State of the Game: Backlog Goals

Despite having a pretty regular posting schedule these days, I still don’t touch on all of the things that I’m doing in my day-to-day life. I play other games besides the ones I write about, have thoughts about various titles or my progress on projects, and still mess around with my Magic cards. I also do that thing called “living” so there’s much more going on than might be alluded to here on the blog. It’s been a while since I did a round up post so I thought I’d take the time to do so today. Besides working on Everquest II and making my way through the backlog, I’ve got some specific updates and then some thoughts to round things up. Let’s get started.

I’ve made steady progress with Clash Royale, the only mobile game I play with any regularity. The last time I wrote about it, Supercell had just added another arena. The Electro Valley arena became Arena 11, pushing Hog Mountain down to Arena 10, and making the Legendary Arena #12. At that time, I was placed in Arena 11 due to my trophy count, so that was a nice little boost. I have since pushed my way into the Legendary Arena and also upped my King level to 12. Hitting 13 is a long ways off, mainly because it’s going to take 80k points to get there and I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20k at the time of this writing. My highest trophy count is 3914, which happened recently. I pushed into Legendary status a while back but then fell back down into Arena 11, and pushed my way back up to 12 where I have stayed for the last month or so. Getting to Challenger status isn’t too far off.

 

My two main decks are above. I used to only focus on one deck, but I have found that having a couple to choose from is nice to break up the monotony. I tend to use my Hog/Loon deck the most, especially when trying to work my way up the ladder, while I use the Golem deck primarily in 2v2 matches, but I have a feeling that it might be more consistent as I get up into the Challenger scene.

 

I finally got my hands on a Mega Knight (actually upgraded him to level 2 already as well) since my last post, which was the last card I needed to “catch em all” at that point. Since then the Royal Ghost released and I recently got one of them out of a chest. The most recent card is the Magic Archer, which we just got to check out in one of the Challenges, but he hasn’t released just yet. He’ll be the only card I need once he comes out. Overall the game is still a blast to play and I do so daily.

I’m still plugging away at The Order 1886, which has been a pretty fun title, but a bit more challenging than those I played through recently. There are some stealth bits that require you to not be detected, and if you are it’s instant-death which is rather frustrating. Regardless, I have worked my way through the 6th chapter and progress is steady. I want to complete this one before really starting on something new, as I have been trying to keep focused on clearing out my backlog. I have some ideas for where I’ll start next, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.

Over the weekend my girlfriend and I did some errands and while we were out I spotted a couple of older MTG starter decks that I picked up on a whim. At $15 a pop they tend to have alternate art or Planeswalkers at the helm, a preconstructed 60 card deck along with a couple of booster packs for whatever particular set they are from. I picked up the Nicol Bolas Planeswalker deck from Hour of Devastation, along with a starter deck from Eldritch Moon (a few sets back, before they started doing Planeswalker decks for each set). I really only picked them up because I wanted the Nicol-Bolas Planeswalker and the alternate art Noosegraf Mob that came with the starter kit.

The face cards are on the right there, Noosegraf mob is a card I needed for the Alesha deck I’m building, and Nicol Bolas for another EDH build I’m working on. I ended up pulling some nice additions out of the booster packs – Unesh will slot into my Sphinx deck and Tamiyo is another Planeswalker that will go into the deck with Bolas. Nice pulls!

I also resubscribed to the Humble Monthly service again for March, as Dark Souls 3 + DLC was the featured game. Steam is having a Lunar New Year sale at present, and this game was on sale for $15, but via Humble I was able to get it plus DLC for only $12. This is great for the wallet, but unfortunately I still haven’t completed the first two games in the series, so this is just more fodder for the backlog!

Speaking of which, I am having trouble deciding what to start next after I complete The Order. I have Alien: Isolation which I started just to check out and only played for about an hour, I also have Shadow Warrior 2 which I spent a few hours on but didn’t complete. There’s Monster Hunter World which I would like to dive into, along with the aforementioned Dark Souls trilogy. The latter few would be a significant time investment, but still worth doing. I also have plenty of other titles that are collecting dust, so it’s going to be a tough choice! I’ll write about The Order again once I’ve completed it, and perhaps by then I will have decided what to do next.

That’s all for this wrap up. Until next time, happy gaming!

