State of the Game: Multi-Platform

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.

Completed Games:

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.

New Games:

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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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

 

Cry Wolf

It’s the last episode of this season of The Wolf Among Us. I’m guessing there might be another season in the works at some point, but for now we are done with this tale. For whatever reason, either it didn’t make the deadline, or they purposely did things differently, but at the end of this episode, I wasn’t presented with the Player Choices screen from the previous episodes. This time around, there were special stats. For posterity I will add in my choices as we go along, but I am going to save the special stats til the end.

When we left off, Bigby had just entered the Crooked Man’s lair, and was surrounded by most of his goons. Bigby lit a cigarette. The Crooked Man starts talking. He wants to be reasonable. His cronies don’t seem nearly as reasonable though, and when I start talking about how I need to take him in, Bloody Mary shows up, and the still-alive Tweedle attacks me. Mary and the Crooked Man escape through one of his portals, while Bigby fights with Georgie and the Jersey Devil. During the fight, Georgie is stabbed but manages to escape with Vivian out of the portal. Chasing them through the portal, Bigby is forced to change into his werewolf form to keep up. Eventually while jumping through traffic and rooftops, Bigby finds himself on top of Vivian/Georgie’s car. He eventually gets throw from the vehicle, and they make an escape, but later he catches up to them at the Pudding n Pie.

Georgie is in bad shape. Having only taken a knife to the gut, and being a fable, you’d think he’d be more resilient. I read a discussion elsewhere that said something about Fables being only as powerful as they are popular. So apparently the devs deemed his story not as popular as some of the others. Some Fables seem damn near impossible to kill. During the prior scene, the Crooked Man had been basically throwing Georgie under the bus as the person who killed Faith and Lily. Here, Bigby is still trying to figure out who did what, where the Crooked Man might have gone, and is still trying to place Georgie under arrest. Vivian comes to his aid, saying that the Crooked Man is responsible, and that Georgie is obviously dying. She seems to be hiding something, and through the dialogue it is revealed that via some sort of magic, the ribbon she (and the other girls) wore around their necks was a sort of control spell. This is why Narissa wouldn’t allow Bigby to remove it, nor was she really able to talk about it. Vivian ends up saying that she’s sick of feeling responsible for terrible things, and removes the ribbon from her own neck, revealing that her head is only being held on by said ribbon. Her body and head fall to the floor in a sickening heap.

Georgie is grief stricken, but still reasonable (to a degree). It’s obvious that he had feelings for Vivian, but it was also clear that he was the the person who actually killed the other girls. He still swears that the Crooked Man commanded it, but with his death imminent, Bigby avoided taking him in. Instead, I chose to put him out of his misery. Before that, it was said that the Crooked Man would be hanging out at a smelting facility.  From here, it was time to find the Crooked Man and put an end to all of this.

At the facility, Bigby finds the Limo that Mary and the Crooked Man had escaped in. It was still warm. Inside, Bloody Mary starts taunting Bigby, but isn’t visible. Coming to a workbench further in, Bigby sees where silver bullets had been made. Turning around, Mary appears behind him and sets about attacking him. The Crooked Man shows his face as well, but just tells Mary to meet up with him after the “deed is done.” A long term fight breaks out, where Mary shows her true colors, along with Bigby. She appears to be a disfigured woman with glass shards stuck in her at random intervals. She’s also bleeding from the eyes and has the ability to make multiple copies of herself. Bigby shape shifts from human to werewolf to a huge dire wolf, and fights for a long time before finally killing Bloody Mary. This episode has had more combat than any of the others. I like QTEs though.

When the fight is over with, Bigby corners the Crooked Man in an upstairs office. Unfortunately he has a gun loaded with silver bullets, so Bigby has to use some tact. The Crooked Man agrees to come along with Bigby on the condition that he is provided a fair trial by the council. He wants to be able to make his case. I still ended up getting the gun away and handcuffing the bastard, but I didn’t kill him. Bigby takes the Crooked Man back to the Business Office, home of the Witching Well, where the trial would take place.

