I’m the President of the United States

At the end of November (2013), I purchased Saints Row IV on Steam. I had been meaning to get it for a while but luckily it was on sale and got a great deal for it. I loved the previous game and that’s why I was really looking forward to play this one. If you know the Saints Row franchise, then you’re probably aware that those games shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Saints Row IV

The game starts out with you being the president of the United States. Fun, huh? Then… madness ensues, and who causes all this chaos? Aliens! The whole plot reminded me of the movie Mars Attack. Throughout the game, you gain superpowers which makes the whole experience a fun ride down the crazy and over-the-top train. Like the previous Saints Row games, SR4 includes a bunch of side missions that help you with the world completion, and provide you with more resources for upgrades. With this type of game, the more upgrades you have, the better. This game may not be for everyone, especially when some people say it is “too silly” or “too over the top”. I think that’s the game’s strength, it isn’t serious, it’s meant to be chaotic and crazy.

Talking about SR4’s downloadable content, I suggest you try Enter the Dominatrix, it’s a super fun DLC (this content was cut from Saints Row III). I also got the How the Saints Save Christmas DLC but have only played the first mission. Though, from the looks of it, it seems like another great addition to the game’s downloadable content.

I definitely recommend Saints Row IV. It’s addicting, fun, and totally crazy. Plus, you can never go wrong with superpowers.

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Pull up a chair by the Hearth

Hearthstone is now in Open Beta and now that I’ve had a few weeks to play the game and build some decks, I figure it’s time to share a review. In general I’m not really a card game player aside from things like rummy, gin, etc. Once upon a time I played Magic the Gathering but it’s been many a moon since those days. So when I got my invitation I decided, “What the hell, why not!”

I happily report that I’m not at all disappointed with my choice! While I knew there was quite the buzz about this game and I’d seen it played in the background of many a stream, I didn’t anticipate it being so addicting. I’ve enjoyed building decks and leveling my mage, I’ve even played in ranked – though I haven’t played in the arena just yet.

Overview

Hearthstone is a strategy card game where you pit your deck against your opponent’s (be it a player or computer). It’s available on both Windows and Mac, with plans to venture into the iOS/Android market later on. It’s FREE to play and as I mentioned, it’s open to download now and try. You don’t need to have any experience and the tutorial will get you started without a fuss.

Starting Out

You start with one hero, a mage named Jaina, and a starting deck is already built for you. You play through 6 missions to help you get the hang of how the game works. Throughout the game you’ll unlock cards from each basic hero deck as you go, until you have all basic cards for that hero unlocked upon reaching level 10. You can unlock different heroes (classes) by beating that hero in either practice or play – for instance, if I win a match against a player using a Priest deck, I now have the ability to make a priest deck myself.

Heroes

There are currently 9 heroes: Jaina (mage), Rexxar (hunter), Uther (paladin), Garrosh (warrior), Malfurion (druid), Gul’dan (warlock), Thrall (shaman), Anduin (priest), Valeera (rogue). If you’re familiar with the Warcraft realm then the names will be familiar.

Cards & Decks

Certain cards are limited to a hero type and each type has a different hero power. There are also a large amount of cards that are open to all heroes so your ability to customize each deck is pretty high with the already existing card pool. You can earn more cards by buying packs – either with in-game gold earned by playing matches or with real money via the shop. Each pack gives you five cards and it works just like real life pack buying – there is the chance for special cards and duplicates.

Hearthstone's Grimscale Oracle card

 

Each card has several details on it. In the top left you can see the mana cost. Below the image is the name of the card and below that is information about what special things the card does (if anything). On the bottom left is the attack damage and bottom right is the health.

The Grimscale Oracle costs 1 mana crystal to place on the field. If there are any other Murlocs you placed on the field, then they will get +1 to their attack (and the number will turn green to show you it’s been modified). If you make it attack something it will do one point of damage, and if something attacks it, it will die (because it only have 1 hit point).

 

 

Gameplay

 

My Experience

The biggest thing I had to get used to was the fact that when you play a card it takes damage from whatever it’s attacking and can die. The first few hands I played I was like.. wtf? But eventually I got the hang of things and am slowly getting better at the game. Like I said, I haven’t played this kind of game in a long, long time so I’m rusty on making decisions on when I should and shouldn’t do things. And not yet knowing the norm for each deck/hero throws another challenge into the mix. But overall I’m really enjoying the game. It’s very easy to get into, great to just kick back and relax with, and now that it’s open to everyone it doesn’t take forever to find a match.

I’m looking forward to much more time with this game and climbing the ranked ladder! Hope many of you will join me!!

Dragging Me In, Kicking and Screaming

I don’t know what it is exactly about WoW that I like so much. When I quit months ago, I told myself that I wouldn’t be going back. Fast forward a couple of months and I find myself with a month-long subscription. Downloading, thinking that this is just going to be as boring as I remembered it, that it really hadn’t been that long since I had played. But it finished downloading, I logged in, and a rush of emotions came back. I was so excited to see my warrior again. Oh how I missed playing her, and I didn’t even realize how much I missed it! I signed in and ran around going “Eeeee! Wooo!!” and other such nonsense. I was on Skype with my friend Dennis (who bought me the month sub) at the time.. and he probably thought that I’d gone mad or something. Maybe I had a bit.

Though I missed all my characters, I found that I didn’t really know where to start with them again. It had been so long since I last played WoW. Did I remember the controls? Could I get as good DPS that I was getting when I was playing before? Maybe I should just start another character, play that for a bit and then jump back on my main. So, I made a hunter. Dennis and I started roaming about the Blood Elf starting area. To which I was finishing quests, at lightning speed (okay.. maybe not that fast..). I’ve made so many blood elves that I just know my way around. We hit level 10 and decided that it was time for battle grounds! Boy what a mistake that was. He’s so squishy (priest) I’m so squishy..it just didn’t work out well. So we went to doing quests again until we hit level 15. Jumped in a couple of dungeons, ended up hitting level 21 where I realized my heart just wasn’t in leveling a hunter.

I decided I wanted to learn how to play a warrior again. Get this one to level 90, and play it only with Dennis, then play Bellona (my main) when he wasn’t online or awake. He went to get pizza, and by the time he got back I was already level 6, plowing my way through the starting area.

WoW Screenshot

It’s definitely taken some getting used to again. I’m trying my best to remember where I put all my spells, and getting them slowly over time is a pain, but getting there! He ended up having to sleep, and as we’re leveling together, I didn’t want to do too much without him. Even if he has to spend 10 levels just following me around so we can pew pew. I’m looking forward to getting into dungeons though.

I still don’t understand what’s really drawn me back to the game. Maybe it’s that I have someone to play with again (as that’s the biggest reason I stopped playing)..maybe I’m just really really bored and need something to fill my time. Maybe it’s both! Who knows. I just know that I’m enjoying playing again, and having someone to play with. I might even decide to actually tank with this warrior instead of just DPS!