I have been busy the past few weeks, mainly with work, but a bit with games. Here’s the breakdown. It’s long:
After suffering through the simulated head trauma that was the storyline of The 3rd Birthday, I moved on to slaughter another childhood friend that I remembered fondly: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. Tactics Ogre, in return, let it be known that it wasn’t going to take none of that “nostalgia filter” guff from me and backhanded me across the room with its unrelenting difficulty.
As a pleasant change, it is just as difficult as I recall.
I’m sixty-five(?) hours in and almost done with Chapter Three (of four), following the Law route. There’s so much about this game that I love: the combat, the menus, the music, the classes. It’s everything that I loved about Final Fantasy Tactics and the original TO, cleaned up and given a beautiful, polished shine. It really makes the PSP release of FFT look like a steaming pile of dog vomit.
There’s a few downsides, of course, though it took me the better part of forty hours to find even one. The crafting system is poorly implemented and ridiculously tedious, the new class leveling system means lots of level grinding whenever I gain a new class, and there’s the fact that, without a guide, you can go the entire game without ever realizing how many potential unique unit recruits you missed.
But I’m still enjoying the game a great deal. Hopefully, I’ll have a review up in the next couple of weeks.
Other than TO, I’ve been puttering about in other games that require less brain-busting and stat-keeping.
I bought and finished Portal 2. It was a fun romp, both single-player and the little bit of Co-op that I played. But, oh my goodness, is the Steam engine showing its considerable age. I don’t think I’ve played a game with that much loading, on any system, for a good long while. I also picked up Witcher 2, which I haven’t played because I re-started Witcher 1 to get a save file, which I’m now not playing because I bought the Witcher novels. It’s Witcher overload!
Minecraft continues to tickle my fancy whenever I’m not paying attention to what I should be doing, snaking its tendrils into my brain more insidiously than TvTropes. I’ve started over half a dozen times, including a fresh new world with the latest 1.6 update. Prior to the update I messed around with mods for the first time, and found a farming mod that added a bunch of fruit trees and new crops, so now I’ve got the idea to recreate the villages from the Harvest Moon series in my world. I should probably take some pictures or a video or something for any folks interested, but my brain has been drawing a blank creatively as of late.
Starcraft II is played every so often. I’m still ranked Gold in the second season, and seem to be doing pretty decently. Zerg is still my weakest race by far, both playing as and against, and I’m all around bad at maintaining macro when I go on the offense, but I think that if I really tried and practice I could be a higher rank, perhaps even Diamond. But then that would mean less Minecraft. Decisions.
I haven’t touched a console (other than my PSP) since pre-PAX, so with a bit of boredom and general crankiness spurring me on, I finally sat down and played through Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light over the Memorial Day weekend, which I bought last year and had been holding off on for a Let’s Play with Greg that hasn’t happened yet. I love the game: it’s short, sweet, and explosive, and I really loved the final boss encounter.
Against my better judgment, I picked up Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale for Live. While I still can’t believe somebody took the ultimate turn-based tactical RPG and turned it into a hack-and-slash, I at least hoped it tickled the part of me that loved the Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance games. And it does. Kind of. Mostly, though, for a game that costs the same amount as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, I was disappointed by the sluggish controls, the poor targeting, the bland characters, and the lack of voice acting. It might be fun with more people, but the game didn’t grab me in the ninety minutes I’ve already spent with it, and I think I’m going to chalk that one up to just a bad purchase decision.
Speaking of co-op, I got to play more Monster Hunter Tri with a couple of GameCritics.com pals. I would personally like to thank Red Bull for making gaming even semi-competently at two in the morning possible. I suppose I should finish my grinding for my Guild Armor, so expect an extraordinarily bad video of an Urugaan fight on my Youtube channel soon.
And that leaves me with Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, a game that I’ve been anticipating for a while but has somehow not had any coverage, much to the surprise of a few reviewers out there. For people wondering what the heck this game is like: imagine a fantasy version of Gears of War, with just a little bit less polish, a whole lot more exposed flesh (E’lara, our boobtastic elven female, is basically wearing strips of fabric, while Caddoc, our burly human male, is rocking the tight pants and no shirt), and Lucy Lawless telling me to go do quests in a super sultry voice.
Well, as Dragon Age, Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, and Fallout 3 have proven, when a celebrity voice actor tells me to go do a quest, I say, “YOU BET, SIR!” (Or not even a celebrity, as I pre-ordered Catherine the instant I saw Michelle Ruff played one of the Catherines. <3 Michelle )
I’m playing through the Campaign, primarily as Caddoc, by myself (Greg and I are planning a Let’s Play), and I’m enjoying a good deal of it. It’s light fun, yet at the same time this game has some pretty heft meat on its bones, as I’m only up to Chapter Three after two nights of play- there’s definitely enough campaign here to make it worth my money. I agree with Gabe’s assertion yesterday: compared to what I’ve been playing recently, Hunted is most definitely a palate cleanser.
Which is good, because I can use some cleaning out before inFamous 2 next week!
Wait, that doesn’t sound good…
PS: You should totally pre-order Catherine and Dark Souls