Tag Archive: Completed 2015

Gaming Week #20

While it may seem like perfect sense I didn’t realize that for reporting purposes people actually use week numbers. Last week was week #20 for the year and it has been awhile since I have shared what I am playing and figured it was a good way to start the week off. Canada had a long weekend – Victoria Day Weekend (The May two-four weekend, as it is commonly called) celebrating the life of Queen Victoria. Canada does holidays well, and the date changes every year but it is always the Monday before the 25th day of May – this ensures the long weekend status. Two-Four is also Canadian slang for a case of beer, since there are 24 beer in a standard case here. It reminds me of the quote “Education is important but hockey is importanter”. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Where have I been spending (and not spending) my gaming time?

MLB The Show 2015 : Majority of time, but nearing completion

Well, I played three weeks of this title before calling it ‘mostly complete’. Sure, the game goes on indefinitely but in my second season of “Road To The Show” I was promoted from relief pitcher to starting pitcher one third of the way into the season. I pitched well enough on my remaining 20ish starts to win both the NL MVP and the Cy Young award. Those were always my goals in the game. I am still with the Nationals, I bargained hard for a huge pay increase (MVP plus CY Young should be 25+ million a year (Scherzer gets 30M annual and he didn’t win both of those awards in a season..)) but the Nats had a 510k option on me. They did offer a 5 year, 10 million deal but when I said I wanted a 5 year, 100 million dollar deal (a bargain, I assure you) they scoffed, and used their option on me. So I am playing the season mad at my club, and there is no holdout option. I’ll have to play the season but thankfully I am an unrestricted free agent at the end of it so I can go to where I please. My goal there is to get to the American League so I don’t have to worry about hitting. Screw you, baseball purists. I was playing this nightly but with my major goals accomplished, I may pitch a game or two a week to see what kind of salary I can pull in year three but for the most part this game is no longer my focus. It was fun, and highly recommended if you love baseball.

The Secret World : Back in the saddle

With Baseball monopolizing my time I haven’t played much TSW but I did carve out some time this weekend. I am going through every quest in every zone to experience it fully. This is one of those games that if you don’t do that you might miss out on a gem. I am pretty much finished the Savage Coast and already have my main quest-line pointing me to Blue Mountain, but a few side quests remain that I want to finish before moving on. A small annoyance here – I wish the mini map changed the color of quest givers based on status, so it is easy to see what is doable. For example – white – never completed. Yellow, completed once, repeatable. Black, completed, not repeatable. I am currently putting a map marker on each as I complete them (with the label “done”) to mark off which ones I have finished. I haven’t been able to find a mod to do what I want =) I am still using Sword/Fist and still have over 100 AP and 40 SP. The story is amazing. I feel like I have so far to go just to catch up but this is definitely a game that is rewarding to stop and smell the roses along the way (they usually smell like corpses, unfortunately).

Dragon Age Inquisition : Abandoned

I really enjoyed the game at the beginning but it quickly became “chore”-ish the way the game was fleshed out. The main enemy, once revealed, didn’t really intrigue me. Once I cleared out all the quests and sub-quests and challenges and flag markers/camps in four or five “zones” it felt like that was all I was going to end up doing for another hundred hours or so. I found the combat boring, and the wall of text texts on areas and items made me curious enough to read, but feel like my gaming sessions were turning into failed Oprah Book Clubs. Furthermore, relationship management with my team was like pulling teeth. Travelling to each one just to see if they have anything interesting to say to make sure you don’t miss anything  became entire play sessions. You would think they would sit around a small camp nice and easy for you to approach, but no, they have to spread to the four corners of the camp just to kill more time. I am shocked they just don’t approach you when they have something to add to the game play. The other shocker to me is that in a single player game, I can’t change my class. I rolled sword and board tank but want to play around with an archer class and I would have to re-roll (after 30 hours). It’s single player. Who cares. Let me change and try, and change back if I want to, or change to something else. Have an in game fee if you like or some “punishment” but still, this is complete silliness that you can’t do that. I would still have to worry about gear and learning how to play – but again, single player. Stupid barrier. I may go back if I run out of things to play, but the chances of that happening are slim. I still think the DA series failed by not giving you a persistent character across the trilogy (a la Mass Effect)

EQ Progression Server : Upcoming

The nostalgic fool that I am, I am jumping into this game. Tomorrow. I have no clue who else will be playing (I know both Wilhelm and Bhagpuss will be in some capacity) and I am still torn on race/class. I may be a Gnome (the same class I did beta with and the same avatar I was an EQ guide as) or may go Troll once again – although I do dislike the new Troll graphics. Guk and the swamp was where my quintessential MMO experience was fleshed out and truly born, while the Minotaur caves in Steamfont was one of my fondest gaming experiences. I’ll make up my mind at some point. How long I last in the classic world remains to be seen but I have to go even just to visit. It will be wonderful to see starting areas with population again. Nostalgia is always temporary fun.

Summer is here, and I garden (don’t laugh! The vegetable kind!) and play outside, and don’t focus a lot on gaming so the EQ thing has terrible timing.  There is so many games coming up that I am curious about but we will see how the summer unfolds.

