Posts Tagged ‘World of Warcraft’


Dala’s Games of the Decade, 2 and 1.

January 19, 2010

Warning: incoherent personal gushing within.

2- Shadow of the Colossus

It’s rare for a game to show subtlety or tact, body counts normally stack into the hundreds or it’s a cuddly bear world full of jelly beans and menacing kittens. Shadow of the Colossus is subtle, you’re kill count doesn’t need all your appendages to count whilst your skill pool is actually quite small, and yet the game is anything but simple.

Essentially a boss rush the idea is to beat down a selection of hulking beasts in an effort to bring a dead bint back to life, because the ominous voice told you to. In the game this is told with a little more feeling but that’s the idea, the real joy of SotC comes from the battles themselves.

The beauty of the colossi fights is that you need to frequently think outside the box, all you know is that you can grab, shoot arrows, and clang your sword menacingly on their toes, but the environment is as much of a tool as any item in Zelda.

Because your horse behaved for itself, the companionship you form with it is undeniably strong.

But once you attach yourself to a colossi the game reaches new heights, as you’re thrown around helplessly praying you’ll hang on, as the music soars and dives with your performance, as every lumbering move of the colossi throws you off balance, and you grab the beasts beard as you’re thrown off, Shadow of the Colossus is rammed with moments of nail biting tension and sky punching victory as you fell a beast after an intense forty minute fight. David and the goliath is a complete understatement, Verne Troyer vs the Hindenburg would be more accurate.

And if these epic memories weren’t enough, the game hits you in a thoughtful manner as well, every colossi defeated seems more sad than a joy, you start to question your motives leading to the memorable climax, it’s an emotional journey as well as a brilliant game.

1-World of Warcraft

Has it really been five years? Five years since gamers started innocently becoming heroes in Azeroth and setting off on a quest to attain loot and glory in gaming’s best developed fantasy setting. Look at it today and it’s hard to imagine these humble beginnings, look at it today and it’s hard to imagine it not having many of its now staple features, look at any other MMO’s statistics and it’s impossible to logically calculate WoW’s success. But at the end of the day WoW has succeeded because it’s a brilliant game and a great RPG.

Everything about Warcraft says quality, when other MMOs were getting away with lackluster visuals and animations Blizzard were fine tuning their engine and tweaking their art direction to create a timeless experience, whilst other MMOs were grind fests Warcraft eliminated this with constant and intelligently paced quest lines and a constant influx of useful loot, and whenever another MMO had a good idea since, Blizzard added it into WoW to keep it on top. WoW is as relevant today in the face of the Warhammers and Star Treks as it was to Everquest 2 in 2005.

Regular Expansions help keep WoW relevant, whilst patch content stretches them out over a long time.

Ultimately it’s Blizzard’s attention to detail that propels Warcraft into many gamers hearts, every corner of the world has memorable locations that feel correct, as opposed to Lord of the Ring’s field bears, whilst the visual look is still strikingly cohesive and character animations display an artistic joviality often missing from video games. The music too is sublime; with over a day’s worth of some of the best music in the industry, WoW is both a visual and an audible tour de force (except for the constant grunting). The endless pop culture references will keep us laughing as well, and the new appreciation of cinematic design makes the end game events even more exciting.

But then there are the MMO aspects that propel it beyond the realms of normal games, get into a guild and the game becomes an unforgettable experience, you will forge friendships, competition with other players, and sample your own stories that you can share again and again with other people, unforgettable experiences in an unforgettable world.

Some of the boss fights look spectacular.

Sure it has problems but when a game can lure in 11.5 million subscribers, be featured in numerous sitcoms, have a South Park episode dedicated to it, spin off novels, mangas and board games about it, endless cosplay, and almost single handedly spawn gaming rehab clinics then it’s got to be doing something right (ish).

Warcraft’s reach extends beyond its gaming roots and this alone would be enough reason to celebrate it, but the fact it’s also a lovingly crafted piece of virtual entertainment and one that will remain relevant and talked about into the next decade and beyond makes it the only choice as game of the decade.

This is a slap dash description of this brilliant game, it would be possible to write a university thesis on how important and enjoyable an experience it is and still have things to say, all that remains to be said is that it’s a great game, and one that will stay with you for many years to come.

The cataclysm will reshape the world, marking the biggest change to Warcraft since its release.


The Best Snowy music from games to listen to and enjoy all that snow, to.

January 7, 2010

I meant to do a really long, detailed post today but erm, Snow and Cluedo (which I won, twice, gloat gloat) distracted me so I’m throwing this together quickly for your delictation, enjoy!

Donkey Kong Country – Northern Hemispheres

If there’s one thing that can always be said about Rare games, is that the music is top notch, and for a quaint 16-bit platformer the atmosphere evoked by this tune cannot be understated. Haunting melodies move into an almost dystopic atonal melody that can only be described as cold, the sparse instrument choice helps evoke this even as the music reaches its faster sections.

World of Warcraft – Dragonblight.

It’s the chromatic piano that does it, chiming away like the falling snow under the mourning instruments, the lack of drums or a rich array of sounds is at odds with most of WoW’s other locational music and it evokes a chilling sense of seclusion, it’s cold but hauntingly beautiful at the same time.

Mario 64 – Snow Mountain

In stark contrast to the previous two entries, Mario’s snowy melody is a much more traditional affair. I think it’s just the images of penguins that pop into my head or the liberal sprinkling of jingle bells and that um-pah rhythm that just evoke a Christmasy grin across the face of anyone who listens to this, and if you don’t grin then you must be dead.

Metroid Prime – Phendrana Drifts

It’s back to the atmospheric stuff for this entry, but it’s more than the music here. Listening to the crunch of snow under foot, seeing the snow drift by, and having the calm embrace of this music helped top off one of the best frozen environments of last generation. The song keeps that  quintessential sci-fi edge to remind you of how alien the world is as well, exquisite.

Banjo Kazooie – Freezeezy Peaks

Another ‘CHRISTMAS!’ one here, with added Banjo Kazooie ‘bum, bom, bum, bom’ and kooky instruments. Say what you will about it being far, far too happy but this song makes for a much better snow song than any rubbish Christmas number 1 ever (besides Rage). Just listen to that happiness, it’s literally spewing from your screen. Seriously, you’re going to be smiling for weeks.

Ho hum, a slight Nintendo bias there! If you’ve got any other Snowy music you think is amazing, leave it in a lovely comment under this here blog post. Oh, and enjoy the snow!