Saturday, July 21, 2012


In my previous post I dismissed the Steam Summer Sale. I had found the sale to be somewhat underwhelming in its early days. So, I got my game fix by spending a tiny bit of money on some titles at my local bricks-and-mortar store. Well, it turns out that one of those titles is not so good --- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed --- and I have yet to play either of the remaining two. Also, the Steam sale got better; it taunted me with deal after deal after deal. Steam is like that hot woman who knows that I want her, and also that my male pride won't let me reveal my true weakness by giving in at the first sign of skin. So she gradually reveals herself little by little until I can resist no longer.

I resisted as long as I could, but I finally cracked. I put $100 in my Steam wallet and promptly proceeded to spend it on games that I probably won't be able to play for several months. More on that later. First, the games I bought after the jump.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Physical Copy

Steam Summer Sale be damned! I just picked up three PS3 games from my local bricks-and-mortar store for $7.11.

I took advantage of a choose-three-get-one-free promotion on used games, and put a $24.51 credit, from a previous trade-in, towards the cost of the remaining two. Sure, I had to leave my apartment and walk under the hot sun for 40 minutes (each way), but by doing so I avoided protracted downloads and quick consumption of my Internet connection's limited bandwidth. I also picked up an iced-coffee along the way. The great outdoors are wonderful, aren't they?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Backlog Update

Since my last post I have managed to finish Dead Island, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier, and Sniper Elite V2.  I have also put just over 20 hours into Dragon Age: Origins, and I'm enjoying it. I usually don't go for RPGs because I don't have the patience for protracted dialog and gameplay, but this game has a good story, a deep and interesting levelling system, and an easy and straight-forward combat system. I do sometimes get annoyed with the necessity of going through dialog choices, as some of them seem to go on forever, but I find myself otherwise engaged by plot, story, and character. Sometimes, I'll even stop what I'm doing to listen to the random conversations that occur between the characters in my party. Just like the person in this video

Another game that I have gotten back into is Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising (PC). It was gifted to me by a friend during a Steam sale, and I'm starting to think he did it as some kind of cruel joke. Why? Well, this game is infuriatingly difficult. Even on normal difficulty I am averaging 2 hours per mission because of one-shot kills; long, slow walks across the fields, over the hills, and through the woods just to reach objective points; AI-squadmates that don't know how to take cover; glitches that cause friendly and enemy-AI to misbehave or simply not appear when they should; a shitty checkpoint system; and no quicksave option!

These last two points are causing most of the time consumption. A checkpoint usually occurs after mission briefing, but you might not get another one for another 25 minutes, unless you complete a major objective. The problem is, though, it could take 20 minutes just to walk to the objective-point. Just as you're about to reach it, your screen suddenly goes black. When it comes back, there is your character lying on the ground, dead. As the screen goes red, and begins to fade out, you hear gunfire and your squadmates yelling, "One's down, One's down". Then, you choose "Continue From Last Checkpoint", and you're right back where you started ---- 20 fucking minutes ago. If there were a quicksave option, the one shot kills wouldn't be so bad, but there isn't. It doesn't make sense to me that a developer wouldn't include it in a PC game.

Nevertheless, I find myself wanting to play and finish it. This is no Call of Duty, Ghost Recon, or Medal of Honor --- and I like that. It requires the use of tactics, pacing, and a great deal of patience. The player character moves slowly, as he is weighted down with equipment, and will run out of breath if he sprints for too long. If he gets shot in the leg or arm, he can treat it with a field-dressing, but he never gets back to 100% health, and this slows him down even more. He can also give orders to the squad or individuals in the squad to cover everything from Rules of Engagement --- Weapons Free, Return Fire Only, Fire on My Mark, etc. --- to squad formation and movement, and defensive or offensive posture. (Presumably, one can use them to flank the enemy, but since they get themselves shot up --- or dead --- a lot, I find I have to keep them close together to concentrate fire on one area.) It's not flashy, quick, or cinematic but it is interesting and challenging, in that it challenges me to control my patience and temper.