By JudahJones 1 Comments
So the job gave us the week between Xmas and new years off. Just in time for snow shpvelling and lots of gaming.
First thing I did was finally finish up Enslaved: Odyssey to the west. I had rented it excitedly based on its designation as the unofficial sleeper hit of 2010, but had had trouble getting into it. I didnt (and frankly still don't) like the character design of Monkey, specifically the jersey shore blowout hair and weird red uni-eye smeared make up, and I felt Trip was criminally underutilized, I wanted to know more about her. Also, its felt weird not having a clear cut villian that they were after/against. The experience was akin to starting a trilogy at the second entry. i kind of felt I was expected to know the characters, their motivations, and where Monkey got his motorcycle and tron-esque surfboard thingy, and I had no idea. Now having admittedly never read the Chinese fable Journey to the West that the game is based on, maybe its the game sticking to the source material. Anyway, the pacing of the story picked up from the mid point and bulit up to a very satisfying end boss battle. it was demanding in a great way and super engrossing: even my wife who usually sleeps through my gaming was helping me out and cheering me on as I methodically took the juggernaut down. The ending was definitely abrupt, and I think its pretty clear that Ninja Soft was hoping for there to be a sequel and maybe even a trilogy. Sadly it looks like it will be a case of history repeating itself as with Heavenly sword: Great game, new IP, impressive use of tech, likeable heroine, marketplace just not interested. At least they get to work with an established franchise in the new Devil May Cry, and they'll be able to put there tech knowledge and story telling to good use. Maybe Andy Serkis is the new Dante!
Next game i got back into was Fallout: New Vegas. i had atually played the game a pretty decent amount, about 12+ hours, both with a lovable silver tongued melee-build character and with an douche-y asshole gun-focused character. And therin was where I had my first issue: basically i wanted to play each build to the NCR in one case and to Caesar's Legion (side note: love that they pronounce Caesar as 'Kai-zar', far less common and infinitely more menacing than standard See-zar fare) in the other. But due to my completionist nature in RPGs, in my 12+ hrs spent with each character I never even made it to New Vegas because i was doing every sidequest, every fetch quest, etc. And I realize now thats actually the wrong way to play the game (at least early on). That was the right way to play Fallout 3, because it opened up much earlier when you first made it out of the vault and had the chance to establish our character, your relationship with your father, and what drives you to follow in his footsteps (or not, natch!). So as you step out in the capital wasteland for the first time you already know your purpose, and you can either dick around with some sidequests or get after daddy. Now, in New Vegas that similar sense of purpose moment doesn't really happen until you hit the Strip for the first time.Hell, you only interact with Caesar's Legion once, and then just to spread the word of their attrocities. So if you play the game the way i did and don't do the first third of the main story missions that take you into New Vegas proper, you wander aimlessly in the desert doing quests and leveling up, but since they have no context in the grander story, they lose their impact and become, well, boring. Also, the time spent in the game was pre-bugs patch so to say there were technical deifficulties were and understatement (weathered pistol with a mod glitch, I'm looking at you) Anyway, i finally made it to New Vegas and The Strip, and christ, what a shot in the arm to my enjoyment to the game it was. The a new main faction in Mr. House , Fallouts trademark "No good or evil, just shades of gray" quests, the dark houmor... NOW I get it. It also finally allows me to see the differences between Obsidian and Bethesda's take on the Fallout universe. Bethesda did an excellent job of setting the atmosphere and showing you how interconnected all of your actions could be, but Obsidian awesomely dive into the dark side of fallout with some seriously messed up shit, all hilarious and suitably likeable/worth hating (to be fair, i played fallut 3 only as a morally good character, so the dark stuff may have been there, I just missed it). Plus the writing and characters really start to come into their own at that point, the white glove society and the Kings gang are definitely highlights. And the best of it all is that i still got plenty of game to go. Here's to being the biggest gun-toting a-hole one can be in the Mojave desert!
So lastly I'm definitely a console gamer but one PC game that has always had a place in my heart is Diablo 1 & 2. In terms of my loot whoredom across all games, the Diablo franchise was where the sperm met the egg. So i was looking alwhile back for a game to play to tide me over until Blizzard would release the Diablo 3 in 2025 or whenever they feel it's ready, and after checking around online it boiled down to either torchlight or Titans's Quest. So i picke up TQ on a steam sale some time ago, but totally forgot about it, so the during my week off i literally stumbled back across on it and decided to give it a whirl. And just like any addict out of rehab who binges, I was hooked again. I remember when Diablo 2 came out I loved the game but hated its graphics. It was right around the time that 3d polygons were starting to become in vogue for grpahics and Diablo's sprites with their identical animations each time they got killed got old really fast. TQt is absolutely a Diablo clone, but much like Darksiders did with Zelda, it took a bunch of well established mechanics and put them toteher in a good-looking and excellently streamlined package. And hey, Ryan did the review during his gamespot days! Its bright and colorful, has great voice acting, and an ancient history buff like myself digs the familiar and unfamiliar twists on the monsters of Greek, Egyptian and Asian mythology. Disappointingly there is no blood, but there are persistant physics and ragdoll-iness so that when you strike an enemy with a particularly powerful blow, they'll go flying. its borderline comical, but does a convincing job of making you feel like you are kicking some serious ass (especially when you are surrounded and see the bodies go flying away from you like Neo fighting the hundred Agent Smiths in Matrix reloaded). Also the little things like a persistant teleport to town button, a loot filter that screens out common crap from enchanted stuff(and hence more resale value) , the fact that you can simply and hold the mouse button to attack and enemy continuously instead of hammering the mouse, or being able to constantly move in the direction of the cursor... these are great things thare constantly pushing you forward and hoping for that next epic loot drop. The game is not flawless: You can only save at rebirth fountains in towns which are sometimes few and far between, and there's defintely the need to grind when the game throws some other gigantic enemy with a cheap attack that either knocks you down or stuns you while they wail on you. its also long as hell, which an be trying. But there's tons of loot, satisfying combat, and good looking game for those of us like me who don't have the lastest and greatest gaming computer. i'm Having a great time with it, and its the primary reason why i'm not on xbox live as much.
Other than that, it was the usual activity of breaking in my tournament edition arcade stick in Supper Street Fighter 4. i think i'm finally at a comfort level with the transition from gamepad to stick (and its nice not to fear being the seond player and being unable to do the special moves facing left). However, its also probably the worst time to try and learn one of the hardest characters in the game to use, C.Viper. I managed to rank up with her to level C online , but its been a pretty frustrating and loss-heavy time of it. Still the difficult to use character is my well established masochistict trademark in fighting games (see my obsession with Gen and Rose) and the euphoria of seeing an opponent on the ropes because you use a charcter that they rarely see and hence have no idea to counter is worth the multiple losses it takes to get there. Still, fuck all the people who still stick to the cheesy and way over used Ken/Ryu/Akuma characters online. Show some vareity or eat a dick!
And that being said, I'm out.