The Spring sale on Xbox 360 passed and while it doesn't hold a candle to Steam, I still came away with some games at severely reduced prices and a larger backlog then ever and more important, some fun games to play in my free time. For example, Batman Arkham City.
This game is still mind blowingly fun to me due to the arcadey challenge between combat rooms and predator games. Stringing together the perfect, pristine freeflow combat, countering every hit, using every trick in the book, and messing up a small populations' use of their arm will never get old to me. And now with a bunch of content to explore that I haven't yet, there's still more to be had. I mean, I also got Harley Quinn's Revenge for $3 and that gave me a taste of Robin. Now I've got an itch to buy the Nightwing and Robin challenge packs to experience their unique brand of combat thrashing. While Batman uses his claw to lariat fools, Robin uses his to straight up Bionic Commando zip-kick them into oblivion. Nightwing has less use compared to Robin since he has a challenge pack and a part in HQ's Revenge, but he still has a lot of utilitarian difference in combat with his wing dings and electric kali sticks.
Jumping into AC also reminded me I left a ton of Catwoman challenges unperfected, which I also reminded myself are unperfected because she seems so much weaker compared to the Bat family, mostly due to not rodeoing titan henchmen for efficient room clearing.
Speaking on unperfected challenges, I of course cleared nearly every mission in the main campaign but obviously left the Riddler's case file half complete because fuck, who has time for uber-collectible missions man? But I'm considering on closing the case with Riddler once and for all with enough time.AC is now on my hard drive rather then a disk, so who knows?
I also got BL2 at a 75% off and while it's super late to the multiplayer party, I also managed to get a season pass at 60% off too, meaning I got much more than just one DLC add-on for essentially free. It was too much of a deal to just pass up and I also got Krieg while I was at it. Zer0 is all about finesse in his melee. I should give Krieg a spin for pure, adrenaline junkie melee classes, right?
But mostly I want to build up my Commando and Mechromancer classes up since I left them somewhat hanging. Though my Commando cleared the main campaign, he's only at level 35, really shy of his goal of throwing out two missile equipped Sabre turrets spitting out tons of lead with shield enclosures. And I have a ton of opportunities to get him leveled up now that I have the entire season 1 DLC under my belt.
That is if I can ever pull myself away from Catwoman's combat challenge rooms.
Also, follow the Dtoid Cards tumblr because just because. I want to get my ass in gear to make a Dtoid card but I'm so lazy and mostly about the Cblogs and never have the time to keep up with the Forums unless it's on my terms like Game Threads good luck on keeping up with The Bar or All About Dtoid sub forums.
I wrote a thing about secrets in Dark Souls, I hope you all like it. It's weird to think that after almost three years of constantly blathering on-and-on about it, that might have been my last blog about Dark Souls.
Because come Friday, I'll be leaving Lordran and resettling in Dranglic.
I've kept myself in the dark about Dark Souls 2. Studiously avoided the wikis, stayed away from the Streams, shunned the spoiler blogs. I'm ready to go into it mostly blind and deaf, just the way I like it. I want to stumble in Dark Souls 2, I want to fall. I want to not know where to go, to get killed by cheap traps, crushed by bosses until I figure out how to survive on my own.
What I really want, more than anything, more than I would prefer to admit, is to just play Dark Souls for the first time again. I've never had a game that resonated with me so well. It took everything I love about games, drew inspiration from my favourites, and implemented multiplayer features that I only dreamt about before and put them all in one place. It was like a gift.
I'm sure I mentioned it before in a Wrenchism or in a blog, but when I was a little boy, I remember reading a book that took place in an evil arcade that was clearly written by someone who didn't actually understand how videogames worked. Past the spoon-fed "videogames are evil" message, the thing I remember most about that book was how characters in the arcade games were able to leap from one gameworld to the next. How a player in one game could suddenly appear in another player's game and torment them. In the book it led to real life teen murder (as hysterical moral pieces always claim whatever they are against will lead to) but I remember just thinking how cool a system like that would be. Decades later, I'd be laid out in a marble hallway in Anor Londo, sucker punched by an invaders Crystal Homing Soulsmass sorcery for the first time, thinking it was the coolest, and most frustrating, thing of all time.
