Thursday, 28 February 2013

Game four – Lego Batman

I loved Lego as a kid. Now I get to enjoy it again through my kid. I’m not all that fussed about Batman (or superheroes in general) but I like the idea of these Lego games – Collecting stuff, solving puzzles, building things, what’s not to like? However, I’ve not got around to playing one yet. So I was initially quite happy when this came up to play next.

It didn’t last…

Initial impressions were good. It has a bucket load of charm slathered over a cutesy art style, controlled well with a gamepad, and was simple to get the hang of. From what I’ve learnt about the Lego games series, areas of the level are only accessible by certain characters which are unlocked later. But this isn’t actually explained in the game, so I did spend some time trying to access places that I don’t think I’m supposed to yet.

Anyway, I enjoyed the 45 minutes it took to get to the boss fight at the end of the level…

I hate boss fights. I’ve never seen the appeal, but have endured through them so I can continue playing the game I’m otherwise enjoying. This game did a particularly shit job of explain what to do. This brown lumpy boss arsed about a bit while I tried to blow him up. So far, so tedious. Then he went into a cordoned off area, and I couldn’t get to him anymore. The game didn’t explain why, or how to continue. It was probably something really easy (it was level one after all) and no doubt I was being extremely thick, but I was stuck.

So I decided to leave it there, thinking I could go search for the answer online then come back later.

But there’s no save option. No checkpoint saving during the level. No save on exit. Nothing. I guess it’d save on completion of the level… but I’m never going to know because all interest in this game was killed off at this point. I’d have to play through the entire level again just to get to a shit boss fight, and this is going to be repeated on every other level. So, no thanks.

What a shame! I so wanted to like this game, but I have enough games I’m playing where I can’t save whenever I like and I’m going to choose to play those when I have time for such a game (currently, that’s Borderlands 2). Sorry, Lego Batman, you’re not that good.

Odyssey progress update:-

Completed: 1
Bounced off: 2
On-going: 1

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Game Three - Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 3

What are the odds of that? Surely not another dumb shooter already? Oh well, at least it’ll give me a chance to compare it with Bad Company 2 I suppose.

I loved Call of Duty 4, the first Modern Warfare game. The campaign was entertaining, and the multi-player was fantastic. It was one of my games of the year.

But I struggled to get through the single player of Modern Warfare 2. The story was awful – As if the Russians could just stroll up to the US east coast and invade, even if they did believe some American dude popped the heads of everyone in a Russian airport. In my case he didn't even do that, I refused to shoot just to spite the game.

I only finished it because I’d bought MW3 cheap, and wanted to see what happened to the two main characters, Captain Price and Soap. So here I am, about to see what happens next in this ludicrous series.

Preposterous as ever, the plot staggers around the world a bit more, mostly trying to pin down Makarov, the Russian terrorist who wants to… actually I can’t remember what his motives are. I guess he has one. The Russians are repelled from the USA almost as easily as they arrived, then they manage to stroll into Europe just a few days later. Resourceful chaps.

Compared to BC2, the presentation is superb. The bombastic action makes Dice’s effort to emulate it in BC2 look decidedly ramshackle. It’s still just glorified whack-a-mole with big guns and shout-y men, but the adrenaline rush is enough to keep me playing through. Plus, there’s Captain Price. He’s an iconic character, who I’d happily follow anywhere in the world in the name of war.

I wonder if he can remember what the bloody hell is going on.

I expect I’ll finish it…

Odyssey progress update:-

Completed: 1
Bounced off: 1
On-going: 1

Game Two - Defcon

Hmm, Defcon. I got this in the Humble Introversion Bundle, and have played it for the grand total of 18 minutes… It’s a game I really thought I’d like more. The aesthetic is beautiful; eerie music, paired with a lo-fi graphic style of glowing green vectors. I can’t remember why I didn't play it for longer, so now’s the time to remind myself.

