Monday, April 16, 2018

The Lion War for Ivalice

I've played almost nothing but Final Fantasy Tactics in the last week. In that time, I have progressed through Chapter I: The Meagre to the early part of Chapter II: The Manipulator and the Subservient.

Chapter II begins with a bang, the first movement, back to the merchant city Dorter from Orbonne Monastery, results in the band of Ovelia's protectors (led by Agrias at this point) being ambushed by mercenaries and having to fend them off. An unknown malefactor from the princess's kidnappers has hired a crew to waylay Ramza et al to put them off the trail. Just who is behind Ovelia's kidnapping is unkown at this point. The band will move from here toward a meeting with Cardinal Delecroix of the Church of Glabados, though, in hopes he can somehow protect the kidnapped Ovelia.

For this playthrough, I decided to eschew the use of overpowered characters like Agrias and Mustadio and T.G. Cid where possible, to instead rely on training up generics through the job system. I'm not certain how to proceed at the moment, though. Do I keep knights and archers in those jobs, or level characters through those jobs on to more advanced ones? I am leaning toward the former, where in the past I think I mostly did the latter. I may only need a single party member as a given class, too, since the battle party size is only a max of 5 in this game.

At the moment, I have Ramza as knight, along with two generics in that class as well. I also have three squires in training along with two or three chemists, two archers, and combination black/white mage. I'm running the mage and a chemist in battles now, along with a mix of knights, squires, and archers as leveling dictates. Squire and chemist not only compliment each other perfectly, but are also the cornerstone of every good fighter- or mage-derived class available in the game. I think it's probably wise to go ahead and have every party member master one or the other (using the other as their sub-job) before taking another class as their main. To that end I should probably get my current chemists up to white and black mage status and then allow my current black mage to go back and master chemist. Chemists are always good to have around, especially later in the game when they get access to guns. Same goes for squires; they have a really good set of abilities and thus can always be useful.

So then, my new plan of development will be to always be rotating through the party of battle at least one squire and chemist, while also pulling from the other classes whatever is needed, be it knight, archer, dragoon, monk, or any various mage type. I'm looking forward to applying this new strategy already.

I'd like to progress through the story and into the 100-floor dungeon this time through the game, as well. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The War for Valeria

I finally managed to wrap up my campaign of Tactics Ogre last night. That is to say I finished the lawful route of the main story. There is still a huge amount of game there to explore in the form of sidequests, a hundred floor dungeon, alternate chaotic and neutral paths through the story, and a postgame coda section of further missions.

I'm not sure what I want to do next in the game, but I definitely want to play more of it. I wonder though if I should take a break from it and come back at a later date. I suppose I can play a little more now and kind of gradually segue away from it to something else. Or maybe I'll just dive into my optimized version of FFT.

Tactics Ogre is great, though. It's a real masterpiece and by itself justification for owning a PSP, Vita, and/or Playstation Vita TV microconsole. The story didn't impact me as much at 37 as FFT did at 17, but it is no less well realized, and is certainly better localized than FFT originally was. I also finally came to appreciate the larger (up to 12) force sizes, appreciating the fact that I could double or triple up on classes I liked to really get the job done.

And that surprise ending! Now I see where the Delita/Ovelia epilogue scene from FFT was delineated from.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Burden of Loyalty

Book 48 of The Horus Heresy is another anthology. They stories are all loosely collected by the theme the title encapsulates -  that it's not easy being on the loyalist side in this war, for a number of reasons. They are mostly tales of sacrifice of one type or another in the name of Primarch, Emperor, and Imperium.

The Thirteenth Wolf features a group of Space Wolves who follow some wily Thousand Sons into warp portals as they are escaping the massacre at Prospero. I believe these are the ones who emerge much later on, changed, just before Guilliman returns in the 40K period.

Into Exile, Cybernetica, and The Binary Succession all deal with the split in the Martian Mechanicum during the war, and the eventual establishment of the Adeptus Mechanicus in the power structure of the Imperium.

Ordo Sinister features a powerful Psi-Titan that has been called upon to help out in the war in the webway, where the Emperor himself has busied himself and the Adeptus Custodes after Magnus the Red breached the portal connecting it to the chamber containing the Golden Throne.

The Heart of the Pharos sets up the novel Pharos with the mystery of what's in the mountain of the same name on the agri-world Sotha.

Wolf King is the story of the Space Wolves being waylaid by the Alpha Legion after their actions against the Thousand Sons at Prospero. They have to fight for their existence in the Alaxxes nebula, and Russ has to learn a lesson about who he is and who he pretends to be.