Dark Souls was the game I always wanted to play. It gave me everything I knew I wanted in a game, and a lot more that I never realized how much I was craving until it gave it to me. It provided a mysterious world I could never get enough of and my mind has been constantly chewing on it ever since. I will never forget my first playthrough of Dark Souls, every step filled with dread, every boss an unconquerable calamity, and the constant feeling of awe and mystery as I explored one wonderful/terrible environment after another. Every time I thought I at it all figured out, I'd learn something new.†
What I really want from the sequel -- and what I know it won't, can't, deliver Ė is the experience of that discovery all over again. If I could have the memories I have of playing Dark Souls surgically removed and replay it again from a blank state, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
I know Dark Souls 2 will be amazing, but it won't match my first playthrough of Dark Souls. I can't unlearn the lessons it taught me.
But I can enjoy employing them in a new world, and that will have to do.
I had a pretty cool thing happen over the weekend. I've been playing a lot of KRUNCH again recently, since it just released on Steam not too long ago, and had its first major update a few days ago. I've gotten quite good at the game, and in fact, on Thursday I actually took first place in the global leaderboards for overall score! The first place spot used to belong to Dirk Rugged, one of the game's developers.†
Dirk Rugged and Vieko (the other dev), actually follow me on Twitter, I assume because I talked about the game quite frequently back when it was first released in 2012. Well, Dirk found out I beat his high score, so he set up a stream over the weekend in an attempt to take back the title. It was incredibly close, and I thought he had me beat towards the end, but I still managed to rack up a few less deaths than him, so the title remains mine (for now!).†
It's been really neat being able to converse so often with the developers of one of my favorite indie games. It's sort of given me a feeling of connection with the game itself; it might not be my game, but I still feel sort of protective about it, which might sound weird. I really hope to see it become successful, although right now it's looking like there aren't many people playing it. The forums for the game have been rather quiet, and I know there are tons of gamers out there who could beat my high score in a flash if they gave the game a chance. I'm looking forward to the day where I can try to hone my skills even more and take back the first place spot from a future pro (or from Dirk again, because I'm sure he can beat me), because I know that I can get a much better score than I currently have if I really tried!
Anyway, I've said it before but I'll say it again: go buy KRUNCH! It's a really good game!
Alternative title: ďTropical Freezeís soundtrack is spectacularly brilliant.Ē
So yeah, itís that time of year again! Last Saturday was April 12th, which marked the end of my 23rd year of being. To be fair, Iíve never felt like I aged a day past 18 (as a result Iím one of those people perfectly capable of forgetting their own age), so the difference between being 22 on April 11th and 23 on April 12th is marginal at best. Regardless, I like birthdays: theyíre a nice chance to catch up with those friends I havenít had the opportunity to talk to in a while, and more in general I think itís a really special thing that every year for every person we set aside a day to celebrate that personís life/existence. I guess not everyone sees it like that anymore, but itís quite something if you think about it.
And then, of course, thereís the games! What would a gamerís birthday be without getting at least some new games to play, right? And I gotta say, this year I left with quite a haul!
Each year my friends ask me what they can get me for my birthday besides boring old money, and each year I send them a link to my Steam wishlist and tell them to go wild. And go wild they did! For my 23rd, my friends got me a total of four new games on Steam, namely:
- The Stanley Parable - Luftrausers - Contrast - and a preorder for Child of Light
I pretty much have the best friends.
While Iím going to have to wait another two weeks before I can claim the last one (which is looking to be a beautiful fairytale-inspired JRPG), I already had some fun with the others. The Stanley Parable in particular is both fascinating and hilarious at the same time.
But thatís not all! My parents and family face the same dilemma my friends do, namely that they never know what to give me unless I supply some suggestions for video games. For my parents I tend to stick to console games rather than Steam, because honestly I donít trust them to operate Steamís gifting service. Since this was the first birthday on which I owned a 3DS, not to mention my handheld library was in desperate need of expanding, I received two new 3DS games:
- Fire Emblem Awakening - and Kid Icarus Uprising
I pretty much have the best parents.
