With no courses to teach this fall and the first three chapters of my dissertation in the hands of my committee, I’ve had a bit of time to get back into gaming. Three games have jumped out at me recently:
Castle Crashers – I started reading about this game a month ago, and purchased it via XBOX Live Arcade last night. A few friends and I logged in and had a couple good hours of button-mashing fun. The interesting aspect of Castle Crashers is that it combines classic arcade hits such as Double Dragon, Golden Axe and TMNT with a tactical element similar to an RPG or MMO. As you and your friends progress through levels, your character gets stronger and you receive skill points to customize your character (melee, spellcaster, ranged, etc). I’ve never seen a game combine these two genres and make it work. Also of note is the humor in the game: all three of us playing the game broke down in hysterical laughter during some of the levels.
Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) – yes, Bart might take the plunge into another MMO (which is scary, but I’d like to think I’ve learned from my days playing UO and WoW). Several people are calling WAR “WoW 2.0″, and I can certainly see why. The first time I played the beta, the UI for WAR is VERY similar to WoW (I’ll have a much larger post about the WAR UI after the game goes live). I’ve blogged several times about game UIs, and I think WAR is an interesting case study in UIs. The folks at Mythic took a lot of the negatives of Warcraft (travel, group quests, PVP, looking for group) and made improvements to alleviate some of the issues many players faced in WoW (which is a lot of ‘down time’…trying to organize/travel different places). WAR will likely come up again on the blog in a few weeks.
Titan’s Quest – This has been around for a while, but I only purchased it a little over a month ago. At the core, it’s a Diablo clone but set in Ancient Greek Mythology. It contains more classes than the Diablo games, and also allows you to select a secondary class once you reach a certain level. This makes the combination of skills/abilities almost limitless, which leads to a high degree of replayability. I’ve started playing online with a few friends which is a lot of fun.
In the next two months, a LOT of games are hitting store shelves. I don’t own a PS3 yet, but I may have to pick one up soon for Little Big Planet. I have not seen a console game successfully implement user-created content to this point (yes, I know you CAN do this with some console games, but it hasn’t taken off).
It should be a fun couple of months…