Perpetual catches us up with the location of Oll Persson and crew after their flight from Calth, and on their way to Terra. They are still in transit, here, pursued by Alpha Legion operatives, seemingly.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The End for These

Every now and then I revisit a game that put me off previously, or that I'm kind of on the fence on, and decide that it really just is not for me. I had around of these over the weekend:

Hearthstone - I thought to go back and give it another shot after a long time away, but it does definitely still turn me away with the nature of how random and haphazardly balanced many of the game mechanics and card abilities feel. I also really don't want to put in the time it would take to learn all the cards and combos I would need to get good, or to go about acquiring all of the cards to use, either. I am looking for something like a deck building card game to fit into my life, but this is not it.

Destiny 2 - I thought I might like to spend some more time in this game after recent updates, but just tooling around it a little the other night was enough to make me certain I had no interest in continuing to try to enjoy Bungie's latest, beyond completing the base campaign. At least not now. I might have been hasty to uninstall, but really I do think it's for the best. This game is nothing but a treadmill in the end.

Fortnite Battle Royale - I've had a fun enough time playing about 30 rounds of it, but I don't feel any drive to play to win, and I don't really care for the moment-to-moment gameplay now that I've seen most of the map. I get why people like the game, if not quite why it's hit such a critical mass lately. I just don't personally want to play it anymore. I'm really hoping for this mode to be dropped into another game I like and for it to be paired with some kind of interesting strategic progression or something I could sink my teeth into.

On a separate note, I my have a new beginning for an old favorite, Final Fantasy Tactics. I found a fan patch that would take the PSX version of the game, which is technically superior to the PSP port, and inject into it the new and far superior translation from said PSP port. Through the magic of emulation, this best-of-both-worlds amalgamation is playable on my PC. I would no doubt already be deep into the game once more, but for the fact that I am trying to finish off Tactics Ogre at the moment, as well. I do look forward to eventually playing through the game again in this theoretically optimal incarnation.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Very Much Timely, Very Much Not

The hottest new thing in the gaming zeitgeist at the moment is Fortnite Battle Royale. Epic announced Fortnite what must have been 5 or 7 years ago, and it languished in development hell for ages until Player Unknown's Battlegrounds found huge success last year, when Fortnite quickly bit off that same idea and recreated it within their game. It's been a massive success. They even got me to give it a shot, which is nothing short of miraculous, being that I had to download Epic's own separate game client to give it a shot.

In short, I think Fortnite Battle Royale is a pretty solid and fun multiplayer game mode. It's a very good fit for me, particularly because of the solo mode where the game is everyone-for-themself. That said, there's a lot of downtime in the game as I have played it thus far. I have been electing to drop into various areas around the map, usually away from others, in order to scrounge materials and an arsenal before making my way to wherever the shrinking circle is. I'm usually careful to keep a low profile until I have seen someone I can get the drop on. This means a lot of running behind cover and scouting out a location before venturing in. Sometimes a match can be 10 or 15 minutes of this before ending in just few short seconds of a firefight, or being sniped from afar with no warning whatsoever.
It's been fun to play some, and I'll keep dipping in for now, but it's hard to say how long it might hold my attention. I've made it into the top 10 a few times, as high as 5th place once.

I wanted to knock a game off of my backlog, and I was up to Q in the rotation, so I went with Quake Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon. I'm on to the third level now, I believe. I keep hopping back and forth between this, the main game, and DOPA, the mission pack Machine Games put out a couple of years ago to celebrate Quake's 20th anniversary. I absolutely love Quake. These new missions feel pretty good for the most part, as well. They have added some environmental puzzles and elements to the game, and a few new weapons and enemies as well. I don't really have much of anything to complain about with what I have seen. Quake is great, and more of it is always a good thing, as far as I can tell. At some point maybe I'll get around to playing other games in the weird series.

I have also continued to make some progress through Tactics Ogre. I have taken Denam and his band up to chapter 4 in the campaign now. It appears he and his sister Catiua are secretly the heirs to some title somewhere or something. I don't quite follow the story, but then this campaign has been in progress since around 2010. My plan from here is to go find the next story mission and then grind if need be to finish it. Once my characters are closer to level 20, I can go to the pirate island in the southwest to do the optional mission there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

A Transition Point for Gregor Eisenhorn

The Magos & The Definitive Case Files of Gregor Eisenhorn was released last month, and I have just finished it. The first half of the book, the definitive case files part, is a collection of just about every short story written featuring Eisenhorn or his protege, Gideon Ravenor, with some that don't feature either, but end up relating to the new novel, The Magos, in a different way.

