What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Dan Wilbur

Dan Wilbur, comedian

The author of How Not To Read applies his literary theory to Dark Souls and Final Fantasy Tactics.

By Drew Toal • January 18, 2013

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.

Dan Wilbur is a comedian and author of How Not To Read: Harnessing The Power Of A Literature-Free Life, a book for people who don’t want to read but do want to appear dauntingly well-read. He also curates a website called “Better Book Titles,” renaming classic and contemporary literary works with the titles they should have had.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Dan Wilbur: This weekend, I will be between two games. One is called Starhawk, for PS3. And the other one is Final Fantasy Tactics, which someone convinced me I should download on my phone. I think I’ve played Final Fantasy Tactics all the way through about six times in my life. And this is probably the saddest time I’ve played it all the way through. I’ve been on a movie shoot, and then I had to do various train rides when I didn’t feel like reading, and I’ve clocked about 11 hours playing Final Fantasy Tactics for the sixth time. When I could have been making friends.

Gameological: That’s the trade-off.

Wilbur: Well, I guess it was sadder before, because I could have learned a language or a musical instrument when I was like 13. Instead I played Final Fantasy Tactics for hours after school. I think, actually, playing Starhawk is sadder because Starhawk is—I don’t know if you’ve played it—I feel like it’s sort of an answer to Borderlands 2. It kind of looks like Gears Of War, with kind of the attitude of Cowboy Bebop. Am I getting too nerdy? It looks like a futuristic space western, and you’re protecting what is basically oil, and you do it by calling a guy who is sort of the jet to Spike in Cowboy Bebop. You’re like, “Hey, send me down a turret, because there’s too many guys around me.” And then a turret comes down and lands in front of you. So you’re changing the landscape of the battlefield as you go. The reason I bring up Borderlands 2 is I feel like I put on the headset and try to play the multiplayer, and it’s just a bunch of 13-year-olds who weren’t cool enough to get Borderlands 2.

Gameological: You paint a bleak picture. Which depresses you more?

Wilbur: I think it’s sadder to play Starhawk. Everyone else is playing Borderlands 2. And I’m like, “I play games like that! I do! I’m cool enough!” Last time I played Starhawk, I had the headset on, and a kid told me to climb out of his butthole—was screaming at me, and just insane—he must’ve killed me 50 times in a row. And then at the end, I heard him say, “Dad, I want a boiled egg for lunch.” And I turned off the game. I can’t do this anymore.

Gameological: There seems to be a market for an adults-only multiplayer.

Wilbur: There should be an adults-only everywhere. We should just abandon youth. I try to go to the gym every once in a while to play basketball, and I’ll play a bunch of 14-year-olds who are all talking trash. And I’ll be like, “I’ll take these guys, I’m a decade older than them.” I’ve been playing basketball so long. And then I realize how out of shape I am compared to 14-year-old boys. And they just annihilate me. And that’s the same way I think about multiplayer games. You get online, and you’re like, oh, right, this is all they’ve been doing. They’re the most in-shape gamers. They’re probably really good at basketball. They have everything going for them, 14-year-old boys. So yes, separate everything. The only thing we have is on them is that we can legally drink.

Gameological: I can chart, I think, all of my declining skills from that point.

Wilbur: Once you can legally drink, you have that over them. So out of spite, you’re like, I’m gonna do this every day. Fuck 14-year-old me. I hate him. 14-year-old me would be begging me to buy him beer right now, but I’m not gonna do it. Because they’re mean to me on the basketball court and when I’m playing Starhawk. That no one’s playing.

Gameological: Why’d you choose Starhawk?

Wilbur: I’m a very impulse buyer of games. My schedule is such that I only get three or four days out of a month that I can really devote to a game. So I usually just go to GameStop and go onto a website of game reviews. I don’t pay attention to what’s coming out. I just pop in and pick up whatever that top-rated game is that week. And so there was a little bit of hype about Starhawk. And I’m not disappointed in it. I know that everyone is playing Borderlands 2 and having a great time.

Gameological: That’s kind of what happened when Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning came out, but everyone was still playing Skyrim.

Wilbur: I was still stuck on Dark Souls when that came out. It’s like the anti-Skyrim. It’s basically the same. You’re still running around killing dragons, but it’s like the hardest game, with zero storyline. And that’s even sadder! That one, I clocked at least 100 hours. And then I tried to play Skyrim, and was just like, there’s too much talking. There’s too much talking.

Gameological: Everyone loves Dark Souls, but I’ve yet to hear someone articulate exactly what it is that makes it so good. It’s mostly just like, “Holy shit, this game is hard and frustrating.”

Wilbur: I will tell you. It’s the Ulysses of video games. People who are very serious about that type of game love that game. Have you played it?

Gameological: I’ve started and aborted a few times.

Wilbur: First of all, anyone who plays a ton of RPGs would love it. It’s a totally streamlined, non-user-friendly video game. That’s a game I bought the day it came out, so there were no message boards saying how I get to such and such.

Gameological: It must’ve been near impossible to play at that point.

Wilbur: Oh, it was. No, I’ll say… I played the first one, Demon’s Souls. I knew you had to strategize a little bit. You go down one set of stairs, and you keep dying. And you go, “That’s clearly not where I’m supposed to go first.” And then you go down another set of stairs, and you’re clearly not supposed to go down there. Finally, you find a track where you say, “Okay, this is where I’m supposed to be.” And you slowly make headway, and the rewards are mostly because you spent so much time figuring out what’s going on in the world. The joke is that there’s no story. They even joke about it in the game. There’s no seven seals that need to be broken before the princess is released. It’s just this strange, chaotic nightmare. The only thing I have to compare it to, also much like Ulysses, is if you’ve ever smoked really intense pot, you do not want to leave your couch or speak to anyone. Not giggly weed. Like, someone says something and an hour later you realize, did they leave? No they’re still here.

Gameological: I’m still not sold, but playing Dark Souls is my New Year’s resolution.

Wilbur: I’m sure your parents are very proud. I’m gonna drop 10 pounds. Work on my novel. And also beat Dark Souls.

Gameological: They don’t read this website, so I can tell them that it’s to get health insurance. Your book teaches people who don’t read how to fool those that do. How would you instruct a person to seem like they’re a gamer when they’re not?

Wilbur: Great question! I wrote a little bit about it, if you’ve never been a gamer and you get stuck talking to one, what book you’d recommend them. And now I can’t remember a word of it. [Laughs.] How would I do that? I don’t know! I think smiling, and giving a gamer attention, that’ll do it for you. As long as you pretend to be interested in what they’re saying, and you’re an attractive woman. A gamer is going to be like, “I don’t care what she’s talking about. I don’t care what I’m talking about.” Just listen to them nerd out about everything I just said. I mean, what passes for nerd now? Maybe, say, I’m into cerebral games, like Fallout. I’d start with Fallout. It’s got all the elements of an RPG. It’s a first-person shooter. There’s no multiplayer geeks to get in your face. Or just scoff at video games, because you’re too into “the classics.” It’s just like books. The best one is to be like, “Oh, I would play that new Mario, but a guy who looked like Mario mugged me once. I can’t play it.” Get into emotionally sensitive territory. Now I can’t look at people in blue overalls.

Gameological: If you had to pick better titles for Dark Souls and Final Fantasy Tactics, what would you choose?

Wilbur: [Laughs.] Oh no you put me on the spot! Dark Souls, I think the best one. Someone sent me a GIF [pronounces it with a hard “G”]—or a “JIF,” ugh—of a guy getting hit by these swinging axes and falling off the side. And it just said, “Oh fuck, FUCK, FUCK, FUCKING, FUCK, FUCK me this sucks,” and just falling and dying. That’s a great title. It’s not an original title, I want you to know that. Or maybe Constantly Throwing Controller At Screen. You’re more likely to throw your controller at the screen and break your TV playing Dark Souls than you are playing any Wii game. With Final Fantasy Tactics, I think we landed on it. Instead Of Mastering An Instrument, Why Not Master The Monk Job Skills?

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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  • Jackbert322

    Speaking of “Oh fuck, FUCK, FUCK, FUCK, FUCKING, FUCK, FUCK me this sucks,” the Matriarch Benezia boss fight.

    This is literally my thought process during every single attempt: square square square I’ve already heard what you’re saying already square square square UNSKIPPABLE DRAMATIC CUTSCENE okay, let’s do this, blam blam blam, DUDE GARRUS GET OUT OF MY WAY ARGH MOVE MOVE MOVE okay, thank you, OH GOD I’M ON THE GROUND HELP HELP PLEASE OH GOD oh good I’m back up, uh oh, medpack, medpack, QUICK, MEDPACK…I’m dead…TWO MINUTES OF LOADING SCREEN…ad infinitum.

    Tips?

    So, I might be playing that, or I might be punching myself in the face.

    In less stressful gaming news, I’m preettyyy sure I’m on the final boss in The World Ends With You. I’ll try that in the morning, armed with my best slashing and tapping pins, and dressed in a maroon suit jacket, a tie dye skirt, pink lace up boots, and a fancy gold bracelet.

    • PaganPoet

      Ooooh, now I’m nervous. Did you explore/grind a lot before fighting Benezia, or are you the type who prefers to barrel on in the story? I feel like I’m overleveled in my current story mission because I spent so much time exploring uncharted planets.
      The hardest fight I’ve encountered so far is the one I described in my post below (or above, depending on your Disqus settings). I was very very underleveled, and it must have taken me 20+ tried to finally win.

      • Jackbert322

        I did a bit, but not a whole lot. Artemis Tau and a couple hours of side missions. Also in less stressful gaming news, which I forgot to mention above, Ni No Kuni demo, whoo!

        • PaganPoet

          You’re gonna want to slap the shit out of me after reading this, but…I beat her. On the first try.

          Mind you, I was pretty over leveled. After rescuing Liara, I traveled to every available solar system and did every available side quest. I think I was at level 39 or so for the Benezia battle.

        • Jackbert322

          HAH I was at level 20!

    • Enkidum

      Yeah, that took a lot of trying – I’m guessing it took around 40 attempts for me, and I definitely used walkthroughs after about 20. There’s a couple of sequences to getting rid of the henchmen that really make things easier, but I can’t for the life of me remember much right now. If you can kill the asari commando reasonably quick it definitely helps.

      If I recall correctly I attacked the first wave and trashed a bunch of them, then ran to the right to get the hell out of Benezia’s range and took care of as many henchmen as possible. Then used a lot of lift and throw and whatever it is to reincarnate your teammates because they keep dying.

