Sunday, April 24, 2011

Monday Musings - 25th Apr 2011

It's been a big week of gaming so let's crack open some musings.

Lord of the Rings Online

I'm now lvl 16 and am completing quests in Bree. There was something special about first entering the town, and getting to enter the Prancing Pony. I've been completing story quests for Strider. I even saw some Nazgul. The history of this world in its books and some well made films lends to the overall wonder of exploring, and feeling like you're affecting the world of Middle Earth.

There is another thing that LotRO has going for it - at least for now - and that is how overwhelming it is as a new MMO. What i mean is that when i first started playing WoW, i had no idea how it all worked. The world was beautiful and massive, and each town, and quest, and new ability was amazing and important. Looking into crafting and travelling to new areas, reading the lore, this was all exciting. After 6 years of playing the game, the shine kind of wore off. The game is no longer overwhelming because i know how everything works. Because of that, levelling is more of a by the numbers game than full immersion. Hmm, i don't think i've explained that as well as i wanted to. The point is that LotRO, i still don't know what i'm doing, and that makes it an exciting gameplay experience... for now.

Space Quest 1 - The Sarien Encounter

I played this for 20 mins. I still haven't made enough money at the slot machine. I've been getting some really bad luck. I may or may not try again this week.

It also doesn't help that there is a slot combination that can kill you. They really wanted this one to be difficult.

Final Fantasy XIII

This has been a rocky affair. The 2nd form of Barthandelus in chapter 11. I have fought him close to 10 times now with no success. After the first 3 - 5 defeats, i searched online forums and read pages of discussion about this boss. I changed up my entire strategy. Still to avail. This new strategy works, it's just that Barth is a very cheap boss that is capable of some nasty things. Mostly daze and fog, which can put your fighters and healers out of commission. He also has 3.3 million hit points, and at the 20 minute mark of the fight, he casts doom on your leader. Many times i'd wipe out 2/3 of his health and he'd manage to fog my healer, daze my leader, and then use his super laser attack, resulting in yet another game over.

So i did the unthinkable last night. I did something i said i wasn't going to do in this game, because it was tedious and boring. I went back to a farm spot and grinded till i maxed out the Crystarium for my 3 main characters. I caught up on episodes of the podcast Outside the Cinema while this happened.

So now i have a maxed party that is newly equipped (i changed around some weapons and accessories), and a new paradigm strategy. If i don't defeat this boss, i may just rage quit. I hope it doesn't come to this. I have read that this guy is one of the most annoying bosses in the game so if i can beat him, i feel good about plowing through to the end.

Portal 2

This was the big release this last week. The game that everyone's been talking about. The game that everyone's been playing. I would not have purchased it as $50 is a little steep for my liking, but my good friend Roo gifted me it over Steam as an early birthday present (my birthday is tomorrow). I have to say, this game is... well it is gaming excellence.

Between the writing, the pacing, the delivery, and the superb gameplay mechanics, i've been having a blast. The puzzle rooms have some really clever additions, and upon solving a few of them, i felt like an intellectual powerhouse. The characters and their delivery are great to listen to. I have laughed many times, and most of the time while i'm playing, i have a huge smile on my face, especially when a solution dawns on me.

I've been pacing myself with the single player (i reached the rooms introducing the gel last night), and i haven't even tried the co-op campaign yet, but in my opinion, Valve have released a winner. Whether it's a contender for Game of the Year, well there's a lot of year left, and some huge titles coming out. Time will tell.

Final Thoughts.

Speaking of Game of the Year, Portal 2 got me thinking about the year Portal came out, 2007. Now that was a year of gaming. Portal actually only made my #2 spot on the top 5 that year. Super Mario Galaxy defeated it for #1, and it just jumped ahead of Bioshock in #3. For those of you interested, #5 was Contra 4 for the DS, and #4 was Phoenix Wright (which had just been released in Australia that year).

This year we have LA Noire quickly approaching. We have Deus Ex 3 coming out later in the year. People are excited for Skyrim (i personally have not touched an Elder Scrolls game since i lost months to Morrowind). The Last Guardian could be coming out, Skyward Sword could be coming out. Hell, Mass Effect 3 is supposed to be coming out. Rumours out of Nintendo say that there might be a new 3DS Mario game before the end of the year (and some people think there might be a new console announcement too, but that's neither here nor there).

I'm excited about the indie scene as Journey, and The Witness might both be hitting this year (the previous games by both these developers are favourites of mine). I could go on. As i'm typing other titles keep popping into my head, and i can only enter in sentences in above paragraphs so many times before it becomes silly.

Needless to say 2011 is shaping up to be a big gaming year.

Till 2012, and till next week, happy gaming all!

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