Geeze, 2019 is flying by at record speed. I have no idea why that may be but it could be because I’ve finally done something I’ve been threatening to do since February: I’ve built myself a PC. This is the first time I’ve ever done a PC build so it was a little stressful until I realized that all I’m really doing is applying pressure and following written directions. Before this, I was using an HP all-in-one PC; a machine that was capable of running really graphically simple games and not a whole lot else. Even then, it was never all that consistent: I could play Half-Life Source and, FInal Fantasy VII but Super Meat Boy ran at several frames per several seconds. It was a very inconsistent gaming platform but now I’m running a much more powerful PC and I’ve been trying all kinds of things that I haven’t played before.
This month, my list is split into two lists. On the one side are the games that I dedicated a lot of time to. On the other side are the games that I booted up and played around with much more casually or, just gave less time to. There’s a good chance that I’ll use a dual-list next month too since I’ve missed out on a lot of PC games. I’ve got a lot of ground for me to cover so here’s what I’ve given a look at so far:
(I kinda forgot to do doodles...)
Circuits was one of several games I got for the Switch late last month and unfortunately, I didn’t spend all that much time playing around with it. I remember it as a puzzle game that involves connecting nodes and I recall it strongly encouraging you to play in handheld mode but I played this for about an hour or two during the first day or two of May. I quickly forgot about this game. This is also one of only two games I played this month that was console based.
Next up on both lists is Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. I’ve never played this before despite it being a game I’ve had for the PS4 since before I owned a PS4. I’ve been recording my playtime with this and posting it onto my fledgling youtube channel. At time of writing, I’ve made seven of the videos public but I’ve recorded 14. Despite all of the outside media I’ve watched regarding Dark Souls 2, I’m still getting lost and having trouble with certain encounters and areas. Notably, I had a lot of trouble beating The Rotten which I think is kind of funny since that boss is so simple to figure out. If you want to watch me stream my consciousness about Dark Souls 2 than please check out my youtube channel but if you want a one-sentence summary try this one for size: I like Dark Souls 2 a lot more than I liked Dark Souls 3 but I still need to play the later again.
(Watch me play, watch me play!)
Duke Nukem 3D is a game I’ve been playing since I was a child, playing it on a grey, soot-covered family PC in the basement of my parent’s house in the 90’s. My previous PC ran Duke Nukem 3D and my new PC runs it just as well. I just love this game. I’ve heard a saying that goes something like, “Every time someone mentions Half-Life 2 or Deus Ex, it gets reinstalled on someone’s PC” and for me that saying applies to Duke 3D.
Resident Evil VII isn’t a game that I’ve put a lot of time into. I did beat the final mine area for my housemate a couple years ago and I played the Beginning Hours demo when that was new but I never cared enough to buy the full game for myself. I downloaded Beginning Hour to test my PC, and also because it was free. My PC was able to run the demo with everything cranked up to maximum which was really gratifying even though my monitor isn’t able to keep up. What mattered to me though was, everything was as high as it could be and the frame rate didn’t seem to dip at all. I noticed a little bit of screen tearing once or twice and I still can’t get by the basement-dwelling cookie monster so I’ve never achieved the best ending in Beginning Hour but it was still a positive enough experience that Resident Evil VII is allowed to stay on my wishlist.
Metro 2033 is a game that my previous PC could almost run; I set everything down to minimum and just as long as I wasn’t fighting everything, the frame rate hovered between 20 and 25...more or less...unless I tried to run. During fights though my old PC kind of panicked and turned the game into a slideshow. My current PC though, like with Beginning Hour above, ran Metro 2033 at max and I finally got to experience this game in a way that it was meant to be presented. This is the original version by the way, not the remaster, but I was still impressed by how it looks. I really liked the atmosphere of what I played but I’ve chosen not to do a full playthrough...not yet anyway.
Team Fortress 2 is a game I played a lot of about a decade ago when I picked up the Orange Box on the Xbox 360. Team Fortress 2 has changed a lot since then but even though I chose not to buy any funny hats or melee weapons it was still nice getting back into the game for a few matches. The randoms I played against seemed more concerned with dancing than completing objectives but that was fine by me, it made the whole experience seem really mellow in a way. There was only really one match I played that felt competitive but even then, members on both teams couldn’t stop themselves from standing in corners and taunting at each other.
Final Fantasy VI is a game I know I could have played on my previous PC and I believe this because I played VII and VIII on that thing. On my current PC though, Final Fantasy VI is the first game that I successfully modded. It was very necessary though: The mods I installed restored certain art assets, beautified the soundtrack and, cleaned up the user interface. I didn’t grow up with Final Fantasy VI: The first time I played it was in high school when I downloaded the ROM but I never actually beat it until May 2nd of 2013. This game so impressed me that I dedicated that date to memory and consider it a personal holiday: Day-o-Cide (get it, because you essentially kill a God at the end?) I’m not too terribly far into the story at the moment; I’ve just saved Mog from a thieving furry and I can’t quite recall what I need to do now that I’ve liberated a bunch of magicite from the Magiteck Research Facility. This is what I’ve been playing as a cool down between Dark Souls sessions. Unlike VII, VIII or, IX, Final Fantasy VI is a game I can’t NOT beat so I’m likely going to be playing this for the rest of the Summer.
