State of the Game: Warframe and More

I’ve been managing to get some decent playtime in over the past week or so, and though I’ve already touched on some of the games I’m about to talk about already in individual posts, there has been some progress made and that’s exciting to me, because I’ve had a bit of gaming malaise recently. Hello run-on sentence! So not only have I been progressing through Bioshock Remastered and playing some of my MOBAs and whatnot, I also picked up a game that was on sale for $1.50 and is actually pretty decent. Finally, or firstly perhaps, I’ve been playing a game I hadn’t touched in at least a year:

Warframe has been around for a long time, and I’ve toyed with it more than once. A couple of years ago during one of the NBI’s, I earned a prize which ended up earning me some platinum for this game. At that point I downloaded the game on PC and went to town. I played for a bit, actually enjoyed it but was probably more enamored with something else at the time and it ended up sitting unplayed as many games do. A few years later, Destiny was out and I had just picked up a PS4 and a copy of the game. I had some friends that wanted to group up and run through the game together, but a squabble between myself and one of the guys ended up where we never played together again. That’s why Destiny sat unplayed for a very long time until I finally finished it off earlier this year. Destiny doesn’t really have anything to do with Warframe per se, but at the same time the parallels between the game are there. This was noted by Isey recently, and some discussion about the game started up when he was disappointed (but still finished) Destiny 2 and discovered that Warframe was a similar game he could sink his teeth into. Having read and agreed with his judgement on things several times in the past, I figured that I should avoid picking up Destiny 2 and instead put my efforts into playing Warframe again. For one, it’s free to jump in and play so I don’t have to drop $60 to be potentially disappointed, and it also happens to be something I had already played in the past. I’ve also been craving shooter experiences, and enjoy the RPG mechanics tacked on. Jeromai has also fully endorsed Warframe in a recent post, and it just seemed like it was time for me to dive back in.

I had a second stint in Warframe after my Destiny group fell apart, where I convinced my friend’s brother to download the game on his PS4 to play with me in lieu of Destiny. We played a few hours together before he lost interest and again the game sat unplayed. Still, I had started with the Volt Warframe and leveled it to around 13, while having similarly leveled guns and a starter sword. I really had no clue where I had left off and didn’t really remember what I was supposed to be doing, not to mention there had been several updates that probably changed a bunch as it was, but I started re-familiarizing myself nonetheless. It turns out that there was a promotion that if you have Twitch Prime, you get free access to the Frost Prime Warframe, Soma Prime gun, and Scindo Prime axe. It also turns out that as an Amazon Prime member, Twitch premium membership is included, so all I had to do was link my accounts and bam:

The Frost Warframe which is like the “standard” edition would have been pretty much on par with the Volt frame I had been running. The “Prime” variants are souped up versions that have better base stats and stronger abilities along with the ability to slot extra mods into them. The new weapons were big upgrades too, but after using the axe for a few missions I didn’t really care for how slow it was. I’m thinking I eventually want to grab some nunchucks or dual wield some blades but for now I’ve gone back to the base sword until I find more blueprints and materials. Somewhere along the lines a new mastery ranking system was added and I went through the first couple, each of which seems to unlock various bits and bobs for your account. The tests see you having to fight AI in a sort of holodeck area using various parts of your loadout. Once the waves are cleared you earn you mastery rank:

I was going back and forth between wanting to pick up my progress on the PS4 or going back to the PC. It’s too bad I can’t link my account and play on either platform and share progress. I suppose I could be really crazy and play on both accounts, but I don’t have that kind of time. My hesitation to pick things back up on PS4 was because the most recent update adds some open world bits to the game and though I’m probably not at the level to participate, I wanted to see it as soon as possible. But I read somewhere that the PS4 update was coming soon, and I saw this the other day:

So probably before the end of the month the expansion will hit the console, so I’m just going to stick here. I’m used to the control scheme and I’ve already put more time into it than the PC version. As of now my Frost Prime is nearing rank 9, so I’ve almost caught up to the Volt. I’ve cleared most of Mercury and it seems that though I remember clearing other planets that they are all still locked up, so I’ll be clearing for a while. Hoping to get the materials together to experiment with other frames and make some new weapons in the process. I’ll report back more on this as I progress!

The game I picked up for $1.50 is called Anomaly 2. It’s the sequel to Anomaly: Warzone Earth (which I believe also had a couple of expansions). I played the original back in the PS3 days and just happened upon it and well, it was a steal and I have a problem. The game is a sort of tower defense and RTS hybrid but what makes it unique is that it’s really “tower offense.” You play a commander with various abilities and run around the screen in real time. Your units will follow a designated trail and towers controlled by the AI try to stop you. Your commander heals and buffs the units, keeping them alive to push through to whatever the objective is. That’s really all there is to it, but it’s rather entertaining.

