Bellator: MMA Onslaught in Review

Bellator: MMA Onslaught is in the unenviable position of having to provide a somewhat deep MMA experience at a downloadable price. Unfortunately this combination results in a game with an interesting combat model but not enough events in which to see it. While the tie in with the MMA league upon which it is based may lend some legs to the game, the game itself is too limited to provide more than a couple of hours worth of play.

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Wednesday Morning Multimedia Blowout

A smart man would make all of these disparate screen shots and trailers and what not into three different posts, thereby bringing people back to the site throughout the day, tantalizing them with new content. I am not a smart man. I am, however, a lazy man, hence you getting what you get. Don’t worry though, I have zombies, Russian soldiers and giant, sentient robots in my bag of tricks.

First up, the robots. That trailer up there is for Fall of Cybertron’s multiplayer mode. There is a seriously rad amount of customization shown up there. I would go so far as to call it redonkulous. When War for Cyberton was out, I made a teal and orange scientist. I called him EVAC. He was awesome. I can guarantee that I will spend a lot of time making robots that I never use. It’s not that I won’t like the MP, it’s that once you set down the road of leveling a character up, switching to one of several dozen other characters isn’t as compelling.

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Neuroshima Hex Updated! Smart and Vegas Armies Available

Summoner Wars on the iPad is great and all but…this update will cause me to shelve the solo game for the time being. I have new Hex toys to play with!

Big Daddy’s Creations was kind enough to send along a note detailing the patch 2.2 update as well as a note about a sale where you can get Hex for $2.99.

The new 2.2 patch includes the two new armies as well as bug fixes and improved AI, which is interesting because the AI in Hex is pretty damn good to begin with so I am anxious to see how it’s different.

You can read more about the new armies here.

Ever had problems winning against Borgo? Try playing against them with Vegas. Those guys don’t have to be afraid of Borgo’s Net Fighters, because Vegas’ Agitators can make them fight for Vegas!

If you haven’t bought Neuroshima Hex yet then you are not an official No High Scores fan club member. That is a per-requisite for entry, and with the sale you have no excuse — you need to get it.

The sale consists of all of Big Daddy’s games:

Neuroshima Hex $2.99 (normally $4.99)
New York army $0.99 (normally $1.99)
Neojungle army $0.99 (normally $1.99)
new Smart army $0.99 (normally $1.99)
new Vegas army $0.99 (normally $1.99)
Neuroshima Hex for Android $0.99 (normally $2.99)
Neuroshima Hex: Puzzle $0.99 (normally $2.99)
Army of Frogs HD – FREE (normally $2.99)
Caylus $2.99 (normally $4.99)

Terminal State ===>The Doldrums

In case you haven’t noticed, there really hasn’t been Jacqueline frackin’ poo-poo coming out in terms of console games lately. It’s almost like we’ve reached that stage where all that releases for the major platforms are movie tie-ins and half-hearted sequels that are too early for the next-gen boat. But we’re still a year or more out from the Xbox 720 Netflix Player, which will have a credit card reader attached for you to pay for every bullet you fire in Call of Duty, and the PS4, which will debut at a thousand dollars retail with a new Crash Bandicoot game designed to really show off that hardware. To quote Belgian EBM masters Front 242, we’re in the doldrums.

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So, Now What?

This has been a rather surreal week.

Over a week ago, last Monday to be exact, I started my new job as Director of Conquistador Games, a company that develops and publishes boardgames. If you have been reading No High Scores for any length of time, you know we’re all boardgamers to some degree — from the fanatical to the Brandon. So the idea of running the day to day of a company that deals in boardgames…well that’s something I couldn’t pass up.

However over the past week or so, I have played precisely zero videogames. Well, that’s not entirely true: I am still playing my online Summoner Wars matches, but that’s it. I remain hooked on that game despite my ineptness. It’s very odd — these types of tactical games are normally right in the sweet spot of the bat for me, but I continue to lose a LOT. I think I’m 8-15? I’m a friend list target.

