2012. The year the world burns. In the fires of a gamepocalypse. Gameageddon has gotten off to a running start here, at 9 Parsecs.
Momentum of motivation had me roll right into Fallout 3 not long after finishing Fallout 2. I have 30 hours on my save, thus far, and I've gotten to a decent stopping point in the main quest thread, searching for my character's father. He disappeared from Vault 101 all of a sudden, and not caring for the way the Overseer runs the place, my character Nanashi set out to find him, braving the capital wasteland beginning to uncover the truth of her place of birth in the process. I'm sure that I'll eventually track down dear old Dad, and in Fallout fashion, a greater goal will be set, through the pursuit of which I'll leave my mark on the ruined wreckage of Washington D.C., and the people who live there. I'm already excited to get back to playing more.
Speaking of playing more, I need to finish BioShock 2 once and for all. I'm guessing that I'm around a third to halfway through it, and fairly lost as far as the plot goes. Or maybe the plot just isn't that good. I don't like how the antagonist Sophia Lamb was retconned into Rapture history and cast up against Andrew Ryan. Retcons in general suck. Regardless, the game is a lot of fun to play, what with the plasmids and different weapons and environmental factors to take into account while fighting splicers, Big Daddies, and Big Sisters. I want this one off my plate. I just need to set aside some time to polish it off between everything else I'm playing.
I don't believe I've written about it yet, but a helpful Call Of Podcast listener wrangled a couple of Diablo III beta keys for Lonesteban and I. I love the Diablo series, going way back to the days of the 50MB overnight download for the first game's demo. Diablo III is almost by default my most anticipated game, but it's always seemed so far away that it was only on the periphery of my mind. Well, not any longer. I've been having a blast playing the beta so far. The only thing I don't like is that it ends after a few hours. Even that's not so bad, since you can take your character and do boss runs ad infinitum. Eventually you will hit the level cap and get so much amazing loot that you can't even wear it all, though. Then you can try another of the classes. I maxed out a monk first, and I'm slowly working a wizard through, now. I'm trying to take my time, because there are special beta-only achievements that I'd like to get (and hopefully they'll carry over on my profile into the full game), but they were inactivated with the last update to the beta. I'm hoping the next update will be rolled out soon, and they'll be re-enabled.
The monk is awesome, and the wizard is just as great. I honestly don't know which I'll roll with first, once the final game is out. The other classes don't really interest me at this point, but I'm sure I'll get around to them at some point. If I have one concern for Diablo III, it's that it doesn't look like there is much point to ever creating more than one character of the same class. In Diablo II you had a lot of different choices to make in terms of skill choices and point distribution, but Diablo III does away with all of that in favor of a system that lets you re-spec your character at any point. I guess Hardcore mode will kind of negate this issue, but unless you play Hardcore, you will presumably be able to level each class to cap and not really have any reason to start more characters over at level 1. We'll just have to see how the final product ends up.
Elsewhere, I've begun Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising. It was time. I don't think there is anything else strategy-related on my plate besides my stalled Starcraft: Brood War game, only just begun. It was also the last Dawn of War II expansion on my pile, since I had dipped into Retribution a bit, already. I'll eventually finish this and then play Retribution to completion before going back to the original Dawn of War and its expansions. And hell, one day I'll finish Brood War and start Starcraft II, also. No rush; I figure I've got at least 50 good years left in me, hopefully more. Giving up fast food and working out more should help with that. All for the games, all for the games. Anyway, about Chaos Rising--I was able to import my save from the base Dawn of War II with my squad fully leveled up and kitted out. Right off the bat it seems more difficult than the base game, but I guess that's to be expected. Even a real-time strategy noob like myself (though I did beat Starcraft) didn't have much trouble with the original. I've really gotten into the Warhammer 40,000 universe over the last couple of years, and I really like the genre-meld of Dawn of War II.
Speaking of 40K, I started the Space Marine campaign over again just for fun, and also tried out the multiplayer and Exterminatus ("Horde") modes. That's a real good game, all around. I got flattened repeatedly in the versus multiplayer, but I had a good time in Exterminatus, and I'll probably play more of it over time.
Another quick hit--SpaceChem. I completed the challenge level In-place Swap, after staring at it and mucking around for 2-3 hours. I'm still only on the third or fourth planet in the game's story mode. I wonder if I'll ever be able to complete it. This is a really hard game, but it's so great at the same time.
Something else I've begun in the last few weeks is Guild Wars. I don't have the time and presence of mind to go into it very much right now, but I like it. It's old, and it's mechanics somewhat tired out by the rest of the genre, but it has its virtues. I'll write another entry on Guild Wars at a later date.
Yesterday they released a demo for Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and being a big fan of RPGs, I wanted to check out this one, a new IP from a new studio (kind of), and from EA, no less. I'd say my overall impressions are positive, despite not liking the art direction, UI, voice acting, or what I've seen of the story thus far (admittedly little). The combat is well done for an RPG, and about to the level of an action game. The game runs really well and looks great (in terms of image quality) on my PC. The problem is that I just don't have anywhere near the amount of free time I would need to get around to playing this somewhat safe RPG. It plays it too safe, I think; there's nothing slightly off-kilter or European about it to get me interested. The premise is only interesting in the superficial parallels to Planescape: Torment, and the art style is just off-putting. I could set that aside, because the graphics are nice, otherwise, but go look at my RPG pile. I wish Amalur had a little bit more of its own identity.