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Playing Games: Better Late Than Never Edition

Playing Games: Better Late Than Never Edition

  09:16:51 pm, by Daveh   , 840 words  
Viewed 4753 times since 04/05/10
Categories: Games

I'll start this long delayed blog update with another update on the games I've found myself playing in the past month or two:

  • Dragon Age -- This was in an earlier edition where I was trying (and failing) to play it on my laptop. Thanks to the wonder of Steam I reinstalled the game on my considerably more powerful desktop and attempted to start over. For some reason I didn't get very far before succumbing to boredom and moving on to something else. Perhaps it was replaying the start of the game over again, even though there were some differences playing as another race/class. Part of my lack of enjoyment comes from the feeling that I was watching more of the game than actually playing it. I don't necessarily mind well placed cut scenes or dialogs but I play games to actually play the game not spend five minutes listening to some NPC expound on the details of the last 100 years of history in an imaginary universe. I've never been one to really enjoy the lore of any game, just point my sword in the way the bad guy and let fate sort it out.

    This is one of those games I might pick up in a few years and end up enjoying but for now it will have to wait on my virtual bookshelf.

  • Fate -- I picked this up while traveling as it sounded like a decent Diablo-esque game that I could run on my laptop. Unfortunately, the game disappointed me from a general lack of "polish".

  • Torchlight -- This appears to be almost identical to Fate at first glance but while the game play is almost identical Torchlight has a much better finished feel to it and is overall much more enjoyable. It is so fun I caught myself thinking about installing it on my desktop despite having other games to play and finish.
  • Mass Effect 2 -- Although this game suffers a little from the "too many cut scenes" that I disliked Dragon Age for I enjoyed it much more overall. Its been a while since I had fun in a Sci-Fi action/rpg and the game doesn't disappoint for the most part. The strongest irk I have for the game is how the planet scanning and resource acquisition works. Its not really a bad idea but the "scanning" implementation could have been made better a number of ways and more fun as a result. My work and hobby of working with visualizing large sets of complex data (well, relatively large/complex I suppose) has me thinking of a half-dozen better ways to do it and almost has me looking to see if there is an editor available for the game (almost...).

    Although I have been recently sidetracked by the next game I fully intend to pick ME2 up again and finish it soon.

  • Mount and Blade: Warband -- When I was looking for a new game last month I avoided the original "Mount and Blade" game due to the relatively poor reviews from the various game sites and picked up ME2 instead (of which I don't regret). Last weekend, however, I noted a new standalone "expansion" available on Steam, although it is not an expansion so why it is labeled as such I can only guess. Reading some reviews I found that although the "official" game reviews were low (6-7ish/10) the "user" game reviews were relatively high (8-9ish/10) and the game actually sounded like something I'd enjoy. A long weekend and too many late night game playing hours later and it turned out I was correct.

    The "official" reviews are pretty much right in many of their opinions. The game's graphics are relatively poor compared to today's blockbuster games (not too bad though) and the overall game "polish" is low (probably the more serious charge). Fortunately, I've never been one to judge a game solely by how it looks. Graphics are great but it is the really the freedom, depth and complexity of the game play that attracts me. This explains my love of games like Dwarf Fortress and text MUDs which essentially have no graphics.

    What the official reviews seem to miss, but the user reviews get, is the game's freedom and depth. To a certain extent the world is open to play however you wish, much like Oblivion was. You are free to play as a "good guy" and take sides with a kingdom fighting and defending for them or take the "less good" path and attack caravans and villages. So far I haven't been able to play too much with the game's depth and get into advanced warfare or politics but I've seen the various options available to me should I have will and time to pursue them.

    For all that I like about the game play there are many things I dislike. Overall the game feels unfinished or underdeveloped in many areas that could have made it even better. I may well cover these in a subsequent blog article.

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