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Tycho / on Wed, Mar 18 2015 at 10:53 am

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Adverse Conditions

This is the strip we did on stage at PAX East.  Typically its manufacture runs virtually the length of the time allotted, but with all the extracurricular sketching he’s doing it was like forty minutes or something.  The cold was real, though: I had to bring someone a pass, outside, and only a few seconds out there triggered a fight or flight response.  I felt the surface of my eyes freeze.

In my role as forward scout, I almost never have a chance to go back to a game.  It sucks, kinda.  I can think of two examples - Command & Conquer: Renegade and Phantom Crash - where reexamining my initial take lead to discovering savory favorites in what was essentially the garbage can.  Both examples here are from 2002, and it’s not a coincidence.  There was actually time to do that, then.  You don’t have to wait very long for a great game these days, and you can get as many as you want for nothing.  DLC creates an interesting dynamic too, whatever else it may do: Guitar Hero and Rock Band were essentially living documents, and with weekly tracks I was back in there all the time.

But I never really leave Orcs Must Die 2.  I know they got their wild MOBA hybrid thing, Unchained, but they’re still turning large and small screws on it, and then cupping their ears trying to hear what it has to say I’ll come back to it when the flaky crust has browned.

There are lots of tower defense games, there are even a few where a character is ensouled on the battlefield alongside.  Sanctum 2 is a good example, and it allows for four players, which I am given to understand is more than the 2 offered here.  But the personality and execution on OMD2 is just more my style.  It’s… slapstick, if you’ve done it correctly.  It is an orc being dragged heavenward by an automatic punching machine before he is drowned in acid and then sucked into a wall-mounted shredder.  You almost feel bad for them, but not really, except you sorta do.  Because of what happened to their bodies.  And not just what happened, but how it happened, with its ineluctable swiftness.  You are essentially contractors, you and your co-op partner, except instead of creating functional living spaces you produce the polar opposite.

There are a couple things that they would have done differently, if they had made it today: it’s a game about bringing tools into a level, tools you buy with Skulls, which must be considered the ultimate currency.  But much in the way that Blizzard finally let you have different specs, they’d have let you do that here too; as it stands, you have to refund your spec altogether and build it if you want to really try something new.  But I ain’t mad; they were just doing the best they could, trying to invest the Spec with the weight of a true economy.  They couldn’t have imagined I’d still be here years later, delivering unforgettable “experiences” to gallons and gallons of increasingly liquefied customers.

(CW)TB  


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