Tuesday, July 21, 2015

To The Finish

I was taking stock of all of the RPGs I am currently in the midst of playing or want to be playing soon, and something's got to be wrapped up and finished off. My first candidate for that is Fallout: New Vegas. I've got a couple more DLC modules to wrap up, Dead Money and Old World Blues, and at least one other optional quest line I'd like to do before putting a figurative bow on the whole thing. I think that'll be my main focus from here on, with my weekly alphabet tour of the backlog in progress, as well.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - You play a little flying saucer and navigate through caves looking for pickups and the way forward. With the 2D, side-on perspective, it reminds me of a helicopter game I think we had on an old Win 3.1 computer back in the early '90s. You would fly a helicopter through caves to pick up POWs, if I remember correctly. I don't care about this game.

Jolly Rover - It's a point and click adventure game with a cartoon dogs-as-pirates theme. It seemed light-hearted and fun in tone, but as is the case with this type of game, it also seemed very tedious. I have yet to really get into one of these. What Telltale did with The Walking Dead was a lot more enjoyable.

I played a little bit more of The Witcher 3 the other night, mostly just to check out the changes to movement in the latest patch. It feels like a good change. I'm not trying to charge through this game by any means; there is no rush, and I'd rather savor it at my leisure than concern myself much with finishing off a massive 100+ hour beast like this for no good reason. With New Vegas, I'm almost done with it anyway, and I'd like to leave some space between it and Fallout 4, which I'm probably going to begin on day one.

I've made some good progress into Assassin's Creed Unity, as well. I've left off at the beginning of sequence 6 for now, which feels like a good early break point. I'll pick up there later on sometime. Again, no rush here. I don't think I'll be playing Syndicate until some time after release. I am liking Unity, so far, but it hasn't kicked into high gear just yet with regards to the plot. Just the standard play around Paris is pretty good. I've been trying to do some of the lesser-involved side stuff around to earn money to buy better gear. I'm not sure I care enough to do the riddles and mysteries, but the random assassinations and such are fun enough. I'm pretty well over the flag equivalents and treasure chests scattered around the world. If I'm very near one on the map or walk right up on it, I'll grab it, but otherwise I'm not going out of my way for that sort of filler.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Her Story is a very interesting game that has you sat down in front of a mid-90's police database, complete with Win95-esque desktop in the background, looking through short video clips of several interviews with a young woman regarding what was, at the time, a recent death. I won't go any further into the case or scenario details, because they could be easily spoiled. There is a very solid puzzle presented here, in trying to sift through hundreds of short video clips five at a time (a game rule, justified in-world by the database UI's shortcomings) to piece together the true picture of what happened from just this young woman's accounts, recorded at various times over a period of a few weeks. I had a great time rifling through these short video clips trying to find out what was going on, and even when I had figured out the main thrust of it in the first 20 minutes or so, I kept digging for more details until I was satisfied. I had only seen maybe half of the available clips, per an indicator in the game, when a prompt came up in the form of an IM window, asking if I had found what I was looking for. I had, and I did, in Her Story. This is a good example of a short, original, and very memorable non-conventional game, and it was under five bucks. Highly recommended.

I finally began Assassin's Creed Unity, putting in about five hours last night. We are now about 9 or 10 months on from the game's problematic release period, and for what it's worth, I saw almost no bugs or jank. There were a couple of odd NPCs with the jitters or dropping out of the sky, but nothing on the level of what there was, once. The thing that gave me the most pause was actually a prompt before accepting a very early story mission that I needed to basically go and level up before taking on the mission, which happened to be the one that ended with those systems being opened up. So no, it's not a perfect game, by any means.

I think the best thing new to the series in Unity has to be the fact that the city is modeled at a 1:1 scale now, meaning that everything feels bigger than in the past. It's not something I ever thought about previously, but looking back after playing a bit of Unity, all of the worlds of previous AC games, or probably most video games, must be like 3/4 scale or something. Distances and structures in Unity feel much more realistic, and that, I think even more than the improvement in graphics, really contributes to the feeling of walking around Paris.

There are some other new and welcome additions, such as a modified free-running control scheme, more and better animations, more character customization options, et cetera. I'll have to continue playing to see how this AC develops. Arno seems like your typical brash young jokester rake at this point, more in the Ezio or Edward vein than Altair, Connor, Shay, Haytham, or Adewale. I wouldn't say he's much like Aveline or Shao Jun, either, for what it's worth. I am fond of most of the series' leads, either way.

It's curious that they moved away from versus multiplayer with Unity, and with the upcoming Syndicate seem to have also dropped the co-op introduced here. I've never felt multiplayer was needed, or at all desired, for many games of this sort. It always just seemed like a waste of time and effort on the part of everyone involved. I highly doubt I'll ever do any of the co-op stuff in Unity. Good riddance; hopefully the time and money saved developing that will go toward improving the parts of the series that is are the main draw.