Two weeks in a row with a new article, what kind of madness is this Jon’s playing at? Well, after a weekend of feasting, giving thanks, and gaming, I’ve emerged from my food coma to talk to you about what I’ve played/read about over the past week.
Mass Effect - (Free with EA Access/Origin) PC/Xbox
Even The Ocean - ($14.99) PC
Titanfall 2 - ($59.99) - PC/Xbox/Playstation
I tweeted about my excitement when the last two games in the Mass Effect Series were added to Xbox One’s backwards compatibility titles, and was honestly thinking about playing through as a Renegade. Sadly however, world affairs soured my mood on playing as a “dickish, xenophobic” Shepherd and I quickly abandoned that thought. I needed a hero story at this time, and my 3rd time through the game so far has still been enjoyable. What’s more, I’ve FINALLY gotten a character to level 60 and even unlocked a couple of new achievements I somehow never bothered getting and even played the DLC that was released with the game oh so long ago. Sure it still has a TERRIBLE inventory management system (that luckily I don’t have to really deal with since all my equipment is already top of the line) and the movement speed feels exceedingly slow in places, but I really do love exploring the galaxy dispensing space justice.
I’m still slowly working my way through the game, having completed the second act this weekend as well. It’s surprising to say that the challenge I was expecting from the game has yet to emerge. I’ve complete the first “set” of levels, and haven’t really encountered a puzzle I couldn’t solve within the first few seconds. It’s either a testament to my skills as a gamer, or the developers decided to tone down the difficulty in the final release. The story seems engaging enough, with a larger “mystery” beginning to unfold and some solid character building and relationships. I’ll continue working my way through it, but I’m not necessarily clamoring to play it constantly.
So the last night of the long weekend I sat there thinking about the plethora of “deals” I’d been passing up and made an impulse buy of the Titnafall 2/Battlefield 1 digital deluxe bundle that Xbox was offering as part of their Black Friday promotion. I enjoyed the 15-20 hours I played of the original game, even though I was not very good, and appreciated the gameplay and movement of the characters. And when they added a PvE “horde” mode several months into the game I even went back and played again to see if it was implemented well (it was).
I’d been hearing exceptional things about the single-player campaign (new for this entry in the series) and that it “went places” so I was eager to boot it up. I’m happy to say it has not disappointed me so far. The gameplay is still as smooth and satisfying as ever, and I’m still just as bad as I was in the first game. The story is handled well, with some nice character beats between you and “your” titan, including well handled moments of levity and even some light character input on how you respond. There has been some exception level design, the best of which is recently highlighted with a recent Waypoint article here (careful, there are spoilers in there). I’m in the back half of the campaign now, and not even sure I’ll touch the multiplayer after I’m done, but so far it feels like I’ve gotten my money’s worth, and haven’t even touched the other game yet.
Cool Story Bro
The first thing I’m going to talk about isn’t a story, but a video series produced by Polygon called Car Boys which has two of their contributors playing BeamNG.drive and slowly discovering that the driving is the least interesting aspect of the game. It’s one of the funnier things I’ve watched in a while and elicited an uninterrupted 2 minutes of laughter during one of the episodes. I’ve already watched all the available episodes and now I’m just waiting for Thursdays so I can get my fix.
One of the more interesting things to happen this weekend was the “surprise” re-emergence of No Man’s Sky into the current gaming landscape with the announcement of the Foundation Update. They have promised this is just the start of feature updates that will be free for the game, and introduces some intriguing gameplay mechanics that might get me to boot up the game again. I enjoyed the time I spent with the game originally, but I went in with clear expectations as to what that game was going to be, and was charmed by the aesthetic and exploration aspect more than most.
Finally, a Kickstarter for a board game went up over the weekend looks to be on track to become one of the most successful projects ever, as it has already raised over $5 million just in its first few days. Both Polygon and Kotaku have covered the campaign today, and honestly from the description of the game and what’s included the price tag ($250-$300 minimum for the entire game) it sounds daunting and massive but intriguing at the same time. I’d like to actually try the original game though before I contribute, since I already have FAR too many board games languishing on a shelf having never been played.
That’s all the news that’s fit to print this week, now off to save two galaxies from the forces of evil.