What Are You Playing This Weekend?

Will Leitch

Will Leitch, sportswriter

The author of God Save The Fan loves modern sports games. He just doesn’t like to play them.

By Drew Toal • February 15, 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.

Will Leitch is the founding editor of Deadspin and a contributing editor at New York magazine. He is the author of four books, including Are We Winning? and God Save The Fan. He also writes regularly on sports and media for Sports On Earth. Leitch talked to The Gameological Society about his sports-game fandom, which endures despite the fact that he almost never plays the games himself.

The Gameological Society: What are you playing this weekend?

Will Leitch: I am notoriously really bad at video games. I have a hard time with any game that doesn’t reward button mashing. Games have evolved away from that, but I’m still stuck on the idea that if you hit the buttons on Excitebike really fast, you’ll get really good. I realize that’s not how people play video games anymore, but I’m old.

Gameological: Don’t beat yourself up.

Leitch: But I do love sports games, even though they’ve gotten infinitely more complicated. They passed me by—not the games themselves, I love the games—just the actual playing of them. I actually wrote a column for Sports On Earth about this, about—what I do with sports games is I have them play each other. I have the computer play each other, and I kind of use it as a running background as I’m working throughout the day. Unusually nerdy, I know, but I kind of enjoy it. I feel it actually helps me cover sports. I don’t want the game to be ruined by my clumsy thumbs. My wife thinks, “Oh, my husband is a grown man who is watching the video game play itself.” But that’s what I do.

Gameological: I’m sure she’s not the only long-suffering video game wife out there.

Leitch: It was actually very disappointing this year, that you can no longer do seasons on Madden. Now they have that new Connected Careers or whatever it’s called. I don’t really understand. I’m sure it’s for hardcore gamers. I’m sure they’re more important customers than I am. But for me, one of the things I would do is simulate the season for my Arizona Cardinals. I know it’s very strange to see how good football players are through a video game, but they make them so accurately, so realistic, that I find it helpful. Not that I’m basing my predictions or analysis off of it, but I find it a useful way to get to know certain players I might not know very well. It’s particularly great for basketball, I think because the athletes are so into the games themselves, that they’re eerily accurate representations. I guess it helps that there aren’t as many players in basketball, and you can really go into detail. They’ve really got that down so well. My dad came to visit and I had the game playing on my screen, and it took him an actual minute to realize it wasn’t an actual game going on. That’s the main way that I “play,” quote, games anymore. I feel like once I start playing the game, it becomes something different.

Gameological: I don’t know if games have accurately captured the genius of JaVale McGee.

Leitch: That’s true. I’m not sure you can. I think that would require perhaps the construction of the Matrix. If you start trying to capture JaVale McGee, the game itself becomes self-sentient.

Gameological: Ah, the JaVale McGee singularity scenario.

Leitch: Well, today, the Knicks were talking about trading for Luke Ridnour, so I plugged him into the Knicks to see how it looks. I know a real actual analyst would watch game tape of the actual player, but this is what I do. I kind of enjoy the process of it.

Gameological: Best video game athlete of all time: Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson, RBI Baseball Andre Dawson, or NHL 96 Jeremy Roenick?

Leitch: It would be fun to go with Roenick, because I remember that game specifically, but nobody was better than Bo. I remember when Deadspin first started, one of the first really big posts that we had was when somebody put the track of Vin Scully calling Bill Buckner’s error to RBI Baseball. It’s pretty amazing. It’s somehow more tragic when you see Buckner, rather than have the ball go between the legs, just have the ball hit him and go “boop.” It’s a lot more tragic.

Gameological: Poor Buckner.

Leitch: That sound does a pretty good job of emulating what it’s like to watch your player make an error. It’s not like you made an error because you made a mistake as a player, or put him in the wrong place. It’s just that every once in a while, the game would decide, “Okay, you’re making an error.” I kind of enjoyed the justice of that.

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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  • Staggering Stew Bum

    This weekend I will be finishing Dead Space 3. Early on in the game Isaac Clarke is reunited with ex Ellie Langford after being recruited by her new boyfriend Robert ‘Norgs’ Norton. Isaac and Norton begin to clash and act like a right pair of tits, but so far their encounters have all been a storm in a D cup. Ellie retains her tough but perky disposition from the second game, and I think from her English accent she is from Bristol City, don’t know quite why that’s relevant but there it is. The sections in space look a real teat, especially where you navigate Isaac between abandoned spacecraft with space debris areola the place. 

    But now Isaac and pals are on the ice planet Tau Volantits, which is very cold, rather nippy. It’s a completely different setting to, say, Titan station in the second game. I would initially get lost in the blizzard, and it didn’t help that I wanted to examine every chest  I came across, but after Isaac reunites with his party you have the mission guide and Ellie’s comm chatter to help keep you abreast of the situation. Everyone has agreed that it is stopping the necromorphs or bust, except Norton who acts like a total boob.

    If mammary serves me correctly, this game reuses some of the old enemies and situations of the udder Dead Space games. For example, when you are going through a decontamination area the alarm hooters always make enemies come. But there are some new enemies, such as those necromorphs with the axes, and although their cleavage causes plenty of damage, I feel that the game may not milk these encounters for all they’re worth. Instead of having them attacking Isaac two abreast, why not have them pop out with four or even six abreast?

    The weapon crafting didn’t interest me at first. However I did make a satisfying weapon built from a nice silicon rack (two handed works best for proper gripping), which fires bazookas that have the necromorphs jiggling in fright. I only use the one weapon, because I don’t want to have to jugsle weapons in tight encounters.

    In the chapter I’m up to (MILD SPOILERS) Isaac has just been implanted into the bosom of a giant dead necromorph, don’t know why exactly but it was part of a plan developed after Ellie and engineer Jennifer Santos put their melons together. I suppose if you were that way inclined the gore of this section would be rather titillating.

    Anyway, the entire game series has been bags of fun, funbags if you will. These games have their knockers, but even though I can’t grasp wha tit is about this game series I find so gratifying I keep coming back for more handfuls. Dead Space 3 has taken the graphics even further in quality, the images on the screen look real….and spectacular.

    • Cloks

      I want to nipple try this pun thing as well.

    • Fluka

      Oh you!

    • caspiancomic

       There is no clap slow enough.

    • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

      boobies

      • Bad Horse

        What am I gonna do, NOT like this?

    • Chum Joely

      I think the high point for me was “put their melons together”. An actual thing you could say with either meaning. Bravo, sir. Bra, vo.

    • http://kotaku.com/ Reposted_Kotaku_Comments

      basil_chicken

      Bouncing breast is always an attractive point, but if it is abused like that … it will just turn everyone away.

    • dreadguacamole

        I’m groping for something to say here, and failing. You’ve knocker’d it out of the park…

    • Raging Bear

      I thought it looked pretty bad, but maybe it doesn’t suckle after all.

    • Effigy_Power

      Gimme a second, I am rolling my “Sexism/No Sexism” die. I guess it’s all on the cleft of good taste.

    • George_Liquor

       Posts are slowing down, looks like tits all over for this thread.

    • dreadguacamole

        I gazonganna have to call it quits, I really can’t come up with anything else.

       Why’s everyone looking at me like that?

    • Bad Horse

      I am atitter. This is a heartbusting work of smackering genius. 

  • Cloks

    I’ll be playing some Klonoa: Subtitle or Something on my PSP. I remember reading an article on this site a while ago about it, but I seem to have expunged most of what happens in the second half from my memory, so it’s going to be mostly new for me. If I have time left over, I’ll be playing some more War of the Lions because it’s pretty great.

    • DrFlimFlam

       Klonoa games are awesome.

  • PaganPoet

    I’m once again in Mass Effect 2, trying it on Insanity difficulty. I already plowed through ME1, making pretty much every possible opposite big decision from my first playthrough. Ashley better turn out to be a redeemed character in the end, otherwise I’m going to feel really bitter about sending handsome, handsome Kaidan to his fiery death.

    Will also be playing a bit of Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention on the Vita, since the review of the new Fire Emblem and @Cloks:disqus ’s mentioning of Final Fantasy Tactics has me itching for a strategy RPG. It’s also a three day weekend, so I may be tempted to pick up the new Sly Cooper as well, especially as it’s supposed to be very snowy here in Denver on Monday.

    • ToddG

      Good luck!  I found ME2 to be the hardest of the 3 on Insanity.

  • Fluka

    Despite the blizzard, I gave Proteus a go last weekend.  It is absolutely sublime and everyone should play it.  It’s also one of those games which is impossible to talk about without sounding completely insufferable.  ”I spent an entire night chasing an owl through the treetops and then we just sat next to eat other and chilled for a while.  It was cool. Then I saw some bees and I chased them and then they chased me!  And then I watched the sun rise.  And there was music everywhere, like in the trees and the stones and the flowers!  I was totally one with nature maaaaan!  Radical.”  Had a scary moment when the power went out for 30 seconds, and I was afraid my island had been destroyed forever.  But then I realized that our computer has a UPS keeping it running and all was well.  And then I saw some crabs.

    Burned out on new games this weekend, so at most will play some ME2.  Previously only the “whatever, I never tried this option” playthrough, this third character has organically evolved into Ivy League Sorority Shepard.  Rocking a blonde ponytail, and being a complete Paragon War Hero A-type overachiever.  Also spending her spare time getting black out drunk and having inappropriate relations with her human crew – Kaidan and Kelly down, Jacob left to go.  Speaking of which, never romance Jacob, no matter how fine he may seem.  It’s embarrassing for all parties involved.

    • PaganPoet

      Yeah. Between ME1 and ME2, whoever you romanced seems to slip into a deep depression, can’t seem to get over your disappearance/death, can’t begin a new relationship over the course of two years.

      In the six months between ME2 and ME3, Jacob has already knocked somebody else up.

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

        I’d wait to tackle that one until you have assault rifle training, or maybe the Collector particle beam. 

        • Fluka

          Yeah, I’ve never managed an Insanity playthrough (always feels too grindy to me) – sorry @PaganPoet:disqus !  I think the M-920 Cain is supposed to be quite effective for that section, too, though, as it ironically does not destroy the crates.  I <3 U Cainy.

      • DrFlimFlam

        And then, like any lover of note, they guilt trip you about it afterwards. Shepard 1 romanced Liara in the first game (kind of as a consolation, because Ashley was too xenophobic to click), got the cold shoulder in ME2, romanced Miranda instead, then did Shadow Broker and now someone’s jealous and petty. YOU ignored ME, lady.

        All was well in Game 3. Except Miranda. That didn’t end well.

    • dmikester

      OK, you’ve convinced me to get Proteus.  I don’t know why I was on the fence, but your recommendations have been so dead on (Deus Ex: HR in particular) that I completely trust your taste in games, and shall download it promptly.  I could really, really use chilling next to an owl right now.

      • Fluka

        Daww, I’m glad to know that my ramblings have benefited someone, thanks!

        Keep in mind, of course, that it’s only 1 hr long and has no traditional gameplay so your mileage may vary, etc, but if it’s owl-based chilling you’re after, it’s got that in spades.

      • http://kotaku.com/ Reposted_Kotaku_Comments

        Tetrabor

         So basically, take Skyrim and remove the high-resolution textures, details, geography, models, gameplay, story, and plot; this will leave you with Proteus. 
        Why would the devs even call this a game when its pretty much an artistic peace. It reminds me of Dadaism at its finest; some hipster taking a toilet and saying its not “shit” but art, just as this game is not “art” but. . . shit.

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

          I can only imagine the horrors you have to see to make this account work.

        • Effigy_Power

          You’re doing God’s work.
          I don’t know what God, mind you. Probably one of the crummy ones.

        • stakkalee

          Seriously, this gimmick account must take an extreme amount of dedication, so, kudos I guess?  Especially because of how Kotaku nests their comments.

        • George_Liquor

          But is it worth the sacrifice? Of course it is. Well, worth it to us, anyway I hate to think what it’s doing to the author.

    • valondar

       The PRIIIIIIIIZE.

      I liked Jacob. He was like a non-annoying Kaidan, and even though his personal quest like everyone else’s involved daddy issues, he seemed the most mature and stable about it. He was an anchor of tranquility on a ship of nervous wrecks.

      But no, yeah, do not romance him. At all.

      • IntotheNightSky

        I think you may be a bit confused.  Kaidan’s very presence soothes the soul and puts one’s mind at ease.  Jacob wishes he could be the squadmate Kaidan is.

        • valondar

           Kaidan is just Carth Onasi, and I hated Carth Onasi. Come to think of it I wasn’t a big fan of Alistair in Dragon Age. There’s a whole lineage of BioWare male romantic interests I’d love to swap out for some Atton Rand clones, I guess I’m saying.

        • DrFlimFlam

          Agree with @google-ad11b5fc6e812fcfddafc59b953591fe:disqus . I’m more and moe convinced I will go FemShep this time around, and the thought of romancing Alistair/Carth/Caidan makes me want to vomit. Can you romance Garrus? Because at least he isn’t a whiny baby.

          Undecided if I’ll finally, on my third ME1 run, let him live. Part of me wants to see what happens down the line, and part of me hates his stupid face.

        • valondar

           @drflimflam:disqus You can romance Garrus, but only from Mass Effect 2 on.