It’s a little impromptu, but most of the main characters of the story are present. They all hate the Crooked Man, but it is obviously that he had touched all of their lives in one way or another, for better or worse. The trial of sorts is really more of a meeting of the minds. The Crooked Man is charged by Snow White, but then is given his chance to talk. He almost has the majority convinced that he’s not that bad after all, but with some clever steering of the dialogue, it was decided that he was guilty. He attempts to attack Bigby one last time, but then gets his ass thrown down the wishing well. I could have chosen to kill him first, but I figure the deed was done either way.

Afterwards, back in the city Bigby has one last talk with Narissa who says a bunch of stuff leading me to believe that she may have been Faith all along. The use of glamours and the way the entire story was written, it’s hard to tell exactly what to believe. The final decision was whether to chase after Narissa or to let her go, because some of what she reveals brought up many questions. I chose to chase after her, but the story ended there. I imagine we’ll see what happens in a further season.

Overall I really enjoyed the story of The Wolf Among Us, and would recommend it to anyone who has ever enjoyed a TellTale game. This final episode was more action packed, but the final confrontation was very well done. So, onto the final stats that were given:

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This is essentially a retelling of things that I did throughout the game. It serves as the same Player Choices screen from previous episodes, but combined. How did your story differ?

#thewolfamongus #telltale #interactivestory

In Sheep’s Clothing

As usual, the choices I made first:

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I’m going to comment on my choices first, because I find it interesting that during every other episode of this game, I picked with the majority on the majority of choices. There were a couple where I deviated from the crowd, but for the most part, I was with them. In this episode, I was with the overwhelming minority. Only two of the choices even hit 50%, all the others were much lower than that. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s interesting from a social commentary point of view. It seems that despite the rules for unglamoured fables to be relegated to the Farm, that doesn’t seem like the right choice to me. Yes, rules are rules, but these are fables that I care about to a degree, and don’t want to see them imprisoned. Other people just stuck to the rules, and sometimes I think rules need to be broken for the greater good. I also don’t understand why more people didn’t try to remove the ribbon round Nerissa’s neck, but I suppose they just chose other dialogue options. Finally, responding to the crooked man really didn’t change the end, as the episode ends there. However, I felt that lighting a cigarette was the most bad ass way to respond, and well, I used to be a smoker so I guess I could relate to that. With all that said, on to the play through.

When we left off, Bigby had just killed one of the Tweedle’s, because fuck those assholes. They shot Bigby a bunch of times. Bloody Mary then shot him with a silver bullet, and broke his arm. When the new scene opens, Bigby is getting worked on by the doctor, as Snow and Colin watch worriedly. There’s some dialogue, the doctor leaves and Snow starts in on Colin, and about how unglamoured fables should be at the farm. Bigby comes to his defense, much to Snow’s chagrin, but the issue is dropped as the phone rings. Someone is in Bigby’s office, so off he goes.

When arriving at the Sheriff’s office, Bigby finds Nerissa waiting for him. She sort of gave him some help in an earlier episode, when pointing him to the motel where “snow” (Holly’s sister) had been murdered. It appears that she’s trying to help again, but won’t come right out and say anything. Bigby comes to realize that there’s something up with the ribbon around her neck, and figures that it is magical and is somehow keeping her from talking. The natural reaction is to remove the ribbon, but Nerissa jumps up and pulls away, scared to have it removed. Soon thereafter, Snow comes into the office and mentions Beauty having called, needing help with something. Nerissa tells Bigby that he SHOULD investigate that further, and leaves. So off we go to see Beauty and Beast.

At their apartment, Bigby hears them arguing through the door. Knocking loudly, the argument stops and Beast cracks open the door. He’s hostile, and doesn’t want to let Bigby in. The threat of having his door broken down makes Beast change his mind. Beauty pulls Beast into their bedroom while Bigby takes a look around the apartment. Strange that they have so many nice things, yet we already know that Beauty had taken a loan from the Crooked Man. When they return to the room, they ask Bigby for help. He has to cut through their shit, but eventually gets the truth out of both of them. Beauty took the loan because they are “used to a certain lifestyle” but they are unable to pay it back. The loans are coming out of the Lucky Pawn shop. Beast had taken a job working for the Crooked Man, at the Butcher’s Shop, delivering odd packages here and there. With a choice to make, Bigby heads to the Pawn Shop first.

