Post-Apocalyptic E3

Screenshot from The Division, Ubisofts new post-apocalypse game, as seen at E3 2013
Screenshot from The Division, Ubisofts new post-apocalypse game, as seen at E3 2013

Lots of post-apocalyptic games revealed at E3 2013

The big news of E3 was obviously the struggle between the PS4 and the Xbox One. That’s not really of interest to us here at ICoS unless that struggle leads to the destruction of all we know and love. Instead, I’ve found information on post-apocalyptic games of interest revealed at this years E3.  It’s looking like a good couple of years for the apocalypse.
Check under the cut for videos
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Tower Defense, The Apocalypse, and YOU!

Tower defense games are games in which you have a limited amount or resources available to build towers to defend your safe space from waves of enemies. Each wave defeated gives way to a stronger wave and loot you can use to build more or upgrade existing towers. [Like real life, except with do-overs!]
I like to say things like, “I’m not obsessed with [thing I spend time that should be allotted to other things doing].”
Sometimes I’ll be playing my tower defense game and not realize that an entire flight from Phoenix to Boston has passed me by. Hm… But it’s not because I want to, it’s because I must—I’m the God of Front Doors! I must protect my nouns.
This week (month?) that statement is directed at a tower defense game on my phone called Castle Defense (or Castle TD once it’s downloaded…) Creative moniker’s are not a staple of the genre.
The thing about tower defense games though, is it’s not really about “fun,”“survival,” or even “winning”. It’s about PERFECT!
I don’t know what’s on the other side of that opening but it’s by duty to protect it. Protect it from super fast pigs and hearty Pterosaurs. Maybe there’s a genetic mutation factory and a  pre-school on the other side of the wall and every creature that gets through is morphed into an even more terrible monster with a hunger for innocence incarnate?
I like to think about tower defense games in terms of survival preparation. I might not have everything I need to do the job that needs doing—Surviving—but I’ll need to sort out HOW? I can’t just spam the landscape with trip wires if an air attack is possible.

How can tower defense games help you prepare for the apocalypse?

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Where's the 'Run and Hide' Button?

I’m watching Resident Evil: Retribution (That’s 5 for the uninitiated) and one of the Michelle Rodriguez characters is all sweet and innocent and doesn’t know how to hold a gun. So eventually bad ass Alice around again and teaches her to shoot a 30 second tutorial and gives her a child to protect.
HUWAT?! Do you give a shit of this child lives?
Not the point. The point is M.Rodz immediately  looks around and says, “Over there looks like a good place to hide.”
Right, home girl? There are zombies on motorcycles using rocket launchers and someone it thinking straight. This blaze of glory shit is not for everyone. Sometime Plan A needs to be protect ya neck.
This is also my major issue with video games when I have a team. Sure I’m playing as Whoever TheFuck, The Unfuckwithable, but if Jill Valentine is hunting me, the last thing I’ll be doing is waiting in the street to confront the bitch. That goes for double sure if I’ve got Leon S. Kennedy, Ada Wong, or Luther West fighting “alongside me.” Ya’ll handle that, I’ll loot these crates. Let’s play to our strengths.
Sometimes when I play Halo with friends, my goal is to not have the last death. Or the most deaths. Or the lowest Kill-Death ratio (I usually fail epically at this one). Or at least not all of those things in one game. My goal is to survive pretty well. Well enough that I don’t cost us the game. I don’t call it the “crouch button,” I call it the “hide button” because that’s what I use it for.
[I’m always tempted to do the same thing when I’m with NPCs but that never works. It’s like they’re not using real bullets… Which is why I equip turrets and spam grenades.]
And in real life I’ma crouch in a corner no matter how much faith Alice has in me. Why? Because as soon as shit got rough and M. Rodz tried to use that gun she got tossed to the side to death like a chump. Lesson learned.

In Halo 4's Flood mode you don't just kill your enemy, you infect them

Halo4 - FLOODHalo 4, like many Halo games before it, is filled with multiplayer modes and options. Recently I was looking for some online fun for one… I’ll wait for the giggles to calm down. I discovered the War Games mode Flood.

Within this War Games simulation, the deadly parasite has returned—a group of Spartans have been transformed into incredibly fast and deadly Flood combat forms. As the Flood, players are forced to destroy uninfected Spartans, converting them into Flood combat form allies. As an uninfected Spartan, the player’s goal is to survive the seemingly never-ending Flood onslaught, staving off transformation into the parasite.
Summary from Halo Waypoint

In Flood you play as a Spartan solider with a team of other Spartans and your objective is to kill all the infected and stop the spread of The Flood.
The Flood is a lot like The Replicators from Stargate SG1 (Which I find completely terrifying), their objective is to destroy infect all other living organisms. That’s it. No reason or logic, just infect.
You can learn more about The Flood from Halo4.co.uk.
In this mode it’s every Spartan for themselves. Sure we all want the same thing but if you die in this mode you don’t simply re-spawn  No, you come back as one of The Flood with the objective of infecting Spartans so there can be more Flood.
[I’m getting excited just thinking about it.]
Each round is timed and you get bonus points fr lasting until the end of the round or being “Last Man Standing,” which is kind of terrifying and ego-stroking at the same time.
Awesome, you’re the livest. Shit, all The Flood want your blood and there is a literal bullseye on you now.
As more Spartans are infected, you’ve got more enemies to defend against.
I think it’s an awesome and pretty quick single player mode, especially for us bloody-minded apocalypse lovers.

