Monday, December 11, 2017

Going with Geralt

I mentioned last entry that I was experimenting with how to return to The Witcher 3, and I have settled for now on at my PC, using mouse and keyboard. I may hop over to the TV through the Steam Link from time to time, but I haven't been able to shake the feeling that the PC experience is the best one. I went and met the Bloody Baron and did his questline, and at the moment I'm knocking out a few sidequests and contracts that I have found myself having outleveled. Experience seems kind of hard to come by, so I'm sure it'll pay to be thorough, aside from exploring the cool narratives of the world. The next big plot point I'm sure is waiting in Novigrad. I'm to go there to meet Triss Merigold, whom Geralt has been an item with during the last couple of games, and also to hunt for signs of Ciri. I have a couple of other errands to run first, though.

I'm also playing some Spelunky here and there, still. I don't know if I'll ever finish that game. Oh well, I'll be all over Spelunky 2 as soon as that comes out, either way.

The end of Super Mario Odyssey also can't be far away now. I'm in the Luncheon Kingdom now, and I have just found the painting that lets you warp to the Mushroom Kingdom, or at least a small part of it.

Progress also continues apace in Opus Magnum. The critical path puzzles are nice and doable, which I appreciate. It's always cool to see the finished process, as well.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ready to Proceed

Last Booklog entry, I mentioned heading back to the Horus Heresy series after catching up on the Warhammer 40,000 proper timeline. As it turns out, I decided to read through all of the lore of the tabletop game's 8th edition first. There's a lot of interesting info on the current state of the galaxy in there, along with a cursory glance at all of the relevant factions. I still don't really know much to speak of of the T'au or Genestealer Cults. Are the latter a part of the Tyranid race or not? If so, how are they different? I'll have to delve into some more 40K fiction at some point to find out.

In the meantime, I have returned to the Heresy timeline, finishing off book 43, Shattered Legions. It's a collection of short stories and a novella featuring Iron Hands Warleader Shadrak Meduson and other key players in the remains of the three loyalist legions smashed at the Dropsite Massacre. Meduson becomes a type of guerrilla leader for this asymmetrical war effort to confound and delay Horus's return to Terra. There is a lot of exploration of themes like survivor's guild, betrayal, the desire for vengeance, justice, and the righting of wrongs, as well as integrating disparate parts into a new alloyed whole and modifying the organizational structure of a fighting force to adapt to a wildly different set of circumstances than it was originally built for. It's a kind of underexplored area in stories of Space Marines, since the Shattered Legions are much more of a handicapped and underdog faction than most in the fiction.

The next book in sequence is The Crimson King, which will be the first time we've seen much of Magnus and the Thousand Sons since the razing of Prospero much earlier in the series.

Ready to Rejoin the Rivian Roamer

I am ready to return to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt!

I wrapped up my playthrough of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night last night, coming up to a total of 200.5% of the game explored. I believe the last .1% could be gained by going into the final room and then using a library card to warp out of it before saving the game again. I also seem to remember some kind of glitch in the castle towers using the sword familiar maybe to somehow get outside the castle walls. That might make it possible to add a few more percentage points to the tally, but I don't recall exactly. I'm ready to another Richter playthrough at some point, too. I did that once, in college, I think. If I recall, you can get to most but not all places in the game and actually finish it. I'd like to explore some of the other ways to play at some point, as well, including as an Axe Armor (which I remember being very limited) and with your luck stat to the max but others lowered, which could be another fun spin on the game.

Opus Magnum also continues to captivate me. I've been playing a lot of its sub-game Sigmar's Garden, which is a kind of Shanghai variant played with the marbles used in the main game. It's diverting and goes well with a podcast. I want to get to 100 wins for the achievement and to see whatever story dialog goes along with doing so.

I have to work out exactly how I'm going to go forward with The Witcher 3. I briefly considered restarting the game, but being 35 hours in, I think I'd probably rather just continue on. I'm sure the game will end up over 100 hours in all, maybe 150, even. I think I remember the essentials, even though I might like to rewatch a few cutscenes. I also need to decide whether I'll play at my PC with mouse and keyboard, or on the Steam Link with a controller, or maybe even at my PC with a controller. I may re-familiarize myself with the game at the PC, then move over to the TV. Or, maybe it's better to just re-acquaint myself with the game using the pad from the jump. Content on screen isn't really a worry, since I'll mostly play when the kids are asleep, though at times I may want to play on the PC while they use the TV. Still, The Witcher isn't usually overly adult, it's only that way at certain times.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Link to the Path

I'm still on track back to the Witcher 3. I'm drawing nearer to completion of this run of Symphony of the Night, with only about 4 sections of the inverted castle remaining to conquer before taking on Shaft and Dracula.

