gaming

NHL-14-Logo

 

Howdy out there sports fans it’s Frank here again, finally saddling up my writing horse and taking it into some cold pasture.

Now I am a HUGE hockey fan! I have also been playing hockey for more than half my life and I can’t say I don’t still love both.
That being said, I don’t like EA’s monopoly on sport’s franchise games and it’s even more vexing when it’s actually true now that 2K  games has been hung out to dry. It makes for very slim innovations each year, almost as bad as Pokemon’s shallow sequals. But, I usually take a few years off hockey games to give them time make a lot of improvements since the last one I bought, it’s also easier to not buy a 60 dollar game every year (For me). Now that all that negativity is out of the way let’s hit the ice.

NHL-14-Sceenshot

 GRAPHICS:

Now the first thing you might notice is the graphics have taken a HUGE bump! The shadows, ice reflections, jerseys and small details have take a huge leap since 2011′s kind of flat clean graphics. The players faces actually look well shaded and textured and even the posts on the nets even have damage and rust near the bottoms (a very real thing that happens to all nets). It’s pretty, and I really feel immersed just like when I play MLB the Show, every detail has finally been added.

 

CONTROLS:

The trailer talks a lot about “Precision Skating Controls” and, yes they are better but you can’t reinvent the wheel with what was the strong core of the game the feeling of the weight and speed of skating around. They have added skating backward which is easily activating by a shoulder button, allowing you to poke check in reverse or put on some special moves in a breakaway. They also have included a simplified deke button, which is pretty cool.

ENGINE AND ELEMENTS:

nhl14-mtl

The game has a completely redesigned physics engine which makes all the shooting and checking finally feel real. Skaters who take a big hit fall as a ‘rag doll’ meaning there’s no more reused animations from the previous games which makes hitting so much more satisfying as opponents go rolling down the ice or off the boards.

Now as soon as you notice the awesome hits you’re soon to find out about the “Enforcer System” lay a huge hit on the wrong guy, snow job a goalie or even shoot a puck after the whistle (yeah really) and you’re liable to become the target of direct and swift justice in the form of a fight. Hockey’s most strange and unwritten law system has finally been implemented and the first thing you’ll notice in the DEMO is the fights happen almost literally at the drop of a hat (if there was hats that is). The second thing you’ll likely to notice is the level of details of both persistent facial injuries as well as the depth of the fighting game engine. It’s definitely a fun diversion, as long as I don’t have to take 5 fights a period in the actual game.

NHL ’94 MODE:

nhl94_snes_616

There’s going to be a working version of the SNES/GENISIS classic NHL ’94 for you to play! That’s right! 90s hockey being my personal favorite era is a great inclusion, not to mention that it’s the year the Rangers (My favorite Team) won the Stanley Cup in the first time in 50 years.
In addition to the inclusion of this benchmark game there will also be a very interesting “NHL 94 MODE” were the game is changed over to a 3 button control scheme and the ice is blue and the music is 16 bit organs. I loved it, but I only played one game, and I have no idea how deep the game play will be, I would certainly love to set back rosters to those from 94 and then play a season or dynasty mode, as it is, it’s kind of a fun gimmick.

WEIRD STUFF:

There are plenty of weird hiccups in the demo that HOPEFULLY will be resolved before the actual game is shipped out. Such as a bunch of strange issues where the background, camera or characters jerk around strangely or wiz by too fast, or when a fight occurs and the paths of the characters have to go through areas close to others those others are bumped out of the way awkwardly, which looks horribly fake and weird. The same sorts of pathing issues happen with the penalty boxes as well. Also all the players have the same visored helmets in the demo.

Other than those issues which will hopefully be resolved, by the time the game launches I would strongly recommend checking out the demo and the game when it drops September 10th!

See you on the ice!

 

Heroclix:

WolverineAndTheXMen_13_Preview1

It’s been a crazy week in Heroclix news, they announced the new ‘Game Ruining’ mechanic for the next set. Now unless you’re very familiar with Heroclix game play and ‘meta’ (The atmosphere of a game’s competition) then you might be confused to hell and back with some of this stuff. That’s ok. Now let me say this, I like the strategy of things.

