So many games, so little time

It’s that time of the year again – just as the weather is getting warmer and everyone is recovering from the inevitable colds, flu, and chest infections and wants to be outside (apologies to anyone in the southern hemisphere for the UK bias) – what happens? We get hit with a slew of AAA computer games. And offers on old ones.

Games I am playing at the moment:

Rift – I really do enjoy Rift, and I don’t think people are anywhere near appreciative enough of the PvE/ questing content. It’s not revolutionary but bug free and nicely executed. Technically it’s good too – there’s a nice variety of kill quests, collect quests, use the item quests, use something in the environment quests, etc etc. And if you actually read the storyline quests in each zone, they’re good fun.

It’s a very easy game to spend an hour or so in quietly, even if you don’t feel like running the Rifts, instances or warfronts. Of course my character is still only level 30 so I can’t speak for the endgame. I intend to write longer posts about Rift since I’m happy with my 6 month sub, love the warlock, and looking forwards to seeing how things go. It is noticeable that the population has dropped off after the first month, but maybe they’re just all busy with single player games. Tipa writes a more thoughtful review here.

Dragon Age 2 – I haven’t gotten very far with my second play through as a mage yet, but it’s on the back burner. The more I think about this game (and I have been thinking about it) the more I love what they were trying to do. I find that a) I’m quite forgiving of games that fail to meet their vision if I agree with the vision and b) my characters in Bioware games default to Captain Jack style bisexual (he’ll screw anything as long as it’s gorgeous).

Mass Effect 2:  Since Bioware have been giving this away free to DA2 purchasers, it would have been rude not to download it. I got as far as where Shepherd first meets the Illustrated Man but haven’t really felt the need to play it since. I want to, even though I think I have probably forgotten the various commands for switching guns and … whatever other shooter stuff it does. It’s strange that the Dragon Age games have been so compelling for me but I struggle to get very far with either of the ME ones. I don’t think ME3 is on my shopping list either, now that Bioware have been busy perfecting the shootery gameplay which I’m so bad at.

The Witcher: Another game that I really like but have not been driven to play for ages. Picked this up in the Steam Sale over Xmas and enjoyed the parts that I did play. Again, I wonder if I’ll be able to remember the controls or whether I should just restart from the beginning if I get the urge.

Dragon Quest IX: This is the game which for me defines why it doesn’t matter if you never finish a CRPG. I’m still barely half way through, I think, but wandering around and fighting animated cucumbers never gets old. It would be dull on a PC but on a handheld that you play for 30 mins at a time on train journeys, it’s great.

Sims Medieval: The issue I have with this game is that it’s not really the sort of thing you can just pick up for 30 mins: it needs time, preferably more time than you have. My evil Sim queen got pregnant and I got bored waiting for her to drop the sprog. I will go back to it, because I think they did a lot of things right with this game and I’ve barely scratched the surface. In particular the idea of a simulation game using genre simulation rules rather than real world to help with telling genre-appropriate stories has HUGE potential. Imagine if it has been Sims Fairy Tale instead of Sims Medieval — I think that’s where the franchise needs to go. An unholy mix of simulation and storytelling, and I’d be so there.

LOTRO: Finished the most recent epic book content and enjoyed it a lot. Very tempted to sign up for some casual raiding but I have one major issue. I don’t understand the new legendary item changes, so I have no idea how bad my gear is or how to improve it.

You’ll notice a running thread in my more peripatetic games which is that one of the barriers to me continuing with it is worrying about whether I will remember how to play. Remember this, because it’s just as valid with MMOs that you put down for a while and then pick up again.

On the queue or the wishlist:

Pirates of the Burning Sea: I still really want to find time for this because I loved it! But wow it’s been hard to find time.

Bioshock: I remembered being recommended this game so picked it up from the recent Steam sale for a pittance.

Portal 2: Out next week, in case you missed the hype. Tempted to wait a few months until it is cheaper.

Witcher 2: I think I should finish the first game really, and have some concerns about how well it might run on my system. But it sounds as though it will be awesome.

Steamlands: Some kind of bizarro steampunk tank building/tower defense game? I don’t know, I just know that I’m already sold on it.

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16 thoughts on “So many games, so little time

  1. Mass effect 1 turned me off the series, but a friend convinced me to try out ME2, and i fell in love. It has (imo) a better story than both dragon age games -but not as great a cast of characters though- combined with a better than decent shooter.
    I also notice that wow is no longer on the backburner for you.
    Apart from that, I am very much at the same place you are :)

  2. in some ways mass effect 2 is easier to play then mass effect 1 – they streamlined the shooter part a lot. less guns to deal with, smaller skill trees, etc. I’m terrible at shooters myself and honestly, ME is the only pseudo shooter series I’ve been able to enjoy… and then enjoy some more :P the key is to pause and pause often, as well as make sure you are telling your teammates what to do. in that the gameplay is really not much different from dragon age, aside form the fact that you cannot zoom away from your character. now, if you are not pulled in by the story? that’s a whole different ball game.

    bioshock is pure shooter btw. its a shooter with a great story, but its still a shooter.

