State of the Game: Fall Update

I thought I would take today to write about some of the other little odds and ends that I’ve been dabbling with since I haven’t done a round-up post in a bit. The new Playstation Plus titles for October were pretty meh compared to the month prior when we got Destiny 2, but not every month can be amazing. There was one of those asymmetrical horror games, Friday the 13th, but I skipped playing that as I had played Dead by Daylight a few months ago and didn’t find it to be a fun experience. There were a couple of other so-so titles that I didn’t have interest in either, and then there was Rocketbirds 2: Evolution.

Rocketbirds 2:

I played the original Rocketbirds back on the PS3 and if I recall correctly, it was also a Plus freebie. I rather enjoyed it, played it to completion and even downloaded the soundtrack because it was pretty damn good. The sequel changes things up ever so slightly, but keeps the same general formula that made the original good. It’s a side-scrolling platforming shooter, similar to games like Metal Slug or Guns, Gore & Cannoli. It has more similarities to the latter though, a comparison I made when writing about GC&C. There’s a sense of humor here that I enjoy, the soundtrack rocks again, and the gameplay is similar though some new tricks were added. Graphically it looks a bit better but still has the same style. Overall it was a worthy addition to my library and I’m glad I finally got to try it out.

Titanfall 2:

A while back I wrote about a handful of games that I had picked up on sale for dirt cheap. Titanfall 2 was one of them. I worried that the game would have a dead multiplayer community but it turns out that it’s still alive and well. This title, unlike its predecessor, has a single player campaign as well, and it’s been a blast.

I always liked the concept of Titanfall, being a FPS game in the same vein as Call of Duty and others, but having that added element of jet packs, wall running and mechs you call down from the sky to pilot. This is still true in the sequel, though having the campaign to play through is an added benefit. Not only do you get to test out different weapons and mech load outs, it gets you re-familiarized with the controls (and since I played the first on PC, there was a small learning curve moving over to the console) before diving into multiplayer matches (of which I have done as well). I’ve put a handful of hours into it so far, and I look forward to seeing the conclusion of the story.

League of Legends:

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I have been dabbling with League of Legends again. It’s been a fun experience, and though I felt rusty the first couple of matches I played, I am now feeling myself getting back to form. I was never a top tier player, only playing for fun and used to play ARAM and rotating game modes more often than not. When I played ranked I managed to make it into the Silver tier a few times but never any further as I didn’t dedicate that much time to it but imagine I could have made it into at least Gold if I put my mind to it. I still don’t really want to dedicate that time to it, and this season ends next month so perhaps after the reset I’ll try out some ranked again.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to catch up with the changes. Summoner’s Rift is a different place compared to when I last played. The Rune system seems good, but I also don’t like it as much as the old runes/masteries system. I made some generic pages for the different types of champions in the game, but they need to be honed in before I try and play anything more competitive. I’ve made a few purchases with essence (which used to be IP) for some of the champions that released since my hiatus. Of those, I’ve only played Kled, whom I like but was not very good with. Otherwise I’ve played Swain and Graves since their reworks, and they seem fine. Another big change is that they removed the Summoner Level cap, so I’ve rolled over level 30. I’m not sure if hitting a higher level rewards anything, but I’m sure I’ll find out.

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!:

Lastly, I’ve played a bit of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! As I mentioned in my last post about it, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to start fresh, or try and pick up where I left off. I should also note that I thought I had been playing Jack through that session, but it turns out I was actually playing Wilhelm, who is my highest level character at this point. Jack was only level 3.

I ended up starting fresh with Claptrap, but after playing for a bit I realized that I remembered what had been going on and didn’t feel the need for the refresher. At that point I loaded up Wilhelm and worked through a handful of quests before calling it a night. I plan to add this game to my active rotation and try to clear it out of the backlog!

That’s all for this round-up. I have a new deck idea I want to share sometime over the weekend, so stay tuned for that. Until then, Happy Gaming!

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Borderlands: The Pre-sequel! is by no means a new title. It released back in 2014 for last-gen consoles and PC, but was later remastered for Xbox One and PS4 as part of “The Handsome Collection” which compiled both Borderlands 2 and The Pre-sequel.  My history with the series has been very positive.

