I have decided that I need to do something with all the games I have. I got a metric fuckton of games I haven't beaten, and sadly I buy more games way to often. Sure, buy them on sale, but it still cost money. And I still seldom beat them. So the rest of the year I will limit myself to only buying a few games, and at most one game a month. I am therefore going to set up a small list of what I know I will need to buy. Hopefully I can manage without buying any other games. Fat chance!
April - Gears of War 3: I already bought this, which is why I place it here.
May - Diablo 3: Gotta get that loot!
June - Darksiders 2: Loved the first, need the second.
October - Borderlands 2: Guns!
And that is what I got so far. Hopefully the other months can remain empty for now, so that I can buy an indie game here and there. But I bet something else pops up that I have forgotten...
My gaming-plan for the year is to at least stay above 50% on Beaten, hopefully get it to 60%. Bring on my mandatory three week vacation please!
Going to shave my face again on Thursday evening/Friday. A friend of mine requested that I should do something crazy, so he found me this chart:
Now, I have put numbers on that sucker, and will try to do whatever get the most votes. I was going to do this only on my Facebook, but I barely have any people on Facebook who cares, so I am going to let it spill over here as well. I am going to wear it like that only for the weekend, as I don't think my boss will be happy with some weird shit going on in my face. She practically fainted when I cut my hair shorter...
Oh, and some of those are kinda unrealistic for me to do, as I look somewhat like what you see on the right now. And yes, I know, I shouldn't add this to the Off-topic boards, as this is pretty stupid. However, if I just made a blogpost no-one would see it. And that wouldn't do me any good, now would it?
Right now I only have a few Skyrim videos up, but I will branch out and play more games as time goes on. I call the "series" Faceless Gaming, which should be obvious to anyone who have read A Song of Ice and Fire.
I want critique and suggestions, so feel free to tear me a new one! I need to know what I do wrong to make things right after all.
I don't have enough money to play all the games I want, due to having to eat food. I also like to have a roof over my head, and somewhere to plug in my PC and consoles. So I don't always get to play games when they come out. Which is why I am going to write a semi-regular feature called "Late to the party". As you probably already understood. Note, I do not promise I will write more of these, but I will try my best!
Anyway, I am starting off with a game I beat earlier today. Gears of War 2. And just to be clear, there will be blood spoilers.
Gears of War 2
I remember playing Gears of War when it first came out. I loved it, and I couldn't wait for more. I only played it for a few weeks after it came out, with some occasional co-op playing with my brothers the months after. Played one multiplayer deathmatch game or whatever, never touched that again. Not a fan of competitive multiplayer to be honest. And yet, when Gears of War 2 came out, I just couldn't muster the will to buy it. I can't recall what it was, maybe I had a lot of other games to play. But for some reason I did not buy it. Then it kinda felt silly to buy it a year later.
So when I watched the QL for Gears 3 last week my interest got rekindled. I promised myself that I would buy it if I found it for under 150 NOK. Luck will have it I found it for 100 NOK the next day. And so here I am., writing a blog about beating it. And I liked it.
As I said, I loved the first one. The feel of the combat, the grittiness, the blood and the feeling of "this is not going to end well". It all came back to me during my first hour with Gears 2. Let me break down a bit what I thought of it.
Still looking good. The Unreal engine has it's own style in Epic games, and it really shines in this game. The architecture is great, Seran and Locust both. And if I am not mistaken there are a lot more nature in Gears 2 than there was in Gears 1. Vast areas with epic skyboxes. The caves are also everything from claustrophobic to grand caverns so large you cannot see the walls. I also still think the character models and facial animations are pretty good, at least they suit the voices of the main characters. You don't really need your heroes to be pretty looking to put it that way.
While not as iconic as the Halo soundtrack, it still has its moments. I am trying to recall some of the music right now, and all I can hear is the "all enemies cleared" sound cue. I'm not saying the music is bad, far from it, but it is obviously not as memorable as other soundtracks, to me at least. The other sounds of the game however... man. The screams and curses of the Locust especially are really easy to remember. Weapons has the right amount of power behind them, and I really learned to fear the Tickers.
