Monday, December 9, 2013

Micro Reviews: Original D&D • King of Tokyo • XBox One

Here are few micro reviews for a few things we've picked up that are specifically gaming centric over the last few months. Enjoy!

Premium Original Dungeons & Dragons Fantasy Roleplaying Game


It's odd that this is still not available from Amazon.com and will not be available until December 17, 2013. I have had this for at least a month now from my local gaming store. I'm guessing WOTC releases stuff to all the mom and pop gaming stores before going the Amazon/B&N route. If you can wait though, and saving your own money is more important to you than paying the markup to your local place you'll likely save $50 if you buy it off Amazon. My local store had it for $150 and the owner was nice enough to come down close to Amazon's price. I'm pretty sure she's not going to do that for everyone unless your charisma score is pretty high. :)

One of the main reasons I'm lumping this in as a micro review is because I don't plan on playing this. I'm sure an in depth review can be found elsewhere but I'm approaching it more as a keepsake. It was just one of those gaming things I wanted to have. As someone who barely followed the AD&D rules as a kid and only loosely follows 4E as an adult, digging into these original rules and playing this is not something I feel like doing. The reissue is beautifully boxed and made more for display than for convenient play, especially if you plan on taking it with you. Sure you can take out the dice and the rules pamphlets but seriously, why? The dice are stuck into the foam so securely it seems WOTC did not even intend they come out easily for play. This looks great. It has a felt bottom so it can sit on a nice table and not scratch it up. If you have this and have played, please contact me and let me know how you experience was. I'm curious.

Bottom line — Nice keepsake. A piece of history. Not something I'm likely to play any time soon.


King of Tokyo Board Game

King of Tokyo is a great little board game. My youngest son is only 6 and I'm always looking for easy and fast games we can play. So many games out there, while cool, are insanely complex and require a few nights in jail just to get the game completed to any significant satisfaction. It's 2013 and not everyone has 2-4 hours carved out with 6 friends to just sit around and play a game with 10 thousand bits and pieces. King of Tokyo is simple. Open the box, bust out the dice and bits, read the rules as you go, and you'll be up and running in no time. There are easy and advanced rules too. So if your mind works like the innards of a cray supercomputer and the simple pedestrian rules are beneath you you'll have what to indulge in. I did not even look them over. Simple & fast are my friend, especially with a 6 year old. Companies like iello that "get this" will be drawing in kids. Kids want stuff. They have parents that want to do things with them. And we spend money on them. I suspect companies that make games with this in mind may do better to drawn in kids who will grow into more complex gamers.

Expansions are available too (here too) so you can build off what comes in the box. As few as 2 people can play this game. I'd always write in a way for one person to play as I know there are lots of only kids out there who want to be involved too. Dice and chance can easily make rules for a one player game. If you are clever you could easily do this yourself but a young child might not be able to conceptualize that. iello might want to consider this.

Bottom line — Bravo iello! Good job! Great game! Good for young kids.


Xbox One - Standard Edition

I'm not sure why I got this. I swore I wouldn't. I even cancelled my order off Amazon. Fast forward to the Saturday after it was out and I'm in a GameStop and they have a few because of people who preorder—like me—and then cancel. Actually it's likely people who pre order at 4 stores and then just pick up from one, or cancel. Whatever the case, there were 4 in store, a line had formed and I got in it and picked up the console. I knew if I hated it I could resell on Ebay. As it turns out even now on Amazon I do not see a link to where the console can be ordered for the normal price. Only the nutty outer limits prices are up now. Christmas is in 3 weeks so I'm guessing that will not abate till the gift giving/excessive spending dies down after the new year.

So is it good? Yes the console is good. Games? Meh. We picked up Dead Rising 3 and RYSE at the store and both games are OK. Neither blew me away, even the graphics. RYSE looks good but is very mapped out, no open world. It was fun, but got tired pretty quickly. I bore easily with even the best games so don't entirely listen to me. Dead Rising 3 is much more open. Zillions of zombies. Almost too many. Yes, definitely too many. It just becomes a meat grinder of absurdity. It had us laughing so I guess if you look at it that way, as comical absurd farce,  it works. Some stranger just appeared in our game while we were playing, what we thought, was for just us. We still have not figured that out. It was worrisome. We turned the game off at that point. We also have Battlefield 4 but we've not played it much. There was so much cursing that I could not even have my younger son off in the next room while it was on. The game looked good and was basically standard military fighting carnage. I'm looking for more complex games. games that have strong filmlike stories. They are few and far between. When those come I'll be happy. A game where the non playable story is so strong that you'd want to sit and watch it like a favorite film, even if you do not want to play the game. When games like this arrive, games in general, will be taken to the next level I want them to be at. Make a playable Blade Runner where the playable aspect is amazing and the watchable content gets non gamers watching because it's just that good. Someone, please, make me that game.

The system itself is lots of fun. If you have Netflix, Amazon prime, lots of Blu-rays and pump your cable TV through the system it's even more fun. You can talk to the system too. It's not perfect but it's not bad either. Fun to turn on and off. SmartGlass app for mobile devices is great. A must have. It seems these systems come out a full year before they should be out.

Bottom line — Great system. Games need a lot of work. Online gaming downloads need more content too. No backwards compatibility to my 360 games is deplorable in a system like this. I'm ashamed for SONY and Microsoft that they did not put PS3 and 360 backward compatibility in. Shame!

Thanks for reading.

—A