Piecewise Week 6

Week 6

4/6 to 4/12

Relevant games this week: Saints Row: The Third, Tomb Raider: Underworld, Skyrim, Phone games, Gotham City Imposters, Misc. games

Other Business: I want to try doing some different stuff like writing this up piecewise and also inserting images. Also, a quick note about Gotham City Imposters and its Catwoman mascot thing: Apparently, it came with my purchase (gift) so I also have one, which explains why everybody else seems to have it…

Saints Row: The Third
I came back to Saints Row on Friday and spent some time in multiplayer.  I had been drinking and it was late Friday night so to say it was awesome might be biased.  However me and a friend got in and played through a bit of the beginning of the game…three times?  We had some issues with whether or not to have new characters or when it was saved and so on. The result was that we started the game, played the bank heist mission, three times. I then proceeded to make the most horrific character, a giant mutant smuf-like man, and then dress him in a hideous tube top and fishnets. Well, he was dressed after both of us spent some time streaking around and then riding a motorcycle with Team Fortress 2 helmets on. Typically, when we were not in a mission one of us would enter a store menu and the other would follow suit, one player would finish before the other and inevitably, the other player would be either pulled from the menu by damage or exit the menu to a minimum of three stars of notoriety.  A merry chase would ensue followed by stopping to purchase property so we could duck inside and clear our wanted level.  Needless to say, it was a good time and I hope to return to it again. Note this portion of my video game update blog was written on Sunday so I wouldn’t forget what had happened.

Tomb Raider: Underworld
I spent two or three hours this weekend and some more during the week working through more of Underworld this week. I think I am in the last dungeon, but there might be one after this that is a shorter, final region to wrap up the plot. I just finished a cool spinning puzzle thing that had me climbing this rotating spire and aligning parts of the column to unlock a door. It was less fun to climb back down the damn thing however as the game shows more of its wonkiness when you are dropping down from one level to the next. The sequence is checkpointed well however, so any gravitational misunderstandings, player fault or otherwise, are not really that punishing. After the little puzzle spire they present you with yet another motorcycle dungeon crawl. I hate these sequences. I understand the idea: ripping through tombs on a motorcycle, taking jumps and dodging sudden walls that appear in your headlight. Why are there collectables then? The little ancient clay artifacts that Lara has to destroy to find the weird ass shiny tetrahedron things are everywhere in these areas. Thanks to those damn things, I have to stop every 30 feet to see if there is a shiny inside, thus destroying the fast pace excitement the developers were probably trying to cultivate here. Thankfully, I am not attempting to find all of the collectables so while frustrating, it’s not maddening and I can move on without scouring every inch of the tomb. The next area was maybe the second action events that I had to do more than once or twice (about five or six tries got me through) before I found the specific path they wanted me to take, having to start back at the checkpoint each time the level designer and I weren’t seeing eye to eye.

I finished Tomb Raider on the following Tuesday. A few notes in regard to the last portion of the game. Thor’s Hammer is awesome, first of all. Its a hammer that SHOOTS lightning at guys and wrecks normal dudes in a single hit. Definitely improves combat both in speed and entertainment. I did a cool puzzle with swinging hammers and crazy moving gears with chains and counterweight and stuff. Its one of the few things that has ever threatened to make me motion sick while playing a game. Then during the final puzzle thing a few final notes. Ghost Mom was weird and will probably make a lot more sense after I play Legend, which comes before Underworld in the timeline apparently. Also, the last puzzle sequence was horseshit. Long and drawn out, with way too much running around DODGING FIREBALLS and trying to figure out which freaking little ledge was the right ledge to get to the damn platform. The pay off was decent enough for what the game is however. Steam time clocks me in at 11 hours, which is a little high since I left it running a couple times. Either way, I got my five bucks out of it. I might jump back in to do some light searching around for collectables but probably not.

I have been much more focused on finishing the main quest; I even finished what the wiki refers to as Act 2. The second act, as it is called, culminates in the first big battle with Alduin that is pretty epic and awesome, the first time. I ran into a documented game breaking bug during the cutscene right before the fight with Alduin where you learn Dragonrend, the ability to force dragons to the ground. The scene would hitch and Alduin would not appear so it would just loop with all the NPCs stuck waiting for him to appear to continue the scripting. I retried it a few times to see if it was just the game being a bit screwy and it would fix itself. This is particularly painful because of the minute to two minute dialogue that occurs before the point the scripting can break. The solution was to load an old save, fast travel away from the mountain and try to use the required quest item, then wait 24 hours and try to complete the quest again. That fixed my issue, but I had to find that out on the wiki and then also spent another 20 minutes or so fighting and dying against Alduin. The solution to that particular fight was to just guzzle potions and beat on him until he admits defeat…sort of and flies off. Watching that whole scene play out six or so times definitely killed the epic feel of the moment, but I am curious about the next plot point. I will continue onward, growing ever more excited about starting a new character with a drastically different play style.

Phone games
I broke down and bought the full version of the emulator app for my phone this past weekend. Five bucks and now I can play SNES games on my phone, sounds cool to me, even if the controls are wonky and broken in most cases. The wonky control scheme leads me to my next goal, discovering which games don’t require precision in their controls. So far I have checked off all platformers on principle alone and I have tried Rock Roll N’ Racing and A Link to the Past, both require too much precision to play on crappy touch emulated controls. My fall back is to the wide assortment of RPGs on the system. I have spent a bit of time with Secret of Mana and hope that the looseness of the controls won’t prevent me from playing the game, but it is too early to tell. Hopefully, I can play it on the phone, if not I will have to break down and hook up my SNES to play through it that way. I don’t spend much time playing phone games, so I might have to get the SNES out anyways. I spent about 40 minutes waiting at the doctor today and got to play a bunch of the emulator, it works alright for the RPGs. I thus far consider it a good buy.

Gotham City Imposters
I played more Imposters this week as well. It is fun to drop in for a couple matches and go on to something else. I also enjoy tinkering with my character loadouts. I have started to unlock a bunch of stuff so it is getting to the point where I can actually have a couple different setups that are clearly unique in their abilities. I look forward to playing more.

Misc. Games
I played about two hours of Shogun Total War 2 this weekend while watching videos online. I enjoy that game and want to go back to it. I just haven’t spent much time playing it yet and haven’t wanted to invest the time.

Well that’s all for this week!


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