Always Fun With More Company

Hadn’t tried it in a while, so I met up with Mike and we played a couple matches of Company of Heroes. It used to be our game of choice, but new beaus Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire have all but replaced it. I decided we should dust it off a bit, since we really hadn’t done much with the Tales of Valor expansion.

Played a couple matches, had a blast. I employed the new T17 armored car to great effect, really chasing the CPU units around the map. With a 500 victory point match, and us holding four out of five since the beginning of the game, it really didn’t last long. Had a great couple short matches. Didn’t get into the bigger units, but that’s alright. Sometimes games without tanks are more fun!

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I think I’d be amiss if I didn’t say something about the new Batman: Arkham Asylum. Besides being a spelling test, the game by all accounts is a fantastic third-person brawler. It seems to leverage the beloved franchise well while providing excellent atmosphere. The characters and voice work are top notch, with everyone mentioning Mark Hamill’s excellent reprise of the Joker from the Batman: The Animated Series.

Along with the audio, the visuals look great. Not only are the graphics some of the best around, the visual design carries on the look and feel of the recent movies, the dark, gritty, and sinister feel of Gotham City, especially deep within this forsaken facility.

As for the gameplay, it plays like a Splinter Cell without gun. But you get to substitute fists, feet, and batarangs for guns! You can pull off punch-out style combos, stun attacks, and the classic inverted drop-from-the-ceiling stealth take-downs. Visual queues allow you to respond to your enemies’ actions, and counter their attacks on you.

Overall, reviews are nearly universally positive. Three major outfits, Gamespot, IGN, and Kotaku all give glowing scores. The Metacritic score is a 91, pretty amazing.

While it’s not really my thing, the game has a lot to offer for anyone who is a fan of the series, but also just a fan of good third-person action adventure games. The game is out this week for PS3 and Xbox 360, and will be out for PC in mid-September.

Gran Turismo 5 Further Details

More information arose out of the cacophonous din of the Leipzig Gamescon last week. First, one of several new videos from the Tokyo 246 track, confirming its return to GT5, in a Subaru Impreza rally car looking very tidy.

Kotaku is a little critical of the damage modelling within Gran Turismo 5. A new damage demo was available at Gamescon, and it seemed… Unwieldy. Hopefully that game feature will be improved, or simply configurable to be disabled at will.

And finally from 1UP, some vital statistics from Gran Turismo 5: 1000 cars, 20 tracks in 60 configurations, YouTube video uploads, Photo drive, voice/text chatrooms, damage system, and more.

I just know that as long as they have the Top Gear test track, I’m going to be happy. Now if we could only get a release date!

Guild Wars 2 Trailer

The trailer for Guild Wars 2 was released yesterday. It’s viewable on the main site or below. I for one am pretty excited — at least it looks good, and carries on the same visual style and charm of the first game. We’ll see as more details arise if they managed to ruin the gameplay or evolve the original experience.

Imminent Guild Wars 2 Announcements

There’s been some activity (finally) regarding Guild Wars 2. On the official wiki, the head of ArenaNet Mike O’Brien has teased the announcement of details. The official Guild Wars 2 site looks poised for an update as well. We might finally hear if GW2 is going to be a cheap WoW grinding power-level piece of crap or the evolution of instanced, cooperative adventure-action in the Diablo/Dungeon Siege school that I know and love. Please, please don’t add raiding and persistent zones (aside from the rumored and hilarious huge PvP areas) because that would totally ruin the game. If you want griefing, kill-stealing, and plain old sheer desperation, just play EQ2.

Just All Kinds of Stuff!

Haven’t been around the intergoogletubes for a while, so it’s been hard to keep up on the news.

Probably the most exciting stuff is the wealth of conventions that is going on this fall. GenCon Indy just wrapped up last week, and the Penny Arcade Expo is going on in a couple weeks, starting at the beginning of September. Then, QuakeCon was just finished as well. By all accounts, the BYOC meet was intense.

The new PAX East Coast has me very interested as well. That con goes on in March 2010 in Boston, Mass. Boston is close enough to me to drive, so I have vowed to make the pilgrimage with gamer friends to the event. I hope we can pull it off!

Tons of StarCraft II news and hands-on previews, but that game is dead to me.

In Pokemon news, HeartGold and SoulSilver have been slated for a spring 2010 US and Europe release. I haven’t touched those games, and the DS remakes should be a good addition to the series. Two more DS titles have me excited: Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box and Scribblenauts, both of which seem like surefire hits. Both will be available by the middle of September.

As far as online play, we’ve mostly been sticking with Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire. Sins has proven great fun, but the length of the game makes it hard to play regularly. That’s where Demigod comes in!