I never played the first Borderlands. I’m not sure if that’s a regret or not. But unintentionally I started playing the second. My brother and I were home, he bought a new PS3 on a whim and we lost about a day and half to the thing before I had to leave. The experience was more enjoyable than I would have guessed. It was beautiful, twisted, and even if at it’s core it’s not all that complicated, it was unadulterated fun.
When I made it home I bought a copy of Borderlands 2 for myself. I started a few new games, tested out the different characters, and even though I was playing alone really liked it. But then I played it the other night, and I realized I wasn’t having that great of a time. What had changed? The most obvious thing was the lack of coop. But it wasn’t even that.
I had started playing the game all wrong. Borderlands isn’t an MMO, but I began treating it like one. I did online research trophies, I looked up where vault symbols were before even clearing areas. I tried to get everything, maximize my “efficiency” in gameplay. And when you do that with Borderlands, it starts to come apart at the seams. The enjoyment of the game comes from exploring the crazy beautiful world and the psychotic characters. If you’re completionist, it could be a big problem, because it’s a long grind.
So I shut my computer, closed the iPhone browser, stopped looking at the trophies and “badass” ranks (cool concept, stupid name), and just played the game again. If I’m waiting on my brother I will still go back and clear out areas we’ve already gone through, but it’s only a nice side distraction, not the main show.
I don’t remember a thing about the first Puzzle Quest. I remember where I played it, a coach in Prague while adjusting to jet lag. And I remember I played it a lot, but I’m not sure if I actually enjoyed it. I think it gave me headaches, but it could have been the situation I was in.
I read that Puzzle Quest takes place in the same world as the Warlords games. I don’t remember much of that either, but I think I liked it.
Regardless of how I felt about the first one, I’m leaving for ten days, can’t find my pile of DS backlog games or my PSP, and the selection at Gamestop was minimal unless I wanted just the cartridge (who tosses cases?). So Puzzle Quest 2 it is.
I take a Dramamine, get on the bus to the airport, and start up the game…
As you might recall I returned Dragon’s Dogma and walked away with four somewhat interesting used games. Of the four I tried Killzone 2 first, as the dystopian covers with the fluorescent gas masks always caught my eye. A few hours in and I can say those covers are pretty misleading. Maybe having played Spec Ops: The Line so recently has made me jaded, but no one would want to stay for the story. The big bright-spot is the graphics. Three years old and it still looks amazing. They’ve made a world (the literal Helghast planetary environment, not the story, characters, etc) that could support something amazing.
So the Insert Credit Podcast has gotten significantly better. It was funny before, but I think the addition of a fourth person to every show has made it much more fluid. The last one has a hilarious comment about a trash-bag and a fan.
Shit, I already wrote this post once and somehow I deleted it.
Anyway, to keep it short. I wanted to play through the second ending on Dark Souls before the Prepare to Die edition released to consoles. I’m not normally a completionist, but I like this game enough that it seems worth it to see everything that it has to offer. But for the past views weeks a small fire has been building around Spec Ops: The Line. Apparently the initial sales were terrible, and I don’t know if that’s improved since then, but the game seems to have a small but vocal following. And so I decided that instead of waiting, like I usually do, I would take a break from Dark Souls and play it now to see if I felt the same way. I want to know if there is something in this game that could give it longevity beyond the higher budget, and better reviewed media that so quickly came and went.
Finished Shiren last night, or technically it’s called Mystery Dungeon. Neither are strong names, but Mystery Dungeon is especially bad for being bland and mostly inaccurate. I was dead for most of the morning because it’s an easy game to bleed away your night.
I said it before, but it really is a charming game. Early on you’re crushing everything in every level. By the end you’re scrabbling past foes because you know you only need to make it to the next staircase, xp be damned. It forces you to change play mechanics on the fly, and utilize every item. And then once it’s over, the whole game celebrates, a bar wench makes as blunt of a pass as an E rated game will let them get away with, and half a dozen more story-driven continuations, each with it’s own play twist, open up.
Even though I have significantly less time than usual, I’ve been listening to more videogame… chat shows? I don’t know what to call them. But basically people talking about all things vg related, sometimes being funny, sometimes being serious.
Insert Credit (http://insertcredit.com/) has a pretty decent podcast. At least the one I listened to was pretty funny (episode 2). The first half of episode three was a little bit of a downer, but it could pick up. Reading enough of the earlier articles I had a face for the names on the podcast (it’s old, but read the 2011 E3 coverage, they seem like some guys I would want to hang out with). But I was really surprised when I actually put a voice to the faces. They did not belong as expected…
Anyway, Tim Rogers, whose voice and manner of speech was the most unexpected by far (l had assumed he was one of the others until someone addressed him in the third episode), made a game awhile back. It’s called Zigguart, and I basically suck at it. Not to say it isn’t good, it seems to be. It’s probably worth talking about sometime.
I dug out my second PS2 (one of the slimline models). And as I’m setting it up I’m amazed at how beautiful the thing is. It’s tiny and light, and then I remember why I never owned an Xbox. It’s all negligible with the current generation. There’s talk of a new PS3 model. Hopefully they draw inspiration from this little guy.
It’s weird where I usually find independent used game stores. Usually they’re on the decrepit main drag of a small town. The best one I’ve been to being in Green Bay when I was stuck there for a summer.
There’s only one that I know of in any metro area I’ve lived, and it’s at a half deserted upscale mall in Minneapolis. I usually pick up some obscure super Nintendo game while there (last time it was Flashpoint), but this time I found myself digging through the loosie disks that at the counter. Because I was buying some normal priced games, the girl working there offered the discs to me for a dollar.
With nothing to lose I picked up anything that even sparked the slightest interest. I bought Onimusha, Rise of the Dragon on Sega CD (even though I’ve never owned a Sega CD), and a PS2 disc called Namco Trans | Mission (V 1.3). Is it a racing game, a rave inspired tech demo, or just a collect of Namco has-beens? A quick google search probably could have told me, but its not often that I have a chance at a total mystery.
So with a few hours to spare before my return window ran out, I was able to return Dragon’s Dogma. I actually considered turning around and giving the game another chance, but decided if I was to ever do that it would be when it’s at least half the price.
So as not to be a total jerk, I agreed to pick out new games instead of cash back. It always amazes me how much you can get for fifty dollars if you’re not being too picky. I ended up with 4 titles: Darksiders (a game I’ve never had the desire to play, but felt a strong obligation after the store clerk acted out the assorted death blows from the first level), Killzone 2, Bioshock, and Deus Ex Human Revolution. I felt pretty good about the decision on the walk home.