Oldies but Goodies – Typing of the Dead

Genre:  Educational, Horror
Platform:  Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2, PC

Typing of the Dead is an interesting game that spans two interesting genres – education and horror.  You are playing as a zombie hunter running through a world filled with the slow buggers.  Although, sometimes they are not so slow and will jump at you and make you jump.

You start by typing one or two letters at a time, but before you know it, you’ll be typing long phrases, including special characters that are sure to slow you up.  It really encourages accurate typing as every mistake you make costs you precious time.  It required a special keyboard for the Dreamcast or PS2, so it was likely most commonly played on PC.  It’s available now on Steam, and I still have fun chopping my way through levels.

If you never played this one, check it out!  It holds up well since its initial release in 1999.

Genre:  RPG/Dungeon Crawler
Platform:  XBone, PS4, PC, Vita

I have spent plenty of time with Darkest Dungeon over all four platforms listed above.  This is a dungeon crawler at its most brutal.  You start with a small party of adventurers and pick your dungeon.  You have a specific goal to complete each time you enter the dungeon.  Complete it and you get valuable cash and usually a trinket for one of your party members.

This may sound like your typical dungeon crawler, but this game is not.  It is also a rogue-like, meaning that if anyone in your party dies, they are gone forever.  This doesn’t sting so much in the beginning, but when you have a level 4+ that dies, it hurts.  In addition to that, your party members get stressed while going through the dungeon.  If you can’t mitigate that stress, they risk a heart attack and could die.  Don’t pick a dungeon that’s too hard for them, or they will be stressed if you have to back out.  You can rest them when you are in town, but it costs money and an entire turn.  Which means that you need to maintain a party big enough for at least two full crews (4 to a crew) at any given time.

This game is so challenging that I’ve started it over on four different platforms and have improved greatly each time.  However, I always seem to get a bit too greedy and end up doing more than I can.  I either lose a member or end up with them seriously afflicted (very expensive to cure).  You can use the rewards that you get from quests to permanently level up either buildings, weaponry or skills.

This game is a constant balancing act, but it is very rewarding if you can get good at it.  I have probably sunk 40+ hours in it thus far, but I’m just barely scratching the surface.  I’ve only killed three bosses.  If you like dungeon crawlers and are looking for a challenge, definitely pick this one up.  Be warned, it may make you go crazy…

Chey’s Top 25 – #4 – Diablo 3

Genre – Dungeon Crawler
Platform – PC

It has taken me a very long time to write this article.  Every time I go into the game to get some screenshots, I end up playing for hours and forgetting about the screenshots.  I already have Diablo II on my top 25, but Diablo 3 takes my number 4 spot.

I have been playing this game since day 1.  It did some things well and some things not so well.  Blizzard has made some major changes over the years, usually for the better.  In the beginning, there was a player market place where you could sell in-game items for real money (or for in-game currency)!  I made a whopping $13 way.  Many argued that this made the game unfair.  I found it a new and thrilling element to the game.  A couple of years in, they removed the auction house.  In doing so, they really upped the quality of crafted items, which made the reliance on super-rare drops less, which ultimately made the game more enjoyable.

Another thing that I was disappointed about was the skill tree, or lack thereof.  Instead of highly customizable skill trees, there are a handful of skills that you can pick from.  You can go into an advanced mode, which allows you to put any skill into any slot, which helps a bit, but I still miss those skill trees.  After you hit level 70, you start to gain Paragon points, which allow for some further customization, but I would still like to see more.

Another thing that was changed was the inventory.  Diablo has always been about the loot, and they greatly improved this in Diablo 3.  Items, no matter their size, only take up one inventory block.  The runes are a thing of the past, but items are still socketed and there are many different sets of armor.  In a more recent update, they rolled out ancient armor, although I still have yet to see one.

Screenshot007

The story is solid.  The graphics are great (check out some of the screenshots below).  If you have the expansion, you can pick from the following classes – monk, witch doctor, wizard, crusader, barbarian and demon hunter.  I’ve played each one up to level 70, but my favorite, by far, is the monk.  I also enjoy playing on hardcore mode, which means that when you die, it’s game over.  As you progress through the story, you can choose followers to join in your quest.  They are actually useful and have different abilities.

I would say ignore the negatives that you may have heard about this game and try it for yourself.  It’s a lot of fun and you’ll likely get sucked in!  I have played over 600 hours on my main monk alone and I keep going back to it.