Upon arriving, Jack is running things behind the counter. He is evasive to questions, and continuously tries to get Bigby to leave. He swears that Jersey (The Jersey Devil) isn’t around, and that he doesn’t know anything about Bloody Mary, or the Woodsman’s ax that had been almost used on Bigby the night before. Looking around, Bigby finds the sign in a display case where the Woodsman’s ax had been. He starts getting crazy with Jack, when Jersey and the Woodsman enter the shop. Turns out the Woodsman is also looking for his ax, and is telling Jersey that he didn’t sell it, it had been stolen. Jersey talks tough with Bigby, and a fight breaks out. Smashing his face into a display case, the Devil shows his true colors. The fight goes on for a while before the Woodsman finds his ax, and joins in. Helping Bigby incapacitate Jersey, they get a few more answers out of him, but nothing overwhelming. It was time to head over to the Butcher’s shop.

Once there, the place seems empty, and none of the goods on display look appetizing either. It definitely appears to be a cover for something else. The Butcher finally appears from the back room, and is also avoiding any questions that Bigby has. Knowing enough, he pushes his way into the back room, but not before The Butcher hits the silent alarm and tries to hid among all sorts of carcasses. Finding him, he also discovers a “secret” room, and busts in. The silent alarm had already warned whoever was in this back room, and it was devoid of people. It was littered with magic ingredients, packages, and a chemistry lab. There were also shackles on the floor and spots of blood. A chalkboard on the wall had been wiped clean. A shame, lots of potential evidence gone. Finding Ichabod Crane’s coat, the one thing that Bigby had been looking for was found. The missing shard of the Magic Mirror in his possession, Bigby heads back to the business office.

Once there, he sees Snow being bombarded by Bluebeard and Toad. Putting them off, Snow talks to Bigby. Buffkin is given the shard to try and fix the magic mirror, and Snow asks for help with Toad. She fixes whatever issues Bluebeard has, and Bigby gives Toad the money pilfered from Crane’s coat. The two depart, and Buffkin announces that the mirror is fixed. Snow wants to know where Crane had gone, so she says the rhyme and he is shown, talking to Bloody Mary. Mary is telling him to get on a plane to Paris and to never contact anyone. She then feels being watched, and due to her relationships with mirrors, causes the magic mirror enough pain that he declines showing them anymore. Bigby then asks where the Crooked Man is, and the symbol that is used on all of his packages (learned about at the Butcher’s shop) appears on a door in central park. Bigby rushes to the location.

Busting open the door, a portal is revealed. Once through, the portal and symbol disappear. Tiny Tim (who just wants to be called Tim) is waiting for him. Apparently the Crooked Man already knew Bigby was coming. Tim takes Bigby through the Crooked Man’s castle, to his meeting room of sorts. Once inside, he sees all of the villians he had been dealing with throughout the course of the episodes, along with the Crooked Man, who hadn’t been seen up to this point. He asks Bigby to sit down so they can talk. Bigby lights a cigarette, and the episode ends.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next. I hate cliffhangers!

