While the Vagary staff is comprised of a large group of like-minded individuals, that group has an eclectic range of tastes. What’s Up With Vagary is a chance for a selection of our staff to fill you in on what is sucking up the majority of their time during the past week.
Don Parsons – Publisher Relations Liaison and Review Staff
I played three hours of Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning. I don’t know if my expectations were too high, or what, but I was bored and unamused the whole time I played. I ended up taking it back to the rental store for half credit, and picked up WWE ’12. I guess I expected Sacred 3. While Amalur runs smoother than Sacred 2 on console, I was very let down by the loot system. This is why I play games like this; the loot. And other games have just done it better.
A lot of time was also put into Gotham City Imposters as I set out to finish up that review. That game is so fun and addicting, and I can’t wait until the DLC comes out next month. On the complete opposite end of “fun”, is Far Cry 2. This was recently a freebie for Playstation Plus members, so I couldn’t resist. But that game does not age well and was quickly deleted to give me back my precious hard drive space.
TV-wise, Glee was much better this week, though I still don’t buy the whole Sam and Mercedes relationship. True Blood (in Season 4) is getting more interesting. I was originally losing interest as I thought the show was getting WAY out there at the end of Season 3. But the whole witch plot is getting more amusing as it goes along.
Tony Odett – Review Staff
Following a long battle getting my pre-ordered copy from Toy ‘R Us (totally got screwed by the way), I finally received my copy of Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning a week after release. Let me tell you: it was worth the wait. I love the weighty combat (hitting an enemy with a warhammer feels awesome). The RPG has stellar upgrade system which, through use of fate weavers, allows you to rebuild your entire character if you wish to play differently. But I think the most impressive thing about the game is the way the theme of fate is woven into every element of the game. The core of the narrative is based on your character being severed from his fated destiny. The entire game, the narrative structure, the sidequests, the upgrade system- it all stems from this reality. Game mechanics and narrative are so often designed separately. Kingdoms of Amalur is an excellent example of proper game design.
Also, put a few hours into both Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3. They are both so much fun. Also, I suck. (Editor’s Note: Join Tony, Chris and Fozzy on Tuesday Night Battlefield every Tuesday at 10PM on Xbox 360 for multiplayer madness)
Khristopher Reardon – News & Reviews Team
This week I decided to pick up the new Epic Quest DLC for Zen Pinball. This new table features RPG elements letting you shoot to level up, defeat enemies and find loot to equip to your persistent character. I actually think Zen Studios did some great work on this table. I was kind of expecting it to be more video game and less pinball, like Mario Pinball Land for the GBA but it turned out to be just a genuinely good pinball game with looting elements and character progression. It strikes a really good balance and felt well worth the money I paid for the table, which is saying something because this is the first DLC table I’ve actually decided to buy for Zen Pinball.
Other than that I’ve been playing the Back to the Future video game by Telltale on my PS3. I’m a kid of the 80s and I loved the Back to the Future movies. Point and click adventures can be very pedestrian mechanically and the game does little to throw me off that track but the story is absolutely solid. I like it so far, though some hiccups have caused frame rate drops, but I’m still having a good time with it.
Kyle Baron – Editor in Chief
It’s hard to care about not having the freedom of movement one is used to with first person shooters; I realized this when I hopped a car off of a building, spun a 360 upon landing, and unloaded hood-mounted mini-guns and rockets into the windshield of another driver while I was driving in reverse in front of him – this happened in the span of a couple of seconds while heavy metal music crunched in the background. That’s what Twisted Metal feels like after you get the hang of it.
Developer Eat Sleep Play has created a multiplayer car combat game with so much depth and complexity that makes it hard not to be overwhelmed by all of the weapons, vehicles, crazy controls, huge arenas, and various on-screen gauges, meters, and jim jams. After several hours of split screen and online play, it becomes clear why that hot rod has a flame thrower and not a chain gun, and why you would need to flick the right stick to suddenly boost in reverse.
Twisted Metal may have all of the complex ambiguous workings and cheesy attitude of ’90s video games, but the potential for player skill development amidst the chaos in each game arena is fantastic. Mechanics aside, I haven’t even discussed how cathartic it is to drag a clown behind a motorcycle before throwing them into a meat grinder in order to launch a nuke at the other team’s statue while White Zombie music blares. “Dragging what into a what-now?” Don’t worry about it, lots of people still don’t understand the ’90s.
So that is what we have been up to, what about you? Fill us in by dropping us a comment.