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  • locallypwned 2:41 am on October 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    WoW: The pandas are everywhere 

    Sanchomar on his dragon turtle mount in Ironforge

    It has been a little over a week now since World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria went live for the millions of WoW players around the world. While many of the people in my guild have been busy leveling up their main characters to level 90 and taking on the new challenges of Pandaria, I’ve been sitting back and playing with the new Pandaren monk I created.

    Sanchomar, named in honor of a friend’s toon, has been one of the most fun characters I have ever played. Despite playing through areas I’ve been through several times as I have leveled other characters, the dynamics of the monk class make everything feel fresh. Monks are a true hybrid class, with abilities that allow a player to tank, heal or do damage in dungeon roles.

    Like my paladin, I gave Sanchomar the tanking spec, which for monks is called Brewmaster. Though monks can only wear cloth or leather armor, the abilities available in this setup allow for lots of dodging and parrying, as well as some that absorb damage and turn it into healing.

    Throw in the animations that have been built into the Pandaren race, and this character is lots of fun. Because motion-capture technology has advanced so much over the years, the developers at Blizzard really were able to have some fun with these toons and make the pandas almost dance as they fight off mobs. I often see Sanchomar doing a quick backflip or smashing the beast on the head with his staff with one hand.

    Sanchomar learns the truth about the Wandering Isle.

    The monks also come with one of my favorite abilities in the game. Called Touch of Death, it is just that. With enough Chi energy stored up, this spell can quickly kill off an enemy with just one strike. I’m waiting for the glyph that lets him bow over the corpse after using the spell.

    Along with leveling the monk, I’ve been busy collecting new pets through the pet battle system. I’m up to 146 unique pets. I’m not quite sure how many I have altogether, as you can have up to three of any one pet. But I’m nowhere close to catching them all, as there now are more than 500 pets in the game.

    At any rate, I’m thoroughly enjoying the new features in this expansion. And to Blizzard’s credit, the upgrade process was seamless. I’ll get down to Pandaria, but with the way things are going, Sanchomar might be my first toon to hit level 90.

    Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). He is a casual World of Warcraft player where his primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.

     
  • locallypwned 2:31 am on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Fill Up Your Health Bar: Set Yourself Up for Success 

    don’t be this guy

    I’m sure I’m not alone among gamers when I say I partake in the occasional “Game Days.” A Game Day, of course, is a day off from work when either it’s awful weather outside or I just recently bought a new game and I just push off all the responsibilities of being an adult and just play a video game the entire day. Usually, pizza and not changing out of my pajamas are involved.

    But obviously, a daylong gaming session can be a bit of an anchor on your sailboat of health (feel free to use “sailboat of health” in your everyday conversations, by the way), since you not only sit down most of the massive gaming session — which can be counteracted as I talked about here — but you also likely miss out on the physical activity you would get from not being a temporary shut-in. It’s easy to chalk it up to just one day of slothfulness, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way.

    Most games have natural breaks in the action, such as a save point, the end of a level or the conclusion of a match or round when playing online. I’ve learned to put those breaks to good use by throwing in some exercise sets I would normally have in my daily workouts — pushups, leg lifts, squats, curls, etc. — while the game is loading or looking for another opponent to play. That way, I can more constructively use that downtime to avoid being completely sedentary, and also keep my mind sharp on the game I’m playing, as research has shown.

    This works especially well on games like Call of Duty, Madden and Starcraft 2. I just complete a round or a match, then hit the floor for some quick sets. Here’s a sort of pattern I follow if I’m in the middle of a Game Day or even just a couple hours straight of gaming:

    1. After game one: 40 pushups

    2. After game two: 20 leg lifts

    3. After game three: 30 squats

    ** Return to top every three games

    You can adjust those numbers to your abilities, increasing or decreasing the repetitions depending on how froggy you’re feeling that day. You can also increase the reps as you go along, so you can make your workout’s difficulty match the increasingly challenging levels you face. As always, take a break from the reps if you’re getting too tired or sore, as it’ll make for an awkward story at the emergency room when they ask how you tore your pectoral (“Well, I was on my 30th game of Starcraft in a row, so I was up to about 1,000 pushups in between each match …”).

    Trust me, you’ll feel like you accomplished a lot more than just slaying zombies or winning another Super Bowl if you throw in some simple exercises during your longer gameplay sittings. It’ll make your celebratory bicep flex after each frag that much more intimidating, at the very least.

