Sunday, February 27, 2011

Monday Musings - 28 Feb 2011

Week 3! I'm still sunburned and sore from Soundwave on Saturday, but i had a great week of gaming. Let's get started, shall we?


A couple hours after writing last week's musings, i loaded up Stacking and completed it. The final boss was a fun collection of puzzles with only the last part of the fight being somewhat annoying. On completion, i clocked in at 82% finished. I have no desire to go doll collecting and find all the hijinks at the moment. We shall see if i decide to do so later.

As an aside, i would probably buy an additional chapter or two if it was released via DLC

Fallout 3

I am continuing to explore the wastelands. Almost level 8. The game can certainly make me jump. I think it's the stark contrast to the world being so desolate and lonely, and then all of a sudden you're under attack by a hostile force. I mean in the ruined cities or in a building, you expect raiders or super mutants, but out in the wilderness, i never fail to be on edge.

Power fists are amazing weapons.

That wasteland survival guide for Moira? Testing radiation poisoning, i found it hilarious that to get myself sick, i was standing in radioactive water, casually drinking it from my cupped hands. Passers-by would have been very puzzled.

Final Fantasy XIII

The second RPG i've played this week with 3 in the title. This linear JRPG is a nice contrast to the open worldness and loose levelling system of Fallout 3. I really like this game. The story is intriguing, i like all of the characters (yes, even Hope), and the voice acting is decent. The combat system is fun, the levelling system is just a strung out version of the sphere grid from FFX, and the game is gorgeous visually. What i don't like? Just when the battle music gets to the part i really like, the fight is usually over.

You know, i think another reason this Monday Musings thing is good is it will track my progress with these long games that i usually end up putting down, and i might be more inclined to ride them out to the end. We shall see.

World of Warcraft

Level 17 now. I had my first dungeon run last night in the deadmines. Our tank turned out to be a bot so we kicked him and got a better tank. Story over! Nah, it was lots of fun. Dungeons have always been my favourite part of WoW. Something about having a specific role in a self contained area for an hour or two, with great rewards along the way. Yeah, when everyone in a party knows what they're doing, it's a great gameplay experience. If people don't, or act like douches, then the experience can certainly be frustrating.

As for the main game, i'm off the island, went to Orgrimmar and am now levelling in the new Aszhara. Good stuff so far. A nice amount of variety in the quests, and i like how quests are bundled together in a section, and then once completed, either a new bundle becomes available, or you get sent to somewhere else on the map where a new bundle becomes available.

I was busy Friday so i played WoW on Sunday. So much for WoW day.

Super Meat Boy

My favourite game of last year. I haven't touched it in a while as i was stuck on level 6-4. I completed level 6-4 last night and am now stuck on level 6-5. Ever since World 4 it's been like this. Beat 1 - 2 levels, get stuck, quit. Come back, beat level, beat 1 - 2 levels, get stuck, quit.

Sometimes i go back and play the dark levels in earlier worlds, or open up warp zones and try my hand at them. They are very difficult because you have lives. You can't just play the level till you complete it, and then watch as hundreds of meat boys die for your amusement. I also unlocked level -1 a little while ago in World 1. That one is really hard too. I love all the secrets though. I think there are two more worlds i have to discover as well.

This game just has content oozing out of it. Definitely value for money.

Final Thoughts

I play RPGs for two main reasons (and i imagine lots of people play for these reasons). One is to experience a solid story. It can be hard to find an RPG that fufills this, but they are out there.

The second reason is levelling of characters. In Borderlands, outside the town of Firestone there are usually 3 bandits that run up to attack the town regularly. Level up quite a bit, come back, and they explode in one shot. RPG level progression is all about becoming stronger. It's a mechanic that reflects a coming of age or being where you need to be. Once that plateau is reached, i for one take immense joy in exercising that power on groups of enemies.

Most gaming involves power fantasy, but in many FPSs, the only progression is better guns. I personally like the idea of starting out kind of weak but full of potential, and then by the end journey being a badass. That's why i enjoy RPGs.

Till next week, happy gaming!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Monday Musings - 21 Feb 2011

Week 2, a lot to talk about, and my coffee hasn't kicked in yet. Let's do this!

Left 4 Dead 2

I got invited into a game of this by a friend twice this week. I haven't played the game in forever, but L4D2 is always a blast. We played through Dark Carnival and Hard Rain, and as a first, i made it to the chopper in Dark Carnival. I also got an achievement for hitting a charger in the face with an axe as he was charging. Good times. Melee weapons might have disasterous effects on your health throughout a campaign, but they make the game oh so much more fun. Especially the baseball bat and samurai sword.


I didn't play as much of this as i wanted to this week. I'm halfway through the final level, and just need to sit down and finish things off. There's a henchmen that you best by feeding him tainted soup. The act of taintaing said soup was quite unpleasant.

As an aside, that is actually one of my favourite things about the adventure genre. Those puzzles that make you think, "My god, i'm actually doing this? This is horrible!" One of my favourite examples is distracting the stewardess on the airplane in Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders. Stacking has had quite a few of these types of solutions. I guess it's sort of like choosing the dick responses in games like Mass Effect, but the thing is in adventure titles, you don't get to choose, and have to go through with these plans.

Mass Effect

Finished off my 2nd playthrough this week. Made a few different major choices (Virmire, and the last part of the game). Also as i completed every sidequest i could find (except those survey and anomaly ones), i wonder if anything will come of that in the sequel (Admiral Kohaku and Cerberus).

