Gaming Update

Well the bad news is things have been quiet around here for a few days while I had a few days off work for some much needed relaxation, but the good news is I played a crap ton of games in that time! So, here’s what I’ve been up to for the last few days.

The Walking Dead Season Two

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I finally got around to completing the last two episodes of Telltale’s latest misery simulator, and I thought it was pretty good. It definitely lacked the freshness of the first game, which I went into with no expectations and fell in love with, but you can see the seams of the game whilst playing through the second season. You become more and more aware of how the game functions, and how relatively meaningless your choices actually are to the outcome of the story.

That said, I feel that Telltale offer you enough say in influencing the tone of what happens that I feel invested enough in the story to feel engaged. In fact, I’d forgotten how intense these games can be, I paused more than once to pore over a decision. That said, the pacing felt a little off all season, with a couple of episodes really failing to establish characters sufficiently enough for me to give a crap when they inevitably die, but I did enjoy the story. Overall I still recommend this game, even if you might get the most from the experience if you wait until all the episodes are released, as 2-3 months after a 2 hour episode, you tend to be a little fuzzy on details.

Gone Home

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I picked this up in the latest Humble Indie Bundle and played it straight through in one sitting. It’s only about 3-4 hours long, but what a great little game. It tells a beautiful story with real charm, and does so in a setting thoroughly familiar in it’s domesticity.  Exploring the house is satisfying, and reading about all the intimate little details of peoples lives in order to form a picture of them, and track their separate stories, provides you with enough impetus to push on to the games conclusion.

Gone Home is one of those games that challenges the traditional meaning of the term video game, but what it offers is bringing something very unique and enjoyable to the medium. I enjoyed Dear Esther too, and what I’ve played of The Stanley Parable; there’s plenty of room for all these titles to coexist with more traditional shooty shooty video games, and I love the sheer proliferation of games that’s been happening since the explosion of the indie market.

Divinity: Original Sin

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I continue to explore the town of Cyseal. The sheer density of this games content continues to surprise me. There’s so much to do just in this first town, and exploring all of its little secrets and meeting its more interesting personalities has kept me going for hours. I’ve still only explored a little of the sandy beaches and caverns surrounding the town, but that has provided plenty of extremely challenging combat encounters and some interesting side stories. I can’t wait to play this game co-op sometime.

Bordlerlands 2

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For some reason I’ve never really played a long-term co-operative online game like Borderlands, or Left 4 Dead. I’d certainly like to play more of them, I just don’t have a lot of time to commit to long play sessions with these kind of titles, but I always enjoy them when I get that time.

My friend and I have been blasting through the opening areas of this title a few hours a week. It’s RPG mechanics and it’s sheer amount of content give it an almost MMO like feel in it’s longevity. It’s certainly a great game for loot lovers all over the land, because in this game expect to find a lot! The writing also keeps me chuckling along for the most part, and the intense combat encounters are engaging and challenging enough to make even short fights fun.

I kind of wish that the story was a little easier to follow as there’s a lot of NPC cross chatter, and when on voice comms with a friend it’s easy to miss big chunks of exposition central to understanding just what is actually going on. But, maybe it’s not all that important as most missions seem to amount to shooting stuff!

Gaming Update

I haven’t written much on what I’m currently playing, so I thought I’d give a weekly update on where I’m at with the various titles I’m plodding my way through.

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The Secret World

I haven’t had anywhere near as much time to devote to this game as I would like. One thing I always say about The Secret World is that it’s the sort of game that demands long play sessions to really get the most out of, at least for me anyway. I find that the story sinks in a lot better if I can drink in the details, rather than if I’m just popping online for half an hour here and there.

I’m currently still making my way through Kingsmouth. There’s an awful lot of content crammed into this tiny map, and I’m having a good time with it. I still find the investigation missions to be the best part of the game, aside from its overwhelming sense of atmosphere. Some of the other missions are pretty prosaic, but you often end up doing a lot of things you’ve never done in an MMO before.

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X-Com: Enemy Within

I absolutely love Maxim’s modern reimagining of this seminal 90s gaming classic. Who doesn’t enjoy equipping and controlling customised toy super soldiers right? The interplay between the turn based combat during missions, and base and troop tinkering in between operations has a wonderful synergy that drives the whole experience forward. It is the sort of game you can easily lose hours to without even checking the clock.

It’s one of those games that I’ve started many times but never finished. I’m now learning to just keep it on my hard drive for when the need for some turn based action takes me. At the moment I’m not very far into the game at all, and I’m pretty much just dipping in for a mission or two every now and again. Can’t wait until I get some mech troopers though.

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Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2

At the moment I’m continuing to treat the first Dark Souls much like X-Com. It stays on my hard drive for when I feel like jumping in for a few hours. I’ve got pretty familiar with the game now, but there are always more mysteries to uncover, and I can take the story with some NPCs as well as the main storyline in different directions from my first playthrough. It’s one of the things I love about this game.

I’m also playing through Dark Souls 2 at a friends house. We’re doing co-op the old fashioned way, by passing a controller back and forth. We completed the first Dark Souls like this too and I found it to be a really nice way to play the game. If you get frustrated you can hand it off to someone else to have a go, which sometimes is all you need to prevent the experience driving you up the wall.

So that’s what I’ve been playing this week.