League of Legends is a free-to-play MOBA game (in the style of the Warcraft III map, Defense of the Ancients, and its upcoming successor from Valve, Dota2) from Riot Games. Players control a single character and, with the help of their team, attempt to destroy the buildings of the other team. This is facilitated by their own character’s unique abilities, as well as the items they choose to buy with gold they earn over the course of a match, and runes and masteries that the player can acquire and customize in the launcher outside the actual matches. Over the years since its release, Riot Games has been steadily adding content to the game, primarily in the form of new playable characters. These characters, as well as cosmetic-only customization options for them, can be purchased with actual currency, and characters (but not skins) can be purchased through an alternate currency that is earned over time by playing matches. All the “freemium” stuff aside, though, let’s talk about the gameplay:
I’ll start off by saying that this game has a massive learning curve. Even the not-particularly-intelligent bots can be difficult for new players until they learn the ropes. This is because the game is incredibly deep. For example, there are well over a hundred items to choose from, with any combination of which you can equip your character during a given match. Learning what the best combinations are comes with a lot of time, research and/or practice. Until you’ve played as or played against every character (again, 100+) in the game, there’s a good chance that your opponents will be able to surprise you with something you’re just not familiar with yet. If you want to get any sort of decent at this game, plan to invest some time. I recommend you play this game with friends – it’s more fun to play on a team with people you know, and it’s a lot easier to learn with someone to help you along.
More after the break:
Alright, it’s been about 4 months since Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 hit the shelves. I’ve already done a review of the game via my typical process, but I thought it would be a good idea to write a retrospective article to shed some light on longevity rather than impressions acquired over just a few weeks of play. That, and I wanted to point out a few things that I neglected to mention in the first one. Let’s get started.
I still play it, and it’s still fun, though my frequency of play has tapered off some, as would be expected. I’m a little disappointed at how often I run into cheaters of various varieties, but I guess that’s to be expected with a game with this kind of public profile, and I hear they’re working on it. It’s nice that they’re easy to spot with kill-cams, though. Also annoying are some lag, and troubles with the spawning system, like appearing too close to enemies – I expected better from Infinity Ward, but it’s nowhere near the atrocities committed by Call of Duty: Black Ops. Community playlists and downloadable content together keep the game fresh whether you choose to pay extra or not. In general, despite some hiccups, MW3 is still enjoyable and will likely stay that way up until another game grabs more of my time.
To end on a high note, the soundtrack by Brian Tyler is fantastic. Like many out there, I was a little worried when I learned that Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe would not be returning to improve on their wondrous compositions from the second game in the series. Lucky for me, Brian Tyler did an amazing job by pulling a little from previous games and bringing his own contributions to forge a masterful score. If you liked the soundtrack of MW2, you just might like this one even better. I’ll be watching to see what other music Brian Tyler creates.
What did you think of Modern Warfare 3? Has it aged well so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments and we can start some discussion.
It looks like I have a little catching up to do. To start with, if you haven’t heard that Valve Software’s Portal 2 is an excellent game, let me clear that up for you. Portal 2 is an excellent game. There are more cool puzzle elements, like light bridges and gel and such. It continues and expands the story, contains quality voice acting, has excellent music, and so on. I did notice that the “style” of the puzzle design was a little different, maybe even easier than the first game, but still enjoyable. If you’re on the fence, or if you enjoyed the original Portal, you’ll likely enjoy the sequel.
Next up, Alan Wake is a psychological action thriller by Remedy Entertainment. Why did no one tell me about this game? Simply put, the game is fantastic. When I played through the game, it was like a great book that I couldn’t put down. We need more games like this. It’s got mystery, suspense, intrigue, action. I can’t tell you much of the story without spoiling it for you, so I won’t. The storytelling is a high point for the game, doing one of the best jobs of it, if not the best job, I’ve seen in video games. This includes high talent in writing, voice acting, cut scenes and music. This comes with a special caveat, though: if you play this game without taking the time to take in the details and enjoy the story, you may be disappointed. My advice is to immerse yourself in it as much as you can; watch all of the cinematic cut scenes, listen to the music, follow the story and pay attention to every masterful detail. I think you’ll be glad you did.
What’s your take on Portal 2 and Alan Wake? Got some other fantastic games you think I should be playing and reviewing? Let us know in the comments!