Monday, January 15, 2018

Weekend Recap 1/12-14

The Weekend Recap is a post where I recap my gaming and other various happenings from the weekend. I don't know about you but I always consider Friday evening as part of the weekend!

Homefront The Revolution - What an annoying game this turned out to be. The game starts off with a bang, and the initial hour or so is actually pretty good. Once you get into the open world, however, the game begins to head towards the chore type of gameplay.

The story has some terrible pacing issues. There were a couple of times I thought I was done, but the game just dragged on and on. It's honestly about 5-7 hours too long. The gameplay becomes a chore as well; each zone you are assaulting control points, sabotaging various items or finding radios to raise the resistance level to 100% in order to progress the story.

The gunplay wants you to be more tactical, but once the enemy is aware of your presence you'll be hounded by endless waves of KPA ala Call of Duty style till you run away and lower the alert meter. Another annoyance is how the KPA are able to spot you so easily making stealth a massive chore at times.

Did I like the game? Kind of. I did play through the DLC on Saturday even though the main game left me annoyed. I even went back and tried to get some easy achievements because that's how I roll. Two pieces of DLC, Aftermath and Beyond the Wall, are great. It's honestly what Homefront The Revolution should have been like and not some open world mess. Both are much more linear and focused, have far more interesting characters, the character you play Ethan Brady has an actual voice. Beyond the Wall, I thought, satisfying ending for both your character and the game.

I bought this game on the cheap during the holiday, it's the only way I would recommend this one.

UFC 2 (XB1) - I played a boatload of this game on Saturday and Sunday. One area I struggle with in this game is the ground game. I spent some time watching Youtube videos to learn how to better my grappling offense and defense. I like this game...most of the time. The striking gameplay is super fun, but the grappling is where UFC 2 really breaks down. I've only played against computer opponents, but the AI is so hyper-aggressive and you lose stamina so much faster than the AI does, couple that with such a small window of time to defend while on in a clinch or on the ground and you've got yourself a heap of frustration.

Blade of Darkness - This is an older game that I bought on GOG ages ago before it was removed. I loved this game back when it first game out. This is one of the very few games I still have a pirated copy of from when I worked at Gamestop back when I used to do dirty pirate kind of things.

You may see this game being referenced as Dark Souls before there was Dark Souls. And it's true. I am not a fan of the Souls games, but the insane amount of gore is why I love Blade of Darkness. It's old, takes some work to get running sometimes, the controls are awful and the story is nothing. It's not really that great of a game. But for the time it was pretty with some of the best lighting and water effects, four different playable characters that each specialize in different weaponry, and you can cut the head off an enemy and then use it to beat down another enemy. What's there not to love?

I can't remember how far I played through the game before, but I've had this installed on my computer for a while now. So I messed around with the keyboard controls to make it as modern as possible and spent the better part of 5 hours playing on Sunday. Again, it's not a great game, but there's just enough combat to keep me engrossed enough to want to play more.

Well that was my weekend - video games and the NFL playoffs.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Obligatory "What Are We Playing This Weekend" Post

Ah yes, the weekend - the time for relaxation, the NFL playoffs and of course, video games. While I do game during the weekday evenings, I find the majority of my gaming can be on the weekends if I have nothing else going on. Being a homebody type of person I often don't have anything else going on.

First on the list is Homefront The Revolution. I started playing this game at the beginning of the week and should actually finish it tonight. Thank goodness. It's a pretty game, but after the first few hours it becomes quite tedious. The gun play can't decide if it wants to be Arma or Call of Duty, it's pretty frustrating at times.

Also on the list will be a few multiplayer games - Mechwarrior Online and Elder Scrolls Online. I decided to give ESO a fair chance and even subbed for a month. It's not a bad game, there are things to like with ESO, but every time I'm playing I can't help but get a feeling that I would rather be playing any of the single-player Elder Scrolls games. The class system in ESO really drives me crazy which doesn't help.

I haven't played much MWO the past couple of weeks thanks to playing through some of the games I picked up on sale during the Holiday. It's my go to game when I'm in between single-player games, and probably one of the very, very few competitive multiplayer games that I am half-way decent at playing.

Hitman is probably on the list as well, we shall see. I love this game so freaking much, it's the best game in the franchise hands down. Of all the games I've played in 2017, Hitman was by far the best and my most favorite. One feature of the game is the Elusive Targets - special targets unrelated to the story that you are tasked with removing their life played out on the various levels that you play through during the story. I missed the Elusive Targets the first time, but in November IOI decided to bring them back to which I am grateful. Any reason to play Hitman is a good reason for me!

