Jan 4, 2016

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Last Haul of 2015

So despite my nay-saying regarding the lackluster appeal of Steam sales, I managed to pick up several titles, one via Origin, and two on the Xbox One. Some of them where of interest to me, and some were just “huh…that looks nice” because when I have money in my wallet, it hates to sit idle.

UnderRail

I am a fan of Spiderweb Software’s output, which may seem strange to say since UnderRail is not a Spiderweb product. It’s very much like games such as Avadon or GeneForge in that it’s a massive RPG world with a whole lot of reading. For some that’s a reason to steer clear, but for me it sounds pretty damn appealing.

Distance

Distance is a stylized racing game currently in early development. You get to drive a car straight out of Automan (+1000 points if you don’t need to Google that reference) along some harrowing tracks that twist and turn in ways that Nature never intended. Right now it’s missing multiplayer, and the controls are really wonky, but once it’s finished it should be a great game to play against others.

Star Ruler 2

For some unknown reason, this Steam Sale made me nostalgic for 4x games. I had bought Distant Worlds Universe and Galactic Civilizations III, but returned both because neither was really doing it for me. Star Ruler 2 was the only one that made the cut. I haven’t put a lot of time into it, so I can’t say if it was a worthwhile purchase or not. But hey, what’s one more log on the fire, right?

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

HDNRB1, as I like to call it, was an impulse buy because I know some folks played entries in this series on the consoles and had kind things to say about it. I think it was $5. The community seems to like it as well, even though it’s said that this is a direct console port with direct console port visuals. It’s humor and self-irreverence seems to get particularly high marks.

Empire TV

Again with the impulse buys. At first I was drawn to this because it looked like SimTower, which I love. Instead of being a slum-lord, you get to run a TV station, which involves buying ads and movies, setting up a schedule aiming for specific demographics, and even scripting your own dramas. The sheer number of options was overwhelming, and that’s what made me decide to give it a shot.

Shelter 2

Shelter and Shelter 2 have been on my radar for some time now. In both, you play as an animal who has to lead her family through Nature. In the second entry, you start off as a lynx who gives birth to four kittens (?). You have to hunt for them, teach them to hunt on their own, and keep predators at bay. It’s not easy, and many descriptions say that losing a kitten is more heartbreaking than not. I am not looking forward to that, because I know it’s going to happen.

Rebel Galaxy

Another space-sim-ish game, this one having been on many people’s fun-time list for a while. It reminds me of Starpoint Gemini 2, which is a good thing. The soundtrack is, of course, a fan favorite, and lends itself to the atmosphere. I’ve not gotten to far, seeing as how I have had many games to test and possibly return in a small time frame.

Euro Truck Simulator 2

What the…? I was watching a LP on Twitch, and the premise made me think fondly of Elite Dangerous, but without the potential for explosive destruction. You pick a job ferrying goods from point A to point B across various European countries, and then make it happen in semi-real time. You drive along highways and back-roads, and commanding an 18 wheeler is no small task. I’m looking forward to customizing the controls, and getting the TrackIR to work with it for that authentic simulated “sitting on your ass for several hours a day” experience (my grandfather was a truck driver, so I guess there’s some genetic interest here).

Origin: Star Wars Battlefront

Got it on a good discount for PC. It’s fun. Maddening, but fun.  Matches weren’t throwing themselves at me, and I’ve only won one match out of the several I’ve played, so I have to go in assuming I’d lose in order to get the minimal amount of expected amount of enjoyment out of the procedure.

XB1: Titanfall

I own Titanfall on the PC, and I really enjoyed it until the aimbots showed up and ruined everyone’s fun. It was only $5 on the XB1, and several folks were talking about on Le Plus, so I wistfully figured that maybe at some point we’d all posse up to play some rounds. I did the tutorial to re-acquaint myself with the process, but haven’t gotten much further than that.

XB1: LEGO Dimensions

My “toys that work with video games” cycle is now complete. I got it on a decent discount this holiday season, and we got my daughter the Portal 2 and Doctor Who playsets to go with it. It’s a LEGO game, all right. The constant need to switch characters between three different locations on the portal is kind of a pain in the ass, though, when it’s just one person playing. I’ve only played mostly as Batman in the Wizard of Oz main story thus far.

Bonus Round: Lord of the Rings Online

Some games I keep going back to, and some I swear off forever. LotRO was one of the latter, except that I saw some people in my circles going back to Middle Earth for a spell so I figured I might give it the benefit of the doubt. I was thoroughly confused when I logged in with my main character (level 30 ranger, sitting atop Weathertop where I left her after the last “WeatherStock” festival so many years ago”). So I created a Champion and started back *sigh* in Archet. For the 9,207th time. I guess I’ve been away for long enough that while I remembered a lot of the quests, I didn’t mind that much that I was doing them again again. I don’t plan on getting into crafting and all that, since I doubt I’ll be spending much more time here. I’m not currently playing with anyone, so that’ll kill my interest quickly once I decide I’ve had enough. Plus, I’ve got a whole set of new Steam games to concern myself with.

Bonus Bonus Round: MechWarrior Online

I have a friend who is really into MWO, and I would really like to be, but I don’t know that I can commit the time and brainpower needed to compete with the player base in this game. I’ve been carried through a few matches, and have gotten some advice in the past, but on my own I don’t have a lot of confidence to play this game. My friend insisted I try again, so I reinstalled and found that Piranha has been hard at work shoring up the game, at least on the initial impression. The whole of the management experience has enjoyed an overhaul, making the mech bay actually useful. The tutorials are also finally functional, allowing you to do more than just run around and take pot-shots at stationary mechs (although you can still do that). Sadly, it’s still missing a co-op-versus-bots mode, so I can’t recommend it to those who are “playing with assholes” averse, unless you can find some willing mechwarriors who can help you learn the ropes.

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