State of the Game: Housekeeping Edition

Recently I’ve been doing some housekeeping when it comes to the backlog. As you well know, I have a problem. That problem is being sensitive to sales and bundles; having a subscription to both Playstation Plus and Humble Bundle, and being a frequent shopper when deals are presented. I’m seriously a walking Darth Kermit Meme.

That inner monologue goes something like:

Me: “You shouldn’t buy that game,  you don’t have time to play it.”
Also Me: “But it’s been on your wishlist for ages! You’ll make time! Plus it’s only $10 bucks and  you get all of the DLC!”
Me: “Damn me, you always know how to spot a great deal! I’m in!”

And so it goes.

Because I have this habit, I tend to play games a while after they are new. Occasionally I’ll spill for a full priced game, and in most cases that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s a bummer. Other times you get a game for a great deal and it sucks. These are all things that have happened recently. Isn’t going to stop me from buying more games I don’t have time for. Me is right, I’ll make time eventually. The thing is, games aren’t making the cut as often as they used to. I’ve honestly bought more games in the past 5 or so years than for the remaining 30 years of my lifetime, and yet I play less of them to completion. It seems I have become more picky, and my time more valuable. As such, some games have been marked as completed, or as completed as I’m going to get them, and other games have been marked for deletion (in some cases I’ll card farm them and then delete). Some games I desperately wanted to like turned out to be not so great. And in some cases the games were simply there to add to the collection, not necessarily for immediate use. I do this from time to time, then kick myself for not playing the damn things. Regardless, let’s move on to the games discussion, shall we?

Mobile: 

I’ve been playing Clash Royale daily. It’s my go to game when I’m not at home. This makes sense because it’s a mobile game, but I do have other titles installed on my phone. A big one coming up is Super Mario Run, which was previously an iOS exclusive. That looks like it will be fun. I’m still playing Fire Emblem Heroes as well, but I typically only play that one when I’m stationary for a while. Clash is something I can run on my breaks at work and when I’m hanging outside of the house. Progress has slowed due to the fact that I’m level 10 and getting to the upper eschelons takes a while, along with being stuck in Arena 8 for quite some time now. I know my deck works, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to make it work even better, but it seems that I’ve hit a wall, and will continue to beat my head against that wall until some of my cards are levelled up. It seems to me that I only lose when someone has a card I don’t (of which there is only a handful at this point) or they have similar cards of a higher level. I know several members of my clan are in the highest arena and have far more trophies than I, so it’s doable, but I’m not there yet. Also, I deleted Tiny Tower from my phone. It was becoming more of a chore than fun.

Console:

During a recent sale I picked up a copy of a few games on PS4. Winkings is a arcade style game in the vein of Joust, but with far more creatures on screen at once. It’s got local co-op that I have yet to try (but will soon), and feels like a fun little time waster. Nothing amazing, but if you enjoy running around and killing stuff with a variety of weapons with a viking themed character, you might enjoy it too. Plus members can get it right now for like $3. Another game that was on sale was Q-bert Rebooted, which is one of those classic titles everyone should have in their library. Not only did it come with a rebooted version of the game, but the original is included as well, and boy is it a tough game. I was interested in picking this one up as I bought a bundle of other classic arcade games including Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig-Dug a few months back, and I enjoy having old collections of games. I have a version of Tetris and of course my Sega collection on Playstation consoles as well. It’s fun for me to go back and play some of these old games once in a while, and it’s great to have on hand to introduce people to some classic titles when the opportunity arises.

Lastly, the closed beta for Paladins, Hi-Rez Studio’s latest multiplayer free-to-play title went live on PS4. I had access to the beta on PC as well, but just like SMITE, I figured I would be more attracted to the game on console. It’s a team shooter similar to Overwatch or Battleborn, but has enough there to differentiate it from the others. I’m a big fan of SMITE on the console and still play that regularly, but I’m hoping that this one picks up steam too. The console SMITE population is excellent, but so far it seems that there might not be as many people playing Paladins. It was a buy in, but with that you instant access along with some perks. I’m sure the population will level out once it’s out of beta and anyone can join in. I liked being in on the SMITE beta and watching the game take shape on the console, so being in on this game from the start should be fun as well.

Housekeeping wise, this list of games are mostly ones that are those that aren’t going to be completed, so they don’t really take up backlog space. I’ve called it quits with Destiny. I had fun making my way through most of the game, completing The Taken King and leveling to 40. But I’m just not interested in the Light grind. With talk of Destiny 2 around the corner, and other games like Mass Effect Andromeda coming out soon, I know I’d rather spend my time elsewhere. I’ll do the mad dash light grinding before Destiny 2 releases, if the rumors about some of your progress transferring over are true.

