Monday, October 6, 2008

Squad Battle

I've been playing a lot of Halo 3 multiplayer over the last week or so, trying to rank up and get some achievements and medals--just for fun, really. With the new title update that came out last week changing the EXP rank system, 7 new maps I hadn't seen (and more coming soon), and this Keep It Clean--whatever it may be--being teased, now seemed like a good time. It also makes a good compliment to Diablo II and SMT: Nocturne.

I've been sort of drifting from one playlist to the next trying to find something that clicked. I spent a lot of time in the Double EXP Team Snipers list this weekend (and I totally sucked there). In the past I played some of the Lone Wolves playlist, but that just makes me tense since it's a big free-for-all and I kind of suck. Tonight I tried the Team Objective playlist. Huge mistake. You don't go play something that requires a lot of communication and competent teamwork with a bunch of strangers (half with no headset) on XBL. It just does not work.

However, tonight I also discovered the Squad Battle playlist tonight, and I think that's the one for me. It's typically six-on-six Team Slayer and first team to 100 kills wins. It's a huge chaotic mess, and it's a blast. You're usually on bigger maps with lots of vehicles and heavy weapons to play with, and since teams are big, the impact that one great or one sucky player has on the overall outcome of the game is somewhat mitigated. Also, the action seemingly never ends since there are so many people around, and it's so crazy and unpredictable that you never seem to get into that arch-nemesis mode with one particular guy, which does nothing but piss you off . They also throw in some Capture the Flag game variants and probably King of the Hill and Oddball, too. Fun stuff.

I did play some more Nocturne over the weekend, too. I've put in like 10 hours with the game so far, and it's OK so far, but hasn't really grabbed me just yet; it's still early plot-wise. I made it to just past what is apparently one of the toughest encounters in the game, an early boss that is a choke point for many people, the Matador. It took 5 attempts, and a couple of hours of level/money grinding so that I'd be able to fuse a demon I needed for my party and buy the "magatama" I had to have to withstand his attacks (it's a demon thing that fuses with the main character to grant immunities and skills). This game is quite a bit harder and less forgiving than your average Square Enix RPG. Come to think of it, so was Etrian Odyssey, and they were developed by the same team at Atlus if I'm not mistaken.

I need to get farther into Diablo II Act V, Lord of Destruction. I've only done like the first zone and quest so far. I'm trying to experiment with new ways to play my Assassin, but skill points are becoming much further in between as I hit the level 30 range. To this point I've kind of done a one-point-in-everything jack-of-all-trades approach, and so nothing I have is especially powerful just yet. After I finish the game I want to try a Druid or Necromancer, I think.


Greg said...

Have you been checking out Xbox 360 JRPGs? I'm kinda interested in Lost Odyssey and Eternal Sonata but I'm not so sure about the latter.

Any thoughts on those?

Count Elmdor said...

Nah, so far the only thing resembling an RPG I've played for 360 is Oblivion.

Eternal Sonata didn't look interesting to me at all, and Lost Odyssey kind of did, but I heard the game is so full of loading and random combat that it moves like molasses. I don't have the time or inclination for a game like that these days. Despite that, I hear that it is very good.

One thing I'm liking about Nocturne is that even though encounters are frequent, they load quick, animations are quick, and the fights can end very quickly if you're using the right affinities for the enemies you're fighting.

Even so, I haven't played it at all since last weekend. It's just so much easier to jump into Halo for a few games when I've only got about an hour I want to devote on a given night.

Greg said...

Man, there is so much on xbox 360 and not nearly enough time. I have to get back into Halo 3. Now that my 360 is magically behaving again, I don't have much holding me back.

Count Elmdor said...

Yeah, and there's only more coming out.

If my will can hold out, I'm going to hold off on Fallout 3, Mirror's Edge, and whatever other big interesting things come out this Fall.

I counted the other day, and I have 10 as-of-yet-untouched PS2 games, almost as many on the DS, 3 between PS3, 360, and Wii, and a handful for PSP (which I don't even own one of at the moment). That is untouched!

I won't even bother listing the ones I have played a little but mean to go back to at some point.

So yeah, I've got plenty to keep me occupied without spending any more money for a while.