don’t tell me the ending to: Left 4 Dead 2

I’ll start off with that, so far, I really enjoy Left 4 Dead 2.  L4D2 had a lot of negative feedback from fans of L4D1 since it was released only a year after the initial title.  L4D1’s content was sparse and most of us fans purchased L4D1 on the assumption there would be more content added for us for free or a reasonable price.  Instead, very little was released and L4D1 feels content poor; the solution is to buy the fully priced sequel that appears to be little more than an upgrade or expansion pack.

From what I’ve played, L4D2 both defies and meets these expectations.

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don’t tell me the ending to: Crayon Physics Deluxe


Crayon Physics Deluxe is a game that has more in common with some of the most violent videogames than it does with drawing on construction paper.  Crayon Physics Deluxe is all about the sandbox environment, like Grand Theft Auto.  The game is based around one simple premise: get the apple to roll into the star.  There is always an easy way to accomplish this goal, but successfully completing the goal isn’t where the fun is.  The fun comes from using the nearly limitless tools to solve your problem; a way that is interesting in and of itself.

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don’t tell me the ending to: Battlestar Galactica


Battlestar Galactica is one of the best shows currently on television.  Much like other recent, popular TV series, BG is a continual story connected with consecutive episodes.  It is not a plot you can jump into midway; you have to start with the pilot and watch the show sequentially.

Galactica has introduced a number of plot and characters over its three and a half seasons.  Soon, season 4 will resume on January 16th from its mid-season hiatus.  These final episodes will conclude the story started back in 2003 with the relaunch of the show.

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Don’t tell me the ending to: Neverwinter Nights 2


Neverwinter Nights 2 is the game that got me to buy my new computer.  NWNW2 is not a particularly pretty, but the engine is very demanding.  Even on the new rig, it still could not run with full settings.

I’ve been playing semi-regularly since building my computer back in February.

As an RPG, it has a decent and intriguing plot.  The party is a bit stereotypical, but each has a unique twist to them.  A classic drunkard dwarf who aspires to learn the ways of the Monk, but cannot understand it beyond the purely physical ability to fight.  A thief who is also a demon and cannot avoid attention.  The plot is slow to reveal, and I could not spoil much even if I wanted to.   There is probably a twist coming; I hope it is interesting.

Despite bringing my system to its knees, the game is not graphically impressive.  The viewing distance and vegetation are alright, but the character models simply look like something from “last generation”, even when they were new.  Since the game has a powerful editor, much of the terrain is piecemeal.  Still, it has that authentic DnD charm.

The DnD charm is Neverwinter Nights 2’s greatest strength.  It is a legitimate DnD adventure.  Even when nothing is happening, you are still surrounded by inns, shopkeeps, dungeons, treasure, and monsters; all familiar DnD creations.

You can also play the campaign co-op over the internet/network.  This is currently how I am playing and definitely enjoy it.  Or load custom created content made by fans.  Entire campaigns of new DnD stories, or abstract new adventures using custom skins representing the crew of the Serenity.  NWN2 is as much about the multiplayer as the single player engine.

Overall, I am enjoying it quite a bit so far, but it is not for everyone.  It is a traditional western computer RPG, with large amounts of customization, multiplayer, and a long built in campaign.  Not the prettiest, or have any particular “wow” factor (yet), but it is a strong base package.

don’t tell me the ending to: Gears of War 2


Gears of War 2: bigger and more badass.  Bigger baddies, bigger weapons, bigger locations, bigger events, bigger story, and more badass.

I’m currently playing through a campaign co-op romp, and about halfway through.  Gears 2 is a great co-op experience game.  You can play the Campaign through with a friend (highly recommended over an AI buddy + revives), and through Horde mode with a party total of 5.  The campaign co-op is very much the same as Gears 1.  In fact, if you take the core mechanics of the game, the controls and combat, Gears 2 plays very similarly to Gears 1.  The differences that makes Gears 2 stand out in the campaign are easily the set piece levels.

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don’t tell me the ending to: Dokapon Kingdom

Dokapon Kingdom is an almost entirely unknown game.  Recently released for the Wii and PS2 (both versions identical except for 16:9 and progressive support on the Wii), Dokapon Kingdom is a multiplayer board game.  It can be cut into ‘party game’ sized chunks, but is definetely more board game than ‘party’ (Read: Minigame) game.

Take Final Fantasy 1, add humor, and make it a competative board game.  Players take turns travelling the board.  Land on a Shop or Chest space and you collect or buy items.  Land on an empty space and a Random (often Fight) occurs.  Two players land on the same empty space and they can duel each other.   You level up as you defeat enemies, and lose equipment each time you die (and early, you die often).  The game has a variety of modes, from mini-missions that take 1-3 hours, to an entire campaign that can last 15 hours (each is savable and resumable at any point).

Hopefully that basic description gives you an idea of how the game plays.  Now, on to a few specifics.

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don’t tell me the ending to: Naruto – Rise of a Ninja

I’m going to be naturally a little bitter about this game.  It crashes on me nearly every time I hit a log.  I’m not sure why, but it is all the more frustrating to have to do every trap filled platforming sequence perfectly, or be forced to reboot the system.

But, I’ll try to explain the game based on merit as if it worked perfectly.

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Don’t tell me the ending to: Rainbow Six Vegas

Rainbow Six: Vegas is a solid example of a good, squad based FPS.  It combines excellent teammate AI with deadly enemies, turning you from gung-ho hero into a team member.  You are a part of this team and in many cases *you* are the weak link.  This is a very different feel from your average FPS, where you can run out and do anything.

It is also very different from simply playing on a high difficulty.  Being killed easily here is not the same as a cheapshot from a random soldier who only shoots at you on COD4’s Veteran difficulty.  It is because your tactics fell apart and you were flanked (similar to the excellent Brothers in Arms series).

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don't tell me the ending to: Castle Crashers

Have you ever played a game in an arcade?  If so you’ve probably played the beat’em-up genre of Castle Crashers.  You move into the foreground, background, and side to side, and you beat up masses of enemies that walk in from the edges of the screen.  Each usually takes a combo or two to put down.  Blocking is optional, the best defense is to walk straight up or down out of the plane of the attack.

You will also have this nostalgia if you had any of the home console versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games (Turtles in Time! Cowabunga!).

Castle Crashers is the most polished example of the genre.  Polished in terms of production values and gameplay.  However, is the best of the genre worth getting if the genre died out years ago?  Read on: my impressions as a compliment sandwich

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don't tell me the ending to: Braid

don’t tell me the ending to: Braid

Braid is simply a marvelous game.  One could think ‘Mario Bros with Time Control’ would help give an idea, a glimpse of concept, as to how it plays.

But it doesn’t.

Time control was revolutionary with Prince of Persia.  It allowed the game to be brutally difficult, slaughtering your character left and right, but a press of a button and it was as if it had never happened.  You had the mix of classic challenging gameplay with the new school though of “I don’t want to play level 1-1, again.”

This isn’t what Braid is.

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