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

      Tips for the Benezia fight: Try to crouch behind a railing. Direct your squadmates to go after different enemies and take on one yourself.

      • Jackbert322

        My squadmates are too busy using biotic powers on themselves and doing the Charleston.

        • caspiancomic

           It is 4:30 in the morning here and this comment made me laugh so loud my dad woke up.

    • Bakken Hood

      Been a while since I last threw down with Benezia, but I do remember that going to Noveria before any of the other core missions was a bad mistake.  I’m not entirely sure what I ultimately did to beat it.  I do know that, from there on out, my high-level Shepards who had already hit Therum, Feros, and two dozen uncharted planets had it easy(ish).

      You’re making liberal use of your squad mates’ powers, right?  If you’ve got Liara, you can Singularity the crap out of the place and avoid getting swarmed.  AI Hacking (if you have Tali) really helps if you’re outnumbered by geth.  Sabotage jams weapons, and Damping stops the commandos from using biotics.  Wise use of squadmate powers makes or breaks you in those tough fights. 

      On my Insanity playthrough, Benezia was a pushover compared with (spoilers for minor side mission ahead) Tonn Actus, the turian pirate who had Wrex’s armor.  (End trivial spoiler).  It’s not that he kept killing me, it’s that the motherfucker kept hiding and using whichever power makes you indestructible and I had to kill his entire entourage before I take the fight to him.  It’s like the Geth Colossus fight on Haestrom in ME2, without any of what made that setpiece awesome.

      • caspiancomic

         Oh deary me, the Tonn Actus fight was very nearly the death of me. I attempted that sidequest way too early, and it was a bloodbath for my first fifteen or so attempts. I finally actually gave up and returned to the Normandy. Came back after getting a few levels under my belt and some better equipment, and still only managed it by the skin of my teeth.

        • PaganPoet

          Ah, I just looked it up, and THIS is the fight I was talking about in my post about ME. I also attempted this fight way too early. I ended up getting through it with liberal use of tech/biotics/grenades, but it took me well over 20 tries.

      • Fluka

        The Colossus fight on Haestrom has a Colossus, and Jayne from Firefly.

        The Tonn Actus fight has more of those damn crates.  (Seriously, people complained about those Dragon Age 2 caverns, but not about Pirate Hideout #5 in ME1?)

        Wrex was insufficiently grateful afterwards.

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

          Come on, @Fluka:disqus. You should know that if pre-EA BioWare did it, then it’s above criticism, while if current BioWare did it it, then it’s the worst thing ever and is ruining gaming.

        • Fluka

          @Merve2:disqus BIOWARE IZ RUINED 4EVA.

          *Attaches a tiny pin to her sweater reading “I am the cancer that is killing gaming!”

        • Bakken Hood

          The geth might get me, but I’m not gonna die of an infection in the middle of a fight.  That’s just insulting.

          I’m still in awe that he had the most badass line in the series, as a member of its least badass race.  God bless you, Jayne.

    • caspiancomic

       Oh God yes, I was having this problem in a BAD WAY several game hours ago. In the mission where you rescue Liara, when you have to fight that Krogan Battletoad and his Geth All-Sorts. I only had a very tenuous understanding of the game and its mechanics at that point, and wasn’t really optimizing my weapons and armour, commanding my squad mates, using cover, using my tech abilities, etc etc. I must have played that battle two dozen times, and every time I got slaughtered, it wasn’t even close. I finally caved and checked a walkthrough, and they all just said “oh yeah just kill the Geth first then fight the Krogan, ndb”, and I was like “YES, bd! B-est of Ds!” I finally managed to survive the battle by running and hiding behind a bit of wall and spending the next half hour poking my head out, shooting someone with a sniper rifle, and cowering in terror. Garrus and Wrex died in about 6 seconds.

      Since then though, I’ve developed a much greater understanding of the game. Once I finally learned how to equip all those ammo upgrades I had been acquiring the game’s difficulty sharply plummeted.

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

        Oh God, that big Krogan fight on Therum is hard as fuck. I actually find it harder than the Benezia battle because your squadmates die much faster. It takes me at least a dozen tries every time I play it.

        (SPOILERS: There’s also an optional Krogan fight later on the Citadel that’s nearly as challenging. Those aliens are tough, man.)

        • Fluka

          Gaaaargh, Krogan in ME1!  Damn their knobbly, instant-death-charging hides!

          I managed to do the Benezia fight only dying once on my second playthrough with an Infiltrator, because of sniper rifles <3.  The Therum fight still took numerous tries.  Numerous unskippable-cutscene-punctuated tries.  The problem is the lack of cover.  I'd love to play that scene with my ME3 character, ricocheting between the Geth with charge, and occasionally bio-punching and nova'ing them to oblivion. 

          As it was, my solution was to run to that tiny crate near the biotic barrier and sit there and snipe for a very long time.

          Companions still died instantly.

      • Jackbert322

        Huh. That fight only took me a few tries, doing pretty much what you did. However, I’m used to cowering in cover and poking my head out from the Uncharted series.

        But yeah, that’s the advice I got from guides: “THE MATRIARCH BENEZIA FIGHT IS THE HARDEST IN THE GAME…run to the right, kill geth, kill asari, kill Benezia, nbd.” I can’t run to the right though, because Garrus is hip-checking me, and the Asari come down, and it’s a big pile of me, Liara, Garrus, and a couple Asari, and then BIOTIC EXPLOSION and I’m flopping on the ground and can’t move. Yay!

    • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

      It’s been a while since I’ve played it, but she has Geth helpers, right? AI hacking is an amazingly helpful skill in the first game. (It’s less useful in ME2 and ME3, since you don’t fight as many Geth. Plus, enemy waves are generally smaller in ME2.)

  • PaganPoet

    So is it pronounced GIF or JIF? I always say “jif” myself.

    Barreling on in Mass Effect. This game is a lot harder than I remember Mass Effect 2 being. That might have something to do with the fact that I’m dicking around with all the side missions before starting any of the story missions. Seriously, once I rescued Liara, I went around to every available system and explored every single planet. There was one mission where I was fighting Space Pirates which I was wayyyy underleveled for (the enemies had 5 bars of biotic shields and lots of HP), but I still got through it. Now I’m finally on the next story mission and I find that I’m way overpowered for the enemies.

    I have a choir rehearsal retreat I need to attend this weekend. I wrote an arrangement of the Swedish folk song “Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa” for my friend’s community choir (she majored in conducting, I majored in composition, imagine that), and they’re being introduced to the piece this weekend. It won’t be performed until April, and it’s likely to be a mess on the first run-through, but still, it’s always exciting to hear your music being performed by real musicians. Anyway, the take-away from that tangent is that will eat away at my Saturday, but thankfully Monday is a holiday, so I plan to get some decent gaming done this weekend!

    • Citric

      I use the hard G because “jif” makes me think of peanut butter.

      • George_Liquor

        Giffy moms choose GIF.

      • PaganPoet

        I’m not sure I understand the problem here…Is thinking of peanut butter undesirable?

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

      Go with the hard G. Cole Phelps is the kind of guy who would pronounce GIF with a soft G.

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

      ‘GIF’ was Oxford’s Word of the Year for 2012, and they assure us that both pronunciations are totally fine.

      I personally use a hard G, because I’m not some sort of animal.

    • stakkalee

      I hadn’t even contemplated that someone would pronouce GIF with a soft G.  Probably the same sort of people who put jam on their waffles instead of syrup.

      • PaganPoet

        Y’all some damn haters, for real. I say it with a soft g because that’s closer to how it sounds when you spell the letters out. Did YOU put that much thought behind YOUR pronunciation?

        • stakkalee

          I use the hard G because that’s the same sound as ‘graphics’, ie. “Graphics Interchange Format.”  I know the creators of the format intended the pronunciation to be ‘JIF’, but they were computer nerds and can thus be safely disregarded.  I mean, ‘JIF’, come on.  Next you’ll be trying to tell me that ‘color’ should be spelled with a ‘u’.

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

          @stakkalee:disqus: “Colour” without a u is like a scrotum without testicles.

        • stakkalee

          @Merve2:disqus : I reject all metric spelling.  It’s as though some clumsy lexicographer dropped a box of vowels in a dictionary.

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

          @stakkalee:disqus: “Metric spelling”? You mean like “kilogramme” versus “kilogram” or “metre” versus “meter”? Brits tend to use the former, while Canadians tend to use the latter. Them Limeys just like words that end in “e.”

        • stakkalee

          @Merve2:disqus : Spelling like ‘theatre’, ‘realise’, ‘doughnut’, saying ‘lorry’ when they mean ‘truck’, stuff like that.

        • HobbesMkii

           No. No I did not.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          The guy who CREATED THE FORMAT uses a soft g pronunciation. Hard g people are mad stupid.

          “LOOK AT THIS GIFF YOU GUYS BLURHGHGaarghigh”

          See how dumb you sound? Why would you do that?

        • PaganPoet

          @Douchetoevsky:disqus Thank you. Glad someone else here has an ounce of class and agrees that they who use the hard g are awful and should feel bad.

        • stakkalee

          Yeah, but look who’s agreeing with you – @Douchetoevsky:disqus is probably so sleep-deprived he’d praise the story in Far Cry 3.

  • Citric

    I don’t know actually. I haven’t finished anything new in the last week, so Persona 2 and Romancing SaGa are still on the table, but I’m not sure I want to start anything new, because Ni no Kuni is coming. Maybe I’ll do some Super Meat Boy.

    Also, suggestions are welcome, but I’m not buying anything that isn’t Ni no Kuni.

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

      If you have a PS3 pick up Soundshapes and then play it vicariously for me as I only have a 360 and a gaming laptop.

  • ItsTheShadsy

    Tomorrow: Rock Band for the first time in months. Lots of quality DLC since I last played. Sorry, money!

    Later this weekend: I plan on buying Potatoman Seeks the Troof, the new game by PixelJam. I have no idea what to expect, but it looks to be just the right amount of “off.”

  • Cheese

    I really want to try and get back into Persona 4 Arena, but I’ve also got Dishonored and Final Fantasy Tactics on the top of my queue.

    • PaganPoet

      Who do you like to use on P4A? I find myself winning a surprising amount of online battles with Kanji and Mitsuru. Kanji makes sense at least, I always seem to do well with the powerhouse grappler types, but Mitsuru surprises me. Her moveset is so limited, but a lot of her stuff seems difficult to block.

