Playlist: May 18th

Been a quiet week on the article front, with a lot of planning for the weeks ahead. We still managed to warn you about the dangers of Denis Dyack, though, so I call this week a win. But enough banter. What have we been up to?

PLAYED

Brutal Legend

BrutalLegendCoverBen:

I’ve only spent 90 minutes with Brutal Legend (I lost my patience when one boss fight glitched out and didn’t acknowledge my hard-earned victory), but it was enough time to understand why it garners both love and animosity from Double Fine fans. Everything from the gigantic licensed soundtrack to the skull-and-crossbones “album cover” art style earnestly salutes heavy metal while poking fun at some of the more ridiculous edges of the genre. I couldn’t help but grin when soliciting the help of Lenny Kilmister to fight a metallic spider queen.

Unfortunately, Brutal Legend is at its worst when it asks you to play it. Combat lacks any sense of fluidity, and waits to let you know you’re hurt until the last minute. You also can’t jump, which is an absolutely senseless omission for an open-world combat game. Even the troops under your command often forget how to walk, which balloons from a minor frustration to a game-breaking bug when it morphs into real-time strategy. I’d watch Brutal Legend as a movie in a heartbeat, but I’m not sure if I’d ever play it again.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

csgoBen:

I’ll be honest; I only decided to jump back into CS: GO after Steam unveiled its gimmicky trading card system. However, the relatively new “competitive” playlist was reason enough to stick around after my allotted cards dropped into my inventory. Playing under these new restrictions transformed the way I traditionally approach Counter-Strike; instead of smacking F1 and casually running to my death, I cared for the success of my team and gave it my all. It didn’t hurt that my team was almost entirely comprised of Steam friends who wouldn’t appreciate my typical devil-may-care shenanigans.

Harvest Moon 3D: A New Beginning

harvestmoon3dColin:

After A Wonderful Life, I started to wonder if the series is/ever was worth anything, so I grabbed the well-reviewed 3DS release. The tutorial started very promisingly- charming visuals and music, and character customization. Then… It kept going. And going. And going.

I find myself wondering if there is a single game mechanic that they did not describe in agonizing, painstaking, patronizing detail. YES I STILL KNOW HOW TO WALK. It took me four days of playing some, getting fed up, and putting the 3DS into sleep mode to make it through the tutorial. As a consequence, I’ve played maybe five minutes post-tutorial.

Pretty decent five minutes though.

Mass Effect 3

me3coverColin:

I played through Mass Effect 1 and 2 on 360, but by the time 3 came out, I’d ditched my Xbox. The other day, though, I spotted the Mass Effect Trilogy collection for PS3 for forty bucks, and that seemed too good to pass up (even though there’s no FemShep anywhere on the box! The fuck is wrong with you, EA?)

Of course, to actually get the proper Mass Effect experience, I’d have to play through 1 and 2 so I could import a save to 3. That will happen, but I wasn’t up for it just yet. Instead, I gave the multiplayer a shot… and man, it’s really good! By this point there’s a crazy amount of variety- maps, enemies, weapons, classes, and more. And… not a lot of balance, as far as I can tell? Some of the more recently released characters seem straight up more powerful than the base classes. It’s kind of irritating to fight your damndest and be completely outclassed by a Collector hurling DBZ-esque sphere of energy everywhere.

That said, the action is top notch, the leveling and collecting is addictive, and it’s a roarin’ good time.


WATCHED

Star Trek Into Darkness

startrekintodarknessBen:

J.J. Abrams knew what he was doing when he structured the latest Star Trek; it’s impossible to specifically mention anything past the first ten minutes without getting into spoiler territory. If he spent half as much time and effort writing a quality story instead of piecing together bits of recycled Trek plotlines under the guise of nostalgia, he might have made a movie worthy of its inflated budget. Instead, we’re left with a series of decent performances, impressive action sequences, and a cardboard cutout of a captain. He commands a beautiful ship, but the engine lurking underneath is seriously underwhelming, and he only knows how to emulate the actions of the brilliant captains that came before.

MasterChef

masterchefColin:

…Don’t say a word, man. Not. One. Word.

WHAT. I LIKE IT.