Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Musings - 5th March, 2012

It's March! March Musings! What does this mean? Nothing! Well except that summer is technically over. Let the cooldown commence (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease). Let us muse.

Borderlands (PC)

It's amazing how many times you can play something and actually miss what was most likely the strategy the developers had in mind for that situation. For instance i had my fight with Mothrakk on this character. Usually i light the torches and high-tail it to the nearest cover, where then a fight ensues that lasts forever and a day. This time the cover i ran to was a 'catch-a-ride'. A bright idea occurred. "Hey wait a minute. Why don't i spawn a machine gun car, lock on to Mothrakk and hold the fire button down as i zoom across the landscape?" Wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm! Sadly when he fell nothing of value was dropped. It felt very anti-climactic.

One downside of a system that relies on random weapon generation to create an almost limitless amount of loot to collect is actually finding something good that's level appropriate. I don't just mean not letting go of a gun as you level because of a couple perks it has on it, but also buying an amazing special bargain from the vending machine only to have the gun or shield be a couple levels ahead of your grasp. Being a Siren kind of negates this problem as the gun itself is not as important as the level of elemental damage it can do, and what type of elemental damage that is. Still i find myself drawn to the arsenal i used on my Hunter; sniper rifles and revolvers. I do like my SMG that sets people on fire however, and the electric shotgun is great for dealing with hordes of Rakks.

Reaching New Haven always felt like a nice accomplishment as you now had a hub to set out to finish the rest of the game. The problem is that i forget how much the game expands after New Haven, especially if you're running a lot of the side quests. Oh well, defeating Krom is the next tick on my to-do list and if i remember, there wasn't too much more after that. Then DLC!

Dear Esther (PC)

The video review of this over at Gametrailers had me spending $10 almost immediately to purchase this off Steam. I sung its praises over Twitter (as the game only took an hour to complete), but it hit a certain sweet spot for this gamer. Some people play games for their sense of exploration. I'd go as far as to say that's a big reason Skyrim has been such a success. To have this majestic world in front of you to traverse and come to terms with seems to speak to our core as humans, and since there are only a few places on the planet we haven't explored (and as not all of us are cut out for real life adventuring), videogames present an amazing opportunity to explore what's in our DNA (pun!)

Dear Esther is pretty tiny compared to a Skyrim but greatly intriguing nonetheless. You are on an island. A blinking light on a tower in the distance beckons you. You'll explore caves, beaches, grasslands, creaks, and it's all breathtaking, creating a sense of immersion coupled with the sound design. The gameplay is mainly exploration. You can walk. That's all. It's your job to explore, and try and reach the light. As you walk, a voiceover narrates pieces of a diary (most likely yours). These pieces are apparently randomized on each playthough so the other part of the game is piecing together the narrative. From the one playthrough i have a good sense of what everything that transpires is about, but i will be playing again to fill in some gaps (and to try out some other pathways i skipped the first time around).

Not a bad start to the gaming year, as this is the first release of 2012 i've played (i'm still playing catch up and getting distracted on getting through all of last year's games). Yes i know it technically doesn't count as it's just a spruce up of an old HL2 mod, but while i've always mentioned technicalities, i've never felt limited by them. So there!

Final Thoughts

I would have played another 2012 release over the weekend but region locking decided that was not to be. If you live in the US, you may know that Journey was released. The 3rd of March i believe. I was super excited! As i've said before, it's my most anticipated game of this year. I've been waiting for it ever since i played Flower and wondered what that team was gonna do next. Well suffice to say here in Australia it didn't drop on March 3rd. Nope. Best i can tell, we're gonna get it March 13th.

"Now Dave", i hear you say, "You can't wait a couple extra weeks?" Well in this case a couple weeks is not that bad, but i think this being a digital download title, not having a world release (well at least in English speaking countries) is pretty inexcusable. That and a lot of other releases can take up to half a year or more to hit PAL territories. I've railed against this problem before but not getting to play an awesome game while other people are getting to play it really saddens me.

I don't really have a point, just using the Final Thoughts this week to vent. I hope all you Americans who are playing Journey are enjoying it. I will pout and fume and join you soon.

Till next week, happy gaming all!

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