I like the story. I had not read up on what happened in Gears 2 before playing it, but I knew a few things. I knew what happened to Maria, I knew there would be a third enemy (thanks to watching the Gears 3 QL) but that was about it. I am intrigued to see where things are going, what the deal was with the Sires, and why the hell the Queen is more or less human. I am happy to hear that Gears 3 offer closure in a good way, so I guess most of those questions will be answered eventually. But back to Gears 2. The story is as depressing as the first one, with humanity at the brink of annihilation. There is something I like about having a bunch of gruff heroes doing whatever they can to save humanity, even when doing so means sinking their final city into the earth. But hey, I am a sucker for drama.
Run over there, shoot some things. Run over here, shoot some more. You could probably sum up the gameplay this way. But man, you do some crazy shit along the way! I was expecting to drive some kind of vehicle, that is more or less required of any third-person shooter it seems. But semi-flying a Reaver? Piloting a Brumak? Riding an elevator sideways in a fallen-over building? Man, it's crazy!
I feel this need its own section. The blood and guts in Gears 2 is great. Sticking a Boomer with a Torque arrow in the gut, blowing him open to reveal his organs... brilliant. The few locations where I managed to blow up five or six Locust at the same time with a grenade was also damned satisfying. Limbs and guts raining around you while you roadie-run over to the next piece of cover. Just over the top enough to be kinda ridiculous, yet realistic enough to be kinda gross. Perfect balance anyway.
I kinda regret playing it now, as I really want to play Gears 3 right away. I enjoyed my run of it immensely, and I can recommend people to play through 1 and 2 before tackling 3. I played it on medium I guess, which means I didn't have much trouble with it. It all depends on what you want out of the game. Do you just want to get through it fast, mowing down Locust as you go? Go with easy. Do you want the feel of being vulnerable, having to use every piece of cover there is in order to survive? Go with harder difficulty. But that is always how difficulty work, why am I even writing this?
My point is, Gears of War 2 is still a great game. Huh, guess I could just have written that...
I am currently playing through a wonderful game called Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In this game you get the choice of how you want to play. You can be a human bullet dispenser, filling every moving thing with lead. Or you can stick to the shadows, acting like the ghost of a ninja. I am opting for the way I usually play games that give me this choice; being the stealthiest guy ever lived. In this game I am allowed to go to the utmost extreme of that style of playing, as I have gone through entire sections of the game without even harming an enemy. It was like I was never there.
Why do I always play like that? I was pretty sure I knew the answer, but when I really thought about it I realized it was deeper than I though. The obvious answer is of course "because it is badass to play that way". Come on, being a stealthy ghost of a character means I essentially play the part of Batman. Hiding in the shadows, striking fear in the heart of my enemy. Or just bypassing the enemy totally, never letting them know you are there. That saves bullets and ensures you live to fight another day. Or something like that. While these are valid reasons why I would play as a stealthy ninja-assassin in most games, I have one main reason not mentioned.
I hate jump scares. Yes, that is the sole reason why I play games the stealthy way when I get the option to. Sounds weird, right? But it makes sense. I am easily startled, and I hate that. Because of this I usually try to steer clear of everything with jump scares. Movies are fine now and then, but games are bad. Probably has something to do with the fact that when I am startled by a jump scare in a game, it usually leads to me dying due to those split seconds of being paralysed with fright.
This meant I needed a weapon against the hated jump scare. And I found that when playing the first Thief. In that game you play as a super stealthy master thief called Garrett. You can attack with your short sword, but Garrett isn't much of a fighter. Which means you must sneak around mansions and other locations, staying out of sight of the guards that want nothing more than bash your skull in. While the game has plenty of dark corridors, freaky sounds and scary locations I quickly realised that being unseen removed a lot of the stupid jump scares. If anything I was the one inflicting jump scares on the guards in the game when I suddenly whacked them in the head with myblackjack.
I also quickly realised I could bring this over into other games. I started moving about crouched, peeking around corners and generally trying to stay hidden. This worked better in some games than others of course, but I wasn't startled as often as I once was.
When I played games like Morrowind, Deus Ex (the original) and even the first Fallouts I was in my element. I slowly but surely moved towards being a master of the stealthy arts, having one singular goal: Never being surprised by the enemy. Years of playing like this has now made me almost unable to play these kinds of games any other way. No matter what I do I drift towards being stealthy.
