So I promised some kind of write-up on games I am playing/have been playing and whatnot. I think it’s time to lay down some 411, if’n you know what I mean. (Well, if not actual information, then a bunch of opinions that may or may not mean jack or squat to some of you reading along, but that’s good enough for me.) Regardless, ONWARD!
This is the “no brainer, no shit” game on the list because pretty much every gamer I know is playing Diablo. I don’t have the Diablo background most folks have; I didn’t play D2 until my eyeballs fell out, so I don’t have the compare/contrast of D2s greatness to contend with. That translates to this being a new and amazing experience for me. Sort of. Let me say this up front – I /love/ this game. I really do. I’ve sunk a lot of hours into it (if you can’t tell):
I’m done with act one Inferno and my damage is capping out near 31,000 at the moment. This is all good stuff! Except . . . well. I’ve played this game before, or one very much like it. It was called Gauntlet. Seriously, this reminds me of Gauntlet except with cool-ass graphics and a more customizable set of six talents. That’s not a bad thing, but no one’s exactly reinventing the wheel here, and for all that Diablo apparently has nigh-legendary replayability, I’m not sure how long it’ll hold me. I’m messing around with a baby monk when I’m not playing my demonhunter, and that’s entertaining me, but there are only so many packs of molten mobs I can kite around and plink at in circles before I want to pull my hair out. It’d be nice to play a class that can just stand there and FIGHT something sometimes, so . . . maybe the monk will be the answer. We’ll see.
Welp. It’s pretty! And it uhh. It . . . it’s really pretty! Oh, and its combat is sorta different. Kinda. Maybe. Okay look. This LOOKS like Aion. This plays like WoW (the quests do anyway.) Tera’s comported itself as a step up because its combat system is different, and I buy into that to a point. You can miss heals, for example, because you have to click and target spells either on a character or on the ground. You can also make combos out of abilities, which sounded good until I realized I could space-bar-cheese an entire rotation. As in I set my combos up so that A ability combos to B ability which combos to C, D, and then back to A. And all I have to do to make max deeps is press spacebar harder. Over and over again. And aim with my mouse. For a “step up” on combat, it sure does simplify it to a fault. I remember back in the day the reason I didn’t like FFXIII was because of this same mechanic – it got so simple, I didn’t feel like I was playing a game anymore. You could program your characters to do anything at the push of a button, so the point of actually playing got lost to the ease of the combat management. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. The game needs to engage mah brainz to hold me and . . . well. It’s pretty so it’s engaging for now, but I don’t see that sustaining me.
(Also, one thing to add about the pretty? The way the characters look and dress. At least this game is consistent with its “sexualized exploitation of the genders.” Men look just as slutty and “Fantasy Calvin Klein” as the girls. Worth noting especially is if you play a Castanic female, you will literally be staring at her panty-clad ass the entire game experience. She’s always stooped over as she runs and you can stare right up her butt. Which, at least it’s a nice butt, but it is a little disconcerting.)
Guild Wars 2 (Beta)
This could, out of all of the games I’ve toyed with the last few weeks, be my favorite. It’s gorgeous to look at (and your character is actually wearing clothes, which seems to be a novel concept these days), the combat is really fun if not a little difficult, and the quests seem engaging and well-written. It’s not, “Collect six kobold scalps and do it over and over again until your eyes bleed.” I didn’t play the first GW, so I went into this blank slate, and I was pretty pleased with what I saw. The problem was, I didn’t see a whole lot. Why? The beta wasn’t quite ripe yet. It was the really green banana in the bunch. There was massive lag, and through some weird glitch in the system, you couldn’t actually play with your friends – you were always put on shard realms apart from one another. I found it a little disappointing, but it whetted my thirst for the next beta weekend which I think is next week.
A couple notes from what I did play, though:
1) Casters get to move while they cast. HALLE-FUCKING-LUJAH. In fact, you /have/ to move. If you stand still in this game and try to kill stuff, it will very likely eat your face off. You need to be engaged and paying attention, or that level three monster will maul your level three toon’s face. Interesting that equal-level mobs are an actual threat here. So, if you were one of those people that went into WoW and stood in the fire, you will hate GW2. You need to be positionally aware at all times.
2) Having difficult mobs does mean that trying to kill stuff a couple level highers than you will likely go poorly. As in, you’ll get deaded fast.
3) There are a lot of cut-scene/instanced quests within storylines, but you can haul friends in with you so they can play along, too. It’s not like WoW where cut scenes can screw up your party.
4) My friend Crystal is a map designer for the company. Instant cool points.
What I’m Looking Forward To
More GW2 (obviously) and more Portal, funny enough. It was $7.99 on Steam so I caved and picked it up. I’m absolutely terrible at it, as I don’t have the type of brain to do this solo, but I’ve been goofing off with a friend in co-op and that’s been a blast. Glados is mean (and as an aside, I’m too sick to go to a concert with my friends tonight to see Jonathan Coulton. I’m having a major sad right now.) I’m contemplating taking a stab at Skyrim again, and I was deeee-lighted to hear that they’ve got an Elder Scrolls MMO in the works. If it’s up to the quality of the other games in the series, it could have a huge fan-following. I toyed with the idea of scooping Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning buuuuut then they sorta flopped and laid off their entire staff and stuff got fishy there. Rather not support a fishy company even if the gameplay’s solid, thanks. There’s feedback post-38 studios collapse here, but I think I’ll be dodging that bullet.
Plus, let’s be honest – I need to do more writing lately. Games don’t help with that in the slightest. They’re a good way to keep my sick brain entertained, though!