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A second game I’ve been trying to play lately is Overlord, which, despite its lack of hype (that I’ve heard of, anyway), is actually a pretty great game (then again, it came out almost six months ago). I’ve been told by my fellow blogger that it’s extremely similar to Pikmin, which I, of course, never bought.In short, you play as a dark overlord (who would guess?), and you do battle by sending in your minions, who are a little like demonic gremlins, to fight for you. You have a huge axe you can fight with too, but according to your advisor, you’re too good for that.

An appealing part of the game is the number of uses for the minions, and the awesome ways in which they’re applied. Aside from fighting (which can get pretty awesome, what with your minions jumping onto your enemies’ backs and pretty much riding them around), the minions can do things like move large obstacles out of the way (which will require x minions to do depending on the size of the object; this makes for the revelation of new areas pretty smooth as you can command more and more minions at once), turn big wheels to open doors or drop drawbridges, and fit through or across small areas like tunnels or coincidental bridges made of small tree branches.

Your minions also pick up random stuff that can help them along their way, ranging from makeshift weapons (like pieces of fences, if I remember correctly) to pumpkin helms. That’s right; if you tell your minions to attack random things (which they will sometimes do on their own if they’re in the area) — like pumpkins — they’ll do crazy stuff like put them on their heads, even if it doesn’t help them one bit. That’s one of the things that really brings them to life: they’re not just mindless creatures who obey your every word and only your every word (although they are quite loyal) — they like to have some fun, too.

You also have a huge castle that you can customize with enough money — a nice perk, but (so far for me) has served no super-meaningful purpose.

And the last thing I’ll mention is paths. Lots of games have been adding this lately to dynam-ify storylines — you can choose your character’s personal path through the the actions you perform. In most cases, your actions end up deciding whether you’re good or evil in the end (Dark Messiah is an excellent example of this), but since Overlord‘s whole concept is pretty much based around being evil, you get to choose between evil and really evil.

As you might guess, killing innocent people leans you towards the really evil side. Every time you kill someone who would otherwise befriend you, you get their life force, and 1 life force = 1 more minion you have available to summon. You also get some decent cash from their pockets.

The disadvantage to doing this, as your advisor states, is that to rule an evil empire, you actually have to have people to rule over — so killing everyone isn’t too much of an option. I have yet to complete the game, so I’m not sure of the gameplay differences between the two paths yet, but I’m sure there will be some.

One last thing, because I know you’re waiting for it: graphics. They’re very decent. If you’re talking about sole graphics, they’re up there with Half-Life 2, but that doesn’t take into account physics, the actual use of the graphics, and the cooperation between the two. And some unrelated things could use some work.

For instance, you can set fields of dry grass on fire once you get the appropriate spell, and the trees in that field will switch to a dry and burnt model when the fire spreads to them (which all is very cool to see happen), but the trees just swap from one model to the other, and the instant change is very noticeable. At least cross-fade between the models or something.

Definitely not something to cry over, though — from the first time you set foot into non-evil lands, you can feel the happiness vibes emitting from everything from the sheep to the swaying grass — one of which you will slaughter and the other of which you will set fire to.

I was working on juven last night, and something occured to me:

I have no idea what I’m doing.

In the abstract software world, I can navigate around as easily as a limo driver with on-board navigation. In the physical hardware world, I am a kid on a bike in San Fransisco.

My first night didn’t work out to what I had hoped for. I stripped one of my old cases down to (and past) its base structure to attempt creation of a smaller case, but only succeeded in forcefully ripping out both sides of the hard drive bay and giving my finger a small (but rather deep) gash.

In the very least, I was happy with myself for plugging all the scattered cords into the motherboard in the right places. I’ve built millions of gajillions of computers in my life (by millions of gajillions I mean three), so I’m at least somewhat familiar with this stuff, but it’s more fun when, instead of taking the labeled cords from your brand spankin’ new case and plugging them into their corresponding motherboard slots (i.e. power LED, hard drive LED, power switch, reset switch), you end up salvaging those lights and switches from other computers in their most basic forms (a cord with a light or a button on the end) and duct taping them to the front of the case — if you can even call a heap of metal like this a case anymore.

I decided to take a break from all this hardware stuff you guys like to call real life and just try to get Ubuntu installed. I hooked up a loose hard drive, plugged in a keyboard and mouse that seemed more like dust bunnies than peripherals, and fired it up. But wait — what’s this? YOU’RE NOT BOOTING FROM MAH CD?! Is the BIOS checking for it? Let’s see…yes. Is the CD drive hooked up? …Yep, it looks like it. WHAT’S WRONG?!

Find out next time on this nonexistent show!

I’ll be trying some more stuff with it over the weekend, when I get back to my dad’s house. I’m sure it’s something stupid.

So I played through Halo 3 today with a friend, start to finish, and I have to say, I kinda don’t like it at all. I loved Halo; Halo 2 was great; but Halo 3…meh.

I’m a big storyline person. I love getting involved in the events of a game. A big reason I bought the game (I don’t even have a 360 and had to get a friend to lend his to me under the sole condition that I give him the game when I’m done) was to get some closure for the Halo storyline, and frankly, there is none. There are so many questions left unanswered at the end of the game; too many even if there were to be a Halo 4. I don’t want to get too into specifics for those who haven’t yet played through it and still plan to, but were it not for a few small things, the game would have almost no attracting storyline elements whatsoever.

I admit that some parts of the game were fun, namely the last level, which was reminiscent of the first game’s last level The Maw, but overall the game failed to impress. The graphics were not at all bad, but weren’t something to drool over (then again, we were playing split-screen on a 19-inch TV). I’d much prefer not necessarily the graphics, but maybe the graphical feel of Wii’s Metroid Prime 3, my last favorite console game.

On a separate but related note, playing console FPS’s constantly makes me realize how much I love PC games. It seems trivial, but when you’re in an intense situation, and you need to turn 180 degrees around, and with a console you can only push the control stick so far in one direction and actually have to wait for your character to turn all the way around, it gets pretty annoying and sets some serious pace limits. On a PC, you’re in full control — your character’s movements actually correspond to your mouse; there’s no center that you need to reset to when you’re done turning.

If this is hard to understand, just think about what I said — imagine you’re playing Halo right now (or just go play it), and you want to spin around to face the other way. You hold the control stick down one direction until you’re there, right? It might take a second or less (depending on your sensitivity). Now imagine the same situation on a PC. You just go VRRP! and you’re there (yes, that’s my sound effect for a mouse).

So anyways, some PC games I’m excited for now are Portal and Half-Life 2: Episode 2. I’ve already been playing the Team Fortress 2 beta and it’s pretty freaking sweet (they’ve even implemented rankings, just like BF2/2142!).

And this time going completely off-topic: did you know fell is a word!? I don’t mean the past tense of fall; I mean you can actually go fell something (i.e. I felled that tree yesterday!). Woo, good times.

Ugh, I could totally follow that up with an ATLA quote…