B(ack)log: Because hey, why not?

(So, I'm not really sure what I want this to be. I kinda started typing it up just as a personal writing exercise/time killer, then decided I should put it up as a blog, then after a bit of deliberation decided to throw it up on the forums as well. I guess discussion is always fun, could use some recommendations as to what to play next too.)

So like everyone else 'round these parts, I've got a huge backlog - a backlog that was only exacerbated by finally getting into PC gaming last year, and all the Steam sales that come along with that decision. I thought rather than just sort things out with Backloggery, it might be fun to chronicle my progress though the written word. Plus I haven't written anything longer than 3 sentences in about 5 years, so my brain could probably use the practice.

As I write this, I'm not even sure how this'll end up - just documenting progress, writing up impressions, writing up reviews, I dunno. I'll just ramble for a while and see how it turns out. I'm not sure how often I'll do it either. Maybe weekly, monthly, never again, all the goddamn time? Who knows! But anyway, here's what I've been playing.

Icewind Dale: Being a fan of any sort of combat-heavy dungeon crawl, this was pretty high up on my list of must-play PC games, and so it was one of my first attempts at catching up on the 20+ years of PC gaming I've missed (though really, I had no excuse for not playing it sooner). I started playing sometime last year, and made it through a good chunk of the early game, but it never quite hooked me the way I hoped it would. I ended up setting it aside in order to play something else, and just never got back to it until a couple days ago. I contemplated starting a new game, as I wasn't particularly far, but found everything was still pretty fresh in my mind so I picked up where I left off. My opinion on the game doesn't seem to have changed much - though I love every minute spent in combat (though I'm still not totally familiar with 2nd edition DnD), bizarrely enough, I find myself wishing there was a little more story, or at least more dialogue. I'm not even sure why, as I went into the game knowing full well it was at least 95% dungeon crawling. That said, it is plenty of fun to slowly trudge through a dungeon, carefully disarming traps along the way, every new room swarming with enemies that outnumber even a full party. It's not easy, either (though I haven't yet determined whether it's actually difficult or I'm just terrible) - tactics and chokepoints are seemingly required to keep enemies from overwhelming you, and even then I find myself needing to heal quite frequently. I am growing accustomed to the constant combat, though, and I'll probably finish my playthrough before I pass any real judgment. After all, I've got Baldur's Gate waiting in the wings to fulfill my other role-playing needs.

Titan Quest: "Diablo clone" is easily one of my favorite subgenres of games, and pretty much the only PC genre I have any real experience with. I'd heard good things about Titan Quest for what felt like years, and picked it up cheap on Steam. And I love it. The character-building in particular is a big draw for me; I'm a sucker for some straight-up skill trees and I'm looking forward to all sorts of playing around with the mix-and-match class system. Oh, and you have to put points into the skill tree itself before you can put them into the skills? It's like they've tapped into everything my inner point-allocator loves. The Greek mythology setting (I know it branches out into some other mythologies later on, but I'm still pretty early on) is pretty sweet, though I haven't met any gods or anything yet. Killing centaurs and cyclops and shit is sweet, though! I'm not really sure where I'm going in terms of character build, although like most other games of its type I'm sure it'll be kind of a trial-and-error thing. Right now I'm a Sorcerer (Rogue/Storm) who basically just throws poison/elemental damage on my weapon and smacks things. I'll probably start another character or two and try out some other classes; I think Nature/Earth could be fun. The loot's been pretty generous to me, pumping out ample amounts of decent equipment and throwing me something great everytime a piece of my current gear starts to feel obsolete. I did run into a bit of unpleasantness - my laptop overheated and shut down once, which caused the game to wipe all my quest progress, at which point I just started a new character. This seems to be a fairly common problem that can happen with any sort of crash in Titan Quest, so be aware of that if you're looking to play it.

Dragon Quest IX: My relationship with this game has been an odd one, and has basically followed this pattern for about a year and a half: Play obsessively for a day or two, put it down for a week, play another day or two, forget about it for six months, obsessively play, put it down for a week, repeat. I love it, but I guess I just have to be in a certain mood to start it up. There's a TON of shit to do in this game - I think I'm nearing the end of the main story, but I've barely made a dent in any of the side content. There's bestiaries to fill out, items to alchemize, treasure maps leading to optional dungeons, and regular ol' sidequests. Most towns have a few quest-givers hanging around. The majority seem to be fetch quests, but a significant portion are combat-focused. Some are pretty interesting, requiring you to go out of your way to set up a specific scenario, while others feel more luck-based. I've put most quests on hold as i try to finish the main plot, but even when that's done I'll still have plenty of other stuff to do. I've been sticking with the same party configuration (Thief/Paladin/Priest/Gladiator) for most of the game, and am really looking forward to experimenting with others once I finish, but for now I don't really feel like leveling everybody up again.

Injustice: Well, kinda. Every year or two I just get burned out on fighting games and take a little break to play some other stuff. This is one of those times, as I've barely touched Injustice for the past month, and am just now starting to get back into it. I played for a few hours last week, but other than that I've just been screwing around in the lab, exploring a few other characters. I've been a Green Arrow loyalist since day one, but intended to pick up a few other characters along the way, namely Bane and Sinestro (Batgirl looks like fun too, though I haven't bought any DLC yet). Whenever I start really playing again, I think I'll try out a few real matches with Bane and see how it goes. Based on my shitty play last week, though, I've got a bit of catching up to do first.

What's next for me?: A couple nights ago I was creeping on Dave's profile and looking through a bunch of his old blogs and lists, because that guy clearly knows his shit when it comes to awesome PC games. I saw something about King's Bounty: The Legend, a game that I don't even remember buying but has been staring me down from my Steam library for months. I've always wanted to try some old-fashioned PC fantasy turn-based strategy along the lines of HoMM, and this seems like a pretty good place to start. I'll probably give it a shot whenever I'm finished with Iceland Dale. I've also got a fat stack of no less than 7 PS3 games that I haven't even touched yet, a couple of which (Darksiders and Uncharted 3) I should be able to plow through fairly quickly, so I'll probably make a detour through one of those.

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