Joining The Order

Having finally completed the Bioshock trilogy, I had to start looking at other games in my backlog that I felt would be easy to strike off of the list. With most of these story-driven shooters, you can expect a completion time of around 10 hours, so I knew clearing them from the backlog would be much easier than some of the RPGs that I have collecting dust which can take 50-100 hours each. As such, the next game I selected to playthrough is The Order 1886. It’s a couple years old at this point, but was a game that I highly anticipated prior to its release. I have owned it for probably a year at this point, picking it up on some random sale. I’ve been wanting to play it for a while but needed to finish the project I was already working on. At this point I have started it up and played for a few hours, clearing the first few chapters.

The game has a very cinematic feel akin to experiences like Uncharted or The Last of Us. Cut scenes meld into game play and vice versa, bouncing back and forth without a noticeable change in graphic quality.

The game is split into chapters that feel appropriate in length. It’s one of those titles that autosaves between plot points and you’ll want to clear a chapter before quitting for the night. The storyline revolves around The Order, which is a paramilitary force that specializes in taking out rebel scum along with Lycans, which seem to be a plague on Whitechapel.

You’ll be working your way through said city, using cover shooting tactics and a variety of gadgets and weapons that seem very high tech for London in 1886.

Eventually you’ll meet up with Tesla (yes, that Tesla) and see a bunch of cool things that he’s working on. His rivalry with Edison seems to be a joke here, but I found it pretty hilarious. The real-world element makes the game feel more grounded. The gun play is still pretty standard, with enemies being bullet sponges to a certain degree.

I thought this was a pretty cool easter egg, finding Sackboy from Little Big Planet hidden amongst other debris. Not sure if that was just an ode to another Playstation game of if the same company made both games, but cool nonetheless.

At this point I fought off a ton of rebels and made my way through the city to a point of distress, where a huge amount of lycans had taken over a building. I assume the next step will be to head inside and take them out. So far I’m enjoying the title, and I’ll return once I’ve completed it to share my final thoughts. Until then.

Batman: Episode 5

Despite finishing up my playthrough of this title last week, it’s been fun spending some time going back over the events in my mind this week. I love being able to share gaming experiences whether they are bad or good, and in the case of this game, they were pretty good! Let’s run through my choices for the final episode, shall we?

As the episode opens, it seems that Penguin has set a trap for Batman, but I end up going as Bruce Wayne. At Cobblepot Park, we meet the masked menace again, but this time he’s got a trap set and Gotham police are taking the brunt of it. Gordon can’t seem to get close enough to make an arrest, so I offer to go in. Unarmed, I approach Penguin and start up a conversation trying to make a distraction for Gordon, apparently I failed at this, but it didn’t seem all that detrimental to the plot.

Later, there is some exposition between Bruce and Alfred, and he is expressing his regret for not pushing Bruce’s father into a better life, and not telling Bruce the truth earlier, etc. I reassured Alfred, and said that none of that matters, that we have to save Gotham. A very Batman like thing to do I suppose.

Selina is leaving town, but not before stealing some Wayne Tech from me. I confront her, she gives it back, we have a little moment where I tell her she’s more than just a thief, and she rides off into the sunset. Not much of a happy ending there.

During the final confrontation with the leader of the Children of Arkham, down below the building itself in some hidden chapel, Alfred has been captured and is being tortured. In order to set him free I reveal my true identity and remove my mask. The villain would have left with this information but ends up being smashed by falling debris before my secret could get out.

Gordon is now the interim Commissioner, and at the end of the day he is giving an address to the city and I have a choice to go as Bruce or Batman. Given the fact that Bruce’s reputation was shit on this whole series, I went unmasked to try and raise that reputation again.

I’m curious to see how these choices might tie into the new season. I will likely pick that up at some time, but I’m not in any rush. It’ll probably go on sale sooner or later (maybe by Summer?). If I do, you know I’ll have more to share and will do so here. Stay tuned.

Batman: Episode 4

The fourth episode of Telltale’s Batman series really started to heat up. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted the screenshot from my flash drive and then had already uninstalled the game, so going back to take another one seemed silly. I managed to remember what the choices were that I made, so I can at least discuss them before moving on to the last episode. As the episode opens, you’re in Arkham Asylum, presumably because the last thing you remember is attacking Oswald during his acceptance speech taking your job as CEO of Wayne Enterprises. To top things off, sleeping with Selina pissed off Harvey Dent, so he’s the one who has you committed. This all comes to light as the episode plays out.

