Monday, May 23, 2005

So I finished some games ...

Star Wars Episode III for the DS - I finished this weekend, with both Anakin's and Obi-Wan's 'paths', and did some 'skirmishes' - which are basically multiplayer flight matches against bots. A very fun game, best Star Wars handheld game I've played.

Dungeon Lords - how do I even begin ... it is really good, yet very problematic. For instance, there is once trigger I had to reload about 10 times to have work. Also, when starting the 'end-game', there were four quests in my log, one of which was from the very beginning of the game, and all of which I had finished long before. But the end areas were fun and challenging, as were pretty much all of the dungeon areas. My thoughts are basically - cool game, good combat, decent story, missing loads of stuff ... just not done. Oh, and I have never really gotten multiplayer to work ...

... now I have to write up my reviews for both ...

Friday, May 20, 2005

We pulled the kids out of school yesterday to see Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I see it as clearly the best of the prequels ... but more than that, I see it on par with 'Star Wars' and 'Empire' .... with two of the great gems of my youth.

My older son says it is his favorite, while my younger son says it was his least favorite ... because Anakin turned to the dark side.

For me, while nothing will ever replace the feeling of that opening crawl or space battle, or of Vader's reveal, this is right up there ...

Monday, May 16, 2005

My wife Lisa went on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer this weekend ... she and a friend walked about 40 miles over two days. About 1800 people total participated and they raised millions of dollars! The boys and I didn't get there until Sunday morning (Friday night was 'walker only', and Saturday we were loaded up with Soccer, Baseball, etc...) but it was something - really emotional experience. Everyone was touched in some way by cancer, and there was total camaraderie between walkers - these people who didn't know each other were hugging and laughing and crying together. We were clapping and cheering for everyone while we waited for Lisa to arrive. Fortunately the weather stayed pretty decent for the weekend.

I played a ton of Dungeon Lords this weekend as well. I really like so much of it, that it is a shame about what isn't done or is incomplete. I can barely stand visiting the Dreamcatcher forums because of some of the harsh rhetoric, much of which is purely reactionary, but a lot is justified.

In particular, my hate of the Journal has only intensified over the weekend. I have dealt without the map, and am getting familiar with the land. But when I forget about who I need to talk to and where ... that is when any decent RPG should have a journal with notes to help me out. But instead I get the line 'Go to Skuldoon and help the Mage' - I know that .... he told me to do something, now what was it ?!?

I'm basically done with the Episode III game for the DS, and it was pretty good. Hard at times, repetitive at others, and I have no idea why the touch screen for 'special moves' was disabled during 'boss battles' ... but in general a lot of fun.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I am having a Love / Hate relationship with Dungeon Lords. I am many hours into it, and it *is* quite engrossing ...

First off, I like that this game has attempted to have the large open world as found in games like Gothic, rather than the closed maze feel of something like KotOR. It is a beautiful world, very dangerous. No random NPC's who don't belong on the road like in Morrowind, but that is a mixed blessing - while the hostile travel makes sense, there is little 'color' in the towns so far.

My two main gripes - map and quest log - seem trivial, but when playing in a large world with various quests and locations, they need to be robust. I was looking for Moonstones, and up in the middle of the Lost Lake, I came upon the grotto where they were located, but it was a matter of swimming around and hunting for familiar things between the compass and the paper map. Just not good enough.

The Journal is another problem - you get these quests, some of which end up as page after page of expository dialogue ... but in the Journal you get the equivalent of 'bring the sword to Bob'.

I have hit level 10, tons of experience, but the Mage portion of my character still feels weak - my 'BattleMage' (even though I chose sorcerer) is mainly a fighter with magic weapons.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Very busy weekend - had Theresa up, acting as Danny's Godparent(s), Danny's First Communion on Saturday, and Mother's Day. Really good weekend (except for lousy weather!), but little gaming ...

Got my 'belated' birthday gift of Republic Commando, barely started ... still not a priority.

Picked up Dungeon Lords, but had very little time to play ... unfortunately it shows considerable evidence of being rushed out unpolished, and also unfortunately they didn't take what looks like the 'common route to rush-outs', which is to make the beginning look good and patch the later parts (e.g. KotOR 2 & VtM: Bloodlines)

The Episode III game for the DS is a gem, very tough for me, but worth going through ... at least so far.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Just an update ... Dungeon Lords arrives at EBGames ... I'll grab my copy later this afternoon (something called work gets in the way ...)

As for Wizards & Warriors ... I managed to get four good characters so far - 3 warriors and a mage, took them out of town to save, will work on the priest and rogue later ... what a hassle ...
Yesterday I finally got Wizards & Warriors ... it seems an interesting game, but after I found out that there are random attribute generation stats, I quit and started again. I have to get the 'best' character. I really don't like this type of thing - I know it adds variety to the role playing end, but I want the strongest possible character for a certain trait, not someone hobbled forever due to a 'bad first roll'.

I also picked up the new Episode III soundtrack. This is yet another John Williams masterpiece ... the epic 'Battle of Heroes', and 'Anakin vs. ObiWan' tracks are wonderfully done, and there is a mystery and tragedy to much of the music. Haven't had a chance to watch the DVD yet ... hopefully this weekend.

Finally, I picked up Star Wars Episode III game for the Nintendo DS. This game looks very good so far, but is a bit on the hard side. We will see as I go along. The screens don't do it justice, but check out

Still waiting for Dungeon Lords to arrive somewhere near me ... I guess I just learned a lesson about pre-orders ... especially for smaller titles.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Last Friday I planned to spend most of my time after putting the kids to bed on Guild Wars. But I didn't - I barely played for 30 minutes, and that was it for the weekend. Have I lost interest already? Not really, but it isn't a terribly deep experience. I played it some more, ended up dumped into these co-op missions, and then had to go.

That definitely hit me - we got dumped into a group vs. group battle, and it wasn't much different than a Team FFA match in a typical FPS ... and I don't like those much. Doing the solo are is pretty decent, and the quests are generally OK, but it definitely seems to matter what order you take them - there are some I've just pounded myself against again and again before finally winning, and others I barely get a scratch.

I am very much looking forward to the Dungeon Lords release this week. Also, the Episode III game could be my first 'real' Nintendo DS game purchase ... my wife got me Super Mario DS at Christmas but I really don't like it much - just not my type of game.