What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Wyatt Cenac

Wyatt Cenac, comedian

The Daily Show correspondent is big into Hitman: Absolution ever since he accidentally killed George Washington.

By Steve Heisler • November 30, 2012

In What Are You Playing This Weekend? we discuss gaming and such with prominent figures in the pop-culture arena. We always start with the same question.

On top of working as a prolific stand-up comic, Wyatt Cenac has been a correspondent on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart since 2008, and will be leaving the show at the end of the year. In the meantime, he hosts a weekly show in Brooklyn and plays games whenever his busy schedule will allow him. He talked to The Gameological Society about his Thanksgiving game-playing marathon and his problems with accidentally murdering future presidents in Assassin’s Creed III.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Wyatt Cenac: I started playing Hitman: Absolution over the Thanksgiving break. I had started playing Assassin’s Creed III, didn’t like it, and then had a taste for blood. So I needed to figure something else out to do for the break. Usually it’s on holidays that I end up playing a lot of games.

Gameological: What was it that you didn’t like about Assassin’s Creed?

Cenac: There were a few things. I didn’t like how it took forever to reload a gun. That was a minor thing where it was like, “You can’t suspend that disbelief for this game, but you’re asking me to suspend my disbelief that, ‘Oh, there are revolutionary ninjas running around the Americas!’” If you’ve gotten me to believe in white-guy ninjas, then I don’t have to watch a guy reload a musket. And you have to sit there and watch him do it. And while you’re doing that, you’re just getting stabbed. But I think the biggest frustration for me was, honestly, for a game that’s built on sneaking around and stealth, you don’t actually control much of the stealth. If you wanna crouch down, you have to find bushes that you can crouch down into. And not all the time will your guy crouch in the bushes. And so that was really frustrating where I found myself yelling at the television a lot. “Just duck! George Washington is about to see you!” I did accidentally kill George Washington.

Gameological: Did the game just go on, or were you desynchronized?

Cenac: You get desynchronized. It would be interesting to see what happens if you did just kill him and then it’s like, “Welp, you just did that, so everything changes. Welcome to England’s colony.”

Gameological: So what is it about Hitman that you like more?

Cenac: I like it because I think I’m normally more into sports games. Either sports games or really childish games. I loved Kingdom Hearts more than an adult should.

Gameological: That game is great. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Cenac: No, there’s nothing to be ashamed of as an adult man running around saving the universe with your friends Goofy and Donald. There is nothing weird about that. Just an adult hanging out with The Little Mermaid. [Laughs]

Gameological: I guess when you put it like that.

Cenac: Yeah, nothing strange at all. So I played that, and then I play Madden a lot. I very rarely get into the more story-based games. But last year I played Arkham City, and that one I loved just because I love anything Batman. It was fun to do all the stealth stuff in that game. And since I’ve already played that game and beat it—which I rarely beat games—I felt like, “Oh, okay. I want another thing like that.” And I thought that was going to be Assassin’s Creed. I liked the idea of doing something with history. I was a little confused as to why a Native American protagonist was helping the Americans drive out the British considering that, like, oh, somebody should tell you the Americans don’t help you either. It’s going to be so much worse than you think. Then I saw [a video of] Conan O’Brien playing Hitman, and when I saw that you could crouch I was like, “There it is.” I’m sold on crouching.

Gameological: Because you so rarely get a chance to play games, do you play in marathons?

Cenac: For certain things, I do. When I first moved [to New York], I got a Wii. I saw you could download old Nintendo games, so I decided to download The Legend Of Zelda, because as a child I had never beaten it. That became a thing of, like, doing it for the 10-year-old version of me that was like, “You have to do this.” Then realizing how simple it was. It’s a very easy game to beat. There’s something about that. Like, I was an impatient idiot as a child. This was too easy. I will get in little moments where it’s like, “I’m going to play for another hour.” And then seven o’clock has come by, and I’m supposed to meet somebody for dinner at eight, and I’m like, “I’ll just get 15 more minutes in.” And then by 7:30, I’m like, “Hey, I’m not feeling well.” Once the clock hits double digits, I kind of feel bad. I either have to stop when the clock hits double digits, or the opposite. If I start in double digits, then I have to stop when it gets too deep into single digits.

Gameological: Why is it that you haven’t beaten a lot of games?

Cenac: I’m sure that a psychotherapist would probably have some great thing to say about me and commitment issues. I’m sure there’s somebody working on a term paper right now. If you don’t finish video games, you probably don’t finish relationships, or something. If not, I just gave somebody a great idea for a thesis that they will get a C on. But sometimes I get busy. It’s such a wonderful distraction, but it’s a distraction. I have to put it down for that reason. Sometimes you start a game, and it’s not as exciting as the trailer made it out to be. But then there are other times when—like, I love the idea of the Grand Theft Auto games. They make me dizzy as shit. I’ll start it, and then I’ll get vertigo, and I just can’t do it anymore.

Gameological: I guess you’re not a completionist, then. I definitely can be for certain games.

Cenac: It may be that I grew up in a time where video games still weren’t looked at in the way that’s, like, oh yeah, people make movies out of video games, and they are a whole industry unto themselves that makes millions upon millions of dollars. There are people who go to work in these fields, whether it’s writing video games, or programming or designing them. I grew up in a time where it was still, like, “That’s a waste of time!” And you had adults telling you, “Ah! You’re rotting your brain! It’s worse than TV!” So I still have that residual thing of, “No. You’re procrastinating from the stuff you’re supposed to be doing.” That guilt comes in. I can hear my stepfather’s voice telling me to go do my math homework.

Gameological: Do your friends feel that way now, or do they not really care?

Cenac: I don’t have a lot of friends who are regular video game players like I used to. If there’s one thing I miss from college—other than a totally socialist lifestyle where I didn’t have to worry about food or housing, outside of that beautiful thing where healthcare was free, and everybody who lived on my floor was my age—I think in college it was a much bigger thing to play video games. You didn’t have a lot to do. You didn’t have car, so you’d sit in your friend’s dorm room and play Madden against each other. You’d play, like, NBA Live until it was time to eat or go to a party. I don’t have as many friends that play any more. I have yet to really venture into the online world. I’ve tried two or three times, like, “I’ll play Madden with somebody online because that will be fun.” And they eat my lunch so quickly. In the first quarter I’ve thrown eight interceptions. I’m good enough for it to be a casual thing with a friend. Every now and again, I try to convince other friends to play. But my friend Gene, he and I played Arkham City. I would play for a bit, and when I’d get frustrated, he would take over.

Gameological: That’s kind of sweet. Like a gaming soulmate.

Cenac: I honestly think I’ve had more friends who will happily watch. Over Thanksgiving, I had a few friends over, and we wound up firing up Hitman and playing it. I think there is something about people enjoying, like, “Hey, go down that way.” Or, “Try the gun.”

And now, we put the question to you. Tell us what you’ve been playing lately, and which games—video or otherwise—are on your playlist for the weekend.

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  • caspiancomic

    Persona 3 Force: assemble!

    You guys, I’m having a Persona emergency! My aunt swung by unannounced the other day, and she’ll be crashing with us for at least a couple of days, so I won’t be able to get any P3F in for that time. Apologies for not meeting my “have the game beat by today” deadline- I tried! In the meantime, I know Jackie Boy finished the game, so I’m going to excuse myself from the thread so that Pagan and Jack can have a chinwag.

    I’m not going to be gameless while my aunt visits, though: I scooped Machinarium on the last day of the Steam Sale, so I’ll be playing that this weekend while I wait for the basement to free up so I can return to Tartarus.

    Alright, CC out! *covers eyes, plugs ears, avoids spoilers*

    • PaganPoet

      Oh boy…your lack of training this weekend means your party is going to be under leveled come the next full moon!!

      Anyway, Jackbert and I will be sure to avoid spoiling anything for you.

    • Jackbert322

      Don’t worry, Caspian. Poet (Pagan or Poet?) and I can wait a week. Plus, it’ll be better to compare notes over in the back of the thread all together, sniggering awkwardly and avoiding eye contact with the cool kids who play multiple games at once. Stay in the thread if you want! Also, Jackie Boy?

      • PaganPoet

        *gasp* Oh no! Caspian-kun is distracted! Hurry! Use a Me Patra Gem on him!

        • Jackbert322

          ICE BREAK

        • PaganPoet

          GOD DAMN YOU MITSURU! Surely Aigis will heal, though? I set her to the Heal/Support setting–MASUKUKAJA

        • Cheese

           Ha ha, that’s why you guys should be playing P3P, where you can tell your party members what to do. Also, your team has the option of an additional sexy redhead.

        • Jackbert322

          Haha, I did play Persona 3 Portable, Cheese. I’m just playing along. And I will play through as the female character, but first I think I’ll be a dude again and be a total player and max out all my party social links, and try to fill that compendium. Mitsuru all the way!

    • caspiancomic

       D’awww, you guys are the best weirdo internet friends a guy could ask for. I’ll try to have everything all tidied up by next weekend.

      • Jackbert322

        You better! *pounds tiny fist in tiny palm*

        D’awww, yeah, we’re pretty cool. Save the ending for when you’ve got a big chunk of time, and enjoy!

  • Mike Mariano

    I am alternating between Quantum Conundrum and the original Fallout right now.

    I hate the music and the story is flat, but I think I prefer Quantum Conundrum’s rough levels to Portal 2′s sanded surfaces.  It is fun to throw safes all over the place and watch them fall in slow motion.  Portal 2 made nearly every surface non-portal-able.  Come on, it’s a video game; we like to shoot guns for no reason!

    I also like learning that inane, repetitive NPC chatter has been with Fallout since the beginning.

  • Jackbert322

    Fellow Gameologicalians, I write to you with a heavy heart, as I lack any form of gaming entertainment to occupy my leisure time with. Can I be saved from such an abject fate? Woe is me, as I cannot imagine a period of recreation without such a marvelous form of entertainment. I am unable to subsist while lacking the carnal pleasure that can only be replicated with video games.

    Okay, that got weird fast. Carnal pleasure? Eugh. 

    Basically, last Saturday night I finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution and last Sunday morning I finished Persona 3 Portable. I can easily say each are the best games I’ve played on their corresponding systems. Now, I need something to answer the most important of questions, What Am I Playing This Weekend? Of course, aren’t we all playing always? With all the world being a stage, and men and women just players…

    So yeah, suggestions are welcome. Lesser known titles would be cool since I’ve tried out a good amount of critically acclaimed titles for each system, but, really, anything is appreciated. And to make up for not answering the article:

    http://preceden.s3.amazonaws.com/Turtles%20in%20Time-%20The%20Video%20Game%20Chronology%20Project.pdf 

    • PaganPoet

      A plot-heavy JRPG full of teenage angst, and a cyberpunk action RPG…sounds like you need some light-hearted fun that’s plot-light for the sake of balance!

      I would recommend something like Pixeljunk Monsters, an excellent and under-appreciated tower defense game available on PSN for your PS3 or PSP.

      • Jackbert322

        Gotta get XP! Gotta get Praxis! Gotta fuse Personae! Gotta upgrade Augmentations! Gotta level Personae! Phew!

        Tower defense is yet another genre gap in my gaming experience, so I’ll check that out, thanks.

        • dreadguacamole

          Pixel Junk Monsters is great – it’s got an added arcadey mechanic that makes it a lot more fun than it should be. And it can be bastard hard, as good tower defense games should be.

           My vote is Defender quest (now available on steam!) – a TD/RPG hybrid with some hilarious writing that’s the closest the genre’s come to pure, undiluted crack

    • Placeholder

       You can check out the newest humble bundle and see if you’re missing any of those titles

      http://www.humblebundle.com/

    • Captain Internet

      The chronology of Interstate ’76 and Driver ’76 is clearly wrong.

      As a suggestion, see if you can find a copy of the 90s PC game Albion. It should be on Abandonia or Home of the Underdogs. The difficulty is quite spiky but it’s the best almost totally forgotten RPG out there. 

      You’ll likely need DOSBox to get it running, and I also suggest reading the manual. It’ll be worth it though. I think.