The Last of Us

In this post I continue my series of playing games after they are no longer hot, or the “in thing” for the first time – long after all of you have played it. I enjoy being fashionably late! Besides, this gives you the opportunity to relive your own experiences through my eyes. I am also tagging games this year that I complete with (drumroll) ‘Complete 2015’ as it will be fun to go back at the end of the year and see what games I got through, and how I felt about them. Years go by fast and even at work we have a Year Book – and going back through the year is really awesome to reflect at everything that has happened. I think you start realizing this more and more the older you get.

I touched upon playing The Last of Us in a post a few weeks ago and many of my initial criticisms still hold true.

The Last Of Us seems to consist of a not-so-convincing cut scene, followed by get from A to Z movement puzzles (where there is only one (and often tedious) path), followed by a fight sequence where you can try to stealth through it but ultimately end up shooting a gun and the entire level aggros. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. I wish I could say they have done a good job of fleshing out the characters and  whatnot but

The thing is, once you meet Sam the game really changes in two ways – the first is that the cut scenes are longer and more meaningful. The series of what seemed like disjointed, unimportant discussions and video cuts get deeper. You could argue that this is a natural way a relationship grows – from “just a job”, to curiosity, to caring, to openness and honesty and that ends up the result – whether intentional or not.

The second good part is that you have weapons and ammo and upgrades so the fighting and scenes don’t feel so cumbersome. At some points during the first few levels I considered putting it down – the reputation of the game and pieces that I did know (as well as discussions with fellow bloggers) kept me flogging through the un-fun parts and I am very, very glad I did.

My main criticism of the game now that it is done is that the initial pacing, difficulty and the learning curve  should have been softer and more deliberate – because once you get through that part the game gets really good, really fast, and the pacing picks up perfectly (aside from a couple scenes). It became hard to stop playing.

There will be some spoilers below, so please stop reading if you haven’t played the game or want to preserve the entire experience.

There were two standout moments for me. The first was the Ellie-only levels when Joel was sick and recovering when she basically slaughters an entire city of survivors who are just trying to get by and protect their families. Oh, they are cannibals too (no doubt put in there to make it “okay” to kill them) and the graphic violence that I did as a 12 (?) year old girl was, at times, uncomfortable. I will take a moment here to admit that when I did the same violent acts as the weathered, old and bitter male protagonist I didn’t have the same level of discomfort and I tried to dig deep to see if I could sort out why. Was it because Ellie was a kid and completely losing any innocence that remains? (when you die as her and have to restart levels, its far harder to watch for me). I have a 9 year old, so I think I played those levels as if it was him. I am mostly certain that it had nothing to do with her being a girl (I have played a lot of killing games as a woman adult character before). Still, I can’t deny there were times when I was stabbing shivs into the necks of fathers while they pleaded to others to usher their kids onto school buses where it just didn’t feel right.

Survival of the fittest, I suppose. By the end of the game I had realized that at the end of the day you kill humans more than infected that felt like at least a rate of three to one – once again showing that creators of the zombie apocalypse genre have little faith in mankind as they are always the biggest threat. Along these same lines, when you are slaughtering what is mostly known for the group countering the big bad government – mankind’s last hope, the Fireflies, it is all sorts of shades of grey. Not 50, but several.

The best part was the ending. When Joel straight up lies to Ellie it does create a happy yet flawed ending, mired in darkness. Yes, Ellie will get to be a kid again – learn to swim (thank god), grow up, have friendships and companions in a town with gold old fashioned electricity. Yes, Joel gets to be a father figure again and finally care for and protect a daughter that he failed at before – and which has tortured him ever since. Sadly the entire scenario is mired in an untruth and that may continue to tear Joel apart, and you can guess how Ellie would react if she ever learned the truth. That will forever be over their heads as they try to live out a meaningful, safe and happy life.

but… if they make us into a movie it will suck!!!

I hope they don’t do a sequel. I can’t see how they can make it any better, or improve upon where they left off.

It was enjoyable to play Joel and Ellie because they were so flawed in so many ways. In games like Dragon Age you get to choose your responses – be nice, be a jerk, romance, etc. In The Last of Us you control the actions of the “heroes” through the on-rails experience but never control their attitude and that was fine by me. I do enjoy the option to shape the main character after me but the entire experience would have been tarnished if you could play nice and caring Joel.

I actually sat through the credits as they rolled, semi-stunned at the ending, trying to make sense of it all – not the game choices itself, but how it made me feel and I have to praise Naughty Dog here for the writing and ending.  Praise because I did feel – I felt for the characters, the setting, the game and the outcome. Not many titles do that for me and usually positive feelings are that of accomplishment for doing something great or just winning the game. Not so here, I was sad the experience was over. The shame here is that it is a PlayStation exclusive because I highly recommend this game.

The ending was really brave. Hollywood would have never let a movie end that way and it was proof that sometimes things don’t need to be resolved – the human race doesn’t need to be triumphant, no cure is found, and happily ever after isn’t that clear cut. It is based on lies and settling and a whole helping of “real life” insomuch that real life includes the infected downfall of civilization as we know it.