      • Cheese

         I love brawlers and speedy characters, so I’m jumping around between Chie, Akihiko, and Yosuke. I’m far from settled on a character, though.

        Are you on PSN? I don’t have any IRL friends who play and I could use a sparring partner. My ID is AndresCP, I think (it might be AndresCP87).

        • PaganPoet

          I’ll look for you next time I sign on. I’m RidiPagliaccio, just in case

        • PaganPoet

          btw, Andres is my middle name. solidarity, brah

  • Cloks

    Probably a couple dozen rounds of DOTA 2, which I started playing a few days ago. It’s fun and I’m learning quickly (at least it seems quickly, but I’m sure I still suck) but all it takes is one guy calling everyone noobs and tards to make an entire hour be miserable.

    • Histamiini

      I’m slowly trying to get into playing Dota – it’s been kind of on and off – and I get called a noob, idiot, retard, fag everytime I sit down to play. It’s demeaning to share a game with these people. I feel like I’ve joined 4chan or something.

      Great game, absolutely full of shitheads and sore losers. There’s this whole culture of endless whining that I find completely repulsive. People will say that the game makes them that way, that it makes you rage at your teammates. To them I say, fuck your excuses. You wouldn’t tolerate such whining anywhere else in your life.

      On another note, beat the final difficulty of Super Hexagon today. It was awesome.

      • Histamiini

        Actually, that’s probably unfair to 4chan. It’s more like the worst of YouTube’s comment section. A banal, flavorless, almost subhuman stupidity. It really is a culture: the same phrases, the same patterns of behaviour, the same reactions, over and over again.

      • http://twitter.com/MikoSquiz Miko the Squiz

        To be fair, if you hired a team of experimental psychologists and communication facilitators and set out to design a game with the express purpose of guaranteeing that people would be furiously screaming incoherent obscenities at each other as quickly and reliably as possible, you’d end up with DotA.

        I recommend trying LoL instead. They have that nifty Tribunal system in place to deal with player misbehaviour, and really don’t put up with people acting like asses: Some time ago they handed a permanent ban to a professional for being a jerkass online. As in, this guy was making a living at winning League of Legends tournaments, and they said “you can’t do this any more: we don’t want you playing our game because you’re an asshole”.

        The designers also actually had a sit down and think before implementing stuff in order to make it approachable and user-friendly, instead of just going with “oh let’s go with whatever the old one had”, so it’s got things like a UI designed for humans who haven’t been playing DotA for twenty years and whatnot, and requires considerably less encyclopedic knowledge of fine detail trivia to win (unless you’re at a high level, at which point you’ll just have osmosized it anyway)

        • Histamiini

          Thanks for your reply. I know LoL is hugely popular and there are probably good reasons for that. I doubt Valve wants Dota to remain so hard to get into. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they still call it beta.

          But I think I’m stuck with Dota as far as this genre goes. I like the mechanics, the graphics, the funny voice work, how Storm Spirit looks when he walks around the map, and so on. I’ve watched it so much that it’s already my game even though I haven’t had the energy to play it much yet.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          So I’m kinda late in responding to this, but Dota has a report system, and has for a long time now. There’s even a little notification that pops up when you open the game if they’ve taken action on someone you’ve reported (they might have removed this feature, actually).

          Also, Riot are kind of jerks themselves. And they are pretty awful in most design aspects, imo. Like, the client to launch the game is so awful. and browsing the shop/rune/masteries was always a big hassle for me. I also hated the rune/masteries when I played. And the tribunal never really worked that well in my experience, I still got people being pricks in almost every game.

          And don’t even get me started on the aesthetics of the game. Just about every single female champion (regardless of species) is given huge tits and ohmygod it’s just embarrassing. 

          Plus the whole pay to win thing.

          Dota 2 is the superior game in just about every way. If you ever get frustrated/bored with lol you hould give Dota a shot. It’s really not as bad as people make it out to be. 

      • Cloks

        I understand why you’d get mad at your teammates – it’s a purely skill based game that you can lose with one weak link – but that’s no excuse for acting like such a putz. I’ve heard that Valve is working on that and I do really enjoy the game, it’s just frustrating to be berated by strangers.

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

        I’m afraid of MOBA’s in general for all the reasons you described.  A huge learning curve and a toxic community just don’t seem to be ideal for people who have very little time to game.

        I can handle being beaten in multiplayer at Halo because I ‘get’ why I’m being beaten and nobody tells me to ‘polish their knob’.  But I don’t even have an inkling of what takes place in games like DOTA or what I would get from playing them.

        • Histamiini

          I’m being hyperbolic, obviously, but what I describe is a real problem. Seems that in these games even the bad players are MOBA geeks – at least they’ve picked up the crucial art of being a whiny little dicks – which does make them a little scary because you don’t want to ruin anyone’s fun. But in Dota at least the matchmaking seems to work pretty well. At least you won’t be ruining the fun of anyone who is even remotely good at the game. The insults are too general and petty to hurt you but to see them fly around in every game (whoever they’re directed at) can make the overall experience into a shit sandwich no matter how your game went.

          But I also have the misfortune of matchmaking on the Euro servers, which brings extra frustration, and might well be worse than what you encounter on the US servers. Believe me, Dota has made me feel very fortunate that I don’t understand a word of Russian.

          It would be difficult to complain about this stuff without making it seem worse than it is, and to be fair, I’m not even trying to be fair. Dota is a game you have to study a little bit to play at all, but it really is a good game. I love watching good players’ streams. But I’m also a hockey fan, and hockey people don’t tolerate whiners.

      • Jackbert322

        OMG Super Hexagonest?! Wow.

        • Histamiini

          That’s exactly the reaction I was hoping for. I realise you did it out of obligation/pity but I appreciate it nonetheless.

          It did feel good.

        • Jackbert322

          No, I’m genuinely impressed. I can’t get past Hexagonest.

      • ShrikeTheAvatar

        I’ve played 10-20 Dota 2 matches, but spent hundreds of hours on League of Legends, and also a handful of matches in HoN (a Dota clone which has pretty much died out now to Dota 2), and you run into those people everywhere.  

        The honest truth is that the MOBA game type inevitably leads to these types of experiences.  Combine long match times with a game style that relies heavily on the other 4 people on your team, and you have a recipe for rage and an environment that is unbelievably harsh to newcomers.
        I think that this game type turns even normal, average gamers into assholes.  I’ll admit to having raged at people in my time playing League, and it’s not something I’m proud of, and it’s the reason I ultimately stopped playing it.  That and I got tired of spending 2-3 hours playing, only to lose 3 games and be more upset than when I started.  I don’t think I’m ready to go down that road with Dota 2.

        The guy who just figured out how to play X hero in X lane with X strategy very well, and is having a great game, is going to be upset if his game is ruined by someone who’s just learning a hero, or even just learning how the game even works.  Combine that with the nature of internet anonymity and how it breeds asshole-behavior, and it’s just bad news.

        These games are great fun, and addicting (as shown by how much time I spent in League), but how great it is to win and do well is offset by how miserable the game can be when you lose, especially when it’s not your fault (or you don’t think it’s your fault).  

        • Histamiini

          In response, I should emphasize that my views are not based on better players calling out poor plays. I watch a lot of Dota and everyone on my match making level is a terrible player – some just act like they’re not. I wish there was something to learn from the reactions other than the fact that these bedwetters can’t handle losing in a video game.

          I’m not that put off by being harsh reactions to my or other player’s noob mistakes. What I’m talking about really is the general effect of what I call a culture of whining. I have a very strong sense that the people I’m supposed to have fun with are not my kind of people.

          It’s not so much rage, then, but noobs acting the way they think good Dota players are supposed to act. Which is to say they act like dicks in order to seem like good players because to them good Dota players are relentless assholes. If you’re being an asshole and bossing everyone around, you must be a better player than who you’re playing with, so the safest course of action is to be as much of an asshole as often as possible so as not to get confused with all these noobs you’re matchmaking with.

          This is the issue and I won’t hear any excuses about the game being designed to elicit those responses. I’m talking about the whole culture. The mentality that these idiots I’m playing with are always ruining the game for me with their incompetence (and matchmaking must be broken because I’m always clearly better than who I team with). I watch enough Dota to tell who is a good player and who is not, and I also know that like children these people are simply emulating the good players who act like dicks, and what you have to realise is that in Dota, you can always, always blame someone else no matter what happens, if that is your mentality. You can always say that if the other player had been in point A instead of B, things would have gone better, and so on.

          You always have an excuse to be a whiny dick if you’re so inclined. My problem is that since that is so common, I slowly begin to feel that I must be surrounded by nothing but weird underdeveloped fuckheads. And that’s embarrassing. Like an older kid hanging out with younger children. What if someone were to see me sharing a virtual space with these people? Isn’t there something perverse in trying to have fun with people like that? I don’t go near such people in real life. What’s the point of writing anything in the chat if they’re all fucking troglodytes? I know it must not be true but the feeling is inescapable.

        • ShrikeTheAvatar

          @Histamiini:disqus 

          I agree with you, but I guess my mentality comes from the fact that I obviously got to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore.  

          The people you describe exist everywhere on the internet, in every video game.  It’s just the nature of MOBA games that cause them to go to such an extreme.  I’ve encountered plenty of awful people in all the online games I’ve played, and yet none of them come close to the kinds of scum I’ve run into in League (and even in my limited experience in HoN and Dota 2).  

          MOBA games make individual plays a huge deal, especially when you consider the spectator scene which is enormous across Dota 2 and League of Legends.  It’s that odd culture of celebrity that leads to what you point out, which is players imitating the high level.  And of course we can always thank the good old Dunning-Kruger effect.

          I wasn’t trying to imply that this game is designed to illicit these kinds of responses.  I’m just saying that when you combine a game with these kinds of mechanics with the kind of internet shitheads that play games these days, you’re going to have a bad time.

        • Histamiini

          @ShrikeTheAvatar I agree with that. I admit that I’ve never been much of an online player, so I may still be using outmoded real-world standards of behaviour rather than properly internet-adjusted standards. I try to have low expectations, I really do, but it seems haven’t yet been able to lower them enough.