      • dreadguacamole

         Haven’t played Albion in ages, but it might be very hard to play for someone used to modern game design – I seem to remember getting around was pretty hard even then, with very little signposting.

         An article on older, still worthwhile PC games would be nice, with added notes on how they play today. So many good RPGs. I’d recommend all of the Dreamforge entertainment games – starting with Veil of Darkness.

        • Captain Internet

          I think Albion is still very playable, provided you read the manual- but that goes for most old PC games. GameFaqs may also be handy- you won’t really spoil the fun, provided you don’t read ahead too far or too obsessively. 

          My top Albion tips: 

          1. Save often, and use multiple save slots just in case. There’s no autosave, so if you forget to do it yourself there’s a very good chance you’ll lose a lot of progress.

          2. At the start, make sure you Joe, and that you go looking for ‘Snoopy’.

          3. When someone asks you about some metal they’ve found, just let them keep it.

          4. Level up before you leave the first major area of the game.

          And there’s too many grand old PC RPGs to count. I’ve still got to go back and finish Arcanum at some point.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      *cough* I still have that Puzzle Agent key that nobody seems to want. Hit me up on Steam and I’ll gift it to you if you want it.

      • Jackbert322

        Whoa, Puzzle Agent is a Mac game! If you’re sure, yeah, it sounds interesting.

      • GaryX

        Is there a Steam Gameological group?

        • Jackbert322

          Yeah, just search “The Gameological Society”.

        • GaryX

          @Jackbert322:disqus Awesome, thanks!

        • HobbesMkii

          You can come hang out in chat with us and discuss the heavy issues of the day.

        • GaryX

          @HobbesMkii:disqus Thank ya! I joined. My name’s “Kenny Powers” on Steam.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       If you have a little cash and a taste for AAA, the new Humble Bundle (which kind of aborts the Humble Bundle concept by involving AAA titles, including DRM, and being Windows-only) could be a way to get a few well-regarded AAA games for an insanely low price.

      If you have no cash and a taste for something weird, might I suggest you take advantage of this gap in your gaming queue to go back through past Interactive Fiction Competitions and play the winners to experience some of the strongest stuff going on in text based adventures WHICH ARE TOTALLY A VIABLE MEDIUM AND NOT PRIMITIVE AND ARGLE-BARGLE ::regresses into Internet shit-fit mode::

      It also might be a good opportunity to catch up via emulation on any older games you haven’t had a chance to play, since you are so crazily young. LucasArts adventures on SCUMMVM, bona 8-and-16-bit classics, etc. Or pick up some super-cheap PC classics like Fallout 1+2 on GOG.

      • Jackbert322

        Well, I don’t (currently) have Windows, and know nothing about emulation (plus, I’m a hyperactive whippersnapper with no appreciation for classics), so second option it is! And I like interactive fiction, at least the very most PRIMITIVE form of it, choose-your-own-adventure books. I do have more than a bit of cash stockpiled, because I don’t engage in the typical teenage practices of eating overpriced shitty sandwiches, and drinking lattes. That’s what typical teenagers do, right? So maybe I will take advantage of the just-please-give-us-money-we-really-need-it bundle for Metro and Saints Row, and in the event of possibly figuring out Windows and BootCamp, will have those waiting for me.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

          Gargoyle a great, all-purpose interpreter for new and old text adventures, which has Mac and PC versions, and will run anything off of the IF competition site as well as any stone-cold Infocom text classics you want to play. Have fun!

          As for the other choices:

          While I’m not a Mac person, I’m vaguely aware there are Mac emulators out there, and SCUMMVM is up and running on every system under the sun, including the Nintendo DS, so it must have an iOS version. This seems like a good primer for which console emulators are good for the Mac platform.

          If you’re interested in classic PC games, here’s GOG’s Mac-compatible library. It includes such heavy-hitters as the Fallout games, and some free games like the graphic-adventure classic “Beneath a Steel Sky.”

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          “I do have more than a bit of cash stockpiled, because I don’t engage in the typical teenage practices of eating overpriced shitty sandwiches, and drinking lattes. That’s what typical teenagers do, right?”

          People do that well into their twenties and thirties too.

      • GaryX

        I wish my computer could handle later-era games of this generation well enough to get that bundle. Even if you’re not super sold on those games, it’s an amazing deal. Saints Row: The Third is totally worth $5.69.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           The part of me that recognizes an amazing deal wants to snap it up, but the part of me that realizes, hey, while other folks like them just fine I have zero interest in playing Saint’s Row or Darksiders, and less-than-zero interest in those generic shooty games, would rather spend those five bucks on, say, Maria Bamford’s new comedy special.

          It’s the same cycle I went through with Batman during the Steam sale. “Wow that’s highly praised and super cheap! I should snap it up! Oh, wait, I’m pretty sure I hate everything about that game, though. Never mind.”

        • GaryX

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus Understandable. I would say Saint’s Row is something that should be played because while it’s a fucking stupid and silly AAA game, it’s deeply aware of that and works the better for it.

          Darksiders I kinda don’t get. Granted, I’ve only played about a third of it a few years ago while I was home on break. The idea of adding a deeper combat system to a Legend of Zelda style-world progression is a pretty great one, I think, and helps to build a really solid foundation for a great game. On the other hand, it’s about as stereotypical “mature” gaming as you can get. Forums were ablaze with how this was the “adult Zelda,” but it’s very much the 14-year old “badass” version of Zelda. It’s just so fucking silly and lame without realizing it.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus The highlight of that bundle for me is the Company of Heroes game + expansions. Really fun, well made RTS. I don’t know if there’s still multiplayer played, but I suck at them anyway, so i stick to singleplayer. The WWII theme is pretty meh for me, but those games are awesome.

          I’ve also heard that Metro 2033 is a fun atmospheric shooter. Honestly, Darksiders looks pretty generic to me. And Saints Row 3, while fun for a while, got boring pretty quickly. When EVERYTHING is over the top, nothing is. meh.

        • GaryX

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus @Douchetoevsky:disqus The secret to Metro 2333 is to turn on the Russian voice option. Then it becomes atmospheric x 100.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      You’re a Mac gamer, aren’t you? That makes it a bit harder for me to recommend games, since I don’t know all that many that run on Macs. So, I’m just going to say Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Pyschonauts. Also, Half-Life 2. But mainly Psychonauts.

      • Jackbert322

        I know Caspian had some misandventures trying to get Psychonauts to work on his Mac and eventually gave up…it’s also available on PSN as a PS2 game but apparently the controls were terrible…I really should just figure out how to run Windows through BootCamp, our computer specs aren’t THAT bad. Well, the video card might be, since I have no idea where a 320M fits in a chronology where everything else is four digits.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           The PS2 game is also somewhat graphically gimped.

          Psychonauts is cheap enough that, unless Caspian’s problems were a universal issue (maybe check the Steam or GOG forums?) it may be worth picking it up and seeing how it runs on your system.

          It is also old enough that you could probably run it while emulating, or boot-camping (which I don’t think is emulating, but may be less efficient hardware-wise than running Windows on non-Mac hardware, I honestly don’t know) Windows without much trouble.

        • Jackbert322

          Yeah, I don’t know what Caspian’s specs are, but I was planning on checking the forums anyway. As far as I can tell, BootCamp is essentially an emulator for Windows software on Mac hardware, and should mean I’ll have the same specs, but running Windows 7. Anyone know where the 320M falls in relation to the regular Nvidia series that’s currently in the 8000s?

          Also, Girard, “graphically gimped”? You were just recommending text adventures! Maybe you’re overcompensating for the other day…(I agreed with you, at least connotatively, but by the time I read that article, it was pretty much a lost cause.)

        • WL14

          I’m with these guys, even with emulation it should work. Your graphics card is faster and has more memory than the machines the game was originally designed for. Possibly combined. (I just had another “We’re living in the future!!!” moment.) And psychonauts is worth a bit of techno-sweat, it remains one of my favorite games.

    • PaganPoet

      Oh, BY THE WAY, buddy, I DID receive your request on PSN a while back, but I got an error trying to accept it and then it deleted your message. :( I didn’t ignore it/don’t hate your guts, I just couldn’t remember what your screenname was.

      • Jackbert322

        Well, good thing you told me that, now I can stop crying myself to sleep. It’s norton20m3s, because I thought you were supposed to make your PSN like your email, and Sony won’t allow name changes.

      • GaryX

        Oh, is it weird to ask for Gameological users PSN screenname’s? Because if any of you guys have one, I’d love to be your friends! (I don’t really have any on there :( ).

        • Jackbert322

          I don’t know, Poet and Caspian and I are Persona friends, so I sent requests to them in case I had questions. But you can add me, I like obsessively comparing trophies, my name is right above this post that I am responding to.

        • PaganPoet

          Not that weird! I’m RidiPagliaccio on PSN, if you’re interested.

        • Jackbert322

          @PaganPoet:disqus So I did send it to the wrong person! I sent it to a guy named, appropriately, PaganPoet, who didn’t have any of the games you’ve discussed. So how did you get a request from me…Ah, whatever, just send me one from that account if you want.

        • SonjaMinotaur

          I also have no friends! I mean *cough cough* on PSN, of course! *embarrassed laugh* SonjaMinotaur is also my PSN name. (and probably is my xbox live name, but I am not 100% sure right now)

  • PaganPoet

    It should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that I’m currently addicted to Persona 4: Golden at the moment. I’m in early August, having just finished the 8-bit castle dungeon and just barely surviving the boss at the end. I think I need to save a little more time for grinding in the next dungeon.

    It’s funny how this game is far more forgiving than P3:FES in some instances, and yet far more brutal in other instances. For example, scoring an all-out attack, and the way they have random extra team attacks, scooter attacks, Rise jumping in every now and then for the fun, your party members randomly healing other members of their status effects, etc. And yet…you have to spend so much of your time grinding to be ready for the boss. In P3:FES, you could climb the tower, use the elevator to return to the base of Tartarus and heal yourself, go back up and continue on your merry way…sure you had to worry about “Tired” and “Sick” status, but especially later in the game, that became less and less of an issue. Here, there is no healing your status, and SP-healing items are not easy to come across. Sure, you could always pay the fox to heal you, but he’s friggin expensive and yen is another commodity you never seem to have enough of.

    This game is incredible, though. The writing is just fantastic, as is the voice acting. The characters really behave and speak like normal teenage friends would. And the anime cutscenes and portraits look just gorgeous on the Vita’s display.

    I’m also halfway through Secret of Mana, currently in the eastern ruins of Northtown, enjoying that creepy gamelan music thanks to all the love it was getting a few weeks back, but I’m so into P4G at the moment that may have to take a rain check.

    • Cheese

       I too am addicted to P4G, just like I’d hoped. I’m still in the process of rescuing Kanji.

      • PaganPoet

        I love Kanji, his story, his whole character arc, his design, his personality…pretty much everything about him other than actually using him in battle since his magic stats are so low. =P

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph

          Kanji and Naoto are honestly two of my favorite characters in all of RPGs pretty much ever.

          And actually, some of the changes in P4G make both of them really useful team members.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph

        I’m actually at the end of the game, past the old point-of-no-return. I’ve basically been glued to this game since I got it on the 20th.

        As much fun as it’s been and as great a game as it is, the amount of time I’ve sunk into it is kind of scaring me. Granted I’m waiting for college to resume, I was off from work today so I could house sit, so me sitting and playing for 12 hours straight isn’t really all THAT bad but it’s still troubling.

        • PaganPoet

          You’re right about them making Kanji more useful in this version, if you level up his social link. His followup attack “Atomic Press” is pretty awesome if it hits. I’ve only just rescued Naoto and have yet to start his social link (yes, I called Naoto him, in spite of all the characters calling him “her” after discovering the truth, but in my opinion, he is transgendered), so no clue on how they’ve buffed him up.

          Funnily enough, even though I never used Kanji in P4 for PS2, I use him all the time in P4 Arena since he’s the grappler/Zangief type character in that game, the type I typically do pretty well with.