The Land of The Video Game Apocalypse

Video games and the apocalypse go hand in hand. Player One is always that one guy with shit to do and an appointment on Tuesday trying to make his (or her) way through this mess and help all these people out—how’d they survive before Player One came along?
But, we keep coming back to these needy people in their dangerous world because of some romanticism that we can hack it, fix it, or beat it into submission.
Of all the video game apocalypses, which is the worst; which is the best? Is it the overwhelming zombies of Resident Evil, the galactic invasions of Mass Effect, the aggressive extermination in Halo, or some other hellish scenario?
If given the choice, I’d find this Unicorn Apocalypse from the Samsung Mobile commercials and be there. I don’t know all the details of Unicorn Apocalypse I just know those are two things I need to see in one place in order to die happy.

Some of my favorite and most feared video game apocalypses

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What if you worked at Death Inc. and it was your job to start the apocalypse?

The first thing I thought of when I saw Ambient Studios announce Death Inc. a PC (and MAC) game coming out this summer was that is reminds me of Black & White (Lionhead Studios).
No, I do not think it looks like a knock off. I think it embodies the same brilliance and unique balance that makes the player not the hero or the villain but the story itself.
Black & White, a game that is anything but, is one of my favorite but out of date games. In Black & White you play as a minor god with the goal or working your way up to being a major god wither through fear or adoration from the people below you. It was amazing.
As the main character in Death Inc. you’re charged with spreading a plague through medieval England. Yes! I’m in already.
The images posted remind me of a cross between A Kingdom for Keflings and Double Fine would put out. Both are things I love and would be happy to have more of.
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Review: Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)

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Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)answers the question “What’s my motivation?” for payers of Hawken the game.
Hawken by Adhesive Games and Meteor Entertainment is part Total Recall, in that it’s set in a ruined dystopian planet; part my desperate hopes for what Pacific Rim will be, a ridiculous mecha battle royal; and part Gundam where everyone is fighting for or against a team but no one is really right.
But then Hawken: Genesis adds in a heaping helping of Top Gun.
It sounds like chaos on the surface but it’s actually a brilliant premise.
Everyone fled Earth for a brighter future on Illal but their hopes overwhelmed the new planet, destroying it faster than they destroyed Earth. Unfortunately for the poor planet, devastation isn’t enough and they’ve found one more resource to pry from the corps of their new home.
Already in the midst of an inter-corporation world war the citizens now have reason to stay and fight too. Not for honor or freedom but for their own slice of the pie. That is why they came after all.
From the jump, “the Hawken” is mentioned in a laundry list of terrible things that shouldn’t have happened, terrible things that ruined a once optimistic planet. I’m not clear what it is though… But I am curious.
I’m always drawn to a good premise, a well thought out backstory make most things that much more wonderful for me. And when I read the Hawken: Genesis issues put out by Archaia Black Label for the franchise, I was blown away.
Continue reading “Review: Hawken: Genesis (Archaia)”

Zombie Dash (Android)

I didn’t have much hope when I downloaded Zombie Dash by Italy Games. It’s hard to find a good app game that isn’t just like some other app game. There’s only so much you can do on a touch screen and with the short attention span mobile games require.
Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised with the high-speed, side-scroller.
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PAX 2012 | The Cataclysm Shifts The Mists of Pandaria Revealing The Pandaren

I haven’t played World of Warcraft in a long time, and when I did I found it hard to truly immersed. Blizzard was running the The Mists of Pandaria demo at the NVIDIA booth and what a good decision that was. When I saw and even play a bit of The Mists of Pandaria at PAX Prime I felt my resolution faltering.
The setting, story, characters, and attention to detail were adding up and combined with crisp colors, smooth movement, and delightful customization, The Mists of Pandaria was the in I had unknowingly been looking for.

I haven’t played World of Warcraft in a long time, and when I did I found it hard to truly immersed. Blizzard was running the The Mists of Pandaria demo at the NVIDIA booth and what a good decision that was. When I saw and even play a bit of The Mists of Pandaria at PAX Prime I felt my resolution faltering.
The setting, story, characters, and attention to detail were adding up and combined with crisp colors, smooth movement, and delightful customization, The Mists of Pandaria was the in I had unknowingly been looking for.
This wasn’t the same world everyone had been frolicking in for years.
Via the Pandaren I could safely be the new kid without feeling like the new kid. Sure the Pandaria would still be populated by real world players who might be experts but The Mists of Pandaria starts the story at point A.
While other races have been tied to the Horde or Alliance for years, the Pandaren are Unaffiliated. I don’t have to choose a character based on what my friends play!

