Mar 192015

DOTA 2       Cities: Skylines is the newest city simulator that seems to have been making a splash recently. It has been called, “The game that is better than SimCity,” or, “The Game That is SimCity If SimCity Was Good,” or, “The Game SimCity Would be If EA Didn’t Screw Up.” Whatever people were saying about it, I wanted to try it. Thanks to a gracious benefactor I was able to experience this game first hand.

Now I’m not 100% went wrong with SimCity, I only paid a bit of attention to it. I guess biggest gripes were online only, small cities, the fact it’s on Origin. Well Colossal Order, the developer of Cities: Skylines, came along and decided they wanted to make their own city simulator. They have a couple of games under their belt, Cities: In Motion 1 and 2, but this game is the first one they’ve made that you can actually build the city. An ambitious project for a reportedly small developer.

So how is the game? Well, I’ve only put several hours into it but so far I would say it is good fun. At first glace it is a beautiful game (see the screen on the left). It plays a lot like SimCity. You’ll build roads, put down zones for residential, commercial and industries. You’ll adjust taxes and all that jazz as well. But what does it better than SimCity? I can’t say for sure with my limited time with the game. From what I understand you can get pretty detailed with the road layouts. The game puts a large emphasis on traffic flow and being able to direct the flow of traffic efficiently around the city. You can also paint different districts in your city and apply different polices to each of them. It’s also got a lot of mods in the steam workshop.

In my playtime, about seven hours according to steam, I spent three years trying to dig myself out of a $7,000 hole. When I first created my city I neglected to check the wind graph. I built some wind turbines in a non windy area so I ended up with a lot of blackouts. I was also spending a lot of money on water which ended up making me go into debt. Through some strategic budgeting I was able to get out of the hole and I’ve got a pretty sizable city now. Who knows where I’ll go from here but this is definitely a quality game that I’ll keep playing.

Sep 232014

DOTA 2 DOTA 2 was a game I’ve always wanted to get into but knew nothing about, except that you’d get called out for being a n00b and there being a steep learning curve. I had it downloaded since the beta but still had never jumped in. This all changed a couple of months ago. I would say back in late May what really caught my eye was this whole compendium on steam. If you bought one you’d get all sorts of goodies, could watch the game, and contribute to the prize pool that ended up being almost eleven million dollars. So I bought one and it basically forced my hand, I had to figure out what I was doing.

So I began practicing. I watched several videos on how to play, I played vs bots and watched some games. Even still it was hard for me to decide to jump in. I decided to try other MOBAS as practice for DOTA 2. I tried Dawngate but it was so completely different that it didn’t really count as practice at all. So I sucked it up and decided to jump into a public match. Honestly I can’t remember how I did. But the game is addictive. The ultimate “just one more game” experiences. I found that the players weren’t all that unfriendly actually. A lot of them were forgiving and some even were helpful in telling you how to play a hero and this and that. I do know why some people end up getting called out but after some time with the game even such acts (feeding) would even frustrate me!

But other than playing I got into watch as well. I mean I did buy access to The International so I might as well watch right? You can watch inside the game client to get the best picture possible. There were some great matches even if I didn’t know what was going on at the time. Watching DOTA 2 is serious business. Just like any pro sport they have commentators casting the game. You’re watching the greatest players in the world play this game and it shows but they are great sports and have a lot of fun too. I enjoyed The International so much I even decided to buy a ticket for another pro tournament, The Canada Cup. This tournament is not as big as the International but it still has pro players and some even using some unorthodox heroes as well.

Overall I would say I’ve had a positive experience overall. I don’t think I’ll be going pro anytime soon but the game has racked up 400 hours of time out of me, which is probably the most of any game I’ve played ever. If you’re on the fence give it a try, you’ll probably end up enjoying it. Who knows, maybe you’ll become the next International champion!

Below is some poor quality video of a match I played a while ago. I’m a lot better now. :-p


Apr 032014

ACNL Bridge      So you may or may not have read my feature on the addictive nature of Marvel Puzzle Quest. While I have possibly conquered those demons I’ve run into a whole new set of problems. This time my addiction comes in the form of Animal Crossing: New Leaf on the  Nintendo 3DS. A little under a month ago I got a 3DS for my birthday. My original desire for the system stemmed from a game I saw on a Nintendo Direct, Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball (I’ll provide a video to that at the end). After seeing the details of this game I couldn’t hold my desire in check any longer, I needed this system. However, the game wouldn’t come out until a month later. How would I spend my time until then?

Well luckily for me Nintendo had a deal for new 3DS owners. With the purchase of a new 3DS and a qualifying game I could get Pokemon X for free. One of these games was Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I had played this game previously on the Gamecube but never since. This time it would be all mine. I downloaded it off the eShop and I got my Pokemon X but soon I found myself playing Animal Crossing more than Pokemon. In fact since March 5th I’ve spent 42 hours in Budapest (the name of my town) with an average playtime of 55 minutes each. How do I know this? Well the 3DS has a built in activity log to tell you how much of your life you’ve wasted. However, I’ve enjoyed every second I’ve wasted. The 3DS is an amazing system with a built in pedometer (to count your steps and play Mii Plaza games) among other things. But in terms of what I’ve done in Animal Crossing I’ve participated in may delightful activities. I’ve already had my birthday festivities and a special April fool’s day event. St. Patrick’s day was cool too. There’s just so much to do crammed inside this little game, it’s grabbed me and hasn’t let go. I’ve caught many fish, you collect them to put in your museum plus there was a fishing competition. Every day I go hunting for fossils, collect bugs and sell stuff for bells all while keeping myself and my home looking spiffy.

ACNL AquariumACNL Room

But after spending all this time with this game am I really going to be able to put it down for Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball? Probably not. But I’m happy I was able to find good value in other games besides what I was looking forward to. I don’t really know how to conclude this, I guess I’m just writing stuff at this point. I did want to mention that this game does have a woman’s touch, Kyle Bosman noted this on his show today, so that is probably half of my inspiration for writing this today of all days. And of course the trailer for Rusty’s Real Deal Baseball as promised. It should be coming out any time now…