#thewolfamongus #telltalegames #episode4

State of the Game: Revival

Here were are again, we have come full circle. I started a weekly column called ‘The State of the Game” last fall because as a long term blogger, I had hit some road blocks. Over the course of the years I had periods of inactivity but I was never willing to let this blog die. This column was a tool I used to get me on track, having a set day every week where I would do a round-up post of the games I’d be playing among other various updates. It served its purpose, in that it got me back to writing regularly, and I even started posting more than just that once a week that I held myself to. After several months, my blog was back to life and I felt that I didn’t need the weekly round up anymore. Part of this reasoning was due to the fact that I was posting several times a week; as a result the round-up posts felt like I was rehashing the same content. I didn’t want to let go of round-up posts, but I didn’t want to be struggling to fill them. I thought it would be better to drop the scheduled column and just write round-up posts when they made sense (as filler between more dedicated posts). Bullet time was born of this though process, but I think because I no longer had a schedule to adhere to, it was easily forgotten. Also, I chose to use a bullet list format, and that is somewhat limiting. As such, I am reviving The State of the Game, though this time around I’m dropping “the” off of the title. I’ll probably keep to the numbered order, or I might do individual titles like this one. I am also going to aim for posting the round up on the weekend, as that makes more sense. Due to the fact that I felt the need to do this introduction, and because I haven’t done a round-up since the beginning of this month, be aware that this post will be lengthy. I’ll try to keep it concise.

May has been a crazy month. With the Newbie Blogger Initiative in full swing, many different gaming opportunities have arisen, along with writing challenges as well. Here’s a small recap of things you may have missed:

You’d think I wouldn’t have time for much else, but in fact there are quite a few gaming experiences that I haven’t blogged about, for whatever reason. Recently a new game called Transistor released, from the same developer as the game Bastion. No, I didn’t get a copy of Transistor (yet) but I did end up with a copy of Bastion via my brother-in-law. He got it through a Humble Bundle purchase a while back, and I had tried to run it on my laptop a few months ago, and it didn’t run all that great. Yes, that laptop is a piece of shit. Seeing as how I’ve had access to a better computer for a couple of months, and because Transistor released, I was reminded that I wanted to play Bastion. It runs great on this computer, and I am pleased to say that it’s a great game! I’m not sure how long it is, but I’ve already gone through quite a few levels. Reportedly Transistor is a short game, so I’m not expecting Bastion to last much longer. Still, I love the graphical style, I was pleased to see that the game has full controller support, and as action RPGs go it’s one of the best. The story line is a little skimpy, but intriguing enough. The combat is fun and twitchy which I enjoy, and the narration is hilarious. I’m smashing crates looking for loot, and the voice is like “Kid just rages for a bit.” Seriously, everything you do is narrated, and it’s very entertaining. I’m sure I’ll blow through this one quickly enough, and I look forward to getting Transistor in the future.

Another new game in my library is The Binding of Issac. Another Rogue-like; I can’t seem to get enough of this genre. I love the way that you can simply play for a few minutes or a few hours and though you might die many a time, the game is still fun. The thought of never really having to finish these types of games to get your money’s worth is awesome, and I’m drawn more and more to this genre and arcade style games. Not only do they remind me of my childhood, but also of a simpler time where you played a game and didn’t necessarily complete it. I was gifted this game a while ago when it and its expansion were on sale for $1.50. BoI is different from other Rogue-likes that I’ve played recently because it plays more like The Legend of Zelda. The graphical style is cartoon-y, and disturbing. The story-line is anti-religious, and that also sits well with me, being a non-religious person. Also, instead of being turn based, it is action packed. You “shoot” your tears at the enemies, and there are various power ups you’ll pick up along the way that make you more powerful. I actually have a longer Rogue-like post in the works, so I won’t go any further into this one.

The ever amazing J3w3l has been running another ongoing event for the NBI, a series of games on Kongregate. High scores determined the winners each week, and though it doesn’t look like I’ll be the best at any of them, I’ve still tried. Flash games are not something I usually play, but some of these that she picked were pretty fun time-wasters. The first week’s game was “Pixel Purge,” and that game was right up my alley. A simplistic space shooter with upgrades, I thought I did pretty well with my very first attempt:

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That score was trumped almost immediately. I played it a few more times but never came close. The second week of the event, the game wasn’t one that I was fond of. I don’t remember the name off hand, but it had to do with collecting music notes and meh. Just meh. This week we’ve been playing in the “Dojo of Death,” and man I love this game. I thought for sure I was going to win this one, but I have since given up on the idea. My first high score was in the 60k range. My next was around 80k. Finally, I got to this level:

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That seemed amazing, until someone more than doubled it. I was spent. I still play it here and there but I doubt I’ll be able to top the 300k mark. I’m looking forward to seeing what next week’s game will be.

