The State of the Game: Revisiting The Past

This week I delved into the past a bit, playing games I hadn’t touched in a while, and in one case playing a game that released when I was still in high school, for the first time. I did play one new game, and I did end up lying about not wanting to make any new purchases, as I did grab a couple of sale items last Tuesday. The playlist this week: Borderlands 2, Dragon’s Crown, Dyad, The Walking Dead Season 2: Episode 1, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Planescape: Torment, and League of Legends.

The new game I picked up for my PS3 on Tuesday was the first episode of Season 2 of The Walking Dead game. I have already made a post about my impressions of that game, and you can view it here. I won’t go into it again. Dyad was the free game last week for Plus members, and having played it a bit, it is interesting, but not a game that really sucked me in. It reminds me of an old Atari game called Tempest (and probably other games that have a similar premise). It has its charm, but the psychedelic nature of the graphics made my eyes hurt after a while. Best played in short bursts!

I also had mentioned wanting to get back into Borderlands 2, as there were parts of the game I hadn’t explored yet, but after looking at my trophy list I decided it would be better to just jump on my Gunzerker and level him to the point where I can get his class specific trophy, and then retire him for good. I started off doing that solo, and it got boring really quick. This week, I did something I hadn’t done before in the game, I played multi-player. Well, actually I did do that with my roommate when he got a copy of the game sometime after I had beaten it the first time. But we just played together privately over the LAN, not over the internet. Because I was so bored playing by myself and doing the same damn story missions over and over, I decided that I would just join some random person’s game. The matchmaking works fairly well, and it tries to match you with people who are on a similar quest or of similar level. I ended up in a group with three other people, and being in a four person group makes the game quite a bit more difficult. I was impressed with how the mechanics changed so drastically, and I now kick myself for never having played online before — in this game or its predecessor. I’m still a few levels off from where I need to be to complete the Gunzerker, and then I can go back to my main (Siren) and level her up some more and finally get through the remaining DLC. This is still on the to-do list.

I’ve mentioned a couple of times about having played Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and I finally sat down and finished it. Overall the storyline was the strongest part of the game, I really enjoyed feeling like I made major things happen in the old west. The revenge was sweet when finally finishing off the major “villain” that you had been chasing down the whole time. I will say that there are some stupid parts of the story that didn’t make any sense though, especially towards the end. The duel system got worse as time went on as well, as at one point you have to take out two guys and not get shot, which seems a bit unrealistic. All in all it was a cool game for the cheap price I got it for, but it would have been disappointing for full price. There are other game modes and things to do with it, but I am done. It’s already been removed from my hard drive. Moving on.

Dragon’s Crown is another game I already gave my impressions of, and I still stand behind the things that I said. It’s still a great game, a few months removed from release. Recently, a new patch was put into place (yes, a patch with new content, not DLC!) adding 156 new levels (cap raised from 99 to 255) and a new dungeon. The original progression of the game was beat the levels on normal, then go back and do the alternate routes to get all of the gems to get access to the final boss. Then you open hard mode, where you start from the talisman gathering quest, and do it again. Then the “Labyrinth of Chaos” opens, and you progress through its floors, and at the end you fight another new boss. By then you should have been level 99 or close to it, and had “completed” the game. Now, another new dungeon is added, that is randomly generated and supposedly contains “tens of thousands of levels.” As such, I can’t access the new stuff just yet, because I have only beaten the game on normal. I decided it had been long enough I could go back and play the game and enjoy it again, so I fired it up after the patch dropped. I also decided to play in online mode, so when I jumped into the Labyrinth of Chaos, I was able to play with people through the first 3 floors I had access to. Those floors actually took almost three hours to complete, so that was the only session I’ve had so far, but I made some progress with my character as a result:



The other sale I took part in was on, and it netted me a copy of Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale II, and Planescape: Torment. These are all games that released when I was in high school or shortly thereafter, but ones that I never got around to playing. I loved the old Infinity Engine games, and these will be no exception I’m sure. I also picked up Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout: Tactics when GOG announced that they were free before they removed them from the site. I never played those either, so put them on the the to-do list. Rather than starting up a game in all of these games, I decided to pick one and stick with it until it was finished. It was a hard choice as I haven’t played any of them before, but I went with Torment. I completed the first area and have been exploring The Hive, picking up sidequests and talking to everyone I can. The ever faithful ! or ? above quest givers head is missing, and that’s something that I have grown accustomed to. Now I have to actually pay attention as there really isn’t a quest tracker or way to know who gives out quests or who you need to turn something in to. I do find this more immersive, it’s just not something gamers are accustomed to anymore. I will have more on this game as I get further into it.

Finally, I have been playing League a bit more than I had in the past month. The Snowdown event brought me back, and the Showdown featured game mode has kept me interested. It’s funny how changing the ruleset ever so slightly can make for intriguing gameplay. It’s still the same old Howling Abyss, but the mechanics have changed enough to make things fresh. I am still dominating with Ziggs, but have had a few good games as other characters.

Loading screen for Showdown
Loading screen for Showdown

I did have one of the shortest games ever the other day. I was going to play as someone AP oriented (they seem to have a poke advantage in this game mode) but my partner picked Morgana, so I wanted to have some AD balance. It really doesn’t matter, pretty much anyone can pick anyone and still have success in this mode, but old habits of searching for balance die hard. Anyway, I picked Ezreal, and we were matched against a Graves and Zilean team. Under normal circumstances, this probably would have been a fairly even fight, although post level 6 (if it went that far) we might have been screwed because of Zil’s resurrection ultimate. So the match starts and me and Morgana are standing by our turret when Graves comes charging up to us. I shot him a time or two, and he stayed in turret range until he died. I thought maybe he lagged out, but then the Zilean came charging at us as well, and Morgana scored that kill. The match ended, and we were told that “Graves had to go” so they effectively suicided to end the round. Still, check the time of completion:

Call Guinness
Call Guinness

Yeah, 56 seconds. Fastest game ever. I don’t see that ever happening again. Even the 1v1 I played at some point was over quickly, but not that quickly, it clocked about 2 1/2 minutes or so. In other news I managed to open the Poro summoner icon, its requirements were only to win three times in Showdown. I don’t think I’ll be earning any of the other icons this time around, but that’s ok.

There you have it. Another week down. This week we see Christmas come and go, so I might have a little less to write about. The plus title is for the vita, so nothing new there for me. I am off of school until after the new year starts, so I will have a bit of extra free time though, so it could go either way. Time will tell.