November 30, 2008
This game certainly lives up to its potential of being a candidate for game of the year, and it was definitely worth the wait, even if it was incredibly short. Left 4 Dead is so good that all of my criticisms are proved trivial by ‘the game is so freaking sweet’ factor.
You start out with normal weapons, either a submachine gun or a pump shotgun (and a pistol). They’re not that weak, but they don’t even compare to the second tier of weapons: auto shotgun, hunting rifle, and assault rifle. The game is going to run you dry on ammo unless you take the shotgun. Fortunately, the shotgun is incredibly strong; unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as fun as the hunting or assault rifles.
There’s not much more about the game I can say other then the painfully obvious: this is linear gameplay with multiple entry routes. Also the hyped AI director, which makes the game different every time you play it, works surprisingly well. You never know exactly what is going to be around every corner, which adds an additional creepy factor to the game.
There’re four campaigns, or movies as the game boldly calls them. Each one of them runs around 40-90 minutes, depending on how often your team dies. Sadly there are no checkpoints other then safe houses, which can be as far as twenty minutes behind where you died.
The bots are fairly competent as game AI goes. Sometimes they’re complete idiots, but not that often. You’d definitely be robbing the game of its awesome factor if you played the whole thing with bots though, for several reasons.
- You’re playing co-op with people, people who hopefully know what they’re doing.
- Bots follow you, you have to tell them where to go. [Ed: Bots will not take any initiative. If you're not leading them they will stand around looking at one another.]
- Bots can’t jump out windows (as Bill and I learned the hard way). [Ed: Bots will only take 'obvious' paths, such as running down a hallway and some stairs to get to the street, instead of following you out a second story window.]
Like I said, playing the game is pretty straightforward; each one of the campaigns has the same linear storyline as the one before, just a different setting and different method of escaping. It feels like you’ve seen the area before in a movie, or another game, it’s because you probably have. It also gives this feeling of completeness when you finish a movie–there’s not a cliffhanger, just a ‘survivors escaped’ and then it’s roll credits. You can easily stand back up in that hour, and be completely satisfied.
Skip it: The only way I can tell you to skip this is if you’re under the age of 13, easily scared, or don’t like zombies.
Rent it: Hey, why not? You can beat it on Xbox Live with a few friends in about three or four hours, and it might convince you to buy an incredible game!
[Ed: I'd also add people who game alone. I don't think there's enough here to warrant a purchase for single-player gamers. It would be worth a rental, perhaps a pass entirely depending on how you feel about Valve titles otherwise.]
Buy it: It’s an incredible game with a few flaws, but nothing’s perfect. If you like playing FPS games vs AI then this is definitely for you. Also if you like incredible co-op games. [Ed: This game really shines with 3-7 friends.]
P.S.: The airplane crash in Dead Air is AWESOME!
November 29, 2008
There are still some tweaks to be made (I’m hoping to integrate this into the site a bit better) but No Hype Reviews now has a podcast. The schedule is approximately whenever I feel like it, but expecting a monthly update isn’t unfair. With a little bit of luck Andrew, Caleb, and "Special Guests" might show up to talk shop in the future. We’ll be doing a mix of video and audio; as demands require.
The first podcast is a 15 minute video Caleb and I made of a Left 4 Dead session. You can expect to see Caleb’s review tomorrow; but you can watch the video today.
Click here to subscribe. Hopefully you’ll see us on iTunes and Zune shortly.
November 28, 2008
November 26, 2008
You can now watch Ghost Busters and just about any other streaming video Netflix offers. Lord Vigo approves.
November 25, 2008
So Shenmue fans have been waiting nine years to see how the trilogy will end. The first game came out just before the Dreamcast died, which hurt it’s popularity quite a bit. However most people who have played it love it – to an extreme.
Case in point, starting 11/27/08 and running through 12/29/08 fans will be sending those cheap $.25 toys you find in vending machines outside your local super store to Japan. Specifically to Yu Suzuki, Producer/Director of the Shenmue series. If he gets enough he might have something to show his boss and maybe the game will get made. Probably not, but maybe. I’m going to throw in a box of toys myself, just to see the reaction.
You can get the details here.
November 25, 2008
The Fallout 3 "level editor" comes out sometime in December. Andrew and I have a great idea for a game, and this might be the engine we use to try and make it. Of course I’d like some way of importing the L4D director, but I want that to be in every game I play for the rest of time. I wonder how many people are in a similar boat.
They’ve also announced three DLC packages for both 360 and PC players in January, February, and March. They look fairly interesting with two new cities and three new major-sounding objectives.
November 25, 2008
I mentioned on Twitter that I felt a bit demoralized by some comments made on the most recent TWiT. In private a few of you may have heard this was compounded by comments made on the most recent Joystiq podcast. I wanted to clear a few things up about that.
I run this site as a labor of love. I enjoy doing it, and my long term goal is to write/talk about games full time. That is not to say I harbor any illusions about my site’s future. I realize there are only a handful of people making money off the web, and fewer still doing it by writing about their hobby. If I never see black ink when I balance NHR’s budget I won’t be upset; though my wife might have a different reaction.
That said, I am trying to hammer out some ways to bring in a little more money. I might try to sell ads directly to companies. I may try to freelance for larger blogs. Maybe I’ll sign on with another small-to-medium blog that would be willing to cover my expenses, and I’ll continue to not get paid. I could sell all my possessions and move to San Francisco so I can work at the next publication Ziff Davis decides to stop printing.
This is what I know for certain:
- As of today I own this domain for another two years.
- I am not going to stop writing about the industry.
- I am still tired of seeing games that aren’t available being written about by journalists with an excited tone.
- The site is doing better now, in terms of traffic, than it has ever before.
- I still appreciate all of your comments, emails, twitter messages, and page views. This site would be long gone if not for you.
November 25, 2008
I just want to make sure everyone’s had a chance to see this awesome post from Joystiq before Black Friday. They’ve got lists of Best Buy, Circut City, Game Stop, Target, Toys R Us and Walmart game specials.
November 25, 2008
Maybe it’s just the circles I ran in when PSP hacking was the hip new thing to do; but I was interested in homebrew, added functionality and repurposing my handheld. I was only dimly aware that someone could use the same methods to steal games.
Sony had the foresight to be wary of modders, actively fighting the scene even before game piracy was a viable option for the device. It generated some ill-will in the community, but they stuck to their guns.
When pirates hoisted the Jolly Roger in the PSP Sea Sony found themselves defenseless. They tried to force firmware upgrades that would break the hacks along with games, but the scene was able to work around the trap. Eventually they started incorporating official versions of the homebrewed tools to encourage people to switch away from their ‘insecure’ device.
According to a recent interview Sony is beginning to succeed. The PlayStation Store is getting the credit for providing enough bait to get all but the most ‘hardened’ criminals away from piracy. If that’s true, good on you Sony. I still want a ‘legal’ homebrew channel, but you’re moving in the right direction.
Of course it’s possible Sony just isn’t looking for pirates in the right place. Just saying.
November 24, 2008
- Chrono Trigger for the DS
- Syberia for the DS
- Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for PS3
- Banjo-Kazooie for Xbox Live
- Super STreet Fighters II Turbo HD Remix for Xbox 360
It’s not so bad this week. Me? I’m grabbing Chrono Trigger, to hell with the rest.