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph

          @PaganPoet:disqus Naoto has actually gone from one of the most situational characters to one of the most useful. She knows Agidyne and Garudyne from the start and learns Bufudyne, Ziodyne if you go on trips with her as well as some great buffs if you level her social link. In other words, she literally learns attacks of every single element possible in the game. She doesn’t have the overwhelming force of some of the other characters but she makes up for it in variety.

          Warning: Some spoilers below for P4, P4G, and Arena.

          And I just have to disagree with your notion that Naoto is transgendered. I believe she certainly does question that, but I think the plot, especially with some of the story expansion in this version, shows that Naoto is, ultimately, female in all senses. She states, actually soon after you rescue her as well as in her social link, that her ultimate problem was that of acceptance. It’s actually kind of a neat parallel to Kanji, who had the same sort of issue, but I digress. Basically, Naoto wanted people to accept her as she was, but police departments and detectives can be notoriously hard on women. Thus she felt if she was older and male, things would be easier. However, when the Investigation team accepts her unconditionally, she seems to realize she already was who she wanted to be. In fact, if you pursue her romance storyline like I did, she shows a great deal of happiness and relief when you tell her that you don’t think she needs to change at all.

          There’s also a line in Arena where Naoto tries to comfort someone by pointing out how she used to feel that she needed to be a guy to be who she wanted to be, but at the same time, being a girl was who she was, it was a part of her identity and thus despite some hardships she’d face because of it, she wanted to remain the way she was. (Please note it’s been a while since I saw this scene and I’m basically recalling the theme from memory)

        • PaganPoet

          Hmm, it’s interesting that two people can have different interpretations of the same character, which is why they’re such great characters, I guess. Granted, you’re further along the story than I am, so maybe there will be something that changes my mind.

          It just seems to me that Naoto is very uncomfortable with his/her female body, as evidenced by the beauty contest scene and the hot springs scene and Shadow Naoto’s body alteration machine. That’s not really exclusive to transgendered people, per se, but that, coupled with her presenting herself as a guy and wanting to be taken seriously as a detective. I never pursued her as a love interest, so again, you probably know more about the character than I do.

          It’s like that with Kanji as well, I’ve seen convincing arguments for him being gay, bi, AND straight. Personally, I like the character so much (he’s just a big lovable doofus) that I want him to be gay, since positive portrayals of gays in video games are so few and far between.

          But in the end, his sexuality is irrelevant. The bathhouse represents what the people of the town think of Kanji, and Shadow Kanji represents his own fear of rejection and his own insecurities about being into “feminine” hobbies like sewing.

          Even if Kanji is heterosexual and even if Naoto is cisgendered, I love their characters so much because they perfectly sum up all the confusion that comes with being LGBT or even just “different” in high school. Even Yosuke, who is otherwise a likable (if somewhat annoying) person continues to be a jerk to Kanji and tease him about his sexuality.

        • AHyperkineticLagomorph

          @PaganPoet:disqus I can honestly understand the desire to see more positive portrayals of gays and transgendered people in games, though I don’t think this is quite it.

          The thing about shadows is they represent real feelings, but they’re also greatly exaggerated. Kanji, even if he were gay, would never be that flamboyant and I’m pretty sure Naoto had never considered some sort of surgery.

          In the end, I think both of their stories come out to be about acceptance, though in a curiously reversed way. Kanji looked manly, but didn’t act it in terms of his hobbies and got teased for it. Naoto acts more manly but doesn’t look the part. Both essentially just wanted to be accepted despite varying from traditional gender roles.

          Though I should note that yes, Kanji’s sexuality is still not really totally nailed down. He shows interest in girls, but he also says and does a few things that hint he doesn’t mind guys, either. I chalk most of it up to “being 15-years-old and no one at that age knows what the hell they are.”

          I should like to note something about Naoto, though. At the end of P4G, if you do certain quests, you get an epilogue that takes place over summer break. At this point, Naoto actually starts openly wearing more feminine clothing. Something like a blouse and some jeans. Naoto also has a spin-off series even further down the line where she wears a detective suit (slacks and a suit with a tie) but also grows her hair absurdly long. Basically, it seems that she stops trying to hide her feminity, but at the same time she doesn’t flaunt it, either, which I think is actually kind of cool.

    • rvb1023

      Correct me if I am wrong, but later in the game Rise essentially  just casts Victory Cry on the party whenever she shows up?

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph

        By the end of the game, she will restore 10% of your HP and SP at the end of every battle.

    • GaryX

      Did you ever see Giant Bomb’s endurance run of Persona 4? It’s the best. It goes from MST3k riffing on the early ridiculousness of it to them getting slowly invested in the game to the point of outright love. Wonderful.

      • AHyperkineticLagomorph

        I started watching that, and it was great, but it’s hard to watch some other people play an RPG for literally days. I watched some of the key scenes, though, and it was great.

  • Fluka

    Oh yay!  My code finally compiled, and my reward for staying up late is that this got posted right before I went to bed!  These interviews have been maintaining a very high level of quality.  Between AC:III, Hitman, Dishonored, and Mark of the Ninja, this seems like it’s been a particularly stealthy year.  Or maybe that’s just me, because this was the year that I discovered that I enjoy lingering in the shadows being a stabby stealthy bastard-lady.

    Speaking of stealth, and games where they actually *let* you kill important characters, the Deus Exy Adventures of JC Denton have continued (minor spoilers for a 11 year old game?).  After numerous fatal attempts to kill Anna Navarre on the 747, JC dealt with the awkward situation by running away really fast.  Later, he confronted a sudden rush of guards by blocking the staircase with a small NPC-blocking metal crate and gingerly shooting darts behind.  When his family apartment was stormed by Men in Black, JC took charge of the situation by quietly hiding inside a coat closet.  Preferred play style: COWARD.

    This weekend, though, I am going to play Mass Effect 3: Omega.  Because SHUT UP I WANT TO.

    • Drew Toal

      I’m playing Omega when I get home. NO YOU SHUT UP!

      • Fluka

        All I want to do is go and slam into some Cerberus dudes face-first at relativistic speed before exploding in a massive biotic shockwave.  Can’t you let me just go and enjoy that, internet? :’(

      • HobbesMkii

        FLAGGED! For sinking to the commenters’ level.

        • Fluka

          NO YOU’RE FLAGGED

        • HobbesMkii

          @Fluka:disqus DON’T CROSS THE FLAGS!

        • Drew Toal

          WHAT ARE WE YELLING ABOUT AGAIN?

        • Destroy Him My Robots

          @andrewtoal:disqus IT’S A THING DUDE GO READ THE EPIC MICKEY 2 ARTICLE.

        • Drew Toal

          OH OKAY. THAT MAKES TOTAL SENSE.

    • Staggering Stew Bum

      The Omega DLC is great so far. 

      Last night I got home from work, fired up the PISS-3 and navigated to the PSN Store, expressed mild amazement that they have the cheek to charge $23.95 AU, and purchased it anyway. Took hours to download. When i eventually got the TV to myself to play it, found that my tactic of ignoring Aria in everything but my first playthrough meant that Soda Shepard would have to go through all the crappy merc side missions before being able to get to the DLC. So backed out, went with first playthrough Shepard which was disappointing as he is a Paragon and I really wanted to tell Aria to go fuck herself at every opportunity (I’m not a fan of this character). Then finally got it started and sat through a never ending space battle cutscene, eventually got to the gameplay and noted it was 11.30pm and I had to work in the morning. Turned it off and went to bed. Meanwhile, South Eastern Australia is in the middle of a heatwave, so I got home from work this afternoon totally rooted and just can’t be bothered doing anything. Why don’t you want me to play this DLC, video game gods? What have I done to displease you?

      • Effigy_Power

        It’s snowing here. Screw you.

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           Lucky girl! I’ve made the mistake of moving south of the Mason-Dixon line, which means I probably won’t see ANY snow until, like February, and it will be an impotent dusting of the stuff. It’s giving me, like, inverse-seasonal-affective disorder!

      • fieldafar

        Don’t you just love the +38°c heat and high humidity? 

      • Fluka

        Liked automatically for reminding me about PISS-3.  Also, holy shit, $24?!  *And* insane heat and humidity?  God, Australia really is the unhappiest place on earth, isn’t it?  (*Thinks about all the spiders and stifles a tiny affirmative shriek.*)

        • Staggering Stew Bum

          I have a humane attitude towards spiders. They often get in the house and despite the fact that they may very well be highly venomous, I either let them leave of their own volition, or eventually catch them and let them go outside so they can probably head straight back into the house again. It goes without saying that my wife hates this. My reasoning is what did they ever do to us, they’re just other living creatures trying to get by.

          This courtesy probably wouldn’t extend to humans invading the house, I probably would have to try and crush them with a shoe heel. And it seems mice and rats also don’t get a pass though that may be because they’re not native. We went to massive lengths to eliminate the mice that invaded last winter, yet have two fat and protected guinea pigs happily wallowing away in their filth in our living room. It’s a strange world.

          The thing with the deadly wildlife – snakes, spiders, blue ringed octopus, etc. – is that they won’t fuck with you if you don’t fuck with them. Except for sharks who will bite you in half not out of malice but just to check you out. And saltwater crocodiles. And the jellyfish. And vicious dingo dogs. Oh, and cassowaries, which are these mini-emu sized flightless birds which can disembowel you with their claw because they’re complete arseholes. And kangaroos can be vicious too sometimes.

        • Fluka

          @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus *Tiny little screams*

    • Histamiini

      Omega was disappointing. No interesting environments, not much story, cliched objectives, no good fights. Tedius corridors, forgettable battles, inconsequential to the rest of ME3. Doesn’t feel like the most expensive DLC to date at all.

      I liked Leviathan but this one’s skippable. Take 10 seconds and imagine how liberating Omega with Aria would be in average videogame terms, and you won’t have to play it. It doesn’t offer any extra value or anything surprising.

    • fieldafar

      I’m conflicted, I’ve heard Omega both sucks and rules. I guess I’ll wait for a sale or until I lose self-control and just buy the damn DLC with the 3500 MSPoints I have in my account.

      • Histamiini

        It doesn’t suck, it’s just offensively average and overpriced. I wouldn’t call it a rip-off, but it did kind of feel like a waste of time. I wish it had more substance to analyse and criticise. But it simply is what it is. It’s ugly. It feels empty. It sits on my Origin account mocking me and the 12 euros I spent on it. But it’s by no means terrible.

      • Drew Toal

        So I ended up staying up til 5am and finishing it last night. I agree with Histamiini. 

        • Jackbert322

          More like staying up TOAL 5 AM, amirite? No? Okay…

      • Fluka

        Yeah, between @Histamiini:disqus , @Staggering_Stew_Bum:disqus , and @andrewtoal:disqus , it sounds like this is one to dial my expectations down for.  I’m alone this weekend and I’m fairly easy to please, though, so it’s still gonna get a play.  If it’s super-disappointing, I can raise my spirits by finally finishing my renejerk game of ME2.  (Next stop: bringing Legion to the Quarian fleet!)

    • djsubversive

      all about Deus Ex: Don’t feel bad about running away. There’s a certain point (in Hell’s Kitchen) when you have to go do a thing. When you finish, you’re on a rooftop. A common tactic is to activate your leg augs and just jump off the roof and run away really fast (now that I’m thinking about it, you probably already did that – sending the signal for Paul).
      What I’m saying is, cowardice is part of Denton’s character (mines all around Paul’s door and hallway work pretty great, though, and let you still hide in the closet).Also, I love making box-walls so NPCs couldn’t see me. And dragging unconscious guys into ventilation shafts (a tradition that I think remains in Human Revolution). Stealth in DX is annoying, until you realize that the (human) enemies are pretty much blind other than a cone in front of them. Then it gets annoying because tazer ammo seems to be in short supply. Have you gotten the one-shot taze to work? The back of the neck is an obvious one, but it requires you to stand up. I don’t know about YOUR JC Denton, but mine was a coward with horrible posture and spent most of his time running away or creeping around. I got pretty good at hitting guys just above the belt, in the back. The blackjack does the same thing, and doesn’t require ammo (it might not be as effective against armored dudes, though).