          Yeah, the pro scene and the streamers, it makes kids feel like they want to be one those “cool” (?!) people, and a lot of them just figure they can compensate for their lack of skill and knowledge by sheer attitude. And the Dunning-Kruger effect, oh boy does it apply here. On my shit-noob level, it’s usually exactly the people who should not be giving orders to others who immediately take on the leader role, which means there’s an aggressive ping-ping-ping on the map every 15 seconds. There are two basic strategies on my level: (1) Roshan! (2) Everyone gather mid for some other reason! And then you’re either blamed for dying with the others or not dying when you were ordered to. In the most exciting games there are at least three people giving constant orders – probably in Russian.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Yeah, it’s almost not worth it if you aren’t playing with people you know, or people who you can expect to not be total tools. That said, feel free to hit me up on Steam. I play loadsa dota and would be happy to queue with you or help you out or whatevs.

      • Histamiini

        That’s probably true. Unless the ping is unbearable, I’m probably moving to a US server anyway because a lot of people on the European servers don’t speak english.

        But there are so many great games to play and my Dota playing is sporadic. I haven’t even really improved yet. If I get into a good Dota groove I’ll send you a message.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deejaytaufiq Mohamad Taufiq Morshidi

    Just moved to a new house so i’ve bought myself a copy of Black Ops 2 just for the multiplayer and i’ll delve in to the single player as well.

    • Effigy_Power

      Really trying to see the relation between move and CoDBlOpsII there…

      • Fluka

        To sanctify the virgin soil with blood and teenage swearing, naturally!

  • Enkidum

    My gaming life is pretty dull these days – probably Halo 4 a bit with my neighbour, and then lots of iPad board games. Woohoo? 

    I’m just too busy to commit to anything serious at the moment. Although I have managed to up my meaningless internet surfing to more than make up for the lack of gaming. Sigh.

    • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

      Yeah, I’m going back to Halo 4 as methadone to Dark Souls, which I’m getting bored with. When you’re making alts for Dark Souls and you haven’t finished a single playthru, time to take a break.

      Hopefully, everyone is playing Dark Souls with the proper mods, what few there are. 1080 res, customizable shaders, and automated incremental auto-save backups, not to mention the UI elements transparency and scalability.

      http://darksouls.nexusmods.com/

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

        Liked and thoroughly endorsed!  I have a pretty average, two year old computer, but with mods the PC version of Dark Souls makes the PS3 version look like dogshit.

        By the by, I love that people are still playing (and obsessing over) Dark Souls.  I bought it a couple of months ago for PS3, loved it, then grabbed the PC version in a Steam sale (to get the DLC content and tweak the graphics).  I’m completed enthralled by it.

        • Fixda Fernback

          I’m just now getting HEAVY back into it after a long break of being distracted by other games. I’ve still got a decent backlog to finish off, but no games quite *grab* me like Dark Souls can. There’s just SO MUCH depth to the gameplay!

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

        I would love to pick it up on PC but GFWL is a deal breaker for me.  The one game I have with it, GTA IV, won’t let me be on Xbox at the same time as I play, so if I boot it up, nobody else in the house can watch netflix on the TV.

        But 1080 res Dark Souls is mighty tempting…

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

          Ah, didn’t know that about GFWL.  Good thing I don’t have an Xbox, suckers!

          (sorry to hear that though)

          (You can set up Dark Souls to display at 1080, but internally render much, much higher, and it looks INSANE.)

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Holy shit, really? How does that make any sense at all?

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

          Sorry for the late reply @Douchetoevsky:disqus , but I think this is something games are doing ALL THE TIME.  It blew my mind too.  I suspect it has something to do with how big/detailed the original art by the game developers is, and how, (especially for consoles) it tends to be scaled down for performance purposes.

      • Fixda Fernback

        Kinda confused about the auto-save backups… like, so you don’t die and lose a lot of souls? Seems to defeat a lot of the purpose of the game. I fucking love the “no going back” feel of it, and don’t understand why you would play this game at all if you don’t enjoy that aspect. It is really a core concept of this game.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      What ipad boardgames do you play? I always am looking for stuff to make my girlfriend put on her iphone so I can play with it. I know they have ticket to ride and catan and stuff, but meh. I think I might have her get Hive, which I just got a physical copy of and am enjoying a lot. It’s only $1!

      • Enkidum

        Heh – I’m actually playing Ticket to Ride right now – it’s one of the best for online play as you can pretty much always be ensured of a real-time game (as opposed to waiting hours or days for each turn).

        I wasn’t that impressed with the Hive game – seemed almost like a flash version, but I haven’t played it in a long time. The physical version is a lot of fun though.

        I’ve been playing quite a few Euro-games after a recent AV Club article on them where I got some reccommendations. Bang is a great card game, very quick usually. I got Le Havre as well, although that’s pretty damn complex. Samurai is excellent. Blokus is well done, although apparently not great on the iPhone, and the AI is pretty dumb. Caracassone and Neuroshima Hex are also good. Finally, if you’re into the real classics, SmartGo Kifu has both a decent AI and a lot of good problems for all skill levels, although the price point is usually pretty high.

        There’s a bunch of other recommendations on that AV Club post by other commentors, midway down the second page (I have no idea how to link to comments directly.)

        http://www.avclub.com/articles/how-board-games-sum-up-the-meaning-of-life-through,90583/#disqus_thread

      • Enkidum

        Oh, and if you feel like it I’m on the Game Center and we can do some head to head some time. Same name.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          I usually just play stuff not online because It’s not my iphone. I don’t know that she has the Game Center thing set up on it. I’ll look into it. MAYBE.

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

    This weekend, I’ll try to get in a couple of hours of BioShock 2 to decompress. It’s not a particularly interesting game, but I’m playing it on Easy, so I can more or less play it on autopilot. I might play a few rounds of Containment: The Zombie Puzzler to decompress too.

    I finally got around to playing Gravity Bone and Thirty Flights of Loving today. While the former is an interesting experiment in the subversion of player expectations and could be considered the lighthearted counterpart to Spec Ops: The Line’s examination of player agency, I just didn’t understand the latter. To me, Thirty Flights felt obtuse for no reason other than to fuck with the player’s head. An experimental narrative is not necessarily a deep one.

    • Captain Internet

      I didn’t think Thirty Flights was being deliberately obtuse, more that it was attempting a kind of good-natured narrative impressionism. Personally I thought it succeeded in that, although the I think the hype in the specialist press *spits* had left me expecting something much more profound and substantial.

    • Effigy_Power

      I hear that zombie puzzler is an amazing game and a totally appropriate and welcome present for someone.

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

        I actually enjoy it a lot. It’s a simple game, almost like a browser game but with spiffed-up graphics. But it’s also quite satisfying, in the same way that a game like Bejeweled is.

        • Effigy_Power

          I know, right? It’s a game that requires a connoisseur to find and a gentle soul to gift.
          Just a good all-round sign for good people.

        • djsubversive

           @Effigy_Power:disqus If it were anybody but you, I’d suspect that this is some sort of ploy to garner praise and attention. :)

          (also, it IS a pretty fun little game. thanks again, you generous soul!)

    • Vervack

       I’ve said it before, but Bioshock 2 does a lot of things better than its progenitor, but there’s no compelling reason for it to exist. To be honest, I just wish they’d made that Spetznaz-vs-splicers game they were apparently considering very early in development.

  • Morning_Wodehouse

    Anyone pick up the Crusader Kings 2 Republic DLC? I’ll probably be playing that a whole lot this weekend. It’s much more intrigue based than the usual CK2.  I almost never plot or assassinate in the regular game – mostly because I suck at it – but in the DLC you use it a bunch.

    I’m not even past my first generation and I have already almost killed a competing merchant family I’d sworn a vendetta against (They didn’t invite me to a ball, and when my dude showed up unannounced they threw him out in the mud). I’ve also plotted to take away a trading port, and bribed a king so he’ll embargo a rival’s port.

    I find it’s even more cutthroat then the regular game and so far it’s a blast.

    • Effigy_Power

      I am definitely picking it up, though in my tiny little heart I am still waiting for the Pagan DLC. Rome must follow Odin!

  • Staggering Stew Bum

    This weekend I have the house all to myself. This seems like a perfect opportunity to have a crack at a Pacifist/Foxiest playthrough of Dishonored. I know they’re the equivalent DXHR trophy names but let’s face it, Dishonored is like Adam Jensen’s great great great grandfather in ye olde steampunk Dunwall. In fact, I am going to see if Lady Boyle has a whale oil powered icebox in her mansion and if so surreptitiously shift it around. Looking down at the Dishonored achievement list, it seems like the game developers are encouraging players to play either with no powers, or with no stabbing, when surely a mix of the two would be the most satisfying from a gameplay point of view? Yet another thing to ponder, as I wonder if trophies/achievements are great or terrible for games.I have also started my Engineer playthrough of Mass Effect. Dilbert Shepard, by some hideous accident, looks like a bizarre lovechild of two engineers I work with, one of which is the guy I am doomed to have lunch with most days thanks to stupid social conventions (this guy eats his sandwich with a knife and fork and makes horrible slurping eating noises, one day I’m going to pick up a chair and brain the bastard). Anyway, Dilbert Shepard is scared of girls so is choosing to primarily hang out with Kaiden and Garrus, but maybe accidentally hook up with Ashley later because his desire for the touch of a woman, any woman, completely outweighs his feelings of repulsion. Dilbert Shepard has a problem with morons in authority, but doesn’t show it. He blames all of the universe’s problems on marketing (Udina) and Upper Management (the Council). He also has a completely bland personality, tries to avoid decisions, and has absolutely no Paragon or Renegade points yet as a result.Also, last weekend I knocked off Far Cry 3. The single player is pretty good most of the way through, despite being completely ridiculous (seriously, I couldn’t work out what was supposed to be reality with those ‘boss fights’) and let’s face it, damn dull by the end. So after finishing off all that, delved into the co-op and my god does the co-op suck. Horrible story, very very glitchy, the difficulty level even at Casual is too hard. I ended up sending messages back and forth with some random I was playing with and we talked about how much the co-op blows and it turns out we were both putting ourselves through it for the trophies. Coincidentally, PSN has exclusively given PS3 players access to two new co-op levels via DLC for free….ah, thanks but no thanks.Oh, and Mr Wilbur, Starhawk is an awful awful game.

    • http://gameological.com/author/jasonreich/ Jason Reich

      I’m finishing Far Cry 3 myself. Once I got to the second island I finally gave up on all the side missions and hunting and crap. Now I’m just blowing through the story as fast as possible so I can get it over with and put it away. I like it, but I have to say I was disappointed after all the glowing reviews. The story missions are fairly generic and all the open world stuff is pretty boring and repetitive. I was expecting much more.