          And he is awesome. One of the best romances you can have as FemShep (I’m more of a Liara person because I’m a nerd’s nerd and she gives a Delenn vibe, but Garrus is a close second).

        • PaganPoet

          Everyone who hates Kaidan either says he’s boring or is projecting leftover baggage they have from KOTOR/Carth!

          1) Handsome and Canadian are personality traits!!
          2) Your Star Wars issues are YOUR baggage, not his!

          I’ll not stand around and let you all badmouth mai hasubando

        • Fluka

          @drflimflam:disqus Someone is considering romancing Garrus?!  *Gets out her pro-Garrus talking points!*  The Garrus romance might be my favorite BioWare romance.  It’s hilariously awkward yet very sweet, there’s no horrific plastic coupling scene, and it actually makes sense from a character point of view.  I’ve had a hard time *not* romancing him on subsequent ME2 femshep playthroughs.  

      • Fluka

        He’s a good guy, competent squadmate, and all around space bro.  The romance is a bizarre Human Resources nightmare, however, and is strongly making me consider not cheating on Kaidan, the poor guy.  Will continue with it just for the awkward reunion scene in ME3 however (“So…how do you know Jacob?”)

        Kelly romance is also an HR nightmare, but my fish are going to survive the game for once, damn it!

        • valondar

           There’s always Thane, I guess. I considered romancing Garrus or Thane on my first ME2 playthrough, but I hadn’t copped on to how brutally short the window is on either romance. You either jump Thane’s bones the moment he stops talking about his dead wife (and come on I had marginally greater tact than that) or you’ll never get him.

        • PaganPoet

          One thing I did like about ME3 is that it lets you complete a “friendship” storyline for all of your non-romanced shipmates. I romanced Kaidan, but I still liked Steve Cortez and I was happy I was able to help him, and happy I was able to play chess with Specialist Traynor (lookout Traynor…FemShep is coming for you this time!), etc. I mean, I guess you could do the same in ME1 and 2, but this time it was more than just talking to each other on the Normandy.

    • Captain Internet

      Proteus is lovely. Mass Effect is clearly the new Firefly.

      • valondar

        Mass Effetct is the new Babylon 5.

        What’s the new Firefly? Who knows. Wildstar is having a shot at it:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fn8648VGMKM

        • DrFlimFlam

           FTL is the new Firefly.

        • valondar

           @drflimflam:disqus  You fight for the Federation in FTL (and for that matter you have FTL travel, which I don’t recall if Firefly ever actually had that). It’s more of a Star Trek.

        • Fluka

          @drflimflam:disqus Not enough tight pants and shipping.  ME’s got that covered.

      • ComradePig

         Mass Effect is more like Battlestar Galactica I’d say.

        Great production values with a rich universe and immense promise made all the worse by total self-destruction in the third act.

        • TaumpyTearrs

          I actually watched BSG for the first time right before I played through Mass Effect 3.  It was good timing, because the end of BSG dissappointed me, and the end of ME3 WOULD have disappointed me, but the ending I chose (merging tech/bio) was fairly similar to the ending I had hoped BSG would have. The fact that Cylon Six narrated my ending made it even better. Neither ending was satisying on its own, but by combing my feelings and thoughts about the show and the game I felt like I had a satisfying conclusion of ideas.

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

      On this playthrough of ME2, my Shepard is pretty cavalier about the lives of his crew and other innocents. I wish he could have a quippy, sarcastic edge, but that’s not really an option for a paragon or a renegade. (S/he’s no Hawke). 

      On another note, playing as a vanguard is much more difficult than a soldier or engineer in ME2. I do enjoy ripping through husks, but stripping away shields is a real pain. 

      • PaganPoet

        “Charge” becomes a blast once you power it up a bit. It’s kind of useless at first because it leaves you so vulnerable.

        • TaumpyTearrs

          Its ridiculous how much more powerful it is in ME3 with the upgrades and other powers you can combine it with. In ME2 I was constantly getting killed the few times I would charge people, in ME3 I was just charging from person to person slaughtering them.

    • Jackbert322

      Remember in ME2 when you go to the bottom floor of that bar where Aria is and the Batarian poisons you? I had already had six drinks beforehand from the Turian on the top floor. I thought the game was keeping track and I had passed out from alcohol poisoning.

      • PaganPoet

        You’ll be off to college soon, yes? Don’t worry, real life will teach you that lesson soon enough. *chuckle*

        • Jackbert322

          Four more years. I’m German, Irish, and Native American though. If anything, I can hold my liqour. And survive devastating famine.

        • PaganPoet

          @Jackbert322:disqus Yeah, but every new drinker has to have a few “Oh god, am I dying?” nights where you wake the next morning curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor. It’s the closest thing the modern Western world has to a rite of passage!

      • George_Liquor

        Forcing the Batarian to drink his own poison may well be my favorite renegade moment in the entire series. Even my Dudley Do-right Shepard made him drink it.

        • PaganPoet

          I dunno, I still like sticking a gun in Conrad Verner’s face and making him cry. Poor guy. I can’t help but laugh at how funny it is, though.

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

          @PaganPoet:disqus : I shot Conrad Verner in the foot just last night. It was cathartic.

        • George_Liquor

           @twitter-493417375:disqus Also good.

        • Electric Dragon

          I like punching Khalisah Al-Jilani. It’s the only Renegade interrupt my uber-Paragon FemShep ever took. (I’d feel a bit more uneasy with a BroShep, but probably would do it anyway).

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

      I’m glad there’s finally someone else here I can share my Proteus stories with.

      The first time I found the weather-rock-circle thing and walked into the middle I almost had shat myself.  Near the end after Winter when “IT” starts to happen, I literally could not believe what was going on.

      Proteus is such a beautifully simple game but in terms of raw emotional feedback I’ve felt more playing this game than I have any traditional game in a long time.

      • Fluka

        Yup yup yup up.  For something so simple, I’m going to remember parts of that game for a long time.

        I had a similar moment of shock during the Autumn night time period where (uh, spoilers?) the sky suddenly turned bright red and the trees black.  I’m still not sure what caused it – maybe the stone totem statues?  The Autumn night was kind of surreal and frightening in general.  I want to go back and play again to see what the mechanics are.  Or maybe they’re different?  That island will never come back, aah!

        The end really is something, isn’t it?  Makes me want to go to sleep, in the best of all possible ways.

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

          The sky turned bright red at night?  I didn’t even know that could happen.  There’s definitely something with those totem statues because if you stand in them at night in either spring or summer the stars start growing and shrinking in time with the music.  I wonder what other secrets they have hidden throughout the island.

          Man I gotta replay that game now.

    • Effigy_Power

      Let that be a lesson to you, kids. LSD is a powerful drug.

      • Fluka

        Man, I don’t do drugs, but Proteus makes me feel, you know, like, maybe I should?

  • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

    I’ve somehow gotten in to this BULLSHIT routine where I don’t have any time to play games. Must try and remedy that this weekend. Last weekend was a bust. I’m hoping at LEAST the extra day this time will afford me some gaming. 

    Now just picking what to play…

    I think I will make a valiant attempt at Chrono Cross again. If I go too long without playing it I might as well start over! 

    I think I might also pre-order Slender: The Arrival, which gives access to a beta (which appears to be pretty much the same thing as Slender only with better graphics and a slightly different UI). But that will only eat up 30 minutes before I’m too terrified to continue.

    I should probably play some of these other games, but… I just don’t fucking want to for whatever reason. I feel like they are homework! Damn you, Steam!

    • DrFlimFlam

       Gotta chase those komodos!

  • caspiancomic

    In which caspiancomic ruminates on the completion of the Mass Effect Trilogy and what it taught him about himself.

    My very first journey through the Mass Effect world came to an end this past Monday. If you’re looking for my opinion on the airquotes controversy of the endings, my feelings actually align pretty closely with Film Crit Hulk’s, the short version being that I thought the ending was terrific and anyone who complained about them missed the point somewhere between slightly and so hard that I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been holding their controller upside-down the whole time. I even played it without the DLC extended cut endings deliberately so I would be able to weigh in on the whole thing as the developers originally intended, and was still extremely satisfied- so much so that I was frankly surprised anyone anywhere had been left dissatisfied.

    But I don’t want to dredge all that shite up again, especially since P.P. had us all talking the ME3 ending already last week and I imagine you’re all bored of it by now. What I’d really like to talk about is the infamous final choice, and what mine was and why, and what it meant to me. When I play these games, I don’t fuck about- I did every sidequest available to me all the time. So my galactic readiness was through the sky, giving me access to every available ending. With the option laid out in front of me, a big part of me wanted to go with synthesis. It seemed like the “best” option, since it represented a middle ground between the other two options, and supplementary post-game FAQ prowling confirmed that the synthesis option is only available if you’ve jumped through a sufficient number of hoops, positioning it as a “best ending”. I was honestly about 50% certain that was my best option, and was tearing my hair out over it. Not just because it seemed like the textbook “best option”, but because I sincerely considered a merger of organic and synthetic life to be a creative and non-violent solution to the problem of the war.

    In the end, though, I chose destruction. Patrick Shepard has had one goal from the word ‘go’: to destroy the Reapers. The destroy option is positioned as imperfect because it nullifies the “solution” aspect of the Reaper war- without the Reapers, organics will eventually develop synthetics and go to war with them, according to the Catalyst. But glass-half-full Pat Shep is not about to make a decision that rash based on what the next generations might do, and what the consequences of those actions might be. He believes that organics are capable of learning from the mistakes they’ve made in the past. He doesn’t think it’s right for him to use this position of unparalleled privilege and honour to alter every species in the galaxy on a genetic level without their consent or indeed even their knowledge.

    It was painful to make a decision that killed the geth, particularly after granting them true sapience at the cost of Legion’s life. They were not only trustworthy allies at the time of decision making, but the quarians were able to reintegrate back into Rannoch’s environment so quickly largely thanks to the geth’s support. It was also painful knowing that I was essentially killing EDI, especially after putting in so much work to get her and Joker together. But weighed against the lives of Liara, Garrus, Kaidan, Tali, and every human being in the galaxy, even Pat Shep’s blinding optimism finally met its limits, and I decided that yes, after all that, I’m willing to throw the Geth under a bus if it means saving everybody else. Never before had Pat Shep been willing to sacrifice the few for the many, not even once, but when literally all life in the galaxy was at stake… well, everybody has a breaking point after all.

    For a while I decided that this was my “Patrick Shepard” in-character decision, and that eventually I would play the series “as myself” and when I got to that point, I would definitely choose synthesis. I even began to regret naming Shepard after myself, since if I was put in that position, I would have chosen synthesis. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized: I was put in that position, and when I was done weighing my options, I chose destruction. Sure, maybe Pat Shep didn’t make every decision exactly as I would have made them, but as a pure Paragon Pat Shep made every decision as I would have liked to have made them, if I was a better person and not such a weeping snot nosed cloth eared coward. I played Pat Shep as a glorified version of myself, and I chose destruction when given the option. I’m still sort of untangling what that means for me, and who it turns out I actually am relative to who I thought I was in the face of making that decision. It’s not everyday you play a game that keeps you up at night wondering if you’ve done the right thing.

    In the meantime, I do intend to replay the ending sequence and go for the synthesis option, but I’m now considering more of an “alternate ending” sequence to my playthrough, the true ending of which was Pat Shep choosing to destroy the Reapers. I was originally planning on firing up Mass Effect 1 again and steamroll through the galaxy as a Renegade FemShep, but I think I need a bit longer to stare meaningfully out of windows and try to reconcile my perception of myself with the decisions I’ve made.

    • PaganPoet

      I hope it’s rainy out whenever you find time to stare wistfully out of that window.

      • caspiancomic

         Oh, it’s been super rainy here all week, perfect for soul searching.

        Also, do you know if, once installed, the Extended Cut is like, optional? Can you toggle the Extended Cut on or off, or once it’s installed is that your only option from that point on?

        • http://notveryraven.tumblr.com/ Andrew

          you gotta uninstall to play without once you’ve installed it.

    • Captain Internet

      For what it’s worth, I’ll stick with my first impression: the ending was a massive farce, at least pre-’extended cut’. I’d made peace between the Geth and the Quarians, and now here’s some poxy child telling me that it’s impossible without any justification other than- 

      “Like, yeah, that’s totally what happens”. 

      After deciding to tell him to go fuck himself and choosing the red ending, Garrus somehow went from being dead to being on the Normandy, Joker is seemingly in a different solar system, and everyone conveniently crash-lands on a planet with air and water. Well, fuck that.

      I do like what Film Critic Hulk said on the topic, and I think he certainly comes up with a good justification for it. But for me, Mass Effect was about the characters, not about overarching themes. I didn’t really care for it’s undergraduate take on ‘cycles’ and ‘death and rebirth’, or whether AI could be considered sentient. It was pure, character-driven space opera, and on that level the ending was a total failure

      Still an incredible game though.

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

        Regardless of what you feel about the choices, those continuity issues in the original ending smack of laziness or oversight. 

        • KidvanDanzig

          YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY COMPREHEND OUR PLAN, SHEPARD
          ***
          SO YOU SEE SHEPARD, OUR PLAN IS FULLY COMPREHENSIBLE. WE WILL NOT BE TAKING QUESTIONS AT THIS TIME

      • KidvanDanzig

        “undergraduate” is really a perfect way of putting it. I think they were going for that sort of heady Aasimov / Clarke thing but that’s hard to do when it’s whiplashed onto you after a full series of James Cameron action setpieces and “bad ass” one-liners. The very fact of the ending being an ending does not justify its ham-fisted lurch toward profundity.