PC:

I’ve more random tidbits on the PC side of things. I’ve mentioned recently playing Shadow Warrior 2. Within the last couple of days there was a 2nd free DLC added to the game, and this one adds a slew of new content. Talk about DLC done right! I have made about 30% progress through the main story, and plan to try and knock this one out soon. That is if they don’t flood me with DLCs! I’ve also toyed around with the games I mentioned in a recent post called New and Noteworthy. Along with those newer additions, I’ve also dipped my toes into some other games that came with bundles or were otherwise purchased but never mentioned. One game that popped up in my discovery queue was called Disgaea PC. It’s a PC port of a Playstation 2 JRPG. I remember seeing the title in the past but hadn’t played it, and it turned out they ported the sequel to the game as well so I picked them both up. I know of at least two more titles in the series as well, so perhaps those will come down the pipeline. The game looks like a Final Fantasy Tactics style game, but centers around the prince of the underworld rather than a typical hero type. The combat is sort of wonky, but that’s to be expected from an old console title that is just now being ported to PC. I relish these sorts of experiences; being able to take a trip into the past to experience something you missed.

Sometimes, games that you really wanted to love just don’t do it for you. Last month’s Humble Monthly provided a copy of Total War: Warhammer, and I thought I would love the game. I gave it a test run, found it alright, and then plunked down some cash to get all of the DLC. After playing it a bit more, I felt that I didn’t really enjoy the combat, the strategy, or really any facet of the game. Just putting a Warhammer skin on something doesn’t mean you’re going to automatically love the game, and that’s a shame. A painful lesson. Speaking of Warhammer, Vermintide dropped a new free DLC that adds lore page drops to the game. Having neglected to check out any of the DLC since the Last Stand game mode was added, I decided to do just that the other night. 2 new areas were added to the game, both with 3 maps each. I tried finding players to play with, but ended up running around with dumb NPCs and not getting far in any of them. The new areas look cool, but it’s really just more of the same. I’d love to run through it with some friends, had I enough to fill up a party. A shame that the population has died out so quickly, as it was a very promising title.

Lastly, I finally got around to booting up the Skyrim Special Edition. Every time I looked at it, I just couldn’t justify the 100s of hours I would put into another playthrough when I have so many other RPGs that I want to play through for the first time. But one day I had the itch, and I wanted to play it though I wanted to also play around with some mods, as I have only played the vanilla version of the game. I did some research, and though it appears that you can just install mods via the client itself, I went ahead and installed two programs that were highly recommended: the Nexus Mod Manager and LOOT. The former is a one-click install tool for mods for the game. The latter allows you to sort the booting order of mods in case of issues arising. I ended up installing 20+ mods and it ran fairly well the first time. There was a laughable bug during the opening scene, but eventually things were working great. I didn’t get far enough into the game to really see all the mods have to offer, but again, didn’t want to put too much time into it. I intend to revisit soon.

Housekeeping wise, I have put some of the above titles on farm status. They will be uninstalled afterwards. Others are works in progress, but progress nonetheless. Until next time, happy gaming.

The Way of the Wang

It wasn’t that long ago I was singing the praises of Shadow Warrior. I believe I picked up a copy of the game via Humble Bundle, and wanted to play this remake of the old 3D Realms classic because it hearkened back to a day when FPS games didn’t take themselves so seriously. Like a bastard stepchild, Shadow Warrior wasn’t quite as popular as the studio’s major hit, Duke Nukem 3D, but shared the same game engine and tongue in cheek humor. It seems though that the bastard stepchild has taken to the forefront in this new generation, as we can all recall the lackluster performance of the Duke revival. Shadow Warrior was an instant classic, and was one of the best FPS games I had played that year. I did an episode by episode playthrough up until some sort of data loss (I believe my computer took a shit) meant I had to forgo writing more. Needless to say I was fond of the title.

Enter Shadow Warrior 2. I knew it was coming, it had been on my wishlist for quite some time. My past birthday came along, and my father gifted me a copy of the sequel. I dove in right away, and instantly knew it was going to be a great experience. Taking the formula from the original title and expanding upon it, the game mixes first person martial arts combat (complete with some basic combo mechanics that result in more powerful abilities) and more traditional FPS concepts seemlessly. Feeling more like a Borderlands title, the game now boasts 4 player co-op, semi-open world areas and a color coding system for rarity when considering both gear and mobs. There are main story quests and side missions to get lost in. There is an upgrade system for your Chi powers and now also a card system that allows for additional perks. Weapons can also be slotted with various relics giving bonus stats. In some cases it feels a little messy, and in other cases it’s pretty cool being able to enhance the gear you get throughout the game. Rather than just being stuck with whatever the developers throw at you throughout the course of a story, now you can pick and choose your loadout and tweak that to your heart’s content. Sounds like a winning proposition to me.

Graphically the game appears on par with the original. One part I can note that is lacking is in most of the character models. Enemies look well and good, but some of the NPCs you’ll encounter look pretty shitty. But who cares? You don’t really pay all that much attention to the storyline or what’s going on, you just shoot shit and move on to the next thing. At least, that’s how I do it. The gameplay is a blast, switching off between wacky weapons and using different ninja tricks, you’ll be swinging more than just one liners. It feels smooth and refined, and I don’t notice framerate dips.

