Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Musings - 16th May 2011

Hey there folks. Musings are a little late today as i am have been summoned to the municipal house of justice. Yeah, i got Jury Duty, but enough about non game related things, let's talk about game related things.

Final Fantasy XIII

Only played about 30 mins this week. Making my way through the streets of Eden attacking crazy creatures. I gotta tell you, now that i unlocked the haste spell with Hope, some of those super crazy battles are more of a breeze. Lightning has a couple speed and ATB boosting accessories so i only have to wait a second or so after attacking before her ATB bar is full again. Makes things go nice and smoothly. Also (and i don't know why i didn't do this earlier), having Fang act as a sentinel in my buffing and healing paradigms makes things go a lot more smoothly. The best paradigm i have to get stagger happening is still Ravager/Saboteur/Ravager. Especially with all my current abilities unlocked, haste, and Lightning's speed.

It's funny now that the battle system is finally opening up (and i really do think it's a fantastic battle system), i'm starting to tire of playing the game. I know i'm almost to the end so will push through, but i think a lot of critics of the game would have been a lot more forgiving if the battle system had opened up a lot earlier (i mean a lot earlier).

Lord of the Rings Online

It's probably good that i didn't reactivate my WoW account when i got the itch last week, because i've all but given up playing this free MMO. I logged in Tuesday, did some quests, died on a quest, shrugged, and logged off. I dunno, it just seemed pointless. At least it didn't cost me $15 to realise i have MMO fatigue this time.

Gravity Bone

This is an indie game... well it's like a prototype/demo for a game. It's 2 levels and you play a secret agent charged with a task and a couple tools to complete that task. It's got a unique aesthetic to it but at least on my PC, it crashed an awful lot, and i must say, until the end sequence of the 2nd level, i didn't think much of it. That end sequence though turns it into something special (in my humble opinion), and it's worth a play. It can be downloaded here

Elephant Quest

Gravity Bone made me curious to search out other titles that might be popular in the indie scene so it happened that at 2am on Friday morning, i found Elephant Quest. I played Elephant Quest until i completed it (and then in my sleepy state considered trying new game+). It's quite a basic game, but i think it does what it does well enough to hook players and keep them playing. It's got metroidvania exploration, an RPG upgrade system (a stat grid and upgradable abilities), and combat is as basic as holding down the mouse button.

The plot and quests are laughable (your brother stole your hat), but it reminded me of an old funny saying, "If the numbers go up, it means you're having more fun". This game speaks to that... and it's short enough that it doesn't overstay its welcome. It can be played here.

Civilization 5

Started a new game on Friday night, waiting for friends to finish watching Eurovision so we could go out for pancakes. I forced myself to quit around turn 55 as it was almost time to go. I played around with some of the options, bumped the difficulty up a couple notches and tried a new civ (going with the arabs this time). I'm starting to get a better sense of strategic placement and what buildings and units to build for what purpose (for squashing barbarians, you cannot beat horsemen), and already my game is more interesting diplomatically.

Play will commence when i wish to lose another evening.

Final Thoughts

Elephant Quest brought up an interesting thought. I wish more games could be completed in one sitting. Maybe it's cause it's rare for a game to hold my interest, or at least for me to want to continue playing it without actually having to force myself to load it up. Portal 2 is this way. I love the game when i'm playing it, but i never play long and it's always a bit of an oomph to open steam and press play. Portal i completed in one sitting. Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain i completed in technically one sitting (i stopped for food and sleep).

In the case of the quantic dream games, it's because the story has immersed me (and Portal as well i guess), but there must be something else. The game mechanics don't overstay their welcome or at least enough is changed that i'm not getting antsy with playing the game. I had no problem loading up Mass Effect (hell, i played through the game twice). Prince of Persia: Sands of Time is one of my favourite games. I can play that over and over again... and i think the combat is seriously flawed and overplayed. I've talked about this before and i will probably mention it many more times, but i am in search of that elusive immersive quality that seems to defy perimeters for me (at least as far as i can judge).

What made Super Mario Galaxy so fun to play, but made me tire quickly of the sequel? Why do i find Deadly Premonition so entertaining when it's so horrible? Why don't ducks have thumbs? Bah. I'll continue to ponder this line of thinking as i continue to play games. The ones i enjoy overall or at least stick with are worth examining further. We shall see what comes of it.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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