El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron

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El Shaddai is video game based off the Book of Enoch.  It came out in the summer of 2011 for most major platforms.  I decided to give it a try when the price dropped to two bucks on the Xbox Live store, but was it worth the reduced price?  I think so, but two dollars is probably as high as I would go.

The game pretty much works like this.  You run in a straight line, and then when you get to an open area people pop up and you hit them a bunch of times and then you run some more.  What makes this game interesting is the story since it is based of the Book of Enoch, which is not Biblical canon for most Christian groups, but is viewed like ancient historical fiction.  The game also has great visual style, and every new chapter shows you something cool, but sadly the game still is just you running and then hitting stuff, so it gets old.

If the game is ever on sale again it might be something you want to take a look at.  It might help you kill some time, or you could just read the Book of Enoch, and call it a day, your choice, but I do applaud the people that made this game for trying something different.  It was just a shame they couldn’t vary the gameplay a bit.

Is Warhammer 40,000 fun?

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My friend Todd Fadden got me in to a little game called Warhammer 40,000 (or 40k), and by little I mean huge.  It is a miniatures game, meaning you buy little bits of plastic or metal, and then glue them together, and then paint them, and then you have to develop a strategy, and then after all that, you get to play a game for about an hour and a half.  It is also a ton of fun.

There are a ton of different factions to choose from.  You can be space bugs, space orcs, space marines, space elves, and tons more, those aren’t the official names of the groups but they are easier to understand.  I have been building a group based of the space marines called the Space Wolves, and if I was good at the painting, they would look like this:

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Maybe if you are nice I will take a picture of my guys for you someday.

As with all geeky games, Warhammer 40k has very complex rules and every faction has its own subset of the rules, but what it comes down to is that you compare spread sheets and roll a bunch of dice, and argue about whether the units have line of sight or not.  It is very fun.

Now for the not so good part.  The maker of this game, Games Workshop, has started jacking the prices of the miniatures, and they weren’t cheep to begin with, so the only affordable venue is to buy them off EBay, but that can get frustrating if people aren’t selling what you want, or someone else snakes your units (in my case probably guys ridding giant wolves) out from under you, and then once you get them you have to paint them, so it requires a ton of time.

But all that being true, the game is fun, and it possibly one of the geekiest games in this word.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have to check on some EBay bids.

My Favorite Five Video Games!

Coming up with my list for my favorite five movies was so much fun that I decided to give my favorite five video games a shot.  This list is harder for me and it has already changed a few times since I came up with my first list, but here they are:

5: Batman Arkham City

batman-arkham-cityIt is not often that a game that comes out so close to the original game and is as good or better, but Batman Arkham City is.  It has better bad guys, better moves, and playing as Batman swooping over Arkham City is almost magical, and the ending will go down as one the best of all time.

 

4: Diablo II

diablo_2“Stay awhile and listen.” If that sentence means something to you then this game is on your list too.  The first Diablo was great, but they figured it all out in number two.  More varied environments, crazy cool loot, a fun story line, and enough clicking to give me carpal tunnel for a lifetime.

 

 

3: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

Morrowind-coverThis maybe the third game in a series, but it was totally original as far as I am concerned.  This was the first game where I truly felt like I could do anything I wanted, or look any way I wanted.  The amount of customization in this game is legendary, you could wear two different pauldrons for crying out loud.

 

 

 

2: Fallout 2

Fallout2This game showed me that video games could be more then just mindless action.  You had to tactically think about every battle, and the dark post apocalyptic humor was amazing.  I lost a ton of time to this game, and I regret nothing.

 

 

 

1: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic

star-wars-knightsThis is the only non-sequel on my list because they knocked it out of the park on their first try.  It was the first game to truly make me feel like a Sith or a Jedi, and the decisions that you could make, either made you feel like a hero or the galaxy’s biggest scumbag.  This game made HK-47 one of my favorite Star Wars characters of all time, and I still laugh when I think about him.  I might go home and play this game again.

 

So there is my list, feel free to leave your favorites in the comment section, because I am sure my list is leaving your favorite game out.

Is the Third Time the Charm for Max Payne?

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Max Payne 3 is obviously the third game in the Max Payne series, but it comes nine years after Max Payne 2.  Does the old boy still have some punch, or have new game play improvements passed him by?  Lets just say that it is good to have him back, and I hope we don’t have to wait another nine years for Max Payne 4.

If you have never played a Max Payne game before, then what you need to know is that Max Payne brought bullet time to video games.  It is a technique that slows down time and lets you aim in real time, making you feel like you are playing an action movie.  Also there is no regenerating health in this game, you have to find pill bottles to ease your pain if you are injured.  They did add cover to this game to try and keep the action fresh, and because every third person action game needs it now, but with destructible environments you shouldn’t stay in one place too long.  Max can’t take a ton of damage so walking out in to the middle of a firefight will get you killed pretty quick, and you will die a lot if you are like me, but it is still a ton of fun.

The last nine years have not been good to Max, loosing loved ones, drinking, and pill popping have left him a mess. The story recounts how Max ended up in Brazil as a personal body guard to some rich folks, and what he does when they come under attack: he pretty much kills everything that gets in his way, and talks about it.  Like all Max Payne games it has that noir moody retelling, and James McCaffrey’s voice is once again spot on.

I got this game during the Xbox Live supper sale, but it is worthy of your purchase at any price, and there is multiplayer that I have not tried, but I hear is okay, and it adds to the value of the game, but it doesn’t need it.  The single player is what you buy this game for, and I can’t wait to see what trouble the old man gets in to next.

Second Run in Shadowrun!

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The boys and I got together for another shot at the Table Top RPG Shadowrun.  The good news is that we are getting better at it; the bad news is there is still a lot to learn.  As we play we are still digging through the rule books quit a bit, but I think we are finally getting the hang of things.  As the GM (Game Master) it is my job to know the rules backward and forward but I seem to lack the ability to keep everything straight.

Shadowrun has so many ways to solve issues due to the verity of skills the players can have, half of the GMs job is just to roll with the punches, and work with the ideas that your players are throwing at you, and not punishing them for their creativity.  Thankfully Daniel, Andy, and Shawn always kept me on my toes and are forgiving of my errors.

I do want to give a shoot out to the store DriveThruPRG.  They have some great tools and campaigns that make running any table top game, let alone Shadowrun, much easier.  I got my campaign On the Run there and it really helped having pre-made NPCs (non player characters) and bad guys ready to go.

If you have never played a table top RPG you should give it a shot.  They are a lot of fun, and it is a great way to hang out with your friends, provided they have an active imagination.