Out This Week

Party Of Sin

Season Of Sin

The last few stragglers on the 2012 release calendar have our columnist feeling nostalgic.

By Steve Heisler • December 11, 2012

Out This Week is a roundup of new games that are out this week. These listings don’t constitute an endorsement or a review of any sort. We also don’t pretend that this is an exhaustive list. If there’s a game on the horizon that interests you, share it in the comments.

Hawken
PC—December 12

Man, this game brings back memories. I haven’t walked around in a fully mechanized suit of armor firing bullets at turrets since my Bar Mitzvah. Hey, it was my theme. And my voice STILL cracked during the V’Ahavta!

Party Of Sin
PC—December 13

Playing as each of the seven deadly sins, you must solve puzzles and escape Hell. Worried that an intangible concept like “envy” won’t lend itself to an active platformer? Worry no more, because in Party Of Sin, Envy can shoot green lasers from her eyes. I liked her better when the lasers were internal, and they could only be defeated by copious amounts of alcohol. My Bar Mitzvah was really something else.

Haunted
PC—December 11

In this spooky game, you read from ancient tomes given to you by religious leaders while wearing ornate neckwear. Sorry, I’m not seeing any Bar Mitzvah parallels.

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  • HobbesMkii

    Seeing that Hawken is finally coming out: Has anyone played the MechWarrior: Online beta yet? I managed to reserve the straight “Hobbes” moniker (no MkII on the end) for myself a long time ago before they were testing, but I’ve never gotten around to downloading the actual client. I’m wondering how it is. After MechWarrior 4, I promised myself I wouldn’t get hurt again.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      I have not.  I last played MechWarrior:Mercenaries, and was so horribly bad at it I lasted maybe 3-4 missions before giving up.  I love the IDEA of big-robot battle, but when the game has more controls to watch than a flight sim, I lose interest fast.

      How are MW:O and Hawken in this regard?

      • Ardney

        Just now realized that your concern RE: controls wasn’t really addressed.

        The throttle and movement controsl are mapped to WASD. Weapon groups are assigned via the arrow keys and R-Ctrl. You’ll generally set your groups once or twice per mech and never touch them again so there isn’t much fiddling there.

        There are 6 weapon groups and these can be triggered by pressing the corresponding number or clicking the butons on the mouse (Highlighted group is LMB, group 2 RMB, 3 is Mouse button 3 and so on).

        R targets, H enables thermal vision, N is Night vision, Z or Middle Mouse button is zoom (1.0, 1.5, and 3x). Backspace enables and disables chain firing. B brings up your map overlay. P powers down/up your mech and O overrides the automatic shutdown for overheats (a personal favorite of mine :P) And that’s pretty much it.

        There’s a compass at the top of your HUD with markers for your base, enemy base, and friend/foes visible on radar but you generally don’t need to look at it.

        There’s a paper doll to the lower left indicating your mechs current armor and internal component HP and one that appears in the upper right for identical information on enemies you may target. To the left of that will appear their weapon loadout if you’ve kept them locked long enough for a scan. Near the bottom and somewhat right of center is your heat gauge. To the right of that is a list of your weapons, their groupings, maximum ranges, and ammo status. Destroyed or depleted weapons are highlighted in red.

        So there is a moderate number of controls but you will typically only use a small subset of them during the course of play. You may pop open your minimap for a few seconds from time to time or toggle your heat vision on occasion but for the most part you will be using WASD and mouse to move, zoom, and shoot. You’ll also be watching your heat gauge.

        The hardest part of the UI to get acclimated to will be the cursors for aiming as there are 2. A small circle represents the the aim for your arm mounted weapons and the standard crosshairs represents torso mounted weapons. These move at different speeds and rememebr which is which presents a small learning curve but it’s not terrible.

    • HilariousNPC

      So, there’s a big difference between Hawken and MW:O. Hawken is basically every other FPS/TPS that allows you to have customizable loadouts. Get enough kills, and you get access to better guns, abilities, etc.  You move around quickly, die quickly, and you have respawns.

      MW:O is very, very different than past versions of MechWarrior. A big part of that is that instead of lasers being “bullets”, where you pull the trigger, and they place all their damage to that one spot you hit, they’re now more like, lightsabers. You fire, and then, if you move the laser to a different section, some of the damage gets moved to that new section.