There very well may be a chance I'll play some SWTOR, or SW: Battlefront 2 on Xbox with a buddy, or even some Path of Exile during the football games depending on how out of hand they become. I'm also going to be deciding which single-player game that I'm going to want to start next. I'm thinking it's going to be Quantum Break, another game I picked up during the Holidays.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Let 2018 Begin!

Last week I wrote about not doing New Year's resolutions, yet all week I kept thinking about what I want to do this year with regards to gaming. 2017 for me was an up and down year for gaming. On one hand I finally made a backlog list, I finished or retired a number of games, and I purchased far fewer games than years past. All great things.

However, I spent a lot of the year handcuffed by the overwhelming feeling of needing to thin out the backlog. I've had these types of dry spells as I like to call them many times. What ends up happening is I will sit and ponder what to play, then just play something multiplayer because I can't decide what to play.

I've said before that gaming should be fun and not feel like work, but dealing with this massive backlog has felt like work to me throughout the year. My resolution last year was to not buy as many games in 2017 as I have done in years past. I'm proud to say I have done that. For the year 2018 I want to buy even fewer games, easier said than done but I think it can happen.

Another resolution that I had last year was to only buy a game I knew I was going to play. I did pretty well with that one in 2017. Most of the games I purchased in 2017 I have played either to completion or retired because they stink. During the Holiday sales I picked up the Sniper Ghost Warrior bundle. I've already finished both Ghost Warrior 1 & 2! I knew both games were super short so knowing that I decided that it was worth the $3.50.

I also picked up Homefront The Revolution. I decided to replay the first Homefront, which only took just over 4 hours, and am now about 5 hours into the newest Homefront. I also picked up Just Cause 3 but I'll end up waiting a bit before diving into that one. It was super cheap and I don't think it'll be cheaper for a long while.

So in a nutshell my 2018 gaming resolutions remain the same as last year: purchase fewer games, play the ones I do buy, and continue to play through the games I do own.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Time For Resolutions

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, never have been. I am, however, into starting new habits if they are for the betterment of one's self. One habit that I really want to get back into is writing and blogging. I do enjoy writing, but as evidence of this blog I have done very little of it over the past few years.

So for the year 2018 I think I am going to get back into the habit of writing, whether it be something big or small. My goal is to blog as often as I can, and to learn and grow as a writer.

Well, the die is cast. Here's to 2018 and to more writing!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Happy Late Anniversary Marvel Heroes!

June marked the 4th anniversary of Marvel Heroes 2016, or as it's now know, Marvel Heroes Omega. So a little information and history for those who may not know what a Marvel Heroes Omega is. MH is an isometric action-rpg just like Path of Exile, Diablo or Titan Quest.

MH was developed by Secret Identity Studios which is owned by a company called Gazillion Entertainment. MH started out as Marvel Universe Online which was being developed by Cryptic Studios for Microsoft. When Microsoft cancelled the project, Cryptic took what they had and turned it into what is now Champions Online. In 2009 Gazillion hired a guy by the name of David Brevik who just happens to have been apart of two games you might have heard of, Diablo and Diablo II, and created Marvel Heroes.

Now I haven't played Marvel Heroes much since the summer of 2015, or just after the second anniversary event. In July 2015 I was honored to be on the MMO Show to discuss the game, and at some point in the podcast the time played topic was brought up. I realized at that point that I had invested nearly 600 hours of my life to the game. I didn't play much of MH when it launched in 2013, it wasn't until the 1st anniversary event in 2014 that I was really sucked into the game. Needless to say, not long after the podcast I decided that it was time for a break.

In January 2017, Marvel Heroes had it's Biggest Update Ever. The fundamental gameplay remained the same, however, most everything else was changed in this update. I won't go into any details in this post, you can read the changes here. I hadn't played MH in almost a year so it was quite overwhelming logging back in and trying to relearn a game that I spent so much time playing in the past.

This years anniversary, just like last year, is a month long with different events and sales that change every 7 days. This year's event wasn't bad, comparing it to last year's event it doesn't seem to be as good, but overall I still had quite a bit of fun.