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

        Yeah, I’m gonna agree that Bioware had no f’in idea how to wrap up so many variable story lines so they made a galaxy finger paint 3 way and called it quits.

      • caspiancomic

         While the geth getting caught in the crossfire was the most difficult part of the decision for me, I didn’t feel at all as though that invalidated the validity of the ending. From my perspective, claiming the ending is somehow unfair or unjustified just because it requires you to make a difficult decision is a little immature (important note: I’m not swinging this assault at anyone in particular, least of all the perfectly mature and gentlemanly @Captain_Internet:disqus, I’ve just gotta let it all out.) Yes, it’s painful to kill the geth, especially after granting them a sense of true “life,” but the fact remains that your actions have consequences, often unknowable or painful consequences, and given the magnitude of this decision, the repercussions are going to be proportionally larger. I wasn’t expecting the ending to give me an opportunity to create a galaxy that was all roses- a conflict of this scale and this complexity was only going to come to and end with huge sacrifices. You aren’t tasked with making the galaxy perfect, you can only do the best you can with the resources you have available.

        I do think it’s fair that you considered the character-driven aspect of the story to be the trilogy’s “meat,” so I can respect how the ending may have been disappointing in that regard. Personally, I preferred the big sci-fi thematic head scratchers (are AIs alive? What happens to humanity after we discover intelligent alien life?) to the character drama (although I also adored the character element, don’t get me wrong), so I found the more thematically driven ending to be very satisfying, since it not only represented a “solution” to one of the game’s leading questions, but it actually allowed me to participate in the selection of that solution, effectively moulding the new galaxy according to my personal values.

        Also, while I’ll tentatively admit that seeing the Normandy crew cheesin’ it through a Mass Relay doesn’t make a huge amount of logical sense (although I understand the Extended Cut makes a deliberate effort to explain this), I agree with Hulk that the thematic repercussions of those scenes are the heart of the matter: thanks to Shepard’s sacrifice, his crew and his squad- his best friends and lovers- are given this new galaxy, free of conflict at least for now, to live and flourish in. Maybe this scene would have rattled fewer cages if we just saw some assorted humans, turians, asari, salarians, etc emerging from some space debris to get a look at the new galaxy. But for me, after being left in the dark and uncertainty about it for so long, seeing Liara and Garrus step out of the Normandy, unharmed, and with the entire galaxy and the rest of time ahead of them to rebuild, I was too overjoyed to worry about how they got there.

        • Captain Internet

          Vent away, it’s nice to be able to discuss it without people screaming about indoctrination and entitlement, and even though it’s been a year there’s still a fair amount of that about.

          Anyway.I’ve no problem with being forced to make hard decisions, and I’ve no problem with the big ideas,  but the one that was key to the ending- that you must make a choice because the created will always destroy the creators- came completely out of the blue, and had absolutely no justification behind it. If anything, Shepard’s own experiences- assuming you’ve gone down the full Paragon route- show the opposite. Of the two true AI that you encounter, namely EDI and the Geth, both turn out to be pleasant and relatively well adjusted. EDI learns empathy, and it’s explicitly stated that the Geth are non-violent by default. In fact, all they were trying to do when the Quarians attacked just before the start of ME3 was build a big server to live in so they didn’t have to go outside any more.In essence: I cannot think why AI would, by necessity (as is asserted), have to destroy organic life. That’s not to say there isn’t a reason- there may well be- but there isn’t a reason given, and the topic isn’t explored. As I recall, in the extended cut you can ask about this, but all you get back is a list of all the times that it’s happened. It just doesn’t work. And you only end up with this massive plot-hole if you’ve played all the games and you’ve gone full Paragon all the way through- it’s like punishment for caring.Of course, my main problem with the ending is that I think it’s was a massive missed opportunity. Like I said, for me it was all about the characters, and if they’d focussed on the characters here, they could have had a huge ensemble acting moment to wrap up the series. The crew of the Normandy pulling together for one final push! Will they succeed? Will Garrus’ calibrations hold? Will we see EDI and Joker holding hands as he steers the ship towards certain death? Will Kaidan finally say something interesting? True drama! Excitement! Tears! Laughter!…but instead we get some wet child mumbling about robots. Rubbish. Most of the other reasons are pretty petty Trekkie stuff about how the aliens wouldn’t have enough food or how the Mass Relay explosions would have wiped everyone out and so on, and I’m with you on how they’re not really that important.

          Still, things would be boring if there was only one way of looking at things, so for what it’s worth I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

      • JohnnyLongtorso

        I still think the best way to end the series would have been having the Crucible fail and galactic civilization destroyed by the Reapers. It would have been a great spin on the whole “only the humans can save the galaxy” conceit that so much of sci-fi adheres to.

    • DrFlimFlam

      Beating ME3 was definitely a time of reflection for me. The choice I made was the one I think I would have made if it were all real (and also if I was the most amazing person who ever lived, just like my Shepard), but the choice I made, the Blue choice, was so difficult to accept. I didn’t hate the game, and I liked the entire “What did you expect?” tone of the ending, but man, when you put 100 hours into a story, any ending is going to leave you at a bit of a less, and that one even moreso.

      • Histamiini

        The ending does leave a hollow feeling, but I think that’s appropriate.

        What happened to me was that I felt very sympathetic to Shepard’s state during the final minutes: she was confused and weak and didn’t have much strength left as if the weight of the entire story was suddenly on her. There’s one final thing she has to do. Trying to puzzle out the implications of what was being presented, I somehow missed the game mechanics of how the choice was to be made. I was going to choose synthesis, but I didn’t realise I was doing it by simply going forward.

        So I went forward, slowly at first, and then at some point she starts running and dives into the machine. I made the choice in my mind, but there was also a slight sense that it simply happened. It worked for me emotionally. The best I can describe it is that it was a combination of her weakened state, her confusion, the forced choice, the fact that she had one mission and that was to get the machine running, and the leap of faith aspect of the choice. She wouldn’t be able to see the results of her choice.

        It was a hollow feeling, but not in the sense that I was disappointed. She’s gone, it’s the end, and there’s some feeling of hope that things will be better after her even though she will never know what will actually happen. I took the ambiguity of feeling as a sign that the ending was a success for me in that regard. Without getting into too much detail here, a good ending involving the death of a character should feel like that, and it should give a sense of the world going on without the character. It should not make the player feel that he world has been somehow solved and sorted by the action and death of the character. I don’t like the idea of a satisfying death. You need to have the feeling that world will continue to be a crazy, wonderful, terrifying place, filled with problems and conflicts, to bring home the sense of loss in the character’s death.

        So the open implications of what will happen next felt appropriate to me and make her death feel like a death. Shepard won’t be there to see it. She won’t be there to solve the new problems and new conflicts. That’s the sense of loss. She lost the world and the world lost her. Her story ends there. It’s not entirely “satisfying” in a naive sense, it’s not like you were given exactly what you wanted, but it felt correct.

        • PaganPoet

          I like that you said it it left a “hollow” feeling as that’s the exact same word I used to describe it.

        • DrFlimFlam

          The best entertainment, at least for me, has been entertainment that left me feeling that way when it was over. Hollow is the best word to use, as something that was there no longer is, and it kind of hurts.

          My problem with the ending is that I must have missed something, because I didn’t know which answer was which, even. Just that I was supposed to walk towards a light. I just went with blue because blue = paragon.

        • Histamiini

          SPOILERS FOR DREAMFALL

          Here’s what got me thinking about some of the issues above in videogames. It’s been a few years and I might get some details wrong, but at the end of Dreamfall, Zoe, the heroine, is in a coma in a hospital bed and watching the room from above like someone who’s about to move on. She’s talking to herself. About her life and the adventure she just had, something like that. Her father and her friend are with her in the room, mourning. The last thing she says is something like, “Careful dad, that’s not my friend.” She uses his name, but I can’t remember it. She says it calmly like someone who has already let go of the world.

          It was probably meant as some kind of cliffhanger, but it struck me that the implication that the world will continue to go on as before made her (apparent) death feel sadder. Her death didn’t settle things. She didn’t solve the world. The mysteries and dangers continue, only she won’t be there to live through them. She won’t get to be there to find out what will happen, she won’t get to figure out the mysteries, she won’t get to help her father. It creates the sense that she’ll miss out on what the world gives to us and that she’ll leave a hole. It should feel like that, like the character dying was taken away in the middle of something happening, because that’s how it always is. Not that everything was tied together, not that she served her purpose and can move on now.

          So I’d be suspicious if there was no emotional ambiguity to Shepard’s death. To the player she’s not just a symbol or a sacrifice. It’s not like you throw her into the volcano and the gods are appeased. She does what she can and the world goes on.

        • Histamiini

          Yeah, the way the choice was implemented wasn’t good design, and the AI’s dialogue could no doubt have been better.

          I’m okay with the AI not being entirely persuasive. In a sense it being easy to agree with would have been very suspicious and bad writing of a different kind. It can’t see beyond the purpose it was created for and it’s not designed to appeal to human sensibilities. Maybe they should have emphasized that aspect more in the dialogue to avoid the feeling that the player is just talking to some stupid kid who doesn’t make sense. And perhaps it’s right. That there has been momentary harmony between organics and synthetics under specific circumstances doesn’t invalidate its much larger perspective.

          They could have executed it better, but games are never perfect.

        • caspiancomic

           I think this is a pretty good summation of why some people hated the ending, but it had to be the way it was. The Film Crit Hulk article I linked above was all about how ‘art’ gives its audience what they need, not what they want. In aspiring towards saying something important, and meaningful, and ending the trilogy on something important and resonant, Bioware couldn’t just let you put a bullet in the Reapers, slap you on the back, and say “good job! the end!” The ending wasn’t intended to pander to the audience and leave them feeling like the saviours of the galaxy, it was intended to challenge the audience, and force them to decide what their true priorities were, and give them more power than any organic life form has ever been given and see how they respond to this power and what they do with it. Each of the three endings is imperfect and difficult and will have fallout and consequences, and the very nature of that challenge will leave some people feeling betrayed and let down if all they wanted was to kill the bad guys and have a great big parade in their own honour. But the point of the ending is that it’s challenging instead of celebratory, and an option that allowed Shepard to end the cycle of extinction consequence free with no sacrifice or repercussions would betray the tone and themes that Bioware had spent three years artfully establishing.

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

      I skipped last week’s ME 3 discussion and I totally respect Film Hulk’s opinion but it does smack a little bit of “BIOWARE APOLOGETICS”.  A lot of people, myself included, rushed to Bioware’s defense after the ending debacle started and I almost feel like their positive opinions of the ending are as much a reaction to the vitriol that it caused, than the ending itself.

      So what am I getting at is, why do you feel satisfied and how do you find it so hard to believe other people were not satisfied?

      • caspiancomic

         Hulk’s famously aggressive response to the ME3 ending controversy was definitely a backlash to the backlash, by his own admission, so you’re right about that. If it helps balm the wound, he published a followup article in which he essentially tries to backpedal away from some of that pure rage and present a more even-headed rebuttal to the people who objected to the endings. My own reaction, though, was I think pretty genuine. I was familiar that the endings were controversial, and when the controversy first sprung up I learned a little bit about what specifically was so “wrong” with them. But since I hadn’t played any of the titles, the details were lost on me, and I quickly forgot the specifics of it. What I’m saying is, I don’t think I was specifically walking into the final half hour of the game saying to myself “fuck the haters! So help me God, I’m going to love this ending come what may!” I tried as much as possibly to respond to the ending sincerely, without concern for the brouhaha kicked up by the internet. (Although, in fairness, I laughed a little bit when I finally got to meet Marauder Shields)

        I’ve already hinted above (in my response to @Captain_Internet:disqus) at why I found the ending so satisfying, but I’ll give it a crack here too. Basically, for me, the heart of the Mass Effect series has always been its thematic arcs, the big science fiction questions it implicitly asks at every step of the journey, and the way Shepard (and the player) quietly answer those questions by responding to the presented stimuli. How does humanity interact with other intelligent species in the galaxy? Do we become insular and xenophobic? Does Shepard allow the council to die to strengthen humanity’s hold on galactic politics? Do you give the Illusive Man the Collector Base in order to support his prejudicial “human advancement” projects? Or do you show the other races of the galaxy that humanity is willing to work with intelligent aliens for the benefit of all? Are true AIs really intelligent, or even alive? Do you allow Legion to upgrade the geth to true sapience, or do you order him to allow his people to be killed before his eyes? Do you rewrite the geth heretics, or destroy them? Is it Shepard’s responsibility to see to it that Mordin cures the genophage? Is it irresponsible for Shepard to free the Rachni queen?

