Mini Impressions: February Humble Monthly

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These days months just seem to fly by. It feels like New Years was a couple of weeks ago, but here we are coming up on March already. Soon it will be summer and we can all bitch about how damn hot it is. But for now, let’s focus on the newest round of Humble Monthly entries. I did this post last month and figured it’s a good way to keep me trying out newish games and writing about them. This month I don’t have nearly as much to share, but I’ll explain why. Let’s take a look at the list of games included this month:

X-COM 2
Ryse: Son of Rome
ABZU
Steamworld Heist
Okhlos
Project Highrise
Husk

Just like every other month since I started subscribing to the service (since May of last year), there are some titles included that I already own, and some that I’m just plain not interested in. This isn’t something new, but only slightly annoying as most months there is at least one game worth my time where I feel like I got my $12 worth for the month. Honestly, I pay the same amount for other monthly services (like my bank that likes charging me a service fee to hold my money and use it as they see fit until I want it back) so it’s always worth the investment despite having some dry months where I’m completely unimpressed. This month would have been fantastic, had I not already owned the two best games included (this is my opinion at least). That seems to always be the case though, so again I’m not upset about it.

X-COM 2 was the early unlock for the month, and I picked it up rather early in January, mainly because my Dad’s birthday was coming up and it’s a great game that I figured he would enjoy. I already have it along with all of the DLC so it was great as a gift and it served its purpose. If you haven’t played X-COM 2, it’s more of the same as the first game that re-started the series a couple of years back, but improves the formula in a number of ways. It’s been out for over a year so you probably have already heard all you need to hear, but I’d recommend it again anyway.

Ryse: Son of Rome is a pretty typical action game. It reminds me of games like God of War, those that I’ve not really played or enjoyed since I was young. I played plenty of beat-em-up games throughout the years, and this feels like a natural 3-D and more “mature” version of those titles from yesteryear. I’m just not really into these types of games. Sure, a title like Uncharted or other games that are shooters are essentially the same time of game, but I prefer the stories and nature of shooting over the wonky button mashing of games like Ryse. I didn’t play it much, and probably will never play it to its end, but it’s a bit on the meh side. If that’s your thing, or if you have a teenager who thought 300 was the best movie ever made, you might get some value out of this.

I didn’t even redeem the code for ABZU. I remember Eri talking about this one when it released and we were still doing the podcast, but looking at the store page on Steam I could tell it’s a game I just wouldn’t play. Not my cup o’ tea. With that said, you might enjoy it, so I’d recommend looking it up. I should also notate that the same went for Project Highrise, which is one of those building management games I have never really been into. Sim City was a title that never really grabbed me, save to just build a city and hit it with natural disasters. So again, I’d use your own discretion when looking up these two titles. My opinion is nil.

Okhlos was a weird looking title that actually tickled my fancy a bit. You basically start off with one character, gather up a mob, and let the mob do your dirty work for you. Mobs get balanced by collecting different types of people hanging out in the level. You’ll eventually be able to trade some of those mob members in for heroes that provide different buffs. It’s a random and weird pixellated game that was fun to play, but nothing that you’re going to play for years.

Steamworld Heist is the other game I already owned. I picked it up once it was available on PS4 and nearly completed it before being distracted by other shiny new games. It’s a pretty awesome turn based strategy game with familiar characters from the Steamworld Dig title that came before it. I’d recommend this one to anyone who likes strategy games… it’s pretty long and very entertaining.

Lastly, the game Husk. I don’t really even know what to say about this one. It’s trying to be a first person horror game, but it starts slow and feels unfinished. Apparently the devs have had similar feedback from those who bought the game and they are “working on fixes and improvements.” I don’t think I’m going to wait around for that day. You might like it, but it did not impress. Resident Evil 7 is definitely worth your time in comparison.

The early unlock for March was Total War: Warhammer, and I’ve had that on my wishlist for a long time. Was just waiting for the right sale to hit, and $12 for the game is a smoking deal as it’s still $60 on Steam. However, there are multiple DLCs out, and no sort of package that brings them all together. I’ve nickled and dimed them all to this point, which felt like a bit of a rip-off, but it is what it is. I have enjoyed what I’ve played so far, and it has definitely made March a better month than February without even seeing the rest of the bundle.

That’s my two cents at least.

This Is A Catch-All

What’s up everyone?

