Saturday, August 27, 2011

I say again, Irene

Like many, my painting desk is in the basement. Like many here on the East Coast, I have built water channels outside, tried to hire an arborist to remove house-killing trees and generally pulled together with neighbors to create overlapping-fields-of-helpfulness. Among the flood watches, tornado watches, promised power outages and battery price gouging, I had to make sure the sump pump worked. I forgot about the sump pump, good ol' sucky.

Ol' Sucky who is right under my paint table and so had to be moved. Well, I went all-in on that and tried to scoot it out of the way without being careful figuring the earthquake this week didn't do anything. Yeah I sloshed projects right onto the floor.

And Ol' Sucky just stared. Friggen Irene. So the lesson here is to ignore the hurricane outside and just paint.

Good luck East Coast!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Space Marine Video Game Demo: Review

Alright folks, I think we have a winner. I downloaded and played through the Space Marine demo on Xbox 360 tonight. I’m more than a little happy with it.

They give you two levels with what seems like full features and options (sound/video/controls/skill/etc.)

I won’t ruin anything by getting into the levels, though I don’t think it spoils much. Still, skipping some give-away details, I’ll just say that I’ve never wanted to be a Space Marine more in my life.

The sheer power that the Ultramarines have comes right across as you romp straight into mobs of orks. There are practical mechanics to the melee, like restoring health, gaining better attacks/weapons and combos. Granted, I played it on easy to get the controls but I did die to the press even then. There is little detriment to going hand-to-hand, since it is actually necessary to maintain martial honor and stay alive.

The camera gets some getting used to, that is to say, knowing that the more you melee, the more combat slows down to a flow-like slo-mo, allowing you to pan the camera, sweep your zone and redirect attacks around you, including to your six, which always has a flanking greenskin in it. Also, evading pig iron choppas via 700 pound combat rolls works well too… deliver that charge, never take one. You will thrive on learning the combos.

Grenades aren’t overly powerful, they soften up mobs the way the math works in 40k, like a buff/debuff. Rapid firing your bolter into the closing throng then going to bolt pistol/chainsword/power axe is fluid and satisfying. I think this is one thing I really love about this game. So far, I haven’t seen anything that I’d say, “there’s no way that would happen on the table.” The moment is probably coming, but who am I to judge? You play a Space Marine hero and this is true to what we know already about them by years of buckets of dice (and the occasional train of 6’s.) Some incredible things are bound to happen. Departures will afford some surprise.

I played through the first level with bolt pistol and chainsword before I realized that he had a loadout of bolter, sniper-style bolter and some sort of time delay grenade launcher I’ve never seen before, useful for laying ambushes.

Players familiar with traditional shooters like COD and Halo will get the ranged aspect fast. Players of God of War and Gears of War will appreciate the CQB ability the marines have and the role cover plays… as well they should since the grim darkness of the far future has wet work across everybody’s resumes, the marines most of all. There is room for Devastators holding ground and Blood-for-the-blood god.

The environments are epic and illustrate so much of the atmosphere we’ve come to love on paper. The level design is solid; the voice work and sound effects pretty damn solid too. The story is about what you’d expect and it looks like most of the popular kids are at the dance in terms of races/usual suspects.

I think I have two gripes at the end here. One, ork blood is black, not red. Two, I don’t own this game yet. This will definitely be a rent and play-through if not a flat-out buy, (which it will be for me.)

We can now forget Firewarrior!

As a 40k fan and video game fan, I give the whole deal a provisional A, pending the quality of the rest of the game upon release.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicken Pox and Chop Shop

Over the weekend I was slated to play 40K with John and Dave, two guys I know that had just jumped back into the game after a 2 year and 10 year hiatus. Both have large, earlier edition armies.

They both picked up their “new” Nid and Eldar dex's and we were gonna get our thing on as a learning game (which I need very badly.) But my kids had chicken pox and that nixed my participation. Zehr lame. Thanks Nurgle.

So lacking the Saturday game, I retreated back to my table and basically tore apart the Medusa gun I built before and finished it all over again. I really wanted a big ol' Basilisk gunshield on it, but the previous version wouldn't allow the gunshield to fit. I also finished the Punisher turret I started a bit ago, using leftovers from the gunshield I cut apart for the Medusa. I tried to finish my 3 melta hardened vets over the weekend but my jeweler's saw blade broke. It’s like that sometimes.

In other related news, I'm helping the Nid player John figure out a Mycetic spore on the cheap so I picked up a $7 foam gourd from the local craft store. I think it fits the bill in terms of cost and size as a start. I'll add some bitz and a base. Any reactions from the Nid players out there?