|Colonel Blair, this HD thing didn't do us any favors, did it?|
New Games for Beat the Average
If you were hoping for recent games, prepare to be underwhelmed. The initial bundle provided some great offerings; the update adds some new games, but they're all from EA's back catalog. Note that you will need to go to HumbleBundle and your account to get another Origin key to unlock the four games. From oldest to newest, the four additions are:
|The horror, the horror....|
The total size of the download is a paltry 42MB; I remember installing both games from floppies back in the day, and the 10 seconds it took to download today is a testament to the advance in technology. The games all run via DOSBox, which overcomes the fickle problems of getting the game to run back in the day. Anyway, if you want to experience what gaming was like back in the early 90s, have fun confronting the Guardian... I hope you have a lot of patience with older interfaces!
|Exercise in bad UI from 1994.|
Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger: Fun fact: Wing Commander is the game that prompted me to buy my very own PC way back in 1990. It was a 286 12MHz with 2MB RAM. And it was only after first trying to play Wing Commander that I discovered my PC was already obsolete. Ha! Thankfully, my dad helped me sell it off and I got a 386 16MHz instead, with 4MB RAM -- and more importantly, Expanded Memory (EMS) support. Funny thing is that the game art still never looked like the "actual in-game screenshots" on the box. But I digress; we're supposed to be talking about Wing Commander III.
Released in 1994, WC3 was one of the first games to use live action cutscenes -- including Mark Hamill (Luke from Star Wars original trilogy) as the main character. It was hailed as another great game in the Wing Commander franchise, though the acting was at best campy. This time the download is a rather large 1.6GB -- thanks to the full motion video -- and the game uses actual 3D polygons with textures instead of sprites. It was good when it was new, but again... 20 years is a long time. At least it's not the ill-fated Wing Commander movie.
|Check out these polygons! They're better than the acting at least.|
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
I mentioned last week that I have a soft spot for Plants vs. Zombies games, and since I hadn't previously purchased Garden Warfare I was excited to give it a shot. It turns out that I wasn't missing out on much. Oh, the game is okay, but it doesn't play at all like other PvZ titles. Instead, it's basically a reimagined multiplayer team shooter, with the two teams naturally consisting of Plants and Zombies.
The good news is that the game seems to run quite well on most modern GPUs -- my R9 290X was locked in at 75GPS on the LG 34UM67 FreeSync display, for example. The bad news is that the graphics are not what I would call cutting edge. Imagine Team Fortress 2 done in a PvZ style and you're awfully close to Garden Warfare.
Other modes consist of standard Team Deathmatch (up to 24 players), Gardens and Graveyards (objective based), Gnome Bomb (get the bomb to the enemy bases to blow them up), Suburdination (control point), Vanquish Confirmed (collect orbs for killing enemies and return them to a rally point), and Taco Bandits (um... protect the tacos?).
As with many multiplayer shooters, there are classes and equipment to unlock. Basically, if you've played any of the recent Battlefield or Call of Duty games, you know what to expect. There are some PvZ additions (like using potted plants for defense, though the seeds are accrued either by paying money or playing the game to earn coins). It can be a bit frustrating for new players at this stage, as there are skilled people with the most powerful unlocks around.
Overall, it's not a bad game. It's just...not what I was expecting. I'm not much of a multiplayer gamer these days, and the other PvZ games happily provided a good single player experience. Thankfully, I didn't have to spend $30 on Garden Warfare, so I don't feel bad about the "purchase". I have other things to keep me occupied.