Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas means new games, and new players for old games.

I don't think I've quite managed to completely straighten out my living room from all of the Christmas chaos yet. My kids haven't noticed, though. They're too busy being Batman and Bumblebee. The two biggest hits of Christmas so far have been Batman: Arkham Knight, which has been out since the summer, and Transformers:Devastation, which was released in October.

Batman:Arkham Knight is another pitch-perfect Batman game from the team at Rocksteady games, and they even brought Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamil (The Joker) back in to do some voice acting after having given them the last game (Arkham Origins) off. It's all of the things that you liked from the previous Arkham games plus a substantial amout of driving the Batmobile. Nightwing, Robin, the Riddler, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, and a few surprise bad guys show up for the fun.

Transformers:Devastation is strangely like Bayonetta. Not strange because it's Platinum Games at the helm, but strange that the Transformers fit so easily into the formula of a stylish beat-em-up game. There's more playable characters than Bayonetta, there's a lot more weapon modification than Bayonetta, but it's no mistake that my nine-year-old refers to the Focus attack as Witch Time. The focus attack, triggered by dodging out of the way at the last second (exactly how Witch Time is triggered in Bayonetta), allows for a few seconds of moving faster than everything else on the board and dishing out a rather serious beatdown. Some barriers to parts of a level have to be opened like this as well. Of what we've seen, the formula for the game is Giant Robots + Stylish Action = Awesomesauce! The only thing that my younger son hasn't liked about the game so far is that Grimlock is a bit sluggish and you need to repeatedly press the circle button to make him go faster. Bumblebee is his favorite character so far, as he easily outperforms his smaller size.

The other thing that is probably happening now is that a lot of people are playing Splatoon on WiiU for the first time.  While we have made some suggestions before, here's a few reminders.

1. Regular mode is just making sure you have inked more territory than the other team. Use your map (it's on the GamePad!) to find out if there are places that really need ink.

2. In the Ranked mode Splat Zone mode on maps that have two splat zones, have two people cover each one.

3. In the Ranked mode Tower Control, it doesn’t do much good to just run around and paint stuff without a plan.Get the tower, hold the tower, make a path for the tower. Use the dotted line to figure out where the tower is headed. You can’t just run around the tower shooting at it – at some point someone on your team has to get on the tower.

4. If you’re using any of the Nozzlenose weapons in Tower Control, you may find it rather difficult unless you’re extremely accurate. If you’re used to that weapon in regular mode, you may find it easier to use one of the Sloshers for Tower Control.

5. In Rainmaker mode – have the Rainmaker before you push forward through the map, and make sure the person with the Rainmaker is safe. If you have the Rainmaker and no teammates nearby, use the “C’mon” call by pressing up on the D-Pad to call them.

6. In Rainmaker mode – No lounging around! You can only use the weapon for a limited time.

7. It's a team game, play it like one. Nobody cares how many frags you get if your team loses.

Let's be careful out there and play nice, and I hope everybody had a great Christmas.

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