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Too many Games, too little time

Sorry for the slow few days around here.  We’ve actually been *gasp* playing games.

The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO launched two days ago, and I’m actually having more fun than I thought I would.  No that’s not an April Fool’s day psych-out.  I think it’s partially how we’re going about things.  Three days in we are still only level 8.  We are going really, really slow.  I long for the days when I could play 10 hours at a time — those are my weekends — but playing slow has helped avoid the burnout.  ESO is quest-heavy leveling.  The quests themselves are 85% boring and “go here do this” lead you by the nose stuff, but you don’t get lead one quest to the next — that’s part is less linear.  If I can actually get to 10, we’ll be able to PvP!  Stay tuned.

Live Streaming

We are making a serious push to stream more of the games we play and even upload to Youtube.  I got Graev a microphone, the new Playstation Gold headset, and a Live Gamer Portable.  He better stream or I’ll kick his butt.

Look for his streams every morning between 9am-12pm pacific time.  He’ll most likely be streaming a lot of Xbox One Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.  Then look for me to stream in the evenings.  Probably a lot of ESO and EQ Next Landmark.  You can find our stream on Twitch.tv or on our stream page here on the blog.  Be sure to follow us to know when we go live!

Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

Graev and I picked up RoS and started completely new characters.  We’re now on Act 5 and just (minor spoilers) beat Adra.  So far so good.  I think Diablo 3 has been patched for the better over the past year, especially in loot patch 2.0. The legendary loot drops are pretty sweet now that they have been tuned to give you pretty much a guaranteed drop every 2-3 hours.  Each boss you kill for the first time is also a guaranteed drop.  We’ll write up more formal thoughts once we finish the campaign and run some of the new Rift and Bounties.

It’s still, hard as it tries, not Diablo 2 .  Really fun though, and much improved.  Now that I think about it… D3 is probably awesome on consoles.  More on that in the D3 post to come.

So many games…

Aside from Diablo 3 and Elder Scrolls, I’m also enjoying the heck out of Landmark.  I claimed an awesome bit of open land where I’m going to build a a Harvest Moon style farm (pictures coming soon!).  It’s an awesome piece of property overlooking a lake and the ocean on a flat hilltop.  Man I love Landmark.  I’m also wanting to jump in and play more Albion Online, some original EverQuest, and Assassin’s Creed Black Flag.  Sheesh, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

inFamous Second Son

infamous-second-son

I just beat inFamous Second Son the other day and overall I enjoyed the experience even if there were some annoyances along the way. For those unfamiliar with the series, you play as a person with special powers in an open city environment. Along the way you make clear-cut moral decisions that give you either good or evil karma which determines how the story plays out and what kind of powers you can utilize.

Presentation

The game looks very good but not quite as good as some of the early footage we’ve seen. I don’t know what the framerate is exactly but it definitely didn’t feel stable. It really only seems to hit the low side during really large battles with a lot going on, especially if you activate your “kill everything on the screen” ability. Other than that I mostly experienced fluctuations on the higher end because I kept noticing sudden bursts of disorienting smoothness. That sounds stupid when I read it back but I don’t know how else to describe it. Personally I find that kind of thing jarring and really prefer a stable framerate.

The story takes place some time after the events of the first two games but doesn’t follow any of those characters. You play as a beanie-wearing and vest enthusiast who also likes to graffiti on the side. Along with having one of the most punchable faces I’ve seen he also sports a curiously stupid name: Delsin. It sounds like a dandruff shampoo and cold-medicine mash-up. I pretty much maintained that sentiment for a while before the game even came out. I later found out it is apparently a Native American name, which the character is, so cue white guilt and all that. At least until the character basically admits in a side conversation that his name is stupid and his mom got it from an old western movie. Now I don’t feel so bad. [Read more...]

Thief Disappointment

I played the original Thief games when I was younger and since then they have been the standard that all other stealth games get measured by. When I heard that a new Thief game was being made I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that it would be as good as the originals, but it looked interesting enough to try anyway. I’m not very far in the game yet, only up to chapter 3, but I have several things that I wanted to talk about.

