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Tycho / on Fri, Jul 1 2011 at 12:00 am

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Unflinching Realism

I wonder what the mix would be like at a convention devoted exclusively to Call of Duty.  I got so good at muting the people who play that game that it became a kind of game in itself; I could mute more than one person per second at my apex, it was a point of pride.  That shit is wall to wall brigands.

We tried to imagine what attending the show would actually be like, in the execution of our hallowed charge.  Playing paintball on a reproduction of an actual map actually sounds pretty good.  A hundred and fifty dollars seems like a lot, but all the proceeds go to charity, so they’ve preemptively defused whatever sentence might have originally followed this one.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it now; um, have you played Realm of the Mad God?

Or Trenched!  Treeeenched?

For a Double Fine game, Trenched errs on the side of “game” rather than “Double Fine.”  This is a problem for some people, as noted in the Eurogamer review, which I think is pretty great actually.  We just have a difference of opinion, is all: I think the world of Trenched is evocative, and incredibly well-drawn.  I’m not certain that anyone does storytelling better than Double Fine, to be honest.  I cried during the introduction of Stacking; don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff.  But I also like videogames, and they managed to include one in Trenched.

Here, you’re always steeping in ambient storytelling: even the turrents you build are fired from your motherfucking crawling aircraft carrier.  The difference is that the worldbuilding isn’t tagging in to relieve a beleaguered design.  This game is just fun, period.  It’s timely and smart.  And you’re three levels in before they pull the stick out, trapping you in a constantly exploding festival of rare loot drops and brutal, occasionally lethal teambuilding exercises.

It reveals this other game as you play, this not-shooter, though the game gives you everything you need to play how you want and still succeed.  Lumbering Assault murderwalkers that emit doom, (comparatively) lithe Engineering chassis that deal the bulk of their damage with Heavy Turrets and cheap upgrades, or Standard cores that split the difference.  These choices are cool on their own, it’s good to have them, but when you are in a group with three other friends and you’re trying to harmonize your loadouts, you’re having the time of your life in the quiet place before the first shot is fired.

(CW)TB out.

 


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