Friday, March 23, 2012

A Caped Crusader's Space G.E.D.

I finally beat another game! It's felt like an eternity since Max Payne, but I guess it wasn't really that long ago; it was only about a month, which hasn't been that long if you consider how busy I've been. Yes, it was Batman: Arkham Asylum that I took down the other night. If you just total up the time I spent in-game (not the time it was paused while I did something else), I probably spent around 12-14 hours on it. It was good fun; it's about as great a game as you could ever hope for given the long and storied history of licensed franchises. That's not fair; it's actually much better than said history would allow you to hope for.

While I recognize it as being an extraordinary example of both an action/adventure game and one based on another property; I want to mention that as good as the game was, it never really hooked me. I could have quit at any time and never come back. I made myself play through to the end. I don't think this is any fault of the game's. I think that it's just my lack of interest in this type of game. I like Batman as much as the next guy, but I think that's part of the problem--the next guy also isn't a huge fan, but maybe goes to see every entry in the Nolan-directed movie series. I think being a more interested fan of Batman would have pushed me over the edge. Certainly if a game of the same caliber but skinned as Warhammer 40K or, I don't know, Wheel of Time   came out, I would be over the moon for it. As Batman, or some wholly original IP? It's merely a great game that I feel a little clinical detachment from.

I am completely attached to Dota 2, on the other hand. It puts me into a certain headspace where I fully engage with the give and take of the game, how the power-defining economies of experience and gold are developing, how the lay of the map is changing with falling towers and roving player characters, and how my own character development is proceeding--how my farm is coming along, you might say. I should find another character I like as much as Windrunner, in case someone else ever picks her before I can, and so that I don't go so far down one playstyle that I can't acclimate to another. This game is good. How good? So good. I can't wait to see what Valve have in store for it as it is released and matures. Their track record with for extended support is great, with games like TF2 and the L4D series receiving tons of content updates. Counter-Strike and Day of Defeat even get the occasional balance patch, if I'm not mistaken.

Dota 2 is coming along as a player in e-sports, as well, with large tournaments being held for large cash prizes. Spectating matches is a major part of being involved very deeply with a game like this or Starcraft, and that functionality is built right into the game client. I've watched a few matches there, but I prefer to tune into a shoutcasted match online if I'm going to spectate. I like to know what's going on and why players do the things they do, since I'm still fairly green.

Freespace 2 is a lot of spacey, dog-fighty, fun, especially with the nice PC flight stick I bought. While a great deal more complicated than Colony Wars, it's pretty similar in that it's a bunch of scripted missions more like Call of Duty to the X series' S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. I'm still digging into it, but so far it's a lot of fun. I have to admit that the stick really does a lot to improve the feel of the game versus playing with a mouse or just the keyboard.

I got one of those new iPads, the third iteration of them, if you're counting. I'm not buying any media this March in protest of "Big Content" and their shenanigans, but I did have some free app codes from the little cards they give you at Starbucks. I was able to download Bejeweled (3?) and Tetris, which are fun, of course, as well as a few other free to play games I haven't tried yet. I'll have to check some of those out this weekend, I guess, and maybe do a little roundup post.

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