I’ve been playing my usual standbys just about as much. Hearthstone has become a little tedious, and I’m basically letting dailies pile up and then doing them all at once. From there, playing arena matches. For a time the arena was driving me nuts, I simply couldn’t get more than a win or two. I seem to have cracked that code though, as my last several runs have been 5+ wins, which really ramps up the reward. When I completed a new personal best run of 9 wins, the reward was a pack + 270 gold. Needless to say, if you do well enough, you can skip the normal/ranked play and just do arena runs, which also count towards your quests. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last week, although I’m down to no gold again, and haven’t gotten past 9 wins either.

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My interest in League of Legends has been renewed since the NBI event, and I’ve been playing more ARAM mostly. I’ve also taken J3w3l under my wing and had several matches with her, my brother-in-law, and other NBI peeps. I’m hoping that I can keep them interested so we can continue to play semi-regularly. Everything is more fun with friends. My bro picked up the newest champion, Braum, and is loving him. We hadn’t played together in months, but he participated in my NBI event, and has come back to the game. I introduced him to the Team Builder mode (it was also my first time with it since it was in beta), and it was nice to be able to choose to lane together. He was always my support when I played nothing but ADCs, and so naturally he wanted to try out his new character (who also happens to be a support). The game was epic. We actually should have lost because our mid laner decided to afk for about half the match, but we dominated our lane and so did our top laner, so by the time mid came back, we were well ahead. The surrender came before we actually finished the match. I am currently sitting on a pile of IP that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with. I usually main support when playing Classic, so I’m thinking of just waiting til I have 6300 to get Braum. We’ll see.

I’ve had a bit of time off from Civilization V, although I still have a game in progress. I had started a new game as Japan, and I have grown my empire to encompass most of the island that I started on. I’m nearing modern times, and of course I’m going on the world conquering path, because I love combat. It’s been a while since I played that game, but here’s what my empire looks like right now:

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Those pesky Ottomans in the bottom right corner have got to go.

I’ve been itching to try the multiplayer aspect of the game for a while now, and talk of that went around the NBI forums with little results. One day I caught Doone on Steam and we gave it a go. Another blogger, Maligma (who was also part of my LoL night) joined in. Doone set up the game and made the decision to use a turn timer, along with a limit of 100 turns, so the game was short and sweet, but it left much to be desired. We advanced along typical paths, but no wars were started, we didn’t do any diplomatic stuff, really it was kind of a waste of time. But, it was a great way to test out multiplayer. We all agreed that having a timer was a bad idea because towards the end of the game we weren’t able to properly control all of our units. It was also decided that future games wouldn’t have a turn limit. I can see where it can be a great multi-session game, and I look forward to getting into it again soon. Here’s what the map looked like just prior to turn 100:

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I was Germany (grey) and I don’t remember who Maligma was, but she was the red area. We never saw Doone, he was presumably somewhere to the south. The blue bits are Napoleon, who was spreading like a disease, and who ended up winning in the end. Fuck that short bastard.

On the Playstation side of things, I haven’t done a whole lot. I have been playing Awesomenauts here and there with my roommate (along with playing solo on Steam, having only played enough to check out the newer champions that have been released recently). Otherwise, just checking out free stuff that has come from Playstation Plus. Skullgirls is a 2-D fighting game that’s a fun little time waster. I’d compare it to Street Fighter in terms of controls, but it’s more like Darkstalkers in character design. It’s probably something women would be irritated by, as the women are mostly busty and scantily clad, but there’s only one male character I’ve seen so far, so perhaps that’s a nice offset. It’s fun but nothing overly innovative. This week the new game was Puppeteer, which I had read good things about, but it’s kind of meh. Graphically it reminds me of Little Big Planet, but aside from being a platformer it doesn’t play much like LBP. The gist is you are a boy turned into a puppet and the game plays as if you are on a stage in a puppet show. There’s a whole whimsical tale about it, but it’s still just a platformer when it comes down to it. Castle of Illusion is better, in my mind. Still, these are jump in and waste some time kinds of games, so in that respect they have their place.

