It's not that I haven't been writing entries this month...it's just that I haven't finished any (yet).
In an effort to make sure that something gets out for the month, here's a rundown of February's gaming:
Apotheon (PS4 / ~3 hours / Status: Abandoned) - Well, I tried. I really did. But as great as this game looks, I'm just not going to get any farther in it. I could have used an easier setting since I kept running out of health potions and decent weapons (they wear out!). There's also the usual (by now tedious) 2-D sidescroller level design trope that shows which direction you need to go, but, of course, you can't just get there directly. You have to go up or down (or both) before you find it. I will admit that the game wasn't too punishing (ie, when I died in an area, the things I'd destroyed and the enemies I killed didn't respawn) but overall it just felt too much like work. On the good side, it was "free" with my Playstation Plus membership and it will keep me from buying it from Steam.
The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64 emulated / ~2 hours / Status: Abandoned) - I spent some time getting a bunch of old N64 games to work along with a USB adapter to use an original controller, but the experience is just too dated. Majora's Mask requires a lot of coordination in your actions during a 3 day cycle. Could I do it? Sure. Do I want to put in that much time? Uh, no. (In a shocking case of gross hypocrisy, I have to admit to buying the 3DS remake this last week. This is what I get for buying that Best Buy Gamer Unlocked membership. 20% off new games is a strong motivator when it's a game you know won't come down in price anytime soon. Well, at least I've heard that if I was going to play LoZ:MM, this is the way to do it.)
Angry Birds Epic (iPad Mini / ~6 hours / Status: Active) - I think this may be the first year I spend a large amount of time pad gaming. I've usually been against tablet games because of the lack of decent tactile feedback, but there's something to be said for the ease of play and the quality of the visuals (iPad screens look gorgeous!). ABE is an amusing, light-weight tactical RPG in the vein of a Final Fantasy game, but with no reading! It's F2P, but I've already broken that and thrown a few bucks their way in exchange for some coins. Ah, it's a slippery slope, I know.
Dying Light (PS4 / ~2 hours / Status: Delayed Purchase) - When I heard about this game, my excitement dwindled rapidly at the prospect of an open-world zombie game (something I dearly wish Rockstar would make!) coupled with a Mirror's Edge kind of parkour movement style. So, in true Smart Consumer fashion...I "rented" it from Gamestop. I'll admit that it was not love at first play - this game breaks a fundamental gaming law, namely that you press-AND-HOLD the Jump button! I was also annoyed at the idea that I couldn't just fight the zombies. However, to my surprise, I really started to like the gameplay and realized that fighting the swarms of undead wasn't an option and that I was okay with it. Much like some of the scenes in The Walking Dead, hordes of zombies are not something you battle on the ground even if you have guns (they tend to run out of bullets). I played through a handful of the starting missions and then decided that I'd rather return it so I could play it from the beginning at a later time (when it's cheaper, for example). Plus, I'm still way into...
Dead Space 3 (PC Origin / ~8 hours / Status: Active) - I'm still having a good time with DS3, mostly because I'm hoping Isaac and Ellie will end up together at the end. Yeah, strange reason to want to keep playing a third-person, survival horror shooter, but at least the game's writers should be happy. What I could do with less of is some of the silly "puzzles" they've thrown at me. One involved moving cargo out of the way of a ship-board transport. I thought I'd just use my kinesis power and move stuff or attach rockets like I did in DS2. No. In this one, I find a control panel that allows me to rotate two pieces until they can connect together like Tetris blocks - and they forgot to put into the PC version what the activation was to get them to pair! (It was space-bar, by the way.) Most of the puzzles I've found were obviously designed for twin-stick controllers, but I'm managing. Other than that, I still wish the weapons had more of a punch (even on Casual they are wimpy) and the lack of active save points has led to some annoyingly long game sessions.
**Update**: In preparing this blog entry, I looked over the above paragraph and, while the "complaints" about the puzzles were justified, I think that, overall, it doesn't convey the feeling that I have been getting from playing DS3, especially last night's session...which would be HOLY FUCKING AMAZE-A-BALLS!!! I mean this game has been good, really good! The first hour was better, action and setting wise, that almost all of Dead Space 2 put together. It really feels like I'm playing in a blockbuster sci-fi movie. (An Amazon review I saw said it was the "Michael Bay" Dead Space game. Fine with me.) But last night I played (spoiler alert) the part of the game where you fly this barely operational shuttle down to the planet where you hope you can stop the Marker's effects. If games get more exciting that that sequence, I don't know if I could handle it! Dodging space junk, mines, and keeping the ship on course, worrying about every little bump and bang. Then it catches fire! Then it starts falling apart! Just before hitting the planet surface, Ellie gets sucked out of the side! CRASH! After this fiery reentry and "landing", I'm alone on a freezing planet and have to run between piles of burning wreckage to keep from dying of the cold. Plus there's monsters chasing me, other wrecked ships that are falling apart around me, I'm trying to find Ellie, not die, following flares she's left in the snow (she's alive!!), and then this giant necromorph pops up from over a cliff and grabs me!! (I don't mind fessing up to a full-on shriek about that time.) More monsters, more cold, hide in a shelter, run through a derelict structure, avoid another giant necromorph grab (smaller shriek this time), find another shelter, run around it looking for the way in, getting colder, shoot monsters, keep running, Find Door, OPEN DOOR, IN!! When I finally got to this stopping place for the night (well, early morning), I realized that I was still vibrating from the adrenaline in my blood stream! That is something I've NEVER had happen in a game before! Only February and I might be playing my Game of the Year.
The Wii U is here! - Well, I actually bought it back in 2014 and it's been sitting in a box for all that time, but it's setup now. It took awhile before I felt I needed to get a Wii U, in the first place. But, over the YEARS it's been out, there are now some games that I want to play. The first one that got my attention was ZombiU, then Mario Kart 8, then...well, it's hard to say, but cheap game prices helped. The initial setup of this system was shockingly difficult. I mean, the Wii U is only one generation removed from the Gamecube, a system that required nothing more than power and a TV hook-up. The amount of updating that was required to get the U up to speed was embarrassing. Anyone who is not very tech savy (or patient) might never get it working. I haven't done any gaming on it yet, but I'm looking forward to at least getting to play through Earthbound on Virtual Console.