*I owe Joker a favor once he’s “on the outside”* – The first choice that I had to make was with the Joker. He was clearly not the same guy that we’ve known through the years, but still obviously the Joker, so there’s something he’s plotting nonetheless. He basically said that he could make a distraction so I could use the phone, but that I would have to promise him a favor once he’s on the outside of Arkham. I said sure. Why not, what harm could come from that?

*I used the phone* – He ended up making the distraction as promised, but then there was a choice between using the phone or helping out the guards of the Asylum. I chose the former, called Gordon and he pulls me out of Arkham.

*I paid off Harvey’s Security at a Blockade* – After leaving the Asylum, it’s clear that Harvey has “upped security” in that he’s now go Children of Arkham goons barricading areas of the city. They stop me and Alfred and go about harrassing us, but at the same time people on the street are recognizing me and start throwing things (Bruce isn’t doing so hot in the public eye at present). I end up paying them off rather than ramming the barricade.

*I went as Batman to confront Harvey Dent* – Clearly Harvey needs to be stopped, but I had the choice to go and talk to him as either Bruce or Batman. I know he still likes Batman, and he’s clearly upset with Bruce so I chose to go as Batman. That didn’t go so hot either, as he bombs a supply of drugs that the Children of Arkham were planning on using, but kills a bunch of innocents along the way.

*I chose to stop Two-Face at Wayne Manor (saving Alfred) rather than picking Wayne Industries to stop Penguin from hacking into all of my Wayne Tech* – This was a tough choice. I didn’t want to lose my gadgets, but I also didn’t want anything happening the Alfred or the Manor. No one needs to discover Batman’s secret identity! This culminates in a fight with Harvey and his goods, and at one point he ends up getting burnt up pretty bad. Apparently in one of the earlier episodes if I would have chosen to save Selina, he would have had his trademark Two-face look, but because I saved him he only gets burnt on one side of his body but his face looks normal. Clearly he’s Two-face either way, but I thought that was interesting. I’m not up to speed on his original origin story, but I also know that the Penguin looked nothing like the Danny Devito or Cartoon versions of the character either. It’s safe to say that this is its own thing and I shouldn’t put too much thought into it.

So that was that. Episode 5 is where everything comes to a head. I’ll be back with that post soon!

Batman: Episode 3

We’re back today with another look at one of the episodes of the Batman Telltale series. Spoilers, I beat the game already but I’m still going to break it up into posts because that’s how I’ve always done it and it’s blog fodder if nothing else. I have been steadily increasing my output here on the blog over the last few months and posts like these help, even if they aren’t the longest (or most entertaining?). I have to say that I actually ended up enjoying the series — enough so that I’m contemplating picking up the latest chapter Batman: The Enemy Within. I suppose this one just took longer to get going, but being able to binge the whole season without waiting a couple months between episodes is akin to binging a Netflix show over a weekend — things stay fresh in your mind and it keeps you hooked because you know there’s more to play through. Here are my choices for Episode 3:

Montoya was suspended due to some things that happened that I won’t spoil, but went after a lead on her own (going rogue) but Harvey was being attacked by the Children of Arkham and I had to choose where to go first — I stuck with Harvey.

I can’t really discuss some of these other points without spoilers, but I guess since the game is pretty old it shouldn’t matter. Basically, Bruce gets voted off the board and his position as CEO of Wayne Enterprises and somehow Oswald is put in his place. He provokes you in the process but I was able to keep my cool.

Lucius was impacted as well, wanted to leave and work for me at the manor, but I convinced him to be my inside guy at the Tower. This ended up being a boon later.

Finally some action came my way via Catwoman, and I was unable to refuse her charms. I spent the night which included some extra curriculars.

Lastly, we got busted by Harvey. I tried to hide out in Selina’s room, but the damn cat wouldn’t leave me be so Harvey saw me and flips out. His “two-faced” nature starts to show, but I still didn’t attack him. He ended up leaving a shattered man.

Things were starting to heat up in this episode, but it really starts to get crazy as we head towards the climax. I’ll have these posts finished up by the end of the week so we can share the conclusion!