Sunday, November 25, 2012

No Thanksgaming

It's Thanksgiving time in the US, and I'm out of town, resulting in slim to no game playing on my part. In the last couple of weeks before this trip though, I logged some time on a few games.

I played a smidge of Dirt 2 on a whim, mainly because it's such a pretty game with such beautiful weather in all the locations you race in. I like rally racing because of the locales you drive through. It's a shame I have no clue how to control a rally car at speeds above about 30 mph, though.

I've begun XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and while its quality is plain to see, I haven't given myself completely over to it, just yet. I've been playing a mission at a time, just here and there. I decided on Ironman mode right off the bat, because I think the permanence of consequence makes the game much more interesting. I felt kind of shameful about reloading a lot playing X-Com classic, and I wish I had played Ironman-style in that game, too. I'm not looking at it as a game to beat ASAP, but rather as an experience to enjoy long-term.

Dark Souls will probably turn out to be another long-term game for me. I'm not in any rush to finish it; that would probably hurt the appeal of the game for me. No, I'd rather inch through it little by little as time and impetus allow. I had to restart my game on the PC, since I'd put in around 8 or 10 hours on the PS3, previously. Despite already retracing all my old steps and decisions, I opted to keep rolling with a Knight over any other class. I feel like all the rest would focus more on agility and dodging, and what I want is to be able to stand toe-to-toe with the biggest and baddest the game has to throw at me. I played Demon's Souls as a roll-reliant Wanderer, and I'd rather go heavy this time around.

I spent the majority of the last few weeks' game time on Fallout 3. As a matter of fact, I plowed right through the game's main quest line and had completed it before I even realized it was over. I'm not sure what that says about the game, but I have been enjoying it quite a bit. It's not Fallout 1 or 2, but it's good. I'm in the middle of the proper post-game DLC, Broken Steel, right now, and I'm also going to play the rest of the DLC stuff, at the very least. One of the last perks I unlocked revealed every point of interest on the map, and to say that I'd visited even 10% of them through the main quest would be generous. I'm not going to commit to that, but we'll see how it goes. I'm already kitted out in Enclave Hellfire armor and Plasma weapons, but there is still a long way to go until I hit level 30.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Picking Up What I've Put Down

There was a time when I just could not do this. I used to play a single game at a time. I would play nothing but that game until I was done with it, and if for some reason I did leave a game unfinished, the next time I wanted to play it, I had to start from the beginning again.

I just do not have the time to waste on doing that these days. Additionally, my tastes are an order of magnitude broader than they used to be. I tend to jump around from game to game as a rule these days. PC gaming makes it easy, because all of your games are just a couple of clicks away--no discs to swap out, shelves to keep organized, et cetera. If I play one single title exclusively for a week or two it's something I'm deeply absorbed in, like Dishonored, recently, or Diablo III earlier this year. So, I find myself with a lot of games back-burnered, and I find myself picking up game saves that have sat around untouched for months at a time.

In the last couple of weeks I've gone back to Fallout 3 (9 months or so), Half-Life 2 (8ish months), and Diablo III (around 2 months). The last was just to see what the two major patches since August had changed, and to see if I still liked the game after some time away. Turns out I do!

Fallout 3. I love this series. Even set apart in time and space from the first two games, Fallout 3 carries over a lot of cool things in the world. It's really good, and I'll write more about it in the future. I can't decide how much of the side stuff I really want to delve into. I know I want to hit all of the main DLC bits, and finish the main quest, of course. After that, we'll see. It might be really tempting to move on to New Vegas.

Half-Life 2 I decided to pick up just for some more conventional FPS gameplay after going the stealth route through Dishonored. As no one needs to be told, it's a great game. I'm still just a meager 2-3 hours in, though. More will be written about this one, too, time comes to pass.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wrath Of... yawn... War

I recently finished up Darksiders the first. I wanted to like it more than I actually did.

People say that it's like a Zelda game, and in many ways that is true, but while I personally find it more interesting a world and mythology than Nintendo's franchise, it doesn't quite match their cohesion of design.

There is a lot of wasted potential in Darksiders' mechanics. Several of the items and abilities gained throughout the game seem to be in the game only to justify a progression-blocking barrier and divert the player on to the next dungeon of the eight-ish required in a game like this before the quest can be over. The pistol seems pretty useless. War's horse, Ruin, is used in a couple of combat encounters, and to my knowledge not able to be called upon in the majority of the game world's locales. The hookshot-alike is used sparingly, as are the floaty double-jump wings, and the portal gun is only for use where there are portal pads around the world, which is a small number of places.

Darksiders' combat system is better than Zelda's, but that doesn't mean it's great. It's pretty button-mashy, and anyone who's played a third-person action game in the last 10 years will know basically what to expect.

Let me take a moment here to just say that I hate the kind of puzzles you see in this type of game. They are completely pointless, and braindead in their conception. They do nothing but waste time. Who but a game designer would ever construct such places, with their levers and mirrors and disappearing floor tiles and such? Not the evilest being in all of history. They would be too busy doing evil things to create what amounts to a rat maze for the person coming to kill them, whom they are presumably unaware will ever exist! 

I came away from the game feeling like it was pretty average. I think this entire genre is just not really my type of thing. I do like the art a lot, but the plot was pretty poor, I thought, and did not make a lot of sense. I do own the sequel, though, and I am actually still looking forward to playing it, at some point. I've been told not to expect the "epic" events hinted at in this game's ending, but knowing what Darksiders II is viewing it, I wasn't under any illusion of that sort, anyway. What I am expecting to like is more in what I've heard of the sequel's world (more fantastical), loot, and platforming gameplay. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Uninstall: Mid-'90s Strategy Master Class

It's about progress, modernization! It's about clearing the land of old construction to make way for new, while ensuring that the existing foundation, solid as ever, remains.

It's also about letting go of the past, and what might have been, to accept the path we've trod, and to seize the opportunity of the present, with an eye toward what the future may bring.

Dwelling on the choices we could have made, or attempting to turn back time to make another attempt will only cause us to be caught unawares by current circumstance.

It is to this end that I dedicate this memorial to the heroes, feats, and achievements of our forbears.

The ground you broke, the intrepid exploration, and their lasting contributions to our current prosperity,

Though consigned to the annals of time, will not be forgotten.