Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday Musings 11th Apr 2011

Hello gamers. It's a beautiful day, let's get to some good ol' fashioned Monday Musings!

Final Fantasy XIII

Closing in on chapter 12. It turns out i was right about the tower. It was full of pointless busywork puzzles and there was a big boss at the end. A rather cheap boss too. Twice it destroyed me with one attack about two thirds into the fight. In any other RPG i would have been fine, but players of this game will know that when your party leader dies, it's game over. So here's what i did...

I switched my leader to Fang who acts as my sentinel. I basically spent the entire fight in defense mode and the boss went down without issue.

After that we reached the village of Fang and Vanille. There was what seemed to be a simple side quest, but one of the things i had to collect was guarded by a creature i shudder everytime i have to fight it. It's called a Vetala. It has immunity to physical attacks through a shield, has some really nasty spells, and doesn't seem to focus its attacks on a sentinel. When you stagger it, it doesn't stun, so a lot of your stagger time is spent healing from the nasty spells cast. This is made especially annoying because its shield goes down when staggered (only about half the time though), and attacking like crazy with a commando is the best way to widdle down its crazy amount of hp.

I have a feeling i've saved just before the end of chapter boss fight. More on that next week.

Dawn of War II

I love RTS games. I have since i discovered the genre with the original Command & Conquer and was blown away by this new take on the strategy genre. Confession time though, i suck at them. I have always sucked at them and they don't take long to lose my interest because of it. Nevertheless, i try to see what's new in the genre and one of the leaders in the last decade have been Relic.

I really enjoyed the first Dawn of War so when the sequel was super cheap one weekend on steam, i picked it up and let it download this week. I think my interest has been lost already, but damn if there aren't some really neat changes to the first game.

The overworld map seems to be standard fare with stage selection, but there is an RPG element to upgrading your units with experience, weapons, and armour. Gaining levels gives you points to unlock new abilities and improve your units. This leads into my favourite thing about this game. Each unit (well, squad) is a character with a decorated past. One of my favourite things about the Relic game Company of Heroes was that unlike any RTS i had played before, CoH made me feel guilty when any one of my squads was wiped out. It seems they've taken an extra step here, trying to grow greater attachment between the player and their units.

Aside from this great addition, the gameplay seemed a little stale to me. Set up behind cover, use abilities, suppress, march foward. Sure things are broken up by different tactics (with the abilities), and you have to keep an eye on battles cause most cover is destructable, but by the 3rd mission i was not engaged.

I also gave skirmish a go, mainly to try other races (the Eldar looked so awesome in the intro). You know that feeling of character and attachment i praised them for just two paragraphs ago? Well multiplayer pretty much destroys it (well i guess single player would have too). Basically base building destorys this feature. That really important ground squad led by the decorated veteran? Let's pump a few of those out. I shouldn't be shocked by this. I mean, a multiplayer match with just 5-8 squads / vehicles per side would probably lose its fun quickly. I guess that when i saw what they were doing with the squads, i instantly thought of the Commandos series. This is certainly nothing like the Commandos series.

GTA IV - Episodes from Liberty City

Aside from spending more time fooling around with my completed game of Lost and Damned, i started the Ballad of Gay Tony this week... and then went back to fooling around in my completed game of Lost and Damned. It's not due to any fault of the game (the characters are all fun, and i imagine things get more crazy), but at the moment, i just want to wreck havoc around Liberty City.

Also, i'm not a fan of being graded after every mission. It doesn't seem to gel well with the open world gameplay.

Lastly, I need to look into how to record longer video clips and how to control said recording. The automated system... well functional is not a good way to describe it.

Final Thoughts

Am i the only one that while playing through a longer game looks at a bunch of the other games they have and is tempted to just start something else? No? This could be why i never finish games. I dunno, i guess i'm a fan of the starts of games. Those first couple hours are more often than not designed to immerse the player and hook them in. It's just the longer a game goes, the less motivated i often get to return. That's usually why i play a few games at a time, so that while i'm playing something else, i can get the itch to continue all the other games on my plate. Readers of this blog will already notice that this method is only partially successful.

Case in point, while FFXIII has been going slowly, i'm constantly getting this itch to play Persona 4. While my Fallout 3 progress has dropped to a crawl, Mass Effect 2 is taunting me from my steam menu. While i should finish off Mario Galaxy 2, i'm looking at my virtual console and thinking about playing an old Zelda (LttP, OoT, or MM). Hell, i was THIS close to starting a game of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance on the Gamecube the other night.

It's a terrible affliction. :)

Have any thoughts on what's written here? Don't be afraid to drop a comment or two. We can have ourselves a discussion!

Till next week, Happy gaming all!

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