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Tycho / on Fri, Mar 14 2008 at 12:38 am

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We were recently contacted by the Make-A-Wish foundation with the news that a young man had chosen to invest his wish in us.  This was no surprise.  Well, a wish in Gabriel was a surprise.  A wish in me, certainly - I’m an investment.  Here are only a few of the things that make me such a winning opportunity: 

- My immaculate Protectorate of Menoth army

- My molten caramel baritone

- A staggering ability to discern a coffee’s unique origin character

- Great with yarn

It is for these and other reasons that Tycho stock is rated a "Strong Buy."  Should this menu of supernatural delights fail to satisfy, I know a good place we can go to lunch. 

I put Army of Two to bed night before last, some levels I’ve played three or four times, and my opinion is mostly unchanged:  it’s alright, but I think there’s some genetic material in the earning and customization elements that could powerfully inform the sequel.  Now, for Playstation 3 gamers who (in dereliction of the medium) never played Gears a year and a half ago, it’s possible there’s more nutrition here.  But in general, the co-op maneuvers aren’t especially frequent or well-used, and the boss encounters are somewhere between anticlimactic and nonexistent.  I have to say that I prefer the more explicit cover system in Gears to this one, where you sort of duck behind things but it’s not terribly obvious that the game has recognized it, and firing from the edge of cover can be dodgy.  Also, they have stacked the commands for "fall over and look like you’re dead" and "become an unstoppable, invincible badass" on the A button.  This inevitably results in some shameful, inauspicious catnaps.  It’s the sort of game people want, though, if my friends list is any indication.  Once you play through a level, you get inoculated somehow to the dialogue.  Once this happens, it starts to feel almost like an action RPG - playing precisely to earn.  This is the worthy genetic material referred to above. 

There is still this schizophrenic vibration that is felt throughout, which must be the product of such a turbulent development cycle.  It’s seen substantial gameplay changes as it has progressed, but it’s also seen tone changes: it’s "humor model" was roundly criticized when the original training videos were released, and then after a period of silence they delivered a video that leveraged the events of 9/11 to set the tone.  You’ll see life and death situations juxtaposed with slapstick, which are then juxtaposed with impossibly idiotic assessments of game events - it’s like they didn’t want to waste assets they created from some earlier iteration, even if they no longer fit in context.  The final product hacks a drunken, winding path through this complex terrain. 

(CW)TB out.

  this whole thing’s coming down

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