Of the collected stories, a few were new to me: Pestilence, The Curiosity, Gardens of Tycho, and The Curious Demise of Titus Endor. A couple of these introduce the new character of Magos Biologis Valentenin Drusher, who figures heavily into The Magos in the latter half of the volume. Not included, that I know of, is a short, very short, story called Born To Us, which features Eisenhorn and longtime associate Harlon Nayl stumbling upon a Necron king.

The Magos is the first Eisenhorn novel not written from his own first-person perspective, which is in interesting choice made necessary by how the story is told, and the nature of the story being told. From this point in Eisenhorn's career and on (and previously in Master Imus' Transgression and Thorn Wishes Talon), we only get him in the third-person. We're not privy to what's going on in his head, because he is very literally no longer the protagonist and figuratively may even be an antagonist, especially going forward after The Magos, in Pariah, and the other books in the Bequin trilogy to follow.

The Magos, in plot terms, is much more like one of Eisenhorn's short stories than one of his novels. It's set in one place as opposed to across many planets, and much more about one particular lead in the quest he has taken upon himself--to defeat and destroy the Cognitae order, who serve the Ruinous Powers against the Imperium. By the end of the new novel, we wonder if he still has that goal in mind, or if another has taken its place as his prime motive, and we also have reason to doubt his mental health. Has old Gregor finally crossed that line into becoming the radical he always denied he had become?

It's enough to make me want to go back and reread Pariah, but I think I'll wait until author Dan Abnett is at least done writing the next in the series.

Stepping Out of the Light and Into the Dark Ages

I did manage to finish of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In the end I feel it was pretty so-so like I mentioned before. Playing the Director's Cut edition meant that I got to play the Missing Link DLC section in line with the rest of the game, and that part was mostly pretty good, I'll admit, if a little heavy on the backtracking. I appreciated that at the end of the DLC section there was not just another poor boss fight, but a scenario that you could resolve in ways Deus Ex does better.

The final boss encounter of the game was also pretty weak, I felt, and then the pick-an-ending-any-ending thing at the very end was also kind of lame. Maybe if one or two options were closed off to Jensen based on his actions throughout the game leading up to that point, then it would have some kind of impact. Overall, I'm feeling underwhelmed.

Out of morbid curiosity I also went and played a little more of Deus Ex: Invisible War after finishing Human Revolution. It might have been an OK game, but I will never suffer through the way that engine constantly goes back to the desktop during loads and resets your desktop resolution to some archaic trash from 2003. Also, who has time for games that are merely OK these days? Ignore the fact I just soldiered through DX:HR for no apparent reason.

I also managed to sneak in some Tactics Ogre on the Vita last week. Miraculously, I brute forced my way through a battle that had given me trouble in the past. Come to find out, I made it harder on myself by attacking a bunch of neutral dragons in the map that I need not have fought with. Ah well, live and learn. I think I'll continue on a bit further in TO now that I got past that progress blocker. I ordered a PS Vita TV as well, so with luck I'll have it up on the big screen soon. Finally finishing off Tactics Ogre after all this time would be a hell of a thing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I Guess I Asked For This

I've been playing a lot of Deus Ex: Human Revolution over the last week or so. I thought about returning to it to play something stealthy and because it was keeping with the theme of cybernetic augmentation present in XCOM: Enemy Within.

I'm not sure it's quite as good as I had expected or hoped, though. The options for navigating through the world are varied enough that you are not usually forced down a single path, but instead are given two or three routes to get to your prescribed destination, one of which is usually through some vents. I am thinking a lot of players and critics may have been taken in by the illusion of choice in this game. Next to Dishonored, the options appear very limited indeed.

I also question how varied it is possible to develop your Adam Jensen over the course of the game. There are only so many abilities you can use skill points to buy, and the game seems long enough that by the end you will accrue enough points to buy about every ability available.

One thing I like is that there is a shotgun-analog among the non-lethal weapon types. This allows you to knock out 2-3 guards at once whenever you accidentally raise an alarm, meaning you have more options than just quickloading when things go awry. Of course the most fun toys like the minigun and rocket launcher only do lethal damage, but even they come in handy when you are subjected to mandatory lethal boss fights, which is another iffy design decision at hand here.

