February 7, 2009

Lazy Saturday

I'm almost positive I've used that post title before...oh well, it's probably not the first time, and it certainly won't be the last...

I spent most of the day just playing games and enjoying having my weekends back. I started the day with a quick errand, then I sat down for a co-op Resistance 2 session with a few friends from my last job and my brother. The co-op in that game is definitely very unique...it is very simple, but nevertheless very enjoyable. The classes are all very specialized and so they rely on the others for support in order to survive which promotes natural teamwork. Then, like a good dungeon crawl, the game spawns legions of enemies for your crack squad to make your way through. Personally, I'm not very partial to the whole co-op fad that seems to be all the rage right now, but I've definitely put my fair share into R2's co-op mode (more than the competitive multiplayer) and I imagine I will continue to for a while yet.

After Resistance, I spent some time wandering around the internets, mostly reading about an expansion to Space Rangers 2, that had somehow completely slipped under my radar last year. I'll blame it on my thesis or the job search or just trying to finish school....yeah, one of those should work. It's funny, I still think about my interviews sometimes, particularly Insomniac. I realize it shouldn't matter as I already have the job, but I guess because I was so anxious and excited it was really emotionally charged so now it is sort of permanently etched in my brain. Well, as permanent as anything in my brain is....

I also played a few matches of Red Alert 3 with Rick where I think I went 4-1, though he can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong...(all those wins just start sort of blending together :P) When I think about Red Alert 3 apart from it, I can never cite anything particularly good or noteworthy about its construction. I mean, the differences in the sides and units are pretty cool, and I think the micromanagement in the game is actually handled pretty well (which is personally very important to me). Each unit having only one special ability makes it a bit easier to metabolize, for me at least. I guess that is something particular I can cite, also the game is dazzling. When battles start really going colored lasers and missiles and smoke just fill the screen and it makes it feel like a huge battle is taking place even if only a few units are involved. Generally, I guess I would say it is a very solid, well balanced, well polished RTS. I personally think the single player campaign is a bit lackluster, and I think that mostly rests on the efforts to make the campaign cooperative.

Since the campaign is structured around having two commanders who are always available to participate in the mission, I think it made creating more interesting and involved mission structures a bit more difficult. As such, most of the missions are, build a base, blow up other guys base(s), repeat until done. No commando or storyline missions, no desperate defenses or strategic retreats, mostly just a series of what feels like skirmish battles. In the game's defense I have only finished the Soviet campaign and played through about half of the Allied campaign, but it hasn't done a good job of making me want to come back, which is a sign to me. On the other hand, I think the multiplayer is quite good, with a number of interesting units and strategies, and no particular dominant strategy that I have seen so far.

After that I watched the most recent episode of Battlestar Galactica, and ended up buying the Space Rangers expansion I mentioned. I played that for a little bit, then went back to Resistance 2 and played a couple more missions in the single player campaign, before stopping to check my email and write this post. And that was more or less my lazy Saturday, which sort of brings me to my final point.

I've been thinking lately about what this blog should be and why I am doing it. On the one hand, I use it simply as a means to keep people in my life informed of what I am doing and I think it has done that pretty well. At this point however, I can't talk about a lot of what is going on (my job) and the rest of it is my personal life, which is either too personal or not interesting enough to write about. So I ask you all, going forward, what do you think this all should be about? Just my day-to-day adventures, my thoughts on design, games, the industry, or the games I play? I've been finding myself in a bit of writer's block lately when it comes to the blog, so I think I need some new material in order to break out. So what do you all think? I'm open to pretty much anything at this point...

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