Monday, August 18, 2014

Mid-August 2014 Playlog

It's hard to find a theme in these large collections of games I play for less than an hour at a time, for the most part. To review:

Talisman - I picked up both the solo adventure and full 4-player digital board games on Steam in a Games Workshop sale. While very, even completely, dependent on luck of the die roll, the game is decently fun. I found the variety of abilities and characteristics each playable character had offered up some interesting in-game ramifications. I played 2-3 complete games, which can be fairly long, before deciding my time was better used elsewhere. It was a satisfyingly fun experience, though.

Mount & Blade - I began my campaign and was immediately overtaken by bandits and taken captive, only to escape sometime later minus my followers and much of my wealth and possessions. This happened over and over, until I was left with no one, not even a horse, and next to nothing. The only choice left was between going full-rogue to probably die alone and reviled and taking up arms in the arena, winning gold and glory and, and hopefully parlaying that into followers. That's what I'm in the midst of, now.

X-Com: Enemy Unknown - I advanced my campaign through a couple of battles, finally taking captive a couple of the aliens and beginning to get a handle on managing my forces. This is another game I don't know why I don't just play all the time.

Half-Life 2 - I played though about 20 to 30 minutes of stuff up to a point where I'm making my way up through a warehouse area from subterranean tunnels, and there are all these Combine soldiers fast-roping down onto catwalks above me and they keep killing me. They'll get theirs, eventually.

Colin McRae Rally - this really is a very bare-bones experience. It's good for a quick race here and there, though. For $7, it's really not too bad.

Hearthstone - I figured it was no more random than Talisman, takes only a fraction of the time to play, has much better production values, actual people to play against, interesting solo content, and all the might of one of the biggest and best game studios in the world backing it up, I might as well invest my time further into this as any other digital card or board game. I've actually been enjoying the hell out of the single-player Naxxramus "boss battles," which are just duels against players with unique abilities and traits. They're almost puzzle-like in that they require a certain approach to win. While nothing like them, they remind me of the puzzles I used to do in The Duelist magazine about 20 years ago, when I was big into Magic: The Gathering.

Final Fantasy III (DS remake) - I finally knocked a few minutes into playing this, before taking it and all my other DS games and trading them all in. Not much to say, other than it's FF, and why the hell isn't the action ever on the top screen? Total loss on this, by the way. I bought it new in Japan, and even had the cool strategy guide to go with it, which I gave up for a mere buck alongside the game. Oh well, not like I was ever going to use it, anyway.

Kurohyou: Ryu Ga Gotoku Shinshou (Yakuza spinoff for PSP) - This was also a quick try-out before trade-in job. It's a Yakuza game, that much is certain. I thought it looked nice enough on the PSP. Series diehards or PSP gamers not already tired of the series should take interest. It's only available in Japan, however, and these games are heavy and deep with the sort of high-level and macho- slang Japanese that many non-native speakers will have trouble understanding (from my own experience).

Wipeout 2048 - I thought I'd played this one before, but I suppose not. It was only for about 20 minutes late at night when I was practically falling asleep, but I was pretty impressed by how well it looked and felt. I did a handful of races and placed decently among my friends, and I'm looking forward to playing more.

Borderlands 2 - I have merely begun, playing Maya the Siren, and having just beat the first boss, a sasquatch type thing in the ice that was bothering a claptrap. I've got to play more to rally form up an impression.

Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition - A gift from Esteban. I haven't really played SF since HD Remix, and that only casually. Before that the last one I really played much of was Super SFII on the SNES. Wow, it's a nice looking game, and it runs flawlessly on the PC. What really pushed me over the edge in wanting to play it (and now wanting to play more), was hearing of the feasibility of playing with a keyboard. It's not something I'd ever considered, but taken logically, there's no reason it should not work, and in practice I found it shockingly easy to pull off special moves, if not completely second-nature in the way that playing with a pad is. I think the keyboard layout is fundamentally better suited to the game than the average 4-button control pad, simply due to the six-button layout possible on the NumPad (4-7, with other keys for button combos), but also due to the ability to use A,S,D, and space directions (space being up/jump). It sounds ridiculous at first, but in practice, wow. It works. With some practice and getting used to, there's no reason at all this control scheme should not be competetive with, or even superior to, other input methods.

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