Of course, the art is nice and very cohesive. It's not a terrible game, but in a lot of respects I feel like I'm constantly seeing the artifice that went into creating it. I'm sure its not just that the game is 7 years old now, and that everyone was a little naive when it first came out. Dishonored was released only the following year and I feel like it is a much better and more realized immersive sim. I'll keep playing it for now. I must be about two thirds through the game at this point.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Xenos Downed

I wrapped up my Enemy Within campaign, and my time with the 2012 XCOM series revival, this weekend. I ended up losing 4 nations from the council before stabilizing. I incorporated a MEC trooper into my permanent squad formation in place of one of the Assaults I had used previously, taking one of all 5 squad roles (MEC being the 5th), and a second Support.

Things started to turn around for this campaign as I got up more satellites, and was finally able to progress the main story by building the alien containment facility, capture some live aliens, and mount an attack on their base, while also fending off EXALT raids through covert operations. Eventually I both raided and destroyed both enemy factions' hideouts, and was raided in turn by the aliens, who lost grievously versus my well armed and experienced squaddies and a bunch of rookies. From there it was just a matter of encountering Etherials, researching psionics, and getting the last bit of research and tech-ing up done that was needed before I boarded the aliens' temple ship. The mission went off without a hitch.

After it was done I played another session to try and mop up a few achievements within reach. There are still others I could go for, but I feel like I've reached a stopping point. I'm planning to pick up XCOM 2 the next time I get a craving for the game. It's been a great time going at it intensively over the last few weeks.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Enemy Within

I've been away from gaming at large for a week or so, having to schedule a quick trip to my hometown due to my dad's death. I'm back home now and back more or less to normal, now.

During my time away I only briefly played some New Super Mario Bros. 2. I finished out the World 2 of that game. It plays like a New Super Mario Bros. game, by and large. It's solid.

I did manage to finish my campaign in XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It was my first victory. My first soldier with psionic abilities was absolutely clutch in the final mission. At one point he smoked two fresh Sectopods with a single critical psi storm ability. I believe he was a heavy, with the ability to double all damage to robotic enemies. They took 17 points each, and were insta-fried.

I'm now working on a campaign of Enemy Within, which so far seems a little bit overwhelming with new features. I've probably gone a little too far into cybernetic upgrades so far, not realizing my soldiers would lose their former classes in doing so. Now I am down to only a single assault and support trooper, while I have entirely too many heavies and snipers. I will need to get in some new recruits to hopefully get a couple more of each class I need, to ensure there is always one available and not wounded and recovering. I haven't delved into the genetic modding side of the expansion yet, but I am on my first covert operative recovery mention against the Exalt faction.

This new campaign is off to a somewhat rocky start, having lost 2 countries from the initiative so far,and being slow to accomplish priority tasks. I have built a stunner, but have yet to construct a live alien containment facility yet. I also have several nations at mid-to-high tier panic, so I'm worried about losing continent bonuses or even losing too many nations to continue, period. If this campaign fails, I'll have to be smarter about satellite coverage next time. I may be able to stabilize, though.

XCOM has finally hooked me in the way I knew it should have when I bought it over 5 years ago, now. I hope to finish a campaign of Enemy Within and then move on to XCOM 2.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Blasting and Backlogging

While I'm deep in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, I've been trying to play something new each week from the backlog.

Offspring Fling! - This must have come from an indie bundle at some point. It's a puzzle game where you play a forest creature who must navigate puzzle/platform levels while finding and ushering her offspring through them to the exit. One of the main things you can do to that end is to pick them up and hurl them across the level in a straight line. They will continue on all the way across without dropping at all until they hit something that obstructs their path, and then drop straight down. The levels couple this fact and the fact that the offspring are stacked on your character's head, increasing her height, and necessitating tunnels with a higher clearance, to come up with navigation and dexterity challenges. From the outset, there are 100 levels, mostly confined to a single screen, at least through the first 49 that I saw. It's a kind of cool little game, with a decent challenge curve as you get into it. After about an hour I had had enough, though. It's more than I can say for a lot of games, though.

Pokemon Picross - Picross is almost its own genre of puzzle game as far as I know. You have a grid of squares, most puzzles being 10x10, it seems, and you have to shade some of them in, based on numeric hints as to the number in the row or column to be shaded in each before there is an unshaded square or squares. When the puzzle is complete, the shaded squares make up an image of some sort. Pokemon Picross adds the wrinkle of a Pokemon theme, Pokemon bonuses at the outset or in the middle of each puzzle (reveal a few squares' true natures, etc.), and the F2P staple "energy" mechanic, which is just a progress gate that can be passed by paying a little money or by coming back after a timer has counted down. You also need to earn gems to move on to the next puzzle. It strikes me as Nintendo or The Pokemon Company's first foray into the mobile/F2P games paradigm, though this was a (free) 3DS game. The Pokemon and F2P trappings only serve to put me off, but I don't really know if I find Picross itself very interesting, either. It's not entirely dissimilar to Hexcells, but for some reason doesn't click with me at all in the way that game does.

