Monday, August 31, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The second game is from Daring Entertainment, who also do supplements for the Mutants and Masterminds RPG, which one of their products for the line, Dawn of Legends, already saw release in Savage Worlds. Their game is called G.E.T. Into Action and seems to effectively capture the spirit of the GI Joe cartoon. Even from the cover page, you can tell this is all about “Red and Blue Laser Action!” While we're on the subject, let's talk about the art and layout. While G.E.T. Into Action doesn't dress as professionally as Strike Force 7, it does feature a lot more artwork. Now the maps at the end of the book are not as well done as Strike Force 7, and the photos of real military vehicles, while they do give the players an excellent visual reference, look like someone went haywire with Microsoft Photo Editor. The character drawings, however, are great. They are consistently well done, they look (almost exactly, in some cases) like characters from GI Joe, and I have two words for the Scarlett look-alike on page 9: Nice ass!
Moving on, the book starts off with the history of G.E.T. (Global Elite Tactical) and the terrorist organization known as STORM. Basically, a Black Ops agent gets disenchanted with the bloody-handed methods he has to employ to keep America safe. Seeing dissent in the agent's eyes, his unit supposedly kills him.
Of course, he survives and sets up STORM to enact his “ultimate revenge.” Later on, it turns out that STORM is being used by these mechanical life forms from outer space as a front to destroy all of humanity...
Hold on, what? Mechanical life forms from outer space? Yes it turns out that a long dead alien race sent these robots to enslave the human race thousands of years ago. In retaliation to their masters, some of them, who called themselves “Eliminators” decided to kill all the humans as a first blow against the alien empire. Then there were those to decided to protect the humans and joined together as the “Guardiatrons.”
Okay, I know that GI Joe was hardly based in reality and had some pretty way out shit. I mean, Serpentor turned Cobra Commander into a snake, for fuck's sake. But, seriously, get your Transformers out of my GI Joe.
After the storyline, the book gets into character creation. First off is concept. Now instead of having your character assigned to a certain team, like in Strike Force 7, you just pick what type of soldier you want your character to be. Let's face it, GI Joe didn't have teams, it was just GI Joe. You could have a team made up of a sailor, a marine, an astronaut, and a ninja and call it good. G.E.T. Into Action keeps it simple and I like it that way. After taking you through getting your Attributes, Skills, and what not, it goes through this list of questions to help flesh out your character. The thing is there is this (fortunately) optional system where you draw cards from a poker deck to randomly pick what sort of personality, history, and outlook your character has, which takes up three pages. Now the book is a healthy 70 pages (this excludes the ads in the back of the book), but in my opinion, this is unnecessary filler.
Now, we're getting to the good stuff - the Edges. This is a definite strong point of the book. It offers a plethora of useful and interesting Edges. Actually, there's a reason why there's so many Edges. What they did was, with full permission, use some of the Edges from the upcoming Weird War II campaign that Pinnacle is releasing. This is not to say that these borrowed Edges are the only good ones in the game, but it does make a solid foundation for a meaty selection of benefits. What I really like are the new professional Edges, because they allow the character to become a specialist, as all the members of GI Joe were. For example, you could be a medic, a mechanical specialist, demolitions specialist, etc. The players portion of the book ends with some combat rules variants and a Rank/Promotion system.
The Game Master's section starts out with an overview of Global Elite Tactical and STORM, including stats for NPCs, vehicles, and (this is awesome) rules for creating your own headquarters and missions. It also does the same thing that Strike Force 7 did, and gives the GM hints on how to set the tone of the game, but this one actually tells you how to change the rules a bit to fit more in line with a cartoon type game (little to no deaths in combat, being able to bounce back from getting hurt, etc.). Following that is a lengthy mission and stats on some of the major characters in the game.
All in all, I like this game. It certainly captures the feel of the "Real American Heroes" and makes good use of the Savage World rules. If you are looking for a Savage Worlds version of GI Joe, this would be it.
While this is only the tip of the iceberg for military RPGs (even for Savage Worlds), I hope this has helped you make a better decision on what game you should buy for what kind of military game you're wanting to play, whether it's the Saturday Morning variety, a super-soldiers and psychics type game, or a gritty Tom Clancy-esque thriller. As they say, now you know.
And knowing is half the battle.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Starting off, we have Strike Force 7, published by Super Genius Games, who also make supplements for the Call of Cthulu RPG. Before we get into the meat of the system, lets talk about how pretty it dresses. The book certainly does have a well put together and professional layout, and the cover art is pretty good, but there is a severe lack of interior artwork. The only art inside the pages is a snippet from the front cover transposed onto the border lining of each page. While this isn't such a big deal, it does feel like there should be something there to give a visual for some of the vehicles and armor suits that are featured in the book.
Anyway, onto the content. Strike Force 7 starts by asking what kind of person do you want your character to be, from their childhood to why they joined an elite group of commandos. Thankfully, that section doesn't take up too much space as to be too extraneous and only helps you create a concept of your character. After that, you're asked to pick a team affiliation within the organization. Some examples of teams are Military Operations, Counter-Terrorist, and Media Relations...
Wait, Media Relations?
Are you serious? I mean, the other teams make sense, but Media Relations seems kinda... Well, let's just say you won't find Duke or Flint holding a press conference (It would be funny to watch Snake Eyes try to hold one, though)
I guess that's for games that want a more realistic or political bent. To be honest, the game does kind of have a realistic angle on US politics. I mean the author mentions the 9-11 terrorist attacks and even includes the team foiling an assassination attempt on Senator John McCain. While that's fine, it does kind of taint the Saturday Morning Cartoon feel. I mean, you don't often see actual political figures, with the exception of presidents from days long ago (such as Washington), in fictional media – not just in cartoons, but in other TV programs and movies, as well.