Something I've noticed this time around is that for as well as the castle inversion works for the game, there are some rough edges that prevent the second leg of the game from being quite so effortless as the first. It's easy to go the wrong way and find yourself under-leveled or under-geared for a section of the inverted castle, since there can be no mobility-based progression gating once you have acquired all of the motive skills and abilities from the first castle. Instead there is old-fashioned enemy toughness gating. This can still be gotten around, though, with some creative play and knowing when to mist by rougher sections on the way to gear upgrades or more beatable enemies to farm XP and upgrades on.

Elsewhere, I've done some podcast listening to Titan Quest and Spelunky while going for progression in those titles. I've also added some hardware to my setup, both a terabyte hard disk to the PC, and a Steam Link to the TV. The former allowed me to go and re-download some games that I plan to revisit, and the latter was cheap enough ($1) that I couldn't resist.

I toyed around with Skyrim and XCOM: Enemy Unknown a bit while trying out the Link. I decided to start a new non-Ironman campaign in XCOM just to see if I can't eventually actually win a campaign of that game. I'll need to focus on it at some point to make that a possibility.

The biggest addition to the rotation lately has been Opus Magnum, the new puzzle game from Zachtronics. I have long been a big fan of one of their previous games, SpaceChem. Opus Magnum is in some ways a lot like that one, though I haven't yet encountered its kind of insane difficulty here. Opus Magnum is a real looker, as well. It's got a great posh steampunk style and the alchemy machine works animate really well in a believably mechanical fashion. You play a newly graduated alchemist brought into a great house and tasked with combining base alchemical elements to do things like transmute mundane metals into gold or manufacture talcum power analogues, propulsion fuel, or even just hair product for your noble masters.

You're given a set of inputs and told what the required outputs are, and you have a selection of tools to use to assemble a machine to take care of the process that you have to envision and execute by programming grabber arms that can rotate or extend or move along tracks to deliver elements to various stations where they are transmuted or bonded or split in various ways so that you eventually end up with the finished product and deliver it to the output receptacle. It's a pretty basic concept, elaborated on in a huge variety of ways to create a very interesting and challenging and expressive puzzle game. Your creations only need to get the job done, but once finished they are evaluated against those of other players, so if you like you can chase efficiency on a few axes to enjoy refining your base creations, as well. I'm really enjoying the game so far.  

Saturday, November 18, 2017

One Does Not Simply Play Through Mordor

I've given up on Shadow of Mordor. The game has never managed to click with me. I did feel like I finally got a good grip on it this last session, but in the end I still felt like it was an overall pretty mediocre game made up of component parts done better elsewhere. Assassin's Creed, the Batman Arkham series, Hitman, and others, cover all these bases sufficiently. I'm considering this one done.

Which, along with my completion of the Destiny 2 campaign and beginning of the upside-down castle in Symphony of the Night, puts me well on my way back toward playing The Witcher 3 again.

I'm still making my way through Super Mario Odyssey, too. I'm just past New Donk City and in the Seaside Kingdom, now. I like how this game lets you bypass a lot of things if you like, and come back to them later if you wish.

I'm also continuing to practice running Spelunky, hoping for an eventual victory. I still don't reliably make it to the Jungle stages, though.

I did manage to finally finish off Hexcells Infinite, getting that achievement for doing 60 procedurally generated puzzles. That is definitely a low-stress way to play that game, though less interesting accordingly.

Finally, Titan Quest has received an unexpected expansion some 11 years after release. Its called Ragnarok and adds a fifth act as well as some other improvements. I've never made it much past the first act, but curiosity and wanting to encourage such rashness from THQ Nordic overtook me, and I bought in. Maybe this will do the trick, finally.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

On the Road Back

I'm sticking to the plan I laid out last week.

I've polished off the Destiny 2 campaign. Overall verdict: better than the first game, not as good as any of Bungie's Halo games. I question the need for a campaign at all. Perhaps Destiny should cut straight to the gear chase. I've set the game aside for the time being.