The original game in the series released back in 2009. I finally got my hands on a PS3 at the beginning of 2010, and this was one of the first games I purchased for my new console (along with Fallout 3). I loved it. Not only is it one of the zaniest first person shooters I’ve ever played, but it combined its sense of humor with tight combat and loot of Diablo proportions. I played this one mostly solo, though I did jump in with a couple of friends for some of the more difficult content. I earned the Platinum trophy, played through all of the DLC and eventually moved on.

When the sequel was announced for release back in 2012, I knew I was going to pick it up so I went ahead and preordered it. Doing so got me some sort of bonus via GameStop, and I was able to pick up on release day and jump into the action. I played this one mostly solo again, but eventually my best friend got a copy and we ran through it again co-op. I also picked up the season pass but I don’t believe I ever completed all of it. It was still a great game and a bunch of fun.

When The Pre-Sequel was first announced I wasn’t as thrilled. I was more looking forward to a proper third game in the series rather than a game that was shoe-horned in between the two existing games. I knew I wanted to try it, but I didn’t want to pay top dollar. Thankfully I had become a more frugal gamer by this time, so I ended up picking up the base game and all DLCs for it for something like $10. Back when I was doing the podcast with Eri of Healing the Masses, we were continuously looking for games to play together to help feed the content creation side of things. It turned out that she too had a copy that sat unplayed so we decided to try this one out together. This was back in 2015. We put in about ten hours before we moved on to other things, and as such the whole of my experience with the game was in co-op and I honestly don’t remember much. Here are some screens of our time with the game back then:

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We clearly played for a bit, and I remember having a good time running around blowing shit up and chatting via comms. This title is very similar to the others. Graphically it looks a bit better than the first two but probably only because I played those on a PS3 and played this one on a PC. The gameplay is exactly the same though some slight modifications were made to the mechanics in that you can jump around a little differently due to the low gravity of this moon and also have to pay attention to your oxygen tank while space walking. Otherwise it’s more of the same but it’s a good same. There are some Aussie jokes that I didn’t really get but that she understood being from the same country as the devs.

For now I’m using this post as a jump off point, as I’ve been eyeing the game for a while now and want to get back into it and finish it off. It’s likely I’ll play solo but I’ve always enjoyed that anyway. I’m just wondering if I should try to pick up where I left off or just roll up a new character and start over. I played as Jack’s Doppleganger the last time and remember him fondly enough, but I know there is the other DLC character and a couple of the originals that I wouldn’t mind trying as well. So for now, this is a preview post for things to come, but I do plan to grind this one out soon and strike another title from my backlog list.

Skybound to Finish The Walking Dead’s Final Season

Some good news broke over the weekend concerning the demise of TellTale Studios and what would become of its unfinished Final Season of The Walking Dead.

Skybound is Robert Kirkman’s publishing label and recently they opened up a games development branch. It makes sense for this company to pick up the title and finish it off, given Kirkman is the creator of The Walking Dead and will likely build a team familiar with the source material. That, and I believe the game was nearly finished anyway, and I’m sure the story has already been completely written. There hasn’t been an announcement yet as to when the final two episodes might be released, but as I wrote in my last post on the game, it was rumored that the third episode was already in the bug testing phase and some work had already gone into episode four as well.

I’m glad to see this happen, so we’ll able to find out what happens to Clementine after all. I’ll report back if I hear anything else about further developments, and will definitely share my experience with the final two episodes. I’m still hoping they show up before the end of the year.

The Council: Episode 4

The other narrative adventure game that I’ve been playing for the last few months is The Council. Episode four of this five part series released last week and I played through it a few days ago. With this particular title, there is no such thing as action, just a bunch of running around this island manor and discussing things or solving puzzles. It’s more about the political intrigue than anything else, or at least it was up until this episode. Before I go any further, this post will be spoiler heavy so avoid it if you’re still playing through.

You’ve found your mother and she has discovered that the spear that pierced Christ’s side by a Roman soldier hidden in the catacombs below the manor. You had opened this new section during the last puzzle of episode three, the same puzzle that cut off your mother’s hand. She also reveals to you that Mortimer is a Daemon. This Council of men is actually headed by a Daemon who is trying to sway humanity’s fate. An interesting twist, and a new take on history and the supernatural. Something that is almost believable given the current political climate of my country. But I digress.