    Tim is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. His Playstation Online handle is eye_dubya_pwn, if you want to inflate your friends total. Contact him at tlangton@wdhprint.com.

     
  • locallypwned 1:11 am on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Wii U: The last generation of gaming? 

    Nintendo launched the first salvo in the next wave of video game consoles last week when it announced a release date and price for its latest system, the Wii U.

    In looking over some of the early information available about the new console, it looks as though Nintendo finally is trying to re-establish itself as THE home gaming company.

    First the specifics. The Wii U will hit stores in the U.S. on Nov. 18, just as the holiday shopping season gets moving. There will be two versions available. The Basic System will feature the console (white) with an 8 GB hard drive, one GamePad controller, an HDMI cable and sensor bar. It will sell for $299. For $50 more, gamers can get a system (black) with the above plus a 32 GB hard drive, charging station for console and controller, Nintendo Land game and a Nintendo Network Premium subscription. Personally, the extras are worth a lot more than $50, making that option a great deal.

    Aside from the touch-screen control pad (which I will discuss shortly), the biggest new feature on this system is that Nintendo finally enters the world of HD. Early rumors state that it will be using a very powerful graphics card that will put the Wii U well ahead of the PS3 and Xbox 360.

    The GamePad, which is the new controller for the Wii U, features a touch screen interface that will have various functions, depending on the game you are playing. There’s too many possibilities to consider here, but it sounds like an incredible idea. Much like Nintendo starting the motion gaming revolution, this new technology is sure to spread quickly.

    The Wii U can support up to two GamePads at one time, but early indicators are that the GamePad will not be available separately in the U.S., at least not at launch. According to an interview with Nintendo President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime, this is because there will not be any games available at launch that require or allow for a second GamePad.

    Speaking of games, Nintendo finally will be able to bring in some of the top titles with the Wii U. As with PS3 and Xbox 360, many of the games will carry the $59.99 price tag. Among some of the game that are expected to be available by March are: Assassin’s Creed III, Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition, Disney Epic Mickey 2, Madden NFL 13 and New Super Mario Bros. U. There’s a whole bunch more, but being the resident Nintendo homer, seeing titles like Assassin’s Creed and Batman:  Arkham City as options on Nintendo makes me very happy.

    Now, if there was only a way I could find an extra $350 come mid-November …

    Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). His primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.

     
  • locallypwned 1:19 am on August 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Saying good-bye to beta 

    I said goodbye Monday to some characters I’ve had some fun hanging around with for the past six months. But it’s not forever, just for a month or so. You see, the World of Warcraft patch preceding the Mists of Pandaria expansion goes live this week, meaning it will be time to start getting my characters on the live servers ready for the changes that will come in September.

    I’ve had some good times in the beta world, despite the bugs that come along with the testing phase. Overall, I’ve enjoyed my experience and have left myself plenty to do once the expansion hits stores Sept. 25.

    But for now, here are my final impressions of what I have seen.

    First and foremost, the new continent is absolutely stunning, even on my outdated computer with its low graphics ability. There is a wide range of landscapes to explore, from jungles to beaches to mountains to barren wastelands. The Asian theme is done quite well.

    Secondly, I thoroughly enjoyed the increased emphasis on exploration. I started playing World of Warcraft after the Burning Crusade expansion, so the world had already grown when I moved in. With changes that have been made over the years such as lowering the level required for mounts (I had to wait until level 40 for my first one), new players can move around much more quickly than in the past. But players are grounded in Pandaria until they hit level 90, the new max, meaning they will have to take the time to enjoy the surroundings.

    Third, the stories that carry players through each zone are compelling and really help players learn about the Pandaren. Whether it be training with them in Jade Forest or helping them farm at Halfhill or defending the wall against the Mantid, the story behind this ancient race is deep and enveloping.

    Fourth, the effort that went into keeping players busy when they reach level 90 is nothing short of incredible. There are hundreds of daily quests in rotation with several new factions that will allow players to pick and choose whether they want to do them all in one day, or just bounce around to avoid boredom.

    This isn’t even counting the new Pandaren race, which will be the first one that allows players to choose whether they will join the Alliance or Horde after they start playing. And let’s not forget the new monk class, which offers players the ability to fill any of the typical dungeon/raid roles from one character.

