November 12, 2011
December 12, 2010
I was torn between getting this and the Worms 2: weapons pack, but the Lady Penguatroll actually insisted I get this one, so who am I to argue? If for some reason, you hate awesome video games and refuse to buy RDR, you can also pick up a standalone copy of this game, although I don’t know the price.
I can’t talk too much about the plot; it spoils part of the original game if you haven’t played it, but it does branch off the original plot. The important thing is that there are zombies, for some reason, and you have to kill them.
Fans of the original will notice some important differences. There’s no money and no shops. You can strip ammo from dead zombies, and for saving towns (similar to GTA: San Andreas’s gang territory system) you can get precious ammo and new weapons. You can pick plants, but you use them to make stuff, like Zombie Bait and Holy Water. There are no mini-games.
However, the story mode is pretty solid. Essentially, John goes around the game world, trying to figure out the source of the plague. There are stranger missions as well, letting you revisit old friends like Bonnie MacFarlane and Marshal Leigh Johnson. You’ll kill interesting creatures, like zombie cougars, zombie bears, Sasquatches, and hordes of the living dead. For the most part, the zombies are much quicker than in games like Dead Rising 2. Some can spit at you, others are just big motherfuckers. The saving grace? Everything dies with one headshot.
The mechanics are quite similar to the original RDR, but with some differences. There’s no bounty system (since you don’t have money). Sometimes, you will get an undead horse, which are faster and stronger but occasionally ignore you (like running you into the river). If you can find one, the Horses of the Apocalypse are pretty sweet, combining the strength, speed and stamina of the undead horses, the docility of living horses, and add new effects (Pestilence has near immortality, while War sets anything that touches it (except you) on fire). There are new challenges, like treasure (which I’ve never found), killing X number of a specific type of zombie, and killing zombie bears with only your torch. Apart from the torch and the throwable items made from plants, the best new weapon is the Blunderbuss. It takes a while to reload, but it has explosive ammo and uses the undead corpses as ammo, making it twice as awesome. Many of your standard weapons make a reappearance.
The game is not appreciably harder, on the whole, than the original. In the beginning, because you start in Tall Trees, you’ll feel very vulnerable, because there are plenty of zombie bears and cougars around you and living horses suck in this game. Once you get out of West Elizabeth, the challenge drops a bit, but you’re always weak until you get one of the Horses of the Apocalypse. Early on in the game, you’ll need to conserve ammo and Dead Eye — Dead Eye restoring items are really hard to come by, and there’s no medicine. As you save towns, this will also get better.
There’s really no reason not to get this DLC (or standalone) unless you don’t like zombies or you’re poorer than I am (a tough role). At $9.99 for the DLC, you get just the right amount of content. It’s probably, all told, about a 5 or 6 hour campaign, longer if you do the challenges. Nothing carries over to the original game — it’s similar to GTA IV and it’s new episodes — but little would make sense. A great addition to a fantastic game!
– Great value!
– Great new story, with lots of old friends (Seth, you could imagine, is thrilled with the way things turned out).
– Impressive visuals and new mechanics.
– Difficulty is a bit disproportionate early on.
– We really needed zombie cougars? Regular cougars aren’t bad enough?
October 8, 2010
After they’ve gotten their walking-around (shuffling-around? ambling-around?) money, a key Democratic constituency is ready to vote. Fortunately, we have the perfect campaign poster for them.
December 14, 2009
- Finally, we can’t have insanity without Brittania.
November 14, 2009
First off, this post was not written by Napoleon Bonaparte. I apologize if I led you to think that. First, he’s dead, and zombies are notoriously inefficient at using computers. Second, only blog members are able to write posts on this blog, which means Kevin, me, and theoretically Dan. Third, I’m pretty sure Napoleon didn’t know English, although I don’t know him personally, as he is, as listed above, dead. Ha ha Napoleon! You’re dead and I’m not! Unless this is blog is still popular in the future (I use the term popular loosely) or I die in the next five minutes, in which case I would still have outlived Napoleon, making my life a glorious success.
So, now that we’ve cleared that up, I recently completed The Napoleonic Revolution by Robert Holtman. Holtman primarily argues that while Napoleon is most famous for his military genius and the Napoleonic code, he made contributions to the economy, education, and industrialization of France in particular and Continental Europe in general. One of the ways Napoleon did this was by offering large cash rewards for innovative new technologies, like techniques for farming sugar beets (as sugar cane was hard to come by) or improving the textile industry. Now, Napoleon, being fundamentally a jerk, often reneged on his cash promises, but kept the technology anyway.
I think this idea would be an excellent way to stimulate technological innovation. Announce on all the major TV stations a contest for a particular advance — say practical, efficient, reliable fuel cells as an example — and offer a million bucks of sweet, sweet cash in exchange. Tax free, in a large bag with a dollar sign on it. For a government (and only a government could make it tax free — a private institution could also pay the difference), a million bucks is practically insignificant. However, it would stimulate innovation, and not just from major corporations, but private citizens, as everyone could use another million bucks.
I only see two major problems. One, grifters. As long as a number of scientists look over the idea and ensure it’s valid, and said scientists are not also grifters, this should be easily avoided. Two, I can see corporations dominating these contests. Now, this is a problem only in the sense that it prevents some citizens from participating. They will look at the contest and shy away, feeling they have no legitimate chance to win, and the idea is to maximize the number of people working on this. By the law of large numbers, we’re guaranteed at least one good idea nobody else has thought of before. You could either exclude corporations from the contest, offer more than one prize, or simply use a website of some kind to accept entries. Sure, you’d get drunken college students at 3 am writing “BOOBS RULE!”, but you could always monitor comments. Plus, we can all agree, boobs do actually rule and it doesn’t hurt that we are reminded every once in a while.
