Thursday, March 19, 2009

Battlefield Heroes: First Impressions

I finally got my activation key to the closed beta of Battlefield Heroes yesterday. Having waited for more than 2 months, I was extremely excited to get started. I just wanted to share some of my first impressions with you.

The Game
If you're familiar with the Battlefield series, you'll know what you're in for. Vehicles, huge maps and all sorts of mayhem. The Battlefield series is known for its wackiness, with players pulling off all sorts of stunts, and this is one of the key elements in this newest game. Played entirely through a web browser, the game has adopted a very stylized cartoon-inspired art style; I guess this is to reduce taxing on your computer or internet connection.

Setting Up
This game requires players to first install a plugin for the web browser at about 4gb, and an EA account. Beta-testers also need a authentification key, which I assume won't be necessary once it goes fully live. Players then get to create a number of characters for use in the game, which includes facial features, clothes, even types of emotes. Players also choose which team these characters would be playing for: 1) Royal Army (inspired by WWII poms and yanks) and Nationals (equivalent to Third Reich Germans). I'll explain why this team selection becomes a pertinent point. Players also select their character class at this point, so they can take up roles as a soldier (standard grunt), gunner (heavy weapons) or commando (sneaky stuff).

Playing the game
Unfortunately, I didn't really get to play a real game last night. I had created a Nationals character and jumped into a game, only to discover the other person inside was on the same team. So we spent a long time waiting for someone from the other team to join. Everyone else who came in subsequently also turned out to be Nationals. At one point, we had 4 Nationals waiting on some Royal Army players to join. There didn't seem to be an easy way to change teams, not unless you had already created a character for the other side.

So instead of having a proper game, we all decided the muck around instead. The highlight of the evening was when 3 of us piled into a jeep and chased a tank across some wheat fields whilst honking on the horn crazily. Crashing a plane while another sat on the wing, and driving off a cliff came a close second and third.

The Looks
I wanted to talk about the way the game looks last, because I felt the art style really supplements the gameplay. You're inspired to do the silly stuff. You feel as if you're in one of those old Warner Bros. cartoons with the Road Runner and the Coyote. Absurdity was always one of the mainstays of the Battlefield series. The art style leverages this, and makes what would otherwise have been ridiculous into a big goofball. And in a good way.

The Final Product
There's a lot more to explore in this game even in beta, especially with character customizations. Connection seems stable enough, and there weren't many visible glitches in the 40mins that I played. Overall it looks quite refined already, and it'll only become more polished once the game goes live.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Who says games aren't educational?

A periodic table of videogame characters? This would have been a huge assist when I was studying chemistry.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Sneak Peek at Out Wedding Photos (Just one!)

Here's one of our photos that we took when we went back to Singapore in early Feb 2009. You'll have to wait for the rest.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Empire: Total War or Dawn of War II?

Hmm... It's a difficult choice that I have to make right now. I only have a limited amount of disposable cash to spend. And even then, I shouldn't be blowing all my money on games. And when there are multiple excellent games on the market simultaneously, it makes the game buying process that much harder.

Empire: Total War
Large scale tactical battles, rich historical backdrop with a robust strategic play, players take on the role of both king and general. And with the new added feature of naval battles, this game is bursting at it seams with good bits. A big, chunky meaty game, the kind that you can really sink your teeth into.

Dawn of War II
This game apparently creates a whole new way of real-time strategy game that thinking of it as a mere sequel would do it a great dis-service. The mundane task of building a functional economy is removed. Crafting a specialised squad of combatants, and wielding them as you would a surgical knife becomes the focus of the game. And that sounds terribly exciting.

So I've got a big meaty chunky pie on the one hand, and a palette cleansing aperitif on the other. Which one should it be?