      • Fluka

        I’ve finally gotten good at one-hit kills!  Both with the baton and the prod (mostly the baton – as you say, the prod ammo is indeed most dear and scarce).  Anna Navarre didn’t give a shit, though.  I knew I should have saved that rocket launcher.

        Yeah, the box was my solution to the rooftop problem! Bottleneck and dart them.  The stun crossbow really is otherwise the least stealth weapon ever.  I also managed to get past some guards by semi-slowly pushing a cardboard box in front of me.

        I think the guards in this game are related to the guards in Skyrim.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        The small of the back is usually the best place for a one-shot riot prod, if I recall correctly. In fact, it’s the MJ-12 commados’ weak spot – the only place you can hit them for a one-shot knockout.

  • dmikester

    Well, I finally made it back to my apartment this past week after being displaced for a month thanks to Hurricane Sandy and have also finally gotten to Assassin’s Creed 3.  And…it’s good, not great.  As I said before, I’m a die-hard Assassin’s Creed fan, having gotten to 100% in every single game (I happen to be a sucker for collectibles in games, and Assassin’s Creed certainly doesn’t skimp on those).  Since I haven’t had too much time to play it yet, I don’t want to give final impressions or anything (I’m only on Sequence 6 and collecting everything now that the sandbox has opened up), but I’m loving parts of it and getting bored with other parts.  

    I’ve always liked Assassin’s Creed more for the experience than the game; it’s incredibly fun to get lost in each game’s world and get engrossed in the history and mood and setting.  With AC3, sometimes that works great (I LOVE tree climbing and running around in the Frontier) and not so well other times (collecting the Almanac Pages is ridiculously annoying).

    The biggest issue to me with AC3 is that it doesn’t seem to know whether it’s for people brand new to Assassin’s Creed or not.  In terms of the plot, I’m enjoying it, but I can’t imagine someone being particularly excited about getting into a franchise of anything five parts past the beginning; for example, the twist that happens just before the switch from Haytham to Connor resonated a lot with me as a longtime fan, but I doubt would have close to the same impact for someone new.  In terms of the gameplay, the amount of collectibles strikes me as daunting to a newcomer (heck, it’s daunting to me), and the challenge level seems really off and way too easy, as if they’re trying to appeal to new players (for example, forts can just be stormed and overtaken with basically no effort due to Connor being absurdly overpowered).  There are also some bizarre glitches, even after the big patch that just got released.

    Still, I’d give it a B to B+ right now, and I’m nowhere close to being done, so a lot could change.  Stay tuned!

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

       I only played a couple hours of the first one and I love this one.  But then again, having the ability to run around colonial Boston has always been a fantasty of mine (I’m kind of an old maps geek), so the $35 I spent was worth it just for that alone.

      • dmikester

         I think it’s been worth it for the environments, though the frontier seems so much more thought out and varied than Boston, but that’s just me. I have the same excitement about the prospect of running around colonial New York, especially since I live right next to some of the most historic colonial-era buildings in New York.

    • Enkidum

      Did you use guides to get all the flags? I’m currently playing through the first one, and I’m 100%ing everything else, but there’s just no way I’d ever be able to find all the flags on my own.

      • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

        How far are you into the game, @Enkidum:disqus ?  I was hoping that there’d be an option to buy a map for all the flags/pages/chests/yams/oyveboodle as you approach the end of the game, similar to ACB.

        • Enkidum

          I just finished my second assassination, I think there are 9 total?

          Someone here suggested that you turn off the radar while playing to make it less of a chase-the-moving-dot game and more of one that actually requires you to keep line of sight and keep thinking about where your targets are running. I’ve been doing that and really enjoying it, though damn it makes the speed flag-picking-up runs hard. 

          So far as I know, the only collectibles in this game are flags.

          FLAGGED

        • Jackbert322

          @Enkidum:disqus FLAGGED for too many times saying a word containing “flag”

      • dmikester

         Oh definitely a guide for the first one, no question.  The flags in the first one are ridiculous and terribly designed in terms of being player-friendly to collect.  If you’re doing it on the PS3, I need to warn you, there’s absolutely no benefit to collecting them outside of knowing in your heart that you’ve collected them (well, and the synchronization bar being full). At least on the 360 you get achievements for collecting them.  There are several guides online, but even with them, it’s frustrating since I don’t think you can put a waypoint on the map to figure out what to do.

        The rest of the games are way, way more friendly to the random feather/chest/item collector.  You can buy maps that show exactly where they are and you can put a lovely waypoint down to make it even easier, so a guide isn’t nearly as necessary. 

    • dreadguacamole

       I’m enjoying it because I’m a sucker for exploration – running around in these lushly detailed environments is like catnip for me – but I’m actually 100% in agreement with the review here in the site; every game element feels so hollow and goddamn arbitrary…
       (Why the fuck am I collecting feathers again?)

      • dmikester

         I’m finding it to be a really, really mixed bag.  I’d say I’m about 70% in agreement with John’s review right now.  I’m enjoying the story a lot more than he did, but the collections in this do feel way more arbitrary than they’ve ever felt before.  I’ve heard rumors that the end credits sequence takes an obscenely long time (like half an hour long) and that doesn’t surprise me at all considering how scattered a lot of the game is quality-wise.  The naval battles, which are exciting and challenging, don’t feel designed by the same team that did the fort battles for example, which are monotonous and easy.  It certainly doesn’t have the cohesiveness of any of the Ezio-era games, and it’s telling that the last two games were made after the original creative director left and have felt noticeably weaker quality-wise.  The funny thing is, I’m still enjoying it a lot (and I enjoyed Revelations too).  I feel like the experience is still exciting and engrossing, but the game elements don’t work as well. 

        Also though, what in the world is up with all of the glitches?!  The glitches in this are awful enough that fundamental things like missions don’t appear where they’re supposed to or sometimes you go to accept a mission and it just doesn’t start.  I’m fine with the occasional glitch in a mission where something gets caught and the mission can’t proceed, or there’s some clipping or something, but how do you ship something that doesn’t even let players accept missions?!  That’s just shoddy and really frustrates me, especially given that they had three years to develop this.

    • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

      I’m also a going-back-to-AC1 fan of the AC games and @dmikester:disqus is pretty spot-on about what’s good and bad about AC3.  I would say though if you find the story missions too easy to go ahead and force yourself to get all the optional mission stuff done too (and on first try, rather than coming back to it).  It’s must closer to playing at an ACB/ACR challenge level.  Also as you say, the ‘twist’ is pretty shocking and like a really GOOD twist it’s one that you immediately follow with… ‘oh yeahhhh.  that explains alot.’.
      Sidenote: Anybody playing the Steam/PC version and enjoy AC multiplayer?  I could use some people to compare scores with who aren’t randos.

      • dmikester

         Yeah, I agree.  I actually loved the twist and disagree with John’s take on it, since I don’t find it to be so much about the characters as I do about the situation and how against expectations it is (especially given the tools you use in the prologue).  I think I’m the only person in the world that actually enjoyed playing as Haytham, but maybe that had to do with it being the first AC gameplay I’d had in a year, so it was like coming back to an old friend.

        I’ve been finding the side missions either ludicrously easy (storming forts, homestead missions) or pleasantly difficult (naval battles).  I’m curious if there’s anything in the middle.  Actually though, I did strangely love the Boston Underground (I assume there’s one in New York too) since it really felt like exploring and discovering a kind of hidden world.  Yes, it was monotonous, but that makes sense given the context, and I often jumped when I found someone else down there.

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          I didn’t realize the underground areas represented ACTUAL missions and were not just for fast-travel, looking forward to it!

          Is there an equivalent to the assassin tombs or wolf lairs from the Ezio trilogy?  Love those!

          Also, just met some woodchoppers, about how far am I from a) putting on the robes, and b) naval battles?

      • dmikester

        For some reason I can’t reply directly to your response to my response, so I guess I’ll do it here.  The underground isn’t so much a mission as it is a giant maze with puzzles, different free run sections, and occasional enemies.  There’s also not much hand-holding.  

        Not sure about the wolf lairs/assassin tombs, but there are a series of missions where you go to different places and try to find treasure maps that I assume lead to some kind of armor or weapon.  Kind of a poor substitute to the lairs/tombs (which I loved too), but they’re entertaining.

        In terms of the woodchoppers, you’re very close to both robes and naval battles; it’s the next sequence, which I’m still on and has taken me days to get through because all of the side quest stuff that unlocked; I haven’t even done a main mission memory in two or three days.  

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Glad you’re back home finally!

      • dmikester

         Thanks so much!  It’s good to be back!

  • dmikester

    And oh yes, during the time I was displaced from my apartment, I did get the chance to finish Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and it was absolutely phenomenal.  My goodness, what a great game.  Thanks to all of you for hyping it so much here and convincing me to give it a try.

    • Fluka

      *Waves a tiny Adam Jensen pennant!*

      (Also, glad you finally made it home!)

      • Effigy_Power

        -agrees with the homecoming-goodness, is still working on telling Fluka that she found DX:HR a but clunky and expositional and the end very ME3esque, but won’t do that right now-

        • fieldafar

          I didn’t have a problem with DX:HR’s ending(s). Hard to make a more substantial ending for a prequel to a game made 10+ years ago.

        • Fluka

          Well, if you go back to August, you’ll find me making the exact same comparison between the ending and ME3.  Actually, the ending bothers me more than ME3 (which isn’t saying much, since I’m agnostic on the quality of the ME3 ending).  Even though I chose SCIENCE!, I was definitely contemplating just nuking the whole facility as a “Whatever, I’m tired, let’s never speak of this again” move.  As far as my brain is now concerned, the game ended with Jensen stealing Malik’s VTOL and running away with Pritchard to have wacky, sexy cyborg hacking adventures.  So, you know…*shrug*.

          Re the rest of the game, to each their own!

        • dmikester

           Haven’t played ME3, but I really, really, really liked the endings of Deus Ex: HR; they actually got me thinking about what I would do if I was Adam, even when I wasn’t playing the game and just going about my day, which I’m not sure I’ve ever done before.  Thematically, I think they’re kind of perfect, but as Fluka said, to each their own.  I do think it’s jarring to suddenly be faced with four buttons at the end, no question, but they’re in line with the rest of the open decisions of the rest of the game, and at least it’s not like the very, very end of the game was a boss battle (though, I guess the Hyron Project is more or less the last piece of action in the game).

      • HobbesMkii

        Adam Jensen’s pennant would be tiny.

      • dmikester

         Thanks so much, @Fluka:disqus !

    • Jackbert322

      Glad you’re resettled, and WOO HOO Deus Ex: Human Revolution was incredible! Top PS3 game I’ve ever played, as I say in a post above. Yay, Deus Ex: Human Revolution! What sort of playstyle did you do? I got Pacifist and Foxiest, somehow! Luckily, I didn’t get all the XP books, so I’ll do another playthrough for the platinum. I got pretty much all the cool augmentations, except I never got around to seeing through walls, and chose the Sarif ending, because I liked being a robotic super awesome badass sneaky dude.

      • Fluka

        Very good.  Now go play The Missing Link and don’t use a single aug!

        • dmikester

           Seriously, this was incredibly hard, but it was pretty fun (though I was a little disappointed with The Missing Link until the very end dialogue interaction, which I’ll leave vague in terms of details in case @Jackbert322:disqus hasn’t played it).  But maybe that’s because the environment wasn’t as detailed or varied than the other areas of the game.  Still, it was more Deus Ex: HR, which can’t be a bad thing.

      • dmikester

        Thanks and WOO HOO indeed!  It’s certainly way, way up there in my favorite PS3 games.  I saw something online about it being possible to get every trophy in one playthrough, so I went for it and did it with the occasional help of a guide (seriously, some of those Hugh Darrow books are nuts, like the one in the middle of Derelict Row).  I actually couldn’t believe I was able to get Pacifist while also saving Malik (that definitely took me many, many tries, and I wasn’t even sure I’d pulled it off when I ran around to make sure I hadn’t killed anyone).  Even though I got all the trophies, I definitely want to play it again, maybe being more combat-oriented, which would certainly be less stressful but likely nowhere near as fun.  I got almost all of the augs (I think I got Seeing Through Walls, but only used it once or twice), and as part of getting all of the trophies, I watched every ending, which was really cool.  Overall, such a beautiful, moody, and engrossing game, that also happens to be a blast to play.