Finally, on the Horizon: I started my play-through of Shadowrun Returns and I intend to see that to its end. The 4th episode of The Wolf Among Us releases on Tuesday, so I’ll promptly blow through that and make the obligatory post. I intend to gain access to Nuclear Throne within the next week, because it’s a Rogue-like from a company whose games I already enjoy (Vlambeer). I’ve been watching videos of the game and it really looks like a blast. I will also be continuing to play Rift, as it is my MMO of choice for the time being. Last but not least, J3w3l has hosted a Terraria server and was nice enough to gift me a copy of the game, as she had a spare copy on hand (presumably from a 4-pack steam deal). I had mentioned playing it in the past on my PS3, but from the little I’ve looked at it, it appears to be another case of the PC version of the game is better. I never really got anywhere on the PS3 version because it was kind of boring to play solo, and none of my friends had the game. Via the NBI group, it appears that problem will be solved this weekend.

Sorry for the length of this post, but there was a lot to cover. Further editions of State of the Game will be back to their usual length. See you next weekend!

#roundup #stateofthegame #multigaming

The Crooked Mile

I dusted off my Playstation this week because the third episode of the TellTale Games’ series, The Wolf Among Us released yesterday. I somehow lost track of the days and didn’t exactly realize this fact until today, but the good news is that I’ve already completed the episode, and as usual I’ll be continuing my version of the story. Yes, potential spoilers are ahead. We’ll start with the results:

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You’ll have to forgive the formatting on these photos, I have no way to take screenshots on that platform, and the way everything fell I couldn’t condense this into less pictures. So when we left off, Bigby had just found out that Crane was somehow involved in Lily’s death, who had been glamoured to look like Snow White. A short cutscene also revealed that Crane was watching this discovery via the Magic Mirror, and smashed it.

As the episode opens, Bigby is heated and frantically needs to know that Snow is ok. Beauty and Beast try to ask questions and ponder what is going on, but Bigby brushes them off. He finds Snow at a Eulogy for Lily, along with Gren, Holly, and a few others. Here was my first decision to make, whether I would interrupt Snow while she was giving the Eulogy, or wait for her to finish. I ended up waiting, as did most players. When Snow finishes, she approached Bigby and he explains to here what he found out about Crane. She is a little skeptical until Bigby shows her the photo of her (the glamoured Lily) and Crane doing something a little illicit. Holly notices Bigby’s presence and starts a commotion, and Snow interjects. Around this time, the Tweedle brothers show up, one sticking a shotgun in Bigby’s back. Holly and Gren get pissed off, and shed their glamours revealing their rather hideous selves, and a fight breaks out. Before long Gren, Holly and Bigby are all shot and the Tweedles escape.

Cut to the business office. The doctor is just finishing patching Bigby up, along with giving him the mandatory doctor’s recommendations of rest. Bufkin is attempting to put the Magic Mirror back together so that Crane can be located. Snow is pondering Crane’s motives and says that the two of them should look around for clues while waiting for Bufkin. The major clue here is a book of magical items that are supposed to be stored in the building, lest they be assigned to a Fable for caretaking. A page is missing, and all that can be gathered is that it has something to do with a ring. Bufkin then mentions a small problem — a shard of the glass from the mirror is missing… Crane must have taken it. Bluebeard appears, and he is very uppity. He insists on going to Crane’s apartment upstairs, but Bigby and Snow just try to give him as little information as possible and keep him from messing things up. At this point you are given the choice on where to investigate next. Should Bigby go to the Tweedles’ office? Crane’s apartment? Holly’s bar to look through Lily’s things? Snow made the argument that Lily had used the glamour, so her possessions should lead them to the witch creating them. The logic was sound, and this was the choice I went for. Evidently there was a portion of players that went to each starting point, but the majority made the same choice as I did.

