Wrath of the Lamb = Productivity Destroyer

Diablo what?!

The Binding of Isaac (aka the best dungeon-crawler of 2011 starring a naked boy) is back with the highly anticipated expansion, Wrath of the Lamb. The expansion includes over 100 new items, five chapters, 15 bosses, and quite a bit more. Most interesting to me are the additions of Trinkets; another item-type that will add even more variety to a game with no shortage of replay value.

The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb is available now on Steam for a paltry $2.99.

Let’s Play “Guess the RPG”

See that mohawked, bespectacled young man up there, jauntily handling a pistol while neon lights blaze behind him? That’s the teaser image that CD Projekt RED sent out ahead of tomorrow’s conference thing-a-mahopper. I have no idea what the game is about, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all play a rousing game of Guess The RPG.

I’ll start.

CyberWitcher: Hacker of Commando CowboyKings

Pistols At Dawn: A Mohawk’s Tale

Super Neon Hairstyle Squad

Go! Go! Go! Electric Blue Nearsighted Warriors!

See, it’s not hard! Leave your own ideas in the comments.

Missing E3 2012

E3 logos 2012This is my first year not going to E3 since 2009. I have some seriously mixed feelings about this – and the fact that I’m currently in the middle of a cross-country move and starting up a brand new job probably has something to do with that. It’s weird to think that I won’t see my NHS/GameShark buddies in person this year, and that I won’t be frequenting the gold’s gym on South Figueroa street for my daily exercise and sustenance. Oh yes, and seeing all the games. That will be strange as well.

Because I’m the kind of person who likes to do the negative stuff first, here’s my annotated list of what I will not — and will — miss about skipping E3 this time around. Continue Reading…

Crusader Kings 2 Gets Game of Thrones Mod

Back when I first got a look at Crusader Kings 2, my first thought was, “When will see a Game of Thrones mod?” All that plotting and conniving and court intrigue always seemed like it would make the two a natural fit. It turns out, it didn’t take very long at all as some enterprising modders obviously had the same thought and set to work. I, obviously, haven’t tried this yet; not sure if I’ll get around to it or not, but if any of you get a chance to play around with it, stop by the comments and let us know if it all comes together. (This is, technically, in beta.)

Who can I play?
You can play as any landed feudal noble in Westeros, as well as the Night’s Watch.

You can play as a holy order?
Yes. Although they’re not that interesting at the moment. No wildlings yet.

What are some of the new features?
Knights, Maesters, our new “Megawar” system for handling civil wars, the Night’s Watch, and a new system for plotting your assassinations are just a few among many.

What scenarios are available?
At the moment, our only available scenario is Robert’s Rebellion, when Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark, Jon Arryn, Hoster Tully, and Tywin Lannister overthrew the Mad King and brought the Targaryen dynasty to an end. We are looking into other scenarios for future releases.

Hat tip to Rock, Paper, Shotgun for this one.

Magicka: The Other Side of the Coin Trailer

I never got around to giving Magicka a go, but I know we’ve got a lot of readers here who have been big fans of the series so far. So, for you good people, here’s the new trailer for The Other Side of the Coin DLC, which lets you play as the bad guys. There’s no crazy fun music, like The Bird trailer for Magicka: Vietnam, but still lots of pretty ‘splosions here.

Jumping the Shark Podcast #125

No High Scores Podcast Logo

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To celebrate reaching the illustrious height of 125 episodes of Jumping the Shark, the regular gang bands together to do… pretty much the same thing we always do. Brandon recounts his epic journey to 100,000 cheevos and how Assassin’s Creed: Revelations helped close the deal. We all lament the tragic end to .38 Studios and wonder just how the big brains of the operation thought a business plan that requires selling 3 million units of a new IP was a grand idea. Bill gives us his take on the Game of Thrones RPG, which he surprisingly finds not entirely without merit. And then it’s a potpourri of topics, ranging from my thoughts on Diablo 3′s difficulty curve, to Brandon’s take on Max Payne 3, to Bill’s excuses for why he failed to beat Brandon at a multiplayer game of Neuroshima Hex on the iPad.  It’s all right here so check it out!

Direct Download
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Past Episodes
Edit Type: Skype
(The embedded feed is after the break.)
Continue Reading…

The Slippery Slope of Diablo’s DRM

Diablo 3's DRM model means it belongs more to Blizzard or your ISP than you - are you happy with this model for all digital media

There’s been no shortage of pixels expended on Diablo III over the past couple of weeks. Reviews have mostly been very positive, some critics have talked about its worryingly addictive qualities in the face of what ought to seem like relatively weak play and a lot of gamers got very angry over their inability to play right after launch due to server overload. Some people have made light of this and, in fairness, entitlement-rage in gamers is never a pretty sight. But to me, this is indeed an occasion for rage. Serious rage. Just not over entitlement.

The fury unleashed by the initial unavailability of the game was a consequence of its DRM model, which requires players to be online all the time even when playing solo. However, that DRM has other consequences that don’t seem to have been widely considered. It means that if your broadband provider has a blip, as is not uncommon, the game boots you out and you may loose progress. If there’s a broadband outage, you can’t play. If, like me, you’re fond of taking a laptop on road trips or flights to help keep yourself entertained, then Diablo 3 as the source of that entertainment is not an option. The product which you’ve paid good money for is not really yours at all – your access to it hangs on the whim of a number of outside agencies who at any time may fail to live up to the service you expect, or pull the plug entirely. There are advantages too, of course, such as the ease with which you can join multi-player games and cloud storage for your characters, but Blizzard could easily have given you these benefits of always-online as an option, providing a get-out clause for people who want to play on the move. They didn’t.

Continue Reading…

Various Moneysaving Musings

You like saving money, doncha? Of course you do. We all do! Thankfully, our commentors are really into saving money to the point where they point out all manner of moneysaving tips in the comments of posts. What kind of moneysaving tips? I’m glad you asked.

How about getting the Binding of Isaac on Steam for two bucks? Expires 6/2.

That one didn’t grab you, eh? How about the Plentiful Paradox Package which includes Crusader Kings 2 and the Magicka collection for 12 bucks? (Download only, no idea when it expires.)

Ok, I see you’re a tough customer. How about a day of Amazon Gold Box Deals including Prototype 2 for $30? (Only today and only as long as there are copies of the various items.)

Look, if none of that does anything for you, I got the Mass Effect 3 Resurgence map pack thingy for the low, low price of absolutely nothing.

Calendar Man – Week of 5/28

This week has the return of Batman, sort of, Max Payne making his return to the PC and Resistance giving the whole alien killing thing one more go on the Vita. Not a lot to get too terribly excited about, but if you skipped Batman: Arkham City the first time around, this is an excellent time to play it and get the Harley Quinn DLC for nothing. At the same time, I bet you can find a copy of the original Arkham City plus the DLC for a total price that’s less than the GOTY edition. You know me, always looking out for your wallet.

Continue Reading…

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier- Who Shoots the Shooter-men?

 

One of the things that really strikes me the most about Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier isn’t that the gameplay is extremely slick and streamlined without ever feeling “dumbed down”, to use the term forumistas and Metacritic user reviewers often deploy to erroneously describe games that are slick and streamlined. It’s that its action is extraordinarily well-framed, well-executed and unusually well-filmed. The pitch is that you’ve got four sets of boots on the ground for some third-person shooter action with a light (and appealing) overlay of gadgetry and tactics. But it’s evident that there’s a fifth man among the Ghosts- a cameraman.

Continue Reading…