Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Are you a Gamer?

If so, you may want to go check out what's going on at DrivethruRPG right now. Don't worry, if it's before the end of January 2010 as you read this, it'll be obvious.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elimination: Prey

Cleared: 1/14/2010 at about 8:20pm
Verdict: Did not like enough to finish

Prey is an old-school first-person shooter. It's got a lot of unique mechanics in it, but ultimately, it's just a confusing, dated-looking corridor shooter. It's gruesome, but not truly scary, the graphics are old enough that it's serious "uncanny valley" and so forth. I wanted to like this game, because it's got some very cool tricks. You can walk up certain walls, there are portals in the game, the weapons are unique and different, your character can leave his body and walk around in spirit form, but it just didn't matter. The story didn't grab me, the characters didn't grab me, and wandering lost through twisting alien corridors didn't grab me. I'm done with this one. Not my thing. Oh well. Some free space on the ol' hard drive, I guess.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Elimination: Gone Tomorrow

Cleared: 1/7/2010 a few minutes before Midnight
Verdict: Liked it

Gone tomorrow is the latest Jack Reacher novel by popular thriller writer Lee Child. For those unfamiliar, Jack Reacher is one of those literary heroes that can best be described as "badass". He's an ex-military cop who wanders the country writing wrongs and getting into trouble. The books aren't the most plausible thing you'll ever read, and Reacher is formidable and lucky beyond what could be called realistic at times, but they're gritty and a lot of fun to read, and this latest was no different. It was also a nice change of pace from God's Demon. I have to admit, however, that I didn't start this one from scratch. Like a number of things in my backlog, I was partway through when I made the list, and I just decided to finish it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elimination: Torchlight

Cleared: 1/6/2010 at around 9:00 pm
Verdict: Really enjoyed it

Torchlight is a fun little Diablo clone. It's not terribly innovative, but it's extremely polished. The game is a straightforward dungeon crawl down a 35-level dungeon and then an infinite one opens up. It's really fun,  ridiculously addictive, colorful, and easy to pick up on. It's also got a bunch of nice little refinements that make playing more convenient, like a pet who functions as both a battle companion and a way of selling loot without leaving the dungeon. The story is next-to non-existent, but who cares? It's a hack & slash loot-collecting game. If you've ever enjoyed this type of game in the past, I'd say it's worth your time to check it out. I played through as an alchemist and focused on minions - by the end of the game I had my pet, 2 different golems, a half-dozen nether imps, and some spell-generated minions following me around. I was able to stand back and blast enemies from afar while my army pounded on them, which worked pretty well. On my next playthrough, I'll probably play as a vanquisher (the ranged combat class) and see how that goes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Elimination: God's Demon

Cleared: 1/3/2010 at about 9:20 pm
Verdict: LOVED IT.

God's Demon is a fantasy novel written by Wayne Barlowe. The story centers around a Demon Major (archdemon or demon lord) who, weary of Hell and filled with remorse over what he's become, decides to try and win his way back to Heaven. The rest of Hell, predictably, does not take this lying down. What follows is an intense, brutal, gruesome, and ultimately uplifting story of redemption, vengeance, politicking, and war. Some of the plot twists are somewhat predictable, but they're also very satisfying. Some surprisingly likable characters, too, considering the entire cast is damned souls and demons. Barlowe is very imaginative and consistent in his depiction of Hell, and does a good job of making his questers for redemption somewhat flawed and shaky on their feet. Nothing in the "theology" of the book particularly rankled me, either, which was nice. In some ways the themes in the book, particularly at the end, reminded me of C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce. I'd heartily recommend God's Demon to anyone who likes a good fantasy.

On another note, it's nice to have finally cleared something other than a movie or TV show.