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

        Don’t even finish it! Join the “Vaas was the real final boss, the game is over, there is no second island, la la la la, I can’t hear you!” club!

    • ToddG

      The biggest problem with the Dishonored achievements is the absolute lack of assistance the terrible save system offers in achieving them.

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

        It’s a save-anywhere system, right? I mean, I wish there were more save slots, but other than that, it’s pretty much ideal.

        • ToddG

          You’re right, I misspoke, it’s not the save system per se, it’s the lack of a true replay-chapter mechanic.  Though it has the appearance of one, you’re really just loading your game from the start of that chapter, which forces you to unnecessarily replay a lot of the game to get certain achievements.  For example, if you play through the game the first time and do all the “non-lethal” assassinations except the first for whatever reason, you can’t just go back and do only that first one to then get the appropriate achievement, you have to load the chapter with the first one, but then do all the subsequent ones again, too, since the save you loaded doesn’t know about anything you did in the subsequent chapters.

    • http://profiles.google.com/cbombast Chad Bombast

      Fork and knife to eat a sandwich? That is defeating the whole point of the sandwich — if you believe the Earl of Sandwich tale.

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

      I just made it to the second island in Far Cry 3 and I honestly think I’m just gonna stop and pretend Vaas was the final boss (it rhymes so it must be true). That game loses so much momentum around the middle, once you become an unstoppable, grenade launcher carrying, every-animal-killed super man, 5 hours in it loses some of the oomph.

      Also the fact that clearing a pirates outpost completely eliminates them from huge portions of the island makes those same portions of the island wicked boring.

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

        Vaas also rhymes with “no mas”! So many (rhyming) reasons to quit!

  • Pandas_please

    I went on a now cheap old games binge recently  and picked up Mass Effect and Deus Ex on the PSN for about 30 bucks total. I haven’t started up Deus Ex yet but I’m loving ME much more than I thought I would. I’m trying to take the game slow and explore as much as possible so it might be a while before Deus Ex actually even gets booted up. And, god help me, I’m really tempted to get Arkham Asylum as well.

    • PaganPoet

      Arkham Asylum is fantastic, you totally should. And the sequel is even better, so you should get that after.

      • CantThinkDontMakeMe

        I just picked up Arkham City over last week (after getting my Xbox fixed, it had the Red Ring of Death for way longer than I’d like to admit) and it’s been great so far, probably only an hour or two in, but it has been great. That’s what I’ll be playing this weekend.

        A question for those who have played it, every time I start it up it asks if I want to buy Catwoman, I usually don’t buy extras for games, but I’m tempted to since the Arkham games have been great and I’d enjoy more game play. Is Catwoman worth getting?

        • PaganPoet

          Did you pick the game up new or used? If you got it new, it should come with an unlock key and the Catwoman DLC should be free. If you got it used, then you’ll have to pay.

          The Catwoman sections are great and actually relate to the main story of the game. She plays completely differently than Batman.

        • CantThinkDontMakeMe

          I got it used, but I doubt it’d be expensive to buy it. Sounds worth it.

        • stakkalee

          Arkham City is definitely a title I recommend springing for the GOTY edition – this advice probably doesn’t help you, but for anybody else contemplating the purchase definitely get the GOTY.  It has some extra combat boards, some extra DLC, and extra skins for the characters; it feels super awesome to run around Gotham wearing the Silver Age blue-and-grey costume.

          In your case, if the DLC price isn’t prohibitive then definitely get the Catwoman missions.  Anything to extend your gameplay in that game is worth it.

        • ToddG

          Something else to be aware of: the Catwoman sections are weaved into the main game, and you play through them automatically after certain story points, so acting sooner rather than later if you plan on getting it would be the preferable course.  I mean, you can still replay the sections you’ve missed from the main menu (and there’s one quite early that I would assume you have already missed), but it’s better to play them in sequence with the main story.

        • CantThinkDontMakeMe

          Thanks for the heads up, I’d been planning on playing through the main game and then getting Catwoman, but if it’s woven in I’ll get it ASAP. I assume you mean you could play her after the Catwoman intro with Two-Face, which I am past already, but I’m still early enough that I could go back to it without messing up the current game. Thanks again!

        • Bakken Hood

          I borrowed a friend’s copy of Arkham City, and only bought the Catwoman stuff because I liked the game enough that I thought Rocksteady deserved some money.  After a few hours with its underdeveloped characters, frustratingly imprecise combat, and dull stealth setpieces, I almost regretted buying it.  (I admit, I sort of liked the final showdown with Two-Face.)  I don’t think it’s worth ten bucks, but I feel warm and fuzzy about supporting the makers of an otherwise great game.

        • ToddG

          @Bakken_Hood:disqus   Story missions aside, it also lets you play as Catwoman in all the challenge maps, with Catwoman-specific goals.  But if you don’t play the challenge modes, there’s no added value there.

          Personally, Harley’s Revenge is the one that I found too sparse to be worth the money.

        • CantThinkDontMakeMe

          That’s a shame about Harley’s Revenge, she’s always been a favorite since the animated series and I was thinking about picking up her’s as well.

      • Pandas_please

         Alright I’m going for it. I’m in like pre-2010 video game city for few months at least now. My poor back catalog though…some day I’ll come back for you Red Dead Redemption but today is not that day.

  • rvb1023

    While I continue to play Anarchy Reigns did anyone see that Killer Is Dead trailer?  It’s good to see Suda back.

    • Destroy Him My Robots

      I’m not even a Suda fan, but flarfglarb. Painterly look and the 4th movement from From the New World are two things that never fail to get me pumped.

  • caspiancomic

    As usual, @Jackbert322:disqus, @PaganPoet:disqus and myself are of one mind: Mass Effect for all! I don’t know if anyone has ever really said this before, so this might be a bit controversial, but this game is really good.

    My Shepard is Earthborn/War Hero/Infiltrator>Operative, and is a straight-shootin’ Paragon all the way. I accidentally wracked up some Renegade points by killing Jax early in the game, but I’ve since earned nothing but Paragon points. I actually have a really non-combative build, pouring most of my points into Charm, Electronics, and Decryption. I’ve also been scouring the galaxy doing pretty much all the sidequests. The only real story advancing I’ve done is in collecting Liara- Saren and the Geth are probably turning the galaxy inside out while I’m leisurely jogging through the stars filling mason jars with weird gasses and poking through mummified carcasses. Speaking of Liara, my Shepard is totally gonna put it in Liara. I mean, assuming the Asari have the appropriate… uhh… hmm, maybe this is gonna be more complicated than I thought.

    So yeah, I’m not quite 20 hours into the game and seriously loving it. I’ve never really fallen for a Western style RPG before, but this is really doin’ it for me. I’ll be interested to see how this game climaxes, and what carries over to Mass Effects 2 and 3. I get the feeling I’m in for a few treats. After all, I’m 20 hours deep and I still haven’t heard anything from these… what do you call them? “Ree-pers?” Eh, it’s probably nothing.

    • Effigy_Power

      I don’t think finding Mass Effect good is in any way controversial, is it? Apart from the usual end-discussions, I have never really heard much critique there.
      Then again, I still find ME2 the most fun and the most replayable, especially with the Shadow Broker DLC.

      • Chum Joely

        He might have been joking about the “controversial” thing. Can’t be sure.

    • Jackbert322

      But what does your Shepard look like???
      So, you’re using Wrex and Garrus as a Infiltrator. I’m a Vanguard, was going with Garrus and Liara, but am probably going to switch Liara out for Wrex. 

      • caspiancomic

         I had heard a lot of people talking about how the character creator takes your design into consideration before throwing the whole thing out and giving you a seemingly randomly generated gargoyle, but Patrick Shepard is actually kind of a doll. Because he’s an infiltrator and focuses on stealth and tech fuckery instead of straight up combat, he’s pretty thin and lithe. He has dark skin and no hair, a skinny face and a narrow, superficially scarred chin. His only allowance for the typical hideousness of the Shepards is that in cutscenes he has a tendency to go a bit cross eyed. Other than that, he looks a little bit like deep-space Mos Def.

        Also, I don’t know if you’re really “supposed” to swap out characters or if the best strategy in this game is to pick a squad and stick with ‘em, but I’ve been rotating my squad members in and out pretty evenly. I was rolling with Garrus and Wrex when I rescued Liara (for all the good they did, the idiots), but I try as much as possible to give everyone equal time in the sun. Favourite characters though? Liara and Tali. In the earliest parts of the game they were liabilities because their biotics/tech were still crappy and their combat skills were negligible. Now though, they’re pretty much killing machines- possibly literally in Tali’s case, I’m not totally sure if quarians are organic or what.

        • Jackbert322

          Oh, I was just trying to pick a squad and stick with it for the trophies. I do really like Garrus though, both as a character and gameplay-wise…mostly! Liara and Wrex are both interesting characters, Kaiden is a bit of a doofus, Ashley is a racist wench, and I had a long conversation with Talia once and listened to none of it. My Shepard looks like a heavily scarred Gillian Anderson with a Severus Snape nose and Megan Fox cement-lips…I’m looking forward to making some changes in Mass Effect 2.

        • caspiancomic

           Oh my God, yes! Ashley is super racist! She even used the phrase “it’s not racism, not really…” and I was like “WAT.”

        • Jackbert322

          GASP good timing, I was about to tell you, I just finished TWEWY. Neku took off his headphones :) and Shiki looks like herself again :)

        • PaganPoet

          omg, you two, I know from a gameplay perspective, I should use Ashley more often. Carlos Shepard is an Adept (Charlotte Shepard is an Infiltrator), and I know I need someone strong in combat for the sake of balance. But…she’s just awful. I hate her. She’s racist and rude. She started flirting with my ManShep (Carlos) and he was like NO MA’AM!

          I…don’t know how much you know about the plot of this game, but…there’s a really important choice to make later, and…gah, I don’t know how to continue this conversation without spoiling anything.

    • Bakken Hood

      Re: asari anatomy– well, Liara does have something to object to getting sand in on Virmire, so…  Way to keep it classy, Bioware.

    • Pandas_please

       Just started playing and I love it! I went with Earthborn/Sole Survivor/Vanguard. Unfortunately the ending of 3 has been a little spoiled for me so with the ending in mind I thought the sole survivor would give the narrative some nice symmetry.

      My Shepard is pretty much straight paragon as well. I’m trying to play her as much as a diplomat as I possibly can in a shooter RPG I’m eager to see how that works out.