(The Opera Scene killed me, this mod added vocals)
I was surprised when I realized that my old PC could play Morrowind and Oblivion but it was the former that I spent a lot of time actually playing. I’ve never beaten The Elder Scrolls III’s main quest line and on my current playthrough, I’m farther than I’ve ever been before. I haven’t modded this game, not yet anyway, and I don’t plan to until after I beat it. I haven’t even really played it, I just booted it up to see if there were any noticeable differences in frame rate or performance. I’m currently too occupied by other games to dedicate much time to Morrowind.
Brutal Doom has changed since I last played it. My old PC ran Brutal Doom well enough but it did slow down if too much gore or too many particle effects were on screen at the same time.My current PC, the monster that it is, handles my carnage like a champ. Brutal Doom and Brutal Doom 2 are masterpieces but I didn’t spend too much time playing either, just enough to murder about a hundred demons and tell them to go fuck themselves.
The Witcher is a game I bought some time ago for pennies. This is a series that I’ve always had on my radar but it’s not something I’ve been too keen to jump into. I’m more of a sci-fi and contemporary fantasy kind of person. To keep with the theme yes, my PC runs the original Witcher nicely. I’m still in the tutorial area but I haven’t put much more than about 45 minutes into the game. I wouldn’t say I dislike it and I do want to play at least until I get to my first sex scene but it’s just not clicking with me all that well. I like how complex the combat engine is; it makes sense to use multiple stances and attack styles but something about it doesn’t fully satisfy me and I can’t quite put my finger on what it might be.
Dirty Bomb is a game that I’ve been really excited to try out, even though it’s no longer being supported by its developer. This is a free to play, team and objective-based shooter. There are a bunch of different heros who you can play as but only a handful are available at the beginning with a couple being chosen at random to act as weekly free trial characters. The free characters change each week and if you want more characters to play as you need to buy them with in-game currency. If you want to change their loadout, you need to buy loot crates with in-game currency. It seems like everything you can buy in the lootboxes are cosmetic but the characters you play as can vary wildly. You can make up a team of 3 heroes and change between them basically whenever you want during matches so I had set myself up with Rhino (TF2 Heavy, but German), Bushwacker (TF2 Engineer but Australian) and, a demolition character whose name I don’t really remember. Dirty Bomb plays out like this: You’re either on the attacking team or you’re on the defending team. Each map has about three objectives that the attacking team needs to carry out to win and if the defenders stop them at any point, than the defenders win. Each time the attackers win an objective, the maps expand which sounds great at first but all it really does functionally is shift the conflict to a slightly different area. This type of gameplay was enough to keep me engaged for (according to Steam) 25 hours this past month but I haven’t booted up Dirty Bomb in a couple of weeks now. I’ve had fun with it even though I’m not very good at it but even if you, like me, can’t keep your kill/death ratio positive, completing objectives gives you points and can potentially make you an MVP. I haven’t booted up Dirty Bomb in a couple of weeks but I do plan on getting back in and playing a little bit more before the Master Chief Collection rolls out and officially takes up all of my free time.
(Floating in void isn't the best strategy)
Fallout 3 is the other game that I tried to mod and after about two days of fiddling, I’ve got the wanderer’s edition, mutant mod and radio mod in a state where everything seems to work for the most part. I haven’t actually sat down and played a lot of Fallout 3 now that it’s been modded because I’m unsure if I want to make it into a let’s play series on my channel or not. I feel like there’s more I should do before I do that though since there are a number of issues that I may be able to hammer out. For example, some of the items I’ve collected don’t have pip-boy images, just an error code and a broken image icon. The other major, though somewhat humorous, issue that I’ve found is how the Brahmin which populate the Capital Wasteland don’t have their own textures. Their texture is whatever is immediately behind them based on my point of view. The overall effect it gives off makes it look like the brahmin have active camo unless I look at them at a specific angle which show me their insides. I’ve played enough of modded Fallout 3 to consider starting a game as a Ghoul in the Ghoul city but I don’t think I’ll be doing that any time soon. As for New Vegas, I’m not modding that at all yet. I just wanted to see how it ran on my PC and I wound up murdering all of Goodspring.