        People have often said that Mass Effect is about “choice”, but I think it’s more about “consequences.” People were upset because what they wanted out of the ending was to kill the Reapers and have a great big jamboree, the galaxy is saved, and everyone lives in peace forever. But, in my experience with the series, that’s not what it’s about. At the end of the series, Shepard is given three ways to end the war with the Reapers, and each one has ugly repercussions. There’s no clean-cut way to just straight up end the war, because that’s not what this series is about. You have choices, yes, but the consequences of those choices echo through the galaxy in ways you can’t understand or appreciate when you’re first making them. Now, at the end of the line, those choices and their consequences are as big as they’ve ever been. If those choices seem, to you, to be non ideal, or somehow unfair, well, tough. A conflict of this size isn’t going to just end because you pressed the “kill all reapers, unambiguous happy ending for everybody” button- the cycle of extinction has been written into galactic history for millions of years and disentangling organic life from that vicious circle is going to require sacrifice.

        Talking it over with the Captain upthread has helped me understand how someone could potentially have found the endings unsatisfying, but I maintain that from a thematic standpoint the endings to the series were about as good as they could possibly have been. Being unhappy with the endings because they didn’t sufficiently explain why your squad was hightailing it in the Normandy is legitimate, I suppose, from a character-focused interpretation of the series, but I really do think it misses the forest for the trees somewhat.

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

      I agree with Film Crit Hulk that we, the audience, have to accept that it is the artist who controls the message of his/her work. 

      I certainly don’t think that it’s necessary to agree with an artist’s message to appreciate their work. An atheist can still enjoy Black Sabbath’s “After Forever”, for example. But some messages can run so contrary to my personal beliefs that I can’t help but despise the work itself. 

      Every person has their own ideological comfort zone. Some people MUST agree with an artist’s message in order to appreciate their work; other people will only object to hateful expression. 

      I disagree pretty strongly with what the Mass Effect trilogy was trying to say about cycles and inevitability. But I still find it interesting to reflect upon different ideas (I’m not 100% convinced that Mass Effect 3′s ideas were expressed well, but that’s a different issue). 

      Not everyone is able to do that. Some people disagreed so strongly with the message expressed in the final act of the Mass Effect trilogy that they lashed out in anger at BioWare. A lot of players weren’t able to elucidate that source of their sour feelings. All they could say was that the ending didn’t give them what they wanted or expected. Does that make them close-minded or entitled? Not necessarily. 

      Until you walk into that white light and come face to face with the VI in the catalyst/crucible, the Mass Effect trilogy was many things to many people. For some, it was about choice. For others, it was about character. In that last hour, however, the Mass Effect trilogy became one person’s singular vision. Choice and character were still present, but the game was about one thing and one thing only: repetition and inevitability. 100+ hours no longer mattered. It all came to the same point. It’s not unreasonable that people were going to be disappointed. 

  • dmikester

    Finally finished Mass Effect 2 and saved every freaking last crew member in the “suicide” mission, so now I’m off to do some Shadow Broker and Arrival DLC and then put Mass Effect away for a long while to devote myself to Ni no Kuni, which I’m really looking forward to.  Overall, Mass Effect 2 was pretty incredible, though the final boss battle felt more tedious than anything (though dear lord to what the final boss was).

    • Aurora Boreanaz

      Yeah, I have to admit being really excited about that boss fight, because holy crap was that nuts!  Maybe silly story-wise, but sure cool to look at!

  • rvb1023

    More Ni No Kuni and if I end up being a good person I will start the recently re-released System Shock 2. Thank you GOG.com, by the way.

    Also, when’s Mahvel? Fridays.

  • HighlyFunctioningTimTebow

    Since I was a Mac boy growing up, I picked up a copy of System Shock 2 to see what I’ve been missing. Very Marathon-y, but with an atmosphere that relies more on stealth and tense item scrounging and less on running-’n-gunning.

    I killed a monkey for a bag of chips…

    • EmperorNortonI

       I really liked the game.  It was annoying how ridiculously un-reliable the guns were, all to justify having the “repair gun” skill, but it was still pretty good.  I managed to play through it to the end as a shooty shooter kinda guy.  Lotsa fun.

    • Gangrene77

      I was so excited to see that System Shock 2 was available.  Loved that game back in the day.  I am hoping the replay experience holds up, and that I am not just remembering the game through rose colored glasses. 

      Don’t feel bad about the monkey, it was him or you.  If memory serves me you will be killing a lot more.  Their telltale shrieks in the distance will taunt you as you grip your wrench tighter and go off in search of them. Hoping to catch them off guard before they can unleash their psionic fireballs at you.

  • Chum Joely

    Welll… Like so many others here, I have been intending to forge ahead with Mass Effect (specifically, ME1 in my case). Due to my well-known condition of having two small children, my advancement has been slow; this week, on the advice of Gameological and real-life pals, I decided to hold off on barging straight ahead to Virmire and get into side missions a little more, to “explore the Mass Effect universe”. Well, having finished Asteroid X-57 (?) and the rogue VI on Luna, I’ve now also squeezed the Citadel pretty much completely dry for side missions– I just have to go back and see what the Consort’s “gratitude” for her mission will consist of (probably just another would-be sexy hug), and the only other one I actually care about is the damn Keepers. I could swear I searched every corner, but I only found 19 out of 21.  In any case, after all that I will do Wrex and Garrus’s special missions (family armor bzw. internal organ dealer) and then get on with the fucking game already.

    However. Following @Fluka:disqus ’s request last week for ideas on non-ME games to play, I got an urge to follow in her pawsteps and re-borrow Mirror’s Edge from the game library at work. I have just now, just 15 minutes ago, finally gotten past the sticking point (totally stupid/obvious, in retrospect) which had stopped my progress through the storm drains in Chapter 2 on my last attempted playthrough, and caught up with Jackknife (I  refuse to spell it with just one ‘k’ as in the game). Between the excitement of new progress and the fact of playing with awesome headphones this time through– this game has some pretty sweet sound design, as I’ve just discovered– I’m now kind of tempted to go on with Mirror’s Edge and leave Mass Effect aside for a couple of days. But as long as the game’s initials are ME, I should be fine.

    • PaganPoet

      Be sure to check the docking bay past the Normandy for a keeper and the Citadel tower near the top where you meet with the council. Those two where the hardest to locate for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if those are the ones you’re missing.

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

        And the Ward access corridor. It’s easy to forget that that area exists. 

        • Jackbert322

          Yeah, the wards access was the last one for me. I looked at a map eventually, but it still took me ages to figure out how to actually get in the corridor.

      • Chum Joely

        Ah yes, I had the docking bay on my to-do list but forgot about it because I think of that area as “where to go when I’m leaving the Citadel” and not as a real part of it. So I got that one. As for the tower… well, I had found the one way up near the top, but somehow there was another one lurking off to the sides (thanks @Merve2:disqus ) where OBVIOUSLY I had already looked, but actually not. So now, “DATA COLLECTION COMPLETE!” (cheesy rising echo tone sequence)  Thanks a lot guys, you’re the best.

        BTW, Pagan… you look different. Did you change your hair or something?

        • PaganPoet

          Yeah, dyed the pink hair black, got it cut. Decided pink yarn was not a professional look for job interviews. Also replaced my knit face with skin for cosmetic reasons.

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

      Mirror’s Edge. Non-ME game. Wuuuuut? :P

      BTW, @PaganPoet:disqus is right about the missing Keepers. Be sure to check off to the side in the area where the Council is too.

      • Chum Joely

        Fixed that for you. Harmony is restored to the commentiverse.

    • DrFlimFlam

      The first time I played ME1, I missed Luna entirely. When I realized what that meant, I was super, super annoyed. My Shepard who beat ME3 never even visited the stupid moon.

    • stakkalee

      Ha, I’ve almost caught up to you!  I just have Wrex’s and Garrus’s sidequests to do, plus the Keepers, then it’s off to Virmire for me, too.

      • Chum Joely

        Yeah, but you’ve finished the “Prepare tasty marshmallows for Gameological overlords” quest, and I haven’t even finished gathering the ingredients…

        • stakkalee

          “Achievement: Sucking Up” unlocked!

          Oh, and you’re right about the Consort’s reward – credits and XP and more “close sexy-talking”; if you express dissatisfaction with the reward you can apparently also unlock a sex scene, but why would you go to Mass Effect for your porn?  That’s what the Internet is for.

        • Jackbert322

          @stakkalee:disqus : It’s also the most terribly animated human interaction I’ve ever seen. You see your character and the consort nude from their (really long) necks up and then they nuzzle awkwardly. It’s the foreplay in a giraffe porno. Then suddenly you snap back into the room and your squadmates are staring at you.

      • Chum Joely

        So… Virmire. After all those Citadel quests, I worked my way towards Virmire planet by planet across the galaxy map, surverying doing every little quest that came up until I got to the Wrex and Garrus quests. All of this was just boring grind, including the loyalty missions– they were SO anticlimactic (I couldn’t believe that Wrex’s mission ended with a little TEXT DESCRIPTION of his reaction to finding the armor).

        But then I got to Virmire. After several hours of dull grinding spread across a few days of gaming time, it was astonishing to see how well-designed and visually polished this mission was. From the first landing amid surf and thunderstorms, to Kirrahe’s rousing “hold the line” speech, to the meeting with Sovereign and on the the bitter end… I loved everything about this mission. I stayed up to 2am finishing it, even though I had to get up at 5:15 this morning. And it was worth it.I was getting pretty bored with Mass Effect, but this totally got me back into it. And the drama after we returned to the ship was pretty great too. The game has found its groove again…

        • stakkalee

          I really enjoyed Virmire too!  I’m not a huge fan of the Mako, and visiting planet after planet to A)find a rock, then B)fight a sandworm (yeahyeah, “thresher maw”, whatever), and C)salvage a probe before D)invading a base was getting SUPER repetitious.  When I was coming in for a landing on Virmire I was expecting another square map and instead I got a long, winding canyon with lots of hidden Geth.  There was plenty of cover, and I even managed to take out a couple of Geth Colossi with my sniper rifle! Damn things took dozens of shots, even using the Assassination ability multiple times.  The pod crabs were a nice little touch, too.  Kirrahe’s speech was really excellent, and seemed uniquely Salarian, with a slightly alien POV, and the Wrex conversation was well-handled.  Saren didn’t even chew as much scenery as I expected!

          Who’d you sacrifice?  My infiltrator has been pairing up with Ashley and Liara mostly, so bye bye Kaidan!  I don’t understand the Ashley hate I’ve seen on the boards – I think her slight xenophobia is understandable, and it doesn’t really color her personality to a great extent; Tali, on the other hand, is an apologist for pre-emptive genocide.  Bumbling pre-emptive genocide, no less, since the quarians managed to get themselves kicked off their home planet.

        • Chum Joely

          @stakkalee:disqus Yeah, those pod crabs made me smile. I actually didn’t get out of the Mako for fights with the Colossi, having mastered a technique back on Asteroid X-57 where I lurch back and forth to dodge rockets, while firing my own rockets as often as possible and filling the cooldown time with a wash of machine-gun fire. But I did have a laugh-out-loud moment with the first Colossus where, as it thrashed around after I killed it with a final rocket blast, I ran over it at top speed with the Mako and bashed its head into a rock. Fuck you, Geth, I’ve gotten a hell of a lot stronger since we first met on Eden Prime.

          I sacrificed Kaidan as well. I sent Ashley in with the Salarians because it seemed to me that their squad would have the harder job, and I wanted the diversion aspect to keep going as long as possible with as much success as possible. Since Ash has been by my side and kicking ass for about 90% of the missions in the entire game, I figured she was the one to get it done. (I did all the “slow down the Geth” side tasks, so their squad was able to take down the AA towers by themselves.)
          By the time I had to choose who to go and save, it didn’t make much sense to try and send the Normandy to pick up Kaidan next to an armed nuke and a stampede of Geth, so I went with Ashley. I was hoping I’d be able to save Kaidan too, but I’m at peace with my choice.

          BTW, I liked Kirrahe’s speech for the same reasons as you. Particularly the callouts to the uniquely Salarian heroes that they look to for inspiration.

    • Chum Joely

      Also, for my LAST last side mission at the Citadel, I passed on my mom’s advice to Zabaleta, that poor drunk PTSD victim. With my Speech (uh, sorry… “Charm”) skill, I was able to convince him to go to the Veteran’s Affairs Office… but man, I was sorely tempted to choose the “red” dialogue option labeled “Nobody understands! Waaaah!”

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

    This weekend, I’m playing Weekend Mini-Course. I may get to participate in some game-theoretic experiments too, so it’ll be like I’m playing a game within a game.

  • Citric

    Probably just chugging along with the three games I’ve got going. I actually binge played Ni no Kuni today because it was the worst day ever – managed to run into a fire hydrant, which caused lots of damage to the car, and I can’t even get the insurance claim people to look at it until next Thursday. 

    So that’s fun.
     
    NnK might be paced slowly, but I appreciated the relaxing pace today.

    • SonjaMinotaur

      Ouch! That sucks.

      I think I also like the pace of NnK because I am stressed out at work. In the summer (when (generally) work calms down) I might have a totally different opinion of the game, but right now it’s perfect.

  • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

    I rediscovered my sweet ass DS and am overwhelmed by how many cool games I can play on there. I’ve been into Rune Factory lately, which is like Harvest Moon but with fantasy and fighting monsters and stuff. I’m also about to finish up Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, which has been absolutely charming. I wish I had someone to play multiplayer with though, these tank battles are super fun.

    I’m also having a decent time with a few of the millions of JRPGs on this thing. Seriously, the DS has a whole ton of worthwhile games. I’d say it’s up there with the PS2 and SNES, which are obviously the best.

