Winter Is Coming! Scratch That...Winter Is HERE!

Snow finally dropped here on Friday. I am still slightly unprepared for it but managed to actually get the snowtires put on the car on Thursday, so at least I can go get gas for the snowblower now.

We had a busy time around our house last week but I managed a whole barrage of different gaming moments.

The beginning of last week saw some more Grand Theft Auto IV. I'm not sure what the game has left in store, but I feel I've pretty much seen everything it has to offer at this point and what it offers doesn't entice me a whole lot. I'll finish it, but it is one of those gaming moments that feels more like putting in time than real enjoyment. It is rare for me to find those games that completely consume me so much so that I have trouble not playing them, but GTA IV is one of those games that seem almost a drag to boot up. It is mildly fun when I finally get back in to it, but the idea of playing it seems somewhat chore-like.

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I of course had my weekly session of The Elder Scrolls Online and we've hit veteran level 5 and started the new area of Malabal Tor.

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I'm not really digging the two-handed weapon skills I've been leveling. I think the problem is that the attacks have somewhat disappointing audio feedback and that many of the moves look much different in third person than they do in first person (which I play in). For instance, one move "Whirlwind" is a spin move that strikes everything around you. In third person you have a nice spin animation that makes a perfect visual connection to the move. However, in first person, you feel like a robot; your body spins 360 degrees with weapons outstretched while your head stays stationary. I've played other games such as Shadow Warrior that have a similar move in which they spin the camera around in first person to great effect. I don't see any reason why The Elder Scrolls Online couldn't accomplish the same mechanics and visuals.

It often feels like the first person mode in ESO plays a lot of catch-up to the third person mode. Likely this is due to the late addition of the first person mode in development. We have seen the addition of first person swimming and the new first person fishing, but it will be nice when all the modes such as horseback riding and all the player abilities have been properly tweaked for first person camera mode.

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I managed to sneak in a little Trine with my son last week. We are enjoying it and Xander is loving the physics in the game as I think this is the first game he's played that involves physics puzzles. I realized the other day that we are playing the game on medium and that would account for the game being too easy. I'll see if I can switch the difficulty when we play next, though I'm unsure what raising the difficulty will actually affect in the game other than the combat (and that's not the part I really want harder per se). Regardless, we are really enjoying the game and it really is visually quite impressive.

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Xander and I also dabbled a little with Injustice: Gods Among Us after I spoke with Nightshift Nurse about it last week. The whole package is fairly impressive on the PC and with two Xbox One controllers we have a great interface with the game. Those new d-pads on the One's controllers were a long time in coming for Microsoft, but boy do they feel nice. Being Xander's first real fighting game outside of the candy-fighters like Smash Bros. Brawl and Playstation All-Stars (neither of which he enjoyed), he is enjoying the more sophisticated moves and playstyle of Injustice. This is a double-edged sword though, as the moves require maybe a little more finesse that his motor skills are at in his stage in development. I clearly remember the reflex training curve that I experienced when fighting games hit the arcades. Once your body learns the timing and you understand the moves, the whole thing suddenly clicks together. Hopefully I'll be able to balance his frustration with fun to keep him interested.

I also played a fair bit of Luftrauser last week after reading I_Kluge's article mentioning it last Monday. I didn't realize if was free with PS+ so I fired it up and wasted several hours on it, then I realized I had it on PC (likely from a Humble Bundle) and fired it up on Steam and had a couple more glorious hours with it again. It is the same game on both PS3 and PC since the game looks like it could be at home on the Apple IIc or the Commodore 64, but the simplest of games are often the most fun. You can even try the flash version here, but the PC and PS3 versions are better looking and more satisfying with a controller.

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Hopefully I get some time with everything above this weekend. My wife and Xander will likely be going full throttle with the new Mario Kart 8 DLC. The new Amiibo menu in the game has my son aching for the figures now (smart marketing Nintendo). I guess I'll have to add a couple of those to the birthday list.

So, what are you playing this weekend?