One good example is my second playthrough of Fallout 3. I ended my first run of the game as a sniping ghost, never letting the enemy get close enough to see what my shirt said (this fictional shirt said "If you can read this you are already dead"). So I decided that I would play as a martial arts master, dabbling in the occasional minigun the second time. After about 20 hours in I realised I had turned into a stealthy ghost sniping people in the head, occasionally hitting them in the back with my fist instead. Which wasn't that far away from how I played it the first time.
So for me my irrational fear of jump scares has put a large impact on how I play games. And this has essentially made it hard for me to play certain kinds of games. Now, do you have a go-to style of playing a game? What is your reason behind that style, if you have one?
The past seven years my face has been adorned by various stages of facial hair. I have liked it, and want to have a big nice beard with streaks of gray. But maintaining and shaping a beard you have just let grow can be a pain in the ass, so I have had in mind of shaving it off to start from scratch for a while now. And when my girlfriend of four years decides she needs a break, and ends up moving out, I feel the need to change. Just to do something I normally wouldn't. So yesterday I shaved it all off. Not content with that I tried different styles as I removed it.
I make this blog because I know there are beard-people here. And to show how different you can look when the facial hair is or isn't there. It is strange for me as well, as I cannot recognize the person I see in the mirror. I am 24 now, and have of course aged and matured after I started the growth of facial hair. Thus the face I now see is more of an adult, than the teenager I was when I last looked at my clean-shaven self.
Yeah... I had kinda forgotten that I ordered this, so I let out a little groan when I read the mail from Play.com which said "Your order has been shipped!"
I was stoked back when it was announced, but the amount of flak the game got (and trying the demo myself) kinda changed that. But hell, I guess owning this little piece of videogaming history is somewhat fun. Since I live in little old Norway, I didn't get the package until today.
Here you got from left to right:
Mini-cards, chips and dice. The cards are small, no special characters or art as far as I can tell.
Artbook page. The book seems to be the usual "how we made this", which can be interesting to read, as they go all the way back to when they started this 12 years ago.
Random page of the comic. Was totally fine, nothing special. Just more of the Duke.
Some kinda cool postcards and a sticker.
The weirdest thing in the bunch, a papercraft Duke Nukem. I love papercraft, so I'll probably make this one some day. Should finish my real-sized Combat Shotgun first though...
And the best thing in the pack, the Duke Bust. It is pretty good actually, and it will fit in with the rest of my Special Edition Game Crap. Damn, I'm a sucker for these things it seems.
So yeah, there you have it. The pack also contained the game of course, which I installed and played some of. The loading times are really fast on PC, and the game is actually a lot more enjoyable than the demo so far. Not that far into it, just past the first shrunken driving section. Not going to bother to post a review once I am done with it, as everyone in the world have done so already, but so far I think it has been getting a bit more flak than it deserved. Hell, I even think some of the jokes have been funny.
I remember when I was young, when the only source of PC-gaming I had was the family computer. It had about 100 Mb or space or whatever, and the only games actually on it was Doom 2, Chips Challenge and Secret Agent. But I played those game for months. Then my dad started buying gaming magazines. I can't remember if it was PC Gamer or some other magazine, but it was the one where the demo discs eventually turned into 3D basements where you browsed the demoes and videos. Despite only being demos, I played them for hours. Until the next magazine came out a month after.
Eventually I started to know of more about games, and I wanted to play full games. Birthday money, allowance and money from odd jobs for neighbours. Suddenly I found another use for it than candy. But I still only got a game now and then. Our family PC kept getting upgrades, or switched out with a newer model altogether. Thus I always had space for games. I also had time to really play games. I must have played the original GTA for hundreds of hours, and I most likely did every mission in that game at least once.
But this has changed now, and I don't know when the change happened. I realized today that I have to start finishing games I have installed because my hard-drive is more or less full. That is the 200 Gb hard-drive I have solely for games. My first thought was "Damn, where did all that space go?" But more important, when the hell did I stop having time to beat games? It's not like I don't have time to play games. I play a lot of games all the time, yet there are so many games I haven't finished. So I thought "I have to start finishing these games so I can delete them."
I now need to finish games to make space for more games. Great.