Lastly, I’ve been working my way through Bioshock. I don’t know why but it feels like I’ve damn near beaten the game, but I’ve only put in a little over 6 hours. I do know that I’m progressing towards what feels like the final showdown, and things have been fairly smooth going, though I have found a few tricky bits, and some of the groupings of big daddies with splicers and turrets have killed me. Still, I’ve found a good group of plasmids and weapons and feel like I’m coasting along. I imagine it has somewhere around a 10 hour average completion time, so I should be done with this one soon. Some shots of recent events:

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So my goal for now is to finish this off and then move onto the sequel. I’d like to be done with the Bioshock games so that I can strike a few titles from the backlog. Warframe feels like a game I can play for a while as well, so I’m going to continue with it until it gets boring. Otherwise, I’ll mess around with some of the other more session based games I’ve had in the rotation, but it feels good to finally be making some progress! Until next time, happy gaming!

Bioshock: Remastered

Let me give a little background on this particular title before I get into my impressions. Bioshock originally released back in 2007, so by gaming standards it’s pretty old. I remember the first time I was able to try it, my friend had a copy on his Xbox 360. I played through the first couple of hours of the game, had an impression that it was pretty cool, and that was the extent of it. I never did pick up a copy of the game, and though the next two games in the series would eventually be given away for free via Playstation Plus, I never really played them either due to the fact that I wanted to complete the first game before touching them. A few years later, the remastered editions were announced, and it turned out if you bought the originals on Steam, you would get an upgrade to the remastered editions for free when they released (this happened with Skyrim’s special edition as well). Before the release I ended up grabbing the trilogy on sale so I think it cost me $10-20 to get these remastered versions of the game. I figured having them all and having the updated graphics would allow for a premium experience on my PC. I want to say the free upgrade happened within the last couple of years, and yet these titles sat unplayed. I rectified that recently.

As I mentioned a few times over the year, my girlfriend has expressed interest in watching me play certain games. It has mostly been horror experiences, but she tends to get bored if there isn’t a lot of action. Unfortunately, most horror games lack a combat mechanic, and use that as a tool to make the player feel helpless. In Bioshock, it’s not so much of a horror game, but very atmospheric and there is of course plenty of combat to be had. After firing it up and playing for a couple of hours she seemed rather entertained, and I had forgotten how cool the game really is. Of course, having the ability to play it on max settings and everything looking gorgeous helps, but it does have an interesting storyline, a cool area to explore and unique bad guys and mechanics that I haven’t really seen done in other games. Rapture is truly captivating, and I have been enjoying my time.

It’s unfortunate in this day and age that we are able to get games so cheap and there is such an abundance of them without enough time to play each and every one. I have been getting into the habit of trying out more of my unplayed titles in the backlog and just deleting the ones that I don’t really like. I’ve freed up quite a bit of space on both my PC and PS4 hard drives by doing so, and I feel less guilty about having so many games still lying there unplayed. The good news is that some of the games take less time to complete (or they go in the trash bin) so I have been making some progress as far as that goes. Certain games I’ve acquired over the years just don’t do it for me, feel wonky, or don’t hook me like I would have expected and deleting them from my life relieves some of the pressure I have to complete them all. The bad news is that many of these titles are RPGs that take weeks to complete, so the backlog won’t be empty any time soon. But having more expenses as of late has meant not buying games unless they are absolute must haves, and still my wishlist has grown without me making any purchases. It’s likely I’ll wait until the fall sales and maybe pick up a game or two but I’m not buying games year round like I used to. I’m hoping these efforts help me to finally finish some of these experiences!

Sorry for the aside, back to Bioshock! So it’s such an old title that I’m sure anyone who ever wanted to play the game has done so. I can say that the remastered version does feel prettier and runs great but my memory of the original is hazy so I can’t tell what the real difference is. I’m just enjoying the game and trying to make my way through it, so I suppose there isn’t too much else to share. If you have been on the fence about it and having played, you can likely get it on the cheap, and as I said the sales are coming. I’d recommend it if you like atmospheric shooters that are story-driven and something you can play through rather quickly. The collection is cheap so why not play through them all? I’m hoping to knock them out quickly so I can move onto the next task. Here are some shots from the early portion of the game, and I’ll report back when I’ve completed it:

State of the Game: Diverted Attentions

I have snuck in some extra gaming time here and there over the past month (has it already been a month since I last made a round-up post? Maybe it’s been longer…) though my attentions have been spread rather thin. A typical day for me involves getting up, heading into work, coming home and needing to help out with dinner or at least eat it, then having an hour or two to kill on various activities and then its time for bed just to start over again the next day. I suppose this is a normal routine for most, but when I was single and living with roommates I usually spent more time on hobbies than anything else. Now that Magic has been a big part of my life as well, there are days when I spend time on that hobby instead of gaming, and sometimes I’d rather watch a movie or binge something on Netflix rather than game. Still, I have been playing things, so let’s talk about that.

