Updates every Thursday!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Genre: CCG, Strategy

Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment

System: Windows, Mac, and iPad (Maybe other tablets?)

So my girlfriend got into the beta for Hearthstone, the new game from Blizzard Entertainment. Jealous. But she was kind enough to let me give it a try so one day, while she was still at work or class or something, I sat down at her computer and gave it a go. She had already played through the tutorial and I couldn’t find any way to access it a second time so I quickly setup a round against a computer so I could have a chance to figure things out.

In my excitement to play, and possibly my general distractedness, I played a game of Jaina Proudmoore vs. Jaina Proudmoore or, for those who don’t know anything about the world of Warcraft, mage vs. mage or, for those who don’t play a lot of nerdy things, wizard vs. wizard or, for those who like what I’ve done with this sentence, female Gandalf vs. female Gandalf. But this was my first time through so I wasn’t too worried about playing against the same character.

Hearthstone is a collectable card game that is a video game. That is to say that it functions like a card game, but it is a video game. So normally you would build a deck, in this case designed around the play styles of various classes from World of Warcraft, and then you would play against another player’s deck. It is very much like Magic: The Gathering. But Hearthstone differs in many ways. Most important to me is the difference in summoning materials. In Magic you need lands, which are cards within your deck so you have to carefully balance how many lands you put in to make sure that you don’t pull too many or too few at the same time. Whenever I played it didn’t seem to matter what I did, because even if I played a friend’s deck I typically pulled all lands or all creatures/spells and could do absolutely nothing. In Hearthstone, you have little mana crystals that the computer keeps track of for you (thank God). You begin the game with one crystal and every turn you gain an extra crystal until you hit a maximum of ten. These crystals regenerate each turn. So unless you fail to pull creatures or spells that require one or fewer mana crystals to summon on your first turn, you will generally have something to do. Don’t get me wrong, a poorly built deck will still have difficulties. Hell, a well-built deck will probably have difficulties occasionally, but in a general sense it’s a great system.

Your creatures can be buffed and the computer keeps track of their stats, which is great because that was always a pain in games like Magic, and everything has a light animated touch to it that breathes life into the battle and makes everything you do so much more satisfying.

Needless to say, I miserably lost against Jaina Proudmoore (mages are broke, yo), but I lost in about eight minutes so I had time to get back in there and try again before my time ran out.

Happy Thoughts: I love this game even if I suck at it and, speaking of sucking, when Hearthstone officially comes out it will probably be like hooking my soul up to a vacuum.

Sad Thoughts: It’s not out yet. And Jaina beat me up and took my lunch money.

The Bottom Line: If you want a game that is generally lighthearted fun and easy to pick up, but difficult to master and if you like collectible card games, you should at least try this. The plan is that it will be free to play, though you can spend money to buy randomized five-card booster packs. These can also be earned just by playing though so that “pay to win” bullshit is bullshit.

Pictures provided by the internet.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Journey/Payday 2

OK, so I totally lost track of what day it was this week and for a brief period of time I thought yesterday was Tuesday, Tuesday was Wednesday, Wednesday never existed, and tomorrow was Friday. As a result, I completely forgot to post a review. Thankfully, with Matt and Sarah filling in for the past few weeks, I have a bit of a catalog of reviews for posting. Just need to browse the internet for a bit to grab some pictures and we'll be good to go. You will be receiving two (2) reviews today as an apology. This is also an apology in advance for my soon to be very busy schedule. My "real" job gets very hectic around this time of year so I will try to keep up with reviews as best I can, but please forgive me if I fail to do so. Without further ado, I give you...


Genre: Indie, Exploration, Awesome

Developer: Thatgamecompany

Publisher: Thatgamecompany

System: PS3 exclusive (deal with it)

I felt it wasn't right to give such an interesting game a normal boring review so instead I wrote a little poem:

Ode to My Scarf Friend

Oh we sang in the sand
We danced on the wind.
Where now have you gone
My little scarf friend?

I thought you’d be with me
Through Journey’s end,
Leaping up to the sky
My loyal scarf friend.

Before me you knelt,
Your cloak kissed the sand
And you melted away
Oh disconnected scarf friend.

And the flapping red flags
Without your singing did bend.
The whole world is empty.
I miss you, scarf friend.

But then from above
A cloaked figure descends
It sings a new tune
Much like you, scarf friend.

We dance and we sing
And we glide without end.
I will end this Journey.
Screw you old scarf friend.

Happy Thoughts: This game is beautiful.

Sad Thoughts:  My stupid scarf friend left me and another even stupider scarf friend took his/her place.

The Bottom Line: This i an interesting game. It seems to be mostly about visuals and, well, the journey to get...somewhere. I was having fun.

Payday 2

Genre: Action, RPG

Developer: OVERKILL - a Starbreeze Studio

Publisher: 505 Games

System: Windows, PS3, XBox 360

I suppose I should start at the beginning. I am told to lie low, hang out in my safe house, explore a bit. I find the shooting range real easy and take down a few targets. But before long boredom sets in so I check my laptop, which has a strange orange outline for some reason. On my laptop, I can view a 3D image of myself looking all cool and stuff. I pose for the camera. Then I login to crime.net, a somewhat efficient way to look for gigs in the crime world. The internet is the perfect place to secretly organize a bank robbery or FBI infiltration. Boy, I tell you, the guy that keeps speaking to me over the walkie talkie has really got everything figured out.

On crime.net I find my good pal, Sean. He's been pulling heists a little longer than I so we pair up and pick something easy to work with. A bank heist should suffice. Banks are notoriously easy. You mostly just walk in, shoot the guards, drill the vault, and walk out super awesome slow-motion to the getaway van while things blow up behind you. I prepare my guns, which consist of whatever's lying around the safe house, an M16, a Beretta with a silencer. Y'know, the kind of guns you find in anyone's house in America. We make our way to the bank. We put on our masks...

Happy Thoughts: It's fun to run around and rob banks and stuff. I mean, there is a lot of potential for stuff to go wrong.

Sad Thoughts: Things go wrong all too easily and all too often.

The Bottom Line: With a solid crew that is not made up of internet jackasses this game is fun. There are a few bugs that need to be ironed out. And if your group decides to kick you just before your reward gets calculated, even if they only made it to the end of the heist because of you, you won't get rewarded so that's kind of bullshit.

All images provided by the internet. So thank you to whomever it was that took these screenshots.