by Susana Polo | 5:00 pm, November 25th, 2013
by Becky Chambers | 2:00 pm, March 22nd, 2013
(Minor spoilers ahead.)
Sarah Kerrigan sits in a high-security research lab, obediently following Prince Valerian’s instructions. To assess how much of the Zerg mutagen is left in her system, he asks her to psionically control a drone in a chamber nearby. This is, of course, the tutorial mission, but there’s more going on here than a lesson in unit control. Kerrigan does as she’s told, but her tone is dangerously apathetic. “You know this is going to end badly, right?” she says. There’s a hint of laughter in her words, condescending and bored. Valerian is not the one in control here.
When will these people ever learn that underestimating Kerrigan is a very stupid idea?READ MORE
by Becky Chambers | 12:33 pm, February 22nd, 2013
There are few video game characters from my formative years that I regard as highly as Kerrigan. She was complex and unforgettable, the sort of villain who makes you forget that you’re supposed to root for the good guys. To this day, I can’t help but feel awe when remembering the emergence of the Queen of Blades.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, on the other hand, left me unimpressed. Naturally, the Zerg were going to get stomped, but to see that brilliant character stripped of her power, both literally and figuratively, then carried off into the sunset by her former boyfriend — come on. Kerrigan deserves better than that. The trailers for SCII’s upcoming expansion, Heart of the Swarm, seem to agree, pointing toward a vengeful reclamation of the leaderless broods. While the expansion’s release is still a few weeks out, tie-in novel StarCraft II: Flashpoint, written by Christie Golden, raises some interesting questions about how Kerrigan’s next chapter will unfold (minor spoilers ahead).READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 10:18 am, December 31st, 2012
Any casual observer of video games can figure out that the demon lord Diablo is the big bad of the Diablo games. Players will also be familiar with the angel Tyrael, one of mankind’s only allies. And as for that halberd weilding cow, well. There is no cow level. These Diablo, Tyrael, and Cow plushies were created by Arixystix, and while she has no plans to sell them on her Etsy shop, she’s thinking about selling a pattern for the Diablo. In the meantime, crafty Blizzard fans can get their hands on the pattern for this plush StarCraft Overlord.
(via Nerd Approved.)READ MORE
by Kellie Foxx-Gonzalez | 5:06 pm, July 16th, 2012
by Becky Chambers | 12:55 pm, May 22nd, 2012
Let me say this right up front: Diablo III is a pretty great game. It’s a satisfying, decently balanced helping of hack-and-slash, and it will scratch your every dungeon crawling itch. Diablo III is one of those games that just makes you feel cool. My Barbarian hits like a truck, and she is constantly surrounded by the pyrotechnic displays of my friends’ magical abilities. It is not the best game I’ve ever played, nor did it capture me as its predecessor did, but I am looking forward to my continued adventures in Sanctuary throughout the weeks ahead.
The whole point of the Diablo franchise is much less about telling a good story than it is about killing monsters and getting loot, but with the sort of time commitment that a game like this requires (especially to justify the $60 price tag), ideally you want the setting to be a place that captures your imagination, a place that you want to hang out in. So while I had a blast cleaving demons in twain over the weekend, I was nonetheless underwhelmed by a narrative full of uninspired tropes, as well as an otherwise impressive world clinging to some of the most tired cliches concerning women in fantasy. For a game that took twelve years to make, it was disappointing to see how little has changed on those fronts.
Fair warning: Massive spoilers ahead.READ MORE
by Becky Chambers | 12:33 pm, May 17th, 2012
Over the past week, some of the more noteworthy happenings in the world of gaming have unfolded like a parable about good business practices. Let’s begin: On May 8, Valve released the Perpetual Testing Initiative (a totally free level editor for Portal 2), which has been unsurprisingly popular. In order to thank the community for their enthusiasm, Portal 2 was on sale via Steam last weekend for a whopping 66% off. Skyrim and some Team Fortress 2 items were knocked down as well, because why not.
A few days later, several gaming news sites reported that EA was pulling down a big chunk of their Battlefield 3 public servers, in an effort to push players toward their $30-a-month rental servers. Unsurprisingly, an outcry followed. Shortly after, EA restored a number of public servers, stating that their intent was never to remove access to public servers entirely. They did, however, continue to talk up the benefits of renting in the same breath.
And finally, on Tuesday, Blizzard’s release of Diablo III — arguably the most anticipated PC game to date — was a big hot mess. Diablo III requires a connection to Blizzard’s Battle.net servers at all times, even while playing the single-player campaign. When the game launched at 12:01 AM, the resulting server traffic was massive (as one might expect), and many players spent the better part of the day futilely attempting to sign in. Keep in mind, players were able to purchase, download, and install the game client weeks in advance, which most did; all the server connection was needed for was to unlock the game.READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 5:01 pm, April 19th, 2012
by Becky Chambers | 12:30 pm, April 2nd, 2012
After twelve years since the Lord of Terror was unleashed, it’s finally official: Diablo III will be raising hell on May 15. All I’ve ever really wanted in life is a co-op hack-and-slash dungeon crawler, so I was excited for this game from the get-go. But after spending a little time poking around on Diablo III’s official website, I’m really excited. Like, super excited. I am downright stoked. And it’s for a very simple reason:
All of the female characters look like someone I’d like to play.
As I mentioned back in January, Diablo III will be the first game in the series to offer full gender customization for player characters. This on its own is a welcome addition, but the fact that the female character models are so good has earned Blizzard a stamp of approval in my book. To help explain why, I’m going to put these new ladies into the greater context of how Blizzard has portrayed women throughout their games.READ MORE
Long Overdue: Blizzard Removes “Homosexual,” “Transsexual” From List of Blocked Profanity in World of Warcraft
by Susana Polo | 11:47 am, January 26th, 2012
The big news on the Blizzard front yesterday was that they’d decided not to have a BlizzCon in 2012; that is, the large fan convention at which the titan (ha ha insidery Blizzard joke) of the gaming community makes the biggest of its big announcements. The reasoning was that with three games/expansions expected to drop within the next year and a half, the company’s time would be better spent working on them and, moreover, they just didn’t have anything really exciting and new to show.
But there was a tidbit of smaller news that we feel is still important to highlight. Blizzard was successfully pressured to remove “homosexual” and “transsexual” from the list of words that the in-game profanity filter of World of Warcraft automatically blocks.READ MORE