Monday, August 24, 2009

Don't Stop Till You Get Enough

I've been going absolutely nuts for role-playing games recently. Almost every game I played over the past week has been one sort of stat grinder.

The first couple of nights last week I spent finishing up Mass Effect. I went through this whole huge rigmarole required to download the Bring Down The Sky DLC, and then off-handedly decided to forgo actually playing it and instead returned to the main storyline and followed that to it's conclusion. I stayed in character as much as possible, finishing up as a truly ruthless renegade. Overall, I thought it was a fantastic game, a solid A in my book.

I'm now faced with the choice of going back and trying to get more achievements and finish more side stuff on the same character, or playing through fresh on another character, presumably with the benefits afforded by the achievements I got on my first playthrough. I may have already bungled the Ally achievements applicable to this playthrough (Liara and Ashley), so maybe I should let go and start my paragon playthrough next, though I kind of want to go tooling around some uncharted worlds without sitting through 2-3 hours of citadel stuff first.

For a long, long while I've had a couple of little sticks stuck in the mud of my mind, both games I purchased a long, long time ago, and was either never able to get into or never able to make run on the weak laptop that I had before my current gaming PC. They are Icewind Dale and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I dug out the discs for both of them this week, and got them both installed and got a bunch of characters rolled up and introductory bits completed, so that now I sit with fresh characters and open roads ahead of me on both games. The two coalesce in my mind into the gaping entrance to a cavern where many, many hours can be lost, and I hesitate to put my foot forward into it, but feel drawn in all the same.

These two games, along with Diablo II, have put me in a spot where I'm playing a lot of old-looking PC games, and knowing what sort of stuff there is out there, I got to looking, and I found mods for Morrowind and Diablo II that let me up the resolution of both games and play them in widescreen. I'm running D2 (single player, not on, which doesn't allow the mod) in 720p widescreen, which I found to be the best in terms of looks and visibility. If you take it to 1080p, items and text are just too tiny for comfort. It's a damned gorgeous game in 720p, though. The 2D art holds up really well. Morrowind mainly just benefits from being in widescreen and taking up the entirety of my 22" monitor, being a 3D game. I'm running it in some crazy thing like 20xx by 1xxx, I don't even know what, but it looks good.

Getting D2 up in such a good-looking fashion prompted me to start another character, since I didn't have any offline previously, and so I did a redux on my Paladin, centering him around the skill Zeal for maximum lethality. I finished the first act of the game last night at level 16. I've got some awesome synchronicity going between Zeal (2 mana for 5 successive hits on whatever is nearby) and a ring that grants 1 mana for every kill. I could, theoretically, spend 2 mana to kill a bunch of guys, and make 5 back, given the right circumstances. It's great.

Last, and least, I bought a couple of iphone games on the cheap and put just a little time into both--Doom Resurrection and Zenonia. The former is a rail-shooter with in a Doom motif where aiming is done by tilting the device. It's not bad, being nothing more than an arcade-like diversion good for a few minutes of shooty shooty here and there. Zenonia, though, appears to be much more. At first brush, it comes off as some sort of western/eastern action-rpg hybrid, some witches' brew of Zelda/16-bit JRPG/Diablo tropes. I've only barely started it, but I've heard good remarks from multiple sources that comment on this type of thing.


Greg said...

Picked up Madden 10 for 360. Nice game but boy do I suck. Been a football fan all my life but never could get a good grasp on how to play these games. I've joined an online franchise league. I'll be happy if I win more than 1 game.

Count Elmdor said...

Yeah, sports games are a great big unexplored continent to me. I played a lot of the classics: RBI Baseball, Double Dribble, Tecmo Bowl, Ice Hockey, NBA Jam, and that's about it. I've never played a Madden or any modern sports games. The closest I come to that are racing sims, probably.

For my part, I re-subscribed to WoW this week. It had been two and a half weeks since my time had run out, previously.

Greg said...

The signs of WOW addiction are starting to manifest....

You know, I miss having a gigantic MMO in my game rotation but they are so all-consuming that they just suck time away from your other titles. WOW could single-handedly undermine your back-log progress.

Count Elmdor said...

No doubt about that. It's so much easier to play WoW casually though, since I play it like a solo RPG 99% of the time. It fills that MMO need while not getting out of hand.

Playing that way, it's also easier to put down for a few days and concentrate on other games.

I'm starting to stop stressing over games that need to be finished, though, and just playing whatever I want to play at the moment. I'm also only buying things if I want to play at that moment, and not buying anything 'for later' anymore.

If I stick to this, hopefully I'll whip that backlog into shape in time.

Greg said...

That takes some self-control. I just blew $60 on some reduced titles "for later."

Amazon has Halo Wars for $30.99 with free shipping. Plus a buddy of mine is interested in playing the original Rainbow 6 Vegas Co-op, so I picked that up for $12. Then to get free shipping, I blew another $17 on the original Saints Row, which I am only marginally interested in.

Count Elmdor said...

I'll tell you what's really hard--resisting these awesome compilations like the Metroid Prime Trilogy (which I am totally buying at some point), and the just-announced-today God of War collection, with the first 2 games upgrated to 720p, with trophies, on a blu-ray for PS3.

And I've been removing more games from my pile by just selling them than actually finishing them, lately!