        • Jackbert322

          Yeah, I missed the XP book at the FEMA facility, and I could’ve gone back, but I didn’t, saying to myself the reason was I didn’t want to do the boss battle again. In reality, I didn’t go back so I could give myself a justification for a second playthrough. I did keep a save though, so I went back the other day to nab it, finished the boss battle, and now have a second playthrough head start (was too lazy to do the long Detroit side missions again).

          For some reason, I had next to no trouble saving Malik. (SPOILERS IF YOU WANT TO LEARN THIS YOURSELF) I walked in cold, chucked a gas grenade to take out the heavies, went up the left building, knocked out the sniper, tranquilized the two non-snipers on the right building from that perch, walked up the right building, knocked out the sniper, ate an energy bar, jumped down, sprinted over to that one guy on the far right close to the chopper, and punched him in the face. (SPOILERS DONE< ENJOY FIGURING IT OUT YOURSELF) It took me three tries on Give Me Deus Ex difficulty, and it only took me that much because the first two times I tranquilized the sniper on the right building and he fell and died. So, I didn't get why a lot of people had trouble with it; I didn't even have to check a guide. I must have just gotten really lucky.

        • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

          Combat in DX:HR is quite a lot of fun. It basically turns the game into a surprisingly competent cover-based shooter, but you always have the option of saying “Fuck this,” leaping out of cover, and Typhooning everybody to smithereens.

      • dmikester

        Disqus isn’t letting me directly respond, so hopefully this works.  @Merve2:disqus that’s great to hear about the combat.  I’m really going to have to resist Typhooning everyone at the end, but yeah, the cover-based gameplay should be great.

        @Jackbert322:disqus The FEMA facility boss battle was the most annoying to me because I had playing so stealthy that I didn’t have a good weapon to use and I don’t think had even fired a gun up to that point.  For the other ones, I either had the Typhoon or they were so easy to deal with that they were pretty much non-events (I still can’t believe that you can just do a quick takedown on the mercenary leader and beat him in effectively one hit and in about thirty seconds).  

        Also, nice work with Malik!  What was hard for me wasn’t taking everyone out without killing them but not having one of the soldiers die from residual damage from the robot’s explosion.  It took me a couple of plays before I realized I needed to drag one of the soldiers away from the Box Guard while it was overloading and hope for the best.

        • Jackbert322

          Yeah, Barrett was tough. I did have the Typhoon, but not upgraded. What I ended up doing was running really fast to the back right of the room, waiting a long time for him to come over, chucking a couple frag grenades to stun him, TYPHOON, and then exactly one shot from my combat rifle to his knee.

          Fedorova, I got on my first try, walking in cold, eating an energy jar and Typhooning three times, so that was hilarious. 

          Namir was pretty much the same, but I didn’t want to waste energy, and had a bunch of useless frag mines, so I used those instead plus one Typhoon. That took me a couple tries. 

          Finally, Zhao took me a couple tries as well, but I ended up using an energy jar, cloaking myself from the turrets, pushing all the buttons, hacking the thing in the middle, using my one each of gas, EMP, and frag grenades on the robots, and shooting Zhao with a laser rifle I picked up on the way in. I never struggled too much with the boss fights besides the first; maybe the complaints were based on the fact they were really hard UNLESS you spammed Typhoon.

          I played a little of my second playthrough last night, getting the XP book in the FEMA facility, beating Barrett (without Typhoon no less! I just took cover and chucked some frag mines at him to get it over with fast.), and then talked to Tong in Hengsha. It is pretty boring to do it again so fast, still, I’d like to get that platinum.

  • IntotheNightSky

    I’ll probably spend my weekend mining for my certs in Planetside 2.  I’m hoping to get a fully upgraded Liberator at some point in the near future so it’s going to be a bit of a slog.

  • Spacemonkey Mafia

    Wyatt Cenac was already my favorite Daily Show correspondent and even though I can only watch it sporadically, I was saddened to hear he’s leaving.  And now I read this interview and my appreciation for him has now evolved (devolved?) into a crush.  Donald and Goofy and colonial ninjas, indeed.
       As for myself, I’m now experiencing an embarrassment of games.  I signed up for PS+ for all the games dropped on Vita, then decided in for a penny, in for a pound and upgraded the hard drive in my PS3 to begin fattening myself further on leased games that I’m only tangentially interested in, but spectacularly happy to download.
       Even further, I bought Torchlight 2, and at the last minute, Just Cause 2 during the Steam sale.
       I feel like a Bruegel print depicting a corpulent man surrounded by neglected excess… except slottable grieves and ammo packs instead of some little devil wearing a chair for a hat and a rabbit poking out of it’s ass.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      How are you liking torchlight so far? Are you playing multiplayer? 

      • Spacemonkey Mafia

        I like it very much.  It’s a beautiful evolution from the first game.  But to be truthful, I tend to have a proscribed cycle with loot drop games.
           I get one, get excited about the ease of play and the constant barrage of feedback, but eventually get overwhelmed by an unmanageable inventory of a hundred variations on the same pauldron and quit.
           But the art style is really satisfying and it feels like a steal at the ten bucks I payed for it.  It’d feel like a steal for the regular price of twenty.
           I haven’t done multiplayer, because I don’t really ever do multiplayer, but I’d be much more inclined to do so if anyone here is ever interested in a session.

        • Jackbert322

          Are there plans for a Mac port of Torchlight 2? I’m down for some MP in the original Torchlight (if there’s even Mac/PC cross MP) at some point (was $3.75 during the last sale, but spent that on Bastion instead) but I suppose no one plays that anymore…

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I wrote out my thoughts on the game below, I am curious as to how it plays on higher difficulties though. 

          Also @Jackbert322:disqus the first Torchlight didn’t have any multiplayer at all. It was kinda fun, but it was supposedly made to raise capital for making the sequel, which is the game they wanted to make the whole time or whatever. 

        • Jackbert322

          I see, @Douchetoevsky:disqus . Ahh, well, darn. There’ll probably be a Mac port of Torchlight 2 in 2014 or so…I’ll play MP with y’all then! *crickets* 

        • Effigy_Power

          The MP is only fun if you have impeccable communication with your fellow co-players, as the game has absolutely no measures to keep you playing together. You can easily be on two different parts of the expansive levels and each waste a ton of loot that won’t get picked up.
          I found it too chaotic to enjoy, at heart TL2 is still a single-player game and I thought the MP was tacked on as it is so often.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia

          @Effigy_Power:disqus   Have you played Torchlight with your Wacom?  I have a trackball mouse at home which is lousy for this game.  Just super imprecise.  
             The Wacom is also a bit clunky; having to double tap to open menus or situate your thumb to click a special attack.  But it’s great for allowing you to just drag the stylus over the map to move and tap on the enemy you want to attack.

        • HobbesMkii

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Are you saying that you didn’t appreciate how I’d wander away from the group for no apparent reason?

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    I’m playing Torchlight 2 with some buddies of mine lately. Honestly I’m finding it kind of boring, but we’re playing on normal because my friends are weak ass scrubs or something. I don’t really like that type of game anyway, but I could see myself maybe having fun if it wasn’t so easy or we were playing on hardcore. at least add some excitement to it. Mostly when we play it I feel like the game just kind of plays itself or something. I just hold down attack and occasionally press a button to use a potion or do a flip to distance myself from the bad guys. So yeah, it feels like a grind, which is what I hate about MMOs. Though both of the people i’m Torchlighting with were big into WoW for a long time. I guess they just blow.

    Other than that though I am way into Hotline Miami when it runs properly. Also Dota 2 still, forever.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      Leapfrogging Torchlight threads.
         It is true that games like this have a level of strategy about as sophisticated as paying attention to your health bar so you know when to walk away from a fight.
         I guess that’s where my initial enthusiasm for loot drops come in.  You can just start up a session with little hassle, get right into the thick of it, then turn it off whenever you want.  It’s a very convenient game style.
         But of course, that does impact the longevity for a lot of folks.  

  • Asinus

    I’ve been playing around with Dolphin Emulator and playing some GC and Wii games in HD (Wind Waker looks fan freaking tastic). I really, really want to see Xenoblade, but I’m having problems ripping it (I’m ripping my own games, fwiw). Mario Kart looks great, too. I don’t know how beefy of a system you need, but I have a 3.6ghz i5 + HD7890 and it’s running everything at 60 fps (or 30, if that’s where it’s capped) at 1080p (or something x 1200 in the case of the 4:3 gamecube games). It really does breathe some new life into some of these games (and will support your wiimotes if you have a bluetooth adapter). Also makes me wonder why they castrated upscaling with the WiiU. Too bad.  

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      How difficult is the process?  I’ve heard nothing but good stuff about Dolphin, but my IT skills are remedial, at best.  But I just found a cheap copy of Rogue Leader and would be very inclined to see it upscaled.

      • Asinus

        Ohhh the problem is that it can’t read gamediscs (well, AFIK! There may be some drives that will allow you to do it, but because of the DRM on the inner ring of GC and Wii discs, IIRC, regular DVD drives won’t read them) and you’ll need a modded Wii or GC to rip them. HOWEVER! There are ROMs available online. I lost my only non SDHC SD card and haven’t been able to play anything but games I’d already ripped and still had on my hard drive. Since I own Wind Waker, though, I thought I was within my rights (morally if not entirely legally) to download it, so I did. So I’d say dig around and see if you can find the ISO of Rogue Leader online and buy it. 

        As far as actually getting the software to work, it’s probably the easiest time I’ve ever had getting an emulator to work more-or-less perfectly. PSXE and PSXE2 require some futzing around, but I think I just installed Dolphin and took off. Most of the tweaking was to get the graphics looking their best without slowing the emulator down. 

        I’d say that if you have a decently fast C2D or equivalent and a decently fast video card (HD4890, 6850 — I’d have to look up the nVidia equivalents of those) you should be able to run them at 1080 no problem. To turn on antialiasing, supersampling, and AS filtering, you might need something beefier, but just taking away the 480p jaggies has made everything look way, way better. Wind Waker just looks spectacular smoothed out. Those cartoony graphics and unique design really do stand up well. 

        tl;dr : it’s super easy to get working. It’s a first-rate emulator. 

  • Mercenary_Security_number_4

    I really liked the slow reloading.  AC isn’t supposed to be a modern FPS, and the slow reloads give a believable reason why 18th century assassins still preferred blades.  I also really Wyatt Cenac and hopes he continues to do great things.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      Slow reloads I can handle, more of those goddam follow X and eavesdrop missions?  No thanks.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

    Can I go off-topic?  What I won’t be playing is Paper Mario: Super Seal/Sticker Star, because I finished it and it was rather great, certainly of similar quality to previous entries.  (I’d love to read thoughts of people playing it.)

    However, there’s been a huge backlash because it’s so different, AND this Iwata asks just got released.  http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/papermario/0/0  If you don’t know, Taro Kudo is my favorite game designer of all-time, Intelligent Systems is my favorite existing-and-not-in-a-name-only-capacity developer, Iwata is my favorite video game executive, and the Mario role-playing subseries is 1 of my all-time favorites.  So, I basically cried from happiness to read this, especially the Lovedelic namedrop.

    Then, I cried again because this happened http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/3ds/papermario/0/1 .  They made an adventure-driven role-playing game with a hilarious story and new, weird characters, and Miyamoto said “it was boring” and made them redo the whole prototype to make it less of a role-playing game.  And THEN he messed with the balance again to make it less like the Tingle adventure games.

    Basically, Miyamoto ruined what could have been a dream project for me and others.  I’m legitimately fed up with his influence at this point and am worried that he’s going to negatively influence the younger developers he’s now training (though, of course, developing them positively in other ways).