Not only that, but it also includes a deep conspiracy, involving inter-department espionage, psychic spies, assassination, and cover ups, which makes it significantly darker than your “Real American Hero.”
Okay, so if this is supposed to be a darker, somewhat realistic campaign, you wouldn't know it from the antagonists of the game. Though the terrorist organization known as Skorpion does have a deep, political origin and background, it definitely feels like an organization that could hold it's ground with Cobra in terms of techno-wizardry and silly code names. This makes an odd counterpoint to the semi-serious Strike Force 7 team.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. After choosing your team, you, of course go through the usual drill of picking Attributes, Skills, Edges, and Hindrances. And, of course, there are new Edges and Hindrances, but some of them are a bit confusing or unnecessary (and I say this as constructive criticism).
First off is Cart Away, which allows you to grapple an opponent from behind if you have surprise (SWEX p. 61) against him. This allows you to cover his mouth and get a +2 to grapple checks against the opponent. The opponent can only speak if he breaks from the grapple. Truth is, you don't need this Edge. I would rule that any character who grapples a surprised opponent has “the drop” on them (SWEX p. 68) and would get a +4 to any grapple check (since a grapple is a Fighting check – I would even go so far as to add it to the Strength/Agility check to hold onto the victim. Gagging him would just be gravy on top of that.
One group of Edges that confused me are Dodging Tumble/Bullet Dance. It says that you can add 2 to the TN of attack(s) with a rate of fire greater than 1 (Dodging Tumble affects only one attack, while Bullet Dance affects multiple ones). It lists the conditions as “When targeted by a strafe attack or the free attack from failing to take cover from suppressive fire.” What is that supposed to mean? I've looked in my rulebook and on Savagepedia and I've heard nothing about a “strafe” attack. And what's this about a “free attack from failing to take cover from suppressive fire?” Are they talking about opponents who succeed their Spirit checks against the suppressive fire? They don't get a free attack. They just don't get shaken from failing their roll. And the person using suppressive fire doesn't get a free attack against those who succeed against their Spirit roll, either. This edge makes no sense.
Then there's “rate of fire greater than 1.” Double barrel shotguns can have a rate of fire of 2 and I don't think that this Edge would cover against shotgun fire. All of the guns that can be used for suppressive fire have at least a 3 in rate of fire, so it should really say any weapon with a rate of fire of 3 or greater. Despite some broken Edges, though, there are some good ones that can be used in a military game (or some other types of game).
After that, there's a section on equipment, mostly cutting edge stuff for Strike Force 7 and sci-fi technology for Skorpion.
The next chapter covers the complex backstory that, while it makes for some good military espionage, just doesn't seem to fit the whole GI Joe mold. Then the obligatory GM's section, which allows GMs to tailor the campaign to fit any style of play, from gritty and realistic, to high tech super soldiers, to, of course, the “Saturday Morning Cartoon” variety.
Even with the variety of ways to play, doing a cartoonish style with the storyline may require some work. Like I said, this feels more at home with a kind of black ops/super soldier type game, what with the psychic operatives, political undermining, and conspiracies. If you're looking for something more along the lines of that, then this game will work great for you.
Well, it looks like this review took too long already and I still have one game left to review. Tune in tomorrow as we “G.E.T. Into Action!”
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
I swear, everyone in this neighborhood is just begging for an ass kicking.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Congratulations! You found the footprints of the Abdominal Snowman. Never mind the fact that he's HANGING OUT AT MY LAIR AS WE SPEAK, PLAYING STREETS OF RAGE ON MY XBOX 360. I mean, seriously. We're working on our debut album (the Yeti's laying down some vicious drum tracks). Those footprints are probably four months old, anyway. (Oh, wait. This was dated 2007. My bad. Good job, though.)
Well, this could be good publicity for the band. We could build a whole ad campaign around Abdominus' (it's what we call him for short) ancient mystique. The ladies already love him as it is, what with the abs of Adonis and all. But when they find out all the mythology that he is steeped in, they will orgasm on command.
So, onto the second bit. If you haven't heard yet, Disney is making a new TRON movie. It's been talked about for quite some time, but they've finally thrown us a big bone here. At this year's ComiCon, they revealed the first teaser for the film. It seems the movie is called TRON Legacy. And, of course, Jeff Bridges is back as Flynn, but something's not right (watch the trailer and you'll see what I mean).
Anyway, I was worried for a long time that Disney would fuck this up, somehow. Since PIXAR was Disney's bread and butter nowadays, I got the feeling that they would make the computer world completely CG - no flesh and blood actors. I also thought they may try to update the look of the computer world too much to where it wouldn't seem the same. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded.
The teaser looks awesome. It's basically reminiscent of the unforgettable light cycle scene in the first movie with a twist. While the computer world does show a humongous graphical update (which makes sense, since technology has grown rapidly since the early '80s), it does retain the look and feel of the original. The music in the teaser sounds almost as if they just did a slight remix of the original score. It's nice.
But, hell... why am I telling you about it when you can see it for yourself. Here's the teaser for TRON Legacy.
On top of that, there's a viral website for the movie. I'm getting the impression that Flynn is not in the computer world of his own free will, but that's just speculation.