Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hunt for the Plants of Dawn

Plants Vs. Zombies
More zombie based media to talk about, this week it's in the form of a video game. PvZ is another Pop Cap developed game in a long line of PoP Cap games that have stolen my heart (see: Peggle, Bejeweled and others). It is simply put another tower defense game, that would be doing it a disservice though. There are additions that take the same formula that worked for Starcraft maps and Desktop Tower Defense and ups the fun.

The players house is under attack by zombies so in order to defend your home you place deadly plants in your yard. The sheer variety of foliage available changes the game play up every two or three levels. The only resource to grow more plants is sunlight, which either falls from the sky or is home grown. The amount of sun generating plants your create versus the space for actual defense makes for a fun balance. The demo alone has at least two hours of game play in it and the game sells for $20, which is a steal by my account.

Hunt for Gollum
I have not discussed it here yet, but my newest hobby is video editing and more specifically video special effects. I'll have a whole post on the topic Thursday, but for now I will talk about a fan film that has inspired me to go even deeper into my new found past time. The Hunt for Gollum is on par with most a B movie in terms of production value and acting. It was done on a budget of $4,500 and with a volunteer cast and crew of 160. The story of the film is inspired by a few pages in the first Lord of the Rings book in which Gandalf tells Frodo the story of the hunt and capture of Gollum (post ring). It takes those few pages and draws them out to follow Aragorn as he hunts down Gollum to bring him in to be interegated. The special effects are a real stand out and really drive home the idea that you are not just watching a fan film. Watch this one for sure, it is free and worth viewing.

Dawn of War 2
My obsession with minis since childhood has been mentioned here before and by extension I became fixated with 4ok back in college. My 40k love has not worked out to date, but I can live vicariously through video games based on the franchise. The same company that created Company of Heroes started their unit based RTS engine with a 40k game called Dawn of War. I didn't have the computer to play the first game when it came out, but I did have an up to date rig when COH hit store shelves and played the pants off of it. So when DoW2 was announced I planned my newest computer upgrade to coincide with it's release.

DoW2 is the next iteration of the game play built by CoH and DoW1. The foundation Relic is building with squad based RTS game play is really fun to play. You actually get invested in the characters they have crafted, which seems to be the holy grail for single player RTS campaigns. Your characters levels, items and personalities are persistent between missions. The mission structure is linear for the main plot, but you can take optional missions and the main story in any order you like. The optional missions are actually fun, doling out defense and attack stages that feel meaningful to the overall campaign. There is no base building to speak of which makes the game almost feel like a group based RPG, which is a nice change.

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The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
Batman: Batman and Son
100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Uzumaki, Volume 1
Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
Batman: Hush, Vol. 2
Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Other Strangeness