    PS. Illustrated Man /giggle :P we’ve been calling him TIM, but I like your version :P

    • I kind of wish ME2 had a separate tutorial arena where I could practice slowly and carefully without being in the middle of the story. I will press on with it though, and hopefully get the hang of it a bit better.

      I’m not sure how well Bioware style love interests really work with the way I see Shepherd though. I keep wishing she was more like Geralt from The Witcher, and not actually looking for twoo wuv.

      With Bioshock, I knew it was a shooter but I do want to try to get better at them. And since it was cheap I won’t feel too bad if I have to give up.

      • yeah, its been suggested multiple times on the forums that ME2 really needs something like pinnacle station from ME1 (combat simulation maps DLC basically)

        Bioware love interests in general are pretty much twooo love even when you think its a casual thing (Garrus especially blindsided the heck out of me – although in a very cute way, and Isabella, as much as I adore her – is no better, although I think you could just not push it beyond that first casual encounter?)

        I suppose you could always go for Kelly – she’s not a paramour achievement giving character but she’ll dance for you and feed your fish :P

        I see Shepard as srs business – even renegade shepard, so twoo love works for me, personally :)

  3. I’m playing Magicka atm, it was on Steam sale this week. It has very cool spellweaving, but not so much more. Don’t bother beta-testing Darkspore, I didn’t like it, and everyone else I asked did not like it either.

    I still play Star Trek Online occasionally. I’m taking a LOTRO break, levelled my new Warden to 65 to realize how much more I simply prefer the Champion Class and how much better it is for running skirmishes and most 3-6 man instances I am playing. And this after spending 100s of gold and full stat boost in the cash shop on the char. :P

    I recently had to figure out traits, DPS and tanking rotations and legendary item stuff for my Warden as well, this helped me immensely:

    http://lotro.mmorsel.com/2010/11/legacies-by-class-and-pool.html &

    http://lotrotools.mmorsel.com/lispender

    Remember, you can now remove a legacy as scroll from a legendary weapon above level 30 and replace a “bad” legacy on your favorite weapon.

    I suggest reading up on the EU and US forums which legacies offer the most benefit for the buck! :) A good starting point is to read up what they do and compare that to your playstyle. Most classes have 3-4 must have legacies, the rest is more or less up to your choice.

  4. I am a huge fan of the Mass Effect games. Before Dragon Age 2 sucked me in, I was WAY more excited about Mass Effect 3 than continuing DA. If you feel you are struggling with the shooter elements, pressing space and pausing helps a lot. I am the world’s worst FPS player, but by the end of the game, I think I did well for myself. I think Mass Effect 1’s story was a touch better than ME2, but ME2 is a lot more accessible.

    I do gripe about ME2’s choice of characters, at least as it comes to love interests. It is very funny that in Dragon Age, they’re all omnisexual like Captain Jack (loved the comparison), but in ME2, they’re all very straight, so that I did not pursue a love interest at all.

    Bioshock is a fantastic game, one that I still didn’t complete. The story is amazingly good, really amazing. But it’s a shooter, much more so than ME is, and I had a hard time with that. It’s also quite scary. Story’s damn good though.

    I am lurking around steam, always hoping for a Fallout 3 sale. I heard so many good things about this game, but I am no longer really willing to pay full price for games, unless it is the latest Bioware crack.

    • There is an overwhelming-ness about Fallout 3, after having binged on Bioware games for the last three months (Planescape, ME1&2, DA:Awakening, DA2). I came to appreciate the elegance of Bioware’s classes, although the choices in ME1&2 might have been *too* limited.

      I am about 8 hours into Fallout and have completed only a handful of missions. The rest of my time has been spent looting just a couple of structures.

    • I’ll be curious to see what you think. There is PvP but it’s very easy to opt in or out of it, and I barely ever scratched the surface of the economic game. I do think it’s a really good quality MMO.

      • Oi Spinks!

        Cap’n Sven ‘ere from the Burning Sea of Pirates, or something like that. Time is such a vanishing commodity these days, isn’t? Especially with all the great games out there.

        We’re still puttering about on Tuesday evenings, if you or any of your readers care to join us. We just added a couple of newcomers, so anyone just starting out wouldn’t feel a bit out of place or far behind.

        Check out Van Hemlock’s website for details.

    • No, I liked the game but I was particularly taken with the space combat. And I was finding that the ship to ship combat in PotBS just scratched that itch better for me.

      If I’d been a huge Star Trek fan it might be different, but as it was the game itself wasn’t as appealing as pirates. I do keep hearing good things about the updates they’ve done to it though.

  5. I’ve really been wanting to play Sims Medieval… just haven’t gotten around to buying it yet. I am a huge Sims addict though so I’m sure that once I do actually get it I’ll accidentally end up playing it from sunup to sundown without noticing :P

    Of course, given the giant backlog of games I have, I should probably attempt to beat a couple of them before buying Sims Medieval hehe.

  6. Pingback: Is RIFT simply… fun? « Bio Break

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