In it's place I've been concentrating on my Symphony of the Night save. As of this writing just prior to a trip out of town, I have 100% of the initial upright castle completed, and I'm ready to tackle the inverted castle. So, pretty decent progress, so far.

I'm unsure of whether I'll end up clicking with Shadow of Mordor and finishing it. I've struggled to, but then I don't think I've actually focused my efforts to do so on it to this point. Every fight I get into, it still seems like I'm being overwhelmed by too many orcs, and too many of them want to get in my face and start a Nemesis system action. I don't know if this is just how the game will always be, or if at some point I am supposed to be able to slay them 10 at a time and be able to fight 50 of them off without breaking a sweat. Something just feels off about the balance to me. I think I may need to just really start trying to grind out some ability and skill points on lower level nemeses in order to be able to tackle tougher orcs and larger groups of them.

I'm at I think 52/60 Hexcells proc gen puzzles done, and I've been brushing up on my Spelunky skills, trying to get back in the swing of things. These may be what I play tonight, if I have any free time.

This will all be put on hold, though, since we're headed out of town for 5 days. I'll take the Switch, but I'm not sure what else. Perhaps the DSs or SNES Classic? I'm leaning away from the Vita, though, and the PS3 and PC are obviously not coming along. I'll probably do more reading than gaming, but we'll see.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Catching Up to the 40K Timeline

I took some time away from the Horus Heresy series to read about recent developments at the end of the timeline, in the 40K era. A friend into the tabletop Warhammer 40,000 game sent me a bunch of the latest campaign books that ushered in the 8th edition of the game: Wrath of Magnus, and the Gathering Storm trilogy of Fall of Cadia, Fracture of Biel-Tan, and Rise of the Primarch.

These are all very matter-of-factly written, in a dramatic historical style. They don't read like the novels at all. They're drier, but still kind of interesting. Things that would be momentous in a novel are at times glossed over or related with little to no fanfare. I think they are meant to serve more as background lore ("fluff" in Warhammer terms) for players of the wargame than as a successful dramatic narrative, which the Horus Heresy books hew more toward.

It was interesting being introduced to some of the successor factions 10,000 years after the era that I am most familiar with. Previously there were no loyalist primarchs around in M41, or M42 now, I suppose. Roboute Guilliman has been awoken from stasis as of the current events, though, and led the forces of the Imperium of Man on a century's crusade to reclaim worlds lost to the forces of the Warp after the opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum, the great galaxy-spanning Warp rift dividing the Imperium in two.

I followed up these campaign books, which dealt with events leading up to Guilliman's resurrection from stasis, with the first new era 40K novel, Dark Imperium. Here Guilliman ends the Indomitus Crusade to go back to Ultramar and free it from an incursion of Chaos forces from the plague god Nurgle, led in part by the traitor daemon primarch Mortation, Guilliman's erstwhile brother in a previous era. The novel also introduces some Primaris Marines characters and delves into how they're fitting into the newly reconstituted Space Marine chapters since the newest Ultima founding that Guilliman undertook after his return to the Imperium. The novel leaves off with the primarch, now Imperial Regent and overall military commander in chief, setting of on a lead after Mortarion to hunt him down and kill him. I understand from the Lexicanum wiki that in the campaign to follow, the Ultramarines defeat and drive away the Death Guard, but that Mortarion escapes, and the Nurgle forces have to contend with advances from the other gods of Chaos into some of their newest territorial gains. I'm not sure any more has been written after this point in the timeline. Presumably Guilliman will circle back to Terra to do some of his non-military duties as Imperial Regent, leaving the newly bolstered ranks of Primaris and Adeptus Astartes to the work of war going forward, at least until its time to confront another of his brothers. He's already encountered both Magnus and Mortarion, and been taunted by Fulgrim, as well. Maybe that's the next showdown, or maybe Angron or Perturabo or Lorgar, if he's still out there, will appear to challenge the returned primarch.

My hope, though, is that we next hear from another of the several loyalist primarchs long disappeared. Maybe they come back as contra-Chaos, but also not aligned to the Imperium. That would be a likely role for many of them. It could be Vulkan, Jaghatai Khan, The Lion, Rogal Dorn, Leman Russ, or Corvus Corax. None of these are certainly dead, as far as I know. Dorn or Vulkan could be, I guess, but in the case of the latter, I doubt it. The rest I've heard have either disappeared or are kept in stasis (The Lion).