At the Trip Trap bar, Bigby runs into Gren and the Woodsman. The Woodsman seems sheepish, and Gren just wants to drink. In the back room, Holly is sleeping. After some investigating you find the box with Lily’s belongings, and Holly wakes up. It seems that you make peace with her, but all you find is an address book in which lily had written that she had an appointment with a Witch on a particular day. Unfortunately all of the names in the book were only initials, and you don’t know the witch’s name. Time to check another location.

Bigby heads to Crane’s apartment to find Bufkin alone in it. Bluebeard is gone, but Bufkin tells Bigby that he had been there and he had burned some of Crane’s belongings. There is nothing of use here. On to the Tweedles’ office. In the lobby of the building, Bigby runs into Flycatcher, a janitor that used to work for Crane. Apparently Crane had let him go recently and he started working for the Tweedles. He let’s Bigby into their office and the investigation begins. A few clues show up, but nothing substantial until Bigby convinces Flycatcher that the Tweedles are assholes, and he shows him a secret door. Downstairs in this little room, more clues are found until one package clears everything up. Auntie Greenleaf is the name of the witch, and those initials are present in Lily’s address book. During conversation, Flycatcher mentions wanting his old job back, and like most people, I chose to let him come back. Crane is a jerk, after all. Calling Snow, Bigby heads to meet her at the address provided.

Once at apartment 23, knocking on the door sees a little girl answer. She says her name is Rachel, and when asked, reveals that “AG” is her mother. She says that no one is home and she’s the only one who has been home the entire evening. Bigby insists on looking around, and there really isn’t any evidence of the Witch or of Crane. He does mention to snow that he keeps smelling Crane’s after shave and she concurs. Right as they are about to leave, Bigby discovers a glamour tube on a desk, and upon opening it, “Rachel” turns out to be Auntie Greenleaf herself. She bitches and moans, and says that she won’t tell them anything, until Snow threatens to burn AG’s tree (the tree is magical and is what she uses to make the glamours). She talks at this point, and I decided to let her keep her little tree. I sided with the majority here as well. Armed with new information, they now know that Crane was headed to the Pudding and Pie, where he intended to use AG’s magic ring to question the girls who work there. Apparently the ring no longer works, but Crane doesn’t know that.

At the Pudding and Pie, Georgie Porgie makes a brief appearance, and gets batted aside. Breaking into the room where Crane’s shouts could be heard, Bigby finds that bastard after all this time. Crane’s demeanor changes completely, and he cowers in the presence of the the Big Bad Wolf. After some argument, Snow decides that she doesn’t think Crane murdered anyone, but Bigby still places him under arrest for embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. They head outside, but are forced to flee down an alley from a strange car. Once at the other end, the Tweedles and a new nemesis show up. The new fable is called Bloody Mary, but she really wasn’t all that bloody. The Tweedles proceed to try to take Crane by force, and Bigby gets shot some more. The most epic fight scene yet breaks out, and Bigby transforms fully into wolf form. Running through shot gun blasts, he grabs one of the Tweedles and smashes him against the wall a few times before getting shot again. This time he grabs Tweedledum, and I chose to tear his throat out. Those little bastards have been a thorn in my side for too long, and someone needed to pay. I am the same Big Bad Wolf that tore off Grendel’s arm after all. More than half of the players of this episode chose to spare his life, but I’m ok with being in the minority here.

Unfortunately Bloody Mary was prepared with silver bullets, and that puts Bigby down. She speaks with Snow who is protesting to let Bigby go, and in the process she then breaks his arm (it’s pretty gnarly too). Snow finally concedes and gives custody of Crane over to Mary, but only after a mysterious figure (the Crooked Man) gives the signal that it’s ok to spare Bigby’s life. Crane and Mary get into the vehicle with the Crooked Man and they depart.

What will happen next? We’ll have to wait a while to find out. Tune in next time for episode 4!