    And I’m leaving out the pet battles, which will have players moving all over Azeroth to battle trainers as they level potentially hundreds of pets. Along with this, nearly all pets and mounts will be available to all of a player’s toons under a single account. This will make my recent investment in the chopper from Wrath of the Lich King much more fun.

    All in all, I’ve had a blast in the beta. I’ve enjoyed watching the developers work through the various issues that have cropped up along the way. But I do not envy their job, as some players are ruthless in their comments. I can’t wait for the final product to hit the live servers in a month, and until it does, I’ll be getting ready.

    For Theramore!

    Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). His primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.

     
  • locallypwned 10:40 pm on August 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Shhh!! Sneaky Sleeper Team for Madden 13: Buffalo Bills 

    One of the finest logos in the NFL

    In only a few days’ time, I — like much of the gaming world — will sacrifice dozens of hours of my spare time to the newest Madden game, this year cleverly called Madden 13. In case you didn’t know yet, I’m profiling the teams I think will be surprisingly effective in online play this year, starting with the Kansas City Chiefs. For this entry, I’m going to stay in the AFC for a team I think will be pretty good in real life as well as Madden — the Buffalo Bills.

    Why online players won’t use them:
    The feel-good story of the first half of the past NFL season, the Bills faded quickly down the stretch to finish 6-10 after a 5-2 start. Everything that seemed to be going right for the Bills early on — balance on offense, big plays on defense — stopped happening real quick as the injuries started to pile up. Buffalo’s rating on Madden sank as precipitously as their real-life playoff chances, and the general football and video game public soured on the unluckiest franchise in sports. (We’re talking really unlucky here)

    Why they’re a sneaky sleeper:
    I know it seems like a long time ago, but the Bills in the first seven games of last season were thrilling to watch. They could throw long, underneath, run, catch out of the backfield; there was just so many ways the Bills could attack, which is why they were putting up 30-spots on a consistent basis. That dynamic game plan faded down the stretch, but mostly because of RB Fred Jackson’s season-ending injury and what turned out to be a pretty significant rib injury to QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. With their healthy return and some huge offseason additions on defense, the Bills should start out 2012 as a markedly improved team.

    going hard for my bills like stevie johnson

    Players to abuse:
    1. It’s great enough having one RB on your Madden team who can run between the tackles and catch out of the backfield, but two? A true embarrassment of riches, I tell you! The Bills have the trustworthy Fred Jackson and the stupid-fast C.J. Spiller as options at RB, two gentlemen you can run any play in the playbook with confidence. Plus, Madden highly overrated Spiller (97 acceleration and 95 speed) last year, as any franchise mode player will tell you, so it’s your duty to abuse his undeserved rating. You’ll never have to worry about subbing out your stud RB with Buffalo and its two gamebreakers.

    2. Speaking of those big offseason acquisitions, there’s a good chance you’re not going to have to worry much about baby-sitting this defense when playing on the Interwebs. Success in football starts at the line, and this team’s defensive front could well be the instrument of the NFL’s demise — free agents DEs Mario Williams and Mark Anderson will help DTs Marcell Dareus and Kyle Williams ruin the days of many opposing QBs, and you won’t even need to control them to make it happen. Outside of the New York Giants, no team has a more formidable D-line than the Bills on paper, but paper is definitely good enough in Madden. You should feel comfortable rushing just these four and dropping back seven into coverage in passing situations, forcing your opponent to throw into traffic while more often than not while being harassed by the Four Defensemen of the Apocalypse.

    3. Uh … there’s really no third element to abuse with the Bills. Just run more screen plays with Spiller and you’ll be fine.

    going hard for my bills like jim kelly

    As with any team that had a down year, who knows whether EA Sports will punish them unjustly for suffering team-killing injuries. The Bills certainly have the weapons on offense (and to be fair, Stevie Johnson is a pretty good option at WR and Scott Chandler is nice and tall at TE; it’s just the rest of the corps stinks like dead fish) and now a horrifying defensive line, so they should be a threat to beat any team in the game. Defensive play calling should be simple with the Bills, so you can use all of that creativity when thinking of the many different ways you can run your offense.

    Any thoughts on the expert circle-wagoning Buffalo Bills? Got a sleeper Madden team of your own? Comment below as always, my friends!

    Tim is the copy desk leader for the Wausau Daily Herald. His Playstation Online handle is eye_dubya_pwn, if you want to inflate your friends total. Contact him at tlangton@wdhprint.com.