It'll be back to the Heresy time period next. I'm still in the middle of book 43, a short story collection. There have been 3-4 other books released in the meantime. There is other material in the universe outside of the Heresy that I want to read, though, The Beast Arises and the Black Legion series, in particular.

Roadmap to Rivian Redemption

I haven't done one of these in a while. These roadmap projects don't tend to work out, but this time I have a particular destination in mind, and I don't think it's that far away.

I want to get through the Witcher 3. It's a farce that I haven't yet, since I was into The Witcher back in 2009, before the second game was even announced. Yes, I was into it long before most anyone else in the west knew what it even was, let alone that it was cool. Credit to the old GFW Radio for turning me on to it. I never said I discovered it.

For whatever reason, I set the game aside after about 35 hours and got distracted by something else. Spring/Summer of 2015... I'm not sure what it might have been then, but definitely by the time MGSV came out I forgot about it entirely, and have yet to return. This then, is me plotting a route back.

To account for what stands between me and going home today to reinstall the game: I've recently dabbled in both Skyrim and Shadow of Mordor, two games in different ways adjacent to the Witcher 3. Skyrim is different enough and long enough that it needs to stand alone. It's also got a kind of timeless quality that keeps me circling back to it. I won't be finishing it off, but I can veer around it. Shadow of Mordor, that one definitely has a finite well of enjoyment that I could exhaust, and probably should, before turning back to Geralt's adventures. So there's one thing to tackle.

I also have a number of other non-fantasy, non-roleplaying engagements at the moment, including Destiny 2, Super Mario Odyssey, Castlevania: Symphony of the night, Hexcells, Diablo III, Breath of the Wild, and others. Mario is new and will last forever. That will get some more play here and there, but not be a priority. Zelda gets avoided like Skyrim. Destiny 2 gets polished off, at least the campaign portion. After that, it can simmer, much like Diablo III will. I want to finish this run of SotN, as well. That won't take too long. Hexcells can run in parallel, as can my quest to finally complete a run of Spelunky, whether through Olmec or Yama. Perhaps both. I also have suspended games of Metal Gear Rising, Metroid: Samus Returns, and AM2R to consider. Or not, maybe. For now I'll try to clean my plate of these three, in no particular order:

1. Shadow of Mordor
2. Destiny 2 campaign
3. CV SotN

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cornucopia of Delights

I played some Team Fortress 2 for the first time in a long time last week. There was an update recently, and I was kind of curious to see what was new or different. It mostly feels like the same old good game as before, with new maps and a new system of "contracts" which seem like class-specific challenges to accomplish, probably to unlock new cosmetic items in the game. I was just as bad as I remembered at the game, to boot. Unfortunately it'll probably be a while before I'm back again because I might have a multiplayer FPS that feels worth playing PvP in, and that is...

Destiny 2. The PC version of the game finally came out last week, and I've been enjoying it, so far. It's very much the same game as the first, but with some of the harder edges rounded off a little by all accounts, and now actually present on my preferred platform. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, I can readily dip in and out of the game. Second, I very much prefer playing FPS with mouse and keyboard. Once I finish the story campaign and get to the meat of the game, I can focus on the good stuff--finding gear and progressing my character. One facet of Destiny I like is that both PvE and PvP can contribute likewise to said progression. I've used the Crucible mode through the campaign so far to level up when the next mission has been gated by experience points. As I stand now, my Warlock, who as far as I am concerned is my same unremarkable not-very-accomplished Guardian from the first game, has just hit 15 and is ready to go on the mission to commandeer a Cabal ship to use to infiltrate their "Almighty" star-killer ship and show that Space Marine reject Dominus Ghaul the stellar door, as it were.

In other large release news, Super Mario Odyssey came out last week as well, and I also bought that. I figured the kids would enjoy it, but also that it's basically a compulsory purchase for Switch owners. Plus, I was curious. I've never really loved 3D platformers, but Super Mario Galaxy was pretty good, and I enjoyed that. Odyssey so far is pretty charming and good fun. I've made it to the Mexican-inspired third kingdom so far, and let Mia play a little in that area. We'll be playing more, I'm sure. I'm not sure what to say about the game, though, other than it feels good and has inventive and original level design ideas. Mario has cosmetic wardrobe changes now, as well, which is kind of interesting. None cost any real money, of course.

A few smaller updates:

Diablo III - running bounties here and there, still wanting to improve my Wizard's Vyr's set build. I still need to ace that set dungeon.

