Monday, December 22, 2008

Gears Of War, Fuck Yeah! Comin' Again To Save The Motherfuckin' Day, Yeah!

I just finished the campaign in Gears of War 2 (fuck yeah!). Holy fucking crap! That was awesome. At no point in the game (and I played through a good bit of it twice) did I ever get tired of what I was doing and want to quit. I only ever put the game down because I didn't have time to plow through it all in one sitting. I'd say it's a non-stop thrill ride, but that might imply that that'd be the only summer movie cliche that applies, and that is simply just not the case; it's also the most fun you'll have all summer, the feel-good hit of the season, and the fun for the whole family. But I ask of you, what kind of fucked up family plays Gears of War together? This is hardcore gaming shit, ain't no Wii goddamn bowling. You'll give grandma nightmares.

I got all the way to the end of Gears 1 solo, and then for the life of me I couldn't kill the last guy. I didn't even know he was the last guy, either. I thought he was just some jackass holding me up until my friend Dustin, aka DeeZee, jumped in to play it co-op with me and said, "Damn, you're all the way at the end." We killed him first try, then. No such difficulties (or ambivalence) about Gears 2, though--though the end section not especially difficult, it was absolutely EPIC, and I knew it was the end this time because there's no way they could top that section without 2 more years of dev time and another sequel.

Oh yeah, I played some WoW and Diablo this week, also. I'm getting closer to the end of Lord of Destruction, with my now level 33 Assassin, and I've got my WoW character up to level 26 now. It's definitely way, way more casual of an MMO than FFXI, at least on the way up to endgame. I've only had to group up for a few quests so far, all dungeon instances, and of course those have all been 100% optional. I like to do and see as much as I can, though, and I scored some nice loot that you can't get anywhere else. Not that it matters; I'm sure it'll all be obsoleted twenty times over by the time I get to level 80. Want to see my WoW character? Check this out.

Pretty cool, huh? FFXI never had that. WoW's got achievements, too, which are always fun.

I'm going out of town, to Germany, for the holidays, but I'm taking my MacBook and DS with me, so I should be able to do a little gaming in the downtime and while traveling. Maybe I can finish Metroid Fusion.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The latest game I picked up


So, uh, yeah, I haven't exactly been playing much >_>

Mostly I've been playing Nose To The Grind Stone, with my thesis submission date end of next month. But in my down time, or when I need to space out Zen-like, I do this. Makes me happy. :)

(this is my 3rd attempt ever by the way, the first 2 goes were very chunky)

The Recurring Theme Starts Now

This past week of game time has been me playing a lot of WoW. I have a feeling it's going to be a big part of my gaming for a while to come. I've got my warrior up to level 21 now, and I'm starting to get more accustomed to the game. There are a ton of major differences between this and FFXI, but quite a lot of similarities, also, so while I know what I'm doing in the macro sense, I often don't know how to do it yet in the micro.

I've probably spent 40 hours in the game so far, which is nothing for an MMO, but progress is always coming along at a steady clip. I've only been running around questing in two of the game's extremely large (by comparison to FFXI) zones, and I'm not anywhere near done with them. Today some higher level players ran me through Ragefire Chasm, the first instance I came across. I like the way those are set up; in instances, you can go in and kill stuff, and it stays dead forever, as near as I can tell, or at least until you opt to reset the instance. So you can go in alone or with a few people and chip away at the hordes of monsters before you die, and then come right back and pick up where you left off. I also like the flight routes in the game. It's pretty cool to be flying in real time over the zone below you, seeing mobs and other people down there running around.

The auction house, I'm still trying to figure out. It's not set up like the one in FFXI at all. You actually have to wait the full 24/48/72 hours for your stuff to sell to the highest bidder, unless you put a buy-it-now price on the item. I don't have near the knowledge of the game's economy to dig deep into the AH, but what's cool is that I really don't have to, because when I go to list an item, the game provides me with a good starting price for that item.

Again, 99% of the time I've been playing solo so far, but I can still get most stuff done as long as the quests are green/yellow/orange to me, and are not dungeon (instance) or group quests. I'm paying attention to the quest text and other lore as I go along, and I'm really enjoying it so far.

The only other thing I've played this week is Gears of War 2. I'm up to the beginning of act four in my solo playthrough, and just last night I played some co-op campaign with Necovia, AKA Lonesteban. We played through one of my favorite parts of the game so far, the abandoned research facility where the guys jump out of the glass tubes at you. Chainsaw spree! That's a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

For The Horde!

I can recognize the signs of MMO addiction setting in, having been through this once before. There's something about making those numbers go up and making those bars fill, especially in the midst of a huge world with a rich lore. It's a would-be, all-encompassing obsession, an undertow overcome only by clinging to the floating debris of limited free time. As long as the most I can ever devote is a few hours at a time, I should be able to keep my head above the water line. I'm almost to level 16, woot!

Last weekend I plowed through all of the Thieves' guild quest line in Oblivion, leaving only The Dark Brotherhood line that I plan to do sometime later. If you add up all the time on each of my characters, I probably have 130 hours into that game, but oddly, it doesn't feel like I've played it that much. Maybe because that's been over a year and a half or so, but by the time I had 100 hours into FFXII and DQVIII, I felt it. Again, it's amazing how well the world of Cyrodiil is put together. There have been some really cool moments in the quests in the main guild series. I'm expecting great things from Fallout 3 when I get around to that game.

I've been playing Gears of War 2 this week, as well, and I've been blown away. I've made it through the first two of five acts, and I've been continually impressed by the variety of environments I've been through, the set-piece scenarios, and the awesome firefights. There are some caves you are dropped into at the beginning of act two that look absolutely amazing, they're possibly the most gorgeous graphics I've ever seen in a game--it's unreal. Your AI-controlled squadmates seem much more reliable this time around, and maybe it's just my imagination, but even the signature Gears cover mechanic seems improved and not so cumbersome as it was for me before.

It's been a long time since I played the original Gears (I sold my copy a while back), but that game never quite won me over entirely. I sort of went through the whole thing with one eyebrow raised. I can't put my finger on any one thing that they've improved for Gears 2 that has wiped away my skepticism, but there you have it. I can even give myself over to the cheesy '80s action movie dialogue and mid-battle banter, immortal exchanges like this one between rookie gear Carmine and grizzled main character Marcus Fenix:
"Sarge, I heard there are a shitload of locust there."
"More like ten shitloads, rook."

Maybe Gears 2 just hit me at the right time, rubbed me the right way, and I just wasn't as receptive to the original. Now, strangely OCD as I am, I feel like I have to go back and give that game another chance sometime. I'd like get someone to jump into a game of Gears 2 with me (or vice versa) and play the campaign co-op, and I also need to check out the multiplayer some, especially the new Horde mode. So far I only played one of the tutorial matches with bots, which was cool. I had never played anything with bots before.