    • Jackbert322

      The DS is pretty sweet. It was my childhood system (and yes, I realize how old that makes y’all feel, now imagine my little brother potentially saying the same about the PS4) and I got lots of terrible games according to Metacritic for it in value packs from Costco from my aunt, but I had fun with them because I didn’t look them up on Metacritic, which says something. Got any RPG recommendations? (I’ve got TWEWY and Devil Survivor 2, and will get Radiant Historia and some point.)

      • Pandas_please

         Damn I thought I had a while to go before someone made me feel old, I mean I’m only twenty two, but here we are.

        As for good RPGs well, Chrono Trigger’s great if you haven’t played it, Okami Den if you consider that an RPG, Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Dragon Quest IV is fantastic, I haven’t played V or VI which are both also on the DS I think but bets are they’re also quality, and Strange Journey is a really retro dungeon crawler that is definitely not for everyone but if you really like RPGs you may enjoy.

        • Jackbert322

          Didn’t know they had the old Dragon Quests, thanks! Yeah, I forgot to mention Chrono Trigger, I was thinking of it too. Strange Journey is M-rated SMT game, right? I’ll check out Okami Den!

        • PaganPoet

          28 here. At least you can still say you’re in your “early 20s” without lying. I’m pushing 30 over here.

          *applies more moisturizer*

        • Citric

          DQVI is quality, but I was never able to beat the stupid last boss.

          I really liked Nostalgia too, but I’m not sure if everyone will like Nostalgia.

        • djsubversive

          @PaganPoet:disqus At least you can still say you’re in your 20s. Enjoy those last couple years before you find yourself coming up with stupid euphemisms for over-30.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        In addition to Chrono Trigger, which is a classic that I’ve yet to play through (!) it’s got Radiant Historia, which has a similar time travel thing, but with a really fun battle system, it’s awesome. The Mario & Luigi games are great, though I haven’t played Partners in Time yet. 

        There are also a strangely high number of hardcore first person dungeon crawlers on it, like The Dark Spire, and three Etrian Odyssey games, along with some others I can’t remember.

        And in addition to the older DQ remakes they had an entirely new one on the DS, which was a legit numbered one and not some spin off. I’ve yet to play it, but it’s probably pretty good.

        There’s also a decent amount of roguelikes, if you’re into that.

        OH! Get Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes. it’s crazy fun, like an RPG and a puzzle game combined. Also Contact is really neat and “quirky.” Very Earthbound-esque. 

        AND THERE ARE SO MANY MORE GAMES AHHH

    • DrFlimFlam

      Rocket Slime is so much fun. I really had a blast with that game.

      And yeah, the DS is RPG heaven.

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Apparently it’s getting a sequel on the 3DS! With ship battles instead of tanks, and online for those battles. 

        • SonjaMinotaur

          OMG!!! Rocket Slime’s the best!

          Wait, online battles?

  • valondar

    I’m thinking I should finally get back and finish Mass Effect 3. But if I don’t do that (for I am gifted at prevarication – it took me a year to finish ME2, I have a tendency of either playing nothing but BioWare RPGs all day or just not touching them for months) there’s a good chance I will sit around in Portal 2, firing wildly until the puzzles solutions go from impossible nonsense to blindingly obvious. It’s an alright game, but it feels a bit expansive compared to Portal’s stark claustrophobia, and I’ll admit I didn’t think Portal was the second coming anyway just a really well designed and paced puzzle game.

    There’s also a good chance I will run around Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, which is a pretty fun and stylish looking classic platformer type game. The central mechanical conceit – that you must alternate between the two sisters because the world changes depending which sister you are and also they have different abilities – is wonderfully realized, with even the soundtrack switching out in a way that feels seamless… although it also feels like the game has exactly one song at this point.

    It’s challenging but not so challenging as I want to just give up which is a delicate balance (which Limbo totally missed the point of).

    Man, what else? If I prevaricate hard enough on Mass Effect 3 I might find myself backing into Anachronox, which I snapped up on gog’s sale last week. It’s one of those games I’ve always wanted to play for some reason without ever actually getting around to it (a trait it shares, I guess, with another recent gog release).

    Finally I have the inexplicable urge to knuckle down and play some Vicky II in the lead up to the Heart of Darkness expansion. Probably a small country, as those are good when I don’t want to go nuts.

    • Chum Joely

      “Prevaricate”… you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

      • valondar

        Hey, at least I’m honest about what I’m doing when I say I’ll play ME3.

  • http://arnereport.net/ Sept

    This Weekend I think I’ll continue with adventures in Pandora. Me and a friend have just hit Level 25 in Borderlands 2 and I want to end the story missions in the next weeks at least. In the early levels, just until now, the Phaselock ability of a Siren is overpowered in duels. I was able to just use it on my duelling partner and he instantly lost. Now he has enough health and shield to survive one Phaselock. But if he loses one duel and then doesn’t regenerate the health quick enough he loses the next one for sure. Then he has no chance with his rocket launcher. And if we do rocket launcher only, my rockets travel faster thanks to Skill points and badass ranks. I noticed that Siren is a really great teamplay vault hunter, you can help up dying players across the map or shoot them once and they have a lot of health again. Sad that only if I am in trouble the others can’t do the same.

    Next to Borderlands 2 I will play Dota 2. A great multiplayer game I am really getting into. Once you get how the game works and have some game sense the game is really fun and a few games with friends are awesome and solo queue is also a great experience. Think I will play a lot of this game in the future, though it will limit the time I can spend on other games.

    • EmperorNortonI

       I mainly play Gunzerker or Soldier.  I’ve played around a LOT with the different skills available to the Soldier, moving from Turret heavy tank to various different gun-heavy configs.  It’s interesting just how differently they can play.  The Gunzerker seems to be all about the path to ammo – do you go for auto-reloads and switching between guns, or do you go for infinite ammo in a single gun?

      I’m really loving the game, though it makes me feel like the random soccer enthusiast at a football high school.  All the cool kids are sittin around, talking about Mass Effect and Persona, while I’m off in the corner, all by myself, trying to tell people how cool the Rocket Pods are.

      • SonjaMinotaur

        You’re not alone! I never leveled up my Soldier far enough to get to the really cool stuff. Hmm, maybe I should get back into that game.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      YES! Another one to Dota 2!

      I really would hesitate to call solo queuing anything better than mediocre though. The game is a shit load of fun, but the chance of getting stuck with one asshole is absolutely terrifying.

      A decent number of us in the Steam group play Dota pretty regularly and some of us play together occasionally if you ever wanna try to queue up with someone feel free to ask around there.

      Is Dota 2 your first game of it’s type? I’m curious how the learning experience is for people unfamiliar with the mechanics of the genre. 

      • http://arnereport.net/ Sept

        Yes, it is the first game of its type for me and that was at the beginning very hard. I joined back in August I think, at least somewhere then, and played a few games and quickly stopped playing it regularly  I’ve watched a lot of guides and stuff, but those were not good enough.

        Then sometime on Twitch I found Beyond The Summit casting the G-League and it got me motivated to get back in the game. Some of my friends did too, but were much better than me. They all played the first Dota before. Was kind of sad that at that time Valve did not include anything like a guide for new players in the game. 

        Through the competitive scene, which is awesome to watch, I discovered Purge of PurgeGamers who has written a great beginner guide. Even explaining to you the lane control and stuff. Something totally missed in most guides. I still think warding is hard. Don’t ever know where to place them best.

        However now I got a few people on my Steam friends list who are just double the level of mine. (Previously it was 4-times the level I had.)

        And I have a question, is it better to random through the heroes to have played every hero once or twice or just pick a hero and play it until you can play it well and move to the next?

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          That’s awesome! Yeah, apparently Valve is working on adding a tutorial and stuff, thank god. In fact, in this last patch they added a little “dota item quiz” minigame while you queue. Cool stuff. 

          And yeah, watching pro games is surprisingly engaging, though a lot of them, and a lot of the casters can be pretty shitty (looking at you SingSing and TobiWan). Purge is pretty cool though, and so is Merlini, who has been putting up tutorials on youtube lately.

          As for learning the heroes, I’d say it’s best to try them all out, but not at the expense of having fun. If you’ve played with each of them you have some sense of how they work in the game and you can counter them more effectively. Also, being able to play a bunch of different heroes really helps when you start to get into things like team comp and counterpicking. Then again, there are probably heroes I haven’t played, and I have several hundred games played so far. So strike a balance between learning them well enough and getting a feel for them all.

          I recommend queuing up for Single Draft, Random Draft, Least Played, and/or maybe all random, because then you won’t have players picking pub stompy heroes immediately, and everyone is in less familiar territory. I’ve found these modes to provide games that are much more fun than All Pick, especially when Solo Queueing.

    • Histamiini

      Solo queue is a great experience? WELL GOOO-OD FOR YOU!

      I’ve been meaning to get back Dota for two or three months now, and I’m beginning to think that I should just accept that I’m too traumatised to do it.

      Signed,
      Retard Windrunner aka Faggot Lina

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Feel free to hit me up on steam if you wanna play with someone who won’t be an asshole. Also check out the gameological steam group if you haven’t already. 

        I guess a lot of my games don’t have assholes in them, but when they do, goddamn…

        That said, I have had a few awful games lately, where people were complaining at me even though A) we were winning B) they were playing like shit and C) I was playing my role just fine. Blahhhh.

        • Histamiini

          I hung out in the chat last year, so I’m familiar with the group. One of my first games was a Greeviling match with a couple of GC members last Fall.

          Thing is, the way matchmaking works, I’m always hesitant to ask anyone because as a new player I’m likely to drag down the team if I’m put on a higher level. The matchmaking algorithm seems to work fine when solo queuing. It’ll throw me higher if I get a few wins in a row but then adjusts down very quickly.

          Yeah, it’s a total misunderstanding to suggest that the negativity comes from your bad plays getting called out. Often you hear this explanation which assumes that you must be playing worse than your team to receive such hatred. Not true at all. People just act out when something goes wrong and the target is whoever seems like the easiest one at the moment for whatever reason. I gather it’s often people who think they’re better than they really are and therefore can’t deal with anything going wrong.

          You can mute them, and I do, but the problem is that these are often the bossiest guys who like to call the shots, so if you mute them, you won’t see the dumb strategies that everyone else will follow.

          Often it’s directed at the whole team. Like the one guy who’s been bossing everyone around and feeding like everyone else starts to complain to the other team to distance himself from the losing group. I’d like to think they’re about 13 years old, but unfortunately in my heart of hearts I know that they’re not, and that’s terrifying to ponder. Not really hurtful but the overall effect is depressing. You feel like you shouldn’t be sharing a game with people like that.

        • Histamiini

          Well inspired by you I played a game with my trademark nooblord Venomancer. I thought I’d try just searching in EU West instead of East and West, and now there’s a language selection screen that will probably help a lot.

          Anyway it was fun despite the fact that our Riki rage quit after 2 minutes and after a while it was just me and Drow putting up a turtle defense (which lasted for like 40 minutes). They only won when we started pushing. Lots of abandons on my level unfortunately.

          I’m in the gameological dota chat by default if you ever want to talk.

        • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

          Did you just add a chat channel called “Gameological”? because I think I did that on the off chance that someone else would do it. I’ll hop on the steam group chat next time i’m playing and see if anyone wants to join.

          Also, the way group matchmaking works is it finds a middle ground between everyone who queues up together or something. Also, I have a somewhat decent understanding of the game, so I can maybe help out if you have any questions or whatever. 

  • Marozeph

    I’ll help a friend move to a new house, so not much time for gaming this weekend. If i get the chance, i’ll work on my backlog – i still haven’t finished Okamiden & Pandoras Tower, and i want to finally start with Persona 4, which is waiting to be played for quite some time now – mostly because my PS2-Controller was broken and i only got a new one a few days ago.

    • PaganPoet

      Persona 4 is tremendous. You will love it. Although, just be aware it takes a while to get into the game proper. There’s quite a bit of exposition.

  • dreadguacamole

     I got Test Drive Unlimited 2 last week for under five quid on a steam sale, and I’m having a grand old time.

     As far as I’m concerned, as a racing game it’s fucking *terrible*, with some of the crappiest AI I’ve seen on a racing game, and a distinctly non-arcadey feel once you get to the cars that are supposed to be good that may end up putting me off the game. I know some people like it, but if I can’t accelerate and lose control of the car, well, that’s bad controls. Is that how cars handle in real life? Then cars in real life have terrible controls.
     As long as I can choose which car I’m driving, it’s fine – a lot of them have arcadey enough handling for me to enjoy myself; but the game makes a point of putting you on other cars, and even worse, gating content until you master them. Ugh.

     And if this game had a face, I’d punch it right in its smug, botox-injected nose. I’ve put down the voiceover volume all the way down, and desperately hit the skip cinematic button at any point they threaten to appear. The game’s got a filthy streak of lifestyle porn, and while it’s probably not the worst type of porn out there, it’s definitely the most inane.

     *However* – as a driving/exploration game, it’s fantastic. The game’s islands (Hawaii and Ibiza) are vast, gorgeous and varied, and have tons of things to discover. Hell, the game encourages exploration by color-coding streets you’ve explored; I find myself spending a lot of time coloring in streets as if I was playing fucking Amidar. As long as I like the handling of whichever car I’m on, the events are pretty fun too.