  • Destroy Him My Robots

    So, like I promised, this week I did Ghouls ‘n Ghosts (in 5h). Excellent sequel to an excellent game. But as soon as Arthur learned how to throw lances at the sky, he was robbed of that ability! In exchange he learned how to double jump! Can our hero survive? Next week on What Are You Playing This Weekend?: Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts!

    Speaking of double jumps, I tried Dragon Buster because of its historical importance. It’s… pretty much no fun at all. That made me sad.

    But then I was happy because I finally got Half-Minute Hero. PSP version because while I’m always glad when Japanese companies get in on that sweet Steam money, this game screams portable to me. It’s brilliant and one of the funniest games I know and I love everything about it.

    What else? Anarchy Reigns arrived and I’m doing my best not to be embarrassed by its aesthetics. But it’s decent dumb fun and it only costs half as much as a new Warriors/Musou title, so if you’re looking for some mass carnage on the cheap, it’s probably a good choice (although I’d pick Guan Yu over Anarchy Reigns’ gruff hugedudes any day of the week). Haven’t touched the multiplayer yet.

    Last but not least, The Cave is coming out, for reals this time. I chose scientist/time traveller/twins, but the friend I’m gonna couch co-op with wants the monk. Drama! Has anyone else made their picks already?

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

      Why Ghouls n Ghosts over Ghosts n Goblins?

      I’ve got a soft spot for the unbearably difficult Ghosts n Goblins as I discovered it long after the NES lifecycle when I was in my teens.  My friend found his old NES in the attic and we busted it out for nostalgia and giggle and found GnG in the mix, turned out it was more fun than just beating eachother senseless in Super Smash Bros, so we got super into it.  To the point where I skipped out on my yogurt slinging duties at TCBY and got fired from my first job…

      Takeaway here, Ghost n Goblins is so hard that it can get you fired irl.

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        I did Ghosts ‘n Goblins the week before (the version from the PSP collection, which in arcade terms seems to be the World 2 revision). Took me 8 hours and about 80-100 continues to complete both loops.

        It taught me that I don’t care for this newfangled instant continue business (Super Meat Boy, Hotline Miami, etc.). Give me a second to breathe, and most importantly give me my overly dramatic chords before I dive back in.

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

          I get a Pavlovian response to GnG music and start breaking things.

    • Jackbert322

      How are you liking Half Minute Hero so far? I’ve been thinking of picking it up, but I don’t have any old-school JRPG nostalgia; does it hold up without that frame of reference?

      • Destroy Him My Robots

        I love it. I’d say it’s a bit richer if you do know your stuff, but it’s more about genre conventions than direct references (and a lot of that applies to modern JRPGs, WRPGs and MMORPGs just as well) and there’s a fair amount of general silliness that everyone can appreciate. The gameplay is a rush and… look. Does this SET YOUR SOUL ON FIRE WITH HOT-BLOODED PASSION? If yes, I’d recommend playing it.

  • Swadian Knight

    I’ve been putting some hours into The Witcher, but it’s a really hit and miss game. The combat is such a clickfest that it gets pretty boring fairly quickly, but figuring out the best combination of weapons, fighting styles, potions and oils for each type of opponent is really enjoyable, partially because it cuts down on all the clicking. I like some parts of the story too, and I really think this game has one of the best moral choice systems I’ve ever seen – decisions you make have a real, meaningful impact on the game that’s not limited to a different ending, and there doesn’t seem to be any easy decision to make. 

    • Link The Ecologist

       Thanks for the tips last week, I ended up running just Francesco’s for now. In addition to the visual and IU and such enhancers of course.

      • Swadian Knight

        You’re welcome! Let me know if you ever need another recommendation, because sifting through the Nexus on your own is exhausting.

    • Fixda Fernback

      The first Witcher? It seemed like The Witcher II actually had a slight bit of finesse to the combat… And, yeah, the way they incorporate choices into the gameplay, so that, yes it will make a difference, but usually so far down the line/in some unexpected way, that it’s just not practical to create different saves to “Try out” each choice. See, Bioware? THIS is how you do actual “choice” in video games!

      • Swadian Knight

        Yeah, and the choices so far haven’t been the facile, binary stuff most RPGs have. I’ve just finished the first chapter and so far I think only one of my choices was right for sure. It’s an interesting approach, and since you often seem to have the option to just walk away or remain neutral, it makes those choices more meaningful.

  • duwease

    I’m playing “Watch the Falcons play Sunday”.  It’s the only game more frustrating than Dark Souls.

    Also, Hitman Absolution.  And maybe try a Hard run of FTL.

  • JohnnyLongtorso

    I got DmC from Gamefly and so far I’ve enjoyed it more than the two previous installments I’ve played (DMC3 and 4). Judging by the user ratings on metacritic, this is probably not a popular opinion among fans of the series. However, I like the way the combat works in this one, particularly the on-the-fly switching of weapons with the L2/R2 triggers, and I’m glad they finally dedicated a second button to attacking. (I always found the previous games insisting on making every combo “press triangle x number of times, pause, press triangle again x times” kind of annoying.) And on a purely superficial note, I’m not normally one to find video game characters attractive, but the new Dante is hot.

    On the negative side, the voice acting is terrible. The guy who does Dante’s voice sounds like he’d rather be anywhere else. Also, the art design is pretty much just two parts Inception and one part They Live.

  • stakkalee

    I have some social obligations tomorrow that will limit my gameplay, so I’ll have to squeeze some gaming in on Sunday before watching the Ravens kick the Patriots’ asses.  If I DO get some gaming in it’ll be Assassin’s Creed 3 – I’ve just gotten to the part where Conor gets the assassin’s robes, sequence 5 I think.  It does feel like a disjointed mess (I can’t imagine I’m going to spend much time on hunting, for instance, although I’m sure I can geek out on the trading minigame) but the central plot is fun and I’m enjoying the dulcet tones of John de Lancie whenever I can get them.  I still need to go get a copy of the Mass Effect series, but I know I’m going to enjoy it so there’s no need to rush.

  • ToddG

    Still slowly progressing through Red Dead.  I ended up taking a detour last weekend and playing through Spec Ops after the big thread about it in last week’s comments, and I am glad I did.

  • http://pseudonymjones.com/ Pseudonym Jones

    I’ve got some projects to work on this weekend so I’m not foreseeing much video game opportunities. I’m almost certainly going to work in a few rounds of Awesomenauts — if only to keep the number of people actively playing it in the double-digits.

    On the other hand, I did find my old Game Boy Color while digging through boxes in our basement (got distracted while putting away Christmas decorations). Naturally it had Pokemon Blue in it and NATURALLY it had a game saved just after beating the Cerulean Gym. I think I may to have to see this game through to the Elite Four.

  • Chum Joely

    I guess I’ll be jumping on the Mass Effect bandwagon as well, because I HAVE FINALLY FINISHED NEW VEGAS. MY 3-month journey of (mostly) 45-minute gaming sessions, late at night when the kids are asleep, is finally over! So many great moments, so many annoying bugs… but I’m definitely already thinking about the next playthrough.

    Also, I just learned at the New Vegas wiki that Veronica, the charming NPC “companion” who was there for me through a majority of my most memorable moments in the game, was voiced by Felicia Day. So that was quite a surprise. I was looking for voice talent in the closing credits and unless that rolled up during the 15 seconds I popped out to the kitchen to grab a celebratory beer, it looks like NONE of the voice actors were in the credits? Not cool, Bethesda, not cool.

    I also finished Walking Dead– very intense final scene, but my kids appeared out of nowhere to interrupt me 5 times for juice or whatever during the final scene, which broke the immersion. Still, what an amazing game. The writing and voice work is so good that you almost don’t realize how totally simplistic the puzzle gameplay is. Actually the core gameplay in WD is the part where you manage relationships with your group through dialogue choices. A really unique achievement, despite the many severe bugs in the game (my worst one: it lost track of my savegames at the end of episode 3, but I was able to recover them).I’m tempted to have another go at the last third of Hotline Miami, too. If I can do it, that would be my top three games of the last months, all finished inside of a week. Add that to the fact that I finally finished Cloud Atlas (the novel) this week, and I’ve had a whole lot of that lovely “did it!” feeling going on since last Sunday.

    • Jackbert322

      What I got from skimming this post: kids suck.

      • Chum Joely

        Not overall, but there are moments like that where you just go, DAMMIT I PARKED YOU IN FRONT OF THE TV FOR A REASON!!!

    • Chum Joely

      I had some free time today at work (surprise!) so I played ahead a bit in Hotline Miami. I have reached the 15th chapter, labelled in the level select menu as “FINAL CHAPTER” throughout the game… and suddenly the list continues after FINAL CHAPTER, now including locked chapters 16 through 19 followed by a “bonus chapter”.

      I had heard about a bonus chapter after you finish the main story (such as it is), but have I really been bait-and-switched here as badly as it seems? No spoilers, please… I just want to know if “FINAL CHAPTER” is really the end of the main story arc or not.

  • Raging Bear

    I talked myself getting a completely unjustifiable new computer, so if I can somehow migrate my Windows partition, maybe I’ll play some of the games I can now actually handle graphically. But because this will not work, I will probably just bounce between unfinished PS3 things.

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

      *Obligatory PC gaming master race comment*

      • Raging Bear

        *Obligatory defensive overreaction*

        • Chum Joely

          Keep it obligatory, fellas!

  • Effigy_Power

    I am back to playing Skyrim for a while. After playing Gothic 3 for some hours and remembering how much forth and back it is, I decided I needed something easier and more user-friendly.
    I will finish Gothic 3 (I just filled the 12 chalices with the fire of Innos), but it’s sooooo long and nobody tells you what to do. Good, but bad.
    In Skyrim meanwhile my female Orc Archer Grakka just made the “tough” decision between getting a bummy and loud crossbow from a bunch of hippies in a broken down castle (no) or gain massive floaty monster-shape with the ability to fly over water from a court of cosplayers who live in a heavy metal album cover (yes). Female Orcish Vampire Lord looks pretty damn fetching, so I am now mostly wandering around emptying small outposts and bandit lairs of warm, living blood.
    I have also started and finished construction on my first homestead Hearthfire-style and really like it. Building stuff yourself is just fun and I managed to build and decorate an entire house with materials I found, prospected and hunted for, short of the sawn logs, goat’s horns, glass and for some reason straw. My greenhouse is growing a limitless supply of some expensive plants for sale and creation of expensive potions, so income is steady.
    I hope that the new DLC comes out while I am still messing about.

