Friday, March 14, 2014

Dark Souls II First Impressions

Dark Souls II launched in North America on March 11th, 2014 and I was eager as hell to get my hands on my copy and collector's edition package!  This thing comes with a 12" high statue of a warrior knight figure from the game, dual wielding swords while wearing one of those old style hoodies.  The thing looks cool, is built solid, and is the center piece of my resurrected gaming goods collection since losing much of my shit due to a couple of dishonest people involved in moving my possessions from my previous home.  This is cooler than my Fallout 3 lunchbox, and that is no shit!

But I didn't just pick this up for the statue, no sir.  There is a deviously masochistic game buried within the box of goodness, and I cannot wait to dive into it head first.  In normal fashion for myself and the Souls games, I start several characters and fiddle with them each for about two hours or so trying to see which one fits my play style the best.  I am not sure if I yet have my go to guy, but it is looking like my second soldier is tuning up nicely.  His bonus Estus Flask is nice as well.  This game has an unforgiving system in place once you die repeatedly.  Your total health is decreased by like 5% each time you croak until your total health rests at 50% when full!  It's just like catching the curse in the Depth's for fuck sake!  The way to regain your health, use a Human Effigy to restore your Humanity which takes your health bar back to 100%, resetting the penalty.

I have three hours with my character now, and about seven hours total with all three that I have created to fuck with.  I have fought the first boss, dwindling his life bar to about 5% when I took my final blow and again succumb to this damn game.  That was with my first character, so heading into my next bout with "The Last Giant" I will be utilizing number two.  While his mobility isn't as smooth as I'd like it to be, his stamina and strength compensate.  I am hoping I see the same results in battle as on paper.  I still have some exploring to do before I arrive at the boss fight, but I wanted to jot a note down on the blog here since I haven't in ages.  Dark Souls II gives me something gaming related to be excited about again, and I am going to hopefully use this forum to share my triumphs and setbacks that I endure along this new journey.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Turned based ass kicking

On a whim I grabbed a copy of Sid Meier's Civilization 5 the other day not knowing at all if I'd like the turn-based game play but knowing if there was a genre of strategy titles that I would get into, turn-based would be the one.  I must lack brain power to understand real time strategy titles because within minutes of playing one my frustration levels have far surpassed anything I can recall in gaming, and it has to do with not being able to grasp the basics of attacking or defending bases and what not.  Then along come turned-based games like the latest XCOM title, and Civ 5.  They allow me to play at my pace, to survey the surroundings, and to make at least a somewhat intelligent choice about my units future movements and tactics.

I only have three hours invested at this point, but in that short amount of time learned a little about the game and I believe that while I may not play it exclusively (hell I rarely play anything exclusively) I will certainly get many hours of enjoyment out of my $19.  Not only that, with these motivating factors on my side only time with the game stands between me and fully understanding it's systems which will hopefully help see me through to at least one end game scenario!

Each time I start the game I find myself starting a new game rather than loading up a previous save.  By doing this I hope to be able to learn the early game components so that eventually I can make a run at the end game without worrying that my early decisions will come into play in a negative way.  I don't even know if this is possible, but I like to think by replaying the opening scenario over and over eventually I can do so without the need of tutorials to guide me through the stages of game play.  Time will tell. 

What other turned-based strategy games are out there for me to try?  If I like the Civilization series, perhaps there are other games just like it that could pique my interest.  XCOM: Enemy Unknown is the only other game I can think of off the top of my head, and I do own that one.  I want to concentrate on only one at a time though, so for now Civ 5 is it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What am I up to? Saving the world, thats what!

I've dabbled with JRPG's in the past and what I have experienced has always left me feeling as if the genre held games that if only I had given the chance I am sure that I would have loved them.  Unlike run of the mill shooters, many of these titles give me the feeling that what I am playing is in itself a unique and special experience.  Ni No Kuni is the latest of these games that I have had the pleasure of playing and I can only say that within the first few minutes alone I had already known that this adventure was going to be special.

It's a game that has the power to put you in position to experience a nightmare of an episode for a young child, then within minutes, hints at giving you the power to change all of that.  Who wouldn't want to stick around to see if the young hero has what it takes to reverse the dire situation that opens the game?  It's a compelling narrative that any child in the same situation could only dream of having the chance to manipulate the outcome and return to his youth unscathed, all the while assisting others in saving themselves from an equally dire consequence.

I only have a couple of hours invested in this game so far and what I have played is already a memorable gaming experience for myself.  It's a game that is so far off the normal path that I take, others in my household can walk by the TV and know this is not what usually is playing on the big screen.  They can tell from the voices, and the wonderful and memorable music score that this game is far different than anything they have seen this old man sit and enjoy for hours on end.  They notice the conspicuous absence of gunfire and grenade explosions and "Oscar Mike" being yelled at my protagonist.  And I couldn't be any happier to explain to them, hell, anyone, what it is that has me glued to the screen and wasting time jotting down this tidbit on my blog.

In keeping with my tradition of not spoiling story for fellow gamers, I can only hope that even my little four paragraph notation here helps gamers that are either totally unaware or even those on the fence about Ni No Kuni that it is indeed worth at least a rental!  If you are biased toward what types of games you play, granted, this will be a step far off the normal route you may take towards valuable entertainment.  But if you open up just a bit and take in this beautifully animated adventure, you will be in for a treat seldom found in western developed games.