     Like Fuel, it’s a terrible game that happens to hit a lot of my buttons, and I’ll likely spend a lot more time with it until it manages to completely alienate me.

     Oh, and I also got Impire, but I’m already getting bored with it, and I’ve only gotten to the second level. This is not the dungeon keeper clone you’re looking for.

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

      I’ve been looking for a good driving exploration game.  Driver SF was the last really good one I played and Burnout Paradise & Need for Speed Hot Pursuit have both been disappointing and shook my faith in Criterion.

      • Citric

        The only thing I kind of hated about Hot Pursuit is the time trial missions, especially the cop ones. I bought HP to SMASH THINGS! Not to drive well!

        Oh, and the unskippable cutscenes to tell you your spike strips are slightly better.

        That said, part of my enjoyment of HP might be due to giving it an excellent custom soundtrack that makes everything badass.

      • dreadguacamole

        I like Criterion games, but they’ve never really been any good at creating interesting locales.
         I’d find it really hard to recommend TDU2 for anything other than that, though… it’s got so many things against it, including things I didn’t even touch upon above like wonky, inconstant physics and possibly the worst radio station I’ve heard in any game. 
         A friend’s recommended Forza Horizon to me, and after getting extremely frustrated with TDU I might give it a go.
         

  • Jackbert322

    Pretty much the same stuff as last weekend: Mass Effect 2, Devil Survivor, Crisis Core, and Dissidia. I’m thinking I may ditch Dissidia; juggling 4 RPGs and 3 JRPGs was a TERRIBLE decision. I didn’t even get around to starting Devil Survivor last weekend. Oh, and I’ve gotten hard back into Super Hexagon. I’m through Hexagon and Hexagoner, as well as their Hyper equivalents. Working on Hexagonest, though I’m finding the patterns very hard with my dyslexia (have trouble telling left from right).

    And what kind of a long boring poster would I be if I didn’t post a long boring post about Mass Effect 2?!

    I’m through the first “block” of missions, meaning I recruited Garrus, Mordin, Grunt, and Jack, in that order (as well as the Zaeed and Kasumi DLC). Notes about each squadmate following…

    Jacob – Like Kaiden, meh. I have all his skills since I’m a Vanguard. Partway through his loyalty mission now; seriously, both of the first squadmates have daddy issues?

    Miranda – Oh god, I’m appalled by how much fan service she is. What’s that, you’re sad your daddy genetically engineered you to be sexy? Then put on some more clothes! FORMER ADAM JENSEN HAS NO SYMPATHY. HE DIDN’T ASK FOR A LOT MORE AUGMENTATIONS THAN YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR. Warp and Overload are good skills though.

    Garrus – Aw yeah, Garrus! I actually had no idea he was Archangel, and was going to get The Scientist first, but ended up getting sidetracked and getting my best bud Garrus instead! Yay, Garrus! Aight, question about banging Garrus. How the hell do I get him to not be doing calibrations? I’ve done all the Investigate paths after every mission, he’s STILL doing calibrations. Concussive Shot is a wonderful last-ditch power, I use it if I’ve Biotic Charged and am in a sticky situation. Overload is useful too, but it’s redundant when I pair with Miranda.

    Kasumi – My next favorite character. Only character that is loyal. AWESOME loyalty mission! In-game, I like her quite a bit. Sneaky Shot (or whatever it’s called) is great. Overload is again useful, but redundant with Garrus or Miranda. The only trouble with Sneaky Shot is it has a massive charge time, so I can’t use it when I’m in a bad situation. However, the currently not tried Flashbang Grenada may serve that role.

    Zaeed – Meh. Can’t talk to him, have no use for him, yet to do his loyalty mission.

    Mordin – He’s cool. Incinerate is damned useful; works on almost anyone and is helpful in any situation. Does research for me, so that’s nice. My Shepard has a deep-rooted hatred of Salarians though.

    Grunt – He’s okay in combat, I think…I used him in one mission but forget his skills. Personality-wise, so not Wrex :(

    Jack – Don’t get me started. Okay, I’m started. I hate the fact that she won’t put a shirt on. I hate her tatoos. I hate her stretched ears. I hate that she swears so much. I hate her. I hate her. She also has my name. That makes me hate everything I hated DOUBLE. She’s a terrible human being and she shares my name. I haven’t yet used her in combat. I don’t plan to. I probably won’t even get her loyal.

    There we go, that’s Mass Effect 2 so far. This weekend, I’ll finish Jacob’s loyalty mission that I’m currently in the middle of. Then I’ll do Miranda, Zaeed, and Mordin. Finally, some “N7″ missions I’ve got in my journal. I doubt I’ll be starting the next “block” of recruits…one the one hand, I have Monday off of school, on the other hand, I like to do things besides video games.

    • valondar

       If you do Jack’s loyalty mission, you can make her wear a shirt.

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

        There’s also a DLC outfit that gives her more clothes. 

        • Jackbert322

          I didn’t know about that for the loyalty mission. I saw the DLC, but $2? Nope. And it’s just a leather jacket. I actually don’t want her to put on a shirt, I want her to put on armor. Y’know, like a soldier.

        • Fluka

          On the other hand, you also get to fix Garrus’ armor and give Thane a sweet pair of shades, so it’s a pretty effective $2.

        • Jackbert322

          @Fluka:disqus : I tried posting but it got deleted. Basically what I said was I had $2.50 left in my PlayStation Store “wallet”, was checking out ME2 DLC, actually thought the Garrus and Thane outfits looked awesome, thought $2 was too much for just cosmetics, and bought the Kestral armor instead. But I probably will crack and buy the appearances pack. I mean, I get to doll up Garrus! (And I looked at a picture of Jack in her outfit; it’s actually kinda cool. Still not armor though.)

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

      After you do a few missions, Kelly Chambers will tell you that Garrus wants to talk.

      • Jackbert322

        He better not want to talk about calibrations.

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

          I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but his later excuses are much more hilarious than mere calibrations.

      • Fluka

        Yup yup.  Also, Garrus romance advice – once you do the loyalty mission, do some investimagating, and choose a rather obvious dialogue option, the romance-starter choice can be easy to miss.  (Ignore if you want to go into this cold.)  Choose the paragon option, which is something like “That’s not what I meant.”  Thanks to ME’s dialogue wheel paraphrasing it’s not obvious, and I missed it the first time I went through the conversation (and my sister missed it altogether.)

        • Jackbert322

          Okay. Kelly just told me to talk to Garrus and I unlocked his loyalty mission. After I do it, save before talking to him so I don’t mess up?

        • Fluka

          @Jackbert322:disqus Aaaalways a good plan.  

    • DrFlimFlam

      What I wouldn’t give for a game about my dude Shepard and Garrus travelling the galaxy, hunting down bad guys and romancin’ the ladies. Like Cowboy Bebop but with money.

      • Jackbert322

        That would be awesome! My Shepard is a lady, but she did romance Liara, and Garrus’ mandibles look…flexible…I don’t know where I’m going with this…

        • valondar

           Threesome?

        • Fluka

          FUNNY YOU SHOULD MENTION FLEXIBILITY.

    • PaganPoet

      Jack is ~edgy~ bro. Psh, you’re not a nineties kid, you wouldn’t understand. *turns nose up*

      • Jackbert322

        Man, what was hip in kids marketing in the mid-00s? I dunno, I think I was too busy reading…

  • EmperorNortonI

    I’ve gotten the (Borderlands) band back together, and things are going good.  I even put a bit of time into my 2-player session, which is cool.

    On my own, I’m still plugging away at Tropico 4.  Damn, despite all of its obvious mediocrity, that game just sucks in my attention like nothing else.  You know what it is?  I like farming.  I love building farms and plantations, and watching stuff grow, and profiting from the labor of my exploited peasants.  I even like building ranches, and watching the cows or goats gradually eat away at the grass.  The rest of the game . . . eh, I’ll do tourism occasionally just for fun, or maybe mines and factories for a hoot, but really, it’s about farming.  And building people nice houses.

    On my own, I’ve been reading about the construction of the transcontinental railroads in the USA.  For fun.  This got me hankering to play a railroad game again.  Many years ago, I played through just about every scenario available for Railroad Tycoon 3, and I don’t really want to go back to that.  I remembered that I’d only scratched the surface of Rails Across America, but I find that it’s impossible to get a copy of that game.  And Sid Meier’s Railroads was not very good, by all accounts.  This leaves me with no way to get my railroad-construction fix, and I’m sad.

    That said, I’ve been thinking of dipping my toe into another strategy game.  part of me is tempted to give Crusader Kings II another try.  Part of me is sad that the Gameological Civ 5 game never happened.  Part of me wants to try out Prison Architect, or even the Kerbal Space Program.

    In good news, one of my Kickstarters succeeded.  Unwritten will, in fact, get written.  Yay!

    • valondar

       Crusader Kings II recently released another expansion – this one lets you play Republics! And one that pushes the date back to the age of the Vikings is in the works.

      And that’s ignoring the innumerable mods (such as the rather good one that turns the map into Westeros, pretty much the only Game of Thrones game you’ll never need).

      Yeah… good times.

      • KidvanDanzig

        The Game of Thrones mod kind of blows since they’re so fixated on fidelity to the books that it’s essentially the same deal as, say, WWII European theater scenarios in Civ games. Your ability to win hinges on whether you’re playing as the Americans ( / Targaryens). Once they wake from their slumber they steamroll over fucking everything. Every game ends the same way.

        • valondar

           That kind of depends as to when you start it though. Back in the Seven Kingdoms era or the Clash of the Kings period Targaryens don’t matter a whit really.

        • HobbesMkii

          I would contend that the mod started to suck when we started to introduce items that made no sense in the context of the book (the trial system was what made me leave the team).

          We actually worked pretty hard to balance out the Robert’s Rebellion scenario, as well as the Clash of Kings scenario (although, not to the same degree, due to limitations with the Megawar engine). The dragons for the Targs do tend to steamroll stuff. But we also made it possible (though quite difficult) for non-Targs to obtain an egg and hatch it. I’m sorry I don’t have more info for you–I left the team months ago after discovering that the dev who created the trial system was a total dick.

        • KidvanDanzig

          @HobbesMkii:disqus Heh, I think anybody who’s worked on a substantial fanmod team can totally relate. I guess when you’ve got people volunteering their time they get an inflated sense of what authority they have or what they’re responsible for. Mod communities, for all the good they do, seem to always be stocked with a sizable contingent of unstable and touchy people.
           
          For example, everybody really liked the KOTOR2 Restoration Project, but a lot of people don’t realize it was never supposed to come out. They had a bug tracker which meticulously documented the number and severity of bugs to be quashed before a “.xxb” public beta (/ final product) would be released, and at some point it hit something like 34 small-time feature bugs (this after resolving thousands of major and minor bugs) and just… stopped. One of the primary guys stopped working on it and forbid its release until it was done. So the effectively complete overhaul of a famously incomplete game just kind of gathered dust. The only reason it came out is because a friend of mine on the team took their internal beta and leaked it after tussling with the obstinate dweebs heading the project. They were fucking furious but the public was too busy enjoying a high-quality mod to notice.

          But yeah, good mods get pulled from the Skyrim Nexus all the time when the author feels disrespected somehow (often when bugs are reported) or when someone else claims that they’re unfairly using something (basically an incredibly low-stakes version of patent trolling). Some of them seem to be made largely incompatible with other mods primarily out of spite / self-promotion (hi Skyrim RCRN). People are muscled out for no good reason, and the wrong class of mods (ie skin and anime mods) are prioritized. Forums are populated by vain idiots and beset by constant petty conflict, like the eye of Jupiter but with drama instead of lightning. Fuck it.

          I only briefly worked on a few mods, one was a Fallout 2 total conversion that turned out to be poorly designed and incredibly boring (lasted about 2 weeks) and the others were solo Baldur’s Gate 2 CNPC mods, which I (being the creator) thought were pretty good, but I had to abandon them because nobody was willing to give me the rundown on how higher-level scripting worked. The one guy who responded made high-drama JRPG romance companions and would only tutor me if I tailored my mods to his specifications, which obviously was not going to happen.

  • KidvanDanzig

    System Shock 2 you fuckers

    • KidvanDanzig

      FWIW you can definitely tell that Dead Space was originally intended to be a third SS game, it’s essentially SS2 with all the stats stuff and the perspective gutted out and replaced with Resident Evil 4 parts, beyond that they’re remarkably similar, down to inventory management taking place in real time while there are things out in the world that are gunning for your blood. 

      Shame about DS 2/3 though, they sort of lost the plot. I remember that DS1 was not a huge success (perhaps it was relative to poor Mirror’s Edge, which also came out in that uncharacteristically-ballsy year for EA) and there was some surprise that it got a sequel, so I sort of assumed that the horror elements were mandated out. Hell, you’re already seeing a lot of folks complain about SS2′s endless respawns. They were intentional! AAA power fantasies have killed challenge in games, Dead Souls notwithstanding.*

      *It’s true that the player also has endless respawns in SS2, but the inventory management aspects of it along with the endless stream of baddies sort of counteracted it and kept players moving as quickly as possible.

      • ToddG

        There’s a mode in DS2 that only lets you save three times the WHOLE GAME, with no checkpoints.  There is still challenge to be found in most modern games, it’s just not at the default setting anymore.

