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A Virus Named TOM: BETA
posted 2/15/2012 9:15:39 AM

So, this weekend I read an article about a new game that would be coming out this year. That game is a independent puzzle-solver named "A Virus Named TOM." Upon preordering the game for $5, I got to download the beta...

The game is about a scientist vowing revenge on the company that took advantage of his genius and then kicked him to the curb. You take on the role of a computer virus that goes around messing with the circuitry of the scientists former creations. The game can easily be played single player, but the developers have included 4 player co-op and 4 player versus modes. As the game is still in beta, the online multiplayer functionality is not available yet. And, seeing as I had no one around that wanted to help me play a puzzle-solver on my laptop, I only got to play the single player.

I have to say the game is refreshing because it is tons of fun and challenging at the same time. Many games today are only one of the two. Developers try to make a game challenging and instead make it frustrating. Other times they try to make something fun, and it turns out to be too easy. You can tell the devs took the time to balance this. The learning curve is just at the right point. Does the game get hard? Yes. Does the game get frustrating? Once or twice. Does it ever get too hard? Not in my opinion. The game had one moment of getting on my nerves, but I took a step back, thought about the puzzle, and then managed to figure it out. Someone else may have simply stopped playing, but again the devs were all over this problem. The game rewards you with the ability to skip stages after you successfully complete a level. Thus, after level 1 (which is practically a tutorial) you are given 2 skips. You can use these on any stage in any of the proceeding levels. After beating level 2 you are then awarded with an additional 2 skips. I really thought this was a cool idea, but I was worried about using my skips and then running out at a REALLY hard part. Well,I found on level 3 I had to use a skip. But, I also found that the beta only has 3 levels at this time (there are more to come). After beating the rest of the level, I went back to beat my skipped stage. Upon beating that dastardly stage, I was given my skip back. I was shocked. I was stunned. But, most of all, I was impressed with the devs thinking ahead of a problem that could have come up.

So, I'll probably do a proper review on this game when it has a full release, but for right now I'm going to enjoy going back and trying to get better scores. If you like puzzle-solvers, I'd definitely suggest this game. Especially because of the current $5 price. I believe the game will cost $10 when it's fully released, but the $5 right now gets you all the beta releases and the full release when it's done. Not a bad deal if you ask me. Also, if you're into co-op (which is huge for me) this game seems to have the makings of a really awesome co-op extravaganza. Don't take my word for it though. You can go to their site and view the videos for yourself.

Alright, that's all for this time. Next time I'm thinking about talking about the DOTA2 beta that I'm currently in. Although there's other games that also deserve my attention. Ugh, the problems with starting a video game blog. Assuming I can talk about 2-5 games per week, how do I decide if they should be past, present, or future games? Ehh, I'm sure the problem will work itself out. Until next time, remember to relax, have fun, and Game On!


Syndicate Demo & Flashback
posted 2/13/2012 6:33:24 AM

I took a break earlier this weekend to try the new Syndicate co-op demo. I'm a huge fan of co-op games and I'm an old school fan of Syndicate. Seemed like this game would be full of nostalgia and awesome co-op fun.

To start, I want to take a trip back in time to when I got my first real computer. Before my first "real" computer, all I had was a mostly functioning Apple IIe. Anyways, I got my Macintosh home and I was thrilled. It had 650Mb of hard drive space, 32Mb of RAM, and I think it was about 100Mhz processor. It seems strange to think how slow that computer actually ran. Along with it I got copies of several awesome games, but the best was a little game called Syndicate. I would call it a top down squad based strategy game. You were in control of 4 mechanically enhanced humans... or, cyborgs. You would use these four to carry out missions. Sometimes you needed to save someone, and sometimes you needed to kill someone. Upon completing a mission, you would be able to use received funds conduct research to make your implants or weaponry better. The game wasn't always easy, but it was amazing.

Skip ahead a few years, and the game Syndicate Wars gets released. I remember playing the console version of it over at Vaziel's house. It again was a top down squad based strategy game with cyborgs, but this time we only had 2 cyborgs instead of four. And, the camera was zoomed in so far that it was difficult to really have a strategy that was anything more than reactionary. Needless to say, I was excited about the game because I had played the original, but my friend was rather disappointed. As we progressed in the story, the flaws became more and more apparent. Eventually, I succumbed to disappointment, and we gave the game the burial it deserved.

Now that the flashback is over we can return to present day. The new Syndicate game is meant to be a modern re-imagining of the first game. Now, I was more than skeptical when I heard this. How dare they take my memories and destroy them by re-imagining a game from my childhood. Although, now that I've played it, I can't help but love what they've done with it. The first-person shooter aspect makes the game a lot easier to handle in terms of control. And, it allows me to play on a squad with my friends. The cyborg enhancements, weapons, and research are all still there which almost gives the feeling of an RPG customization system. Now that I think about it, the game kinda reminds me of Borderlands in the sense that it's a first-person shooter with RPG elements. Another thing I noticed about the game, it's actually hard. The game suggested a team of 4 to play the level that Vaziel and I played. But, after a few tries we got it down and were able to do what 4 people should have been doing. It wasn't easy, but it was fun. And, that's how I remember the original. It wasn't easy, but it was fun. It's a little refreshing to play a game that's difficult to play on normal. Game's today don't seem to be as challenging as they once were, and they have trouble scaling the difficulty properly. There's still some time before Syndicate comes out, but I have high hopes for it.