Shrouded in fog since the world was sundered more than ten thousand years ago, the ancient realm of Pandaria has remained unspoiled by war. Its lush forests and cloud-ringed mountains are home to a complex ecosystem of indigenous races and exotic creatures. It is the homeland of the enigmatic Pandaren, a race that celebrates life to the fullest even while under siege by an ancient menace.
The new continent reveals itself to a broken world just as the Alliance and Horde are spiraling ever closer to a war that will consume all of Azeroth. Will the mists of Pandaria part to reveal the world’s salvation? Or will the battle to control this rich and breathtaking new land push the two mighty factions over the brink of war and into total annihilation? The answers await within Pandaria’s mysterious shores!
SOURCE

If you think of the cinematic trailer as something like a story trailer than a game trailer then you won’t mind that the actual game looks rather cartoony in comparison.

Luckily, to complete the “storymode” you need to be a certain higher level (I forgot because I don’t completely understand the leveling system as I didn’t even last long enough to get a mount) to do it. I’m not willing to commit the time to get there just yet. Hopefully they’ll include The Mists of Pandaria in a novel!
However, if you are interested in rejoining or just making your way over to Pandaria, I say try The Mists of Pandaria.
If you’re unsure, leave us a comment with your thoughts about the addition of the unaffiliated Pandaren and the realm of Pandaria and we might be able to give you one of the beta keys we scored so you can try The Mists of Pandaria before the September 25, 2012 release date.

Review: Episode Two: Starved For Help (The Walking Dead Game)

Episode Two: Starved for Help [1. This title was provided for review by Telltale Games.] of The Walking Dead is more than aptly named and twice as terrifying as episode one.
I’ll try not to spoil anything from Starved for Help but will spoil Episode One: A New Day. You should have played it by now.

In Episode Two: Starved for Help we find ourselves holed up at a motel dangerously low on supplies and patience with the challenge of not only rationing what we have but also taking charge as an effective leader.
I let Carly die in Episode One: A New Day so I could have humble tech expert Doug around incase we need to rig up a generator or something. Also I liked his meekness rather than over-confident bravado. He, to me, was practical and level headed. Unfortunately, in Episode Two: Starved for Help he just kind of sits around feeling guilty for being alive and being more or less useless.
Curse my soft heart.
This time I wanted to be more calculating. I had a new party member, Mark, who was good at everything, including being the ideal party member! I sort of rescued some high school kids and their teacher and quickly learned that Katjaa is not a doctor.
I felt Episode One: A New Day centered around what kind of person you want to be or, at the very least, the kind of person you want people to think you are. Episode Two: Starved for Help centered around how well you trust and act on your own instincts. It’s more about moral choices than social ones. I can’t say I made all the most moral choices but damn did I have to think deeply about them.
This episode of The Walking Dead is seriously gut-wrenching. Every decision feels both right and wrong; satisfying and regrettable.
My Party for Episode Two: Starved for Help (in order of who I like the most):

Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lee
Lee
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-clementine
Clementine
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-doug
Doug
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-kenny
Kenny
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-lilly
Lilly
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-katjaa
Katjaa
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-duck
Duck
Walking Dead - Episode Two: Starved for Help - cast-feature-larry
Larry

Keep in mind this game is not as playful as many games. It’s deep an heavy and people die and it’s still fun in a sick and empowering way.
[Rating:4]
(It’s on my shortlist of rations receivers.)

Now I’d like to visit Spoiler City to discuss and validate my decisions in Episode Two: Starved for Help:

1. I chopped David’s leg off. I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. I guess I did but I’d have rather have given in the option of being shot or one-legged. Instead it was leave him to die or hang out and hack his leg off. Fuck that was an unpleasant experience.
2. I fed Mark (what a waste!), Kenny, Clementine, Duck, and… I think Katjaa or Myself. I didn’t want to be light-headed and feeling the effects of choosing not to eat. Feed the kids because, duh. Kenny is my homeboy and I wanted Mark to stay forever… should have known random awesome new guy was too good to be true.
3. If I remember correctly, there were some bandits that I avoided rather than engage.
4. I waited to hear Jolene out. She was way crazy but she was making sense and those dairy farmer’s were definitely hiding something. Unfortunately Danny did not want to hear Jolene out and their wonderful little operation.
5. I tried really hard to keep Clementine from eating the food and somehow through my clumsy slow-motion gameplay I managed to stop her in the nick of time.
6. I’m apparently an asshole but I helped (did it myself) kill Larry. That fucker was a loose cannon waiting to go off and  he was going to turn into a zombie! An angry racist (?), judgmental, zombie!
7. I killed Danny. He sucked so very much and was quite dangerous. I know Clem was watching but he wanted to eat people slowly over days and was an overall evil monster.
8. I “spared” Andy knowing he’d be fucked on his own so, really I saw it as a choice between quick death and slow death.
9. I’m the greed dick who took your supplies. Who leaves their car full of awesome valuable just laid out like a trap except with no trap?! I assume you’re already dead; and if not, you deserve to be looted and I hope you learned a valuable lesson.
[/wpspoiler]