    • KidvanDanzig

      Also for everyone else playing, here are all the essential fixpacks / texture packs / HUD rescaling that are required for all games made in those days - 
      http://www.gog.com/forum/system_shock_2/system_shock2_faq_patches_mods_recommendations/page1

      • Fluka

        Damn it, man, I don’t have time to try to play another decade old stone cold PC Classic!  I still have to finish Deus Ex!  I don’t need more guilt!  Get those texture packs away from me!  Aaaahhhh….

  • ToddG

    I have become quite disinterested in the games currently on the slate (Red Dead, Ni No Kuni), and so have decided to take a break from both and go waaay back and finally play the Prince of Persia (2008) DLC, which I never got around to.

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

      PoP 2008 really rubs me the wrong way.  It had everything going for it, good platforming, interesting world and art style, along with decent combat BUT…

      If I have to hear Nolan North crack wise one more time I will explode.  If it were any other voice actor, I might have actually finished that game but Nolan is just an immersion killer for me especially considering how out of place he sounds in Prince of Persia.  Hell, I’d take the trashy Godsmack soundtrack from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within before Nolan North.

      Education for those of you who don’t remember the Nu-Metal Video Game Rennaissance of 2004: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjwIXeCDvbE

      • ToddG

        Yeah, I had forgotten it was him and had the exact same reaction when I booted it up last night.

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

      Hmm…I never played the DLC. I quite liked the game for what it was, but 15 hours of it was enough, I think. It got pretty damn repetitive after a while.

      That being said, it was super-gorgeous. I have dozens of screenshots from it. They look like huge comic book panels.

  • DrFlimFlam

    RBI Baseball was great with the Tigers. I did the math as a younger man, and most of the team was hitting about .500 with enough power to hit 100+ homers a year. My beloved Angels were decidedly unfun to play as.

    I’ll be playing Skyrim should I get the time. I finally got my subwoofer in, so I spent yesterday running through Lord of the Rings and Dark Knight Rises to fine tune where the sound should be. Cannot wait to play some games where that ambient noise and lower register THUMP was lost before.

    • Jackbert322

      Oooh, that hoodie from ThinkGeek? You think it’ll hold up? I almost got one of their Portal hoodies, but I had heard complaints about it fraying quickly.

      • DrFlimFlam

        I bought it from Thinkgeek, but it’s an official BioWare product that they made themselves (well, it’s made in China, but you get what I mean). The only reason I bought it from Thinkgeek is because I trust their customer service and fulfillment process far more than BioWare’s, where the forums are littered with the corpses of angry fans waiting three months for the dang thing to get back in stock.

        There appear to be three men’s jackets – a regular hoodie, a “tech” jacket, and the “Elite” hoodie, which is of course what I got. It is easily the heaviest hoodie I’ve ever felt; it absolutely kills the Woot! and Champion  (MLB) hoodies I’ve purchased in the past for heft and feel.

        They say you can throw it in the washing machine, but that’s crazy. I spent $75 on a HOODIE; it’s going to the dry cleaners.

  • ToddG

    I kind of envy all of you guys playing through the Mass Effect series for the first time now, and how you will never have to scramble around and find two-year-old save files and figure out which has your highest-level character, and in which save you made which choices, and painstakingly try to recreate your character’s face that completely failed to import.

  • http://pseudonymjones.com/ Pseudonym Jones

    I got myself a copy of Risk: Legacy after the discussion here a couple of weeks ago — I think I’ve assembled a crew of dedicated warmongers to play through it with. We’ll see how that goes!

    If I have time for some electric vidya, I’ll be playing Sly Cooper, trying to steal steal steal everything that isn’t nailed down and has a sparkly particle effect.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Ooh, boardgames! Legacy looks really fucking cool, but I don’t like vanilla Risk at all so i’m hesitant to pick it up when there are so many other games calling me. I definitely am interested in it though. Right now I’m trying to round up four more people to play Battlestar Galactica with me, which is proving to be more difficult than I thought. I mean come on! YOU COULD BE A CYLON!! WHO EVEN KNOWS??!

  • indy2003

    I’m planning to finish off Ni no Kuni this weekend – I’ve reached the final boss, who beat me four times last night before I finally decided to give up and go to bed (it was particularly frustrating on the final occasion, as I had taken down its first two forms and was nearly done with the third). I’m only at level 52, which is making this last showdown fairly challenging… but I’m sure it can be done.

    After that, I’m going to finally get around to playing a game which friends have been urging me to check out for years: Shadow of the Colossus. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally getting a chance to experience it for myself.

    • ToddG

      I hope the elevated expectations don’t ruin SotC for you.  It is truly a masterpiece.

      Er, I mean, it’s terrible, you’ll hate it.

      • indy2003

        Thankfully, I haven’t had the story spoiled or anything like that. Just heard a lot of things like, “it is truly a masterpiece.”

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

        I’m disappointed that I can’t really share in all the SotC love. I did not enjoy the game. I just do not enjoy boss battles.

        • DrFlimFlam

          Neither do I. I think boss battles are one of the worst things about video games.

          I bought SotC last year at the video rental place just the same, but I haven’t played it yet.

        • ToddG

          I think, like any mechanic, boss battles can be done well or done poorly.  I get that SotC didn’t work for you, Dave, and I can totally respect that; its gameplay is certainly far from flawless.  But, out of curiosity, what is it about boss battles that you categorically disapprove of?  I generally only dislike them when they feel tacked on out of a seeming sense of obligation, or when the skills necessary for defeating them jarringly differ from those required in the rest of the game.  (Deus Ex:HR is the best recent example I can think of for BOTH of these.)  But neither of these complaints really apply to SotC, as the battles are almost all of the gameplay, so I’m curious what made you dislike the Colossi so much.

        • http://twitter.com/djbeema beema

          See, I hate boss battles too, but to me the boss battles in SotC were a completely different thing. All of them were unique and exciting and set in wondrous environments. The bosses themselves were environments. I didn’t find any of them particularly rage inducing, either, as I often do with games. They were essentially a core part of the game, unlike others games where boss battles are jarring and take you out of what you’ve been doing 95% of the game.

        • indy2003

          The boss battles which change the gameplay entirely are definitely the ones which frustrate me the most. “Now that we’ve spent hours teaching you how to master our complex combat system, take down the biggest threat of the game with a quick time event!”

        • AmaltheaElanor

          I can’t speak for @twitter-493417375:disqus but I don’t generally care for boss battles either.  (Have yet to play SotC.)  In general, I find them the necessary evil of gaming.  I think of them like in Zelda or Metroid, where they have that inevitability at the end of the dungeon which both takes too much time to complete, and needlessly stresses me out.  I understand there are probably people who enjoy that kind of thing – that overwhelming challenge that might kill you five or six times before you manage to whittle things down and perform all the correct quick-time events, what have you.  I even can see their value.

          But in general, the only boss fights I can say I have enjoyed are usually in like Dragon Age, where I get to control so many of the outside circumstances leading up to it – like meticulous level-building for my characters – and where it takes a fair amount of strategy to defeat.  The Archdemon at the end of DA: O?  Good.  Emeperor Ing at the end of Metroid Prime 2?  Agh!

  • blue_lander

    I’m going to play Flink for Sega CD this weekend. I bought it a few years ago and never got around to trying it. It looks like an RPG/platformer hybrid. If I don’t like it, I’ll go back to trying to beat Three Dirty Dwarves on the Saturn. That sounds like a euphemism for something nasty.

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

      I wish that someone would go ahead and make a 3D RPG/platformer – two of my favourite genres in one game. The upcoming Tomb Raider looks to be the closest thing to that.

  • Cornell_University

    I am notoriously bad at sports games as well, though I do love them.  I bought Joe Montana Football for Sega Genesis at a thrift store a few weeks back, my line of reasoning being “I like football and have a decent grasp of how the plays work, and this game is very old and rudimentary.  therefore I will probably not be terrible at it”  yeah no, I was pretty horrendous and down by 28 at the half.  Not helped by the fact that I always tried to fake punt. NEVER FAKE PUNT, GUYS.

    I am however pretty good at the NFL 2K games on Dreamcast.  I have no idea why.

    • Cornell_University

      I also bought Super Hang on and some Formula 1 game I don’t remember the name of that day.  I’m pretty lousy at those too!  Does Road Rash count as a sports game?  because I’m really good at Road Rash!

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

        Road Rash counts as a life skill.  You never know when you’ll find yourself on a Kawasaki fending off dudes with baseball bats and chains.

      • djsubversive

        I remember unlocking the “Outshined” and “Kickstand” videos for Road Rash on the 3DO! Man, that early FMV stuff suuuuuucked.

        The biker races in GTA IV: Lost and Damned were like a Road Rash Remix, but they just made me want a new Road Rash game.

    • Cornell_University

      OH RIGHT THE QUESTION: I will either grind some more on Final Fantasy Tactics for no good reason since I’m still in Chapter 1 OR play the GTA trilogy and Mega Man X collection for PS2 if I buy them from my job today.  Happy Valentines Weekend honey, I’m getting drunk and killing hookers!

      • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

        Mega Man X! Do it!

    • Drunken Superman

      ALWAYS PUNT if you’re playing the SportsTalk version.  Just to hear the announcer’s disbelief as you do it every single time.  ”I DON’T BELIEVE IT!”

  • boardgameguy

    going to Con of the North in St. Paul this weekend to play a bunch of board games that released in 2012 that i haven’t had a chance to play yet.  this will include ESCAPE: THE CURSED TEMPLE, TZOLKIN, and TERRA MYSTICA.  very excited.

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

    Maybe I’ll have time to re-install my twice-RMAed video card, and maybe it will cooperate, and maybe I will then have to start my got-on-sale Mass Effect.

    However, it is FAR more likely that grad school will annex my entire weekend, as it is wont to do. If that’s the case, the closest game-ish thing I’ll be doing is continuing to teach myself how to program for the Kinect in Processing with the ultimate aim of figuring out how to teach kids to do so. Which is still hella-fun, but a different type of hella-fun.

    We’ll see how it plays out!

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

    I’ve started to have more commitments even outside of my 9 to 5 so I’ve barely been playing video games at all over the past week, but I did have time for two.

    I’ve been stuck on the same mission of Company of Heroes for quite a while.  You have to take down the Panzer Ace –the closest thing this game has to a final boss– and it requires a great deal of tank maneuvering and strategic distraction.  I’m terrible at both of these things, firstly, tanks are hard to drive in normal games but getting it positioned so that it’s ass isn’t staring at the business end of a Panzer is even more difficult when all I can do is click where I want it to go not how I want it to spin, secondly, I just can’t build units fast enough to keep up the distraction game.  This is also why I’m terrible at Starcraft.

    On the easy end of things is Zeno Clash, the South American First-Person Prog Rock Album Cover game.  The melee combat is pretty bare bones (especially compared to something like Chivalry) but the art style is riveting and the punches do feel nice when they connect.  Also it’s short so I can play it in bursts while half-watching Seinfeld reruns with the wife.  And isn’t that all we really want from life?

  • HobbesMkii

     I’m going to learn to fly in Planetside 2 and tomorrow I’ll be testing out my new Arkham Horror purchase in an 8 player extravaganza (we’ll start at 4:00pm in the afternoon and go until we run out of juice or the game ends). I’m looking forward to it. I played about half a game or two by myself, but it’s not the same.

    • boardgameguy

      arkham horror with 8 players can be very long.  just be ready for a lot of time to elapse in between your actions.

      if they could figure out a way to take a light table-top RPG like arkham horror and somehow mix in simultaneous decision making for all players so length of play wouldn’t scale up radically with more people involved, i’d purchase that game in an instant

      • HobbesMkii

        We ended up playing with 7 people instead of 8. It took us about five hours.

    • djsubversive

      You’re a much better pilot than I am. We just need better situational awareness because I always seem to be aiming in the opposite direction we’re getting attacked from (or we’re too low to hit whoever’s shooting us from the ground).

      I think practicing flying Reavers around Esamir/Amerish when it’s quiet (so pretty much any time) would help. My problem is that I don’t spend any time flying. So whenever I try it, I crash and burn in a minute or less, then end up just grabbing a Flash or re-deploying somewhere closer to the target.

      • HobbesMkii

        We do need a third to man the AA gun in the back, though, for the Liberator.

        • djsubversive

          yeah. I was switching between the two last night (getting pretty good with the tail gun), but it’d be nice to not have to do that, Effigy.

    • Fyodor Douchetoevsky

      Arkham Horror looks to be not my cup of tea, gameplay-wise. The theme is neat as heck though. I’m hoping to try to get people to play BSG with me, which I bought about a month ago and haven’t manage to get to the table at all yet. I did try out my other games, which has been fun. Dixit I think is my favorite so far, then Dominion, and Citadels in last. Citadels is alright, but there is so much downtime when playing with five people. I want to like it more than I do. Also Hive is a lot of fun and really interesting. I think my favorite game I have is still Space Alert though. It is seriously fucking awesome. I need to pick up the expansion for that. 

  • Effigy_Power

    a) Avoiding all the people talking about Mass Effect.
    b) Giggling into the headset DJ.Subversive made me buy.
    c) Playing Planetside 2 which Sub nags me to play.
    d) Re-thinking my relationship with Sub.
    e) Shoveling more fucking snow.
    f) Moar comix.

