Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wave of the Future

I gave in and got a smart phone.  I had been putting it off for a couple years because I knew that as soon as I got a smart phone I would never be able to go back and the data rates are still killer.  But the reality of my job is that it's stupid not to have one, so I finally caved.

I got an iphone 4s and I love it, just like I knew I would.  I used to carry my cell and my ipod touch with me everywhere, but now they're combined in one device.  I went with an iphone because I already had 100+ apps for my ipod touch and they all transfer over.  I didn't want to start from scratch with an android device when I had already invested money elsewhere.

Besides using it for work, I've been using it to play games that were incompatible with my ipod touch.  The games that have gotten the most play time from me are Hero Academy and Infinity Blade.  Hero Academy is the best turn based strategy game that I've played in a very long time and when I launch Infinity Blade I'm just blown away that the unreal engine is running on my phone.

Don't be surprised to see an influx of iphone game thoughts from me in the next few weeks.  If you have any suggestions for games I should check out, please let me know in the comments.  Or, if you want to play Hero Academy with me, my username is Void19.  Feel free to challenge me to a game.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Playing to Explore

I never really wrote about my time in Skyrim.  I played for about 60 hours, got bored, and moved on.  The most fun I had while playing came from the exploration.  The quests, battles, loot, character advancement, graphics, and everything else came together in an interesting package... but the exploration is what kept me coming back.  Sometimes I find that to be the most interesting part of single player RPGs and MMOs.

When a game can capture my sense of curiosity and make me wonder what I'll find around the next corner I'll come back and keep playing.  Now, I know that every game has limited content and that eventually, as a player, I'll be able to see everything.  But it's the sense of entering the unknown that truly matters.  That feeling in my gut that says, "Better be careful, who knows what's next?"

Usually games that capture my explorer side are few and far between, but I'm always on the look out.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tactics, not Twitch

On a recent weekend away with my family I had the chance to use my dad's ipad for awhile and I downloaded Hero Academy.  It's an amazing turn based tactic game for iphone and ipad that I was instantly addicted to.  I played for hours against other people online.  If Hero Academy was compatible with my ipod touch I would be playing it every day.

After latching onto the game so fast, I realized that I'm starved for a good turn based tactical game.  I don't have as much time to game as I used to, and time is what's required to get good at a twitch game.  So, while I love Tribes Ascend, League of Legends, and Starcraft 2 I always feel like I'm at a slight disadvantage.  I don't have the 8 hours of free time each night like I did in high school.

Instead, I'd like the emphasis to be on my mind and not my reflexes.  Unfortunately, there really aren't that many on the market right now that are turn based.  I could dive back into my catalog of GBA and DS games, but newer games are hard to find.  So now I'm on the hunt for some solid turn based games.

It's probably no surprise then that I became a backer on Kickstarter for The Banner Saga, Wasteland 2, and Shadowrun Returns.  All three games have turn based combat, lots of potential, and an awesome development team to back them up.  That means that in about a year I'll be all set for my turn based tactical needs.

What that doesn't help me with is what to play right now.  I'm still craving some delicious turn based action in my games.  Do you have any recommendations?  Please help me out readers!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mass Effect Finale

I'm finally done with Mass Effect 3.  I've been reading all sorts of reactions about it since the day it came out, but I wanted to finish it myself before passing judgement.  First let me say the ending wasn't absolutely horrible.

The game itself was great.  I loved how 3 games worth of content slowly came together in interesting ways.  The combat, dialogue, and general flow of the game were all improved.  I had a great time through the first 60 hours of gameplay.  Only the last 10 minutes let me down.  If you've played Mass Effect 1 and 2 then you should definitely play Mass Effect 3.

I also dabbled in multiplayer but wasn't too impressed.  I play Mass Effect for the single player campaign.  The 3rd person shooting is satisfactory, but if I wanted to play a multiplayer shooter I have about 10 other games that are better suited to the task.  Single player is where the strength of this series lies.  I was also really sad to see the "galactic readiness" tied into how much multiplayer I played.  I completed 100% of the missions and side objectives in the single player game, but because I didn't play much multiplayer my galaxy still wasn't very "ready."  Sigh.  I wish they wouldn't have done that.

Anyway, onto the ending.  Minor Spoilers ahead.  I won't expound too much on what has already been written by others.  I just wanted to say that the last 10 minutes of the game were ok, but they had the potential to be so much more.  All of my choices across 150+ hours of play could have been used to create a custom set of end cutscenes just for me.  But that didn't happen.  Instead Bioware chose to go the route of giving me 3 choices totally disconnected from the rest of the series.  This is even more disheartening when you consider that Chrono Trigger, a game made in 1995, has 13 distinct endings with many sub-ending variations.

For some in depth analysis of the ME3 ending read this well written article by Doyce.  Overall the game was good but I was disappointed with the wasted potential at the end.  The final scene could have been so much more... sadly, it wasn't.