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Honour is My Shield

Kill Team is not an indie game by any stretch of the term; it’s published by THQ and GamesWorkshop is the kingpin of war gaming. However it is no secret that I am a huge fan of 40k, (who else has a tattoo of an orc on their arm?) so I had to say a little something about it just out of sheer excitement.

Picking up from my short comments the other day, Kill Team controls like Smash TV, but plays more like the Marvel Ultimate Alliance games. It’s a run and gun, frag fest where one stick controls movement and the other controls firing. And that would be enough, but to round out the game a bit, they threw in some light customization options. Not quite as many as MUA, but enough to keep it from getting bland. There’s also co-op, and a survival mode with online leaderboards.

There are 4 different characters to choose from and 2 basic styles of play. The Librarian and Vanguard Veteran focus on melee combat, while the Sternguard Veteran and Techmarine have more powerful ranged weaponry. Better weapons and perks for your marine can be unlocked through gameplay to further suit your character to your style. Enhanced melee damage, more health, longer power ups, to name a few. Also, each class has a specific special attack that will quickly dispatch a large chunk of the green horde. Librarians unleash a psychic shockwave, sending everything surrounding them flying. Vanguard Veterans tear ass around with their jump pack, finally landing and blasting away a cluster of greenskins. Techmarines quickly construct a twin-linked heavy bolter turret to help fend off foes from multiple directions. Finally, my favorite, the Sternguard Veteran has the focus fire ability which really amps up your rate of fire, allowing you a lay down a deadly hail of heavy bolter rounds, laying waste to all in your sights.

There are a few minor details that irk me. Being a 40k fan, I feel they could have made the weapon load outs more accurate.  I admit the only people that are really going to notice this are 40k fans,  and this may be nitpicking, but I don’t see anyone buying this game if they aren’t a 40k fan anyway. The Vanguard Veteran is ranked the highest for melee, but he is armed with a chainsword and plasma pistol. The Librarian has stronger ranged attacks, but weaker melee yet he is armed with a power sword and a bolt pistol.  It seems to me they should give the Vanguard the bolt pistol and the Librarian the plasma pistol as a more accurate representation of their stats. Their swords get upgraded anyway, so only their default weapons need retooling, maybe just start them both with chainswords. And as for the Techmarine, the servo arm should be way more powerful. This is no way affects my overall enjoyment of the game, it’s just a minor detail and I do not consider it a strike against them.

However, I do have 2 small complaints that ARE somewhat bothersome. It is too easy to get all the unlockables and they are not character specific as you get them. Allow me to explain. Playing through as the Sternguard let’s say, I can can get every unlock for every character. I  should only be unlocking upgrades to ranged weaponry. Not only is this less of a challenge, but subsequent playthroughs with other characters will feel less rewarding because now I have nothing new to achieve. My other big complaint is the self inflicted death rate is too high. These types of games always have copious amounts of exploding barrels littered about, which I should have expected, and within 5 minutes of my first game session, I was KIA; death by barrel blast. Whatever. That was my own stupidity, but with the unending rain of gunfire, it just means you need to more careful about stray rounds. The other method of self inflicted death is far more insidious and aggravating. It is too easy to fall. This isn’t a platforming game and I never have to jump. I shouldn’t even have the option to fall off any ledges. Maybe some of you will never come across this issue, but I am an insane completionist and I must find every little secret. Fall to death ratio – about 50%.  Getting cut down from a rampaging mob of Orks is to be expected. Not searching behind a large pipe only to fall of the world.

Despite the fact that I’m very good at singling out things that bother me, I’ve had much fun with Kill Team so far. I assure you, those are the only negative aspects I’ve come across and they really are quite minor.  It’s really easy to pick up and play without getting bogged down by endless menus, but customizable enough to where is doesn’t feel too simple.  With each stage coming in at around 20-45 minutes play time, you don’t have to devote an entire day to it either. And the survival mode is good for a quick fix if you have even less time than that. Regardless of how much time you have, it’s total nonstop action the whole way through alone or with a friend.  All said and done, definitely worth the 10 bucks you’ll spend on either the PSN or XBLA and it only makes me more anxious for Space Marine to come out in September.

