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Monday, July 14, 2014

Honorable Mentions

Yeah, yeah. I suck at writing this blog. Truth be told, I don't know how often I will be posting in the future, but I will try to get back on the ball. I'm sorry. It's not that I haven't been playing video games. I have been playing many video games. But I've also been up to other things and my focus gets pulled elsewhere like a cat when it spots the elusive red dot of a laser pointer.

So just to get us back up to speed I have decided to compile a list of honorable mentions. There are a few games that I have put some time into lately and though I have played these well beyond the ten minute limit I will still be harshly judging them by their approximate qualifying times.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
Genre: Action, Adventure, Indie
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Publisher: 505 Games
System: PS3, XBox, Windows

Image from www.brothersthegame.com

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is, as far as I am aware, a completely unique experience in that you control two characters simultaneously with one controller. These characters are, as the title suggests, brothers and though their skills are very limited they work together to solve obstacles and overcome puzzles.

The game begins with an ailing old man, presumably the boys' father, though we can only be so certain as the characters mumble to each other in an unintelligible language consisting of a series of grunts and exaggerated arm gestures. The boys bring Weird Uncle Bob, as we will now call him, to the local medicine man (again assuming) who then sends them on a quest to retrieve the only medicine in the land that can cure him.

The boys set off on an adventure through the town where they are harassed by Chet, the local prankster, before retiring to enjoy a nice sit on a bench for a view of the surrounding area with Hobo Bill.

The controls for this game are unique. Each character is limited to basic movement and each character can grab onto things to move them or hang from them, but that's basically it. I played Brothers on the PS3 so each joystick controlled one of the brother's movement and the triggers controlled their grip.

Oh, I should also mention that the brothers differ in age by maybe a few years so that adds an interesting juxtaposition or dynamic or something.

Overall, I think Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was a good experience and it is worthy of your money. Or you can do what I did and download it for free when it comes around on Playstation Plus.

War Thunder
Genre: Free to Play, Massively Multiplayer, SImulation
Developer: Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher: Gaijin Entertainment
System:PS4, Mac, Windows

Image from www.warthunder.com
War Thunder is free.

...OK, I'll say a little more.

If you are like me and have an unhealthy obsession with World War II, which I am certain you do, then War Thunder is going to be worth your time. Why do I say this? Well, mostly because it's free to play so the only thing you have to spend on it is your time, which, let's face it, you were going to spend reading Wikipedia articles about World War II anyway.

War Thunder puts you in the cockpit (or about thirty feet behind the tail, depending on your style of play) of a very wide variety of World War II planes and then tells you to go nuts! That is quite literally all you need to know about the game.

Oh, you can also drive tanks, but who cares.

You begin by choosing a faction ('Merica!) (or, like me, you choose Britain first, because the RAF won the Battle of Britain with a rousing speech from Winston Churchill and a healthy dose of liquid courage; and who doesn't want to fly a Spitfire?!). Then you choose which plane you want to fly. At first you're only allowed dinky planes. Some of them are basically crop dusters with a pellet gun duct-taped to the engine hood. They aren't fast, they can't fly very high, and they barely scratch the paint of your adversaries, but they do the job...sorta. With a little elbow grease you can earn your way up to some pretty powerful, high-flying pieces of metal like the P-51 Mustang or B-17s, if you're into the whole bomber thing. I actually haven't made it that far so I have no idea how long it will take you to get there, though you can grease the cogs of this great machine with a little spray of WD-Money.

Yes, you can pay to advance your vehicle research. I know this is concerning, but let me also mention that the game separates players by tiers. What this means is that the types of planes you choose to bring into battle determine the level of players you will be facing. So you will not find yourself looking down the multiple barrels of a MiG 9 while piloting a Bf 109. That would certainly be an awkward situation! You know what I mean.

There is a steep learning curve to this game as the functions of the planes are fairly realistic. Altitude is the key to success! That and upgrading the hell out of your planes and crews so that they don't get one-shot right in the cockpit. For the most part you can learn what you need from the tutorials. Or you can be a natural like me and take to flying like a stone to earth.

It should also be mentioned that this game is cross platform between PC and PS4. I'm not certain if there is any advantage to playing on one over the other as you can still only maneuver as fast as your plane is able, but I play on the PS4 and I tend to get shot down a lot. Am I a bad player? I doubt it.

I'll leave the subject of War Thunder with a little phrase that I just came up with that does not allude to anything I have ever heard before. Here it goes: Never, in my time playing video games, have I received so much in such quality for so little.

Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Ubisoft
Publisher: Ubisoft
System: Playstation, XBox, Windows

Image from www.watchdogs.ubi.com

Watchdogs is alright.