Garrett the ThiefDifficulty Customization

Originally, I decided to try playing the game as they had designed it. I picked the hardest difficulty and left every other setting at default. I got all the way up to chapter three before I could no longer take such a patronizing experience. For some reason it seems devs think modern gamers are incredibly inept at playing games and require giant waypoint arrows, visual meters that show the alert level of guards, and special vision modes that make everything intractable light up like a Christmas tree. Fortunately the game allows you to customize the difficulty options in an attempt to make the game feel like the originals. You can disable anywhere saving, the aiming reticle, the focus vision mode, etc. So after turning on essentially every limitation and disabling waypoint arrows, and pretty much everything else, I started over. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that is still same about the game. Even though the focus vision mode is turned off you will still see climbable spots glowing with an offensive blue tint and even though the reticle is turned off objects will still highlight when you aim at them, which essentially is the same thing. [Read more...]

Tomb Raider: Fancy Hair Edition

Tomb-Raider-Definitive-EditionI recently picked up and beat Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for PS4. Having never played the original game I’m not entirely sure about the differences. Supposedly the graphics are much nicer and there are new skin lighting and hair physics or something like that. I don’t know the exact extent of all that was done but apparently it was enough to make it the “definitive” version of the game and it runs at 1080p and 60FPS. I don’t care so much about the 1080p part since my TV is only 720p but I guess the 60FPS is nice. Still, I find high frame rates to be a bit unnerving at times. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to playing PC games on my crappy computer and only getting like 15-20 FPS. I’ve never really been a frame snob like Keen.

So I figured I break down some of my favorite and least favorite aspects of the game.

+ The game play was actually pretty darn fun. It’s a third person shooter/action game that features a lot of environment traversal via jumping, climbing, rope sliding, and so on. The gun play felt nice and tight and I don’t have any real complaints in this regard.

+ You get a bow! Bows are cool! Every game should have a bow. Plus you can shoot rope arrows! Rope! On arrows! You’ll just have to trust in my enthusiasm. If you knew me then you might understand.

+ You can earn exp and purchase new abilities. Well, mostly passive abilities but still. You can get things that increase the salvage and exp you get or unlock abilities that make you a better killer. There are three different sections to choose from. Something like: Survival, Hunting, and… I’m blanking out. I think it’s weapon related. They aren’t really skill trees and you can pretty much choose anything you want to purchase aside from a few abilities which are linked, requiring a previous kill, and some abilities only unlock once you have purchased a certain number of skills.

+ Salvage can be used to upgrade your weapons, which is pretty awesome. You can increase stuff like damage, handling, and even add some new abilities to some like silencers, exploding arrows, fire shells, etc. Who doesn’t enjoy upgrading stuff? I wouldn’t care to know them!

+ The weapons are pretty cool. Aside from the bow you get an assault rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. As you upgrade them more and more you eventually get better versions of each. You also get a swanky climbing ax used for, well, climbing but you can also bury it into enemy skulls all sneaky like.

+ There are some optional tombs that you can raid (Oh, now I get it) which feature some pretty cool puzzles. I like puzzles and think all games should feature them. Why not, right? Keeps ya sharp!

+ There’s a lot of stuff to collect but fortunately it is made easier by some special glowy survival vision deal plus you can just find a map that shows the location of everything.

+ Fancy PS4 visuals plus it supposedly runs at 1080p 60FPS, if that’s your thing. [Read more...]

Keen’s Game of the Year 2013

AC4 Edward Kenway and CrewAssassin’s Creed 4 Black Flag is my absolute favorite game of 2013.  I had never played a single Assassin’s Creed game until Black Flag launched, and I wasn’t even looking forward to its release.  I picked it up on a whim as one of the few launch titles for the Playstation 4 that looked interesting.  I’ve always had a predilection for pirates, the 18th century, open-world settings, and secret orders like the Templars and Assassins.  AC4 and I are a match made in heaven.

[Read more...]