      MW:O is fast and frenetic for a different reason. It seems that the best way to fight is to pick a mid-ton mech, and load it up for quick circle-strafing runs around bigger mechs. This gets to be problematic if you don’t know the map that you’re on intimately well.

      Something that inhibits the learning curve is that in MW:O, it’s set up Counter-Strike style. One death, and you’re done for the round. Makes it tough to figure out where you went wrong.

      Both are fun, but I imagine I’ll be playing more MW:O on my PC, and I’ll probably be playing Hawken on my console. 

      • HobbesMkii

         Well, the lasers thing isn’t a shocking change. The ER lasers from MechWarrior 3 had a sustained blast that could eventually overwhelm your heat-sinks (but they usually ran out of juice before then).

        The death system sounds like World of Tanks, which I’ve gotten used to. Maybe I’ll download it this weekend.

        Thanks for getting back to me on this.

    • Ardney

      Ok, I know I’m late but I too have been playing MW:O since closed Beta as well and just want to add a couple details.The matches are typically very fast if you’re PUGing with the avg length being about 6 or 7 minutes. This can lead to a ’1 more game!’ syndrome fairly easily.Targetting is handled via LOS with emphasis on teammates. You need to be within radar range (1500m iirc) of a mech with at least 1/3rd(?) of it visible to make it eligible for target lock. You can then Press ‘R’ to lock that target and make it a targettable by everyone on your team regardless of their LOS. Locks are required for guided missiles (all LRMS and the Streak SRM2)ECM was recently added to the game and, as it stands, it can be mounted on only 4 chassis. The ECM module has 2 modes ECM, and ECCM. When the former mode is engaged it creates a field 200m( iirc. I don’t actually run the module, sorry) diameter within which all mechs are prevented from being locked onto unless the unit attempting to target them is also within the field. The speed at which a target lock is achieved onc ein the field is also diminished. ECCM mode cancels the effect of a single enemy ECM module in ECM mode within the same range. The only other way to achieve a lock is to paint a target with TAG which currently has a range of 750m.Needless to say the ECM change has fairly significantly changed the flow of the game and players are still learnign to cope.There is currently only 1 game mode available (Assault) wherein the 2 opposing teams each start at a base with the objective of eliminating all opposing forces or capturing the enemy base. A capture is done by standing within a certian area surrounding the enemy base. This has the unfortunate side effect that the single best strategy for any team on any map is to hold ground and wait for the enemy to approach them. Fortunately, you don’t really have to worry too much about this if you’re PUGing but expect to see it a lot if there are any pre-made groups.Not sure if you’ve ever played the Tabletop game but the following information is worth noting. Most weapons have had their dmg values kept somewhat in line with TT. Armor has been doubled and Rate of Fire has been Tripled but heat dissipation has remained untouched. Double Heat Sinks are in the game but are not really double as their heat dissipation has been reduced to 1.4. This has led to large amounts of complaints from members of the community about the effect this has on large energy weapons, particularly PPCs. A common comparison is made to the Gauss Rifle to show that, while in TT PPC and Gauss were meant to be on fairly equal footing, in MWO due to the heat a Gauss is orders of magnitude more effective than the current PPC because of it spotential for continuous fire. The devs have promised to look at the PPC but have been extremely reluctant to admit there is any problem with the heat mechanic in general and have adamantly refused to consider setting dissipation for DHS to 2.0.The netcode has issues dealing with fast moving mechs, particularly when speeds begin to exceed 100kph. Jenners are notorious for their ‘lag shield’ and new players are often admonished on the forums to learn to lead targets up to 2-3 mech lengths depending on the speed its moving, their ping, and your ping. Additionally, since positioning and hits are processed entirely server side there can be instances where your client displays your shots landing on target complete with effects but they are in fact missing. This problem does not affect all players and you will have better luck avoidign it if you are based in the US as that is where the only game servers currently reside. PGI has pledged to do a rewrite of the net-code from sratch to address these issues but it is not expected to be implemented for several months.Lastly, the social interface is so bad as to be considered non-existent, there is currently no fully integrated voicechat solution and the Mechlab frequently crashes when purchasing new equipment. All of these issues are slated to be fixed by January or February.All in all the game is plagued by a lot of little issues and is missing some key content but is still very fun to play if you like stomping around in Mecha and shooting things. Depending how PGI handles development over the next 3 months or so I can see it being a really great game or a complete mess. As i stands it works for me because I’m not hyper competitive and can’t be bothered to join one of the serious groups as I’m perfectly content to lone wolf it. Your mileage will vary but I do recommend giving it a go.

