This week saw the introduction of Crackdown 2 as our Monday night co-op game of choice, which motivated me to finally dig out Crackdown 1 and give it a try. As a result, I've been playing both this week. Marvel vs. Capcom 3 got finished up this week - I'l lend it around to friends to try to get some good local competition.
Games of note this week:
1 - Crackdown
2 - Crackdown 2
3 - Marvel vs. Capcom 3
4 - CityVille
5 - Master of Orion
Master of Orion
Woah, a blast from the past! Impulse had an amazing deal this past week - all 3 MOO games for just $5! Not being one to pass up a great thing, I grabbed them. I played a bit of MOO2 back in the day, after Forest gave it to me one summer. I liked it, but it paled in comparison to Space Empires 2 and Stars! I'm one of the few people who really liked MOO3 - but I never really got to play the original game. Jeff McBride, who created Stars! claims that the original is his favorite, so I've been eager to give it a really good whirl.
Let me begin by saying that a few days has not been nearly enough time to sink my teeth into the game. The thing about MOO which strikes me first is the way that propulsion technology works. It essentialy gives a range from your bases which you can travel. I love this - it's the same idea I came up with for my own 4x game. This means that you must colonize nearby planets in order to expand - instead of just finding good planets to inhabit, you have to pretty much take EVERYTHING, so your empire can grow. This means that some planets are less important than others. It also means that invaders have to basically chew through your space to get to your core.
Second big thing to notice is how blatantly exponential the resource curve is. You spend your resources each turn on production, research, and industry. "Industry" allocations basically increase your resources permanently from then on - so you pretty much want to use 100% of your resources to incruse your industry every turn. The speed at which you can get your economy going is staggering!
CityVille was getting pretty stale - but they suddenly mixed things up this week, with the introduction of several dense housing options - I may need a new housing post to sort through them all! They also introduces new businesses with better collection bonuses, and factories. I haven't been able to get my factory built yet - but I'm interested to see what it does.
Marvel vs. Capcom 3
As noted above, I've finished my achievemnt-crawl through this game by unlocking all of the endings and completing 160 missions. A few achievements, notably the "complete 320 missions" are just not worth the time and effort, so I'll have to be happy with 855 points, I suppose.
My favorite characters have really changed over time - I started with Captain America (my favorite in MvC2), X-23, and MODOK as my favorites, but now I'm decidedly better with She-Hulk, Super-Skrull, and Taskmaster. Learning how to land She-Hulk's basic super was quite a treat - and finding out after dozens of hours that her "Sunday Driver" special was actually a THROW... that totally opend my eyes! (The move summons a limo, which drives across the screen and hits your opponent. But if you're next to them, She-Hulk shoves them out of the way (that's the "throw" part) then grabs the car, and tosses it onto them, where it explodes!)
I tried Crackdown a few years ago, and didn't really care for it. Since then, I've put a few hundred hours into the Hulk and Prototype sandbox games, so I'm appreciating how much Crackdown led the way there. Orb hunting is surprisingly fun - but the actual game is pretty straight-forward. After getting all my orbs on the first island, I was basically fully powered-up, and was able to run through the rest of the story missions in a couple hours. I would have actually preferred needing to level-up my agility in each island seperately. Starting with a low agility score and building it up is the real joy of Crackdown - and it's a shame you only get to do it once.
I never even gave Crackdown 2 a shot, because I heard it wasn't as good as Crackdown - which, you might recall, didn't impress me much when I first tried it.
But now, I realize that Crackdown 2 is not only better than the original - it's just a fantastic game by any measure.
First off - it has great Co-Op. After playing Left 4 Dead, Transformers: War for Cybertron, Borderlands, and Blur - I was afraid that we'd run the 360 out of good Co-Op options. But Crackdown 2 is a joy from top to bottom. It fixes the problems of its predacessor with "find the orbs" - and does a great job of incorporating both "city filled with enemies" and "empty city to explore" elements in a flexible way. In Crackdown, I don't actually want to take down the gangs, because when I do I suddenly lose all my targets for building up skills! Crackdown 2 fixes this issue nicely. Yes, it uses the same city - but that's actually another plus for me. After putting in all the time and learning Crackdown 1 so carefully, it's nice to have that knowledge come in handy. Plus, the weapons are better.