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      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
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      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

Your gamerscore is what?

Posted by joeabbott on November 1, 2014

imageThe last time I wrote about gaming, I was playing a little something called Dishonored; a first-person stealth game that won tons of awards back in 2012 and was the darling of the year. And, for the time I spent with it, I agree: yes, it is a great game! I played the heck out of it. So much so that I completed all achievements. But what have I been doing since? Well, quite clearly, playing a lot of games!

I could detail the number of titles I’ve spent time with, but it would be a bit embarrassing to admit I’m really putting that much time into sitting around playing video games. But, I don’t get much in the way of being embarrassed so I will detail a couple of standouts!

Destiny

Destiny box art.pngWhile this game was getting love hype from every corner of the Internet before releasing, post-release it received more tempered appraise. Destiny certainly has its fanboys spending every second of their gaming day with it, but I just couldn’t get into it.

Plain and simple, it’s a shooter.

I liked the early word on the game: an open, shared world with dynamic interactions with other players and an epic story. Explore the world! Team up with others! Defeat the Fallen and the Darkness!

In the end, it’s a game designed to require co-op playing to beat some bosses, it had a dodgy loot system, the worlds aren’t open-ended and fairly modest, and rewards are oddly meted out. It “easy” to get to a mid-20 level with your character but I haven’t gotten beyond level 8. Just not doing it for me.

Diablo III

Diablo III cover.pngDiablo was the archetype for a lot of gameplay but was ultimately a dungeon-crawling loot sorta game. Do your web searches to learn more about what those qualities are if you don’t know, but the bottom line is that the game had a particular style and it nails it. I played this game a bunch … enough to get all but one achievement … but I just couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to go after that last cheevo.

Don’t get me wrong … Diablo III is fun! Fun enough to play four times … all the way through on each of the various difficulties and then most of the way through with a final character (to get to Level 30 without dying … an achievement). But, in all of that gameplay, scouring all of the world, uncovering every possible bit of area on all maps, and taking on all side-quests with all characters … in all of that, I had amassed something like 1.8 million gold pieces across all four efforts. The achievement I chose not to go for? The achievement that challenges you to get FIVE MILLLION GOLD PIECES!

Yes, after almost four complete plays-through, I had 1.8 million … and there was an achievement to get to 5 million. By tweaking my character to maximize on gold discovery, selling all valuable items, and playing only those levels that had a high chance of generating gold … by doing all that … I figured it would take 24 hours to get that last achievement. 24 hours of straight gold-looting.

No thank you. It was a fun game, but not that fun.

Shadow of Mordor cover art.pngMiddle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Where does the time go? I have no idea but, when I play this game, I play for hours. Yes, I have gone out of my way to avoid playing this game at times because I know that I can’t pull myself away. It. Is. That. Fun.

I love it.

The art, the world, the gameplay, the lore … the whole package! Like Dishonored, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is ultimately a first person stealth game but it takes place in Tolkien’s Middle-earth and extends a part of the story only hinted at in the Lord of the Rings and other books. They pull it off incredibly well, blending what Tolkien had told us, hinted at, and then making their own guesses at orc culture\society, at what it would have been like in Mordor after the fall of Sauron, and what became of some of the characters (looking at you Celebrimbor).

If all of this sounds like Nerdtopia, it is. I love the LotR stories and I love this style of game. I’m only partway through the story and already hoping it doesn’t end too soon.

If you don’t game and are wondering if you should, get yourself and Xbox One and get Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor … then be ready to spend a bit of time killing orcs.

Batman

Batman Arkham City Game Cover.jpgBatman Arkham Asylum Videogame Cover.jpgA new Batman game is due out sometime next summer and it’s already making headlines. The first two Batman games, Batman: Arkham Asylum (released 08/2009) and Batman: Arkham City (released 10/2011) were smash hits and run-away best sellers; both games were rated over 90 on the Metacritic site (Asylum \ City).

I had picked up the Arkham City game in late 2012 when I got the Game of the Year edition for something like $20. I started to play it but just wasn’t into it. Just a month ago, Arkham Asylum went on sale for $5 … so I picked that up and gave it a go. What do you know, I got pulled in! And pulled in enough to finish both Arkham Asylum and then completed Arkham City.

In the game you play the titular caped crusader who dashes about the Arkham environment of your game (either the Asylum or City) and take care of the ne’er do wells. Staying true to the Batman mythos, you never kill an enemy and use no guns, instead taking down the bad guys using your fisticuffs, gadgets, and brains … and the gameplay is such that you can clear a room of 10 club and knife-wielding enemies without breaking a sweat. But, they do amp up the challenge by sending in goons armed with guns, enemies who are armored or carrying shields, and the occasional boss.

Throughout the games you run across nearly every enemy Batman has ever faced and must defeat them. Your cape becomes rent, your costume tatters, and the gritty Arkham world starts to wear you down, but Batman’s resolve and willpower never wavers and I ultimately defeated the main foil of both games: the Joker.

I had a lot of fun with these games playing through the main story, but much less collecting all the Riddler challenges. In Arkham Asylum I believe I got them all, but in Arkham City they added quite a few more puzzles that required specific timing and way more batarang skills than I cared to build. At one point I was gliding about the city looking for the next puzzle to solve when I said, “this just isn’t fun any longer”. I closed down the game, moved my game-saves off the Xbox and onto my USB drive, and removed the disc from the tray. I was done.

And that was a bit sad of a way to end playing this game. The story had such highs: challenging and fun; whereas the post-game activities were just draining and frustrating. My two cents here is to play the games, have some fun, but don’t get caught up in completing all the achievements; you’ll be happier and have much more fun.

Coda

And that’s it. Well, not really it. In addition to those games I dipped my toes into the waters with Dark Souls, Halo: Reach, Sunset Overdrive, and am now trying Dragon’s Dogma. There’ve been others but they’re all just fodder while I wait for big periods of time to become available so I can play a bit of Shadow of Mordor.

Dark Souls Cover Art.jpgHalo- Reach box art.pngSunset OverdriveDragonsDogma.jpg

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you can find as much free time as I obviously have!

All images copied from Wikipedia.org in accordance with general use policy.

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