By Alaska_Gamer 2 Comments
Been a while…almost two months.
That was a rather unexpected hiatus. I can’t even remember exactly what caused it (or what I had planned for my next entry after the one I last made). I know that being horribly sick the week before Thanksgiving was the main cause, but after that, important assignments for my classes were reaching their deadlines and had to focus on those. And then there was preparing for final exams. All the while, I still did play games, but for those reasons I ended up being kept from writing about them.
This is still a Saturday post, like all my other posts. However, I still plan to save my GOTY blog for New Years. There’s so much stuff in this post by itself that I wouldn't want to make it even long with my top games.
I bought this back in May with the Max Payne games and Psychonauts. Played through Max Payne 1-3 and Psychonauts, but never finished L.A. Noire. Main reason being was that I was too focused on getting the interrogation questions correct as the game calling them successes or failures discouraged me from seeing what happened otherwise. Coming off of Thanksgiving break, I chose to give it another shot, with walkthrough in hand, and went through all the cases.
The game part of it is promising, but things like the interrogation stuff bums me out, again because of the game telling you how many questions you got right or wrong. Not to mention that some of the questions are a bit odd at times, and I feel that a proper response is something that can’t really be condensed into just Truth, Doubt, or Lie. Not to mention that Cole’s responses are sometimes hard for me to predict based on the choice of answer, which is also a similar thing I ran into playing Alpha Protocol. That game has you pick Thorton’s mood and tone in dialogue, and for similar reasons as L.A. Noire, I don’t quite know how the character will respond or if that’s anything I would actually say. For me, having a traditional dialog tree set up would’ve been better, while still keeping the facial animation for trying to read people and see if they’re honest or not.
The story though I really enjoyed. Or rather, the many stories told in it. The end of the game got very interesting when you start playing as Kelso instead of Cole, even if the gameplay in those final cases is very shooter heavy instead of finding clues and interrogating people. So many of the characters I really enjoyed, and got really invested in the story. By the end, the game had me interested in checking out some other film noir, see more of the genre that provides so much inspiration for this game.
Started playing it right after finishing L.A. Noire. While I had played through the game earlier this year, I did not play the Extended Edition content, Exile. Unfortunately, jumping straight into the chapter before that DLC didn’t do me much good as I got destroyed and had forgotten how to effectively go about destroying enemies. So I played through the entire game again to get myself back up to speed and got to see the extra content. The stuff in that DLC is pretty cool, and while it does end on another cliff hanger like the regular game did, I enjoyed the extra couple hours I got out of those levels.
Thinking back to L.A. Noire and how that was a game I bought, played, and didn’t finish, I remembered plenty of other games I had in my backlog that weren’t finished. The Witcher was one of them. Last I played that game was in March and I was halfway through Chapter II. Started the game over on normal so I had more incentive to use the alchemy system, and it worked. Started thinking about harvesting alchemical ingredients from plants and monsters and making more potions. Besides that, everything else was still what I remembered the game being. Combat was very interesting with its different attack styles, the moral choices with delayed consequences surprised me a couple times (by virtue of me thinking a side quest or two wouldn’t have any effect on the main story), and just about everyone in that world are total shitheads. I’m only half way through Chapter 4, and would’ve continued if not for other games this break I started playing, most of which in preparation for my GOTY blog. Still really like this game a lot.
Another game in my backlog of unfinished games. I have not finished it though, but I have gotten very far. I made it to the military base, but I chose to do some more side quests and grind to increase my level. That’s where I left off, and haven’t picked it up. At least I remember what I need to do in that game now instead of trying to pick up where I left off on my previous save in April. Again, another game that was better for me to start over than resume.
Wii U (Nintendo Land and Scribblenauts Unlimited)
Got a Wii U, courtesy of a good friend that bought me an import copy of Max Anarchy during the summer. I missed out on my chance to preorder the Deluxe kit and she chose to sell hers to me at a loss. Thankfully I received a paycheck from my summer job that I didn’t realize I had not picked up, and used that to pay for the system. I was still sick on launch day, so thankfully it arrived on Friday when I was feeling so much better and could actually enjoy it.
Nintendo Land was pretty cool. I haven’t played the competitive stuff and just been messing around with the games that let you play solo. Probably my favorite game from it was Pikmin Adventure, just because of how much of the Pikmin experience was replicated, minus the exploration and time limit. But using the touch screen for things like throwing Pikmin was pretty neat. The other games varied. DK’s Crash Course was brutal (still can’t get past Area 9), and the Balloon Flight game was very easy and short. The only single player game I’ve actually completed.
Scribblenauts Unlimited I rented from Gamefly, and it is actually my first Scribblenauts game. I was interested in the very first game but passed on it when I heard about the bad controls. That issue was corrected in Super Scribblenauts but never got around to trying it. Had a lot of fun playing the game, and trying to come up with funny or weird solutions to different objectives. One thing I haven’t really gone too deep into is the object editor. I want to try making something in it before I send the game back.
