Gamescom has been and gone, but perhaps the biggest news of the past week broke yesterday with the closure of OnLive. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me as I never really got the feeling the service was going to make it by itself, and without the backing of a console manufacturer it was doomed to fail. A new company seems to have been formed, but time will tell what really happens with the cloud gaming service. If that business talk is too much for you on a Sunday afternoon, hit the jump to read about our week in games.
Apart from spending an hour queuing for Mann Vs Machine last night, for what amounted to a pretty bog standard survival mode, with a few game breaking bugs for our added pleasure, my week in games has been dominated again by League of Legends. I’ve been playing on the US servers with a few friends, and we are as a team, pretty abysmal. In fact I might even just be our best player, which if you had played with me would give you an indication of just how bad we are (Hint: sometimes the enemy team doesn’t even bother with a jungler, because they don’t know how to do it).
At one point last night, I remember screaming at a team-mate/former-friend to ‘Stop being such a f****** pussy!’ over voice comms. This game really is capable of bringing out the worst in people and I know I should feel ashamed for my over-reaction. Instead, part of me is still outraged that he – playing as Alistair, the big blue minotaur, repeatedly ran away allowing my character – Ezreal to be focused and killed in humiliating circumstances. This was not helped by the random netter on our team, who seemed to be taking things even more seriously than I was, pinging the map constantly, and typing ‘FK’ in team chat every time anything whatsoever happened. Safe to say we didn’t win that particular match. Also, Mordarke, if you read this – You really are a f****** pussy.
This week has been a bit filler for me as I’m waiting on several high profile releases, including Guild Wars 2 and Dark Souls PC. the idea of replaying Dark Souls, with added content and a whole new community to murder and abuse in PvP has gotten me excited about the game all over again. It’s a shame the port is reportedly not up to scratch, but I doubt it will be worse than the chugging Xbox 360 version I loved so much.
The teaser trailer for Mars: War Logs reminded me of a long forgotten gem set on our various planetary neighbours. That game is Battlezone, a 1998 re-imagining of the classic arcade title with the same name. I originally got Battlezone a a freebie with a PC bought back in 1998 and immediately fell in love with it. What still strikes me are the mission introductions from a gruff American commander and the brilliant mixture of first-person and RTS elements. I have lost some of the skill I once had and I am getting stuck on some relatively easy missions, but I will stick with it as it gets better and better as the tech tree grows.
I have also been dabbling a little bit with the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive beta which has really blown me away. I haven’t touched the game at all since the Eurogamer Expo last year, and going from an early PS3 version to a nearly complete PC version makes a world of difference. The final release is Tuesday, and I can’t wait to get playing properly on the classic maps and with the new game modes. I am extremely rusty having become used to the combat of Battlefield 3 recently, so I don’t expect to be winning any matches single-handedly, but it will be fun to be playing the classic once more.
In a week in which I consider the highlights to be the brief moments where i wasn’t throwing up, I haven’t had too much time for gaming. However, armed with a cup of Lemsip in one hand I’ve valiantly battled through illness to poke around my back catalogue, where I stumbled across an old copy of Swat 4.
Swat 4 is an exercise in patience. Move too quickly into combat and seconds after booting down the door you’ll realise your expertly trained backup is still milling around outside finishing their coffees. Progression needs to be slow and methodical, above all else you need to constantly check that your team has remembered they’re supposed to be following you.
But Swat 4 is no ordinary fps. In addition to your usual gun-toting enemies, there are the civilians to worry about. These fine folk of Swat county have developed a certain apathetic disregard for authority that means they will often meet a demand to raise their hands with nothing more than a look of disdain or a sarcastic comment or two. After years of games treating me as the world’s only hope, I can’t help but feel people just aren’t taking me seriously here.
You can expect me to follow all the police procedures you want, but when I’ve asked politely several times, sprayed you in the face with mace, tasered you in the chest and you still aren’t surrendering, then it’s a far more patient man than I who doesn’t start resorting to a friendly armour-piercing round or two to the knee.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from playing Swat 4, it’s this. It doesn’t matter how much you raise your voice and how clearly you speak to an elderly person, sometimes it’ll take a can of mace or a taser before you can finally get through to them.