Building up an amount of information about the forces at yours and your opponent’s disposal.

Strategically selecting your resources to use against your opponent to best suit your strategic style.

Fielding these forces within the constructs of the gaming environment against the opponent’s forces.

Success or failure will grant you a greater intuition of the practice of the game itself in it’s entirety.

It’s a fulfilling and complex process for sure.

Now here’s a brilliant encapsulation of my feelings on the situation that Heroclix is in right now.

Now as brilliant and hilarious as that video was at capturing my opinion was, let my be the first to say I think what makes her most ‘broken’

is that she basically completely eliminates most the strategy of the game, which is movement, pacing your units, and the battlefield terrain.

Now you can just mitigate those things with this single figure, just setup the portal and put your team through cutting apart the opponents team like so much fish in a barrel. And this is all in comparison to the fiasco that was Team Bases, which in my humble opinion was the best example of the game designers going ham on making something that just blows everything else out of the water. But now, just like the “Great” Will.I.Am. who has often come to the apex of singularly terrible music and a lack of shame, has some how outdone himself with making the worst song in the world only to time and time again make an even worse song. So Spiral is that, for Heroclix. If you thought Team Bases were stupid? Wait till you have to play against this B-Word.

Wolverine and the X-men:

XmenBoxArt

 

The hot new Heroclix set out on the block and despite that ONE BAD EGG the set actually turned out to be quite want-able for non-x-man-fans like myself. I like X-mens but they’ve never been high on my list of reads or pulls, that said there’s actually plenty of X-mandoes that I’m into, like the differently superabled team from across the pond EXCALIBUR, or the parody cult sensations the Great Lakes Avengers. The set has a bit of everything which is also what made the Amazing Spider-Man set work, put a bunch of unclixed figures in with a few of your favorites and toss in a few much needed updates and you have a perfectly stable set. Now that I’ve praised this set a bit it’s time to take it down a few pegs. The Set is titled Wolverine and The X-Men, which happens to be one of the few X-men comics that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and when I heard that it was getting it’s own set I was really psyched to see all my favorites from the comic, Like Deathbird, Kid Gladiator, Broo, Idie, Kid Omega, the Bamfs, and that Blob kid! It was going to be great! Maybe even they’d put in the Kid Hellfire Club.
So How many people from the WatX comic make it onto the clix set? 3? 3 if you count Wolvie and Kitty, 1 if you only count people who aren’t major X-men, it’s Kid Omega and that’s….UUUUUGH! Raging for sure. The could have just called the set something else and not used the same logo as the comic? As I haven’t been able to pick up any packs of W-X-men. I am pretty excited to fill out my GLA and the fact that half the commons and uncommons have the Excalibur keyword excites me greatly. Next Week I think I’m going to be changing the formula of the Fix a bit, but you’ll have to wait until then.

As weekly fix drives on Frank explores another week of escapist outlets!

Howdy again folks this is another dose of your Weekly Fix, I’ve got plenty to talk about this week so listen up!

Heroclix:

Jumping right into it today this week’s Heroclix tournament is an interesting blend of theme and cut-throat dynamics.

 

The Format is:  600 points, figures on your team must qualify for a theme, and then one of your figures can break your theme but that figure will gain the keyword of your team’s theme.

Got all that? It’s a very wordy way to describe a simple special feature of the rules. It DOES however allow for quite the window for some crazy A$$>@%T! I mean the first thoughts that came to mind were (the obnoxious) 200 pts. Batman who can give any people who share a keyword with him the Batman Ally Team Ability, what if he gave stealth to Gladiator, or Thanos. Then there’s Baron Zemo (from Chaos War) who can give Thunderbolts Keywords to anyone who has the Masters of Evil Keyword. So he could give Thunderbolts to Doctor Doom, or Batman or whomever.

 

My team idea is:
Kilowog (GLGF) 145pts

Domino (GSX) 69pts x 2

Warship Voyager (STT) 125pts

Red Hulk (Hulk) 178pts

Now this is team doesn’t actually rely on Transferring Keywords around it DOES make use of a cross-universe team up that’s sure to make people upset. The basic setup is, Soldiers get +1 attack within 4 of Kilowog, Warship Voyager let’s adjacent friendly characters Critical Hit on any Doubles rolls.  And Domino get’s +3 damage from Critical Hits, put ‘em together and BAM!

