Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thumbstick Twiddles up to 9/13/15

I'm going to do a bit of quick catch up on my gaming since I haven't been doing much blogging here lately.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified Image The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PC) - I've always had a problem with liking games that other folks think are horrid. I liked Batman Begins on the PS2, Duke Nukem Forver on PC, and even Super Battleship back on the SNES - all games that most gamers would consider a waste of time. I don't remember why I started The Bureau, but so far this one seems like it's in the same vein as the three I listed - and I'm enjoying it! The shooting mechanics are satisfying and the art style makes the characters look like they just walked off the covers of 50's pulp novels. I'm not sure if I'll make it all the way through since it does have some flaws even I can't ignore (the AI for your squad is beyond stupid unless I'm just not commanding them correctly and the one alien weapon I picked up so far was worthless). I'm about three hours in at this point. ***Update***: Well, I'm throwing in the towel for this one. There are better shooters out there and the game just reuses the same enemies and alien-tech for each level. Guess everyone was right about this one.

Destiny Image Destiny 2.0 (PS4) - For the one year anniversary of Destiny, Bungie released a huge expansion and a massive overhaul of the base game (an 18gb download!). I don't know if I'm still interested enough in Destiny to buy The Taken King, but I decided I wanted to start a new character and see how it plays now. I was surprised how much better the game felt (shooting, movement, leveling, NPC interactions). It's weird in a way to see how much a game can be overhauled and still be the same game. This kind of refresh only used to happen with sequels. I've got my new Guardian up to level 5. She has purple skin, magenta colored hair, and a white tattoo on her forehead. The girl of my dreams! Oh, and the new Ghost voice is...interesting? I sounds like Nolan North is trying to imitate Peter Dinklage, but with more emotion in his delivery. And I think he's saying more too. ***Update***: I actually now have The Taken King edition thanks to a gratuitous expenditure for a Destiny PS4 bundle. This one rates way up there on the Cool Console scale and Game$top was kind enough to give me $100 trade in for an old PS3. Just couldn't resist.

Lara Croft GO Image Lara Croft Go (iPad) - I hated the Hitman Go game, but I felt I should give this new one a try and I'm glad I did. While I still think tablet gaming is cultivating a new generation of gamers who only know how to swipe and tap, once in a while, like with Monument Valley and this game, it feels like a good platform. It plays more like a Tomb Raider game than Hitman Go felt like an assassin game. I'm making my way through it slowly since I want to find all the hidden treasures.

Final Fantasy XIV Online: A Realm Reborn Image FFXIV (PC) - I used to make notes on our (me, my wife, and our best friend)  FFXI playing back in the day (about 10 years ago!) but haven't put much here, so....We all hit level 45 over the weekend. Not bad when you consider we've only been playing about 4 or 5 months. Progression in this game is way faster than FFXI and there's no experience penalty for death - just a bit more equipment damage. I also think we spend nearly as much time crafting/gathering as fighting, but that's fine with me. It's fun to create even virtual items. We have a couple of serious dungeons to get through before we can progress in the storyline or rank up in our city's army. ***Update***: One ugly dungeon down, one to go!

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Image Metal Gear Stuff (PS2/PS3/PS4) - With the recent release of MGS V, I finally got around to learning something about the Metal Gear story and playing a few of the games. I bought the "demo"  game, Ground Zeroes, (I'll buy anything, really) over a year ago and finally played it...well, I actually played the "free" copy I got from PlayStation Plus, but that's beside the point. For me, a stealth game usually involves making a highly trained, covert operative look like a bumbling idiot who's sole purpose is stopping bullets with his body. And I spend a lot of time crouching/lying down, hoping that no one will see me. But I still like playing these games. I made it through GZ and even did a side mission. Everything in that "game" takes place on Cuba's Guantanamo Bay prison, so it gets old fast. I would have finished the main story mission sooner, but I spent a long time trying to get into the target building...only to find out I couldn't! The game wasn't designed for you to go into a building, just to move around and under them. Would have been nice to know before I tried every door!

Learning about the Metal Gear timeline, I decided to try the game that starts it off: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. (No wonder people find this series confusing!) I have both Snake Eater and Subsistence (an upgraded version of Snake Eater), and I played both, finding that the camera controls in Subsistence were much better. Then I tried the HD version and it (no surprise) looked way better than the PS2 version (except for the flashback video during the opening, for some odd reason). The PS3 graphics made seeing things in the jungle much easier, but I have to admit that I don't think I can handle the degree of controller options they piled into the game. Kojima made considerable use of the analog nature of the DualShock 3 face buttons, so that you have to be mindful of how far you press the buttons and how fast. It's a hardcore game, and even on Very Easy, I don't think I can do much with it.

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