A while back I talked about Star Trek Online. In that post I mentioned that the same devs also created Neverwinter, and that it was also on PS4. Neither game really appealed to me all that much when I played them on PC, but I was also having a bit of MMO malaise at the time. I still wouldn’t say that I’m ready to commit to only one game for any length of time, but I still like to tinker, and so I downloaded Neverwinter and gave it a whirl.

Honestly it feels better on the console, just like STO did. I can’t explain it, we’re talking a huge difference in power between the PS4 and my PC, so graphically it should be inferior, and I do notice when loads of people are around it does seem to lag a bit which probably wouldn’t happen on my PC. But the control schemes are good and I just enjoy playing it more on PS4. The same could be said about many games that exist on both, and that probably stems from my beginnings as a console gamer. I love a controller in my hands. In some cases this isn’t true though, action RPGs and RTS/4x games will always control better with Keyboard/Mouse, and FPS titles are still typically better on PC despite being easy enough to control either way. But I digress. Neverwinter seems fun enough. I picked a random character just to go through the intro and a few missions and think it would be a fun game to see through to the end, but you know me and my tendency to game hop. We’ll see how often I actually play.

I’ve also jumped onto the Fortnite Battle Royale bandwagon. Most of you will know that I played H1Z1 from day one, and I did enjoy the Battle Royale mode. The game split and that became a dedicated mode, and it was fun enough. I haven’t played Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, but it’s the same sort of thing. I’d like to check it out but it’s $30 and I just haven’t ponied up the cash. Finding out that Fortnite wasn’t that great of a PvE experience, I didn’t want to buy into it either, but the BR mode is free, and it’s pretty fun. It’s a bit different than the aforementioned comparisons, but still something that I found entertaining, if not frustrating. My buddy and I duoed a few times but never managed to place higher than the 20’s, and it’s still being developed so I’m sure it will end up being better over time.

The Amnesia Collection which is the two games plus an expansion was part of the free game lineup for Playstation Plus this month, and as I’ve mentioned in the past, my girlfriend enjoys watching me play the horror games so I tried it out. It’s actually a really creepy game. Moreso than any other I’ve played in recent memory. Very atmospheric and moody, and the way the game grabs the camera controls from you is unsettling. She was creeped out enough that she didn’t want to watch anymore which is a first. Usually horror games don’t get to either of us like this one did. I look forward to progressing further.

Grim Dawn is a game I hadn’t touched in a long while. I purchased it shortly after it went into full release (it did linger in Early Access for a while). Another Action-RPG, it’s much like Diablo but has a higher level cap and a much larger world to explore. Classes can be multi-spec and overall it feels like it has more depth than Diablo and most of its clones. Recently the devs released a new expansion for the game called Ashes of Malmouth, adding a couple new classes (Inquisitor and Necromancer) but also a couple of new chapters and new areas. I knew when I looked at the original game map that there would be expansions because there was so much unused space and finally that has come to fruition. I picked up the expansion the other night and rolled up a new Inquisitor which reminds me of the Witch Hunters from Warhammer. Pistols and magic, why not? The game is pretty excellent if you enjoy ARPGs, I’d recommend at least buying the bast game, but if you want the new classes you can use them from the start by picking up the expansion too, and for $18 it’s reasonably priced.

Last but not least, I have been playing the NES Classic a bit more recently, which also has lead into playing some 3DS as well. Initially I just started playing Super Mario 3 on a whim, and then got my girlfriend’s son involved. That lead to him creating levels for me to beat in Super Mario Maker on his 3DS. Then my girlfriend got involved as well, it turns out she used to play Dr. Mario frequently when she was a tyke, so we’ve been doing that as well. I’m not the biggest Nintendo fan these days, but I sure do enjoy the old stuff. Looking forward to finding a deal on the SNES Classic soon.

That’s all for this go-round. Until next time, happy gaming!

Thoughts on Secret World Legends

This is one of those rare instances where I’ve had a post sitting in my drafts folder for a while and didn’t get around to finishing it up to post. I have a few spare moments now, so I thought I’d do just that.

So a while back I mentioned having downloaded Secret World Legends on a whim, as it is now a free to play title and it’s on Steam so it was easy to get it on my system and start it up. I didn’t spend a ton of time with it so far, and actually haven’t had the time to play it over the past couple of weeks, with having other games like FF15 and Diablo 3 taking up some of my time, and things like Football being back on means less time to game (but more time to drink brews!). I did manage to make it through the tutorial section of the game and I fully intend on getting back to it, but you know me… always wandering.

