Thursday, August 26, 2010

Most Anticipated Games This Fall

It's getting to be that time of year, and so I thought I'd take stock of what's coming out this Fall, and what I'm most interested in picking up.  This will be a short list, as I've got to finish 2 games for every new one I purchase, but here goes, in no particular order:

Civilization V
Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow
Halo: Reach
Fallout: New Vegas
Call Of Duty: Black Ops
WoW: Cataclysm

I lied; that's more or less in order of how likely I am to purchase them, in retrospect.  However, I've still got a small list of games that have already come out this year that I haven't gotten yet, including Red Dead Redemption, Starcraft II, and perhaps Metroid: Other M.

Civ V and Castlevania are as close as I'm getting to sure things here, but all games are shoo-ins within the next 12 months, I figure.  I'm kind of torn about Fallout. I have all of the rest, but haven't even begun them yet!  I wonder if I should just forget about playing them in order and just jump into the newest; there is no chronological overarching plot as far as I'm aware.  I'm not really even excited for Reach, but it's quality is more or less guaranteed, and I am curious about it more than anything.  Vanquish just looks slick, Black Ops' multiplayer on PC may attract me, and I am definitely curious to see what Azeroth will look like post-Cataclysm.  I still need to cap out my Warrior, too...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Space-time Coordinates of Success

These are discreet regions along the axis of the fourth dimension.  All of these games are played before the heat death of the universe, it's just a matter of when.  This blog post will serve as a table of contents of sorts to an observer standing outside of time and able to navigate along its line.  Starting the publishing date of this post, most of these will occur in the future. Occurrences of the titles in bold will have occurred in the recent past, relative to said publishing date.

Monday, August 16, 2010


I went on a road trip last week, but it wasn't to Shooterville, despite what my recent playlog might imply.  Aside from a session or two each of Peace Walker and Titan Quest, it's been non-stop blasting and laughing.

I had never before played Counter-Strike, but I got into that last weekend and have been back a few times for a couple of rounds here and there.  It's pretty hardcore, and it seems like it would be best with a squad of people who can communicate and know what they're doing.  It's definitely fun, though, even for a total novice like myself.

I also got back into Team Fortress 2 to some extent, it having been a while and several big updates since I'd played last.  That is a great game, maybe even the greatest game, if you consider the 120+ (read that again, for emphasis) updates that Valve has rolled out to it, making it a vastly different game from the one it started out as.  Just play it and then go play the decrepit 360 version to see the incredibly stark contrast between the two.  I almost wouldn't be surprised if one of the next updates to the game was just a title screen edit, changing the 2 to a 3.

Finally, there has been a Steam sale going on to coincide with id's Quakecon, and a bunch of their games have been on sale.  I picked up the original Quake for $2.49 in said sale, having a bunch of good memories of holidays at my grandparents' house playing the game with my uncle.  Doom and Quake together comprise my introduction to FPS in the mid 90's, and together with a bit of Half-Life deathmatch at college in '99, pretty much the totality of my experience with the genre until 2007 when I bought a 360 and started playing Halo games and others.  Aside from Morrowind and the odd oddity like Faceball 2000 or Drakkhen or Dr. Chaos, I hadn't even really played very many other games in first-person until the last few years.

Anyway, I think my Uncle and I had the shareware version of Quake back when it launched in '96, and I remember it being the first game where you could actually look and fire on the y-axis, or at least the first I'd ever seen (unless you could do that in Descent, which just sprung to mind).  It was mind blowing and completely awesome at the time.  The good news is that after a couple of tweaks to the resolution and enabling modern mouse look and WASD controls, the game holds up really well.  I've spent about 3 hours with this version in the past two days, and already finished the first of the four episodes therein.  It should go without saying, but with "always run" on and modern hardware, the game moves super fast and super smooth, almost never backing off 60fps (and even then probably due to software limitations).  It feels like it wasn't balanced for the modern WASD and always on mouse look control scheme, and therefore kind of easy to romp through for someone used to modern shooters.  These contemporary techniques feel almost like cheating, like bringing automatic weapons to fight against 11th century Crusaders.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I played a few hours of Minecraft over the weekend, too.  I finally got the random world generator to give me a snow world, and set about mining out a huge rectangular section of it, and using the dug out blocks to build a huge wall between and over the hills nearby.  It that sounds crazy, well, it is crazy.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Concentrated Armadillo

That would be my name in the Metal Gear universe.  Concentrated, because for a while now Peace Walker is about the only game I've been playing, and Armadillo because everyone's code name contains some sort of animal.

I finished up the main thrust of the plot, the story of the Peace Walker project and the liberation of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, but the game doesn't end there.  The credits roll, and you can consider it a tale told in its entirety, but there is still a lot more content in the game, and not merely optional side missions.  The game "ends" at the conclusion of Chapter 4, but keep playing and you'll soon open up Chapter 5, which, from what I gather, serves as a sort of addendum and furthering of the overarching Metal Gear Solid plot.  Plus, all of the coolest optional AI Weapon and vehicle boss battles don't unlock until after the main game is complete and a healthy portion of Extra Ops have been completed. This is what I am working on now, about 40 hours into the game.

I don't think I've spent 20 hours on a single playthough of a Metal Gear game, ever.  However, Peace Walker is not at all arranged like a typical MGS.  It could be said to contain that in Main Ops, sure, but broken up piecemeal and portioned out in easily digestible chunks alongside a whole buffet side dishes in Extra Ops, Outer Ops, and all of the base and army building mechanics that the game offers.  It's a hell of a package, and more than worthy of the MGS title, if not a perfect fit for the big "5" to be applied, too.  I could be playing this game for a long while, yet.

Torchlight II was announced the other day.  I wasn't head over heels for Torchlight, but I did enjoy it, and I will certainly buy the sequel to support the developer, Runic Games.  This announcement served up a reminder to me about Titan Quest, though, and not having enough to play at the moment, I decided to re-install the game and hop back in.  My only character was only level 6, so it wasn't too big a deal to just start over from scratch with a new one.  It's a her this time, named Rhea after some quick research on heroines of ancient Greece.  I'm taking her down the Dream Mastery path so far.  I played a ranged character in Torchlight, and I tire of always having to run away and maintain range, but I also don't want to just be a bruiser, so hopefully this skill set offers some interesting abilities.

Since my last post, I played several sessions of Minecraft, and basically resolved to stick to one world and just try to build crazy things and dig out a bunch of it--to explore just for exploration's sake.  It's cool, and the developer is constantly adding new things to the game, so it'll be interesting to watch it take shape.