The one game I had no original plans of playing, but have ended up spending the most time playing. I had already played through the game before, and didn’t really think there’d be anything else that could get me to play it like I did years ago. Turns out I needed to play it on my current machine with a bunch of mods that makes it look and run better than it ever could have on my previous machine.
Another major thing when replaying this game was that I actually went through it without using cheats (only using the console to get me past a quest that I had broken on accident). I really dislike dice rolls in RPGs like this that are meant to put you in direct control of the character’s actions, and it always led to me cheating and boosting my skills and attributes to 100. Only thing left for me was just walking around and exploring the world, which was worth having the game just for that. This time, I took the time to carefully construct my class, putting my race’s skill bonuses into consideration and choosing the two primary attributes that would cover most major and minor skills. After that, started going through the game, putting up with the awful combat, but as I neared the end of the main quest, fighting enemies became far more tolerable, and now having completed all main questlines and factions in the main game, I feel proud of how much progress I’ve made, and that getting over that hurdle made the road to leveling so much easier.
I always loved the world and fiction in Morrowind, all the different factions and the dynamics between them, but until now never quite appreciated the RPG systems and mechanics. I certainly wouldn’t say I enjoyed going through those first several hours of arbitrarily missing when swinging a sword, but I got a sense of progress and increase in power because of going through all that. When it comes to my favorite Elder Scrolls game, it’s still a tossup between Morrowind or Skyrim. Morrowind has the superior RPG system (even if I feel all skills should contribute to leveling, not just major and minor ones), and both worlds are incredibly detailed and have very interesting things going on in the background (more so than Cyrodill in Oblivion), but Skyrim has so much dynamic things happening and plenty of neat activities that add to the experience of role playing a character. They do one thing in common very well, and they do something really good that’s unique to them.
And Other Games (just saying names, no impression on them)
Mass Effect 3, Mark of the Ninja, The Walking Dead, Dark Souls, Binary Domain, Castle Crashers, Fallout 2, Thief II (these last three have not been played yet, so no impressions regardless).
Things Other Than Games
Last week, I had a very neat opportunity to meet someone I’ve known on the internet in person. A friend I’ve known for almost a year online came up to visit me in Alaska for a few days. This friend of mine has done very generous things for me in the past, getting me a copy of Max Anarchy this summer and selling me her Wii U preorder. Arriving in Alaska, she got me a pretty sweet early Christmas present, something she had picked out for me back in late August/September.
A Japanese model kit of Nine Ball, from Armored Core. Awesome.
Back around the time she bought that gift, I was on quite a bit of a giant robot bend, after watching Gurren Lagann and loving the hell out of it. Started replaying the PS1 Armored Core games, imported a PS3 games involving giant robots, and just…well, looking for other shows with similar concepts and stuff.
Building the model was pretty fun, too. The last model kit I tried building was a gundam back when I was in elementary school, so it’s been a long time. Some pieces were broken, but not many, and they didn’t hurt the overall build. It was pretty fun to do, and it’s got me thinking more about potentially buying more AC model kits in the future.
So that was my early Christmas gift, and I received a few other things on the actual holiday. Most of it was money, thankfully allowing me to get more games to play that were released in 2012. Games like Mass Effect 3, with the single player DLC, as well as the Walking Dead, Mark of the Ninja and Dark Souls for PC. As for gifts that aren’t money, not a whole lot. Most significant were 3.8 and 4.5 mm security bits. What exactly are they? Well, with a screwdriver or some sort of holder, I can now open up old Nintendo consoles and cartridges. That was the first thing I did on Christmas Day, opening up my Nintendo 64 and removing the dust guard that holds the tabs preventing Japanese carts from fitting. I am now set to buy Japanese N64 games, and one is already on its way, another Christmas gift, and one of my absolute favorite games: Sin & Punishment. I already had the game on Wii Virtual Console, and probably could’ve done the whole transfer process from Wii to Wii U. However, I thought this was a much cooler thing to, and it was a present so I didn’t have to pay the 60 bucks myself. Still pretty excited.
That’s all I can really think of to say on that end. My break is twice as long as it was back in high school. First week spent with a really good friend, and the second spent playing a ton of new games. I guess there’s always more to do in those games I put off to the side, especially the Witcher. All it took was money and Steam to give me a reprieve from my Morrowind addiction.
That’s it. Well, one more thing actually.
Last year’s GOTY blog, which is always right at the start of New Years/end of New Years Eve, was lucky to end up on the day I usually post these. So, instead of making this my last blog of the year, I will continue my tradition and still have a GOTY blog at the expected time. Well, by my time zone that is. At that point, none of you will give a shit about when it’s posted because you’ll all be in the new year before me, but I care dammit!
So far, I can say that this list will be…slightly different. More ambitious or crazy, whichever you prefer. Not to mention some awards in the same vein as what Giant Bomb and others have done, something I’ve never really done with my GOTY posts. And best of all, I have no idea what exactly awards these will be yet. Fun!
So far, the important games I’ve been playing are on schedule to be completed. Mass Effect 3 was finished last night, and only two episodes of the Walking Dead remain. After that, I can finally listen to the podcasts this week without worrying about spoilers.