Overall it’s a worthy successor to the original remake (oxymoron, that). I’ve had this draft sitting around for a long time and needed some writing inspiration. Since I only touched the first couple of hours of the game, I figured this was something worth sharing, and I’m going to try and finish it off soon and give my full, final impression. Regardless, I recommend the title to fans of the first, and those who enjoy goofy FPS games like Borderlands. Here’s some screens in case you’d like to know what it looks like:

State of the Game: Fall Edition

sotg

Been a while since I did a round up. It’s also been a while since I’ve talked video games around here. Yeah, Football season means I make my By the Numbers posts, but I know very little people who are all that interested in those. I keep doing em to chronicle my view points of the games and circumstances. Helps me to remember details as well. It’s been my blog for almost 12 years now, so why should I stop writing shit that nobody cares about? Indeed, I shall carry on with the frivolity.

The big changes this time around are that I’ve been spending most of my free time with my girlfriend, or playing Magic with my buddy. I suppose the girlfriend part isn’t much of a surprise because I’ve mentioned that a time or two.

I guess the part about playing Magic isn’t that surprising either, since I’ve made a few posts on the subject already. I have also done more playtesting as evidenced above, where I have made some additional tweaks to my White/Black deck, and have a package (that was supposed to arrive today but didn’t) coming with some finishing touches for a Black/Blue Zombie deck that I think is going to be a ton of fun to play. The other night when I took the above photo, my friend and I played a few rounds with some of his very ancient decks and that was a blast from the past. A bunch of cards I hadn’t seen since my high school days were present. Really makes me miss the cards I used to have, but I’m hoping to get a chunk of that collection back when I go visit family over Thanksgiving. Apparently one of my friends whom I used to play with says he has some of my cards in a box in his garage, and said I could come pick them up, and I intend to do just that. Plus it will be a nice excuse to see him as well. So rest assured, The War Report will be an ongoing series. I have more playtest reports, more deckbuilding to do, and in a few short months the latter portion of the Kaladesh block will release so there will be more theorycrafting to do. I can’t wait.

Moving on, back to the video game front. I cancelled my subscription to World of Warcraft. Yeah, it’s silly that I bought the game in the first place. The hype train for Legion took off, I jumped on board and thought I’d give it a go, and after some disappointment with my inability to just jump right in with a level 100 boosted character, I rolled some alts and started leveling. I was subbed for 3 months and managed to get one character to 40, along with getting my artifact weapons on the boosted toon. These MMOs just don’t grab me like they used to, despite my repeated attempts. Shit, I still need to play Destiny… I’ve had that for months. So I’m basically back in a holding pattern waiting for Crowfall and trying to work on some of this backlog that is ever-present and always haunting me. These are the fickle waves that I go through, and well, sorry not sorry.

I’m still playing SMITE almost daily. I have nearly 30 Gods mastered. I’ve chosen Loki to be the God I take to Mastery level 10. I’ve been experimenting with the other game modes as well. For a time, my friend and I would only play Arena and Joust. I started playing Assault regularly enough to get the trophy for 25 matches played. The Odyssey quests drove me to play a few rounds of Clash and I’ve grown to love it. I also played in a rare group of 4, where my friend had another friend who had another friend and we played some Siege, which is a 4v4 game mode. That was a blast, and makes me wish I knew more folks who played the game on PS4. If you do, I’m Built4Sin82… send me a friend request and a message!

I didn’t pick up Civilization VI on its release date, but I was paid the following week and then picked it up. The first day I played some multiplayer with a friend (and a friend of his) and that was fun but I wasn’t able to play for very long. I ended up starting my own game, playing as America and going for a (typical) domination victory. So far I’ve gone near 500 turns and have wiped a couple of Civs off of the map but there’s still a long road ahead. I laugh as the enemy civs strive for more culture or convert my cities to their religions over and over again, when none of those efforts count for anything. Ha! Then I systematically destroy them and their ancient military technology! I have a ton of screens and more that I want to share I just haven’t had a spare moment to start a write up. That will be here eventually.

Lastly, I was gifted a copy of Shadow Warrior 2 for my birthday last week, and though I haven’t played much yet, I can report that it is very much a direct sequel to the original remake. Does that make sense? So the original was by 3D Realms, creators of Duke Nukem. It came out during that era and played pretty much the same. The remake came out a couple of years ago, and I shared a bunch of my experience via the blog. In October, the sequel to the remake came out. This is the game I’m speaking of. Is that more clear? Anyway, the game looks great, runs smooth (and defaults to ultra if you have a decent rig) and plays similarly to the last one. There are some UI changes that are interesting, and a loot system of sorts where instead of just getting upgrades to your basic weapons, you find new versions of the weapons. For instance, I picked up a sweet sort-of lightsaber that also shoots energy beams within my first hour of play. It’s pretty awesome. And of course, there’s the signature Lo Wang shit talking throughout. This game speaks to me. If you like story based shooters, you’ll probably enjoy it.

That’s all I have for now. Happy gaming, where ever you find yourself.