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    Oct 16th, 2012 at 01:43:49     -    Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC)

    Warhammer is not my usual choice of game, not only because I play far more action games than real time strategy, but also because of the setting and theme of the game. It can be described as a fantasy game, with similar styling to games such as World of Warcraft or Darksiders. The characteristic exaggerated armor and weapons was a turn off for me, but I was convinced by a sale to purchase the game. So far, my only experience of the game has been the Co-op campaign. My first exposure to RTS being Age of Empires II, I was not expecting to spend much time with the game's campaign mode, or even complete it for that matter. However I was pleasantly surprised that the campaign succeeded in being engaging and fun to play with a friend. When I say engaging, I mean that I was pulled into the strategy and teamplay elements of the game, not that there was an engaging story. As a matter of fact, I found the story to be an annoying interruption. I would have been satisfied with the flimsy set-up for level scenarios if only I didn't have to listen to and watch so much of the story. I thought that the story would have better fit the game if it had been simpler, shorter, and more action packed. If the cutscenes had been simply for the affect of "Whoa, that thing's big, and now I have to kill it," I would have been more satisfied. As far the actual levels go, the combat is closer to a classic MMORPG than a game like Age of Empires. This was a very good thing, because the combat style of Starcraft and Age of Empires are much better suited to multiplayer than fighting a premade level. I found that the game's "Normal" difficulty setting was too easy for me, even though I am not an expert in RTS games, as the game recommended I be for the "Hard" setting. I have yet to lose a level, and have even played some levels without buying any units apart from my starting units out of sheer laziness. Otherwise I have no complaints, and for the sale price I got the game at, a great buy. I wouldn't recommend the game as an instant buy, but for RTS fans it's certainly worth looking into.

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    Sep 30th, 2012 at 20:59:26     -    Osu! (PC)

    Osu! is a free point-and-click rhythm game originally released in Japan and ported internationally. The player clicks targets along with the rhythm as they appear, gaining points and multiplier based on how accurate their timing is. The game is very simplistic, involving multiple game types which really only affect the scoring of the game, e.g. Team, Co-op, head to head. However the appeal of the game comes from the fact that the game comes with only the tutorial level. All the real levels are player made, and can be downloaded when another player chooses them from their collection in multiplayer via an attached hyperlink. Being a skill game, there exist levels of mind boggling difficulty, and because the levels are player made, there will always be a more difficult level. The reliance on custom levels gives the game a huge amount of levels and possibilities, up-to-date song choices (today I played "Op Gangnam"), and a strong community.
    Osu!'s origins are apparent in the song choice of it's users, so it can be hard to find songs that aren't either Japanese, anime theme songs, or "nightcore", which are the preferred genres of the majority of Osu! players. However there are other genres available, and a determined player can make his own maps fairly easily with the editor. The game can have a difficult learning curve, but the game is popular enough that there are usually a few new players to play in a server with competitively. Even though there is the possibility of having thousands of maps on your computer, it's still fun to play better maps many times to try to get a perfect score, especially if the map's creator incorporated patterns and shapes into the positioning of the targets. Just like dance dance revolution and other rhythm games, Osu! does not need to be complex to be fun and addictive. In my opinion Osu! is one of the best rhythm games available today, and without the expensive plastic instruments and dance pads of it's rivals in the genre. Did I mention it's free?

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    Sep 18th, 2012 at 00:32:30     -    Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)

    Despite how well known this game is, I played it seriously for the first time very recently. Although I like adventure games, there are many that I don't have the patience or attention span for, and Zelda is the type of game that I usually lose interest in quickly. However I was kept engaged in Zelda basically by the lack of direction. Not only was I free to explore, but the only way I could succeed was by doing so, even if it meant often going the wrong way or doing the wrong thing. I found this more engaging than many newer adventure games because it removed the feeling of waiting for the mission to be over, and knowing how far you were in the game.

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    Sep 12th, 2012 at 21:26:53     -    Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (PC)

    Counter-Strike Global Offensive is the most recent sequel to the Counter-Strike series of games. Global Offensive included a few changes besides the major graphical update. It has changed the weapon balance, the money system, and the aiming. These changes have adapted counter-strike to be much more welcoming to new players who don't have the skill set of the experienced players of it's predecessors. I tried to play counter-strike: source but I was unable to get a single kill from hours of playtime. This was so disheartening that I never played the game again, even though I enjoy high skill competitive games.
    The weapon system in Global Offensive is vastly more balanced than it's predecessors. In previous games players would only use 3 to 4 weapons out of the many available guns. Global Offensive gives each gun pros and cons which support a variety of guns to be used. New players can beat stronger players if they are using a weapon more suited to the range of combat (e.g. a shotgun in close quarters versus a sniper rifle). In addition, the sniper rifles have been made less usable at close range or while moving. This means that teams will have to choose weapons more carefully based on the situation. This is one aspect of the game that deepens the strategy of Global Offensive.
    The money system has been changed somewhat obviously to make more expensive weapons more powerful. However this is a fundamental difference to the strategy of the game. This allows new players to save up for a powerful weapon and get kills against stronger opponents. However the high price of these weapons insures that they can only be purchased occasionally if players are saving up. These powerful weapons are a huge boon to the experience for new players, as those few kills give players the motivation to keep learning the game and get better at playing. Additionally the item shop is much faster to use, encouraging players to buy each weapon and equipment carefully instead of buying a set of weapons.
    The aiming has been changed very subtly to change how recoil is managed. In Counter-Strike: Source the recoil was highly predictable, and experienced players could know exactly where their next bullet would go, allowing them to fire weapons at full auto and still hit targets at long range. Global Offensive makes the recoil more unpredictable, giving sniper rifles more of a clear role as a long range weapon. This aspect of the game is a major reason for the diverse array of weapons available for practical use.
    Another very important change is the edition of matchmaking. This puts players of a similar skill level together. This is important in adjusting the learning curve to make counter-strike a more hospitable environment for new players. I certainly wouldn't be playing counter-strike if not for this matchmaking.
    There are many other details which have been changed and which also have a strong effect on the game, but I found these aspects to be the most important. Essentially, this games best trait is that it has been streamlined by over a decade of play. Still, it was impressive to see how well ironed of wrinkles the game was, considering it would have sold well regardless due to its title alone. The game still requires some patience to learn, but now I would definitely recommend it to new players.

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    1Awesomenauts (PC)Playing
    2Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (PC)Playing
    3Give Up (Web)Finished playing
    4Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)Playing
    5Metro 2033 (PC)Playing
    6Natural Selection 2 (PC)Playing
    7Osu (PC)Playing
    8Osu! (PC)Playing
    9Super Fighters Deluxe (PC)Playing
    10Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II - Retribution (PC)Playing

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