Milo And Me…And Aragorn Makes Three

It has begun

It has already begun.

Okay, so yeah. Blog has had to take a backseat to things like “having found a job” and “wanting to stay employed” and “Gee, my house sure is dirty since I went back to work or my standard of living is just higher now”.

My apologies but things are probably going to be sporadic from here on out unless I develop a means of staying awake for twenty-seven hours a day. But anyways, onward to today’s blog. Milo, Me and LotR: Aragorn’s Quest.

First up we have Milo. But before I even get into why this is a bad idea, I feel like we should take a step back and look at the overall failure of the name “Natal”. Yes Microsoft, you have beaten Nintendo’s Wiimote and can now shuffle out your own brand of shovelware crap for consumers to shift through. You can also use it to exercise and blah, blah, blah. Which is pretty frickin’ sweet, I’ll give you that. And if for some reason, my readers have been living in a cave and missed the tech demo for this new technology, see below.

So again, pretty cool and one step closer to the promise of the PS9. But my beef is with calling it “Natal”. Did your marketing reps not take English in college? Or Biology for that matter? You do realize how that word is pronounced yes? If you wanted to call it “Natall” you either needed to to suck it up and put that extra “L” in there or shove a snazzy apostrophe mark over one of the letters or something. Because as it stand right now, when I think Microsoft, I think pre-term babies. And I seriously doubt that’s the image you wanted from your test groups. Just a thought.

But on the meat of this part of my post. MILO.

Holy shit Microsoft! WHY?! I mean, yeah it’s neat that he recognizes faces and movement and can draw a pretty picture and give it to you and then tell you what you drew and it’s all fun and games until he becomes self-aware and starts replicating and telling your toaster that maybe it doesn’t want to be a slave to the whims of toaster strudel cravings and before we know it, SkyNet is live, I, Robot is real and we’re all serving as batteries for the robot overlords. And I’ll have to blame you instead of Japan which is just. Plain. WRONG. So please, think of the children…also, I don’t want to remind the TV to do its homework. I have a hard enough time getting my own kids to do theirs. Although I can’t threaten to unplug them if they don’t…hmmm.

Speaking of kids (I know, a pretty weak segway), there have been rumblings on the internet. The kind of rumblings that speak of angry fanboys rising up as one to protest the rape of a beloved series. And what is the subject of their wrath? Lord of the Rings. EA has finally allowed their death grip on the franchise to expire and Warner Bros. was quick to snatch up the IP. And horror of horrors! They’re putting out a child friendly version of the game called Aragorn’s Quest. Pulling design elements from Mario and Zelda, the game is seriously lacking in blood and gore, which apparently is all fanboys care about. Oh, that and super-fantastic-uber-realistic face renderings. How DARE they make it cartoony!? Want to know what all the hub-bub is about? Here’s the trailer and handful of screenshots. Judge for yourself.

Shire In AutumnAragorn

Personally, I think the naysayers are just missing the times. Not every game coming out these days is aimed at the hardcore gamer and I think we’re having issues adjusting. Casual gamers are like the new baby and we’re all just jealous that that little squalling bundle of bones is getting all the attention when it can’t even GRENADE JUMP yet. But I think this is a great idea. My kids love magic and swords and all that jazz but blood and gore is a little too advanced for them at the ages of eight and four. And as a gamer parent, it’s a way for me to bond with them; to play along and explain the story without fear of emotional trauma or nightmares about Orks.

So with all the gripes, I hope Warner Bros. ignores the cacophony. With all the crap and total dregs of barrel being released for unsuspecting “new” gamers, a quality title would be a breath of fresh air.

Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest for the Lord of the Rings: Aragorn’s Quest for the Wii, PS2 and the DS is RP and slated for release in the Fall of 2009.

Avast Ye! Age of Pirates 2 Release Date Announced

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Avast! Booty! Scurvy! And other piratey words!

Yarrr, me mateys. Pirates might be losing steam to the upstart zombies, but never fear. Playlogic is here. (Good God, did I just make an Underdog inference? Yes, yes I did….) In a press release out of New York today, Age of Pirates 2 is set to sail on May12, 2009 for the PC market. According to their spokesman:

“This sequel to the popular Age of Pirates franchise reinvents itself with a larger playing field and exciting new content from a new combat system and trading options to numerous quests and character classes,” said Rogier Smit, executive vice president of Playlogic.“The game’s free-roaming options expand the storyline and challenge players with endless hours of adventure.”