COMICS:

Agents of Atlas!

Now I know that I’ve been on a ‘things from 2006ish’ kick but  SERIOUSLY folks, this a limited series you NEED to read, it’s up there with Nextwave with it’s readability! The book tells of the adventures of some un-likely golden age heroes who attempt to undermine the at then present leader of H.A.M.M.E.R. Norman Osborne! It’s part spy thriller, part sci-fi romp ALL heart. I would seriously suggest reading it!

 

Till next time, I hope you got your FIX!

Hello courtesans and gentlefops, it’s time again to talk about Heroclix again.

Now let me first say I’m a huge Teen Titans fan, my favorite being the New Teen Titans of Legendary DC double-threat Wolfman and Perez, I really like the 2000′s Teen Titans too, especially the TV series on Cartoon Network. After the reboot I am….mad, the new Titans Series is pretty great, but the Red Mask and the Outsiders series which took away some of my favorite Titans characters (cough cough Starfire) and ruined them in that terrible book.

Anyway, The Teen Titans are a great team but they doesn’t always receive the recognition they need in the Heroclix world, most of the figures are pretty old and they only seem to keep making more and more Robins every set but the others are all years old. But, recently the Titans have gotten a few lucky breaks in the last few sets.  I guess there is a potential for some un-revealed Titans figures in the upcoming Streets of Gotham set  but as the name implies it’s a Batman focused set to accompany the No Man’s Land Tournament Set Series. But there’s still a few figures in the last 2 sets to bear the Titans keyword that are pretty boss: Let’s look together, maybe even Titans Together? (ahahahaha…not funny).

First up is everyone’s favorite amalgam of man and machine Victor Stone aka: Cyborg! Now the first thing you’ll notice is his Trait giving him the ability to ignore Stealth! Which is beastly! Then you can check out his sexy first click with the dreaded Running Shot and Pulsewave combo right there, at this point his Dial goes down into poison and then eventually Regeneration and Exploit weakness. He’s the kind of figure that wants to run around at mid range until he get’s bounecd off his first clix then he wasn’t to make friends with some bad guys and be adjacent to them until he goes down to Regeneration and Leap/Climb then he boogies to someplace safe and heals back up and does it all again.

There’s also a 75 point Cyborg from the JLA:52 Fast Forces which has 1 less Clix of life, No Running Shot but Starts with Energy Explosion and Enhance which means he’s definitely a Sniper, starting with Leap climb to get up on a building with Speedy or Red Arrow and hang out there shooting  people until he needs to Regenerate. I prefer the 100 point version, if only for Anti-Stealth and Pulsewave Running Shot on his top Clix.

Next up is the original ambiguously Dynamic Duo’s  Boy Wonder Dick Grayson!

Uuuummm Yay? He’s pretty boring to say the least, Enhancement could be nice but he’s really underwhelming, but his Trait will potentially transform him into Nightwing from the same set, Although I would caution against this strategy since he has to hit people and he could easily get bonked with only 6 Clix, but let’s see if Nightwing has anything better to go on…

Omfg! OH YES! THis is what I’m talking about! He’s got “Advanced Movement: Green” meaning he ignores Hindering Terrain all together. His Trait is pretty beastly too, allowing him to make it on any Team, including the Titans! It also means he can use any Team Ability that his teamates have while keeping the Batman: Ally Stealth!       His stats are very respectable especially if he make into combat quickly and puts that Combat Reflexes to work. He’s a brawler and a very pushable one at that, keep him attacking Perplexing up his damage, Quaking, He even get’s Willpower and Outwit later on his dial, his attack also really doesn’t drop below 9 and is mostly 10, and his damage stays 2+ the whole dial, really a wonderful dial especially for only 94 pts.

