With the short Thanksgiving week today is my Friday. Here’s a jam to get your week or weekend going. (This song rules, and is super fun to AudioSurf.)
Needed to add another video by this band. Bloc Party. Listen to them NOW!
This Thursday my wonderful girlfriend Finch gave me an early Christmas present. She bought me Value Software's newest release "Left 4 Dead". I've been slaying zombies and having one hell of a time doing it.
Valve is quickly becoming one of my favourite developers, and I think it is safe to add "Left 4 Dead" onto the growing list of grade A level titles from them. Left 4 Dead is a truly compelling and engrossing experience. Placing you right in the center of your own personal zombie apocalypse Left 4 Dead delivers a white knuckle experience from start to finish. In Left 4 Dead Valve has created a game that is wonderfully simple in it's complexity. What Valve has basically created here is a shooting gallery. You and your three teammates travel from one end of a map to the other while killing zombies. The brilliance of that game is that on top of that simple premise has been built one of the most compelling shooting galleries ever.
Left 4 Dead can be brutal. When playing on the higher difficulties one truly begins to believe that the AI Director has a personal vendetta against you. The true brilliance of Left 4 Dead is the AI Director system. The AI Director controls your journey determining the locations and numbers of zombie spawn that you will face. It also controls the appearance of the various "boss" zombies. Zombies that have special abilities all designed to make your trip as unpleasant as possible. Start doing well, and the Director will compensate to match your performance. I really find this system to be wonderfully implemented. Every play through of the games 4 campaign feels fresh, and the fact that your fates are being decided by the some times sadistic AI Director ensures that you never feel safe until the final credits roll.
The game is gorgeous. The game takes you through back alleys, forests, rail yards and even a cubical farm that may give Dilbert nightmares. The game has a general film grain feel to it, playing up the over all aesthetic that you are playing a cheesy Zombie movie. The zombies that are constantly at your heels are well done, and do change appearance to fit the locale. While there is a good variety in the look of the common zombies, you do spend a lot of time killing them, and you kill a lot of them and the models can get repetitive.
The game can be played solo, with the computer (quite competently) controlling your three teammates. However, the real fun of the game come from playing online with other players controlling your fellow survivors. To succeed in Left 4 Dead team work is a must. Part of the challenge of the game comes from adapting to and playing with your teammates.
I think that if I have issues with the game, it may be the lack of weapons available to the survivors. In terms of guns there really are only six to choose from. A few more options would have been interesting. Along with the desire for model diverse models for the common zombies would be my two only complaints.
Left 4 Dead is currently available for both the XBox 360 and the PC. This weekend I had the chance to play both versions quite a bit. If you are looking for a recommendation of which one to get I would recommend the PC version. Aside from the typical PC advantages such as online molding communities and the old Keyboard and Mouse argument the game is worth getting on the PC because it is a much better looking game on the PC. My would rate my PC high middle end in terms of specs and there is a dramatic difference between the game on 360 and on my computer. Draw distances are much farther, which can be a life saver. Also I often found maneuvering in the dark on the 360 often times disorienting.
"Left 4 Dead" is a game that I would recommend to anyone. The game is not exactly scary, delivering more of a nervousness then anything else. That being said there are quite few moments in this game that will give you a start. The game is very violent and does not pull punches with the blood. However, the gore would be considered tame by horror movie standards. I don't think you'll regret it if you check this game out.
Thanks to Finch for this.
If you’ve ever been to (or lived in) Buffalo NY, you no doubt are aware that my home city has a great but often times neglected architectural history. The television show “Ghost Hunters” has even visited one such landmark recently when they explored the abandoned Buffalo Central Train Terminal. (Ghost Hunters will apparently revisit the site in May of 2009 as well!) The New York Times just ran a great article about the architectural history of Buffalo and the grass roots preservation efforts surrounding some of Buffalo’s fantastic landmark buildings.
It’s been quite a long week. t least finally, Friday is almost here. Not that I have any serious plans this weekend, but it is really nice to know that I don’t really have any plans. If that makes sense. This has certainly been a fun and interesting week. I think today I finally recovered from the Obama Election Night rally in Grant Park. (Man I must be getting old.)
A few thoughts have sprung to mind in the wake of the most recent election. Thoughts such as…
On a final note…let me send you out on your weekend with this…
Last night Barak Obama was elected to be the next President of the United States of America. I was there first hand to witness this historic event along with 240,000 other people who descended upon Chicago’s Grant Park. Of the great events that I have been able to witness in my life none will live with me more then last night. America made me proud last night, and more importantly, my generation made me proud. As I have spoken of before, I felt that with this election, it was time for the younger generation of Americans to step forward. That we did. Just looking around me in the crowd the diversity of the faces and people I saw was astounding. A lot will be written about how historic the election of Obama is for African Americans. I’m not black, so I really can’t say much about that. What I did see yesterday, was the confirmation that the American Dream exists, and that there is a place in our country for all people no matter the race, creed, sexual orientation, whatever. If you want to be here and make a difference yes you can.
I took some pictures last night and I’ll share them. Sorry, I only have a crappy camera phone so most of these pics kind of suck.