     
  • locallypwned 10:00 pm on August 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Nearing the end of the WoW beta 

    This is what my mount will look like (if I can complete the grind before beta ends).

    After returning from my recent vacation, I found numerous additions to the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta and a special present from Blizzard — a release date for the expansion. With the announcement that MoP will go live Sept. 25, it means the beta work will be winding down over the next couple of months.

    But the additions that showed up during my time away have given me plenty to try out in the last week. First of all, the Jade Forest was reopened with a seriously upgraded opening quest line. Now stemming from what will be part of the pre-expansion patch, the opening series has a major battle raging between the Alliance and Horde. The original version had the two sides working to establish themselves without much interaction with each other.

    With the Jade Forest available again, I also have been able to test out the lengthy daily quest series that will unlock the cloud serpent mount. These gorgeous flying mounts bear strong resemblances to the Chinese dragons seen in parade costumes during the country’s new year celebration. Players will spend lots of time working with their young serpent on the way to it becoming a mount they can ride.

    The developers also turned on The Tillers, a group of farmers based in Valley of the Four Winds near Halfhill. With this group, players can start their own farm, growing vegetables that can be used in cooking or turned in as part of a cooking quest for tokens. This faction also brings in a new reputation feature. Players now have the chance to build relationships with individual NPCs (non-playable characters), along with the faction as a whole.

    Each of the NPCs has a gift that he or she likes, which can be picked up and when given to the NPC, that awards some friendship points. They also each have a favorite food and offer daily quests that also will award friendship.

    Grantham stands proudly in front of his crops.

    Players earn reputation with The Tillers through these quests and by growing and harvesting crops. You start with four available plots, but as you progress, quests open up that expand the farm to a total of 16 plots.

    All of this continues to expand the list of daily quests available to players throughout Pandaria, meaning it should be difficult to get bored with gameplay at level 90.

    Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). His primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.

     
  • locallypwned 1:14 am on July 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Shhh!! Sneaky Sleeper Team for Madden 2013: Kansas City Chiefs 

    image courtesy theboxhouston.com

    With the Aug. 28 release of Madden 13 bearing down on us, it’s time for the hardcore online players such as myself to start thinking about which team/teams to hitch our wagons to on the way to virtual victory. And yes, there are the obvious teams (Packers, Eagles and Saints, to name a few) that you can win most of your games with, but over the years, I’ve found that playing a team used less often can be more satisfying and — if mastered — more effective than the top-tier squads in the game.

    To help you along in this endeavor, I’ve tabbed a few teams as possible Sneaky Sleepers for Madden 13. I’ve picked these teams based on their lack of notoriety on Madden online, the amount of quality, underrated players at key positions, and the teams’ lack of success in real life, which will affect other players’ perceptions of those squads. It’s all very scientific, as you’ll see in the weeks leading up to Aug. 28, starting off with today’s Sneaky Sleeper: the Kansas City Chiefs.

    Why won’t online players use them:
    Well, for one, the Chiefs in real life were terrible last year. True, it was mostly because of a stupid amount of injuries to very key players (S Eric Berry, RB Jamaal Charles, QB Matt Cassel and TE Tony Moeaki, to name a few), but it’s hard to get excited about a 7-9 record. The Chiefs were known for two things last year — being the first team to beat the Green Bay Packers and Todd Haley being a nutcase. Having a team rating of 84 overall last year to start the season means they’ll probably be rated even lower in Madden 13.

    What’s that fist smell like? Smells like victory! (image courtesy fantasyfootballjungle.com)

    Why they’re a sneaky sleeper:
    The Chiefs’ stock couldn’t sink much lower with the average Madden player, mostly because they stumbled down from winning the AFC West in 2010 and were buried under the celestial mass that was Tebowmania in division rival Denver. But as I mentioned earlier, they were essentially putting out a B squad by the middle of the season because of a catastrophic plague of injuries, which should tell you that 7-9 record probably wasn’t that much different than that 2010 squad. The injured players won’t be punished too severely through their ratings, meaning those key positions the Chiefs struggled at last year should be at full strength from their division-winning season.