 

Genre:  Hidden Object
Platform:  PC

It’s election day here in the US, and things are looking grim.  As a bit of social commentary, I’d like to share a fun game which I feel is appropriate for my mood.  In Papers, Please you play as a lowly checkpoint worker for your government, the country of Arstotzka, reminiscent of iron-curtain Europe or the USSR.  Your job is to inspect the paperwork of people that want to enter your country.  Your life depends upon your performance.  The more people you process, the more money you make, which means your family can afford to eat for another day.  You’re screwed if anyone gets sick, and you’ll really start to feel the pressure as you watch your wife or children slowly starving to death.

This game really does bring about some ethical dilemmas for which there are no clear cut answers.  Do you help the secret underground or the lady that is just trying to see her daughter?  Or do you stick tight to your duty and deny all without proper documentation?

I call this game a hidden object game as I’m not sure how else to classify it.  You have an instruction booklet to refer to.  The documentation gets more and more complicated as you play.  You have to have a really sharp eye to be good at this game, thus the hidden object aspect.  Eventually, you’ll get to start body scanning for hidden weapons.  I made it through an entire month of the game at one point and that was really tough.

This game is very unique and a lot of fun.  It can feel a bit heavy if you let yourself get wrapped up in the story, which I did.  Check this one out!

nintendo-switch

I just read an interesting article on the switch.  It’s from Cracked, so be prepared for bad language.  The author brings up some interesting points about the design of the system and the reason that we play games in the first place.  It hasn’t altered my opinion of it much, but it does bring up some good points.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/its-finally-obvious-nintendo-doesnE28099t-understand-humans/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CrackedRSS+%28Cracked%3A+All+Posts%29&utm_content=FeedBurner

One of my favorite video game review sites is a bit…odd.  You’ve got to have a quick wit to get all of his jokes as he goes really fast.  The series is call Zero Punctuation and the site is located here:  http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/zero-punctuation

There are tons of video reviews on this page.  He’s quite snarky and the illustrations are pretty funny as well.  It’s crude and certainly not for the younger people.  However, if you need something to waste your time for an afternoon, this definitely fits the bill.  Enjoy!

 

 

Chey’s Top 25 – #9 – Fallout 3

Genre:  RPG
Platform:  XBox 360, PS3, PC

I had no idea what Fallout 3 was about when I picked it up.  The back cover looked interesting, so I decided to give it a shot.  I played it that night starting around 7PM and was still playing when Matt got up the next morning at 7AM.  I had no idea what time it was and didn’t really care.  This game will suck you in and keep you engaged until someone makes you stop or you pass out, hopefully not at the same time.

The game has a neat tutorial and character creation process.  You start as a child who was just born.  You are allowed to pick what you are going to look like when you grow up, but the character creation process doesn’t matter much as you will rarely ever see your character throughout the game.  As you grow through your childhood, you select more attributes that shape your character.  It’s pretty creative and a bit more fun than other tutorials.

Once you complete that, the story starts and you find yourself outside of your home, which as been a nuclear-safe underground vault.  You leave this comfy home and are out in the wasteland and sure enough, it has been ravaged by nuclear war.  You’ve got radiation to worry about as well as a myriad of mutated creatures.  Humanity is few and far between, but the people that you will meet need help.  They will send you out on missions and you will find the rewards helpful.  They also seem to be stuck in the 1950s.

Once again, this game makes my list mostly due to the engaging story.  You are trying to find your surviving family, but you get wound up in a fairly deep controversy.  This game gives you a lot of choices and they matter later in the game.  If you help one guy destroy a city, you’re going to make some enemies.

I am typically not a fan of first-person shooters (FPS), but this game has a combat system that takes out a lot of the “twitch” aspect.  It’s called VATS and allows you to target specific parts of your enemy.  It’s very clever and made me look forward to battle instead of dreading it.  I would call the game more of an RPG than FPS, however, as you level up and pick attributes to strengthen your character.  There are so many options to choose from that you will likely never create the same character twice.

Fallout 3 VATS

There is a lot to this game including a basic crafting system.  There are things to collect (yay!) and it is just a lot of fun.  It’s also an open-world game, meaning that you can go and do what you want when you want.  The game doesn’t force you down a certain path, although I do recommend playing through the main story.  I’m including Fallout 3 New Vegas as well as all expansions in this Top 25 as they are all fun and add to this game.  New Vegas is its own stand-alone game, but it runs off of this same engine.  Look for a post on Fallout 4 later on.

The graphics in this game are great, the soundtrack is awesome and the sound effects add to the game.  You will be singing music from the 50’s for a long time after playing this one.  The controls are great and everything about this game feels innovative.  This is by the same company that makes the Elder Scrolls series and I’ve been told it just feels like an apocalyptic version of that, but I think it feels different enough.  I strongly recommend that you play this one.