Finished: The Unfinished Swan

GatewayOk, it’s been a while. Yes, this game doesn’t strictly belong here because it’s not on Steam. It was a very interesting experience though, so I wanted to say something about it.

The Unfinished Swan starts in a featureless white space, in which you have one ability: throwing a ball of black paint. It is the first, and possibly the most striking, of several different “throw stuff to explore your environment” mechanics that the game uses, and it’s every bit as interesting as it sounds.  I would give this game a strong recommendation to anyone who appreciates a different sort of exploration, a striking visual aesthetic, or a beautiful classical/synth soundtrack.  My only real criticism would be a fairly small length:price ratio.  Fifteen dollars isn’t very expensive, but then 2-3 hours isn’t very long.  Your mileage may vary.

As an aside, I first heard about this game through a “Games you might not have tried” segment on Extra Credits.  If you’re interested in the gaming industry and would like a developer/designer perspective, I suggest checking them out.

Finished: Bioshock Infinite

Property of Booker Dewitt, 7th Cavalry, Wounded KneeAbsolutely fantastic, from start to finish.  The visuals and atmosphere breathtaking, I found myself just standing around at the beginning listening to Will The Circle Be Unbroken for a while before moving on.

I have to say though, aside from being massive racists (not entirely unexpected in 1912) I found the people of Columbia fairly likable, and felt pretty bad about how probably most all of them had their lives ruined at some point in this game.*

Elizabeth not being a massive liability was a nice change from other games that pair you with an AI companion that you are ostensibly protecting.  If anything having her around makes things substantially easier, what with all the ammo, health, and salts she keeps finding.

My only complaint is the same tried and true complaint for any excellent game.  I just wish there was more.

*Spoiler-ish: Though given how the game ended, I suppose the argument could be made that none of them were ever there in the first place.

Finished: Skyrim + 1

Take Elder Scroll

It is done, Alduin is defeated and Tamriel is safe.  Ish.  Sort of.  If you don’t worry about all the side quests and DLC I didn’t do.

It was fun, I enjoyed it.  With a few mods installed the game looked fantastic.  I don’t really have a lot to say about Skyrim that hasn’t already been said though, so I’ll leave it at that.

Also, I finished Bulletstorm.  Turns out when I last played it I had stopped about 30 minutes from the end.  So there’s that.

Of Tombs and Dragons

Progress is slow.  I blame WoW’s 5.2 patch, and all its Thunder King shenanigans.

Still, slow is better than non-existent!  My progress in Skyrim is steady, if somewhat meandering.  My Dovakiin is level 25 now.  I’ve been doing a lot of wandering/side-quests.  Have to say, did not expect time travel.  If that’s a spoiler, too bad.  You should’ve played it sooner.

LaraMy Tomb Raider pre-order also activated this past week.  I’ve been poking at it a little, though more time is going into both WoW and Skyrim.  Have to say I’m quite liking it so far.  I had never played a Tomb Raider game before, and picked this one up based on the fact that I enjoyed the Uncharted games quite a bit.  In a nutshell, the game looks amazing, and plays well, but it is somewhat buggy.  There are a number of crash bugs, and the TressFX hair seems to still have a few kinks that need to be worked out.  Still, well worth playing, so far!

Retrospective: Sleeping Dogs

While I was away I was gifted Sleeping Dogs and quite enjoyed my time with it.  It was like GTA, but without all the silly adolescent pandering and with a much much better combat system.

Sleeping DogsOne thing this game did a great job of was in making you attached to characters. Characters that you only just met become important to you very quickly, and it just becomes that much more poignant when Bad Things™ happen to them.

If you’re a fan of GTA you owe it to yourself to try out this much improved take on the formula. If you’re not, but like the idea of the setting or the whole Hong Kong cop/Triad member story, I recommend it doubly so.

…there’s this one off-ramp on the high way though where the geometry of the guard raid can catch your car and bring it instantly to a stop. I was propelled through my windshield on at least three occasions when I got snagged by it. Be warned.

On Hiatus

Well, the new WoW expansion has eaten up a lot of the time I would spend playing other games.  Rather than just leave this dangling I will officially put this blog on hiatus until I lose interest in pandas.  So long, but not good bye!

Finished: XCOM Enemy Unknown

…on Normal, non-ironman. Which hardly counts, but I’m still posting it here and striking it from the list!

I look forward to the crushing difficulty of the higher levels on ironman.  I can’t stress enough how good this game is if you’re a fan of turn-based tactical games.

Next game will be something older, in the interest of actually making progress, I promise!

Two possibilities exist…

…that I will play XCOM, or that I will play WoW. Each is equally a time sink.

I’m absolutely loving XCOM: Enemy Unknown.  WoW:MoP is a begrudging second choice at the moment as I combat the alien invasion of Earth.

I wouldn’t say it’s identical to the original in terms of game play.  Quite a bit has changed in fact, but the spirit of the game remains the same.  A secret para-military organisation commissioned to defend the world from alien invaders.  You need to build a squad, salvage and research alien tech, replace fallen squad members, and stage a counterattack, all while keeping global panic at manageable levels to maintain your funding.  Almost all of the original gameplay elements are there, with the notable exception of having to fend off alien attacks against your own base, an unfortunate exclusion that the developers themselves explained and apologised in advance for.

Lots of fun, and very satisfying.  I will definitely be playing through this one multiple times and on higher difficulties.

R.I.P. Major Ahmed “Atlas” Mansoor – You carried the world and your squad

Retrospective: Beyond Good & Evil

I can’t say enough good about this game.  The characters are fun, the game looks great for its age, and the story is good enough to keep you interested.  An excellent choice if you have a few hours to kill and want a zelda-ish adventure game to explore.  Taking pictures of the surrounding fauna is much more entertaining than it appears on the surface as well!

I suppose I should write something up here about a game I didn’t like at some point… coming soon!