On Social Singleplayer and Slow Gaming

I played through the original Dead Space last Fall. And by “last Fall”, I literally mean that I spent that entire season playing through the game. I snatched an hour every here and there, savoring the game in discrete chunks like Charlie with his yearly chocolate bar. Every day I’d come to work and the coworker who’d loaned me the game would ask if I’d played any Dead Space the night before. I frequently hadn’t, but on the days that I had we’d happily natter away for a few minutes about the tricky battle, amusing scare, or infuriating story point I’d encountered. I wrung every drop of entertainment out of that game in one long, winding playthrough, and a large aspect of that was due to the fact that it was my water cooler topic for months on end.

I’m sick at the moment, and with Dead Space 2 once again provided to me out of the largesse of my coworkers, I popped the game in yesterday and proceeded to crash through several hours of it without respite.

I’m not sure I could tell you what happened in more than about 15 minutes of it.

Continue reading On Social Singleplayer and Slow Gaming

Game Chat – Dawn of War II: Retribution

Our ongoing chat coverage of Dawn of War II: Retribution continues now that I’ve been playing for about 6 hours and have something to add to my sister’s earlier comments:

Sonic Rob: It’s funny, you know Brotherhood and Retribution are both refreshes of previous titles more than new games or even proper sequels
Sonic Rob: I’m really finding AssBro more compelling, tho
Fyrehaar: more compelling than?
Sonic Rob: than retribution
Fyrehaar: ahh
Fyrehaar: I am now very interested in the single player
Fyrehaar: each has the same missions with different plots
Fyrehaar: I want to see what it is for each of them
Sonic Rob: so far I’ve mostly been playing the marines campaign
Sonic Rob: by and large I don’t give a shit about these marines
Sonic Rob: it is really frustrating not being Poopus
Sonic Rob: Diomedes is a goddamned moron
Sonic Rob: and he is running the show
Sonic Rob: not me!
Sonic Rob: I felt like Poopus was my avatar, you know?
Sonic Rob: that’s me, in the game
Sonic Rob: Diomedes and I disagree on a lot
Sonic Rob: and he’s the one who gets to decide even tho I’m the one who paid the 40 bucks!

Continue reading Game Chat – Dawn of War II: Retribution

Game Chat – DOW II: Retribution, First Impressions

DOW II: Retribution launched on March 1. As DOW II is the official game of fireandsonic.com I had it on day one. Once Sonic gets his spiffy collector’s edition in the mail we will have a more in depth review.

FyreHaar: started playing retribution last night

SonicRob: verdict?

FyreHaar: well,  it runs a bit slow but doesn’t crash

SonicRob: huh.  more demanding

FyreHaar: which is weird.

Continue reading Game Chat – DOW II: Retribution, First Impressions

The Haul ’10: Covered in Dirty Savings

Hey Fyre,

As is rapidly becoming traditional, the end of year sales are badly outshining the Black Friday sales that kicked off the holiday feeding frenzy. I’ve managed to restrain myself – sort of. The haul below represents “self-restraint” in my world:


Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time

Iron Grip: Warlord


Splinter Cell: Conviction

Supreme Commander 2

Tropico 3 Special Edition


I’m probably most excited for Bayonetta and Machinarium – the others were all just really good deals/targets of opportunity. What does your haul look like?

Assassin’s Creed II – Downloadable Mal-Content

Yesterday, after getting all of the trophies for Assassin’s Creed II I had a hankering to stab some more people in the throat and run over rooftops. I downloaded the DLC currently available: The Battle of Forli and The Bonfire of the Vanities: Black Edition with 3 Templar Lairs. All of this cost me $10.98.

The DLC  was not all that.

Continue reading Assassin’s Creed II – Downloadable Mal-Content

SonicFyre Episode 5

A podcast recorded, edited and published in less time than it takes to gestate an elephant. Rejoice!!

>> 00:00 Intro and Game Demo Reviews. We tried out Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, Supreme Commander 2 and Just Cause 2.
>> 16:00 Fyre completed her first run through of God of War III. Get ready for the love!
>> 26:00 SonicRob gives an update on Shadow of the Colossus, the current selection for Make Me Play Videogames and JRPG weirdfest Persona 4.
>> 36:58 A digression regarding amphibians and Fyre adds to the list of forbidden handles for What’s My Name?
>> 39:15 SonicRob speaks to The Girl Who Played with Fire and the movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
>> 45:14 Rob continues hogging the mic to talk about KickAss. We talk about HitGirl and what’s wrong with her.
>> 54:48 Fyre reviews Clash of the Titans and notes an odd similarity between two previews.
>> 1:08:25 We talk about Snow Crash and wind up the show!

SonicFyre Episode 5 MP3 1:12:36 66.4MB

You Had Me at Hex Grid

Civilization V has been announced today for a Fall release. Firaxis reports that they are excited to be working on the first game to combine Alan Moore’s seminal neo-anarchist graphic novel with the deep technology tree and addictive gameplay of…

Hm? Yes?

Oh. Oh, I see.


Civilization V Announced, Introduces HexesSid Meier’s legendary turn-based historical strategy series Civilization will receive a brand new installment on PC this fall, publisher 2K Games announced today.

Civilization V will charge players with once again leading and shaping a civilisation all the way from the dawn of society through to the space age, now backed by an all-new graphics engine and boasting “unprecedented modding capabilities.”

An “entirely new combat system” which includes ranged bombardment is promised. Civ V also makes the jump to hexagon-shaped tiles, which 2K says will take the series “in new directions” with “deeper strategy” and “more realistic gameplay.”

“Each new version of Civilization presents exciting challenges for our team,” said series creator Sid Meier in a press statement. “Thankfully, ideas on how to bring new and fun experiences to Civ players never seem to stop flowing. From fully animated leaders and realistic landscapes, new combat tactics, expanded diplomacy and shared mods, we’re excited for players to see the new vision our team at Firaxis has brought to the series.”

Developed yet again by Firaxis Games–who’ve helmed the series since Civ III–Sid Meier’s Civilization V is slated for release on PC in fall of this year.

So via Shacknews we see that a new Civ has been announced. The graphics can be assumed to be charming and aesthetically pleasing, so let’s ignore those for the moment and talk about how it will play. Bombardment? Ok, this will allow for bigger projected zones of control. Expanded diplomacy? Intriguing for me, as I’m a big fan of killing them with kindness. Hex grids?

Oh, it’s motherfucking on.

Continue reading You Had Me at Hex Grid

Make Me Play Video Games Field Journal: The Rhythm

I’ve been playing Far Cry 2 for almost three weeks, and I’m solidly at 50% complete according to the taunting little completion reading that appears next to every game save. Here’s hoping my speed of play never comes up in a job interview =P

Part of the problem is that it’s really hard to sit and play this game for more than about two hours. I don’t think this is a problem with my attention span or gluteal fortitude; I’ve played WoW, Madden, and Mass Effect for far, far longer stretches. There’s something about Far Cry 2 that just doesn’t compel me to play for long stretches at a time.

That’s not to say I’m not enjoying it; far from it. It’s like Chinese food: I have a course, get all full, and then get hungry for another serving in a couple of hours. I think part of it is the incredibly free-form structure of the game. In WoW you are at least working towards levelling. In Madden, you are building a win/loss record as you complete the season. Nothing that you do in Far Cry ever really changes anything. Maybe it’s part of allowing the player to do anything at any time, but there’s very little sense of progress over time in Far Cry 2. You complete a mission, and now you can’t do that mission anymore, but everything else is still the same.

It’s really discouraging when that’s all you have to show for an hour or two of time.