SotN - fairly deep into a run by this point, one that I would like to see through to its end. Still love this game so much.

Hexcells - over 40 out of 60 procedurally generated puzzles done.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mix Me Up, It's Autumn

I'm all over the place right now.

What I really want to do, though, is go home and play more Symphony of the Night. I played maybe an hour over the weekend, and it's still so great. I've got my current save up past the point of where the prior PS3 one was, before I wiped the system out of frustration with some other aspect of its operation. The save file on the Vita copy of the game I have is further along, I think, though maybe not by much.

Another game I've played catch up in recently is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I bought this on PS3 back at release, but never made it very far in. Soon, a PC port was announced, and I resolved to buy and play that instead. Now, I've made good on that resolution, at least partially. I'm now past where I was on PS3, at least. It's a good game. I'll keep it around until I finish it, maybe. No reason to play Bayonetta or Devil May Cry or anything like that while this is unbeaten, I figure.

Last week I decided to check out World of Tanks: Blitz upon learning that one could unlock Warhammer 40,000 tanks in that game. It's surprisingly good for a very F2P mobile game port. I think I'd prefer to play the real PC client, though. Hopefully that is better put together. As for the 40K tanks, there was no way I was going to play it hardcore enough to get that far, much less take advantage of them once I had.

I'm still plinking away at Hexcells Infinite, as well. I'm over halfway to the last achievement, with about 33 or 35 randomly generated puzzles finished. I have my eye on another puzzle game to fill this slot once I'm done with this one.

Talk of Shadow of War has driven me back to Shadow of Mordor once more. I continue to be frustrated with the 50-on-1 structure of it's fights, though. It's a little ridiculous, really. The nemesis system could really be toned down some. I don't need 4 new hopeful captains to chime in with a taunt every time I get into a little scuffle at an orc stronghold. I may as well finish it, at this point, though.

I also spent some more time in Skyrim again this weekend. I might as well get on with playing a lot more of it, too. It seems like there's never a time to be free of the mainline Elder Scrolls games. They're too weirdly compelling.

Lastly, I've finally slowed my Diablo III roll down a bit from the fevered pitch of the last several weeks.I am kind of just waiting for the forthcoming patch, now, to see what changes there. I will continue to run bounties and rifts here and there, in the meantime. I need to improve my gear more to complete the Vyr's set dungeon, and complete the Delsere's and Tal'Rasha's sets to do those ones, as well. At that point I might consider my Wizard done, or press on for a clear of GR70 if that doesn't happen in the meantime, in order to unlock access to primal ancient gear. That would be the play; and from there on to Barbarian and the rest of the classes to do those set dungeons as well.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Trapped in the Burning Hells

I can't break free from the grasp of Diablo III's endgame. Or, maybe I just don't want to. I'm to the point where I can handle Torment IX, though I do die some. I will try to push on to Torment X in my next session. It seems like you really should play on the highest difficulty level you can, reasonably. The drop rates for things increase with difficulty. Torment X is another nice increase to drop rates, provided I can survive it well enough. If not, then I'll continue playing Torment IX until I can get some upgrades.

At this point that's tough to do, though. I would need ancient pieces where I don't already have them, as well as synergized and maxed rolls from the mystic. It's no longer as easy as finding a lucky yellow or simple legendary. Now it's all about the legendary affixes and set bonuses and ancient pieces, and of course, paragon levels. Luckily you get more paragon experience points too, with greater difficulty settings. I did manage to get a couple of Unity rings and the Templar relic that makes it impossible for him to die. Thus, my damage received is permanently split among us, effectively mitigating a lot of it. More is mitigated by a legendary gem I have socketed to take the edge of damage spikes, taking the damage and parceling it out evenly over a few seconds, with a chance that the running balance will be wiped with every kill. I should now just make sure I am killing as quickly as possible, which could mean remaining on Torment IX, or even VIII, in order to maximize efficiency.

I finished all of the designed puzzles in Hexcells Infinite, and I'm working on finishing 60 of proceduraly generated ones. I have 20 down, so far. These are much easier and faster than the human-created ones, full of hints and free of consequences for mistakes. As long as you finish the puzzle, you get credit for it. It's up to you if you want to cheat or not. I don't let myself take shots in the dark, but if I make a mistake out of carelessness or haste, I'm not bothered by it. I take the mistake (and free cell) and move on.