Mostly, I have been laser-focused on XCOM in the last week or so. I finally managed to win a raid on the aliens' base, and now have my squad all up to colonel or major rank, all with titan armor and plasma weapons, and now I'm beginning to create advanced fighter aircraft to shoot down UFOs with weapons that will minimize damage to the alien craft. My satellite coverage is almost complete, though two nations have pulled out of the project. The next big task is to build the base facility for psionics and delve into that. I think I'll also get a couple of suits of the final armor types that offer stealth/flight/psi abilities and bonuses, as well. With luck I'll also be able to research and develop everything in one campaign. This one should prove winnable, now, I'm confident, especially considering that I can save scum if I need to. It's just a matter of time, I think, but I do need to be diligent in accomplishing the council's goals.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Primarchs: The First Batch

Between books of the Horus Heresy series proper, I've been dipping into the parallel Primarchs sub-series. It's six books strong as of now, with more coming out just about monthly, with audio dramas and short stories in tow as well, unfolding in the same manner as The Horus Heresy, Warhammer 40,000 fiction as a whole, and just about everything Black Library deals in these days.

Leman Russ: The Great Wolf - A tale of early on in the Great Crusade, with an episode after the siege of Terra, set within the framing device of an older Leman Russ telling a tale to the first Space Wolf to be raised, after the second founding, to the chapter of the same name rather than the legion. It's an interesting look into some internal dynamics of the legion, including how they view themselves in contrast to their cousins of the other legions. The Lion and the Dark Angels appear here too, and the storied duel of the primarchs is part of the tale.

Perturabo: The Hammer of Olympia - The origin story of Perturabo couched within the story of the Iron Warrors' grueling campaign against the alien Hrud and their return to Perturabo's home world to put down it's rebellion against the Imperium. This is where Perturabo breaks, and everything that comes after begins to make more sense having read this narrative.

Lorgar: Bearer of the Word - The intertwined stories of the emergence of Lorgar and Kor Phaeron, who, at least for a time, was closely associated with the primarch of the Word Bearers legion. We see how Lorgar, Aurelian, the Urizen, came to be the spiritual leader of the world of Colchis, and get some insight into what drives him to keep looking for truth in the galaxy and in the warp, even after being sanctioned by The Emperor for his habit of worship, which is contra to the Imperial Truth.

Book 48 of the main series is out now, and I'm going to read that next.

Monday, February 5, 2018

New? Video Games

I noticed a theme among the games I've been playing in the last week. New Super Mario Bros. 2, Geometry Wars 2, Spelunky, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown are all newer takes of previous games or series.

Geometry Wars 2 is the sequel to Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved, which was an HD realization of the bonus mini-game Geometry Wars, which I believe was playable in Project Gotham Racing on the original Xbox. This is one of my favorites of my time with the Xbox 360, and I was able to play it for a little while via a friend's Xbox One's backward compatibility over the weekend, which was cool. It's one of the best arcade-style games I've ever played.

Spelunky is really also known as Spelunky HD, and it's the fully realized version of an older freeware game, I think. I've heard there are some play differences, and that it's not just a visual remake, but having never played the original, I don't know what those are. I still have yet to best Olmec, but I keep trying.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is of course the modern revival of a very ancient and venerable series known variously as UFO: Enemy Unknown or X-COM: UFO Defense. It's a fantastic game that delivers on nearly everything the original also succeeded at, but greatly modernized and streamlined. I'm at the point in my current campaign, which is going much more smoothly than any previous, where I can assault an alien base. I should probably do that soon, but I want to continue to tech up at least to the point where I can use some improved body armor before I try that mission.

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is the sequel to New Super Mario Bros., itself a reinvention of the Mario franchise in 2D. It seems to stick mostly to the beats established by its predecessor, but with an increased emphasis on coin collecting. I'm not sure how much of an impact that has on the game as a whole quite yet, though, having only just made it to the second world.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Plugging Away/Revisiting

I mentioned appreciating my good Warhammer 40,000 games in my last entry. Space Marine is one such game. Always good for a quick taste of the power and majesty of what it is like to blast some orks as one of Primarch Guilliman's finest, the Ultramarines. I wanted to see if anyone was playing the multiplayer mode of this still, in light of Eternal Crusade seeming dead. No luck, at least not at that time. I may try again sometime, but even if no one is playing, the campaign is still pretty cool.