    So, question: was there a game when you realized that 1 of your favorite developers/publishers/people didn’t have it anymore?  This or Pikmin 3 (if it’s not good) may be my last straw for Miyamoto, as wonderful as he is.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      Hmm… While I personally cannot relate to anything you just wrote (I grew out of Mario like short pants), I’d like to answer your question. Tomonobu Itagaki may be a chauvanistic jerkwad, but Ninja Gaiden II was an excellent, challenging game. When he left Team Ninja, and the surrounding controversy bubbled to the surface, I realized the error of my ways; I’d credited too much to him.

      But there’s a lot that’s screwed up with Japanese software publishers using the old business structure while taking the credit from contractor developers like IS and TOSE. Maybe that’s why people get the impression that most of the Japanese industry is ass-backwards and stuck in the 90s: Just look at the Wii U.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        Yeah, yeah.  Whatever you want to say about Ubisoft’s super-teams, at least they’re legally and fully part of the team.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       Can I go off-topic? While I haven’t been massively disillusioned by a game developer yet (I have definitely had that experience with directors, animators and writers, though), I suspect that if the stars ever align and Ron Gilbert makes the ‘real’ Monkey Island 3, it will invariably fall far short of my vague but probably inflated-to-mythic-proportions expectations (even if it is a solid gold ludic peek at the Divine Countenance, I’m sure I’ll still be disappointed) and my appreciation of his work will collapse into a black hole of resentment in my abdomen.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        Sorry, you can only go off-topic if you do multi-paragraph rants.

        (I wonder what The Cave will look like upon completion.  There was a similar genre-mix called Insecticide made by The Curse Of Monkey Island leads that was not good.)

        • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

           Yes, well ::puts on dork snob hat::,
           Ron Gilbert’s graphic adventure output > Curse of Monkey Island, so I’m vaguely hopeful.

          Deathspank seemed kind of uninspiring, though (I haven’t played it), so who knows what this will be like.

    • Captain Internet

      It was probably when LucasArts brought out Rouge Squadron, replacing the thrilling simulation of the X-Wing series with soft, failure-free arcade garbage.

      Adolescence was tough enough without that happening.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Aw, I thought the Rogue Squadron games were pretty fun.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/ghaleonq,4597/ GhaleonQ

        Ha!  I know many PC diehards who feel the same, especially since a good portion of the appeal was the amazing (but relatively lesser) console graphics.

  • Enkidum

    Kind of weird for me, but this weekend will be a mix of Assassin’s Creed 1 and Halo 4. I got AssCreed a few months ago for like 5 bucks, and finally started it after my sad crashing Deus Ex 2 experience that I wrote about a couple of weeks back. I wish they’d put a few more voices in there – the preachers inciting everyone to resist the Crusaders say exactly the same thing in every city, it seems. And the combat is kind of crummy, but being Mr Parkour is fairly rewarding, especially because there’s so little skill involved. It’s about 3 steps away from a really shitty movie, but the level of immersion they give you makes you forget how terrible the dialogue and plotting are, at least some of the time. And the scenery is just gorgeous – makes me kind of want to keep going through the series.

    I would never have bought Halo, but my neighbour works for Microsoft and gave me Reach last year and 4 this year (plus I bought 3 last year for like 5 bucks as well). I’ve never played more than a couple of hours of a Halo game, but this evening we just went through the first couple of scenes of the campaign and it was plenty of fun. So I might actually keep going.

  • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

    343 Industries missed spec with Halo 4. Fallen weapons disappear at checkpoints and loading points. AI is wonky, and worst of all, grunts heads don’t pop with the Grunt Birthday Party skull!! Campaign mode is decent, but stay away from Spartan Ops, the core gameplay concept is horrible.

  • Rocketpilot

    Great interview.

    Well, I WAS going to get the Mac version of Baldur’s Gate Enhanced, but that’s not happening now. I guess I could settle for the blue-screen-eriffic XCOM again, but really it makes me want to drown things. Probably just back to Skyrim.

    • Fluka

      Ugh, when is the OS X version supposed to come out, anyway?  I have ambitions of putting it on my laptop for when I’m traveling over Christmas, but I fear that may now not come to pass!

  • EmperorNortonI

    I am playing just about nothing.  The new releases do not call to me, and I have yet to heed the distant siren call of Dark Souls.

    The one bright point is that I’ve finally got my Borderlands 2 game going, and it’s 3 players this time.  Yay!  I really don’t like the characters nearly as much this time, though.  The Assassin is full of pretentious nonsense and not that interesting, I miss punchy-guy, and there’s no proper support character.  But whatever.  We’re running a Soldier, an Assasassin, and a Mechromancer.  I’d preordered and it was free and the soldier was taken, so I’m the Mechromancer.  Still early going, so the skill trees are barely developed, so I may re-assess later.

    • HobbesMkii

       The lack of punching was a pretty severe oversight on Gearbox’s part. I’ve started playing (solo) after acquiring it on the cheap in the Steam Sale, and I really like it a lot more than the first game.

      • EmperorNortonI

        It’s interesting, a lot of people have been saying how much better the second one is, but I’m just not feeling it.  I believe that the real reason for this is my rather unusually positive reaction to the first one, which I absolutely loved.  And, my gaming situation is just not as good as it was back then, as I can only get my group together when I’m a bit too tired to really be enjoying the game.

        Or maybe it’s that I’m just getting old, and nothing seems quite as good as it used to.  But for whatever the reason, Borderlands 2 seems no better.  It’s good, but not particularly better in any way.

        Wait, no, I take that back.  The guns are zanier, and I like that.  I love my rocket mirv shotgun.

        • Asinus

          I came around to the first Borderlands really late, like when it was six bucks, so maybe a year or so ago. I totally loved that game. I played through it a few times. Somehow, the world felt more open and I didn’t feel like I was being shoved into the story. THough you don’t have much choice in the matter, it feels more like the story emerges from some structured fucking around. You’re vaguely looking for a thing called “The Vault” and there are other factions that are onto it, too. The conflicts you get involved in rise from that vague premise. There is no one Big Bad because you have several factions trying to reach that one goal (like It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World with guns). It just felt more expansive and caper-y. 

          So far (about 8 hours or more in) the second one 
          throws the antagonist right in your face (it seems like a larger version of the General Knoxx expansion) and gets you on a rail toward the end game. I don’t have any interest in the story this time at all. That lack of engagement, despite my best efforts, is really disappointing. I have laughed a little, but it seems like the script was supposed to be funny first, and all other goals are subordinate to that resulting in a less entertaining script. 

          I also hate the bizarre change they made to the physics– did pandora’s gravitational field suddenly lose about 50% of its strength? Why no falling damage? That sure makes the game way less exciting knowing I can fall off of anything and be totally fine. 

          Best thing, though, is the awesome visibility compared to the first one. Sniper rifles finally feel snipery. Second best thing: shorter range for thrown weapons. I always hated being at what seemed like a stand-off range with a rifle only to have some douche pelting me with axes from a quarter mile. I want to take those latter good things and mash them into the first game. 

          I tried to go back and play 1, but I miss that range too much to really enjoy it any more. Sucks. 

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      I had to lend my Dark Souls copy to my brother otherwise I don’t think I’d ever make progress through my backlog.  I’d just keep farming those delicious Titanium shards.

  • Swadian Knight

    I actually got a pretty good haul of games in the recent Steam sale, so I’ll be going through those.

    First off, I got the The Missing Link DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and I intend to go through it this weekend. It’s actually pretty good so far; it offers an achievement if you get through it without using any augs or weapons, which has made me play it in a completely different way when compared to the original game (trying to reach hidden areas without leg augments quickly turns the game into Cyberpunk Crate Stacking Simulator 2011).

    Then I got E.Y.E. – Divine Cybermancy, which is a really complex and deep game, though it lacks that extra polish that could make it really amazing. It’s kind of what would happen if you took a FPS, threw a lot of RPG mechanics into it, and then set it in a strange amalgam of cyberpunk environments and the Warhammer 40k universe. I could go on an anecdote about it, but I’d probably bore you all, so here’s an entertaining little animation I’ve found about trying to hack a door and getting hacked by it instead.

    I also got Zeno Clash, a first-person fighting game with a pretty unique look and setting that I’m sure would look very good if I could see anything through all the motion blur and the endless barrage of fists and other appendages that won’t stop hitting my character’s face in rapid sucession. 

    Beyond that, I got Legend of Grimrock, which I haven’t put any serious time into yet. I do like what I’ve seen so far, though. Finally, I got The Binding Of Isaac after hearing so many people talk about it here and elsewhere, though I haven’t had the time to even start it up.

    All in all, I think I have a pretty good weekend ahead of me.

    • djsubversive

      E.Y.E. is an interesting game. There’s a lot of stuff you can do and the game doesn’t like to explain things very well. It’s also full of silly things like “you killed a loving father!” when you kill a guy (it’s not every kill, and it’s not always a “loving father”; I think I got a “ghost” once). Also, being counter-hacked is a great idea and the first time it happened to me (when I tried to hack a turret gun), I started laughing.

      I really want to like the game, but it certainly doesn’t make it easy.

      • Swadian Knight

        It really does not, and it’s really hard to get into it when it insists on making most of its gameplay so impenetrable and weird. The stealth system in particular is really infuriating at first, since the hallmarks of the genre just don’t apply here; it’s the same with healing items, which are completely absent until you spend money on research, only the game never lets you know you can do that.

        I’m tempted to forgive most of its flaws because of how ambitious and fun to play it is, but a lot of the time it really feels like a Source Mod trying to punch way above its weight.

        P.S. Those notifications are pretty goofy. So far the weirdest kill I’ve gotten was an android (though Steam tells me it can happen when you kill geeks, necrophiles and demons in disguise as well), and I’ve also succumbed to Paranoia during a mission, which meant my character kept shooting anything and everything near him for a short time, with no indication of why that happened or how I could fix it.

  • dreadguacamole

    I’ve got an insane amount of games I really, really want to spend time with. Woe is me!

     Looks like the winner this weekend is FarCry3 – as others have said before, it looks to be the game I’d hoped FarCry2 would be; I’m still in the opening segments, but it’s looking extremely promising so far.

     Lego Lord of the Rings may be my favorite Lego game so far. Interestingly enough, while I can just barely deal with the swirly dynamic split-screen divider, my son seems to have no problem with it at all. So that’s good.
     But this is the first one I’d consider good enough to play single-player for any amount of time. The humor is a bit weak, though there are some really funny jokes strewn here and there.

     Scribblenauts Unlimited is joy. Pure emergent joy.

     The Fool and his Money is out – seriously. So far there have been a few fiddly puzzles I haven’t enjoyed very much, so I may procrastinate on this one… Still, it’s pretty great.

     Got Max Payne on the PC, and it plays so much better with keyboard and mouse, it’s almost a completely different game. A good one.

     Assassin’s creed 3 will probably be left on the wayside for a while – pretty much any of the options I’ve got are more compelling than it…

     And I still have stuff from bundles and the steam sale; can’t really complain, can I?

  • fieldafar

    No definite gaming plans this weekend, I still feel down from The Walking Dead: Episode 5 ending.

    That said, I guess there will be some Halo 4 multiplayer, and thanks to everyone else, I could continue with my third (or was it fourth?) play through of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s fun, really.

  • uselessyss

    I guess I’m going to start into the DLC for Dragon’s Age, as I finished the main game about a week ago and I have the “Ultimate Edition.”

    Wondering where I should start, though – there are so many “other campaigns,” and a full expansion to boot. I’m thinking I’ll take on Awakenings (do you import your character into that one?) and try out the rest later.

    I don’t know if I was quite as smitten with Dragon’s Age as some of you folks, but it’s unquestionably well-made and I have the feeling I will appreciate it more with a second playthrough.

    • Gangrene77

      It has been a while, but I believe that Awakanings allows you to import your character after the main story.  Quite the feat for my herione, seeing as how she was dead.  Most of the other DLC as I recall has you playing as other characters, i.e. The lesbian bard whos name I can’t remember, and as a darkspawn. 