I'm taking a break with some other RPGs before jumping back into Mass Effect 2... but i think it's the sign of a good game, that now i want to new game+ Mass Effect with my beefed up Super Shepard before heading into ME2. I most likely wont. That way lies madness.

World of Warcraft

Without planning it, it seems Friday has turned into WoW day. I played for a few more hours, mainly distracting myself levelling up my herbalism and alchemy professions to an adequete level before continuing questing. I'm level 12 now so i've started assigning talent points. I'm heading into the Fire tree (i thought about Arcane, but Fire seems safer as a levelling spec) and i must admit, it's great when you proc arcane missiles on a frost bolt and then crit your fire blast, and your enemy just drops. Yeah.

Grim Joggers

An iphone game. I've been meaning to pick this up ever since Andrew showed me his Appspy review. Also, seeing i used to review these things myself, i thought it might be fun to stick on top of iReleases™

This is a simple endless runner game where you have a gaggle of joggers who respond to your input at different times, and you have to jump and double jump to get them through an obstacle course of death. The longer you play, the more levels open up, and the final level is especially fun and deadly.

The way the joggers work reminds me a little of Lemmings 2: The Tribes, in that you could still complete the levels with only one lemming left (well some of them). The more joggers, the higher your score, but the game is easier on sole survivor mode (for a while).

I dunno if i'll buy a new one this week. We'll see if there's anything i wanna check out. ^^

Fallout 3

The Game of the Year edition has been sitting in my steam library fully loaded for a long long time. I finally decided to load up. Yeah... i've been sucked in. The whole aging sequence in the vault is a great introduction, and then when you step outside the first time, wow. This really is Fallout in a full fledged 3d world. I've only played about 5 - 6 hours so far, exploring some of the wasteland and helping out Megaton (i disarmed the bomb), but i can see that i'm gonna be playing this for a while (especially cause this version of the game has all the expansions).

I was complaining about how buggy the game was over the weekend and how it was crashing for me all the time. Turns out, a simple change to the ini file in regards to multi-core threading, and the game runs smooth as butter.

Final Thoughts

We'll see how long i last in Fallout 3. I've been doing some thinking on burning out on games. With RPGs (seeing as they're the main genre where the hours played are measured in groups of 10), my burnout point seems to be 20 hours in. It happened for Persona 4, it happened for FFXIII, it happened for Mass Effect 2 (Mass Effect's playtime on both plays was about 16 - 19 hours so that was ok).

Now part of me says all i need is a break of something else, but the problem is i never go back to the original game once i break. Now i've had this problem with other titles that aren't RPGs (Super Mario Galaxy 2 is on this list), and actually there are plenty of long RPGs i've completed (the longest being Xenogears clocking in at 80 hours or so), so perhaps it's a situational occurance. Still, i have noticed a pattern. Occum's razor says i just have selective ADD when it comes to playing videogames.

See ya next week, and happy gaming!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Monday Musings - 14 Feb 2011

Ok, let's try something new. I have a bunch of saved drafts on ideas to write about, each being about 1 or 2 paragraphs. They're probably not going to see the light of day. I need something regular so why don't i take this space and time to talk a little about some of the games i've been playing each week.

Mass Effect

I'm replaying the first one (which i find to be superior to its sequel, but perhaps that's a discussion for another day). The first time i played through this, i didn't do many side quests. I kind of just barreled through. This time i've been exploring all the planets and completing every task that crosses my path. I'm still playing a paragon (i just can't be an asshole in these games), and have already maxed out my charm, but we'll see if anything in the side quests changes my experience with the 2nd game.


I was invited back into the game by some friends on Steam, and i decided to try a Siren (my first playthrough i played a Hunter). The host of the game was level 20, so pretty much all the missions were off limits to me (i still got exp though). I was powerleveled to 14, and started a single player game to catch up storywise (and to get some elemental guns that were level appropriate).

I forgot how fun and beautiful the game is, especially with other people. It's a shame about the way the game handles multiplayer in relation to where people are in the plot (level 14 and i had to go through that intro bit with Claptrap).

Oh, one thing i've always loved about Borderlands is the way it relays story information either in a video or audio file in the top right corner. Basically, it doesn't halt the gameplay at all. A great feature that suits the run and gun style of gameplay.

World of Warcraft

I got the itch again and dove back in Friday. Thought i'd try a class i've never tried before (Mage) and thought i'd play through the opening Goblin areas. I now have a plucky female Goblin Mage named Plenky. I'm level 9 and am in the 2nd main area (on this island), and have been having a blast. Cataclysm does give you a greater sense that you're affecting the world through the narrative, especially with phasing landscapes.

We'll see how long i stick with the game this time :)


The latest game from Double Fine. The instant i heard about the concept a month or two ago (you play a small Matryoshka Doll who can hop in and take over dolls one size bigger than you), i knew i'd be buying the game. Well it dropped on Thursday here, and i bought it, and i'm loving it. The game has charm, character, great art & sound, and is just fun to play.

One thing i like is that every puzzle has multiple solutions... and right after you've solved it one way (and furthered the plot), you can instantly solve it another way for more unlockables and achievements. My sense of completion has compelled me to solve every puzzle every way so far (with liberal use of the in game hint system). There's also doll collection and hijinks (playing around with each doll's unique ability), but we'll see if i really care about 100% completion once i get to the end.

For $17.95 (AU), this has been the best game featuring a doll rescuing his siblings from child labour at the hands of an evil industrialist Baron set in a 1920s silent movie i've played!

Final Thoughts

Return every Monday and I shall be writing about my gaming experiences. I might be posting in the style of my old posts later on in the week if inspiration strikes, but at least Monday Musings will be consistant.

Happy Gaming all!