      • HobbesMkii

        Thank you for that. It sounds very much like the model I’ve gotten used to in World of Tanks, and I much prefer piloting a Mech to WWII-era tanks. I’ll give it a try this weekend. Do you have any comments on the meta-campaign? Early press seemed to indicate that would be a large feature of the game.

        • Ardney

          As of yet there is none but PGI keeps promising us it will be awesome and everyone, myself included, is looking forward to it.

          1 interesting wrinkle is that they’re progressing the timline in realtime and all that implies. So today in MWO is December 13, 3049. The Clans cometh soon. This is set to factor into their community warfare as well but again, we don’t know how, precisely, any this this will work.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Was it necessary to bolt a giant Yarmulke to the top of the mech, or did it circumvent Kiddush Hashem by virtue of not really having a head?

    • Moonside_Malcontent

      The good news is, you can operate a mecha on Shabbos because it’s not a mode of transportation.  According to the Talmud, you are in fact wearing the mecha.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        So you can pilot a mecha on the Sabbath, but can you use the weapons?

        • HobbesMkii

          No, because that would be lighting a fire.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        But does it not say in Devarim that on the Shabbat, Moses commanded the Israelites to lay fallow their twin-50 Caliber shoulder cannons and rest the hydraulic leg pistons?  And why?  Because it is a Mitzvah to allow a payload cool down.

        • HobbesMkii

          I’m not Jewish, I just blog for Jewish Hipsters, so you’ll have to correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the miracle of Hanukkah that Judah Maccabee’s Particle Projection Cannon fired for eight shots when there was only enough heat-sink capacity left for one shot?

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          Assuming you feel comfortable divulging, what’s your Jewish hipster blogging gig, Hobbsy? I am interested.

        • HobbesMkii

          http://www.HipsterJew.com I’m the resident Goy writer.

    • Effigy_Power

      Hehehe… Mech-shuggeneh…

      • Sleverin

         MECH SCHNELL!  RAUSE RAUSE!

  • lokimotive

    I don’t know about the gameplay, but the animation and design of Party of Sin looks sad as hell.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Doesn’t it just?  It seems like a poorly thought-through concept even more poorly implemented.
         Like someone found an old high school notebook and between all the doodled Slayer and Metallica logos was scribbled:  Se7en Deadly Sins=Awesome Game!
         Then decided to use that as a design doc.
         

      • lokimotive

        Here’s some talking points from their website:

        *Inspired by Known Classics
        Super Smash Bros, Zelda, Super Mario. Party of Sin takes the best games of your youth and melts them down into a sinful super-game. Powers are adapted from classic mechanics like grappling hooks and time-shifting.

        *Religious ThemeExplore four biblical worlds as you make your way from the depths of Hell to the vaults of Heaven, one angel at a time. Fight enemies based in Christian mythology like demons, angels, cherubs and templars. Take the final fight to Saint-Michael himself!

        Ohhhh :(

        • HobbesMkii

          Finally, a video game with the bravery to sock it to St. Michael. This will help pave the way for my new video game platformer: F*** You, St. Francis of Assisi!

        • lokimotive

          The “Religious Theme” thing I find really bizarre, because it doesn’t seem like it’s attempting to be a “religious” game. It just takes its inspiration from religious texts and mythology (which, I mean, is pretty obvious). Maybe it’s a religious game, but the fact that you apparently fight against angels and St. Michael (Saint-Michael?) doesn’t seem particularly church sanctioned. It’s kind of like id bragging about Doom having a religious theme.

        • duwease

          Instead of starting a new series, why not just piggyback on Shin Megami Tensei?  They’ve been sticking it to the guy for 20 years now.

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    The description for party of sin makes me want to go watch Full Metal Alchemist.

  • http://twitter.com/garrettspeck garrettspeck

    How are you supposed to find Haunted?

    I’ve found Gamescom trailers for it, and that’s all…

    Edit: Nevermind, found it on Amazon.