My last post was in December. I can’t play games very often right now, but I’ve touched on a few in between things… Here’s what I’ve been up to the first three months of 2018 gaming-wise:
I’ve been slowly working through this zombie parkour game and its expansion ‘The Following’ on PC. I’ve stuck mostly to online co op, because single player is a bitch. Co op is definitely the way to go because a sticky situation is always more fun when shared. Can be very frustrating though. It’s kinda old, but it’s still one of the best looking games I’ve seen. Still, would never be one of my favorite games. The story and characters are totally dull. Any interesting things that happen have to be a result of player ingenuity.
I beat Enki, which I thought was going to be harder than it was. I escaped the house on my second run, which surprised me. My third run, I did it in under ten minutes, got the ‘Houdini’ rank, and the killer was arrested. So clearly its not hard once you wrap your brain around it. It’s actually a pretty short experience, even considering the phase where you don’t know what is what. I really like the concept, and I think there could be a bigger, more detailed game here if it wasn’t just a proof of concept.
I played through the story of Alien Isolation a second time and loved it even more. It’s definitely a top tier favorite of mine; I love everything about this game – the visuals, the acting, the gameplay, the set designs, the lighting, the score, the sound, the excitement, the tension, the story structure, the world-building… And I used this opportunity to finally play through some of the bonus content including ‘Crew Expendable’, which, as it turns out, is very very short compared to the main campaign which is very very long. I was surprised at how brief this mode was. And it was basically just more of the same; the only difference was you were controlling characters from the original movie.
As much of this game as I’ve played, I’ll never feel like I have a good grip on the alien. I mean, I’ve gotten really good at dealing with it, but there’s an unpredictability that will keep it scary forever.
This War of Mine
I finally chose my moment to dig deep into this game. I’ve loved the concept for a while now, but never got around to giving it my best shot til now. I was excited to see what I could achieve if I set my mind to it. What I learned, though, is that it’s a farce to think you can achieve some kind of comfortable status in this game. It’s been written to keep you constantly struggling. And it really gets tiring after a while. I tried very hard, and still my characters ended up sick and wounded and dying without the food, medicine, and protection they require. There’s literally not enough resources in the scavenge locations, and/or room in your backpack to round up enough every night to keep your whole household from suffering. Now I understand why mods are popular with this game; because otherwise, players would probably never get to experience what it’s like to take control of the situation and produce happiness for your sims – what it would be like to actually build up your structure and have enough food and protection to keep your dudes singing and dancing and blasting looters with Aks. It’s probably possible, but it’s just too freaking hard on normal difficulty. I respect the idea, but I’m not going to play anymore. It’s not worth it.
I realized something. I hate Nier Automata. It took me a while to come to that conclusion, because I was so open-minded about it. I cherished everything that was being said about it, and I gave it a generous amount of time to win me over. But it didn’t. I don’t enjoy this game, and I never did, and I need to be finally done trying to. I’m going to sell my copy.
The Evil Within 2
I was trying to scratch an itch by playing this game. I wanted an adventure where I was on my own, exploring a mysterious place, finding items, surviving, following a tight story. And I’m happy to report my itch was scratched! The Evil Within 2 has got a wonderful quality of gameplay during the right moments. Chapter 3, when you are unleashed upon that small open world, it’s like survial horror heaven. Tons of little things to find, interesting moments around every corner, going from one to another as you see fit. It was really fun.
On the flip side of the argument, the game forgets that intent after the first open world. It becomes very linear. But its really not the linear-ness that bothers me. It’s that it rushes through its set pieces so fast. Like the dungeon-ish area, for example, I was just starting to have fun in that world when I got out of it. And the moment where you pal around with the soldier girl… same thing. No good moment lasts long enough in this game. Except for the chapter 3 world, because that lasts as long as you want it to. I wish all the environments in this story had been a little more open and allowing instead of rushrush. I beat this in a weekend, and was really disappointed that the open-world gameplay was so short lived within the full breadth of the campaign. If they had skimped a little more on production value and visuals and spent that energy adding a little more girth to the campaign, that would have been okay with me.
Before the Storm Bonus Episode
For those who hold the first Life is Strange in super high regard, this will be appreciated. For me, it was unnecessary.
It surprised me how even though it sends us waaay back to when Max and Chloe were little kids, it still shows them thinking and talking about ‘old times’. It’s like, do we live in the past at all ages? Are so obsessed with nostalgia?