I took full advantage of the server side XP boost by finishing leveling Warmachine and Wolverine whom I was in the process leveling for a third time. After that I decided to level all the characters I owned that I haven't played. Then, thanks to the large amount of eternity splinters I earned and owned, I purchased and leveled the remaining characters in the game. But that wasn't all; I then decided to prestige many of the heroes because it had been so long since I last played and I wanted to see just how the BUE changes effected their gameplay.

I ended up playing about 120 hours in that 25 day period. So yes, I did enjoy myself. For the most part. The BUE had a positive impact on characters that I thought were lackluster previously, adversely there were some characters I thought were made worse. Warmachine and Taskmaster are two characters that weren't great before, and oddly enough they still are not great now. Not sure how that happened.

I would say that overall I had fun during the month long event and I was reminded why I enjoyed the game for so many hours. At some point I want to do a post that talks about what I like and dislike about the BUE, but my impressions after a month of play is somewhere in the middle. Some changes are good, some are not, and I feel that some of the uniqueness of the characters was taken away due to the update.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Avoid The Void.

Dang, time really flies when you're not writing. Sheesh.

So last month I wrote about that all too familiar feeling of being in a funk. In fact, I've written about it quite often. To me it's a condition that comes about when you're A) a bad time manager and B) have too many game choices. This all leads to the indecisive funk where I want to play everything, I just can't decide what I want to play. It's all maddening really.

The List of Backlog was suppose to help alleviate that issue, but it really hasn't. Towards the end of April I got to a point in Space Hulk Ascension where I felt I had accomplished what I wanted with the game and I could confidently move on to something else. Problem is, nothing on The List was really grabbing me.

I kind of played this or that, messed around with some MMO's, nothing too serious. I even started replaying Borderlands 2, a game that I really enjoy. Then June hits and the 4th anniversary event for Marvel Heroes 2016 begins. And for a good two and a half weeks I played a ton of Marvel Heroes. To the tune of around 120 hours.

See, games like Marvel Heroes, Diablo 3, Battlefield, Paladins or any other online game are great for those times when you want to play something but can't decided which game you're going to sink time into. With a game like Diablo 3, at the start of every season I tend to play for about a month, leveling up multiple characters and grabbing loot. At the end of it I feel satisfied, I enjoyed myself and I don't feel like I was wasting time. Same with games like Battlefield and Paladins. I'll play them exclusively for a weekend or two to get my competitive juices flowing. And when I'm finished and I move onto something else, I know that I can go back to those games again and still enjoy them.

MMO's used to be that for me, they used to fill that void when game paralysis was beginning to take hold. I remember 10 years ago having a subscription to City of Heroes and the Sony Access which included Everquest 2, Star Wars Galaxies, Matrix Online and Vanguard. On my days off from work I would just play any one of those games, sometimes all of them. And that's what I did. Sometimes one game would have my interest most so I would spend more time in that one, but I was pretty good about playing them all to give myself some variety. Those were good times.

The downfall of all that really was digital distribution. As digital distribution became bigger, so did my collection of games. But that's a topic for another day really.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Funk

While trying to tackle The Backlog seems like an insurmountable yet admirable task, it isn't without it's drawbacks. Mainly when nothing on that list seems interesting to play at the moment. Right now I am in a massive gaming funk. I remember reading a comment by someone when I was doing a bit of research on the backlog where they said it's game paralysis - a condition where there's too many games and you can't decide which to play.

Here's the problem - I had anticipated being wrapped up in Dawn of War 3 for quite some time. But that game has turned out to be a huge disappointment for me. Because of that I have little desire to play the game, which has left me in a state of trying to decide what to play next. The last few nights I've sat behind my computer watching videos or tv more than playing games.

The first step in over coming game paralysis (aside from not buying games) is to recognize that you are in a funk, which I have done. Now I think it's time to get refocused and re-energized by taking a bit of time off from games.

Every night after work I get home, I get my son situated doing homework, and then I sit behind the computer for the rest of the night. On the weekend it's not much different. I spend a lot of time playing games. I realized on Thursday that I was in the funk and that I'm just bored, and that's not fun. I will say that I am happy that I figured out that I'm in the funk now instead of realizing after sitting behind my computer for a week, or more, and then kicking myself for not taking that time to just play something.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - gaming is a hobby and should be fun and not feel like work. Unless your work is gaming, in which case I don't know what you do about that. So tonight I have a couple of Netflix movies that I can watch, including Blade Runner The Final Cut on Bluray which I'm excited to watch, and tomorrow I've got some things to do and a UFC fight to watch.

I love playing games, and as a gamer there's nothing worse then being bored with gaming.