This week on the Couch Podtatoes podcast, and in a post I wrote about the Steam Calculator app, I’ve been talking about the gaming backlog that I, and many other gamers end up with. Be it because of sales, not having the time to finish games or a loss of interest, each purchase sees a game go on the back burner. Add in free to play titles and MMOs that usually require larger time investments or dailies or both, and you’ll see where it can become more of a collection than a hobby. Knowing myself, I have come to the realization that I will always continue to add new titles to the rotation. That’s just who I am. I like to have new experiences to go along with the tried and true. However, I am making a more concentrated effort to eliminate some of those games from the backlog, particularly the ones that I know I’ll never play again once they’re done. Recently I spent time with both my PC and PS3, and despite adding some titles that I’ve been wanting to try out, I also completed more than one game.
As most of you know by now, The Wolf Among Us came to a close this past week. Episode 5 was different from the others in that it was more action packed and also had more deaths in one episode than ever before. It was fun to play, and the series as a whole was pretty awesome. You can check out my playthrough starting here: Episode 1.
I also randomly decided to play the Castle of Illusion remake that I’ve had for a couple of months now. It was fun, and though I played the original on my Genesis so many years ago, this one still felt familiar. I did a side by side comparison back when I first got my hands on the game (for the first few days it came with a copy of the original), but I hadn’t touched it since. I knew it would be relatively easy to get through, and I had no plans on trying to 100% the game, so I dove right in. The final boss was surprisingly difficult, but I did eventually triumph. I will say that I absolutely HATE when a game forces you to watch a cut scene over and over again after dying though. I ended up having to come back to the last boss on a separate occasion because of this fact. Still, overall it was a fun little platformer that brought back a lot of memories.
I don’t remember exactly where I found it, but I ended up at the PCGamer website, who has been running a promotion called “Build Your Free Steam Bundle,” in which they give away Steam keys for games. I missed the first couple of weeks but the games on offer weren’t really all that great. This week the game was called “Really Big Sky,” and I downloaded that readily. There’s still two more weeks of this so maybe I’ll have more to talk about later, depending on what’s offered. Anyway, Really Big Sky is a “twin-stick shooter” or Shmup (shoot em up). It’s got the classic gameplay mixed with today’s graphics, and is reminiscent of games like Gradius, Life-Force and R-Type. It really is a good looking game, and it’s pretty damn challenging too. After playing (and dying, as you should expect) you’ll be rewarded with points that you can use to upgrade your ship. This makes the next run a bit more managable, but also acts as a meta game of sorts. Overall it’s a cool game and if you check that link you might still be able to get a copy.
A new Free to Play title made it’s way to Steam yesterday, called “Heroes and Generals.” A WWII Massive shooter, it combines FPS action, objective based combat, and a strategic element I’ve not seen anywhere except for maybe in the game Natural Selection (Half-Life Mod). After setting up an account and getting in game, the tutorial starts off right away. First, pick a faction:
I rolled with Germany, partly because it’s part of my heritage, but also because I like their weapons better overall (from the multitude of WWII games I’ve played over the years). I also tend to enjoy being the underdog, and we all know who lost that war in reality, don’t we? Next, you’re basically forced into a battle because it’s “the best way to learn.” Yeah, the game says that almost word for word. Ok, so here we go.
Unfortunately while I was playing the match I didn’t think about taking screenshots during the actual combat, so here’s a picture I did managed to take, because it’s fucking hilarious. See, the game is played kind of like Rush mode in the Battlefield franchise. It’s also sort of like Day of Defeat and other objective based shooters from years past. You start on one end of the map, the enemy on the other. There is a capture point that is closer to your starting area, and one nearer to theirs. Of course, there’s one in the middle as well. You capture your close point, then fight over the middle and try to push towards the last point. Whoever holds more than the other team gains points faster, therefore holding two points to their one will always give you a win. Running from the spawn point (which is always the same) to the middle or far end of the battlefield takes forever, so they added in (at least on the map I was playing) a “civilian bicycle” that you can jump on and ride to the heat of battle. An ally can also ride on the back. I found it pretty humorous. I assume eventually you’ll be able to utilize the motorcycles and other vehicles I’ve seen that I can’t yet unlock. Yes, there is a cash shop, but it appears that mostly everything can be purchased without paying a dime, but as usual be prepared for a grind.
