Monday, 17 May 2010

Mad Gear Solid

The future is here. It's not very Orange.

Some of you may be aware that we have grander ideas for our humble community than just letting you get your lulz at TFB's genitals. We have taken the first step on this road and I'd like to introduce you to Mad Gear Solid.

At this very moment we don't have our finished style (that'll take me a while) and only have a blog in place. But from small seeds great oaks do grow.

Expect in the coming months our finished front page, with links to the blog (which will have the same aesthetic as the rest of the site), downloadable goodies and more from your favourite game nerdz. We will shortly be leaving this little page behind. For up to date (and eventually early) info you will need to go to You have been warned.

So, do go over, sign up, if you need a contributor account email me with your preferred username and email address - if you can't find out where my email address is then you don't get one (or you could click on that little picture of Haggar up top and get it). I am the God of these things, but The Faux Bot might also be able to hook you up. If you ask him very nicely.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Boobs are dangerous

We all know that boobies can be a whole load of fun. But we should also know that they can also be distracting, which often leads to danger.

I don't know how they did it, but some geniuses figured out a way to get said boobs into Team Fortress 2 and harness their jugular, distracting powers. Watch and laugh...

Via Sankaku Complex

Review: Lost Planet 2

On paper, Lost Planet 2 sounds fantastic: team-up to take down huge bosses using a plethora of cool weaponry and robotic suits, customise your character with unlockable items whilst levelling up in both the campaign and multiplayer. However, like everything else in life, all of this comes at a cost. In exchange, Capcom wants your sanity, your sense of equilibrium and about three control pads. In short, it is one of the most frustrating games I have ever played.

Lost Planet 2 is full of epic visuals, slick art direction and the kind of strong ideas that you'd expect in a Capcom game. The problem is, nearly all of them are so poorly implemented, or marred by another, flawed feature, that every session will leave you feeling sore and only looking at the negatives.

Capcom has clearly focused their efforts on making Lost Planet 2 a sequel in the Hollywood sense. It most certainly is bigger and packed with new features. Some of the giant boss battles are genuinely impressive and convey a sense of scale that would make Cliff Blezinski weep. Unfortunately, by diverting all their attention into those huge bosses, Capcom have forgotten to address the issues from the first game and have even created new ones that could have been easily avoided were they paying more attention to the basics.
Rather than pitting you against legions of Akrid, you now spend the majority of your time duking it out with other gun-toting, Vital Suit riding snow pirates. Gone is your sense of power, the variety and the arcade pacing that made the first one so much fun, instead leaving you with a run-of-the mill cover shooter without a cover system.

In single-player mode the game is rendered almost unplayable at times, thanks to some brutally retarded AI. One sequence in particular tasks you with defeating one of the huge 'Category G' Akrid using a mounted railway cannon. This sequence involves having to manually load it with huge shells, then energise them, rotate the cannon to the correct position and then get in it, aim and fire. All the while, your train is being rammed by the giant Akrid and you are being swarmed by smaller, 'projectile' Akrid. It doesn't end there, either. You also have to monitor your train's declining health bar, running to the bottom after every second or third Akrid attack, to inject coolant to stop the thing going up in flames. Oh, also if you fall off, it's instant death and back to the beginning of the entire level, not the boss battle, the ENTIRE LEVEL. Now, this may be totally manageable with three team mates, but the fuck-awful AI would rather watch as you perform each task yourself. Seriously, it's almost as if they are mocking you; they even occasionally will pick up a shell, as if to rub salt in the wound, showing what, in a fair and just world, they should be doing to help you.

Next time a game markets itself as a 'team-up' experience, really take that into consideration before you purchase it. The AI renders whole sections of the game unplayable, leaving you wishing for the uninvolved, checkpoint activating nonsense that comprises the other 90% of the game. The game is criminally shallow at times, posing you with little more to do than find another data post, each time insisting on another, ill-conceived reason that you would be doing it, usually it's to facilitate some sort of evacuation procedure. Most of the time I felt like the world's unluckiest cartographer.

I wish there were more nice things to say about the game, I truly do. As a die-hard Capcom fanboy, I wanted to love this game and bought it over Alan Wake, telling myself that I should always support the things I love, like when I bought Brutal Legend over Uncharted 2. I know, I know. Lost Planet 2 almost goes out of the way to frustrate you. One moment you'll be admiring the lush scenery, marvelling at the sense of scale, eyeing up a new piece of robotic hardware and the next, you'll be throwing your controller, because you can't for the love of God understand why they won't allow you to use your grappling hook mid-fall.