So, the main problem I’m going to have with this game is its multi-player only. I've gone off multi-player games in recent years. As I've gotten older I really can’t be bothered with the aggro of playing with strangers. But, I gave the tutorial a go. Aside from a couple of bugs which required a restart of a particular section, it was quite an entertaining way to spend an hour. The way the game mechanics combine certainly get you thinking about how to approach the nuclear war in different ways.

But after finishing the tutorial, enthusiasm waned. It’s a bit… depressing. Obviously, nuclear war isn't going to be like skipping through a field of buttercups (assuming you like buttercups… and skipping. Like I do). Combine it with the foreboding tension, and it’s just not my thing any more. I'm too old and tired for this now.

So I think I'm done with Defcon already.

On a brighter note…

Bad Company 2 is completed! The campaign is done, and I quite enjoyed it. The storyline is rubbish, as they usually are in FPS, but unlike in a CoD:MW, you stay as the same character throughout. So by the end I became quite attached to the soldiers I’d fought alongside for six hours. The ending though… oh dear. Stupid only begins to describe it.

I even gave the multi-player a go. It was a waste of time, but I gave it a go. I died continuously, killed two people more by luck than judgement, and at the end of the round my XP bar moved two pixels. At that rate it’d have taken a month to gain a level! So, sod that.

Odyssey progress so far :-

Completed: 1
Bounced off: 1

It’s time to discover what the next game will be.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Game One – Battlefield: Bad Company 2

A quick Google brings up a random number generator, and with my Steam library set to display “installed” with a grid view, 2 random numbers give me a row and a column… and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is what comes up.

Purchased in the Steam winter sale of 2010, it was a casualty of being bought along with Mass Effect 2, and has never been played. At the time I was in the mood for a multiplayer FPS and this came up cheap, so was an impulse buy. Unfortunately ME2 was far more enticing, and then my WoW addiction blinded me to all, so Bad Company 2 joined the other unloved games. Now Fate has decreed it’s time to play. I’ll skip the multiplayer for now, and give the single player campaign a try on easy. Here goes…

OK, so it’s yet another derivative man-shooter with a nonsensical storyline, but I like it. It has a certain charm, the guns feel good and I'm warming to the characters in my squad, even if they are clich├ęd character types (nervous geeky one, swearing grumpy one etc...)

The last game of this ilk I played was Modern Warfare 2, and that was hard work. I only got through the single player portion because I wanted to start MW3…. But that remains un-played too! Hopefully the electronic dice will give me a chance to play sometime.

For now, Bad Company 2 is playfully tickling the testosterone fuelled part of my brain quite nicely. I shall continue to play, hopefully to the conclusion of its campaign.

Thanks Fate! What game will you let me play next?

Friday, 4 January 2013


Like many PC gamer's, I use Steam to buy games digitally. Steam regularly has awesome sales, with temptingly low discounts on all sorts of games. Too tempting sometimes… Often I can’t help myself when I see a game I've been curious about with a 75% discount. It may be a chance to explore a genre I've not tried before, or to find out what all the fuss was about a few months/years ago.

Then I’ll either have a brief paddle in its digital shoreline before returning to my current main game, or never even start it up, leaving it to whimper quietly in a dusty corner of my Steam library.

This results in a massive backlog of un-played or barely played games just sitting there unloved. I know I'm not the only one in this situation, and it’s not exactly the end of the world, but I've decided to do something about it.

Throughout 2013 I’ll endeavour to play as many of these in an attempt to broaden my gaming horizons, and hopefully reduce the backlog a smidge.

The rules (which I may arbitrarily break at any time) are:-

  •         Use a random number generator to choose which game to play.
  •         The chosen game must've been played for 5 hours or less.
  •         Play as many games to completion as possible (this’ll be the first rule to be broken!)
  •          To help with the above, play on “easy” if appropriate.
  •          I can give up on a game if I'm just not enjoying it – this is supposed to be fun after all.

 I won’t slavishly stick to playing just games picked at random as I still have my favourites I’ll want to continue with, plus any new additions to the collection will want some attention too. There are also the games on other game services too… but I’ll worry about those later!

Onwards! I wonder what the first choice will be…