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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Moving On

So I've been at this URL for many years, and it's served me well.  But I recently decided that it's time to move on.

Thus, this blog will now be located at http://humbleitblog.co.za.  Please come and join me there...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Android Gaming... Yes, Seriously

Whew, this post is long overdue.  But since I'm on my way back into the IT industry full-time, I think it's justified to get it nice and active again.

I'm a gamer at heart.  Always have been.  And the PC has always been my platform of choice.  Not that I have anything against consoles, as such (so don't crucify me yet, Playstation and XBOX fanboys).  I've just always had a PC, and never felt the need to live off breadcrusts for a month or two in order to buy a console.

However, over the last three years or so I haven't had much time to play games.  Mostly because, when I get home, I'm tired.  I want to spend time with my family, and then go to bed and relax there.

I recently got myself a tablet.  Those of you who remember my post from March 2011 will understand how huge this is for me.  I've never been a fan of tablets, not really seeing their purpose.  But times have changed, and so have my opinions.  Yes, I can admit that I was wrong.  So anyway, I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7".  It runs Android 4.0.4, with a 1GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM.  Humble specs by today's standards, but all I really need.

So as I was playing around with it I started noticing some games.  Now I'm not talking about Candy Crush and Flappy Bird and some of their millions of variants.  I'm not talking about "low budget" games.  I started noticing some really serious, fun games, the kind of games that I like to play on PC, but compact, affordable, and mobile.  I've heard about some Android-based consoles that are currently in development, so I know that Android has potential as a gaming platform; but surely not on a humble tablet like mine?  Well, I started experimenting.  And I was very pleasantly surprised!  I am solidly hooked on Android gaming.  My PC hasn't seen me in a while.  I now spend much of my free time (which I don't have a lot of) in bed playing games on my tablet!

Here are a few of my current favorites:

Archangel

According to the Play Store:  "The forces of evil are mobilizing in defiance of heavenly rule. As an Archangel your task is not merely to halt their rise – you must inflict a justice so brutal and uncompromising that none will ever again defy the will of Heaven. Black Tower Studios and Unity Games conjure visceral action tailored for touch in this epic clash between good and evil."

Price:  R22,49.  And well worth every cent!  This game has been keeping me entertained for more than a week.  Beautiful atmospheric graphics, epic storyline, and excellent gameplay.  I wholeheartedly recommend this!  Despite how it looks, don't expect something similar to Diablo.  I can't really compare Archangel with anything I've played before.  Just enjoy it for what it is!


Dead Effect

You are on board a space ship, in a cryo chamber.  When you wake up your crew are already awake and mostly dead.  Some more dead than others...  This game reminds me of Doom 3, but with zombies instead of demons.  It really has that kind of atmosphere.

Two pieces of criticism so far.  Firstly, the controls are kind of weird, but I believe that's just because I'm still getting used to playing FPS on a touch screen.  It has nothing to do with the game or its developer.  (I want to get myself the new Samsung Gamepad, that should improve things considerably.)  Secondly, it has some corny voice acting... But that's understandable.  And at this price tag, I can't complain about that minor detail.

Price:  FREE.  (My favorite price range. ;-D)  It has optional in-game purchases.  But I've progressed pretty far by now, and I haven't felt a real need to purchase anything yet.

Dungeon Keeper

I used to play this one back in 1998 when I was still working for {insert highly hated but very famous IT retailer here}.  For those of you who don't know it, you are a Dungeon Master, in charge of raiding other dungeons, recruiting and controlling minions, and occasionally slapping your minions just to get them to be more productive. :-D

True to the original, but with a clean modern look and nice touch interface.  Makes the slapping feel more real, somehow...

And at the great price of FREE, I wholeheartedly recommend it!




Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Yes, that is indeed the complete game as it is on the PC.  Same graphics, same storyline, same awesome 80's soundtrack.  (By the way, GTA3 is also available.)

It sells for R54,15.  It's huge though; over a GB of data to download, but this really cannot be helped.  My only other criticism of this game is the fact that its controls are awkward and takes a while to get used to, but again, it comes with the territory, I guess.  It's like Console-to-PC ports; some of them have weird controls.  Same here.  Playing it on touch is just... Strange.  But once you get used to it, it's good GTAish fun!



Injustice: Gods Among Us

From the makers of Mortal Kombat, here's the opportunity to have many of DC Comics' heroes and villains kick one another around.  Similar to the PC and Console version, but with controls optimized for touch screens.  Performs surprisingly well, and it has really addictive gameplay!

Again, it's huge, but free of charge.  Offers in-app purchases, though, but not in an intrusive way.  A really, really good game!






Order & Chaos Online

I was really surprised to find this one in the Google Play store.  If you like MMORPG's like World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online, you will love this one!  This is a perfect little MMORPG in the same league as WoW and LOTRO.  Excellent controls, story line, game play... It is truly amazing what they did with it.  It even offers PvP gameplay!

Criticism?  None really.  I guess size is a big thing.  If you don't have a modern version of Android, allowing you to install apps on your external SD card, then you may not be able to install it.  It also requires a pretty good CPU and 512MB of RAM, so it's quite resource intensive, but it runs with zero glitches on my humble tablet so it's not a big problem.  And frankly, at R11,00, it's practically free.  Definitely worth it, if it's your type of thing.

So, to summarize.  Gaming on Android is getting better, and I definitely have hope that it's only going to improve even more from here on.  Soon LANs may not be limited to PC's only.  Who knows?

Anyway.  Until next time,

BE the change.