Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Lone Wanderer Wanders On

Over the last few days I polished off the remaining Fallout 3 DLC I had not played, along with a few miscellaneous sidequests I had read about being interesting. The Pitt ended up being a little more interesting than I thought it would, if not upending my stance on slavers (they die), at least upending my stance on Dostoevsky's hypothetical Utopia built on the suffering of one innocent child. Mothership Zeta, though, was pretty forgettable. And with that, and some 87 hours in Fallout 3, I am done with the game. Bethesda's RPGs are too big and too numerous to attempt to wring every little thing from. I'll be playing New Vegas next, I'd imagine, before getting around to Skyrim at some point.

It occurs to me now that Fallout 3 and Brood War have both been knocked off the Priority Queue. I'm going to have to work on Half-Life and Dark Souls some, as well as the Starcraft II campaign.

After a long time in the queue, I've finally come around to giving Company of Heroes a try. I've only played a couple of missions so far, but I like what I've seen.  The World War II setting would never have brought me around on it's own, rather the game's stellar reputation was what convinced me so long ago to try it. The quality is readily apparent. I'm looking forward to playing more of it soon.

I picked up the ipad version of Pendulo Studios' point-and-click adventure game Yesterday, because I knew it had a strong emphasis on the occult in its plot. That might sound weird, but it intrigued me. I've played a little bit of it so far, and I have been enjoying it. I don't care so much for the puzzle solving bits, which often boil down to experimentation or using the game's hint system, but the story is interesting, and voice acted well enough.

Tonight I jumped on Skype with Lonesteban and we played a few games of Dota 2 and Starcraft II, my very first experience with the latter online. We lost every game, but had a good time doing it. I'd like to get to a point where I am semi-competent at Starcraft; at the very least to my approximate Dota 2 skill level, which is not advanced, but neither that of a complete novice. A great deal of practice will be necessary, but then I'm not in any hurry. The game will be around for a while, I'm sure.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

F.A.T.H.E.R., I have returned to Dunwall.

Right around the time I was starting to flag in the Anno 2070 campaign, it wrapped itself up. The rogue AI F.A.T.H.E.R. was destroyed. The ten missions I played through were introducing new gameplay elements right up to the very end, presumably in an effort to teach the player the majority of what they would want to know to take on further challenge missions or to play online with others. Like I've mentioned before, I'll never play the game with others, but I may get back around to it for some of the individual challenge missions and the Deep Ocean expansion campaign. It is a pretty neat game, though a few aspects of how to accomplish this or that task could use a bit more clarity. It's got really haunting, melancholy music, too.

Over the weekend I was sort of clearing my plate for The Knife of Dunwall, the new Dishonored DLC missions where you play as Daud, another character from the main game, another of The Outsider's chosen, and the true assassin of the Empress. Daud is one of Corvo's targets late in the game, though you can choose to let him live, like with all the rest. I killed very few people in my play through of Dishonored, and none purposefully. Playing Daud, though, I am killing everyone. The story seems to set up the possibility for Daud to be redeemed, but that won't happen in my world. No, Daud may offset some of the consequences of his actions in one way or another, but he is still a murderous assassin, and will see a fitting end, I'm sure.

The DLC is three full missions, if I'm not mistaken, which is a fair portion of content when you consider that the main game is only nine--ten, if you are generous. There is supposed to be a further mission set later that should push the total up to 16 or so, main game included. If you never got around to playing Dishonored last year, now would be a great time to go back and get caught up. It was my number 3 game of 2012.

While I was clearing my plate for the Dishonored DLC, I replayed the first hour of BioShock Infinite, played an hour or so of Half-Life 2, which I will at some point actually finish, and played a game or two of Dota, even. On my agenda currently is playing the Knife of Dunwall. After that, I'm not so sure.

I've been reading The Martians, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It is a collection of short stories and companion piece to his Mars trilogy. Some of them seem to exist in a parallel universe where the initial "First 100" colonization mission never occurred, or at least not until much later, and characters on that mission stayed behind on Earth until much later. I just finished a longer story, novella length, called Green Mars (which is also the title of the second book in the trilogy proper), which seems like it might kind of be the centerpiece of the collection. It was the story of an expedition of climbers going up Olympus Mons over a couple of months, and it was pretty great. It makes me want to try rock climbing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Read that title any way you like and it'll still be appropriate for Bioshock Infinite. I came away from the game pretty high on it. It is not without flaws or questionable decisions relating to the mechanics or the narrative, but most aspects of Infinite are head and shoulders above what a lot of games possess. I liked it a lot. I'm not sure what else there really is to say about it, other than I really liked Elizabeth as a character, and that people are right when they say that not a lot is ultimately made of the themes that the game seems to so boldly set out to take on near the beginning. Where the Vox Populi and Daisy Fitzroy in particular end up going is kind of mystifying. These are a good sort of criticisms for a game to have, though. Some semblance of an attempt was clearly being made to stretch boundaries, and I will applaud that, at least.

I have been playing more Anno 2070, too. I am nearing the end of the base game's story campaign, but after that there are still a ton of one-off missions to do, an expansion campaign, a free-play mode, and even multiplayer (which I will probably never touch). It's a great game to chill out with.

I've neglected Dota 2 for a few months, being busy and focusing on other strategy-oriented games, but I was able to get in the other night and play a good game as Slardar. There is a new guide system that lets you browse character guides created by the community and bookmark them for use while you play. Suggested skills and items from the guide will be highlighted within the UI while you play, which is a pretty cool feature. I wonder if it won't cement many cookie-cutter builds in the community, though. Regardless, it is handy and anything that can be done to make the game more newb-friendly is probably a good move, overall.