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Monthly Archives: March 2012

I own a heck of a lot of games, and as a result I tend to play only a very short amount of any random one before the next one comes along. While I would like to get over this and finish more of the games I own, in the meantime I have started Snap Judgement to make use of the impressions I get from the start of a game. I do believe that the start of a game is one of it’s most important parts, and if it doesn’t catch you, then even if the end of it is awesome, you’re not likely to continue on. Hopefully my comments and opinions will help someone on the fence about trying a game!

Amount Played for Review: ~25 minutes
Platform: PC (Steam)

You know, it’s not that often that I buy something and later think it was kind of a bad choice. Maybe I just don’t quite get it, but Cubemen is one of these rare occurrences.

Cubemen is another Tower Defence game, except this time the gimmick is that your towers are treated as RTS soldiers. This isn’t as great of an idea as you would think it is, though, which I’ll go into detail later. When you start, there’s very little to the game. You can choose to either play a Defense game which is like your typical TD, or a Skirmish game which is not unlike the kind of competitive TD that is like Monday Night Combat. In Skirmish, you set up your units to shoot enemy towers and enemy walkers, to protect your own walkers as they shamble to the enemy’s base and take their HP away. This mode is actually the only one I played that felt like it played right.

Now, as for the gameplay. Cubemen’s gameplay is… flawed. Conceptually, having an RTS TD probably sounds pretty cool. In reality, though, it suffers from a number of downsides and design problems. The biggest downside is that it means that your towers need to actually walk to where you want them to be, under fire the whole time. Sure, they can PROBABLY shoot back as well, but in my experience they… tended to either not, or shot pretty ineffectively.

There’s a pretty barebones tutorial when the game detects that it’s your first time playing. It’s not even tied to a specific map or anything; pick any map from “easy” to “insane” and start playing, and the game will start giving some tutorial boxes to make sure you know what’s up. It doesn’t do a good job overall, though. Or, I’ll just say, the fact that I could never even get halfway through the first “easy” level left me thinking that there was something I didn’t understand.

As well, unlike most TD games, there’s no such thing as a “pause” between waves in Cubemen. They just keep coming one after another as the wave counter ticks ever higher towards your ultimate failure.

 

Maybe there’s something about the way the game plays that I didn’t understand that made it unnecessarily hard? but it also didn’t go out of it’s way to try and make itself that accessible.

I own a heck of a lot of games, and as a result I tend to play only a very short amount of any random one before the next one comes along. While I would like to get over this and finish more of the games I own, in the meantime I have started Snap Judgement to make use of the impressions I get from the start of a game. I do believe that the start of a game is one of it’s most important parts, and if it doesn’t catch you, then even if the end of it is awesome, you’re not likely to continue on. Hopefully my comments and opinions will help someone on the fence about trying a game!

Amount Played for Review: ~12 hours
Platform: PC (Origin)

Did you like Mass Effect 2? Then you’re going to like Mass Effect 3. And if you never played 2, then you probably shouldn’t play 3 just yet. While it’s advertised as being good to start with, you honestly will not get anywhere near the full effect without having a save that you’ve been carrying throughout the entire trilogy.

I honestly don’t really have much more to say about the matter, actually. ME3 uses an improved engine (the one used in ME2 for the PS3), but for all purposes it plays like ME2. The game goes back to a more ME1 style of equipment, in the sense that instead of there being a small collection of guns that are “different yet equal”, there’s now a very large selection of guns (including all DLC weapons from ME2), each with 10 ranks, but many are clearly superior or inferior to other variants. Armour is handled in the exact same fashion as ME2, and all of the DLC and special armours are still available, but are instead purchased in stores (which includes the Blood Dragon Armor).

The other big thing in ME3 is that it now has a multiplayer component, in the form of a co-op wave-based survival mode. Playing the multiplayer mode also carries on into the single player game, where you can promote characters as “war assets”, or increase the Galactic Readiness ratings. You do not need to do any of that to get the best ending, though. That said, the multiplayer is a LOT of fun, I found.

Galactic Readiness, since I mention it, is this game’s version of the “survival check”. Since the story is focused more on the entire galaxy being at war, instead of you gathering a small team for a single mission, the meter is a rough approximation of the combined fleet of all the races, as they try to fight back against the Reapers. The Galactic Readiness percentage is a modifier on that, which “represents” how (in)effective you might be without certain assets from other sources. It’s really just to encourage you to play MP or the iOS game. It starts off at 50% and cannot go lower then that, and there’s actually more then enough resources within the game to max out the bar without doing much if any of those side things. It just makes it easier to get the best ending.

And like I said, I found the multiplayer to be a lot of fun.

 

Anyway, to be honest, all I can really say is that Mass Effect 3 feels like the finale people have been wanting. The game does a great job of reading all the plot flags from the previous games, and either having small comments about things that you have done, or bringing back the people you’ve dealt with in the past. And this, to me, was the strongest thing in 3’s story; it’s a proper culmination of Commander Shepard’s story; of your Commander Shepard.

So, I’m just going to toss a bunch of random humerous screenshots I’ve taken down below the break. These are mostly without context (and a few are clearly bugs), but could be construed as spoilers so you have been warned.

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