Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Shifting Into Autumn

It's hard to recall everything I've played since the last entry, but it mainly comes down to three things: Spelunky, World of Warcraft, and Tomb Raider.

WoW, you say? Indeed. Blizzard offered to comp me a free 7 days, so I took them up on it, toodling around a bit in Outland, bringing my Orcish Arms Warrior into line with all the major talent changes that had taken effect in the three years since I last played, and leveling up to 68, which is the perfect level at which to ditch Outland and head to Northrend. My Orc is waiting there right now for my next free play session.

WoW, while kind of neat and mindless, just is not that fun. The pleasure derived from WoW, for me, is more about exploring the world and filling XP bars. I can barely stand the redundant combat of your prototypical MMORPG anymore. Maybe it would be better if I gave my life to the game and joined a full-time raiding guild, and really took it seriously. But that is not me anymore. I demand to play on my own scant time, and more often than not, I'm playing solo.

I've dipped into Spelunky for the daily challenge almost every day for the last two or three weeks. That is a truly great game. Truly difficult, and truly addicting. As much as I've played it so far, nearly 150 attempts, the farthest I've gotten is to the third level of the jungle, or 2-3, only the 7th level. And that was from starting at the Tunnel Man's shortcut to level 5. I wonder how good I can get at it, if I continue.

In an effort to wrap up and try a few other 2013 releases, I concentrated the last few days on finishing off Tomb Raider (the current release). I actually really enjoyed that game, far more than I imagined I might, and more even than the two Uncharted games I've played, which I found overrated to some degree. Tomb Raider is just plain fun to play. Lara moves around the world really responsively, and is very well animated. The game is also very attractive, visually, and ran at a rock solid 60 fps the entire time on my mid to low-range PC. The combat was always fun, and never actually wore out its welcome, which is remarkable, thinking about it. I also really, really like the new Lara Croft. She's actually a believable human being, here. She may be a bit of a climbing and shooting wunderkind, but that is hardly the most outlandish thing happening on the island the game is set on. I have very few complaints about Tomb Raider, and those mostly center on how limply the plot wraps up in the end, and the completely over-the-top and uncalled for amount of grisly gore present in the game, a lot of it presented in Lara's various bad death animations. I could have done without those oddly out-of-place bits, if I'm honest.

So, Fall is here, and the season for new major releases is really already in full swing. There's not a lot that I care much about this year, though. There's Assassin's Creed IV, and not a whole lot else. I'll probably end up with GTA V and Watch_Dogs at some point, and maybe a PS4 sometime in 2014, but I'm honestly having a hard time thinking of other big Fall releases that I am excited about, this year. Oh well, I've still got a tremendous backlog, of course. I think I may try to polish off the Half-Life 2 series next.

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