I didn’t mention it above but some of the games I’ve been playing on my PC are being played with my spare PS4 controller instead of with the mouse and keyboard. Dark Souls 2, Final Fantasy VI, Fallout: New Vegas, and Mark of the Ninja: Remastered are games that I’ve been playing using the PS4 controller. I’m kind of annoyed that I essentially need to mod everything if I don’t want to see Xbox controller references but other than that using my PS4 controller has been working beautifully with all of the PC games I’ve tried it with. Mark of the Ninja is a game I tried playing on my old PC but it didn’t run. The first level is all I’ve played this past month and I’m really liking how open ended the game is despite being a 2D game. It reminds me of Gunpoint: The Ninja is very mobile and it’s satisfying to move quietly around a level and come at enemies from an angle they weren’t expecting. This is good but I have bigger games occupying my mind at the moment.
I’ve never actually played a Sims game before but EA decided to give away the base version of The Sims 4. I put about 90 minutes into it, inexpertly building a house and trying to make myself and kind of, almost, being able to. After I built my house though and got myself a job I lost all direction and motivation to continue playing. I wasn’t sure how to make other people and making myself was enough of a drain that I didn’t really feel motivated to make anybody else I know.
I don’t remember buying Binary Domain but I assume it was a freebie in a humble bundle or some such thing. My PC was able to run the game with everything set to high but I couldn’t quite get my controller to work. I also had some issues with the mouse: It just felt very loose and somewhat wild. I wonder if this is that ‘mouse acceleration‘ I’ve heard about but I didn’t feel too bothered by that. What really bothered me about Binary Domain was how for the 45 minutes that I played, it felt like nothing but a prolonged tutorial. The support character who was with me never shut up but kept getting in my way. I didn’t feel all that invested in the conflict since everything trying to stop me was just a robot. The particle effects were alright but I just felt more annoyed by the game than entertained.
The Darkness 2 on the other hand is a game that I played the Hell out of on the Xbox 360! I only played the introductory mission and a bit of the subway section but it was just as fun and visceral as I remember it being on console. I definitely felt more comfortable playing this with the mouse and keyboard than I did with my controller but in this instance, I don’t think the controller was correctly configured to begin with. I had a little bit of trouble with the controls but that’s due to the nature of the game itself and how much is possible when it comes to grabs and tentacle attacks. Like with a lot of the other games I mentioned, this was mostly just a test but playing this again was a nice little nostalgia trip for me.
Hard Reset is a game that’s been on my radar since I watched a Zero Punctuation about it. The Redux version was on sale and, like with most of the games above, it runs beautifully on my PC. Hard Reset Redux is another game that I’ve put very little time into but from what little I’ve played, it’s been a good time. I wasn’t expecting destructible environments but they’re there. I wasn’t expecting elements of the levels to damage enemies (outside of the usual exploding barrels) but they’re there. I also wasn’t expecting a shooter where you’re thrown into relatively large arenas and attacked by hordes of enemies that you need to out maneuver but that’s exactly what’s going on here. I didn’t play long enough to unlock very much but I do have an issue with the grenade launcher add-on that the assault rifle can get. It’s just slow to load, slow to fire and, it takes two shots to destroy breakable walls. It’s a minor annoyance but it’s an annoyance all the same. I might play this casually but I don’t see myself going all-in on this game.
I don’t see myself going all-in on Katana Zero either but it was one of the only games I played on a console this past month! I think I won it through a Destructoid giveaway and like most everything else I play in May I put very little time into it but the pace of Katana Zero is so fast that I’ve killed my first two marks and am getting somewhat deep into the main intrigue of the game. This is another game by Devolver Digital that I’ve played which I’ve really enjoyed and further proof that Devolver Digital doesn’t know how to make a bad game. Screwing up in a level isn’t really punished which kept me in the game and kept my interest as I fought my way through heavily populated and armed buildings. The worst thing I can say about Katana Zero is that it feels like a game I’ve played before but it’s a game that I’ve really enjoyed and that I see myself getting through until the end though maybe not this coming month.
(I really like the writing in this game too by the way)
I know I played The Last Federation, Mirror, Portal, Mini Metro, SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Collection, Knights of the Old Republic and, Broforce this past month too but I put very little time into those games and it was mostly to see if either I could run them, run them at their highest settings or to see if I needed to mod them to make them work (or make them better in the case of Mirror and, the Sega collection). I also tried modding Final Fantasy VIII and while I got Roses and Wine working, the Lunatic Pandora pack didn't want to cooperate. My focus definitely feels fractured and outside of Dark Souls 2, I have no idea what I’ll be playing in June. As I’ve said before, there’s that I’ve missed out on by not playing PC games and there are a lot that I already know I’d like to try in the coming weeks and months. June is the month of E3 and if I remember correctly, this is when Steam kicks off its big summer sale. This summer is going to be utterly packed with gaming goodness for me and I’m not a hundred percent sure where to start. I’ll be sure to bother everyone though as I do more Let’s Plays and talk about games that everyone else has already experienced and talked about however many years ago.