State of the Game: Holiday Haul Edition


It’s been quite a while since I had so many titles to talk about at once that it warranted a SotG post, having had bigger games to sink my teeth into as of late. Still, between my birthday last month, Christmas in a little under a day and having a few bucks to spend of my own, I’ve come out with a bunch of new (to me) games to play. Not like I didn’t already have a massive backlog and plenty that I’m currently playing, but that’s okay, the more the merrier! Right? Well… I guess the jury’s still out on that one.

So I’ve been plugging away at Fallout 4 since its release back in mid-November. I really like the game, it is my GOTY after all, but I noticed after I played it consistently for about a week, I started to taper off and experimented with other games. I’ve got about 40 hours into the game, and that’s a small amount compared to people on my friends list, so I know that I’m not the quickest out of the gate, but I have started to push the storyline further to the point where I’ve hit the “twist” part of the story. I won’t spoil it for you, but I think I’m starting to push towards the latter portion of the main questline. However, I have done quite a few of the side missions and various activities along the way, so I feel like I have a pretty good handle on what the wasteland has to offer. At this point I’m ready to finish up the main quest and then perhaps load up a bunch of mods and see what other fun I can have with it while we all wait for DLC packs to come down the pipeline. Here’s some various shots from recent adventures:

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There’s a few new videos relating to Fallout 4 on my YouTube channel as well. The other game I’ve been playing pretty regularly for most of the past month is The Crew Wild Run. I am still enjoying this one as well for when I want to progress in a different fashion, and sometimes you just need a racing game. It’s nothing that breaks the mold too much but I have enjoyed progressing through the world and upgrading my cars. There hasn’t been much in the way of a challenge thus far, though I haven’t done much PvP just yet. Looking forward to being able to unlock all specs and a bunch of cars to mess around with. Here’s some more shots from fictional USA:

As far as new games go, I had some extra money burning a hole in my pocket and as soon as the Steam Holiday Sale got started I knew there’d be something I could pick up on the cheap. I ended up buying Windward, which is a sandbox trade/pirate simulator, that has been on my wishlist for quite some time. There isn’t a whole lot there when it comes to depth, but it has various elements you’d find in other RPG and Indie games. The worlds are procedural or hand made by you, along with some other various factors that you can set up such as factions and whatnot. There’s “gear” in that you can upgrade you ship (buy new ships altogether too), there’s “quests” but most of them become repetitive after a time. There’s a bit of city building, there’s exploration, and best of all you get to blow shit up with your cannons. I played it for a few hours, and recorded some video but I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with the recording just yet. Overall it’s worth the asking price, and even better on sale. If any of you have this one, let me know so maybe we can do some co-op stuff. Multiplayer seems relatively dead on the hosted servers.

I also picked up the latest Humble Bundle, due to some prodding by Eri. Episode One of Life is Strange was a part of the $1 tier, and she has been pushing me to try it. So now I can, though I haven’t yet. Also included at that tier was The Last Remnant, which is a JRPG that is sort of old but looks rather interesting nonetheless. The first three Tomb Raider games, all of which I played way back when but haven’t touched since were ported to PC at some point and were also part of the package. Lastly, a game that looks neat but I know nothing about is Murdered: Soul Suspect. They all look like their worth spending some time on, but I haven’t gotten around to any of these just yet.

Today I was surprised by my sister and brother-in-law, who gifted me a couple of games off of my wishlist for Christmas. One was the Legend of Grimrock sequel. Simcha actually gifted me the first game last year around this time, but I never beat it — I got stuck on a difficult puzzle and never went back. I was just going to let the sequel collect dust for a while and try to go beat the original before playing it, but I had to check it out, so I did a while earlier. It’s very much the same sort of game but there is a combination of outdoor and indoor zones that makes it feel better. The combat and semi-action oriented way in which you can dodge and move around feels better than the original as well. The first boss I came across kicked my ass though, so I think I’m going to customize my party when I get back to playing it. The other game they gifted me was The Evil Within, which is the game that came out last year from the creator of the original Resident Evil. One of my buddies raved about this game so I’m glad I’ll finally get a chance to play it.

Apparently the pattern of being unable to wait to give me gifts persisted, because my Dad ended up sending me a copy of Grim Dawn, which is a new-ish ARPG that is just about to full release next month. They are calling it “feature complete” at this point, but it is still tagged as Early Access for now. So far it reminds me of older D&D inspired games, Diablo II and Path of Exile. It has that dark and gritty aesthetic, but it feels faster paced than PoE. It feels more on par with Diablo II and III. Either way I played for a couple of hours, hit level 15 and called it a night, but I’m liking what I see so far. There is a system of upgrading your weapons and a devotion tree that remind me of systems from PoE. Then there’s the skill tree that is more reminiscent of an MMO really. There’s also the ability to dual-class, and that is pretty neat if you ask me. I rolled a Demolitionist, and the went with a secondary of Occultist. Basically I’m a pyromancer mixed with a marksman that has a crow for a pet. It’s weird, but cool. Here’s some screens from that title as well:

So at this point, I’m really trying to divide up my time as best I can, but there simply isn’t enough time in the day for all of this. Add in the fact that I’ve been playing League of Legends semi-regularly, Diablo III has a new patch + new zone coming, there are betas/alphas I’ve been participating in, and I have no time. That’s just going to get compounded as time goes on. But hey, that should mean plenty of content to share with you guys, right? See you soon. Oh, and I probably won’t post for a couple days, so Merry Christmas everyone!

