accurate at any distance.

Another problem I have with the game is more an issue of aesthetics.

The game allows for an altered view of the world while you play. This "spirit world" view allows for faster movement, more field of view with a change to a more fish-eyed perspective, the ability to see Nazis through walls, and allows for the discovery of secret ladders and passages. While this alternate view of the world is powered from a pool of energy, the recharges for this energy are found all over the game space in great abundance so you can effectively remain in the "spirit world" view for most of the game.

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The problem is that this essentially makes the game's colour two-toned. I feel like I'm playing on an old black and white TV for much of the game. I've encountered this problem in many other games and I wish developers would deal with this issue in a more effective manner. I can sacrifice much of the amazing art and colour of a game to become more powerful. I had a similar problem with the Batman Arkham series since I spent a lot of time in the x-ray view-mode as you clearly had a big advantage seeing through walls and highlighting enemies.

However, in Wolfenstein, this issue is the worst I've ever seen. The game really wants me to be in the monochrome view whenever possible; I move faster and run faster. This is made even worse by the regular view mode having one of gamings most pathetic walk and run speeds I've had the displeasure to experience. This alone is cause to stay in the alternate view mode, but when coupled with the benefits I listed above (especially finding secrets), I can't see why you wouldn't always strive to be in "spirit realm" view. This of course ruins a lot of the atmosphere and "flavour" of the world, but thems the breaks I guess.

So, hopefully I'll get to more Wolfenstein this weekend. Friday I bought a ton of bluray movies at Target at 40% off as they vacate Canada, so I imagine movies will be in the cards for the family as well.

What are you playing this weekend?