Matters Of Perspective

Don't forget to set your clocks ahead one hour before heading to bed tonight as we spring forward in to a couple months of body clock readjustment. [Insert rant about why Daylight Saving Time should be abolished].

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I had a light docket of gaming last week as I've taken an exceptionally long time to recover from my cold, which seems to still be hanging on the best it can. Since I spent most of the week trying to catch up on lost sleep, I really didn't have much chance to game.

Last Thursday was an awesome morning. When I awoke, I grabbed my phone beside my bed to check my emails and the news of the day. In my inbox was a most exciting email from Zarnyx alerting me to the Rock Band 4 announcement. I hadn't been online yet to see the news, so Z's email started me in a rocking good mood that has carried on for days now. I'm not a great singer, drummer, or plastic guitarist but my whole family loves our Rock Band sessions. Of course being able to carry over all the DLC we've purchased over the years is a major plus, but the icing on the cake is being able to buy a new Rock Band drum kit without being gouged online for it. Harmonix is just awesome, I can't wait to spend some more money with them.

I continued a bit on with Sly Cooper. The magic has worn off just slightly and I think I'm only half way through. It is a fine and capable game, but there is something I can't quite put my finger on that isn't thrilling me. I think it is the aesthetic appeal and the campy dialog that just doesn't do it for me. It reminds me a lot of old Scooby-Doo cartoons and I disliked Scooby-Doo cartoons as a kid and as an adult.

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I certainly enjoy the gameplay in Sly Cooper and while it is a little on the easy-side, it is loads of fun trying to collect all the combination clues. Part of the problem with the variety is the amount of slightly crappy mini-games, but I can forgive this as that period of gaming history often felt the more mini-games a single game had, the better it made the whole package.

I think part of my overall malaise with the game isn't the games fault but is due to me not getting my fill of first person shooters with my time with Wolfenstein (2009). My preferred state of being is definitely first person shooters and much like hamburgers, even the slightly crappy ones are better than most other things. Once I'm done with Sly Cooper I am looking forward to going back to another first person game.

I did get some small bites of first person gaming when my son and I finished Halo 2 Anniversary last week. The remake was absolutely gorgeous and it was a joy to watch my son explore that world for the first time. Sure, the end is a little abrupt and the new shadow engine often makes it a little too dark for the poor flashlightless Convenant, but the level design and wonderful storytelling shows why the Halo series continues to have such an impact on gamers everywhere.

Instead of continuing on to Halo 3 (which would have been my preference), Xander decided that we should continue on with our Toe Jam and Earl 3 game. Certainly a fine choice; the game is heaps of fun and there is an exceptional amount of content to the game.

Oh, if you weren't aware, this is happening. I generally don't back Kickstarter projects as it is often similar to a form of gambling, but sometimes you have to support things just out of love.

In an attempt to fill my shooter void, I think I'm going to try my hand at Titanfall. I've played only a handful of maps but it is lots of quick action fun. I suck horribly but being new to the game, I can't expect much especially since I don't dabble in this arena very often. I'm not much for PVP online gaming, but it is hard to deny the joy in the fluid grace of Titanfall.

My weekly game night with my buddy brought us back to Forced...and then away from it again. We made it to about halfway through the second "world" and found the increasing amount of grinding a little off-putting. The game is tough, but while we don't mind tough games, it is the repetition and necessity to grind previous levels to acquire the crystals needed to advance that wore us down. That and the perspective of the game often kills us more than the enemies. The game often relies on quick placement of your companion orb or for you to hide behind some cover. The camera placement often fails to give a good representation of the proper perspective, resulting in death from missing the mark.

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It is a wonderful game in terms of level and puzzle design, but it feels a little lacking in polish in some areas. Plus, as I said, it is tough, so all of this combined makes for a less than relaxing and fun game time for two old men once a week. Maybe we'll return to Forced at a later time, when we are in the mood for more of an grind-y ass-kicking.

Instead we picked up Dungeon of the Endless, looking for another co-op tower defense game to pickup where the fun left off when we finished Orcs Must Die 2. We've only scratched the surface but it seems great so far, even with the rough edges in co-op play. The rogue-like game design is a great way to play a co-op game but not being able to save a co-op game can lead to long game sessions.

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Also, there is no trading of inventory which leads to a gameplay problem. Whomever enters a new room first receives whatever rewards are found within. This can be resources or inventory items. Since some weapons can only be wielded by certain classes, often pick-ups can be useless to the person finding them (other than selling them). Since you have no choice about picking up the items and you have no idea what items you will get from room to room (given the random room and item placement in each game) this makes for a somewhat broken exploration dynamic for two-players. Currently we are taking turns entering new rooms, but this still doesn't alleviate the issue of not being able to trade inventory items. With a co-op save and some basic inventory trading, I think the game could be a marvelous co-op game. I've heard Amplitude Studios is still taking development suggestions, so if that is true, I'll make sure to fire off a message with my concerns soon.

So, other than watching the latest Hunger Games movie on Bluray (Atmos compatible, makes me want a new receiver) this weekend with the family I hope to have some time for more Sly Cooper and to test the waters more with Titanfall.

What are you playing this weekend?