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Yeah uh… Thanks for reading!

For the Emperor!

Just finished downloading and playing Warhammer 40k: Kill Team.  It was only 800 microsoft points on XBLA. Simple, straightforward, fun gameplay. Smash TV style controls with some RPG elements thrown in such as added power-ups and perks.

I’ve been waiting for this since I played it briefly at E3. It will tide me over until Space Marine comes out in September. Added incentive to download, they give you a power sword in Space Marine for playing Kill Team.

Mike, this is for you more than anyone else. Download this immediately!

Analysis so far: AWESOME

More to come!

Thankyou Couch Co-op

I’ve seen the Dungeon Siege III commercial a few times now and it’s got me thinking. Actually I’ve been thinking about this for awhile and the commercial was more of a catalyst. What’s happened to couch co-op? Sitting around your room with a bunch of friends, a few bags of chips, and a lot of foul-mouthed tomfoolery. It seems so many games focus on online multiplayer that playing a game with a person in the same room is becoming a thing of the past. I understand that often times human interaction can be down right (forward, HADOKEN!) detestable, but video games are meant to bring people together! Too many games are either completely single player (which there’s nothing wrong with. Mass Effect is the best game ever) or are designed to get people online and into a team deathmatch as quickly as possible. I blame Call of Duty.  The predecessors to Call of Duty: World at War didn’t have a campaign co-op, so when World at War finally released I was quivering with excitement to get home and play with my roommates right away. It was a great night. I simply don’t understand why the follow ups took that feature away. More recently Brink, and we won’t even mention any other problems with this one, is strictly multiplayer even in the single player campaign! Why not throw in some split screen action?

I have nothing against online gaming. I’ve been playing MMOs (specifically not World of Warcraft), RTSs, and FPSers for years on the PC and nothing is more devoid of direct social interaction than an MMO. But what if my wife and I want to play a game together? For the most part we would both need to own a copy of the game, have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms*, that or be relegated to playing some garbage carnival game on the Wii or pretending to rock out with fake instruments.

NO!

I’m sure it all comes back to money. My previous line of thinking pretty much answers my question.  If you have a sibling or two and you want to play online with them,  a sale of 1 game is nice, but make it so that you can only do 1 person online per console, well now you have 2 TVs, 2 consoles, 2 games, 2 headsets, and 2 accounts sold.

Here’s a typical situation: You’re in a store looking for a game to bring home to play with your friends but all too often the back cover reads, “Players 1. Online multiplayer 2-16.” I’m always talking about how perfect the XBLA and PSN are for finding awesome games and this is another prime example. The best co-op games aren’t found in a store for $59.99, but are available for immediate download usually at around only 15 bucks!

So here’s a list of games I thank for having multiplayer, split screen, campaign co-op, and whatever other ways they make it so we can game together without our only form of connection being our headsets.

  • Halo – The most recognizable. This game has sold systems for years and from day 1 had split screen co-op
  • Borderlands
  • Portal 2
  • Hunted – Even though it’s mediocre
  • Dungeon Siege III
  • EDF – Don’t laugh. You have no idea how awesome this game is
  • Castle Crashers
  • Scott Pilgrim – This one’s so old school there isn’t even an online feature. You might have to make some friends to get all 4 players

And I was ever so excited when these 3 gems appeared on the XBLA

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:  The Arcade Game
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time
  • X-Men

Yeah I know I left out some games. I’m sure you have other co-op games on your own list that I didn’t mention. So what? Wanna fight about it?

Drop me a line, leave a comment. Most importantly, share this post!

* note that my wife and I do have separate systems set up on separate TVs in separate rooms

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