I was pleased to see this. Most F2P games don’t really explain what’s going on with their multiple currencies or give you a clear idea what you have to spent real money on to get. This game comes right out and tells you. I think that’s pretty ethical. I approve. So the game ends up mixing in some of the Call of Duty progression, in that you have to open up weapons and consumables and other things that will make the game more fun and customizable. Then, there’s a whole other part of the game that is supposed to be strategic and that is from the point of a General. I didn’t get into it, because I have to be able to buy a group unit that I have yet to do, but I did check out this map and have a theory:
See, each side has all those individual battlefields under their control, and the bright dots are where conflict is happening. Generals are supposed to be able to give upgrades or tactical advantages to the FPS players. My theory is that the battles play out and as a team wins they gain control of that sector. Meaning in the game I played, when we lost at the last possible minute (seriously, we were kicking ass the whole time and then they came back right at the end), we lost that territory. So that would have changed on this map. This gives the game that persistence, where when I go back and play the game again, this map might look completely different. I’m not entirely sure that’s how this works yet though, so more later.
Lastly, I ended up installing yet another F2P MMO. I’ve tried nearly all of them, and for some reason this one was just calling to me. Last night I started a character in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Of course I went Sith Empire, because I almost always roll on the evil side of things. Of course I went with a Bounty Hunter because blasters are fuckin’ cool. Of course I went with a Zabrak, because it was the most interesting race available to me. Actually, none of these were obvious choices except for the being evil part. I never really followed this game so I had no idea what I was going to play. I did end up with this character, but after playing it for a while, I might end up rolling a Sith Lord (evil Jedi) because man I like light sabers. I’m waiting until my first character hits level 10 though, because at that point through something called “legacy” I’ll have access to more stuff when it comes to character generation. So yeah, I’m still on the starter planet, and am level 6. So far I really like the story, and the way it makes you feel like a bigger part of the world. I can see where phasing might turn people off who want to group up, but as long as you’re different classes, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Really, I’m just treating it like a single player game. Eventually I might try out PvP and group content, but for now I’m cool with what’s going on. The space battles look pretty cool in videos I’ve watched, but I have yet to try one. I feel like I should go play more Rift now too. At least get to the end game. Anyway, here’s my character:
Tried and True:
Of course I’ve played most of the usual games, including Awesomenauts, Call of Duty Black Ops 2, Nuclear Throne and Dead Island Epidemic. I also picked up where I left off in another console title, Strider. I believe I mentioned picking that one up back in March or so, but I didn’t play it for too long because that’s right around the time I got this new machine and was focused on PC gaming primarily. I had beaten a couple bosses and then hadn’t touched it. In the spirit of cleaning up the backlog, I played this one for a couple hours the other day and made some more progress, downing a couple more bosses. I have a feeling this one will take me a bit longer than Castle of Illusion, but it’s been a fun on that same old-school level. If you have a PS4 it’s free right now. If you have something else, it’s worth the money still.
I’ve been back to playing more Hearthstone. Recently the Naxxramas pricing was revealed (though we still don’t have a release date), and I realized that my initial goal of 1000 gold simply wasn’t enough. Each wing is going to cost 700g, so a total of 2800g to be able to buy them all (the first wing is free). I’m currently at approximately 1200 so I have dailies to focus on again, and I won’t be playing anymore arenas til I get to that total. This has severely slowed down my pack and dust earning (still so many legendaries I’d like to have) but I know I’ll be getting a shitload of cards come the Naxxramas event, so it will be worth it.
Lastly, I played more War Thunder, and actually tried out the tank battles this time around.
Tank battles are fun, but definitely remind me of World of Tanks, and that game bored me. This mode kind of did too. I just drove towards the enemies, got blown up, respawned, rinse and repeat. The controls aren’t as intuitive, and it seemed to run a little worse than the air battles did. It also appears that the air and ground combat isn’t mixed as I once thought. Tank battles and Plane battles are separate. I find that I prefer the Air battles, but I’m thinking that I won’t play this game much more if at all. I already retired Star Conflict because it’s population is is dismal. But that’s ok. Sometimes removing games from the list is a good thing. Allows me to focus on something else. Ok, we’re beyond 2k words at this point, so I’ll end it here. Until next week, happy gaming!
#roundup #gaming #stateofthegame