    Players to abuse
    1. One man, two first names: Jamaal Charles. The all-galaxy RB missed most of last year in real life because of an ACL injury, which should mean his initial rating in Madden 12 of 95 overall (with an emphasis on speed and agility) should stay put. If there was one criticism I could lob against Madden 12, it was that screen passes were crazy easy to pull off, and if that stays the same in this year’s game, Charles should be gobbling up yards through the ground and air faster than Pacman eats dots. And don’t forget the very capable Peyton Hillis the Chiefs signed in the offseason to take some of the short yardage punishment Charles isn’t exactly suited for.

    2. This is a bit of a double dip, but if I have one thing in common with Tom Brady — besides being irresistible to supermodels — it’s a love for receiving tight ends (which might go back to the supermodel thing, if you think about it). The Chiefs will have two such options next year with Tony Moeaki and newly acquired Kevin Boss, a pair of very tall, very capable pass catchers. I’ve abused both of these guys online in the past (Boss when he was with the Giants), using their natural matchup against a linebacker on the defense to pick up easy first downs on third-and-medium.

    lol kyle orton lol (image courtesy kansascity.sbnation.com)

    3. A good defense is key in Madden online, since unlike the offense, you can’t make it all flow directly through you. The Chiefs, as luck would have it, are strong where they need to be on the defensive side of the ball — pass rushers like Tamba Hali and Glenn Dorsey will put consistent pressure on the QB (nothing gets an online opponent more off his or her game than a few sacks), MLB Derrick Johnson will help guard the middle of the field, and stellar S Eric Berry (back from a season-ending injury in 2011) is a beast in the secondary, a player you can move all over the field to confuse your opponent. No matter which player you choose to control on defense (I prefer the MLB spot so I can play the pass and the run), there’s enough quality-to-Pro Bowl players on this squad that you won’t have to fret too much about baby-sitting some dirge defender.

    It remains to be seen whether the fine folks at EA Sports avoid the urge to go overboard and downgrade this team too much after last season’s real-life struggles, but there are enough pieces on offense and defense that should remain strong to make the Chiefs a very usable and dangerous team in online play. Plus, there will be the added bonus of using a playbook unfamiliar to most players, so you’ll have that element of surprise against most of your opponents. Give them a shot, why don’t ya?!

    Share your thoughts on my pick below, and feel free to share which team you’re going to dominate with come Aug. 28!

    Tim is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. His Playstation Online handle is eye_dubya_pwn, if you want to inflate your friends total. Contact him at tlangton@wdhprint.com.

     
  • locallypwned 5:34 pm on July 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Welcome to PokeWoW 

    One of my most anticipated additions to World of Warcraft in its upcoming expansion Mists of Pandaria was the pet battles. My paladin has more than 100 pets already, and while it’s fun to show them off, it’s even more fun to be able to do something with them.

    A major patch was released for the MoP beta last week that finally brought the pet battles to life. However, a major bug also existed that made it extremely hard to play. Players were crashing just by entering buildings. The problem turned out to be something with the minimap, which a player figured out. A small patch this week also fixed the issue so I was able to get in and try out the battles for myself.

    Take that you filthy snake!

    Now, I’ve never played Pokemon, but from what I have been told, the set up here is similar. When you add the training skill, you can add a pet to your team. Each player can have up to three pets on his or her team. Initially, however, the team is limited to one, until you get that pet leveled up high enough.

    Once a pet reaches level 3, a player can being trapping wild pets. This allows a player to expand his or her collection very quickly. Also, this expansion makes all pets accountwide, so when one character catches a pet, each one of that player’s characters will have it.

    In the screenshot,  my paladin stands watch as my Core Hound Pup fights a wild Rat Snake. The action bar at the bottom of the screen shows my pet’s abilities. In each round of the battle, you select the ability you want your pet to use. There are several classes of pets, each with a strength and weakness against another class.

    You are mine, snake.

    In this shot, the Trap button is lit up in the action bar. My Core Hound Pup had weakened the snake, allowing me to add it to my collection. Once a pet is in your collection, you can add it to your lineup, release it or trade it with another player.

    To help players along, each zone in the game has a Pet Battle Master. These NPCs have their own teams of pets and stand ready to challenge you to duels. As you would expect, they get stronger as you move through the various zones in Azeroth. So far, I’ve taken down the first four with my team.

    As you win fights, whether against wild pets, the NPCs or other players, your pets gain experience and levels. The max level is 25. As your pets get stronger, they get new abilities. While a pet can learn 6 abilities, only 3 can be active for a battle.

    The tricky part for players will be keeping a balanced team of pets leveled up as they progress through the NPC fights. With collections that might grow into the hundreds, players definitely will be busy.