Even the promising unlockables system is let down by some frankly bizarre systems. Rather than collecting character parts and weapons in-game, you collect points. However, these points can't be spent on whatever you want, but instead you must use them on a 'spinner' (read: gambling machine) that nine times out of ten dishes out titles and taunts rather than anything of any actual use. You could be forgiven for thinking that the game was purpose-built to frustrate and annoy.

Lost Planet 2 had everything going for it, but is ultimately let-down by it's refusal to address the issues from the first game, adopt a user-friendly control scheme or steal from Western action games. It's as if they think Western gamers desire little more than online co-op and competitive modes, forgetting that the successes of Gears of War and Call of Duty are down to their tight mechanics and even tighter execution. It's a shame, because in the hands of more forward-thinking, or even contemporary developers, Lost Planet 2 could have been incredible.

Friday, 14 May 2010

What the eff are you playing?

In an effort to bring all of us reclusive fucks just that little bit closer together, I've decided to take a risk on a wild, new feature that I have semi-consciously stolen from numerous other, less dick obsessed, websites. I am drinking beer and eating pizza alone and very shortly I will be playing Lost Planet 2....alone. Anyone else being a reclusive mouth-breather this Friday evening? Then tell us what you're playing. Go on, please. We may even engage in some sort of conversation. Imagine that! The possibilities!

I figure there's a few playing the newly released Alan Wake, make sure to drop a comment to let everyone know what you think. Is it worth my forty quid?

Also, now taking witty title suggestions if this works out.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Oh, Gabe

For those with adequate PCs and an interest in independently created games, Valve have recently bundled together 5 of the best independent games available into one package.

For a measly 15 bucks you will get the following awesomeness

1. Machinarium

A glorious steam punk point and click puzzler. It has won various design awards, and a Google search will help you see what they are. It's cute, fun and at times hugely mind bending.

2. World of Goo

Does exactly as it says on the tin. You create structures using orbs of goo in order to get another set of goo balls to an exit. Which is far more addictive than you'd think.

It has its own mini-game as well, which is World of Goo Corporation, where the aim of the game is to build the largest towers or longest bridges which is also quite damn addictive.

3. And Yet It Moves

An interesting torn paper aesthetic and a fun twist on puzzle platforming make this a good, if short game. As you play you run, jump and can rotate the world in order to make it from A to B whilst avoiding obstacles. Pretty run of the mill. Until you read it again and notice the rotate the world part. This can make all the difference.

4. Osmos

Here you play a single organism (called a mote) and the aim is to absorb smaller motes to make yourself the largest mote in the level. However, there are motes that are already larger than yourself, be absorbed by them and its game over.

Last but not least we have

5. Galcon Fusion

This post is getting too long so this is from wikipedia:

Players start with one planet and send off ships to conquer other planets around them. The numbers on each planet indicate how many ships it will take to conquer them. The numbers on a player's own planet indicate the amount of ships that their planet holds. Each planet a player owns produces ships for that player with more ships at a faster rate produced depending on the planet's size. Players can select what percentage of the ships to send from a planet and players can redirect ships in midair. The aim of the game is to defeat the other opponent(s).

Individually you would usually pay that price for Machinarium alone. This is one of the best deals I've seen since The Orange Box came out. Please jump on it. These independent developers need all the support we can give them to continue providing us with non-FPS clones all year long.

Also, chuck another 3.99 on top and you can get the excellent Winterbottom. Which you all know I <3 hard. The Faux Bot has now had his pretentious view that it is 'Braid for dummies' smashed and seemed to enjoy it (okay, he was at gunpoint and worried about his glossy dick at the time but still!).

If you still have doubts, download the machinarium demo, see that it is glorious and then get this - you get 4 other awesome games for free!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Figure ambivalence - Vesperia

After a few weeks of looking at the first batch of Tales of Vesperia figures from Kotobukiya, the second collection is finally out for pre-order:

First collection:
Second Collection:
I can honestly say I'm torn. They're not terrible by any means, but somehow not great either. These are characters I always had high hopes for if they ever released figures, but it looks like a bit of a mixed bag.

At first glance things look promising, but then you start to notice little details. For example Yuri and Estelle's faces are not quite right, and Raven's hair, while well sculpted, is way off and gives the character a wholly different ( read:wrong) look.

Being released in sets of 5 (One hidden figure in each box- silhouettes reveal them as Repede and Duke) is off-putting for me also, I might have taken a punt on a few (including the two that are not pictured- typical) if I could have picked them up separately. Only time will tell if they get individual release, but I'm doubtful.

Perhaps they're awful and I'm in denial as I wanted to love these so badly, or perhaps they're actually pretty good but I hoped for perfection. I'm not sure. What I do know is with so many top grade figures out there at the moment it's hard to part with the cash if you're 100% convinced. After all this though, I still can't make up my mind >_<.

Photos from Tomopop