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Jumping the Shark Podcast #135

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s another two-man show for Jumping the Shark as Bill hides out in his undisclosed location for another week. The Straw will be back eventually, we swear! Brandon’s back, though, so you are spared the tragedy that is me hosting a podcast. What you won’t avoid is me talking Abnercon festivities and why Irish Breakfast tea is a real game changer; also Innovation, Chaos in the Old World, 7 Wonders (and why Mrs. The Straw cheats), and the nifty economic game that masquerades as a wargame, Imperial. You’ll also hear about Brandon’s crazy vacation shenanigans (yay, hyperbole!), more steamy Summoner Wars action, and how Stephen King changed the course of two young and impressionable lives. True story.

Direct Download
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Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype
(The embedded feed is after the break.)
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Calendar Man – Week of 7/23

Nothing of consequence comes out this week, so I’m skipping right to the deals. If something comes out that strikes your fancy, be it Prototype 2 for the PC or Inversion for the PC or miCoach by Adidas (360, PS3) then I apologize for labeling them as inconsequential.

On the deal side, Target has buy one get one at 50% off on a bunch of games and Best Buy is hosting their own summer blow-out sale on a ton of games. There may not be anything new out, but at least you can find something on sale that you haven’t played yet. Provided you haven’t gone broke buying games on Steam, that is.

Pick Up Bonsai Defense for Free

Who says that tower defense games have to be about fending off zombies or protecting military installations? Okay, no one likely ever said that, but the genre is saturated with clones of games obviously inspired by Plants vs. Zombies and Defense Grid: The Awakening. While Mate Cziner’s game still upholds the basic concepts of building and protecting, I believe we can assume that the setting of a bonsai tree is wholly original.

A thesis project at Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design (aka MOME), Bonsai Defense charges you with shaping the growth of your tree, and encouraging the growth of fruits to battle and inhibit infectious pests. In a welcome twist, the goal is not to survive, nor to destroy the pests. Rather, you need to accumulate nectar, which both dissolves over time and attracts even more pests.

You can see more screenshots below, or download Bonsai Defense and start playing.

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It Takes a Simple Man to show the Complexity of Role-Playing

Cabbages are a central feature of both Skyrim and Olaf's tale within it

By happy coincidence, I happen live and work in Bath, which is not only a lovely city but a mere stone’s throw from where most of the UK’s best video gaming magazines get written and published. So, obviously, I keep a pretty close eye on the material they put out. And thus I came to discover in CVG the saga of Olaf, a simple denizen of Skyrim, and his quest to accumulate enough gold to buy a manor house without adventuring, just exploring and doing day-to-day jobs like hunting, mining, chopping wood and picking cabbages.

Olaf’s tale is incredibly compelling. Of course the narrative arc and writing style are good but what makes it particularly absorbing is its innate contrariness. Skyrim is a game environment crafted to allow mighty-thewed warriors and wise mages to become famous through deeds of high and daring adventure, not a cabbage-farming simulator for peasants. That the intent of the game designers can be subverted in such spectacular fashion is perhaps the acid test of genuine “role-playing” in a computer RPG, a genre that’s more commonly synonymous with stat-crunching power builds than actually stepping into the shoes of a fantasy character. Previous experience with Bethesda’s open world RPGs has demonstrated that simply giving players freedom is insufficient: most will still power-game, and most non-adventure related activity quickly becomes boring.

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Cracked LCD- The Day Board Games Criticism Died

 

There are several damning points of failure that undermine serious writing and analysis of tabletop games, deep-striking notions such as subjective experience and the sublimation of the media to social interaction threaten to render games criticism invalid or even irrelevant. Although these factors are often not addressed by most self-styled amateur games reviewers, who are content to provide readers with a summary of rules and product qualities bookended by a thin statement establishing credibility and a noncommittal opinion, they weigh heavily on the writer seeking to evaluate games as a viable medium of expression. But how do you critically and comparatively assess a design such as Chaostle, which is a regressive Neanderthal of a rules set, when you have fun playing it and it meets its design goals? How do we value impeccably designed games such as Caylus or Princes of Florence that aren’t fun to play on paper, but your group makes them come alive with trash talk and metagame narrative? How do we account for a game like Castle Ravenloft, where one group completely loves it while another hates it and yet another is split down the middle, causing at least three distinctly different instances of the game to occur? Continue Reading…