Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Horrors of Halo-ctober and other stuff

To setup a "theme" for my streaming in October, I picked the genre of Horror Games - something that virtually every other streamer has been doing. Well, at least I stuck to it through two games this time.

Layers of Fear Image Layers of Fear (PS4) - I think you could probably rename this game Gone Home With Jump Scares. You spend your time in the game walking around an ever room-shifting mansion in search of six (grisly) items you need to complete your Dorian Grey style "masterpiece". It was a sufficiently creepy experience, but nearly all the scary bits were related to something in the environment - a creepy picture, a visually warped room or hallway, odd noises. Because my character couldn't "die" (as best as I could tell) and I wasn't being chased by anyone, there wasn't any real feeling of danger and, hence, little real fear. Overall, the ending was very Vault of Horror-ish which I enjoyed but I wished I had gotten to it sooner.

SOMA Image SOMA (PS4) - If you were to make an exact copy of yourself - your memories, your experiences, your personality - and put it in a "host" shell, would there be two of you, or you and just a copy? How much of you could be duplicated and what would you want done with the previous you? Could you survive knowing that there was a second (or third or fourth) version of yourself? Or would you want to end your own life so that you (or your copy) were unique in the universe? These questions, along with a considerable amount of Dead Space style horror in a post-apocalyptic, undersea world is what makes up SOMA. I'll admit that this wasn't an easy game to get into. Frictional Games, makers of Amnesia and Penumbra, like you to interact with the game world in as tactile a manner as possible - you can pick up almost everything, swing out cabinets doors, and pull open drawers. It gets a little tedious until you begin to realize that you don't have to touch/open/inspect everything. Also, like a number of the current generation survival horror games, this one has you running or dodging danger rather than fighting it off.

I decided to take a break from streaming at this point. I might pick it up again sometime, but for now I don't feel like it's worth my limited gaming time to hassle with trying to do an interesting stream.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Image Halo (Xbox One) - Okay, I know this isn't a "horror" game, but I guess I needed a break from the scary walking simulators and just wanted to shoot things! You can only run away from monsters so long before you want to stop and take a stand. Good Lord, I've been trying to finish this game for YEARS! I started with a pretty decent attempt on the original Xbox up until (I think) just before the Library level. Then when I got the Xbox One, it came with the Master Chief Collection and I started it again there, only to stop not long after rescuing the captain (not as far as before even). And so it waited and I always felt like it was a game I should play all the way through at least once. I mean, there are people who have played it multiple times (not that I can figure out why). While this game did provide a good story, I have to wonder if it ever got criticized for shamelessly reusing levels. Well, it was early days and the game did set a standard for console FPS's.

Actual Sunlight Image Actual Sunlight (Vita) - It's hard to really call this a "game" since there wasn't anything to do except go through an hour and a half of a lonely loser's decent into inevitable suicide, all done in Yoda Stories style graphics. While I appreciate what this game was trying to do (give people an insight into what can drive someone to kill themselves and they ways in which they think and feel), as a "game" it felt like I should be able to do SOMETHING to alter the outcome.

Dishonored: Definitive Edition Image Dishonored (PS4) - In my typical tradition of "playing the original because the sequel was just released", I decided to dive into Dishonored 1. This game allows you to complete missions in a number of different ways depending on your character build and how you approach the objective. I started by trying to be as stealthy as possible and only attacked guards (the most frequent opponent you run into) when necessary. However, this ended up taking WAY TOO LONG! If you are trying to be careful and not start fights, where you are attacked as soon as someone sees you, it's a nearly continuous sequence of sneak/alarm/reload. After that, I figured I'd just go totally John Wick on everyone's asses! I killed anyone and everyone I could - regardless of whether or not I needed to! I racked up body counts to the point that I had to shoot my trusty boatman, the one that had earlier saved my life(!), because he hated me so much that he was going to alert the guards to my presence during the last mission. Yes, I got the High Chaos ending, but frankly I didn't care. Dunwall should be renamed Dung-wall - that place isn't fit for the rats and weepers that crawl it's corpse strewn streets. Good game though.

Titanfall 2 Image Titanfall 2 (Xbox One) - As of this writing, I've only played about an hour or so of this, since I needed it as a trade-in to get a cheap copy of CoD:IW. But, I'm sort of glad that I did trade it in - while this game has a much needed campaign that Titanfall 1 lacked, I'm not sure it's enough, for me, to stay with. I got burned pretty badly by the first game since I don't play multi-player games (because I suck at them) but I got it since it was "the game" to get at the time. Ah, Hype-Train. I basically played the tutorial (I think) of this one, if you can call the first mission a "training" mission. You certainly have to wait until you are done with it to get into your Titan. The shooting is well done, but I it doesn't give you a very good idea of the relative power of the weapons you find and I never did figure out how to switch between weapons I was carrying. Anyway, I think this will probably end up being a Gamestop rental in the future so I can finish the short campaign. I doubt I'd have any reason to go back to it after that.