Your mother sends you on the mission to figure out which spearhead is the correct one, and there are an assortment of clues you’ll need to find around the island. I’m unsure if you have to be correct with this choice, or if it will only allow you to pick the correct one. I cheated a little because I knew I would be annoyed with the running around for these clues, so I looked up the answer and picked what the general consensus was online. As such, it shows that I failed to find them all in that chapter’s summary which you’ll see below. People in the comments on one post I was reading were saying that the story takes a turn after this, and some people even quit when they got to the twist. Having finished the episode myself, I can say that picking the spear I chose didn’t affect anything in this episode, but I also believe that it won’t make a difference until the finale. So are you ready for the big twist?

You’re a Daemon too! Mortimer is your father, and Sarah isn’t really your mother. She’s technically your sister, as she is also Mortimer’s daughter. Obviously you’re a little taken aback by this. The other face painted gentleman is also his brother, your uncle. Mortimer reveals that Daemons have been around for centuries, and that there are several families that still exist, but yours is the most powerful, hence this whole council thing. He wants to sway the countries of the world towards democracy, yet your Uncle believes monarchies are easier to control. However, Daemons aren’t supposed to outright control humans, yet Mortimer teaches you how to read thoughts and later how to possess bodies, which they call “envelopes.”

I’m skipping over much of the plot here, but that was enough to make me much more intrigued by the whole thing. You have various confrontations with the cardinal (including possessing him to forge a letter), Napoleon (he believes you’ve stolen something — it’s the spearhead) and Emily/Sarah (turns out I got the real Emily shot and her sister wanted to kill Sarah — I also got pissed at Sarah for hiding so many truths from me and somehow made a selection where I killed her). Here are my results from the chapters:

It appears that the story will conclude in episode five but I have no idea where its going to go now. I look forward to finding out.

The Walking Dead: Final Season Episode 2

I’m as surprised as you are that I’m even able to write this post, but here we are. A couple of weeks ago, TellTale announced that they were essentially bankrupt and that they were laying off all but 25 employees. This came after the release of the Final Season of The Walking Dead, where we would finally see the end of Clementine’s journey. The first episode released a while back and I wrote about my experience. Another story from a few months back says that TellTale and Netflix were teaming up to create a Stranger Things game (for other platforms) along with some Minecraft interactive thing on the streaming service. It sounded like the company was doing fine fiscally at that point, but apparently things were different behind closed doors. During the layoff announcement, the company admitted that episode two was ready and would still release, so that’s the only reason we get to even talk about it today as it came out last week. Episode three was due out in November and the finale would be released in December. At this point it’s unclear if those two episodes will see the light of day. Rumors state that the third episode was basically done but very little work has been put into episode four, and that the company might be shopping around to get those finished. I suppose we will see what happens — I really hope it gets finished because I’d love to have played through them all and see how the story ends.

This episode was a little different than some of the prior seasons in that there were some third-person shooter elements that haven’t ever really been present in these interactive novels. The game is still on rails but there are segments that are a bit more action packed than the norm. When I had left off at the end of episode one, AJ had just shot and killed Marlon, and we were basically being asked to leave. Things were put to a vote and we left. One the way out, we’re attacked by raiders, one of which is a character from way back in season one, a character which I (playing as Lee) had left behind once we got on the train. She took a little bit of pity on me, delaying capture and then some of the kids from the school attacked and enabled our escape. AJ was unfortunately hit by some buck shot, and carrying him became an issue as walkers were alerted by the skirmish. This meant a fight scene with walkers, before one of them (clearly wearing a mask) stops me and leads me off to his camp. This guy doesn’t play too integral a part in this episode but I have a feeling he would have been back. He helps me with nursing AJ’s wounds and then helps me back to the school. The school kids know that the raiders will be back and grudgingly accept my help in fortifying the school. I’m welcomed to stay for a while. The attack happens, people die, and at the end a couple of them are captured. We vow to go after our comrades, and can do so with the help of one of the wounded raiders still at the school after the larger group retreats.

Normally this is where I would slot in some screenshots of the results. They displayed after I had completed the episode but I didn’t take screenshots because usually you can check your choices from the main menu. For some reason things bugged out, and I was unable to see those results. I assume this has to do with not being able to connect to TellTale servers, which usually display the stats for choices and perhaps those servers are down due to the company’s recent actions. Whatever the case, I hope this is something that is fixed going forward if they do end up making the final two episodes, but again we don’t know if that’s going to happen. Whatever the case, I have enjoyed the season thus far, it’s just a shame that we may never know how Clementine’s adventures end.