4/13 to 4/19
Relevant games this week: Skyrim, Shank, Dirt 2, Grid, Misc. games
Other Business: Shorter post this week, I did not play all that much.
I finished the main quest in Skyrim this week! Even though I kind of feel like I rushed through it a bit, I still enjoyed the end of that quest. The end of the story arc was cool and included a bunch of really nice and unique looking environments. The way they tied in the accomplishments of your character was subtle, but a very nice effect even if its just the inclusion of conversation options that all have the same result and an NPC with no conversation tree. How you are thrown back into the world and left to make your own way again is also very nice, if a little jarring. Things literally go from awesome ending to standing on a mountain top silently in seconds. As far as what is left for this character I am not really sure. I want to start new characters to explore other play styles but I want to get more shouts and finish some more side quest stuff too. I think I will just play as I feel like for awhile and see what happens even if that results in two or three new characters that each get only a handful of hours of play time. I will keep this character for finding cool shouts and stuff and maybe using it to locate those shouts in my other games, assuming at least that the word locations are not random. I might also take another Skyrim break like I did at the 80 hour or so hour mark and come back again later. According to the hour count on Steam, I clocked in at about 135 hours of game time, very little of that time it was simply left idle. A good 20-30 or so hours of that time is actually my girlfriend playing her own character, so its not all me. Whatever the case, I got all my money and more out of that game and what’s more, I have no doubts I will be returning to Skyrim in the future. Skyrim is an amazing game and I have nothing but high hopes for what new things Bethesda will do with the next Elder Scrolls game.
I played Shank this week! I have had it installed since I bought the Humble Indie Bundle 4 (…maybe it was the third one) and just never bothered to try it. That game is ultra-violent and crazy. In general it is fast paced and fairly simple with just enough depth to the combat to keep things interesting. The basic platforming is quick and allows you to flow quickly across the environments which are basically just a series of platforms where you slaughter people. The all of the art is well done and the backgrounds add a nice depth to all of the aesthetic. I wanted to play more than the 40 minutes or so I got in on Sunday, but there was some disagreement between Steam, my computer and the game that wouldnt allow it to load properly until I had restarted steam. By that point I had messed with it long enough that I didn’t want to deal with it anymore and also had to log off for the night. Additionally, it is one of those games that doesn’t really have any break points in the middle of levels where you stop and can decided to quit. Typically, I just want to keep going until I finish the level and even then its hard not to play a bit more of the next sequence.
Dirt 2 and Grid:
I have recently gone back to some of the racing games I have purchased during one sale or another. The Codemasters games are just well put together products that are both beautiful and approachable. I typically enjoy more simulation racing games like the Grand Turismo series (specifically the Playstation 2 era ones) and then more recently Forza 2 on my brother’s Xbox 360. However, I have not really found a comparable game on the PC so instead I have Dirt 2 and Grid (also Burnout Paradise, but that is for another time). I played mostly Dirt 2 and only jumped into Grid for a about 40 minutes yesterday to compare. I am not so much for the more arcadey racers, but damn if its not just a solid game. I am also forcing myself to drive in cockpit view because while it is harder, it feels more rewarding. Yesterday, I was specifically noting the water effects when you go through pools of water and are utterly blind until your wipers clear the windshield. Those moments after hitting water and before those damn wipers clear your windshield seem to stretch forever and instill real panic as I trace my best guess at a path that doesn’t intersect with a wall waiting for my vision to clear. The voice acting sounds fairly convincing and not really phoned in, even if the presentation is that of these pro racers literally calling you to try to boost your spirits after a loss or stroke your ego after a win. I want to keep picking away at all the events and just getting betting in general. I am currently racing in “serious” difficulty and trying to break back into “Savage” which I think is the 2nd highest difficulty, where I was racing before I quit playing so long ago. As for Grid, I played just a few races to help me decide which type of racing I wanted to try to really delve into during this marry little trip into racing world. Let me just say that you should not transition from off road racing directly into high speed asphalt races, one right into the other. Dirt 2 and Grid have two totally different feels to them. Grid is much more precise (at least in comparison to Dirt) and a racing line is so much more important. Dirt 2 asks that you keep fairly close to the actual track but otherwise as long as you make it to the finish, its probably fine. In Grid, your tires work on asphalt and they don’t work on anything else, period. So that was a bit of a struggle…also that my first race back after my break from Grid was the damn 24 hour race thing. That did not go well, but I did manage to finish near the bottom (but not THE bottom) of my class, ahead (if only just barely) of the class below mine. I also remembered that the stockcar racing is still bullshit. Anyways, I plan to keep playing Dirt 2, at least until another shiny catches my eye.
Assassin’s Creed Revelations is still on my radar as is Devus Ex: Human Revolution and Mass Effect. Hopefully, I can start working them back into the rotation. Happy gaming!