    So far, I’m having fun with the pet battles. They add yet another layer to the ever-expanding World of Warcraft. Each of these additions continues to impress me. Mists of Pandaria is going to be an epic expansion of the game. The questing experience through Pandaria has been outstanding and the developers at Blizzard have really gone all out to make sure players do not get bored when they reach level 90.

    I, for one, cannot wait for MoP to go live. I’m hoping the big gaming convention in Germany next month might give us a release date. Until then, I will continue to test it out on the beta and keep you informed of what I am seeing.

    Andrew is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He has owned every Nintendo system except the SNES and DS (in all its incarnations). His primary toon in WoW is Grantham, a dwarf paladin.

     
  • locallypwned 12:35 am on July 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Oh Lolly, You’re So Fine, You’re So Fine You Blow My Mind 

    I’ve played a few games with unrealistic female heroes before — my teenage years were spent playing the first five Tomb Raider games — but Lollipop Chainsaw was the first to make me actively want to take a shower. I consciously avoided talking about the game while female co-workers were in the room for fear someone would overhear and think I was a pervert. After all, the game is literally about a bubbly, buxom, blonde cheerleader — on her 18th birthday, no less — in a skimpy outfit using a rainbow-colored chainsaw to slice her way through her zombie-infested high school with the help of her decapitated boyfriend. I didn’t want to get a reputation.

    I can’t make a joke about Juliet’s decapitated boyfriend Nick, because the game makes ALL OF THEM.

    So why did I choose to play the game then? Suda51, the designer, has a reputation for oddball games that buck convention — No More Heroes and Killer7 are the most well-known — and I didn’t want to play just another lame FPS. Lollipop Chainsaw has a style and sense of humor all its own, and it’s hard to hate a game that doesn’t take itself seriously in the slightest. Sure, it’s got a few major issues that keep me from fully endorsing it, but about 1/3 of the way through the game, I felt a strange Stockholm syndrome taking hold of me as I shut my brain off and just learned to enjoy the pretty colors and crazy side-games.

    The game never settles for sane, and it rides the crazy train as far as it will go. Juliet rides a stripper pole, plays zombie basketball (slice off their heads and hurl them into the basket!), and fights such colorful bosses as a funk zombie who speaks only in autotune and flies a UFO, and a Viking zombie (riding a flying longboat) who turns into a giant disembodied head. When you enter “Sparkle Hunter” mode (when your kill meter gets high enough, you can insta-decapitate enemies for a short time), the soundtrack immediately turns into “Mickey” by Toni Basil. Your chainsaw also functions, over time, as a cell phone, machine gun, turbo charger and cannon. Look, you will either enjoy the weird, campy atmosphere, or you will find the joke wears thin and loathe the game.

    Man, I WISH the cheerleaders had been this cool at my high school.

    The gameplay is the typical fighting game conventions — high attack, low attack, stun attack, dodge. Every area is typically the same — fight a horde of zombies, move on to the next area, repeat until you get to the boss fight. The game does a decent job of switching up the action with mini-games before it gets too boring, but once you’ve mastered the art of zombie killing, it doesn’t dramatically change much. The game mixes and matches genres — the fourth level, in particular, is a well-done homage to retro video games — but while the first half is slaying-heavy, the second half feels more like the game wants to be a shooter, because once you get the gun attachment for your chainsaw, that’s pretty much the answer to every boss fight and puzzle from then on. The game also doesn’t let you save yourself, instead of relying on an autosave function that is occasionally finicky. At one point I turned off the game after a save point, only to learn when I booted it back up that it had been the wrong kind of save point and I would have to start the level over again.

    There’s a much bigger problem, though, that keeps me from recommending buying this game: It’s too darn short. I completed the game in about 6-7 hours, and the game tries to extend its shelf life by offering more unlockables if you play through again, as well as an online leaderboard and a new ending if you get a much higher score. But there’s just not enough content to justify buying it as a new release unless you’re really into the game, and I can’t wholeheartedly recommend that unless you rent it first to see if you like it. Suda51 has created something weird and distinctive in terms of game style — although I won’t wade into the ongoing Internet debate about the game’s objectification — but functioning as a game, it’s mostly hack, slash, shoot, and it’s too short to justify spending $60.