    • ToddG

      Ah, yes, the limitless supply of “expensive plants.”  Is this greenhouse in Washington, by any chance?

      • Effigy_Power

        It’s by no means the one with the camo-netting hung above it or the 8 foot wooden fence.
        By no means.

    • stakkalee

      I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed building a house in Skyrim – I was initially skeptical but once I started building it got me back into the rest of the game.  Skyrim isn’t a game you play, it’s a game you inhabit.  Where’d you wind up building?

      • Effigy_Power

        This is Lakeview in the vicinity of Falkreath.
        I am currently playing only either new content from Dawnguard and Hearthfire or freeroam it. I made a good amount of money with furs, ores and plants, enough to buy the land and many of the materials.
        It’s true about it being a game you inhabit. I try to be as realistic as possible in this game, with 2 daily meals and sleeping for at least 6 hours and all that. The only time I used fast-travel was the annoying trek to and from the lumber mill.

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Wait, whaaat?  You can build your own house now?  Are there fixed locations to choose from, or can you build anywhere?  Specific floorplans, or totally custom?  I may have to start playing this again…

      • stakkalee

        3 fixed locations.  Each house has 3 wings you can build, and each wing has 3 different rooms you can choose from, plus there’s a cellar you can build out.  It really is just the thing to get you back into Skyrim if you set it down halfway through the main quest, like I did (not from any boredom, mind you, it’s just the game is so damn big I needed a break.)

        • Aurora Boreanaz

          Cool.  I loved building my manor in Morrowind and filling it with stuff.  Do these new houses have billions of bookshelves?

        • stakkalee

          @AuroraBoreanaz:disqus : You can build a library in one wing, but:

          A) It competes with the armory for space in the east wing, and
          B) It can only hold ~300 books (I think there’s over 600 books in Skyrim.)

          I guess you can always build libraries in 2 of your houses, and then the armory in the third, but then where will you put your kitchen? (That also goes in the east wing.)  I kid - building a kitchen is practically worthless.

        • Effigy_Power

          The only beef I have is that you can’t build a house this way in one of the major cities. That would have been cool. It also would have been very neat to build something different, such as the long-house Jorvaskr the Companions live in, in Whiterun, instead of always the same basic hall-type house.
          Still, it’s a fun addition and while you can build the whole thing with money (you can hire a steward to build the thing for you, so to speak), it’s quite fulfilling to construct the thing with your own clicking fingers.

      • Effigy_Power

        Basically every hold that didn’t have a house before now has a homestead. The land can be bought (for money and a quest) in Falkreath, Dawn Star and Morthal.

    • Histamiini

      Today’s news tells us that Dragonborn will be out on PC on the 5th of February. Been waiting for that. To think I was naive enough to expect it before Christmas!

      • Fluka

        Oo, finally!  I admit that my initial reaction was “Hey, maybe I can get my husband that for Valentine’s Day!” Until I realized 1) Seriously, Fluka? DLC for Valentine’s Day? 2) I might actually want to see my husband on Valentine’s Day.

        • Enkidum

          Well, if you get it for him I’m sure you won’t have any difficulty seeing the back of his head.

        • Fluka

          @Enkidum:disqus Awww yeeeah….Wait.  What?

    • djsubversive

       Did you start a new playthrough of Gothic 3 the night that I “convinced” you to buy it? If that’s the case, damn, you’re fast. I’m in the first desert town shaking down merchants for their protection money (half of them don’t have it but promise me riches if I kill a guy I was probably going to end up killing anyway). I have like 5 or 6 of the fire chalices (I think, I haven’t actually checked). I know I’m supposed to bring them to the fire mages somewhere.

      Oh, and I met a Water Mage. In the desert. Who I apparently know from the previous games (there’s a few characters like that, and I like how they don’t beat you over the head with “YOU KNOW THIS PERSON!” but just make one of your dialogue options something like “I remember you, what are you doing here?” in addition to the usual “hey, what’s going on around here? Got any quests that need doing?”

      • Effigy_Power

        I do have the advantage that I a) know all the plot of the previous games and b) have played this before, so I know where most of the chalices are. What I do not know is where all 12 of the Paladins are to give them to, which sucks. I may have found 4 or 5 of them.

        • djsubversive

          So that guy who whined about his magic being gone so he gave up and joined the orcs isn’t actually a sellout chump, he just wants a chalice? I assumed I’d be able to “find his magic” (not a euphemism) because his conversation popped up in my quest log.

  • http://twitter.com/Evad_Dalrymp Unexpected Dave

    The disc drive in my PS3 has apparently died, but it can still play games I’ve downloaded. So that means I’m revisiting the first Mass Effect rather than continue with Mass Effect 3. (I might download something else. I haven’t decided.) I started last night with a male Vanguard, planning on a mostly Renegade route.

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

      Tough break bro!  My old PS2 had a disc drive that quit three times but Sony was usually really nice about fixing it, all I had to do was pay for shipping.  I don’t know if there still as lax about repairs though.

    • Mercenary_Security_number_4

      The blueray/disc drive is replaceable.   Youtube can show you how, and you might want to search some PS3 forums to get the finer points of which drives are compatible with which models.  Of course make sure you don’t have any kind of warranty still lingering on the thing before you open it up.   Its not the easiest thing in the world, but its not impossible and its cheaper than buying a whole new system or having to never touch your hard copy games again.

  • The_Lame_Dane

    I just finished The Walking Dead on steam, had very few glitches which was a surprise from what I was hearing. it’s a good game, challenging moral dilemma’s and mostly good writing save for some silly contrivances. I can’t quite put a finger on why I’m not super in love with it I didn’t mind the mostly non-existent puzzles or the QTE with the high quality of writing and a surprising amount of events that you can change. maybe because at some point it seems the narrative does little more than put you in nasty choices without much else.

    I have freespace 2 and Independence war 2 on my pc that are unfinished and minecraft on xbox (my friends play on xbox) that I’ll likely play or just TF2.

    • ToddG

      I recommend finishing Freespace 2.  Immediately.  That game is fantastic.

      • Effigy_Power

        Second.
        I would also put Starlancer and Freelancer on that list. None of those are perfect, but with space-sims you have to take the good with the bad and Freelancer is, especially with the obligatory Epsilon-mod, really rather vast.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    Since we still only get maybe 1.5 to 2 hours at a time while my daughter is sleeping, I will probably continue to stick to games I can easily pause/quit playing.  (My massive mountain-spanning Minecraft castle progresses well, in 20-30 minute increments, and played to the tune of Baby Lullabies on Spotify.)

    As a reward for being a supportive Dad for our first week and a half, my wife bought me Dishonored, which I hope to be able to start playing in the next week or so…but I may wait and finish The Walking Dead first.  (Starting Episode Four next time I can play.)

    • Bad Horse

      Strangely enough, my farthest advances in Ikaruga happened at 3 AM with my newborn son sleeping on my chest.

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

      What game did you buy your wife for actually having the kid tear its way out of her*?

      *I had the flu the day we watched the sex ed filmstrip in middle school gym, but I stayed home and watched The Brood and Alien while undergoing a high fever, so I think I’m a pretty good reproduction expert.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        Surprisingly enough, she considers the kid a reward in itself.  I know, weird, huh?  ;)  (Not that I don’t also, just that I’ve been admittedly lazy a lot of the time before this, but now I’m 100% doing my part to care for BG, so she was really happy about that.)

    • Effigy_Power

      Hey, in Dishonored you have to kill a lot of people to save a little girl.
      Hmm… your wife might be trying to tell you something about your current skill-set. Better beef up on your crossbow and sword proficiency.

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

    You haven’t finished Dark Souls yet Toal? C’mon man, grow a pair… of Twin Humanities that you can use to farm souls to buy titanite slabs to upgrade your black knight halbred. C’mon!

    I’ve been in a gaming funk ever since finishing Spec Ops the Line.  It’s like the game was too good at criticizing games, now every time I boot up Far Cry 3 all I see is a complete narrative failure and a horribly boring endgame.  If you haven’t read the interviews with the game’s writer, DONT!  The guy is a turbo-douche and wrote one of the worst stories in gaming and refuses to admit it.  Ugh I hate him and his stupid racist game so much.

    I did start playing Shank though because I loved Mark of the Ninja and realized I have both Shank games from Indie bundles.  It’s mindless but it passes the time while my wife watches Project Runway reruns, and we both get angry about how Mondo got robbed by Gretchen.  Poor Mondo.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_LCVZWFAEodk/TMtvRb24T9I/AAAAAAAAVhs/VaFSYotazxM/s1600/mondo+loss.JPG

    • Citric

      An entire series was created to give Mondo a bunch of money though, so I don’t feel too bad for him.

  • Bad Horse

    I had my first total elite squad kill in XCOM earlier this week. I am now throwing squaddies willy-nilly into the meat grinder with like 1 or 2 elite escorts, because human life is so very cheap. I thought it was the end of the world, but it really just required me to adjust my tactics.

    • http://twitter.com/hardcoreshirt HardcoreShirt.com

      My poor son went through the same thing, and then ended up losing the game cause he couldn’t keep enough countries safe. He was choked, but I thought it was pretty cool that you could actually fail at the game.

      • Bad Horse

        Not only can you lose, but sometimes you can lose unfairly.The scenario I lost my elite squad in was basically the Kobayashi Maru. How you deal with death is, in fact, at least as important as how you deal with life.

        • Mercenary_Security_number_4

           ”How you deal with death is, in fact, at least as important as how you deal with life.”

          Or, as random internet teenager put it as I was beating him at Risk, “Losing is for cowards.  I quit.”

  • Fluka

    Dishonored is done, so it’ll be a weekend of Torchlight 2 co-op.  The game is, for lack of a better word, relaxing.  I have no clue what’s going on in the main plot, besides some Fantasy Stuff.  But, it looks pretty, it contains more colors than the usual modern video game, and I can summon spider-grenades and gun-bots and use electricity armor to help me and Mr. Badger, and really, what else does a girl need in this world?  The game has dug its talons deeply into Mr. Fluka, and he is usually already playing it when I get home at night.  