I havenít had all that much time to play the former yet, but itís looking to be great from what Iíve already seen. Iím playing on Hard Mode rather than Normal, and even in the first few battles I had to pull out all the stops to get everyone through in one piece. I mean, I could have had Frederick just clean up everything, but I know enough about Fire Emblem not to let the early pre-promote soak up all that juicy EXP. Apart from that, I really like how fighting battles as a team has become vital in this installment, rather than just being mildly convenient as it was in previous games. As for Kid Icarus, itís a fun little distraction to be played in short bursts. I can overcome the common complaint of handstrain (from having to hold the 3DS in one hand) by playing it lying down on my back: Iím just about chubby enough that Iíve got my own make-shift table everywhere I go. At any rate, the gameplay is quite fun, but more than anything I like the witty banter between Palutena and Pit. Palutena in particular is immediately likeable and likes to reference the original Kid Icarus and even Super Smash Bros.
- What? It could happen!
Finally, my parents gave me enough money to buy a game of my own accord, which I wasted not a second to use for:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Platformers are far and away my favorite video games, and no one does it better than Nintendo. With DKC: Returns, Retro showed that they got the stuff, but by all accounts Tropical Freeze is looking to be even better. The one complaint I had with the original, namely that the roll move was mapped to shaking the Wiimote, has been fixed as long as you play with the WiiU Gamepad. The game looks gorgeous, is fun to play, and has some stellar boss fights. Most notably for me, however, is the music. Goddamn this soundtrack is fucking amazing. Iím a huge video game OST buff, but Tropical Freezeís music has a good chance of becoming one of my all-time favorites. Itís that good. Whereas Returnsí soundtrack tended to get a little same-y with only a few stand-out songs, Tropical Freeze hosts an incredibly wild variety of tunes with almost all of them being memorable. Lots of cheerful songs in particular, which go well with the beautiful backdrops of this game's levels. Mind you Iím only up to the third World by now, so I havenít even heard half of it yet. †
I would recommend almost all of the above games to anyone (Contrast is pretty niche and I canít comment on Child of Light yet), but if youíre into video game music you at least owe it to yourself to check David Wiseís latest out.
All in all, lots of great stuff this yearís April 12th!
- Dear King, can we have this as our national anthem now?
It was probably the first game I ever realized a notable difference in FPS on. I still vividly remember the first time I played on an HDTV in my house. It was Modern Warfare 2 and I just loaded into a map with the P90. Skip to now with Titanfall on 360 and the 30 FPS can kind of murder it for me. I still enjoy the stompy robots and parkour though but its amazing the difference in FPS can do for you.
Of course, I'm having loads of fun using the Stryder and dashing around with whatever appropriate weapon I can for the strategy. Maybe it's the 40mm, maybe its the Arc Cannon. But regardless the fun of running around walls, double jumping, and knowing I'm guaranteed stompy robot fun is a pleasure on this game. There's nothing quite like turning on my dash core, and suddenly coming from behind an enemy titan to reach in and grab the squishy pilot innards quietly existing inside.
Speaking of game, I just introduced my girlfriend to Prison Architect, that expensive early access game that's pretty much Prison Tycoon. Now that is a game that is keeping my attention. Suppressing riots, rolling out armed guards, building massive expansions, obtaining grants, and more for the sake of keeping society's grumbling class within my walls. Her prisons tend to be relatively calm. Something I struggle with. But my prison's do bounce back rather well if I do say so myself.
Well, I don't have such big Striderisms today. I've been taking a beating from my schedule and even today I called out because in my struggle to keep up between school and Spring Break work at the D, I forgot I had work at 11:15am as I became conscious of it at 11am. And that was after coming home from work at 11pm last night and waking up at 10am from a long day that had class at 8am.
So basically, I've been all sorts of messed up. I feel like I'm constantly a day behind. After having the weekend before off, I've been struggling to keep up with work everyday straight with no end until next week.
Tiny, weak, little Wrenchisms today that will hopefully mutate into a swollen, pustulating, and radioactive blog in the near future.
NUCLEAR THRONE IS THE SHIT.
It's like someone inserted Super Meat Boy and Binding of Isaac into the Chernobyl reactor where the control rods where supposed to go and left them to cook. It's has the super fast action and instant re-playability of the former, and the procedural generated insanity and item stacking of the latter. It's still in early access (bugs and crashes are admittedly common) but it already tastes like greatness. Go get it.