August 16, 2009
Fortunately, people are devoting resources to ensuring that important questions be answered. One important part of the study is that, as they point out, human-zombie coexistence is impossible. There are exactly two equilibria: human domination with no zombies or zombie domination with no humans.
I can only hope that quick-strike anti-zombie re-death squads are ready at a moment’s notice, but remember: you can’t count on anybody else for your survival in those circumstances. All you have is your trusty firearm (or crossbow, if you’re into the stealth thing) and short-range sharp instrument.
July 15, 2009
I really don’t know where to go with this story. It’s just so “on the one hand, on the other hand.” On the one hand, military robots that feast on the dead to provide power is pretty cool. On the other hand, these robots presumably would kill the living to do their feasting, and that’s pretty spooky. But then again, if zombies attack us, we could deploy these robots—zombies are already dead, so they could just feast on them. And because they’d obviously not be alive, the zombies wouldn’t even notice as these things consume their flesh. But if these things find out that the flesh of the living (or recently-killed) is much tastier than the rotting flesh of the undead, they may join forces with the hordes of zombies. However, they’re equipped with chainsaws, and we know from the Evil Dead series that a man wielding a chainsaw can never be evil when facing zombies.
So in the end, I’m cautiously optimistic about this technology, and I’m glad that the military is finally taking the potential zombie menace as a serious threat. I’ll still make long-term zombie-defense plans, but we might get through a major invasion, should we have the terrible luck to undergo one.
July 1, 2009
- Zombienomics. This obviously gets top billing in this set of notes… I think that Shadow Banker has it wrong, though: zombies will decompose. This is not infinite life, but rather a major reduction in human capital (zombies don’t have any skills) in exchange for additional labor. If zombies already exist, it’s worthwhile to try to incorporate them, but the part about converting people as a way of getting long-term labor won’t work—the bodies will decompose and eventually rot away. According to the most truthful guide on zombies, you can expect this to occur within a period of three years. In addition, given that zombies cannot operate tools (Hollywood fantasies to the contrary), their potential for valuable labor would be extremely low. Say No To Zombies—join Humans First.
- New Zealand has KITT; we have Ben Bernanke. No wonder they’re not at risk for major inflation…
- The Fatal Conceit lives on. Arnold Kling’s line is beautiful: “I love it when people who have never managed anything more than a government grant are convinced they can manage one sixth of the economy.”
- And also from EconLog is David Henderson pointing out that central planning in research is quite problematic. People argue that research is a public good that would be “underprovided” in a free market. I wrote about this previously (look for “research” as I know it’s a relatively long article) and disagree with that sentiment. Henderson’s point is one reason why I believe this: in a world where it’s expected that the government will fund research, government bureaucrats have to fall into one of two traps: either they tend toward the “we won’t fund it unless you can prove that it will work” problem or the “we’ll just fund anything that comes along” problem. Neither of these is a good thing, but because bureaucrats aren’t spending their own money, they don’t have incentives to get it right like private individuals do.
- I’m not kidding when I said that Waxman-Markey is Smoot-Halwey. We have left-wingers talking about imposing tariffs, which will naturally end in retaliation and a significant reduction in global wealth. And there’s a section which hasn’t even been filled in yet. This is a major dereliction of Congress’s duty: they’re voting on bills that they haven’t read and couldn’t possibly read because the bill is not even complete! We need a new Congress and new rules to stop this political malpractice. I don’t expect that to happen, though—the incentives aren’t there.
- Bryan Caplan has an interesting post, pointing out that the “moral hazard and adverse selection” that automatically comes out of those who support government intervention in insurance markets doesn’t actually mean what they think it means. Moral hazard, as Caplan notes, cannot be helped by government intervention. And as for adverse selection, although there is a theoretical argument, in the practical case that we’re most aware of—auto insurance—the facts go entirely against the adverse selection argument: instead of forcing the low-risk drivers to stay in the market, governments subsidize the high-risk drivers. Furthermore, auto insurance (and most types of insurance) don’t follow adverse selection all that well because insurance companies live and die on information regarding client risk tendencies, so they have incentives to learn who’s high-risk and who’s low-risk.
- Why health care costs have exploded. There seems to be some kind of trend…I can’t quite make it out, though. You mean that when people spend other peoples’ money, they tend to spend more of it than when it’s their own? I just don’t get it!
- Allan Meltzer is on the “Fed is not independent” bandwagon. I’ve been ranting about that for a while, and I’m glad that someone of his stature is saying the same thing.
April 16, 2009
- On the one hand, my knowledge of economics tells me it’s about time to short-sell ammo. On the other hand, my Bayesian priors have a zombie infestation or apocolyptic situation being significantly higher than normal. I’m so confused!
- In a budget shortfall, local and state governments use police action to coerce additional sources of money above taxation. In crude societies (like, say, a Mafia-run region in southern Italy), they do it by force or threat of force. In banana republics, they do this via seignoriage. In the sophisticated west, we, err, do it by force or threat of force. But hey—at least our inflation is ideological instead of pragmatic!
- Robert Higgs has a hilarious opening to a devastating critique of Ben Bernanke.
February 2, 2009
Scene 3B: Timothy Geithner tears his bra strap while running from zombie banks.