Monday, September 28, 2009

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2

I picked up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 because I wanted a game that I could play together with Audrea. I wanted something wasn't too complex yet with enough depth not to be vacuous. And so far, we've been having fun.

As with the previous Ultimate Alliance game, players take control of various Marvel characters stopping a string of villains from dastardly deeds. Over the course of the game, players can upgrade their characters with skills and abilities with experience points gained from trouncing various minions and underlings.

One reason why I'm liking this game so much is that many RPG elements have been removed from the game. And that to me is a good thing. Apparently, this is not a commonly shared opinion. One major problem I've always had with the first Ultimate Alliance was the infinite minute increments that didn't have significant impact on the game. +3% damage for every level increase in the relevant skill? -2.4secs cool-down time? I don't want to deal with that level of tedium. I just want to get into the action as quickly as I can.

Which is why I also appreciate the new in-game levelling system. Instead of having to continuously wait for other players to upgrade their characters, you can now do it on the fly whilst others continue playing. Your character is taken over by the AI while you upgrade.

Visually, I'm finding it much easier to differentiate characters, enemies and background. I had a hard time with UA1, when there were too many clashing colours. But it's easier to follow the action in UA2. The in-game camera does need a little work though; there are multiple times when the camera ends up in the oddest angles, obscuring the vision of the players.

Audrea and I haven't gotten too deep into the game yet. We finished about 3 missions yesterday. But I reckon that we'll be playing this often over the course of the next couple of weeks. I'm finding the improvements in the sequel make for a better playing experience. And the removal of tedious elements helps to condense the fun factor.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Enlisted into the Twit Army

Like so many before, succumbing was the inevitable result. Should I have resisted for so long, knowing it was ultimately futile? Can I pride myself on the fortitude shown? Or do I hang my head low for my failing resolve?

Follow me at

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life in Melbourne: Progress on the House 3

It's been just over a month since we last saw the house. And the progress that has transpired is quite astonishing. The floors are done, the kitchen is in, and the upstairs rooms are almost completed.

To be perfectly honest, we weren't quite as excited about the house when we saw it last. There was still a lot to be done then, and we couldn't visualise the space. But having seen it again in a near complete stage, we've had our faith renewed.

Things to do done still include wiring, plumbing, toilets, showers, carpets, garage and floor polishing.

Living Room


Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2/Study

Monday, September 21, 2009

Life in Melbourne: Royal Melbourne Show 2009

Audrea and I have always been fans of the Royal Shows. We went when we were students in Brisbane. And we continue to go now that we're in Melbourne. Showbags, carnival games, rides, fairy floss and animals. What's not to like?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pixel Hunt Issue 9

The latest issue of Pixel Hunt is out now. It's really a good magazine, with loads of great videogame content. If you're a fan of videogames, you would be remiss to not check it out. And the price of entry? Absolutely free.

My contributions this issue include:
Op-Ed (Pg 6-7)
The Sims 3 Review (Pg 40-43)
UFC 2009 Review (Pg 47-49)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

PixelCast 4: My next episode

The crew at PixelHunt have put together another podcast. Dylan, Tim and I share the games we've been playing, and discuss the use of dialogue in games.

Podcast available here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Stories: Weakness must hurt

The train chugs along, filled with people on their journey home. A young girl sits, prim and proper in her uniform. She reads from a book, open and resting upon her lap. In the surrounding buzz, she appears calm and serene.

Her skirt hem rests just above her knee, revealing scars etched into her thigh. Among the scars is a word carved into her leg: Weak.

I wonder if she has cut herself. I wonder why.