I can't say I'll be getting it when it releases just because I have other expenses that require that $60 right now, but I'll be sure to do a full review of it when I have played more than a demo.

Next time on Tenrai's Timeline: is that a good name for a blog? What other games do I have preordered that I can't afford to pick up right now? And, maybe, just maybe, a retro review... which I'm going to arbitrarily say can be anything older than 2 years. Until next time... Game On!

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Orochi: Part Zero
posted 2/9/2012 5:51:10 AM

So, I almost finished the Wei campaign yesterday evening in Warriors Orochi 2. Thanks to a comment on my last post, I had waves of memories flood back from the hours and hours I used to play in Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. So, I thought it might be fun to take a trip back to where this all started for me.

I started in on the "Warriors" games on DW3. IT was a fantastic game, and I got to play it with a good friend and roommate (at the time) in college. He was an Asian history major, and, so, I got to learn all about the historical significance of every character in the game. As time went on we played DW4, and eventually I stumbled on the Samurai Warriors series.

Samurai Warriors to me was even more interesting because I had more of an interest in Japanese history as opposed to Chinese history. The first installment was pretty rough around the edges. It had some serious issues with its leveling mechanics, but overall it was a decent game and I killed many hours with it over at Vaziel's house (a good friend and fellow cheathappens member). Samurai Warriors 2 was amazing to me. All the major problems were worked out, and I had a blast. Eventually though, Dynasty Warriors would sneak back up on me in a most interesting way.

I had skipped the initial release of DW5 because I still had DW4 and SW2. I also passed on DW5XL. I never really cared for the Extreme Legends spinoffs. Then, out of nowhere, came DW5 Empires. I had read about it, and the concept felt new and really peaked my interest. After about 10 minutes of playing Empires, I felt that the series could not get any better. It was the normal game with extra mechanics to make it more involved and it added a little bit extra strategy to the mix.

After losing myself to DW5: Empires I found myself picking up a copy of SW2: Empires. The I proceeded to basically replay all of SW2 with a little something extra. It was the little extra that made it feel different, and it kept me playing far longer than most games. After all that though, I really felt like I had reached the end of my "warriors" days. I'd then be taken by surprise again by Warriors Orochi.

Orochi brought all the DW and SW characters together into one universe to fight a common enemy. This was something I just had to see and had to play. I couldn't wait to have Guan Yu or Sun Shang Xiang fighting side by side with Nobunaga Oda or Mitsuhide Akechi. And, after sitting down with the game, it was everything I had hoped for.

Warriors Orochi 2 came out and only improved on the formula. Although, I will admit the game becomes a bit easy once you equip Himiko with a lvl 4 weapon with almighty on it. Other than that though, the game was perfect. And, so, I finished that on the PS2 and stood by waiting and dreaming of the next installment. As of now, I'm replaying WO2 from scratch on my Xbox 360. Finally, the time of the sequel is soon. And, from what I've heard, Warriors Orochi 3 will not be a disappointment. But, when has Koei ever really truly disappointed in a "Warriors" game.

When you walk up to the counter in your local game store with a Koei "Warriors" game in your hand you know EXACTLY what you're getting. You are getting a game where you'll spend hours killing thousands of nameless soldiers. You'll get into epic battles with some of the greatest generals and strategists in history. And, you'll play almost the exact same game you've played before (with minor tweaks) with a smile on your face and not a single regret about picking up the newest installment. Why? Maybe it's the history. Maybe it's the gameplay. Maybe it's the characters. Maybe it's the consistency. It really doesn't matter the reason as long as you enjoy the game.

Before I wrap up this little venture into my Koei past. I have to wonder: Why hasn't a Warriors Orochi: Empires been released. I understand it's in an alternate dimension, but would that just make it easier to create. There would be no world or province restrictions. Does it have something to do with the character switching? Would they have to take that out because you would have to manage your troops across several provinces?

Alright, well, I'm off... I might do some more Orochi updates as I continue playing, but my next blog will probably focus on some of the upcoming releases of Q1 2012. First up on the list will likely be Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City. Comments welcome.

Until next time... thanks for reading and Game On!


Warriors Orochi
posted 2/7/2012 7:26:52 PM

Warriors Orochi 3 is soon upon us, and yet it's still not available for preorder. Since finding out about it, I've started playing Warriors Orochi 2 again on the Xbox 360. I have to say that getting through the initial stages is somewhat of a grind. At 10 - 20 minutes a level it's taking far longer than I remember to beat story mode. On the other hand, it's fantastic to be getting back into the genre. For several months, I've been drowning in first person shooters and tower defense. Well, off to kill a few hundred more nameless soldiers in the name of uniting some crazy kingdom in some alternate dimension. More to come...

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