Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Musings - 27th June 2011

The musings are a little late today as i have been spending the last couple days trying to get my other website up and running on a new server. I'd link it here, but it's not up at the moment... so let's talk about vidya games!

Civilization 5

2 nights on one campaign leads to a diplomatic victory with Suleiman of the Ottomans. I spent the first night conquering all the other civs on my island. Germany was right on my borders so they had to go. Then Persia was getting snippy so i braved the harsh mountain passes and kicked them out of history. By this time Genghis Khan was denouncing me and had placed a city right on my borders so after a war that lasted a couple hundred years, i made peace with Genghis after i had conquered all but one of his cities. At this time, the only civ left on my island was Egypt. They had always been friendly towards me, but by this time i had a huge army and thought it best to make sure they wouldn't make trouble in the future.

At this point i owned about 15 cities, 14 of which were puppet states. Through trade routes and workers, i was turning quite a profit, but food and happiness were a worry so i started buying up all the maritime city states (around this time i thought about a cultural victory so started buying up the culture city states as well). I already was ally of the military ones because of my wars.

The other island consisted of Arabia, France, and England. The latter two were kind of snippy but even though England threatened me and has quite a few vessels around my island, Elizabeth never went through with war.

After that is was a race to see which victory i'd get first. I had so much culture coming in that when i built the UN and voted for world leader, i was one policy away from the Utopia project. I had researched the Apollo Program but hadn't built any of the ship parts (although tech wise i was very close to researching the mysterious future tech). All in all, an excellent game of Civ this week. I might bump myself up to King difficulty next round.

Pokemon White

My friend Barrett borrowed my DS a couple months back with the intent of buying the latest pokemon, and then lending me the game along with my DS back when he was finished. He gave it back Monday.

Tuesday night i loaded up the game to give it a try. Turns out you can't write over a saved game unless you delete said save game from the menu screen. I wasted an hour and didn't return to the game till later in the week.

Now i'm much further than an hour in and i am liking how things are working so far. The idea of starting with two friends, the communicator keeping in touch with the characters, an actual philosophy behind the villains, so far so good. I also like the emphasis on the rock-paper-scissors style of the starting types. So much so that the first gym leader is determined by whatever starting pokemon you picked (although if you explored a little you'll find a character who will give you the pokemon that is strong against the pokemon type your pick is weak to... that made sense didn't it?).

I picked Snivy. I have never chosen a grass type before but it's the only pokemon out of the starting three that didn't look silly to me. So i have a badge, a couple pokemon i'm happy to level thus far and have just fought a daycare full of small child trainers. Boy do i feel good about that! Whether i stick with the game is up in the air, but so far i'm enjoying the ride.

Metal Gear Solid 4

Played through Act 3 and am in the middle of Act 4. I'm reluctant to talk too much about what's going on cause even the little i've let loose so far i feel has been close to spoiler territory. Let me say that Act 3 had an amazingly epic ending, and Act 4 takes you back to Shadow Moses Island (complete with a flashback to some MGS1 gameplay).

What i love about that bit is it not only shows you how well the core mechanics of the franchise have held up (the graphics aren't that bad either), but all the great control improvements that have been made through the titles.

I'd also like to speak a little about Drebin's shop. a really neat idea to make the game more action based (and i imagine it was implemented to make the game appeal more to western audiences), but as i only use guns for the boss fights (well, just the robotic parts of the boss fights), and i use my tranq gun for everything else, it feels kind of extraneous. Still, it's a no hassle way to buy ammo. I just wish i could buy rations through it. I am running low.

Super Meat Boy

It's been a while. I loaded up the game to take on Dr. Fetus. My skills had atrophied. I sucked! Fine, i said, i'll go back and play some dark world levels from world 1. My skills had atrophied! I sucked!!

I was saddened as i quit.

Final Thoughts

I was down on E3 this year, but you know, sometimes it takes the right angle or a nod in the right direction to make you excited about upcoming game releases. Last night i was watching some of Spoony's E3 impressions (mainly going there to check out his quite amusing Xcom rant), and after watching some more of his impressions, i checked out videos for a couple games that i'd like to play.

First off i checked out a gameplay video for Final Fantasy XIII Versus. The lid has been quite tight on this title for a while and i've never seen any videos of it. Well there was a 7 minute trailer that had some CGI, some dialogue (in Japanese only), and some gameplay. The CGI blew my mind, but i've always been of the opinion that Square-Enix does the best CGI cutscenes out of Japan (In the west, i give that honour to Blizzard). The gameplay looked like Kingdom Hearts, so this is gonna be an action RPG. Now i've never been the biggest fan of the action RPG genre, but it looked fluid, strategic, and intense.

What i could discern from the plot was perhaps a character based story with a romance angle set in a city, and some sort of power struggle. My ear for japanese is pretty much non-existent. Still, this has the potential to be a good RPG.

I'm also a lot more interested in Catherine now. All i knew about the game before was that it's a new Atlus game that's not Persona 5. It turns out it's a puzzle game with a narrative. Hey, it worked for Portal. Block puzzles to be precise, and the narrative seems to be about dream states and relationships. I'll be keeping an eye on when the localized version comes out.

I mean some of the big games like Arkham City, and Uncharted 3, of course i'm going to play them. I just can't get excited about them anymore. It was good to find a couple other titles that light that "ooo, i wanna play that" fire under me. Stupid media over-saturation.

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