    Final verdict: Lollipop Chainsaw is fun and weird, but might be off-putting to some. Zombie hunting is broken up by creative mini-games, but can get a little repetitive, and the game is too short for its price tag.

    Lollipop Chainsaw provided by Gaming Generations.

    Benton Sartore is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. He’s had “Mickey” stuck in his head ever since he started this game, please make it stop. Contact him at bsartore@wdhprint.com.

     
  • locallypwned 6:42 pm on July 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Starcraft 2 Golden Tip: Infested Terrans to the Rescue 

    oh man has anyone ever done this well at Starcraft before????

    Howdy again, gamers! “Tremendous” Tim here with another Starcraft 2 dispatch from the Gold league, bringing you my expert advice on how to dominate players with incomplete skill sets!

    If you’ve been following Locally Pwned for a while, you know that my New Year’s Resolution this year was to graduate two leagues in Starcraft up to Platinum. While I quickly soared up through Silver and into Gold, it’s been a bit of slog recently, as it’s apparent that I have deficiencies in my game, but I have no idea what they are or how to work on them. A bit of a conundrum, as you can imagine.

    But I do know one thing that’s killing me in games — slow unit production. You see, with Zerg (my main race in the game), the Queen’s larvae inject ability is pretty much key to winning games past the 8 minute mark. This requires (for me, at least) taking your screen back your bases and commanding your Queens to larvae inject your Hatcheries, Lairs or Hives every 40 seconds or so. And being a bit forgetful in the game, that duty will often go unfulfilled late in the game, especially if I’m engaging my opponent in a battle on the other side of the map, meaning I often don’t have the larvae to rebuild my army after one of the aforementioned battles.

    So what’s a Zerg player to do? When in doubt, Infestor it out! Yes, using the Zerg’s only useful caster unit effectively — specifically, for this post, its Infested Terran ability — can help make up for my sluggish unit production, especially when on the attack. You can’t go wrong with free units, as you’ll see in my description below. And don’t be afraid to click on the images provided for a better look at the action, as that don’t cost you nothing.

    what brave little soldiers

    1. Above, you can see that my army size isn’t anything to be writing home about. However, you can see that I have four Infestors along with my many Zerglings and Roaches, so my army’s potential size is actually much greater. Think of it as those little capsules you could put in water and they would grow into foam dinosaur shapes you had when you were a kid, only instead of water, you add the T key on your keyboard.

    VILLAINS! SCOUNDRELS!

    2. Looking here at the size of my opponent’s army, you can see that he should have enough to hold me off, assuming he properly reinforces this group. He actually has his units upgraded higher than mine, so I imagine he’s not afraid to engage the army I’m moving toward his third base. And of course, that will be his doom.

    it’s like Easter, only instead of candy, those eggs are filled with death

    3. I wait until we have our horns good and locked in battle before I unleash a torrential rain of Infested Terran eggs from the sky, trying to position them so they’ll absorb some attacks from my Roaches and Zerglings while also blocking the escape path of some of my opponent’s units. Once my Infested Terrans hatch, I have an army that is just as large as it was at the beginning of the skirmish, if not even larger. When done as effectively as shown here, you can not only take out an opponent’s base, but you can even level a good chunk of his army. Just pure win across the board, honestly.

    the Infested Terrans enjoy their victory for another ten seconds until they burst into grape jelly

    Protip: Words of caution with this strategy, though — Infested Terrans are temporary units, meaning they will explode into goo after 30 seconds, regardless of whether they’re attacked by your opponent. So, if wise, your opponent will pull his or her army back and wait for your Infested Terrans to run out, then attack your original force that includes Infestors with no energy to cast Fungal Growth or Neural Parasite. They’ll be expensive dead weight, so be careful how you engage with this strategy.

    That’s all for this tip from the Gold league! Any thoughts on this strategy, or any tips of your own? Share as always, I’m all ears! And if you want more of my Starcraft 2 musings, follow me on Twitter @tlangeton, as long as you don’t mind the occasional Packers/pro wrestling/food related tweet. If that’s not enough Gold league Starcraft for you, you can track my progress on the ladder here at sc2ranks.com, where it lists all of my embarrassing stats under my Battle.net handle TremendousKB and laugh at my ridiculously high global and regional ranking.

    Tim is a copy editor for the Wausau Daily Herald. His Playstation Online handle is eye_dubya_pwn, if you want to inflate your friends total. Contact him at tlangton@wdhprint.com.

     
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