Another game I jumped into for a little bit on a whim was Just Cause 2. It's just a big open-world playground where the object of the game is literally just to go in and cause chaos around the countryside to somehow whip up enough anti-government sentiment to topple it. It's ludicrous, but the game world is a gorgeous tropical paradise where everything can be flown or driven, and the character has a great grapple-arm and parachute combination to make the most of doing daring stunts.

I accidentally clicked on Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Edition in my library the other day, but I might have carried on playing it had my save from the original version of the game been usable. Alas, it was not, so at some point I will have to restart the game in this version. That will be fun, when the time comes.

I have made record progress through Spelunky. I managed to get the Tunnel Man everything he needed to open up a permanent shortcut to the temple zone, and I've been running nothing but that zone ever since, trying to familiarize myself with its traps and denizens. It is by far the most ruthless set of stages yet. I've made it through to Olmec several times, but have yet to manage to beat him and win the game. That is my next goal. Eventually I would like to be able to go from the entrance of the caves through Olmec, and even on to the hell zone. Who knows if I'll ever be able to pull that off, though.

I also continue to make progress through The Witcher 3. I am to the point now where I am ready to rescue Dandelion from his captors. I have seen Triss and the other mages off from Novigrad with the help of the former Redanian spymaster, Sigi I think he's called. Next I'm going to pay a visit to the sorceress Philippa Eilhart at the request of the Redanian King Radovan. I think I'm getting these names right. I've also been going around Velen doing low level quests, trying to catch up my quest log to my character level. There's a lot in this game.

I've also found myself playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within again lately. I'm allowing myself to reload after bad moves this time, and things are shaping up well for the very early stages of this campaign. I've just finished the first month and have already captured a live Sectoid for research and I'm working on unlocking beam weapons, now. This is such a cool game.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Though This Battle Is Lost, We Will Fight On, Brothers!

It's time to pour one out for Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade. The multiplayer third-person shooter with aspirations to the Battlefield-like genre blend of open conflict both on foot and in vehicles, and with a long-promised-but-never-realized open world component, seems to be basically dead. I fired it up last night looking for a game I was never able to match into, and coincidentally also yesterday the developers posted a blog entry that amounted to them issuing and apology, lamenting their low numbers, and promising to do more. I can't see the game pulling out of this tailspin, to be honest. Games are a rough business at the best of times, and in the current environment a game like this that was released far to early to Early Access, that eternal curse, with no fanfare, is as good as dead, and no doubt destined to be as forgotten as any lost civilization in the darkness of Old Night.

I will hug my Relic 40K games close and support them as much as I can going forward.

The 4X bug came back to bite me over the weekend, and after reinstalling both of Amplitude's Endless Legend and Endless Space, I finished off suspended campaigns in both. I was able to pull out a win in Legend, as the Drakken, taking a diplomatic victory. I think this game must have been in progress for two years or more, but it's done now. In Space, however, I wasn't able to salvage the setup I'd found myself in. Somehow I had two games set up as myself playing the Pilgrims against a single other faction, the Hissho. I'm not sure how that happened, other than maybe they both started out as the same game in the base game, and I then completed it there in addition to in the expanded version of the game. In either case, I ended up conceding, unable to do any real damage to the other faction's fleets in war. I was inspired to start a new campaign, though, as the hostile Cravers, which exist only to consume and expand, and in fact cannot take part in diplomacy. It's early on in that campaign yet; I'm still expanding to fill my starting area and having to tech up to the point where I can get further out to start warring on other species.

I've been doing daily sessions of Spelunky, too. I'm still trying to get good again. I've never been great at the game, but I do hope to finish it someday, still. I think if I just keep at it regularly it'll begin to happen eventually.

Every time I play The Witcher 3, I'm convinced again that it is one of the best games out there. I'm pretty invested into playing Gwent within the game, as well. I still only have cards for the Northern Realms deck, but I may be on my way to getting the right cards for the Scoia'tel deck, as well. As goes the main thrust of the quest to find Ciri, I'm currently trying to track down Dandelion, who may have seen her recently. That involves talking to other people in the area who he's had contact with, to get a clue on where he might be, since the tavern he runs with Zoltan Chivay was left abandoned. I can hardly wait to play more.