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TAY! WEEKEND!!! Whatcha Playing?

Illustration for article titled TAY! WEEKEND!!! Whatcha Playing?

What’s the best part about a cottage? When your friend brings his awesome Alienware laptop.

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I’m late in posting this week because we decided last minute to stay an extra day at the cottage our friends had rented. Maybe not the best idea as the people who came to the cottage beside us on Friday were blasted drunk by 6:00pm and decided that Jet Skiing in the pitch dark at 1:00am on Sat was a good thing to do. They didn’t stop there as all night was filled with them setting off car alarms and lots of scary and aggressive yelling. So we didn’t sleep that well in fear of what might happen...thankfully nothing did on our end. I think the movie The Strangers affected me for home invasions much like Jaws affected me for swimming in the ocean.

I am NOT a cottage person. Staring at a lake, no air conditioning, no internet, not my bed, etc, is not my idea of how to spend vacations. I get it, some people love it. Maybe if I lived in a dense urban city and needed to commune with nature then I would have a different perspective, but I have a forest behind my house and can get in my car and drive 20 minutes in any direction and be out in the wilderness...so nature isn’t high on my list of priorities for vacationing.

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What makes a cottage cool is video games. My friend who rented the cottage brought his kick-ass Alienware laptop and made the two evenings there very pleasurable. It is always great to hang out with your friends, even better when video games are involved.

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The first night we played Sonic & All-Star’s Racing Transformed splitscreen. I completed the first game on 360 and own the latest on PC but haven’t had a chance to play it. I was happy to see the awesome gameplay and track design has been carried on, the new transformation mechanic makes the game fresh and exciting, and the challenge tracks were a great spike in difficulty to make it challenging in the best way possible. I’m excited now to play it on my PC with my son. It is a real shame that they missed out on having the career mode playable with two people online.

The second night we played Fly’N. Ok, that is possibly one of the worst names ever, no wonder I’d never even heard of the game. Looks like Flynn, but is supposed to be Flyin’...but no matter the spelling, it is neither a name that is exciting, interesting, or gives you any idea about what type of game it is.

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And what a fantastic game it is! Good hard platform game...I loves me some good platform games, especially when they are challenging. It has a great hook with the altering realities you can flip back and forth with instantaneously, making for some devilish platform puzzles. It has a wide range of mechanics, different characters with very different gameplay, looks beautiful, sounds amazing, extremely precise and responsive controls...there really is nothing here not to love. We didn’t finish it, not by a long shot I think, but I’d highly recommend it based on what I played. It is on Steam right now for 66% off. I just bought it for $3.40. If you love platform games, go grab it now. http://store.steampowered.com/app/223730/

The rest of the past week was a little bit of everything in gaming. I finished The Legend of Grimrock and despite some niggling issues with some of the puzzles, I would highly recommend it for dungeon exploring puzzle lovers everywhere. I hope they are still moving forward with the iOS port, I think it would be a great game for the iPad. They’ve also announced the second game which appears to have a much grander scope, though reading their blog it sounds like they have an excellent grasp of what made the first game appealing. I’m looking forward to a release date for Grimrock 2.

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Having finished The Legend of Grimrock, I needed to start something new. I decided that some old unplayed Wii games were in order. So I started The Conduit.

Illustration for article titled TAY! WEEKEND!!! Whatcha Playing?
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It is fun, no doubt, but it really feels “old” and maybe not in a good way.

It doesn’t look very nice. I guess for a Wii game it is alright, but after playing piles of shooters and action games on PC, it is really hard to get into the PS2 era graphics of the game. Graphics don’t make a game, but I think they are an equally important part to the experience.

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The AI, sound, story, motion, etc are all pretty standard and low-fi. However, the level design is moderately cool for being so linear and the gameplay is relatively good, keeping in mind the bad AI.

I do love first person shooters on the Wii though. There is something very appealing to me about aiming the reticule with the Wiimote and using the nunchuk to move. It is very comfortable and feels somewhat more authentic, aiming in such a way. It isn’t without its problems as looking around can be problematic if you aim offscreen. High Voltage Software does give a lot of control options in-game, including a run-speed slider which I thought was a really nice touch. Clearly they thought long and hard about the pitfalls of the Wiimote controls and did a very commendable job of allowing the user to customize the controller to suit their needs. Overall, I’m enjoying myself. Not blown away, but entertained and at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. I don’t own an Android device, but owners should look up the HD version on Android. I imagine porting from the Wii to the touchscreen might make for a great port.

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Still cooking along in Tomb Raider with my wife, but had to plan for the trip to the cottage right when the game took a nice turn. Very excited to get back to that this weekend.

Illustration for article titled TAY! WEEKEND!!! Whatcha Playing?
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So, it is a long weekend here and hopefully where you are as well. Whatcha playing this weekend?

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