2016 was for me a year of playing older games, not least because my PC is now at the point where I most likely cannot run new AAA releases with any satisfactory performance – except for one. (more…)
I actually completed another game the other day! Mark of the Ninja had been on my plate for months; I’d play it intensely for a few days, then my attention would inevitably wander off to something else. That’s nothing against this game though, because now that I’ve beaten it, my verdict is this: Mark of the Ninja is the best stealth game I’ve ever played. (more…)
That’s a mouthful huh? Maybe they should’ve just gone with “Game of Thrones Season 1”. It worked with “The Walking Dead” just fine, didn’t it? Anyways, this is my verdict for Telltale’s first take on the Game of Thrones franchise.
Game of Thrones + Telltale = IMSOHAPPYOMG
I’ve been heavily into Game of Thrones since the TV show’s first season. I read the first book while watching season 1, finishing it before I even got to the last episode, and went on to read the rest of the released books. It’s been my escapist fiction of choice and the most engaging fictional universe since Harry Potter. When I heard that Telltale were making a companion game series, I was just overjoyed. If you’re like me, you should be very happy with the game that came out of it. The ASoIaF universe always felt like a perfect fit for the writing pedigree of Telltale, and I wasn’t disappointed. This might well be my favorite Telltale game so far. (more…)
A few weeks ago, I decided to throw myself into Dota 2. A mixture of admiration for its design and the bad feeling that I was left with from my time with the original Dota were reason enough. It was about getting over my negative bias which I’d gotten because of stuff that had nothing to do with Dota itself. So I did. I actually really enjoyed my time! But I’m at peace with the game. I’m still bad at the game of course, but I learned to have fun in it nonetheless. In any case though, I’ve stopped again.
It’s all because of (duh!) Hearthstone. Much like with Dota, I can’t help but admire this game’s design. The crucial, crucial factor that effectively made Hearthstone replace Dota for me is its lower demand for my time. Overall, probably, I’m investing about as much time as I would into Dota, or any “hobby game”. But single matches take 5 – 10 mins tops, and this gives me more agency over how I spend my time. I can choose to spend my entire Sunday wrestling on the ladder, or quickly do 2 matches to finish a daily quest before bed time. Also, I can play on the PC and my phone. So it’s perfect for lunch breaks. It’s a game that’s just much more compatible with my life style.
I didn’t jump into it all full force though. It’s been a year and half since Hearthstone launched, and even before that, it had a lengthy beta, so it’s been around a while. This means there’s been a couple of expansions, and the card pool is quite daunting for people starting out now. I’ll address some of these concerns that I’ve had myself. (more…)
Work’s been a demanding mistress these past two months. Suffice to say, I worked the weekends and overtime. I write for this blog in the office, but the workload has been such that I couldn’t get myself to spend any energy towards updating this here site. I’m really hoping my current project will be successful, it’d make life a whole lot better! (more…)
I don’t have much in common with Michael Corleone, but there is one thing. What the mafia is for him, Dota 2 is for me. I’m in no way trying to say that I’m the godfather of Dota 2. I’m not. I never was. I’m actually dreadful at the game. But I also have a deep respect and fascination for what it is.
Where I’m from, Dota 1 was all around me. At school, all my friends played Dota. When you passed random males on the street, you could hear them discuss Dota. When you walked into a LAN cafe, on 90% of PC’s there’d be Dota (the rest were CS 1.6 and FIFA). So naturally, as a gamer, I played Dota. My roots in PC gaming were heavily influenced by the Blizzard holy trinity: Diablo 2, Starcraft and Warcraft 3. So playing Dota came to me naturally, it all made sense. Some guys made a mod where you didn’t have to do anything but play the Warcraft 3 hero micro-ing gameplay, coupled with some weird mutation of tower defense. It was actually more relaxing and inclusive than the traditional RTS gameplay of Warcraft 3, which I was in love with (but still sucked at). Instead of having to split into pairs of two, dishing it out Undead vs Orcs, Night Elf vs Humans and so on, we could all more or less play together in the same game, have a shared experience and later have banter about that experience. (more…)
Staying with my MMO gaming this week, I partook in the Mordrem Assault Event that’s currently ongoing in Guild Wars 2. It’s my first real event, and it’s been…okay, I guess. Every hour, one of three zones in the game gets assaulted by Mordrem mobs, and people will get together as zergs, zipping about the zone to beat down the spawned mobs. I won’t go in depth, but if you’re interested, this video is pretty all you need to see:
After taking a considerable break from games (by my standards) I decided to continue the adventures of my engineer in Guild Wars 2. The hype around Heart of Thorns is real, man. The game is getting the thing that’s been the biggest turn-off to people coming from other MMOs: the raids (except maybe also the lack of a holy trinity role distribution). I’m not a big MMO guy so I have never gone on a raid in any game before, but it sure sounds like great fun. It’s cool that ArenaNet seems committed to providing max level players with more stuff to do, though I’m still not sure how that is supposed to work without raising the level cap. I get that raising the level cap would be the “lame” and uninnovative thing to do, essentially just invalidating all the gear that players have worked so hard to acquire. (more…)
Genres are a fun concept to think about. What makes a fantasy story different from a science fiction one? What makes steampunk so special? What’s so interesting about cyberpunk? It’s fair to say that the best works of fiction don’t follow a common recipe of their assumed genre, but play with and twist accepted the conventions of their genre, unless the work itself is introducing such a crassly new form of setting that can be seen as the quasi origin of a new genre, like Tolkien’s works. (more…)
I’ve been away for a few weeks, which was nice. Time to take a step back and do something else from the usual grind. Well, not that much different, as I managed to see some films and read a book. There’s a ton of stuff I’m queuing up to write about, so here’s an outline.
Usagi Drop stole my heart
I might have mentioned it before, but I’ve been on a frustrating search for a good slice of life type anime or manga. I did not expect however to find an anime that would break into my favorites when I checked out Usagi Drop. Let me give it to you straight: Usagi Drop is an 11 episode long series adapted from a manga. It’s about Daikichi, a 30 year old guy without his own family. Upon his grandfather’s death, he learns at the wake that grandpa had a child with a mystery woman. The kid is a ~6 year old girl named Rin. The whole family is embarrassed by the situation, and when they started discussing where to send Rin to live, Daikichi steps up to become her guardian. Usagi Drop’s story revolves around the struggles and joys of raising a child in modern Japan. It’s got great characters, and mostly lives by just how likable Daikichi and Rin are. The storylines in the episodes are really light, low-key fare, so it’s really easy to watch. It’s all very happy and heartwarming and that’s something I really liked. It makes for a great contrast to all the heavy stuff I usually enjoy (Game of Thrones, etc.). There’s a sincerity in Usagi Drop that seems to have become really rare these days. A big, big recommendation from me. (more…)