    I ultimately enjoyed Dishonored very much.  I’m going to miss you, Blink.  Whole thing ended rather abruptly, though.  (ENDING SPOILERS) The final climb to the top of the lighthouse seems like a more anticlimactic Kaldwin’s Bridge, particularly if one has Bend Time and Possession all scaled up and can literally walk through.  For the Low Chaos ending, there’s really not anyone up there besides Havelock, who is just sort of muttering to himself.  I feel like I should have spent some time exploring before I finished it.  Also, is that Samuel taking over the pub at the end?  If so, daww, good for him.  (NO MORE SPOILERS)

    Mostly, I’ll be playing Science Research.  This morning, I think I beat the “Undefined ProductID Pointer Data Association” boss, which had so many goddamn unskippable cutscenes.  Now I have to do some tedious grinding with this code, before the Research Meeting final battle next weekend.  RATING=0 DO NOT RECOMMEND.

    • Effigy_Power

      “Fantasy Stuff” is right.
      End of the world, chosen one, save us, find item, use item, defeat baddie, yay.
      I do wonder if anyone played Torchlight 2 (or 1 for that matter) for the story. ^_^

      • djsubversive

        Torchlight has a story? Oh, right, the intro cutscene that I always skip because I want to start clicking monsters and getting loot. And the quest text.

        That’s just words getting in the way of the click-fest, and I don’t care for it.

        • Fluka

          My husband, currently clicking his little heart out: “It’s true.”

  • signsofrain

    I’m on an intense PS2 kick, so this weekend it’ll be mainly Odin Sphere,, and I’ll finally start a game of Star Ocean: ‘Till the End of Time – Bought that game years ago and never played it. I don’t think the disc has even been out of the case. Once I beat one of those I’ll go finish up my Kingdom Hearts game from a few years back (I got stuck at the Maleficent Dragon fight) 

  • Drew Toal

    I’ve been going through XCOM a second time, which is nearly as frustrating as the first go around. (I’ll be pouring a 40oz. out for Major Kerry King. He was a damn fine soldier.) Also playing through Chrono Trigger on my phone. It took me a little while to get used to the touch screen controls, but now I have the Masamune and I’m in that weird floating mage world high above the prole Muggle earth below. This one totally holds up.

    • Bad Horse

      Would you say the good Maj. King was a…SLAYER?

      • Drew Toal

        A regular Angel of Death, at least until he got splattered against the wall of that UFO wreck.

        • ToddG

          Yikes.  Looks like he’ll be spending the season in the abyss.

        • Bad Horse

          Damn, it must have been raining blood in there. At least a chrysalid didn’t get him and wear him for a dead skin mask.

        • Drew Toal

          The Muton god hates us all.

        • Effigy_Power

          I am sure his death was a megadeath heard across the universe. Why couldn’t it have been Bostaph? That guy was a dweeb!

  • exant

    I picked up XCOM last week and I hope to get back into it this weekend. The game is great fun, right up until my vet got mind-controlled and his teammate panicked and melted his face off with a heavy laser…

  • djsubversive

    This weekend, I’ll be hacking away at the ArmA 2 editor some more, getting things to vaguely resemble the scenarios in my head. I’ve been keeping notes and updates on the Steam group – have I thanked Fyodor lately for giving us (me) our (my) own little forum? Because it’s a good way to keep my thoughts semi-organized (as far as the ArmA editor is concerned, at least): http://steamcommunity.com/groups/gameological/discussions/1/

    I might also play some Planetside 2. Won’t bother with the recruitment speech, but if you play anything except NC, you hate freedom. Fact.

    In semi-gaming-related-but-mostly-just-nerdy things: I put a bunch of music from Fallout 3/New Vegas/various radio mods for NV on my ipod and hooked it up to the radio at work, so I’m currently listening to “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire,” after having heard “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” And because it’s me, about half the music is Robert Johnson or Son House, so it’s a bluesy, country, jazzy day.

  • evanwaters

    Still on Diablo III, really enjoying it. The Demon Hunter’s run-and-gun style is very appealing.

    Just finished Portal (which shows you how behind I’ve been.) Even with most of the game spoiled via memes it’s a really sharp black comedy with overtones of Paranoia and The Prisoner. Also portal jumping is quite a rush.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Now play Portal 2!

      • PaganPoet

        I love “Want You Gone” even more than “Still Alive” and everything Madonna’s released since the 90s.

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    My boardgames got here the other day! Battlestar Galactica, Citadels, Dixit, Dominion, and Hive! WOO!

    So far I’ve played Hive and Dominion which were both a lot of fun, and easy to get into. We picked up Hive right away, but I am awful at explaining rules so we started a bit rough with Dominion. I for some reason think rules are more complex than they actually are when I’m learning a game. Lots of consulting the rulebook checking little things and stuff like that.

    So I’m hoping to try out Citadels, Dixit, or Battlestar Galactica sometime this weekend. I doubt BSG will see any play because I’m still trying to get a grasp of they rules to where I’d feel comfortable explaining them to everyone. I want long games like BSG to go as smoothly as possible for the first game so people will want to play it again in the future. 

    Also probably Dota.

  • uselessyss

    I finally finished Dragon Age II, which I think may have received less ire if it were called Dragon Age: Kirkwall. Oh, who am I kidding – people would have jumped on it anyway.

    It’s definitely an interesting game – if the Mass Effect games are like blockbuster action movies and Dragon Age: Origins is like a fantasy novel, Dragon Age II is like a TV show. Every “season” there’s a story arc, but there isn’t a strong overarching plot to pull it all together. I liked it for doing something different with the story, even if the repetitive locations got to me by the end.

    With those games out of the way, I clicked the “give me a random game to play” button on backloggery and out popped Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars. As adventure games go, it’s all right – the writing is occasionally funny and it’s interesting enough to keep me going. I kind of like that George Stobbart is basically a pathetic wimp, without even Guybrush Threepwood’s charisma. He’s a Big Dope.

    On the other side of the spectrum, I’ve also started Saint’s Row: The Third, and the character customization options won me over pretty quickly. I made a Don Johnson look-a-like who sounds like Jason Statham, and am thoroughly enjoying the game’s crude but playful humor. It’s quite a contrast to Broken Sword‘s restrictively deliberate pace.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2QTXLZWZWY6YGDKFXXAVVKVR6U paolo

    Found a used ps3 copy of Ninja Gaiden Sigma. missed out on the original x-box exclusive but it’s brutal reputation has not escaped me. 

    My first post by the way. yeeeey

  • A_N_K

    The worst 6 months of my professional life, culminating with a period of several weeks of work punctuated by the occasional few hours of sleep, are finally over, and I’d love to reacquaint myself with the Xbox. 

    But I don’t have that much I’m excited about, gamewise, which is why getting reacquainted with my wife and friends may take priority over gaming–FOR SHAME.  I’m 2/3rds of the way through Darksiders II but I stopped a couple months ago when work got heavy..  I’ve also got half of the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow game finished.  (I liked but didn’t love both of these games, but for some reason I’ve neglected both them after I reached the halfway point.) 

    I also have a good chunk of Resident Evil 4 to finish, as well as Witcher 2 (I need serious time to dedicate to it as I’ve been taking it on in 30 minute increments and playing on easy so I’ve been avoiding learning the intricacies of combat which I’m told is the entire point), and my wife got me Dishonored for Christmas.  I’ll probably play with the new toy Dishonored.

  • Vervack

    Hey there, Gameological Society, long time no see. Got a few thinks to blather into the aether about, so let’s get started.

    First of all, I’ve been reevaluating my relationship to gaming as a whole over the past few months, and I’ve come to the conclusion that my interest in gaming has plateaued. I’ve found I want to start devoting the time I take playing games to other pursuits (such as kick-starting a writing career and becoming something akin to a human being), and I’ve reached the point where most of what comes out on the market today doesn’t interest me anymore. My first real experience with games came at the end of the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, and that’s where the majority of the titles in my collection come from. At this point, I can just run through my collection again and again without having to rush out and buy anything new, so that’s what I’m going to be doing this year, barring any surprises.

    As for my MMO poison of choice, Star Trek Online, I’m ready for a break at this point here as well. I’ve spent the past two months working my way through the reputation system that came with the Season 7 update in November, and I’m going to be finishing it all tonight. (To explain briefly, the Reputation system is something Cryptic threw in to boost endgame content. The way it works is that there’s a faction you can rank up your character’s reputation in by completing projects, which is usually done by tossing in a bunch of stuff you buy cheaply with the basic ingame currency, as well as a certain amount of a special currency specific to the faction that you get from special missions. As you run more projects, you rank up, which gives you the ability to run other projects that will let you get specific ship equipment, personal equipment, and all sort of other doodads.) There’s two factions right now; Omega Task Force, which is all the Borg stuff, and New Romulus, which is…Romulan stuff. I did the Omega line first since I wanted the fancy SPESS MAHREEN armor, and now I’m finishing the Romulan line, and since I only ever play one character, I’m ready to retire for now and wait for more content. (Incidentally, Season 7 also saw the addition of a new Romulan sector block and a whole chunk of storyline about the Romulan people trying to rebuild following the destruction of Romulus and the disintegration of their empire, which is really just driving how just how friggin’ tone-deaf Trek ’09 was on the whole genocide issue, but never you mind…)

    In other gaming news, I broke down and bought a copy of Condemned: Criminal Origins on Steam after I was unable to get my standalone copy working on my machine. I’d already had it spoiled months ago, so there wasn’t much that was totally shocking and new, but it builds its atmosphere well, and it could still make me jump now and again. (It was also interesting to see, in light of the unlockable document content, that all the crazyness about evil cults and FUS RO DAH superpowers of the second game was implicit in the first one.) Over the next week or so I think I’m gonna be continuing the Monolith kick and replaying F.E.A.R. 1 and 2, which I still like in spite of the nonsensical plot.

    Of course, while I’m trying to play games less often, I’m still watching the occasional let’s play. Recently finished one for The Void, which seemed frustrating to play but damned beautiful, and one for Rule of Rose, which appears to be even more frustrating to play, but almost makes up for it by being one of the saddest, most disturbing games I’ve seen in a good long while. Right now I’m chewing through one for Haze, which is pretty damned interesting since the game is really something of a mess (to summarize briefly, it can’t decide whether it wants to be Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers or Spec Ops: The Line, so it tries to be both and ends up being neither), and one for MGS: Peace Walker, since I just love how crazy the MGS series gets (okay so we’re sneaking our way through Costa Rica with some exiled Sandanistas in 1974 seems pretty normal so far OH MY GOD THERE’S A GIANT FLYING ANIME ROBOT FROM THE FUTURE HUMMING CARPENTERS SONGS TO ME KOJIMA YOU BASTARD YOU’VE DONE IT AGAIN).

    Ahhh…and so on.

  • zaiwaireshi