I decided to check out something new last week, and that was the old LucasArts adventure game Loom. It seems like an interesting setting, but I just cannot get along with this genre. Everything is so slow, hard to use, and generally obtuse. I don't have the patience or time for this sort of thing. I gave it a half hour, that's enough.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Look Out! Samus Is Here

I've been playing some Metroid games over the last week or so. Metroid: Samus Returns recently came out on the 3DS, it being a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, the old Game Boy game. I played through that game in its entirety whenever that was, maybe 25 years ago.

The remake is pretty solid. It's fun enough to play, but as is usually the case with polygonal "2.5D" graphics, its pretty ugly. Super Metroid, which I played a little of as well this past weekend, and the fan-made AM2R, which also attempts to remake Metroid II, but with Super Metroid-style 16-bit graphics, both look much nicer.

Another problem with Metroid: Samus Returns is that it forces you to use the circle pad to control Samus, and the d-pad below it as a simple selector of ancillary modules in Samus' suit. 2D action-platforming is never ideal on any sort of analog stick or pad. There is also the somewhat questionable addition of the melee counter move to the game. I find that it makes combat a more reactive prospect. It seems like the best course of action with an enemy is to let it charge you, bat it away, and then put a few energy rounds into it. I'm not decided on whether I feel this harms the flow of the game yet.

I might prefer to continue playing AM2R over the remake, if I'm honest. Maybe there's room for both, though. They don't seem to be exactly the same in terms of map layout, at least.

I'm still working toward completion of Hexcells Infinite, as well. I had some problems with the last couple of puzzles involving misclicks and jumping the gun, so I had to screenshot my progress to those points and painstakingly recreate it to ensure I could get a perfect clear on each.

Otherwise, the last week or so has been all Diablo. I felt the call back again, and decided this time to dust off my Wizard, the first class I played when the game launched, and delve into the real endgame. I've been trying to sort out a solid play loop while also reacquainting myself to the class. I've settled on running bounties enough to keep a stock of materials for use in extracting legendary affixes to save in Kanai's Cube, and then running Nephalem Rifts to keep a stock of Greater Rift keystones in order to run Greater Rifts for upgrades to legendary gems. All while collecting loot along the way, periodically using infernal machines to collect Hellfire jewelry materials, and trying to track down as yet unexperienced events and places to fill out my achievements list. I would also like to collect all the full class sets in the game and run all the associated dungeons, while I'm at it. There is seemingly no end to the things one can get up to in this game.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Emily Kaldwin Retakes the Throne

You can safely assume I'm always dipping into Elite Dangerous, Diablo III, and Spelunky here and there. I may not mention them every time, going forward, but they do seem to be ones I regularly revisit for a top-up. Since the last post I've flown some in Elite, discovering new worlds, and I believe ran some bounties in Diablo III.

I am also still working on Hexcells Infinite, too. I'm getting near the end of the pre-made levels, and maybe the ends of my skill level with the game. Or maybe I just need more sleep before loading it up the next time.

Most of my game time over the last week has been spent finishing up Dishonored 2 ahead of the Death of the Outsider. I maintained a low chaos world state up through the very end of my play through as Emily, and did most or all of the non-lethal and optional 'better' ways of eliminating targets.

Perhaps my favorite was the mission A Crack in the Slab, which involves going back in time to prevent a mining magnate from witnessing the séance that brings the witch Delilah back into the world from the void, a sight which drives him mad and leads to the gradual deterioration of Karnaca and the Dust District in particular. Another good one was replacing in office the Duke of Serkonos with this body double, which seems a little far-fetched, but was also a tidy solution to the problem of his rule. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find a non-combat way of making Delilah unconscious in the final mission, but I probably just wasn't trying hard enough. I was trying to finish the game while wrangling kids.

Dishonored 2 really seems like a game you are meant to play through multiple times. Not only are there two characters you can take through the game, but each has so many different skills that it's probably impossible to see everything without doing two or more runs through each, especially considering the varying world states you might want to see. I might like to do a Corvo run at some point, being a little more lethal, since that kind of seems more in keeping with his character. I never finished my second Corvo run of the original Dishonored, either. I should go back and do that too. Then I'd also want to replay the Daud missions, as well, since they connect to Dishonored 2 much more directly than the first does.