    • Histamiini

      It’s been a while, but I think you should play the one that gives you the golem companion as soon as possible. I played Ostagar and the Warden Keep one pretty early. Then Awakening. Then Witch Hunt and Golems of Angararhoafjdakhh. The others are separate. Golems of A has the toughest fights so that might be best left last. Its final boss fight is the toughest in the entire game.

    • uselessyss

      Thanks @Gangrene77:disqus and @Histamiini:disqus , nice tips.

    • http://sarapen.ca/ Sarapen

      Story-wise it goes vanilla game, then Awakenings, then Witch Hunt, if following the narrative progression matters to you. The other DLC can be enjoyed in whatever order you prefer, though I’d suggest Golems of whatsit after Awakenings because the story feels more natural in that way since Awakenings takes place immediately after your victory in Dragon Age. 

      I’d suggest doing the standalone DLCs sooner rather than later, though, because that way you can enjoy the sweet reward items in your Awakenings playthrough instead of for just the scant hours it takes you to finish the shorter DLC.

  • stakkalee

    i’ve got the house to myself the next 2 weekends so it’s a perfect time to start a new game, and from the way everyone raves about it that new game has to be Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I picked it up last night and started the prologue, and I’m intending to play for the Pacifist achievement, and so far it seems like a blast.  Also I’ll maybe spend some time on the neverending Civ4/FfH LAN game, but that’ll depend on my buddy’s schedule.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      I think if there was an official Gameological recommended game Deus Ex: HR would be it.

      But have you thought about upgrading to Civ V.  I was wary for a long time because people said they ruined it but only being able to have one unit per tile completely changes how you manage your military.  It’s worth checking out.

      • stakkalee

        Unfortunately my current PC gaming rig is a mid-range Samsung laptop that just doesn’t have the graphical horsepower to handle Civ5, at least according to the spec sheet.  I never bothered to download the free trial version of Civ5 to test that, but I’m kicking myself now for missing out on that.  Rest assured, once I have the capability to play it Civ5 will be one of my first purchases – I’ve loved every Civilization game, even Call to Power!

        • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

          I grabbed Gods & Kings for cheaps in the Steam sale and love it too, at least for having new civs.  The usefulness of Espionage escapes me but the Religion is kind of interesting and not intrusive into the core of the game.

        • stakkalee

          @twitter-495079299:disqus I’d heard that Civ5 had removed religion from the game, and that one of their expansion packs would be bringing it back.  Good, I say.  I enjoyed the religion mechanic in Civ4 (turns out religion is a good way to make money; who knew?) and even though I’m sure it’s implemented differently in Civ5 I think having religion is a necessary component of a game designed to simulate the rise and fall of empires.

  • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

    This weekend will be mostly end-of-semester crunch, but I may decompress with a game here or there.

    I got Deponia on Steam sale, and have played a little – so far I’m not feeling it. It seems to have a lot of the same problems that made me dislike Whispered World so much – thoroughly unlikeable protagonist, poorly translated and/or poorly written dialogue (resulting in some seriously unfunny stabs at humor), and a competent but totally boring visual style. But I’m only a little bit into it, so I may put some more time in this weekend and see if it develops into something more interesting.

    Other than that, maybe I’ll finally give the Blackwell games I got in the GOG sale a shot. Or try out some of the old prototypes from the Amnesia Fortnight Humble Bundle thingy.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      You know I liked TWW quite a bit, but Deponia hasn’t managed to grab me either (I’m about 1h in). I’m okay with the visuals for the most part (for example I like the little animation that plays when you combine items from your inventory), but I do have a bone to pick with their background artists. They still don’t get how to design rooms in a way that draws the eye to the hotspots. I was constantly using the “show hotspot” button, and that makes me sad.

      Oh, and it’s poorly written, I guess. It’s not very clever in German either and Toni’s VA is the only one I don’t hate already.

  • indy2003

    I have an intimidatingly large stack of games that I purchased on Black Friday, so I will probably spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to determine which of them to jump into first (well, “first” – I played and finished Dishonored over the course of the past week). My options:

    Catherine
    Sly Cooper Collection
    Borderlands 2
    Spec Ops: The Line
    Max Payne 3
    Darksiders
    Little Big Planet 2

    Any suggestions, Gameological Society? My schedule could turn out to be kind of busy for the next couple of weeks, so I’m kind of wanting something which can easily be played for an hour or two at a time and then set aside rather than something which is better experienced in marathon sessions.

    • Jackbert322

      I’d say go through the story levels in LittleBigPlanet, because that’s something you can do in bursts, first. Then if you like it, you could just play user created levels or make your own for a while. If you’re not interested in that, I haven’t played any other titles, but I believes Catherine lends itself to short play sessions as well.

    • rvb1023

      Try LBP2 or Catherine, both are level-based platformers that are easy to play one level at a time or in the case of Catherine, some of the levels will be hard enough where you won’t have more time. Mostly I just feel more people should play Catherine.

      • PaganPoet

        I did enjoy Catherine overall, but what really bugged me is how it was supposed to be this mature-themed, real-life kind of game, and yet the two main love interests were incredible female stereotypes: nagging, shrieking ball and chain, and purring mattress kitten. I think the two characters would have benefitted from a little more depth.

        • Jackbert322

          “Purring mattress kitten.” I’m going to get married just to call my wife that.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          @Jackbert322:disqus No, don’t do that.

        • Jackbert322

          Fyodor, I bet if I called a lady that on the first date, she’d marry me on the spot.

        • rvb1023

          A fair point, though Catherine’s nagging was a bit justified.

    • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

      Sly Cooper Collection gets my vote.  That is seriously one of the most overlooked series of the PS2 generation.  It has such a great aesthetic and the stealth and platforming merge together surprisingly well.

      Now i want to play it…

      • His_Space_Holiness

        Oh man, the Sly Cooper games are a blast. I was surprised by how invested I got in the silly story, just because the characters are so much fun. I’m super pumped for the sequel in February.

    • Cheese

       Sly Cooper Collection, Catherine, and Ico/Shadow of the Colossus are the major parts of my backlog, but Persona 4 is consuming all my time right now, and after that I want to give Persona 4 Arena another go. And I still haven’t played Dishonored or very much of XCOM….god dammit.

    • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

      My only recommendation is that Spec Ops: The Line lends itself well to being played in large chunks. If you have 2-hour gaming sessions ahead of you, then go for it. In fact, it’s a very draining experience. You wouldn’t want to play it for more than 2 hours at a stretch. But if you’re only going to be gaming for half an hour at a time, then I’d advise holding off on the game.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Sly Cooper! I loved those games on PS2. Some great platformin’ with cool visual style. Lotsa fun. I never did play the third one, but the first one was great. The second one was still pretty good, but i prefer the first. PLAY ‘EM.

      • His_Space_Holiness

        PLAY THE THIRD ONE. IT OWNS.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I need to find a copy of it. I think it came out when I was starting to get kinda bored with games for a while. Didn’t it come with some red/blue 3d glasses? 

        • His_Space_Holiness

          Hell if I know. I played it via the HD collection, which is 3D-compatible anyway.

          Wikipedia says that it came with 3-D glasses for optional 3-D levels. Weird gimmick, which I can safely say the game does not need. It’s fun as hell and has a surprisingly emotional storyline.

  • KingGunblader

    Until I get a new TV set, I’m going to be focusing on portable games over my winter break. Namely, Paper Mario and Tales of the Abyss for 3DS.

  • http://www.olympicartichoke.podbean.com/ The Warfreak

    Playing Tony Hawk: HD on Xbox and Hotline Miami on the computer.

  • http://twitter.com/tapirman Kyle O’Reilly

    My copy of Hotline Miami freezes on the third part of “Hot & Heavy” no matter what.  It’s the most frustrating thing I can imagine seeing as the game is absolute gold! I can’t get enough of it but it won’t let me play without freezing up. Sad face.  Anyway thanks to bundles and steam sales I have a backlog currently of:

    Zeno Clash
    Crusader Kings II
    Intrusion 2
    Counter Strike GO
    Civilization V (I started a game, took over the Indian sub-continent and Australia and then just stopped in the Renaissance!)
    The Witcher 2
    Audiosurf
    The entire THQ Bundle
    Waking Mars
    and more…

    And I’m still probably just going to alternate between Halo 4 multilplayer and Spelunky.  Sweet Spelunky.  If you own an Xbox and haven’t picked up this marvelous gem, please download the demo and indoctrinate yourself in the glorious cult of mass Spelunky suicide.

    • http://www.gildedgreen.com/ Girard

       I had that problem in the disco level. I was so addicted I just kept re-playing, making sure to go to the problematic floor first rather than saving it for last, until I lucked into a playthrough that didn’t glitch out.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      According to the dev there’s a patch coming next week for Hotline Miami to fix most of the remaining bugs. Fingers crossed for that, I really want to play this game more.

  • yerfatma

    I finished Borderlands this week (was the ending really easy or did I luck into a very good rocket launcher right beforehand?) and I’m torn whether to just buy the season pass or to get something new.

    Strangely, to try to cope with the NHL lockout I wound up digging out my Genesis and NHL ’94. My wife came home last night and immediately covered her eyes: it’s a little bright and incredibly blurry on a 50″ screen. The obvious answer would be to stop playing it. Instead, I’m going to try to find an RCA adapter (I only have the coax hookup).

  • Dikachu

    I just got the new Ratchet & Clank game, Full Frontal Assault, and have played a few hours of it.  It’s pretty underwhelming; basically just a variant of the base defense type game.  The last one (All 4 One) was kinda disappointing too, though I liked it better than this new one.  I’m a huge fan of the series (I consider them to be as good as, if not better than any of the post-NES/SNES era Mario games), so it’s rather disillusioning that they’re devolving.

    Also, they changed the controls around AGAIN.  Wrench throw, weapon fire, and turbo run all use different key combinations than from previous games… to me, that’s the mark of sloppy amateurism.  That’s the kind of shit that top-notch software/game/system designers consider a cardinal sin.

    • Cheese

       I love the more traditional Ratchet and Clank games, but I haven’t played either of the weird spin-offs. It’s sad but unsurprising to hear that they’re not as good.

      • Dikachu

        All 4 One was at least challenging and entertaining, even if the controls and camera sucked.  It has some really stellar artwork too.  But this latest one is a real let-down.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      I loved the original few on PS2. The second one was my favorite. Really lame to see all these weirdo spinoffs and stuff. Insomniac, just make another one with a bunch of cool guns and platformin’! Jeez…

  • http://twitter.com/Gerardi Matt Gerardi

    I’ll be spending the weekend with my girlfriend (GASP!) so I probably won’t get to any of the stuff I bought during the Steam sale, but that does mean we’ll be playing some Tetris Battle Gaiden.

    It’s a competitive Tetris game for the Super Famicom that never made it out of Japan. Puzzle Fighter-style, you pick a character with distinct abilities before each match and go to town. The big difference is both players share the upcoming pieces AND you can see four pieces ahead. A big part of the game becomes making sure you get the pieces you need–like a straight piece to complete that devastating four-line tetris–and stopping you opponent from doing the same.

    Then of course there’s the special abilities which run the gamut from annoying–blocking your opponent’s ability to press down and speed up the fall of pieces–to devastating–permanently making it so that your opponent needs to clear a line twice before it’ll actually be removed from their board. 

    It’s the griefiest and most unfair game of Tetris you’ll ever play, but it’s without a doubt one of the most fun two-player games around. 

    Here’s an okay YouTube video.

    • Mooy

       Have you ever played Tetris Attack? It’s similar to what you described, and it also has some pretty fantastic 2 player action.

  • OrangeLazarus

    My PC is not working so I’m playing Final Fantasy XIII right now. Based on what I’ve played, most of the bad things said about it are true. The voice acting and dialogue are mostly awful. It has that weird anime/Japanese video game tendency to have a bunch a dialogue that is not words just a lot of sighing. The story is incomprehensible. Vanille is the worst character ever (WHY WOULD SOMEONE ACT LIKE THAT!!). The pacing is insane. The level design is dumb. All of that said I got to the point where the battle system is starting to get interesting and that may keep me hooked until the end. A enjoyable battle system didn’t keep me playing Final Fantasy X-2 though.  