The Crew + Wild Run Impressions


Having disposable income almost always means making impossible decisions when you’re a gamer. Games release at such a rapid rate that the average person can’t keep up with them all. Throw in the fact that there are sales year round and it becomes a test of your patience. Do I buy something I really want now, or do I wait a few months for it to go on sale? I’ve come to accept that I’d rather get a game on sale a few months (sometimes years) after the fact to save a few bucks. That or just buy a handful of full priced indies and have too many games to play all at once. Still, when I do have some cash to throw at my gaming habit, I typically agonize over what to purchase and I went through that same ordeal a few days ago.

I decided I’d spend $40. I was deliberating between picking up several indie games or dropping the whole $40 on The Crew plus the Wild Run expansion. Part of the problem was knowing that the Steam Winter Sale is coming very soon, and it’s likely that some of these games would end up being discounted. Patience isn’t my strong suit, and I didn’t see myself waiting two weeks with that money burning a hole in my pocket, so I pulled the trigger on The Crew.

For a few months now I had been craving a racing experience. The last racing game I had played was Gran Turismo 5, which was a few years back. I had browsed the racing section on Steam, but wasn’t familiar with any of the titles as I have been removed from the genre for some time. It’s hard to blindly pick something, so I started looking around for reviews and video of various titles but never could decide what series would be best played on the PC (I had only played racers on consoles to this point). It wasn’t until I ran across a review by MrLuvvaLuvva that I gave The Crew any thought. It turns out that The Crew managed to meet and exceed my expectations, and can be most closely compared to Need For Speed Underground 2, which is one of my favorite racing games of all time.


The Crew labels itself an MMO, and though I can see why some comparisons could be made, I wouldn’t call it one. The world persists, sure, but not in any meaningful way. There can be a massive amount of players in the world at any given time, but you’ll only see the eight closest players to you on your UI, unless they are part of your crew, which is the same thing as a party/group. Pictured above is the world map, which is a rough approximation of the continental US. Each of those little squares is a player, so you can see how many people are actually playing once you log in. Honestly, the population is kind of small, but you could effectively play this game solo and not have any issues, though I’ve been in random crews and had fun with that as well. From what I’ve read/heard, the game had a bunch of issues when it released, and people complained about the control scheme and physics. Wild Run brought a slew of tweaks and fixes and it appears very solid from my ten hours in the game. I don’t have a problem with the controls at all, but I am using a controller, because I can’t imagine playing a racing game without one.

Progression has an MMO feel to it, in that your account has a level, and you gain experience by completing missions, which can include a variety of different modes. Wild Run also added in skill challenges littered about the map that you can tackle at your leisure. There’s also the Summit, PvP modes, and various races based on what kind of vehicle spec you have. Exploration is rewarded with experience when you find landmarks, and you can also find hidden car parts to build special cars not available at dealers. Tuner parts are also rewarded from leveling up and completing missions/challenges, and those improve your car’s level. There are also perk points that you earn when leveling up, which you can spend at the garage on various across-the-board upgrades for your account. It seems that the parts you earn throughout the game can be applied to any car you own, provided you are high enough account level to use it, and provided it’s actually an upgrade for that vehicle.

When your account reaches certain levels, you can then buy different specs for your cars, effectively making them into something entirely different, despite still being the same model vehicle. For example, I bought a Nissan 370 Z for my initial purchase when starting up the game. Later, I earned the “sport” spec for the vehicle, and that increased its level significantly. Later still, I unlocked the “dirt” spec, allowing for better speed and handling on dirt tracks. There are also “performance” and “raid” specs unlocked at higher levels, and with Wild Run there are “extreme” specs as well. Monster trucks, drift and drag specs, along with motorcycles were all added in the expansion. I picked up the drag spec for my Z, and that made a world of difference in a straight line, but boy you don’t want to turn in that thing. I’ve also picked up a Subaru BRZ once I reached a certain level and was given a bunch of the crew credits which are also purchasable via RMT. The in-game currency of “bucks” are what you’ll be earning and using most of the time to customize your rides, but some cars are only available for cash, as they were part of the season pass which only included a bunch of car packs. I’ve not found the need to purchase those, but I might in the future, who knows.

The story is somewhat laughable, but that’s to be expected from a racing game. If you like The Fast and The Furious movies, then you’ll probably love this storyline. Me, I’m just in it for the racing. Basically you’re a street racer who got busted and spent some time in jail. Upon release you’re thrust into pretending to be a street racer while actually working for the government/police (not sure which, I really haven’t paid too much attention). So you’re a street racer pretending to be a cop pretending to be a street racer. Inception. Either way, it serves its purpose of showing you around the map and taking you to all the major cities. It explains various modes and functions, and like I said, you earn some goodies along the way.

Overall I really have been enjoying the game. My first day in I played a mission or two and then drove from Detroit to California just to see if it would look how I would expect, being a resident of the state and all. Day two I concentrated on missions. Day three I was invited to a crew and played with that guy twice now, and it’s been fun playing co-op and randomly causing havoc across the map. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to do in this game, and I can’t wait to see more. It’s enthralling.

Here’s some video of random things I’ve been doing (mostly missions). Check it out: