To the rhythm of the war drums

There are often times that I want to play something straight forward and without overly complicated mechanics, it’s at this point I usually fire up AudioSurf. Despite being over 4 years old the game still feels unique and high quality, plus it’s an awesome way to expand the enjoyment of your music in a unique way.

There are 3 levels of play and within each of those levels are 14 of game types, each is unique and has it’s own benefits and pitfalls. Despite playing the same style of track then difference between the game types is one of the reasons the game remains exciting and enjoyable.

As well as playing DRM-free music on your machine you can play songs from AudioSurf radio or you can opt to play a track from the Orange Box soundtrack which covers the music from the Value games Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Portal and Team Fortress 2.

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A sequel called AudioSurf Air was announce earlier this year, the visuals look good but may indicate the game is moving to an even more Wipeout style track. I hope that the core game elements remain the same otherwise I’ll just have to keep booting up the older version forever more.

If you haven’t played it you can find in on Steam for £5.99 at the moment, but it does normally make an appearing in the Steam sales.

Planning ahead

I was responding to a post over at MMO One Night a week recently when I realised that in a handful of years Little Troll is going to be interested in gaming and I will have to ensure that my day time games are more child friendly. I’m not completely sure I could give you a list at this time, time to get out the parental responsibility hat, of which I’m nervous as hell

However I was discussing with my wife the recent announcement by King’s Isle about their new MMO in development. Pirate 101 looks to be using the same model but with a pirate theme, what with it being all the rage at the moment. Of course it comes with the high number of safety features that if you have played Wizard 101 you will be familiar with.

I do hope that games like Wizard & Pirate 101 are still going strong and hopefully joined by a wider collection of titles as our child gets to the age where online gaming is something he wants to participate in.

pirate-characters

I just hope they get Brian Blessed to voice one of the pirates Smile

Initial Impressions (TSW) Part 2

Atmosphere – There is no denying that the atmosphere is massive part of this game. I originally had some worries that the games was going to be too much like Left4Dead, not that I dislike that game style but I’m not sure my nerves could handle that level of “readiness/edge of seat” in an MMO format and certainly not for dungeon runs.
To me it’s more like a blend of Resident Evil 1/Broken Sword
The music plays a big part and it’s designed to alter depending on the situation and the intensity of the action taking place, the music on the main game menu reminds me of the 28 Days later theme.

GameSpace – It wasn’t long ago that I was having a conversation with Dok about the poor use of game worlds in terms of quests,traveling and how phasing could make better use of the game environments avoiding the “Quest giver hub” and the “quest target areas”. I use rift as an example as the starting areas are huge yet you perform a handful of quests in an area never to return.
The non-standard quest givers and tiered quest system in The Secret World means you are frequently heading to new parts of the map, as well as looking at new areas in a new light.

Investigations – The game has quests that need you to use your head a little, logical clues makes for some good entertainment that not just your normal mmo gaming event, they may need you to break the clue down into more basic elements or Google a name to get help (sporting an in-game browser for that very reason). A good example was this evening when Dok and I tackled one of the main investigations in Kingsmouth, each step was tough but great fun. Lore-whoring FTW!

Quest Cool downs – Missions have 24 hour cool down that means if you group up with someone else who is working on a mission you have already completed, you can either grab it again or ask someone to share. This allows you to help them out but still get yourself a reward for doing so. This makes grouping so much easier for everyone.

Seven/Seven – The skills method have been already detailed before, and in the beta the upper levels were locked so I didn’t really get too much feeling for how these are going to work. That said Guild Wars player will already have the swapping build system in mind and focusing your powers into powerful combination is an art in itself.
I do expect Flavour of the Month builds to be common place, but with wider variations as players customise more to their play-style and grouping needs.

Out of this world

Initial Impressions (TSW)

With no NDA for the TSW Beta weekends I can happily discuss my experience of playing through the first few hours. I aim not to give any spoilers and will hopefully I’ll focus more on the mechanics/systems in the game and if this isn’t what you want to read about then I’d suggest you stop reading here.

Highlight 1

TSW has been promoting their no-level progression system and to be fair I always took this with a pinch of salt as this often translates into “we refuse to call them levels but the mechanics are the same”. However TSW have managed to pull it off in a rather successful way.

To sum up my play-style, I’m a lore whore, hovering up any story lines and quest arcs whenever possible but as I reminded during my recent playing of Swtor, this often results in you over-levelling can the foes you encounter are weaker and present no challenge.

With TSW I played my normal path and picked up quests as frequently as possible (there is a low capacity for quests) and it felt very natural that the location/game content still matched. Enemies were still hitting me just as hard, despite me having some new skills to use against them.

Hightlight 2

Quests give a quick indicator that tell you how many parts it comprises of, this feature is good for juggling long and short term missions, plus in the one area in use this weekend, quests originate from investigations and not just contacts, which at first I thought was gimmicky but it’s not over used (yet) and the quests are very varied.

Highlight 3

The game uses much phasing to delivery a good experience for the player, despite there being a high volume of players in the area I didn’t feel that my quests were impacted by this. Only once did I have to wait for a clicky to respawn and it was only between 5 and 10 seconds.

We’ll that’s my first post complete, nothing magic but certainly a good start to the game.

Secret no more

In preparation for the Secret World launch and Beta events a few weeks back I started planning running a group where players could meet and team up without the being confined to one Society.

The game allows mixed faction grouping so why can you be part of a group who wants players from all societies to interact, discuss tactics, arrange events and generally have a good time. It frustrated me that I can’t plan to play with friends who are in other societies and cabals. I didn’t what to set up a whole guild/clan required players to dedicate time under a banner of my making, more that I wanted to offer players a way to coordinate with virtual friends who maybe haven’t followed the same society.

So I present to you The BlastShield Consortium, a non-traditional group to bring gamers together for PvE adventures.

So if you are without a clan/guild/cabal for the upcoming beta events or are just looking for somewhere different to coordinate your game play why not give us a visit?