I really like this series, and I have Death of the Outsider queued up and waiting. I'm excited to get into it.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


I finished off Hexcells Plus in the last week, and have gotten into Hexcells Infinite. I've been lucky enough to not mis-click too many times, and I got the achievement for perfecting all of the levels in Plus. I'm looking forward to doing the same for Infinite. I tore through about 5-6 levels pretty quickly the other night.

In Dishonored 2, I played through the Clockwork Mansion level. I'm not sure what I expected, but so much was made of it that I was a little underwhelmed, to be honest. It is a cool design, to be sure, but I think it might have had more impact if I hadn't thought to expect to be blown away. Regardless, I am maintaining my low chaos world state, even if my stealth skills leave much to be desired. I noticed that I had begun this game on Hard difficulty, which I am now thinking was a mistake. For a first time through, especially in a game like this, Normal is probably better. I made the mistake of assuming that because I'd played a lot of the first Dishonored that I would be in tip-top shape to take on the sequel, not taking into account that I might spend months away from the game between levels.

I made a similar over-estimation of my capability in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, insisting on playing on Classic difficulty, and then never yet being able to complete a campaign. Well, I got the urge to play more again (XCOM 2: War of the Chosen just released), and decided to abandon that ongoing campaign and begin another in the expanded game, XCOM: Enemy Within. This time I'm sticking to Normal difficulty, albeit still on Ironman mode and with several of the "Second Encounter" options flagged to make the game more interesting. These seem like they can impact difficulty as well, but in both directions, as opposed to only making it harder.

In Elite, I made my way back to the bubble to pick up a second Auto Field-Maintenance Unit, and while there was able to fairly quickly rank up my Engineer relationship with Felicity Farseer to the point where she would do fifth-level upgrades on my Frame Shift Drive, meaning now I can jump nearly 46 LY at a time from star to star, where before I was only able to jump about 34 LY. Now I'm out exploring again, having dropped by Betelgeuse just last night. I'm angling above the galactic plane now, and directly out to the galactic east, thinking to explore some of the apparently empty regions out there to begin with. Maybe after that I will swing wide around back toward the core and the Colonia region. This would be months' worth of playtime, though. Who knows what might happen in the meantime, especially with a large game update not too far over the horizon. 2.4, which I believe has been dubbed "The Return" is going to be pushed out before too long, according to Frontier Developments.

Monday, August 28, 2017

He Wrote, Fastidiously

I feel the need to include almost everything I play here for some reason.

This weekend I was kind of hopping back and forth between a few things. Quickly, I played a round of Spelunky. One did the trick at the time; I wasn't really feeling in the mood after all.

I also made it through a few more levels of Hexcells Plus, though I'm beginning to get frustrated by the finicky nature of the mistakes and perfect or not status of round completion. I want them all to be perfected, but I don't want to have to redo a long level over a mis-click or careless jumping of the gun. Not that I have a better design solution; I guess maybe I just wish there was no achievement I need to get for doing so. I guess the flaw with the game is that it's possible just to click without any regard for how many mistakes you make to finish levels, though if you did that, you wouldn't earn enough points to continue on to the next level grouping. Maybe just removing the achievement in question would fix this compulsion, after all.

Speaking of compulsion, I'm back in Elite: Dangerous again, determined to get a good exploration run in. I want to go to Sagittarius A*, and I think I'll swing by the Colonia region on the way. It's (as far as I know) the only inhabited region of the galaxy outside the main bubble around Sol. I'm re-learning the game on 360 pad, now, having tired of breaking out the flight stick every time I wanted a quick session of a few jumps from star to star. I managed to get about a thousand LY (about 30 jumps) outbound before a series of mishaps made me want to return to the bubble. I need a second Auto Field-Maintenance Unit for a real journey out into the black. With that and an SRV, it should be possible to be entirely self-sufficient for a very long journey like the one(s) I want to embark on. I'm also wondering if there's anything else I can do to eke out a little bit of a longer jump range, though I may already be to the point where that's not very feasible in my Asp Explorer. I definitely want to keep a shield unit with me as insurance, and even losing that would probably not add too much to my max jump range.

Lastly, I'm taking it upon myself to finish Dishonored 2. With Death of the Outsider coming in just over two weeks, I want to be caught up and ready for what may be the capstone on the series. I'm not sure how far into the game I am, really. I'm going to what I believe is the fourth main mission, the Clockwork Mansion. I understand there are fewer missions in this game as compared to the first, but that each is longer or at least wider, and may then take more time to get through.