Friday, April 6, 2012

Trine to Make Some Headway

The game I'm trying to polish off most actively at the moment is Trine. I have to mention up front that it's a real bummer you can't walk away from the game at a checkpoint mid-level and have it save your progress. You have to begin again at the beginning of a level every time you play. I don't quite get why this is the case. It's not that the levels are too long, it's just a bit of an oversight.

Aside from that little business, Trine is a great game. It's got nice and inventive platform levels based around a solid physics engine and the various abilities of your three-fold player character. The graphics are beautiful, and the art is colorful and attractive, if full of unimaginative stock fantasy trappings. The platforming is more in the realm of action-based than puzzle-based, and largely dependent on your gaming the physics system--which can be a little fiddly--but that is part of the fun. I'm given to understand that people have been able to play all the way through the game with each of the three player character aspects and only that aspect (wizard, thief, knight), but for me half of the fun is rotating between the three to find the most efficient or feels-like-cheating way to advance. I'm just to the start of the 14th of 15 levels, so I'm pretty near the end. I've heard that the last level is nightmarishly hard, but then I've also heard that it was patched at a later date to be more reasonable. I'll cross that chasm when I come to it. Maybe it will involve swapping to the wizard to place a floating platform in the air, and then swapping to the thief to grapple onto the platform and swing over to the other side.

I have to admit that I almost picked up Trine 2 when it was on sale for $7.50 this past weekend on Steam, but I'm trying to stick to a policy of not buying a game unless I am ready to play it right then and there. As you can see, my backlog needs trimming. Great trimming. Plus, after I finish Trine, there is a bonus DLC level I'll need to play through before I can even contemplate playing the sequel, which will without a doubt be available for $5 or less before I run out of other games to play.

I guess my second-place focus game of the recent days has been Freespace 2, though I haven't played it in a week or so. I'm up to the 6th or 7th mission, about half way through the first of three acts to the game. It's cool, so far. I do kind of miss the open and independent nature of an X series game, but this is a completely different animal. It's Ace Combat in space. Space Combat. It's got a pretty involved storyline, too, so I should probably pay more attention and focus a little more on it at some point.

For the rest of the time I've been gaming lately, it's been all multiplayer stuff: TF2 just for shits and giggles (what a great game), Tribes: Ascend to continue to see what it's all about (I'm kind of into it, kind of lukewarm on it, thus far), and a whole hell of a lot of Dota 2.

I'm at 42 hours of Dota played now, according to Steam. I've been trying to learn to play Bounty Hunter, who works much better as a ganker than a lane pusher/farmer, as I've been discovering. I had one of the most demoralizing games I've ever had 2 nights ago, but I checked out a couple of video guides to the hero and turned in a pretty decent performance in a game last night, though we still lost to a team with a well-fed Lycanthrope. It's still a lot of fun, even losing, as long as you feel like you have a handle on the action and strategy. I think that, like anything worth doing, playing Dota is worth learning properly, though it takes effort and perseverance, and a willingness to accept defeat and learn from it.

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