 

Last up we have one of the original Teen Titans and my personal favorite Flash Wally West! He’s a guy who also doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the Clix either, same with his companion piece in the DC 10th Anniversery Set Jay Garrick but that’s getting off topic, but it’s good to see figures for my two favorite teams in the same set (JSA and Titans). Anyway back to Wally…

 He’s not that fast…for a Flash, on his starting click, but his “Advanced Movement: Green” means that he can go straight over hindering without penalty. He starts with Perplex which is probably best used on someone next to him when the game starts or on his own speed for the first round. After that he goes into his Faux “Penetrating” damage Power.  It’s good, obviously it just sets him up to be a lot like other Flashes have always been but better with always putting damage through. The old speedster strategy has always been, Hypersonic in, hit someone, run out of  Line of Sight to everyone, hangout, and repeat until dead. This new Flash doesn’t change the procedure at all, he’s  just does it a bit better. Eventually he goes into his “Get Stuck In” part of his dial with Combat Reflexes and Charge-Flurry-Exploit Weakness at the same time attack. This pretty good…but you want to make sure he’s on that 15, 9, 17, 3  Clix and make sure he’s gonna put down or cripple whatever he hits or it’s going to be painful when he drops down to Willpower and Perplex, he’s the kind of figure who begs for a healer. Whipping around his first few clix neutralizing the opponents support figures and then once he gets to “So Fast You Don’t..” you want to whip into something big, take a big hit, then run away with Hypersonic and get healed back up. He’s the literally definition of “Fragile Speedster” and he needs to be kept safe to get his 105 pts worth out of him.

Unfortunately that’s all the Titans that have appeared in the last 2 sets so I’ll probably be looking at more figures from those new sets or perhaps a whole in-depth Titans team review.  Although, I recently got my hands on all of the Modok’s 11 so they’re bound to get some coverage too.

Yaaaay! Those brave little publishers have been out for a big 10 years each!

Good for them! Marvel and DC are pretty big for being only ten years old!

Huh!? What? You’re saying Marvel and DC aren’t 10 years old? Heroclix is? OOOOOH!

Well good job Heroclix, it’s been a long hard road for sure.

Now for those of you who aren’t familiar with Heroclix well let me give you a quick overview. It’s like a boardgame where 2 or more players pit a team of Heros, Villians, Cars, Trucks, Star Ship Enterprises, Master Chiefs, Don Rickles, Madeline Albrieghts, Sarumons, Werewolves and anything else under the sun that has come to be made into a tiny little Clix in a battle royal. The game uses stats and abilities presented on the figures themselves and cards for each figure for ease of references.

The figures do battle on large maps segmented into grids (for her pleasure ). It’s actually a breeze to learn and a snap to get a game done, especially in comparison to the much more time and effort one would pour into playing any of it’s bigger cousins of miniatures games (Warhammer, Bloodbowl ect.). It’s a fast and fun game full of really good licenses of DC and Marvel characters and a not so shallow library of others. It’s really the only thing ever that lets’ you put Spider-man and Dessad vs USS Voyager.

I was a very large consumer and player of heroclix back when it hit the scene in 2002, I even made some “Custom” heroclix of figures they’d yet to or would ever release. Anyway the game was fun but really lacked any lasting appeal for me back then because of it’s horribly sculpted and pre-painted figures and humdrum collections of powers and abilities.

It wasn’t till much later 2008 when the game started putting cards in with the figures that would make the heroes actually play like themselves, and over time the sculpts improved too but there’s still a few stinkers in every set. And now at long last the game has been out for 10 years and it’s time for them to make some really unique figures! Yeah!

Like Spider-man, Batman, Supes, Hulk, and Thor….

…Ok fine it’s just another “people you know” set from both sides sure but the figures are all fairly competent sculpts, and their new powers and abilities are actually interesting (Note: It’s taking 10 years for them to make a Green Lantern that can make a wall of energy that attacks people.)

As you can see from the above preview dials the big thing in this set is characters ‘leveling up’ into their more powerful/different versions of themselves. This could be a change of costume, paraplegia, a different person with different powers or just an un-kill-able  abomination  haunted by the spark of their previous life. Whatever the case each character can be played without morphing and still being viable pieces.

I’ll be opening some packs this Friday maybe I could make a video of that who knows!

Not even The Shadow.