It’s been a few days since my last post, and with all of this Blaugust talk around the ‘sphere I felt like I should write something. At certain points in the year, it was asked whether or not the event would happen again this year and the creator of the madness, Belghast was debating taking a year off from the whole thing. He reluctantly made a post where he announce that the “super relaxed edition” of the event would be taking place after all. Just like our “NBI Lite” that happened back in June, it seems that running these events gets to even the most stalwart of bloggers. I was a participant in the past two Blaugusts, completing each marathon with little issue. This year I absolutely knew that I didn’t have it in me. It appears that the rules are gone this year and that you can write at whatever frequency you wish, and some people are coming out of the woodwork to particpate, but I’m sitting it out this time around. Even though it has been said that you can pick your own schedule and stick to it, as you can see I don’t really have one. A few years back after having not really been consistent for a few years prior, I gave myself the task of making at least one post a week and I have done that for over two years now. I will continue to keep that as my bare-minimum baseline and typically I push out 2-3 a week. That’s a fair amount considering I still put out a podcast once a week as well, and put out some YouTube content or stream once in a while as well.

The TL;DR of it all is that I don’t feel like it’s possible at this current juncture for me to put out a post a day without needlessly rambling like I’m doing right now. Plus, like Murf, I don’t feel like Blaugust is the same without posting every day, so I’m out of the running. Well wishes to those who are participating though.

Now that I’ve gotten past the obligatory “here’s why I’m not doing Blaugust” portion of this post, there are some other updates I’d like to share. First off, I was gifted an Nvidia GTX980 card from a friend who was upgrading to a 1080. I had been toying with the idea of upgrading to a 1060 because they were supposed to be on-par or better than the standard 980 (not the Ti), and when mentioning this on Twitter, one of our NBI newbies got in on the conversation. He mentioned getting the upgrade and having no real use for the 980 that was in his current rig. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I offered some money for the card. He refused, and graciously gave me his old card, no strings attached. So a big thank you once again to Vagrant_Zero!

I promptly fired up DOOM (it’s the newest, most taxing game I own) and turned everything up to Ultra. On the GTX770 I had prior to the upgrade, I was getting 30 FPS with some dips while running the game on Ultra. Post upgrade, it’s a smooth 60 FPS all the time. Of course, I’m still a pleb running my games at 1080p with V-sync on because my monitor can’t handle anything beyond 60hz. So yeah, it feels like a huge jump (and it is) but I’m not really pushing the card either. One way or the other it keeps me from having to upgrade for a while still, and that’s something I can appreciate. I want to get a 2 monitor setup and maybe make the jump to 2k gaming soonish, but it can wait for a while.

As I mentioned in my last post I finished off Wolfenstein: The New Order, so it was time to move onto something else to continue my backlog cleaning project. On a whim I fired up SteamWorld Heist, and really dug into it. Prior to that I had only really scratched the surface, and my best guess is that I’m getting close to completing it. I literally played most of Saturday, a little bit more on Sunday and some more Monday night. My play time before that was only about 2 hours, so it was clear I hadn’t done much at that point. I really enjoy the title, but at the same time it starts to drag a bit the further you get. Sure, the enemies and ships change, and the randomization elements are nice, but after a while you’re just doing the same shit over and over and I really just want it to be over. It feels like I’ve been playing for much longer than the play time would suggest, and that’s not necessarily a good thing in this case. I’d still recommend the title, but don’t think I should feel this way about it after the fact. Needless to say, it will be completed and removed from the hard drive when it is.

More paths are blocked on my way to backlog completion every month. New games are coming out all the time, and subscription services like Playstation Plus and Humble Monthly keep me flush with new shinies. This month on PSPlus we were given Rebel Galaxy and Tricky Towers on PS4, along with some other shit on the other consoles. I haven’t touched my PS3 in months, but I still keep adding the games to the backlog anyway. Maybe I’ll play some of them eventually. Maybe not. Humble Monthly provides even more games, but the results have been mixed. The early unlock this month was for the Multiplayer Starter Pack for Call of Duty Black Ops 3, which in itself is a novel idea, as the multiplayer and zombies are the core elements most people play CoD games for anyhow. However, I own the game on PS4 along with the map packs, and it’s likely that I won’t play it on the PC much if at all. The other games are revealed on Friday, and it’s likely there will be something else in there I already own or have no interest in, but perhaps they’ll be a gem or two. I still feel like it’s worth the monthly price regardless.

The major roadblock to backlog completion comes out next week. No Man’s Sky is finally upon us. I preordered on Monday just to get the extra goodies as Gamestop had a promotion as they always do. Apparently on PC you get some extra goodies for preordering as well, but the 3 day delay on the release along with the fact that the game was originally designed for the console made me lean towards picking it up there. I decided I’d go with a physical copy too, as I rarely do that unless it’s a game I’m sure I want to have around for a while. I’m still hyped for the game and will probably be stuck on it for a while after release so I have to try to finish some other games before then. Good luck right?

Lastly, I was invited to the closed testing of For Honor, the Ubisoft title that is factional PvP in semi-medieval times. Something like that. I just remember the trailer looking cool, so of course I signed up. It’s under NDA so there won’t be anything else from me about it for a while, but I do have some extra invites if anyone is interested testing it out. It runs from Thursday this week til next Tuesday, so get back to me soon.

That’s all for now. Will be back with something more substantial soonish.