    • alguien_comenta

      When the “tutorial” ends about 20 hours into the game, the game becomes pretty good. You have more liberty, the battle system opens more and you can bench however you want (poor Hope, nobody likes him)

      • Citric

        FFXIII-2 spoilers!

        My favorite scene in the game is when Hope dies. It doesn’t actually stick, unfortunately, since you’re going around screwing with history in general, but it was my favorite part.

        END FFXIII-2 spoilers!

        • alguien_comenta

          Now I really want to start playing FFXIII-2! 

    • Citric

      Oh FUCK Vanille.

      That is all.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    After spending months searching for a “Minecraft or Terraria clone, but with more depth”, I realized there are mods for Minecraft.  So far I have only downloaded one mod, the TreeCapitator, as I always thought it was stupid that trees didn’t fall when you cut out the middle of the trunk.  Now I’m busy chopping down half the forest I started in and making an Ewok Village-style base among the larger trees I left standing.  Trying to decide what mod to get next…any suggestions?

    Also still trying to get into EVE Online.  The new expansion comes out next week, with not a lot that I care about besides ship rebalancing.  (Bounty hunting sounds interesting, but I doubt I’d be effective at that any time soon.)  Silly enough, I have aspirations of being a Sanitation Engineer in Space, joining a corporation that will hire me to clean up wrecks from others’ completed missions.  (Of course THAT corp had a war declaration on then this week too.  Wardecs are getting REALLY annoying to me.)

    • http://twitter.com/HttpLovecraft Http Lovecraft

      Showing up late to the party, tractor-beaming space-trash…  That’s somehow my kind of game.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        I know, right?  How strangely cool is it to be the cleanup crew?  Suddenly, I want a game where you play as a mob cleaner and just remove bodies and evidence (and valuables) after the hitmen do their job.

  • D3ADP0OL

    I’ll most likely be playing some Borderlands 2 while I decide which game will be featured next week at http://www.thebestgamesyouneverplayed.com

  • GaryX

    I finally got my HDTV (and it’s awesome), so now I get to play games on my PS3 again.

    Right now it’s Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and Dishonored, and I’ll likely play Journey within the week or so.

    I know Uncharted 3 got maligned by some people as more of the same, and maybe it’s because I got some extra distance from 2 on it, but I’m having a fucking blast. It’s just a fun game. Just finished The Chateau stuff. Dishonored has been interesting so far. I’m not terribly far (just got it delivered last night and only had an hour or so to play after the gym), but it feels like a game that shouldn’t be made in this day and age. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, but some of its mechanics regarding stealth and level progression seem so old school PC to me. Also not sure how I feel about the auto-aim nonsense though I’m trying to see if I can play through without killing anyone as I usually do with stealth games. 

    One thing that weirdly bugs me is the like two sentence text prompt of the level before you press X to load it. I don’t know why, but that kind of thing breaks immersion for me and just seems like shortcut storytelling. Doesn’t seem necessary.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia

      With how sophisticated graphics have become, it’s easy to feel inundated from amazement.  But The entire Chateau chapter was just gorgeous.  Really spectacularly done.

      • GaryX

        Agreed. In a way, the set pieces so far have seemed subtler–for Uncharted anyways–than the 2nd but no less impressive. I’m also playing it in 3D. It’s the first game I’ve ever done that with, and while I’m generally against the technology in film because it’s pretty gimmicky, it’s a gimmick that works amazingly in this game. From having the depth of field shift between cramped underground passages and then suddenly shift as the ground opens up below Drake has been an impressive visual treat. The Chateau chapter was double enjoyable for that as well. I don’t think it would work for every game, but I’m finding it quite enjoyable in this game. It also doesn’t hurt that Naughty Dog just flat out knows how to frame the game with a camera.

        • Enkidum

          Huh – did you get a 3D TV, then?

    • Enkidum

      Yeah, we got ourselves an 42″ LED TV for Christmas last year and it really is amazing playing some games on it. Just played through the opening of Halo 4 last night (I didn’t buy it, I swear!) and it was just gorgeous looking around and seeing the sights. Red Dead Redemption was another one that was so pleasant just to look around in.

      • GaryX

        Yeah I did. I got the LG 47lm7600 which I had been hunting for several months on Amazon and saving and finally pulled the trigger. The 3D wasn’t really the main draw but it’s been neat in a goofy way and, like i said, works pretty well in games. 

        It was also nice since I lost my last TV during a move out/break up about two years ago, so it was kinda some weird closure.

        And don’t apologize for Halo 4! I think it’s a pretty fun game. It’s also pretty gorgeous. I was just flat out impressed by what they were squeezing out of the Xbox.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    I was under the mistaken impression that I’d bought all the games I wanted during the Steam summer sale. But Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales proved me wrong. *sigh* I am weak in the face of Steam and Gamefly deals. I ended up buying Dishonored, Just Cause 2, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and the Max Payne trilogy.

    This weekend, I plan to finish Choking Simulator 2012 Dishonored. I didn’t expect to enjoy the game this much. The story is silly, and I can see all its beats coming from a mile away, but it’s both exciting and challenging to play as a stealthy supernatural assassin. I’m too impatient for most stealth games, but the “blink” ability speeds the game’s pace a bit, so the gameplay consists of more than merely waiting in the shadows for an opportunity to strike. I feel like I have myriad possible strategies to use, and the game is more about exploiting them than having perfect timing.

    If I have time left, I might also finish Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. I was going to finish it before tackling Dishonored, but I got frustrated when my saves weren’t loading properly, and I was in a part of the game where the checkpointing was very unfair. As far as I’m concerned, bad checkpointing is just artificial difficulty. If you want to make me replay a 20-minute section just because I fucked up right near the end, then fuck you, and fuck your stupid game.

    I may also try to get in some Costume Quest and some Max Payne. I had originally put down the former in frustration because of its unimaginative combat and unreasonable difficulty spikes, but now I’ve gotten to the wide open part of the mall, and the game just feels a lot livelier. I still find the humour quite charming and clever. Let it never be said that Double Fine makes games without personality.

    On the other hand, I’m finding Max Payne frustrating. I understand that its mechanics are dated, but heck, so are Half-Life’s, and I made it through that game fine. I just find the controls in Max Payne janky, and its much-vaunted bullet time mechanic is next to useless. (I find that it hinders more than it helps.) Maybe I just need a couple more hours to get acclimated to it.

    • alguien_comenta

      I never finished WW, I think I also got stuck in some part and I just got sick of hearing the Prince bitch so much, I don’t think I missed much by not finishing it

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I don’t know whose idea it was to turn the Prince into a nü-metal asshole, but that person deserves a swift kick in the nards and/or ladyparts.

        Also a bad idea: giving the henchwomen and the Prince ambient dialogue during combat. Hearing “There’s so much pleasure in pain” in a seductive voice for the 439th time doesn’t make me believe it. Moreover, hearing the Prince say “Bored” or “You’re wasting my time” over and over again doesn’t make him more of an appealing character. (If anything, those are often my sentiments on the combat sections, but it’s nice to see that the fighting system has been vastly improved over Sands of Time.)

        Also a bad idea: putting all the female characters in next to nothing. Sands of Time had a similar problem, but at least their costumes weren’t so sexualized and skintight. What the Empress is wearing in this game is just ridiculous.

        Also a a bad idea: making everything dull, grey, and gloomy. The glowing, gilded colour palette of Sands of Time was better. The only place where the new colour palette works to the game’s advantage is in the garden section; the vibrant greens really stand out against the greys. Other than that, the game looks grey for the sake of being grey.

        Also a bad idea: the Dahaka. Fuck him.

        • alguien_comenta

          That’s why I really liked the new PoP, the characters had a better relationship, the world was really colorful, but then they fucked up the ending and didn’t release anything else on that world

  • skrutop

    I’m going to finish up the single-player campaign in Crysis 2 this weekend. The game’s OK, but I’m looking forward to finishing it off so I can tackle the rest of The Force Unleashed.  I’ve had it on my shelf for awhile, and it’s the only game in my 360 library that I haven’t beaten yet.  My wife won’t let me get anything new until Christmas is over because she doesn’t want me picking up something that she already got for me.

  • Treymoney

    I finally picked up Dishonored on Black Friday and started playing this week.  I’ve spent about three hours skulking through the second level so the “too short” complaints are a little bewildering.  

    I played Thief and Thief 2 for the first time this year in preparation.  They are fantastic games and I have to say that Dishonored compares favorably.  It did take me a while to get used to being seen up close even when I was crouching in shadow.  Corvo is no Garrett!

    • GaryX

      Yeah, I think the complaints of it being too short are people who just blast through it. I’m trying to do a no-kill playthrough on my first go and find myself moving very slowly, and I think it makes the game pretty great. It’s the kind of game where it makes sense to move methodically through everywhere and soak the environment in.

    • stuartsaysstop

      Totally agree on Dishonored. I picked it up with some hesitation due to the “too short” claims, yet I’ve played it for hours and probably only halfway through the second mission. Yes, I’m going for a (almost) no kill playthrough, so there’s a LOT of saving and reloading, but as @GaryX:disqus mentions it’s a world that I’m willing to spend a LOT of time in. And anyway, when I finish I can either go straight to Sleeping Dogs (my other recent purchase) or return to Persona 3, which I rather guiltily have postponed playing so I can at least complete Dishonored.

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

        I’m also going for as few kills as possible (which is actually quite a large number since at first I didn’t know that the deaths resulting from rewired arc pylons counted as kills). There’s a lot of saving and reloading involved…and a lot of running away like a sissy little coward. I’m also trying to grab as many of the collectibles as possible, though a lot of the bone charms aren’t useful for someone trying to be non-lethal. I’m also taking as much time to explore as possible, snapping screenshots here and there. I estimate it’ll take me upwards of 25 hours total to finish.

  • SteveHeisler

    Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez Fez!

    • HobbesMkii

      Now it’s lost all meaning. What are you playing again? Epic Mickey 2?

    • His_Space_Holiness

      Oh crap, Steve’s stroking out. Call 911!

  • alguien_comenta

    I’ll try to plow thru AC:Revelations, play a little FIFA 13 (the minigames are pretty addictive) and maybe some SMT: Devil Survivor 2 (why is every girl so, um, endowed? it’s too distracting)

  • Citric

    Alright so I’m excited that several weeks later I’m finally going to be able to watch Skyfall – a conspiracy of living in a rural area combined with snowstorms preventing travel have made me unable to watch it yet – so I haven’t really thought much ahead of what I’ll be doing outside of Skyfall.

    But I still haven’t finished Romancing Saga so I’ll probably do that. I need to figure out how to beat that stupid jerk in front of the Twinmoon Temple.

  • JimTreacher

    Cenac is a whiner who doesn’t know how to play, but he’s right about how weird it is to kill George Washington. I was disappointed that it desynched.

  • SonjaMinotaur

    You can add me to the crowd playing Deus Ex: HR after reading about it over and over in the comments. Just beat the first boss after restarting a couple of times! (I had all the wrong augments/I wanted replay the first part after the stealth FINALLY clicked for me) So I expect to be sneaking around Shanghai this weekend. 

  • Pastor_Of_Muppets

    I just caved and spent $10 for closed beta access to Path Of Exile, a soon-to-be “free to play” ARPG. After the letdown that was Diablo 3 and the disappearing act of nearly all of Torchlight 2′s player base, POE has seemingly reeled me in.

    So far, nearly four hours in, I highly recommend it, even if that means waiting until next month when open beta comes around.

  • chongkla
  • Lord Autumn-Bottom

    Little late to the party, but I’m revisiting MGS4, in light of the trophy patch from a few months back.  I had been planning to play it not long after that patch came out, but XCOM got in the way.  I’ve worn that out pretty well at this point, so MGS4 is a go.  Game’s still tons of fun, story’s still daffy.

  • yifu490

     http://al.ly/qxA