Friday, December 30, 2016

Last Call for Playahol

I played some Wipeout HD/Fury on PS3 the other day. That is a very cool game from yesteryear that I could see myself revisiting more often now that I have it re-installed again. Zone mode still feels ahead of its time.

A loyal Call of Podcast listener gifted me Downwell, so I put some time into that, too. Pretty simple, pretty fun. Very arcadey in feel, since it is a score attack game, divided up into stages like a Spelunky or something. It only uses 3 colors in its aesthetic, but it lets you unlock and swap between different palettes, which is nice. You are a guy falling down an endless well with guns shooting from the bottom of his boots. You must progress as far down as you can without taking too many hits from the monsters on the way down.

I finally bought this year's DOOM remake/sequel, which oddly seems to be an alternate universe Doom ]|[? Unless Doom 3 is somehow set farther in the future or something... anyway, I'll suffice it to say that it feels very faithful to the first couple of Doom games, which is to say it moves very fast and feels very relentless. I like it.

Another new, 'let's get ready for GOTY talk' pickup is Stellaris. I am really going to try to hunker down and familiarize myself with a Paradox strategy game. This one seems close enough to the type of 4X games I've played before (mostly Civ) that I can get a toehold on the climb to competence. I've played a few hours, and am starting to feel like I know what I want to do next, at the very least. That being to conquer the galaxy in the name of the Commonwealth (Imperium) of Man. Yes, I will be enacting my own Great Crusade soon to claim the galaxy for humanity alone.

Revisiting The Witness tonight, I miraculously solved several puzzles that had previously given me grief. The bad part is I did them without knowing exactly why or how the solution was valid. I wouldn't call it brute forcing them, because each only took one or two tries, but perhaps it was some obscene luck. This is a nice and relaxing game to visit.

Otherwise, I've been spending more time in Skyrim, figuring out my inventory situation and what I want my character to be doing--tough when the choices consist of everything. I also jumped back into Overwatch briefly, trying to sort out where it will land in my GOTY rankings.

Finally, I reinstalled and played some more Space Marine tonight. I can confirm that it does play feel better than Eternal Crusade. I managed to get into a match of the cooperative horde mode for a while, which was actually a lot of fun. I didn't have any luck getting into a game of the PVP, however. Maybe next time. I did pop into the campaign briefly, though. This is still a very fun game.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Twisting in the Wind

The last little while has been characterized by a general sort of funk or malaise around gaming. Instead, I've been doing other things, and prime among them, reading Deathfire, the 32nd book in the numbered Horus Heresy series. There are a number that are not numbered, as it were. The series continues to ride high and epic. I should come away from 2016 with a pretty healthy, at least in terms of numbers, of titles read.

Game-wise, it's just been a smattering of things. Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade took most hours played, though it's not a great game. It wants to be Battlefield in the 41st millenium, but I think the focus is too much on close-quarters arena battling for it to work. The vehicles really seem to be of questionable value. There seem to be some other balance concerns, as well, like my Imperial Fists Astartes withering under about 1 second of Eldar fire. That's just not right. I don't really think this game has the budget to excel, and I doubt it maintains the community, either. It's too bad, because those Space Marines look pretty glorious.

Second in play time recently would be Skyrim, though I don't have much to report. I've decided to follow the main quest for the time being. It's led me to High Hrothgar to speak to the Graybeards.

In a fit of not knowing what else to do last week, I played the first mission of the Orc campaign in Warcraft III. Great game!

Cube World got in a little time, too, oddly enough. @wollay tweeted out an update of something he was working on that inspired me to go back and play a bit. I don't think a downloadable update has been made available to players since about three and a half years ago, though.

I put a couple more hours into Tyranny, making my way to the Disfavored war camp and resolving a few situations verbally on my way to locate a missing shipment of arms. It seems like a pretty good game.

Stellaris is, from what I gather, Paradox's attempt to bring their grand strategy games into space sci-fi. I have been curious to give it a shot, having always wanted to make sense of Europa Universalis or Crusader Kings, and not having been able to do so. After my first session, I don't feel all that enlightened just yet. Again, more play time will be needed, here.

I've been playing both Super Mario World and Super Mario Run lately. As a rule, I don't talk about mobile games here, but I'll just say I was very curious to see what Nintendo's first real game outside their own platform would be. I quite like it. I think it hangs as a Mario game, and I think it takes advantage of the lateral shift in genre to introduce some new mechanics that wouldn't make sense in the usual Mario platformers. I'm impressed. Nothing much to say about World, other than it feels way damn harder now than it used to, whatever the reason.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Out of Sorts with My Sort

I've been in a strange place lately with gaming. I don't know if my tastes are changing and evolving, or if I'm just getting tired of my usual things, or what. I have had a hard time drilling down into things lately, things that should really most definitely be my sort of thing. I'm trying to just go where my whims take me, though, and trust that I'll get to where I need to be that way.

So far, this has led me directly back to The Last of Us. I've always had issues with the play in Naughty Dog's Uncharted series, while yet still wanting to play through each for their cinematic aspects. The same goes for this game. I've decided to take another run at it, having lost the save of my first attempt. I'm about 2 or 3 hours in, and not quite back to where I had left off previously. I'm trying to look at it like a dramatic TV series as opposed to the kind of video game I typically enjoy, because it (and the Uncharted series) excel at aspects of the former, but are deficient at aspects of the latter. Maybe I can buckle down and get through this game with that mindset.

Super Mario World - I want to get through this on my SNES with my daughters. It seems harder than I remember, though. I wonder if lag on my HDTV might be to blame. Probably not, it's probably just faulty memory and degrading motor skills, though. I made it to the Vanilla Dome, though.

Skyrim - I wanted to play some yesterday, but wasn't too attached to any of the quests in my log. I am still not sold on either side of the civil war going on here, either. I figured I would chase down the next leg of the main, dragon related quest, then, to compensate for my jack-of-all-trades approach to character specialization with some draconic superpowers. I walked halfway across the province to a barrow, having small adventures along the way.

Titan Quest Anniversary Edition - Long story short, it is still a dull action roleplaying loot game, but one that has been nicely spruced up by its new publisher, THQ Nordic. I wish them success in future endeavors.

Duelyst - I played a few more puzzles and practice matches. I don't have too much more to say other than I'm using this to substitute for Hearthstone for the time being. I need to get into it at least to the point where I can appreciate the 20 booster packs I got for it.

Elite: Dangerous - I made a conscious decision to get away from playing this game and try to find things that are more novel in the same space. There may not actually be a real replacement for it, but at the present, I just can't justify spending any more time in it without investigating alternatives.

Assassin's Creed Unity - I just couldn't do it anymore. I didn't care about the plot, and I wasn't looking forward to Syndicate at all. Uninstalled. Maybe I'll be back with the next incarnation of the series. I am planning to see the upcoming movie, but I don't have high hopes for it.

WoW - Filling out my trilogy of quit games this entry. My flame with the game has run its course this time around, and longer and brighter than previously. The Suramar quest grind and lack of additional zones to explore finally bored me, and the idea of powering up my artifact even more, while attractive, was not ultimately enough to get me to play enough that I felt it was worth the subscription.

Finally, I began Obsidian's new 3/4 view party RPG (not Infinity Engine), Tyranny. I'm only a couple of hours in, but it seems very cool so far. I'm enjoying the very gray territory the decisions I am making are in, being a sort of enforcer for a conquering power as the conquest winds down, bringing the conquered lands and people into compliance. The emperor Kyros seems like a really bad guy from afar, capricious and uncaring. The whole setting is very reminiscent of 40K and the Horus Heresy.