I was able to run the game on max settings with no problems. It’s not a bad looking game, though some of the early cut scenes are kind of shitty. Some of the animations are wonky. The combat is a bit on the wonky side too, but veterans say it’s actually more streamlined and better overall at this point. I’ll take their word for it, but it’s more action oriented than tab-targeting, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I liked the idea of Wildstar’s combat being more “twitchy” and this feels like a sort of middle ground between WS and more traditional auto-attacking while standing in place MMO combat.

The storyline is what drew me to the game, and that’s likely what will keep me playing it. Regular readers will know that I’m not huge on MMOs anymore, and honestly most of the time I’d rather dig into the past by playing old loves like Everquest than play something new where it’s more of the same but less familiar and thereby less desirable.

I’m intrigued by the way this is set in a more modern day setting and yet still manages to mix in Cthulhu-esque horror. The behind the scenes of the real world subplot has me wanting to find out more. Some more tedious bits see you having to solve puzzles, but many MMOs in the past have done this so it isn’t really a turnoff. It does feel more like a single player game that you can occasionally play with friends (think Destiny) but that isn’t a bad thing either, because I’m terrible and sticking to any sort of schedule when it comes to these games. That’s not to say that I don’t always come back around and want to play an MMO, it just seems I’m always doing it after that game is no longer popular or past it’s new expansion window so it ends up being a solo experience. That or I get sick of it after a few hours, never to return. Maybe some day I’ll actually play through the entirety of another MMO, but I’m not sure this will be the title to get me to do so. There’s another I’ve tried recently but am saving that for another post. So for now, here are some random screen caps, and we’ll call it a day:

As I said, I’ll be back to talk about this other MMO I’ve dabbled with, and perhaps one of these will actually see some regular playtime. If not, there’s always Diablo or the backlog. Until next time, happy gaming!

Thoughts on the Diablo 3 Necromancer

It’s been a while since the Rise of the Necromancer pack released, and initially I had very little interest in it. Sure, the Necromancer was my favorite class in Diablo 2, and like most people I wanted to see it in Diablo 3, but the Witch Doctor sort of filled those shoes and I enjoyed the class well enough. When Blizzard decided that they were going to continue to add things to Diablo 3 like new zones, a portion of the first game and now a new class it was great to see, but also somewhat disappointing. I honestly thought they would put out another expansion by now, though I suppose the additional zones and features and now this class could count as such, but it would be interesting to see a new Act added to the game.

The Necromancer pack includes access to the new class, provides some other frivolous items like a portrait frame, wings and banner pieces, and a new pet. The pets just run around and pick up gold for you which is nice but not entirely necessary and I can’t count how many times I’ve tried to attack the little bugger running around. Regardless, it seems like a fairly decent value, though I think I would have priced it around $10 rather than $15. Still, breathing new life into a game that is a few years old is nice and it appears that people are still playing it regularly. I’m late to the party this time around, as season 11 started back in July, but I still rolled a hardcore seasonal version of the new Necro:

He looks like a vampire but he really isn’t. Sort of reminds me Geralt from The Witcher as well. As far as the class goes there are some abilities that remind me of the D2 version of it, things like corpse explosion:

It feels much more effective than it did in the prior game however. If you down a large group and fire this ability off it can really start mowing enemies down and creates a chain reaction. The summoning portion of his abilities feel a little more lackluster, but I’m still early in my progression, so perhaps they will improve. The first summoning skill is the ability to procure Skeletal Mages, which were a stable in D2, along with normal skeletons, etc. These are on a temporary timer in this game though, whereas in D2 they were permanent until they died (or they had a much longer timer, I’m not exactly sure). They do some work, killing things much faster than I, but it feels like something you should be able to keep up all the time, so I’m hoping in the later levels that’s the case. I’m not fully aware of all the class can do just yet, but overall it feels pretty fun.

I managed to play for an hour or so last night and decided to play through the campaign for once, just to familiarize myself with the class. I’ll likely jump into Adventure mode sooner than later, because that’s more my speed. If a new season is starting soon I’ll probably rebirth this guy just to be able to run him through a whole season. Earning the rewards is worth it, even if it’s really just more of the same. I will say that they managed to add some bits and bobs that I was unaware of, the last time I played was season 6, so it has been a while. I’ll report more on these as I get more involved.

No matter how many times I walk away from this game, I always manage to come back. It’s elegant in its simplicity and there’s something about zoning out and aimlessly smashing things that tickles my fancy. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this as I progress, so stay tuned!