Thursday, February 11, 2016

Steady As She Goes

The Ship is an older entry in my Steam library. As I recall, everyone who purchased the game ended up with a few free copies to give away to others. They were as common as dirt for a while, it seemed. I finally decided to try the game out, since it began with S, and I could at once knock out three separate entries in my unplayed Steam list (The Ship, The Ship Tutorial, and The Ship Single Player). It's a mainly multiplayer game of the type where every player is given one other player to kill, while avoiding being killed by whomever is hunting them. At the same time, your character has various needs that need to be met, such as having to eat, drink, sleep, shower, urinate, socialize, read, et cetera. The game is a balancing act of hunting, evasion, and character upkeep on a Titanic-era ship on the high seas. It's a good idea, and seems to have been executed competently. It's a shame then, that several years on, there are no players on the servers. It does have a functional bunch of bots you can play against, at least to get a sense of how the game is supposed to play, and the single player mode is a sort of campaign-tutorial mélange that seemed to mean well, but lacked a quick save, meaning lots of repetition. No, thank you.

Horizons, the first major expansion to Elite: Dangerous was on sale recently, so I added that to my game and was able to make my first planetary landing on a random body in a random system still several hundred LY outside of civilized space. I don't have a rover yet, so landing is really all I can do, but it was still cool.  When I get the feeling, I'll make my way back to civilization and hopefully be able to make some money from my exploration data to then afford one of the rovers. They look like a lot of fun!

Progressing through some of my 2016 planned gaming syllabus, I have been working on both XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Dawn of War II: Retribution. I suppose the XCOM2 hype and rave reviews have influenced me some, but I've gained some ground on my Normal Ironman campaign. I still feel overwhelmed and lack satellite coverage, but I may be able to claw my way to success with some luck. I've never made it even this far in a campaign, though, so who can say? I ran one mission in Retribution last week, but it's got me wanting to run more. I'm playing it through as the Blood Raven Space Marine squad this first time, at least. It might be interesting to try some of the other factions, too.

A quick update on The Witness: I keep returning to this game and managing to figure out a little bit, and make a little bit of progress before being stumped and putting it down. Figuring out the rules that govern a set of puzzles is a really nice feeling, though. It makes me want to go back and keep trying until I figure it all out.

Firewatch has just come out, the walk and talk first person exploration and drama game from the new studio Campo Santo, made up of people formerly of Telltale Games, Double Fine, Irrational, Klei, and others, I'm sure, as well as members of the popular Idle Thumbs video games podcast. It features art by artist Olly Moss, whose style is very full of visual wordplay. You play one of those people that goes and spends the summer in a giant watchtower out in the wilderness and watches for brushfires and acts as a sort of deputy park ranger. Henry (his name) has some personal issues and he is in contact with Delilah, another firewatcher, and they talk a lot on the radio while interesting things occur in the parklands. I'm investigating a bit of a mystery at the point I'm at, now.

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