Players courageous enough to delve into the dangerous world of Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships will discover treasure and adventure as they choose to go it alone and become the most feared pirate on the seven seas, or prove their loyalty and take the coin of one of four different navies; French, English, Spanish or Dutch. As players navigate their own route through the seas of the Caribbean they can explore strange new countries and undiscovered civilizations, plunder merchant ships and even raid fortified ports and cities– interacting with nearly every character and/or building along the way.

Game features include:

• Ship-to-ship combat and toe-to-toe clashes

• 3 diverse characters and 3 classes: Merchant, Corsair and Adventurer

• 4 main campaigns

• 40+ quests and 40+ quest generators allowing for an infinite amount of quests

• New combat system for faster fights

• 3 weapon classes: light, medium and heavy

• Advanced trading system

• Real-life historical characters such as Jamaican governors Colonel Thomas Lynch and Thomas Modyford

Almost everything can be adjusted to players’ wishes, making customization and resource management a key element to gameplay. Let this serve as a warning; in Age of Pirates 2: City of Abandoned Ships the dead do not sleep easy, and both myth and reality frequently intertwine.

The original Age of Pirates: Carribean Tales, released by Akella is 2006, had a bumpy go. It’s timing coincided with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the game became confused with the Disney property. Playing as one of two characters (the obligatory male and female avatars), players were charged with gallivanting through an open world RPG and becoming the most piratey of all pirates. But neither of those people were Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightly, so many people took a pass for the licensed property. More’s the pity. Gameplay was enjoyable, but the project was overly ambitious for the time, leaving even high end computers struggling to compensate. According to Gamespot’s review:  A countless number of rough edges and some major bugs sap just about all the potential for entertainment from this overambitious, underdeveloped game.

However patch 1.5 when combined with a player created Supermod smoothed out the glitches and slow downs for those heavily infested in the game.

In the interim years, and with a change of developer, hopefully Age of Pirates 2 can sidestep the pitfalls of its predecessor. So far, the trailer and screens look very promising. But I suppose we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to know for sure.

Above is the official trailer for Age of Pirates 2 and below is a gallery of in-game screenshots. Enjoy!

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Viva El Presidente! Tropico 3 Makes Tyrants Lovable Again


Do you miss the old days of the Cold War? The Iron Curtain? Fidel Castro and Cuba being our biggest problem? Well long no more! Kalypso Media has taken up the reigns of the Tropico series. Crush your citizens under your autocratic rule while convincing the tourists that your tropical county is THE exclusive stop on any vacation.

Ahhhh, paradise. Or is it?

Ahhhh, paradise. Or is it?

The official teaser website went up today and can be found here. Anyone familiar with the first Tropico game (or it’s pirate sequel) knows that it’s a strategy simulation. Build your economy, make money and oppress the little people. Or be a benign and loving…and boring…ruler that makes sure everyone is fed and educated.

Based on a scattering of screenshots, the game appears to be keeping it’s top down view but with far more detail and ability to zoom in. For beta images they look pretty snazzy. Having been to the Caribbean myself I think Kalypso is doing a great job of mixing the modern with the dilapidated.

As far as gameplay goes, the staples of all city simulators remain; building enough housing, education and entertainment to keep the citizenry just this side of rioting. Tropico 3 also adds a little bit of “autocratic” flavoring with:

  • Political speeches, edicts and “other” means of influence.
  • Avatar function: Get down on the ground with your El Presidente, walk amongst the little people and change the course of play.
  • A timeline editor that allows you create your own fictive historical events or enter real ones.

For a comprehensive list of features and abilities, check out their website. It’s pretty sparse for now, but it was only released today. I’m sure more tidbits will be trickling down since the game is slated for release this summer.

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Majesty 2 Screenshots and Gameplay

majesty_2_logo1Paradox Interactive released new screens and video gameplay of their sequel to the 2000 RTS.

Majesty 2 retains the tongue in cheek humor of its predecessor, giving the player indirect control over their realm. Where as most fantasy games give the player direct power over slaying monsters and looting abandoned temples, Majesty 2 puts you in the seat of the Realm Protector/King/what have you.

So the town is being overrun by trolls and thieves and your city guard is nothing but a red shirt army designed to die. What’s a ruler to do? You can’t very well kill these monsters on your own. Let’s hire heroes!

Heroes don’t always live up to expectations though. They’re just as likely to go on a shopping spree as destroy the den of goblins just outside town. Your job, as the Realm Protector is to create a setting that keeps the Heroes happy and your town safe. Building inns,  trading posts to bring exotic supplies, guild houses for the various Hero factions, etc. In return, if you’re lucky, the grateful Heroes will keep your castle from being destroyed.

Screenshots and video can be seen at the link above. Check it out!

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