    • ToddG

      Is game A as challenging as it sounds?

      • PaganPoet

        You know, it’s just popular right now since the first ME was only just released for PS3 a couple months ago. People are taking this opportunity to play through the whole trilogy. Well, at least that’s why I’m playing it.

        • ToddG

          Oh, I know.  My post was intended neither to mock nor complain about the number of people playing ME now, but merely to observe, hopefully humorously, that that number is consistently high in these weekly threads.

        • Effigy_Power

          @BreakingRad:disqus is all snark.
          The mocking and complaining is all me.

    • HobbesMkii

       Yeah, Sub sounds pretty abusive

      • djsubversive

        /me cracks the whip.

        • Effigy_Power

          djabusive

    • djsubversive

      whoa. hold on.

      I didn’t make you buy anything. Professional gamer Fatal1ty’s officially-licensed headset was all you.

      I don’t nag only you to play PlanetSide 2. I tell merve he should get it just about every time he joins the chat. And I only do that because having a group of 6 people dying over and over is way more fun than a group of 2 people dying over and over. And with six, the deaths might get a little more spread out! Plus, the more people we have to laugh when Hobbes flips his ATV, the funnier it gets.

      I thought we had a good relationship. We make each other laugh. And have interesting discussions. But if you want to throw all of that away, fine. Walk out that door. :(

      • Effigy_Power

        THEN WHY DON’T I HAVE A BABY!?
        -cries, storms out-

        • djsubversive

          Don’t go! But if you’re going to go, could you shovel the driveway on your way? Thanks!

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

        The only thing I took from this is that there’s a professional gamer named Fatal1ty.

        Seriously. “Fatal1ty.” I’ve never met that person, yet I want to punch him or her in the face.

        • djsubversive

          yeah. Eff posted a link to her headset, and it had a whole thing about how Jonathan “Fatal1ty” Lastname (not actually his last name) uses the same one and it’s got his seal of approval (not actually a seal, unfortunately).

          The user reviews were pretty great though. “I played Crysis for 9 hours straight, and my ears got sore from the headset. 2/5″

          Do you have PlanetSide 2 installed yet?

  • SonjaMinotaur

    Since it’s my birthday next week and I get paid today, I’m going to be continuing my annual tradition of buying up all the games I was vaguely interested in over the last 18 months that can now be picked up on the cheap. I will probably also continue my tradition of only playing one game out of every three I buy, but whatever!

  • dantebk

    I’ve made it a goal to finally play through this stack of untouched GameCube games in case I replace my Wii with a Wii U later this year. So lately I’ve been playing a lot of Pikmin, and enjoying it quite a bit. It already has me looking to Pikmin 3 as a better reason to get a Wii U than my current reason: it’s a new toy, and I want it.

    If I finish that this weekend, then I’ll probably start either Animal Crossing or Wave Race: Blue Storm next.

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

      Be warned, once you really get into Animal Crossing, it’s tough to stop playing it even for a day.  Those goddam animal neighbors will be pissed.

  • Aurora Boreanaz

    Planning to finish Dishonored over the weekend, baby allowing.  For some reason, despite being on the final mission and allegedly being in a hurry to rescue Emily, I have developed OCD requiring me to sneak up to and knock out every other human on the island.

    Also, thank you to Mookalakai and CNightwing – once I figured out how to jump-assassinate tallboys, it was appropriately epic!

    • ToddG

      I was debating whether or not it was sufficiently funny to ask why your baby dislikes Dishonored enough to not allow you to play it.  I finally decided that adding a dash of meta-commentary would push it over the edge, but I may be wrong about that.

      • Aurora Boreanaz

        “Daddy, you can’t play that game because I want you to hold me so I can stare at you for two hours at a time.  If you’re good, maybe I’ll smile at you once!”

        It’s more just the timing…if stuff is done around the house AND Baby Boreanaz is content or asleep, then I might have an hour to play.

  • Chip Dipson

    I’ve been playing Sly Cooper: Thieves of Time all week. Is it possible to feel nostalgia for something less than ten years old? I’m really enjoying all the sneaking around and hanging out in a world where’s everything contains four to six giant coins. I was going to start Demon’s Souls as well. Question though: will I be missing anything vital to the game since the servers went down?

    • PaganPoet

      I said in the Sly Cooper review topic that it’s kind of sad that I’m referring to a PS2-era franchise as “old school.” I’m looking forward to playing that one too.

    • BobYourHead

       Re: Demon’s Souls. The only thing you’re really missing are the interactions with other players. If you’ve played Dark Souls you know what those interactions are – players invading you, you invading players, messages left around the world (helpful and not so much), cooperative strangers helping in boss fights. With Demon’s Souls your player can either be in ‘soul’ form (i.e. dead) or in human form. When in human form you can summon other players to help or you run the risk of being invaded by other players (they hunt you down and try to kill you). Obviously this won’t happen with the servers being down. I know for a fact that you can summon NPCs to help you in Dark Souls (if playing offline), but I don’t remember if you have that option in Demon’s Souls. If the option is available, the opportunity would likely occur shortly before a boss fight and you would need to be in human form. It’s been over a year since I’ve played Demon’s Souls so some of what I say may be off a bit. Being offline in Demon’s Souls will make it easier to get some unique weapons. Some weapons are only available when the World Tendency (think DEFCON ratings) is at a certain point. When playing online, the interactions of random people can affect the World Tendency, making it more difficult for you to find a sword that is only available in a DEFCON 1 world when the actions of other players is pushing the game towards a DEFCON 5 situation.

      In short, playing offline will be a diminished experience but the uniqueness of the Demon’s Souls online interactions means that if you haven’t experienced before, you won’t know what you’re missing. It’ll be like playing a hard as shit Skyrim. And the game is hard as shit. I couldn’t beat the first real boss I came to without help from some random online player. You will learn to farm. You will learn to play smartly. You will learn strategy. You will be addicted. Shit, I’m at work now and all I can think about is upgrading my sword in Dark Souls (lightning or fire path???) Remember, there are fantastic Demon’s Souls wikis online. They will be your crutch, your lifeline, your guide. There’s no shame in using these wikis as the game really doesn’t hold your hand.

    • Citric

      Are the servers down? I thought they got a last-minute reprieve. Atlus said something about doing a light tendency or whatever on their twitter thingy recently.

      • Chip Dipson

         Yep! My mistake! This just made my weekend all the better.

  • exant

    With the long weekend I’ll be playing Super Meat Boy and Cities XL.

    I just hit chapter 4 of Super Meat Boy, but Chapter 3′s dark world levels are really bogging me down. It’s beginning to take me almost hour per level to get an A+ and Bandage Get, if I even can. So I switch between SMB and Cities XL, which is like a goofy euro Sim City without the bullshit, like laying water pipes and stringing electricity. 

    • Effigy_Power

      I knew it was just a matter of time before someone would use Well-dressed Dog as an avatar.

      PS: Would you recommend Cities XL to someone who is sick to death with the minutia of Sim City 4?

      • exant

        Definitely. The lack of minutia (i.e., bullshit) is what the game has over Sim City, although Sim City games are a little more polished. The core of the game is simple (as much as I’ve played of it): four levels of workers, four levels of industry/offices and retail/hotels. The game has the usual city services that make people happy/educated/healthy, etc, but there’s no endless fuckery with budgets, taxes, and laws.

        You also have much more power and a lot more money. Everything about the game is just easier and there’s less that stands in the way of just building a sweet-looking city with hella bridges and towers and trains.

        I haven’t yet had a city with more than 60,000 people yet, so I don’t know how persnickety the game gets with interstates, mass transit, waste, and the usual things that made the Sim City endgame a micromanagement nightmare. I will say that designing a bus system was really easy and really fun in Cities XL, so hopefully it stays that way.

  • ComradePig

    Borderlands 2: A friend of mine was lucky enough to receive a few free codes for this when he bought a new video card so we’ve all been playing it. It’s largely enjoyable and although the drip of ever better loot is of course addicting on some level, I can’t really play it at length like some people can. At a certain point I just sort of zone out and am playing yes, but not really in any active sense. An hour long stretch is about my limit on it. Game looks great aesthetically though and is a nice change of pace from a lot of the muddier looking games out there. Some of the dialogue is entertaining, though an equal amount or more is merely forced or irritating.

    Sniper Elite V2: The first title of this series was great, and particularly for the low, low price I purchased this one at it’s fairly fun as well. When the gaming is functioning at its best, you do feel like king-shit of fuck mountain as all your best laid plans come to fruition, the only downside is there is a lot of clunkier elements that undermine that. Namely the stealth can be pretty wonky and requiring a lot of trial and error, so if you mess it, it’s time to fight every enemy in a mile radius. Also, this game is disappointingly a lot more linear than its predecessor, which limits your tactical/stealth options a whole lot. A reasonably fun diversion but nothing amazing, great work on the environments and uniforms though. The bullet cam mechanic is pretty fun, although the whole X-ray bit is sort of silly and gratuitous.

    Elder Scrolls V: Morrowind:I’ve dove back into this and am in full nostalgia mode, I enjoyed Oblivion and particularly Skyrim but there’s simply no matching the atmosphere and richness of the world found in this one. In addition, I downloaded the Morrowind Overhaul 3.0 mod collection and the upgrades to the graphics are astounding, I’ve mentioned elsewhere but what it does for this decade old game is truly impressive. Going back one does notice some archaic design elements, outside of just the combat as well, that one takes for granted in more modern games but it has largely aged well.

    Outside of that more Chivalry: Medieval Warfare and RUSE, which I bought for $2.50 on Steam yesterday.

    • exant

      Sometimes Borderlands 2 dynamites the fourth wall to grab you, screaming “I’M SUCH A SELF-AWARE VIDEO GAME! BE HUMORED!”. In a decade, players will just ask “what the fuck grandpa shit was that joke about”

    • djsubversive

       I was so disappointed with Sniper Elite v2. The first game had some problems, but the second game didn’t seem to fix any of them other than the color palette.

      • ComradePig

         Yeah, I’m enjoying it for what it is but there’s so much lost potential on the innovation front. It’s a shame because the original bucked a lot of trends from other contemporary games but this one seems to have succumbed a bit to the push toward linearity, and as you say, left some of the clunkier elements of the game unaltered.

  • djsubversive

    I’ll be playing more PlanetSide 2, probably with Effigy and Hobbes (and anyone else who wants to see Hobbes flip his ATV again). Now that the underbarrel grenade launcher isn’t bugged and actually explodes (and can get resupplied from an ammo drop), I’ve been using it more often. Too bad the gun it’s attached to isn’t all that great at the actual gun part (the NC’s Gauss Compact-S, for anyone else who plays PlanetSide 2).

    The new SMG (NC gets the Cyclone) is also pretty nice – it’s a great alternative to the Infiltrator’s long rifles, and lets me be useful in a close-combat situation (along with the hacking and the recon tool).

    Single-player games: I’m getting back into 7.62 High Calibre, aka Brigade E6. It’s a real-time-with-pause squad-based strategy game, it’s buggy and poorly-translated, and I try to avoid combat as much as possible in the early-game, because I’m only one guy with an old Mosin Nagant rifle.

    Maybe some more Gothic 3, if I can manage to get out from the death-trap I wandered into. North is a pack of velociraptors. East, in the ruined fort, is a bunch of goblins (like 15 – 20). West is the mountain that I can’t climb back up, and south is a wandering group of troll-like things. Everything murders me horribly, and Diego is useless. I don’t know how I got there, but I can’t get back out without dying. It’s still one of the better games I’ve played in a long time.

    • Effigy_Power

      Maybe some more Gothic 3, if I can manage to get out from the death-trap I wandered into. North is a pack of velociraptors. East, in the ruined fort, is a bunch of goblins (like 15 – 20). West is the mountain that I can’t climb back up, and south is a wandering group of troll-like things. Everything murders me horribly, and Diego is useless. I don’t know how I got there, but I can’t get back out without dying. Because of that it’s one of the better games I’ve played in a long time. Also I like being spanked by software.

      • djsubversive

        “by software”? That’s an unnecessary addition.

  • stuartsaysstop

    Just recently got a new laptop with a fairly decent graphics card so I’m having a field day with steam etc. Planning on working through some more Deus Ex: Human Revolution (only managed to clear the warehouse level last weekend, considering a non-lethal do-over before proceeding) and possibly firing up Civilization V, which will be the first Civ game I’ve ever played since I’ve never really explored the strategy/city-building genre before.

    After much consideration I also have downloaded the Dolphin emulator plus the ROM for Xenoblade Chronicles, about which I’ve heard nothing but amazing things. Steam discounts and their ilk have pretty much completely broken me off from torrenting games, but the only other option is paying $175 to play it on my Wii, so here we are. I have yet to find out how well it will actually run on my computer, but that’s the first order of business once I get home from work. Fingers crossed!

  • The_Lame_Dane

    I spent a good half-hour to an hour pondering if I wanted a used Ps2 for 40 bucks. It was a great price at a reliable shop, they had Sotc and other interesting games I’ve never played for not owning a sony system(yakuza being the other main game series). In the end I held off due to my pile of pc games I wanted to finish and because I still need a steady income.

  • inamine

    I’m going to be playing Fire Emblem: Awakening and play the role of Emma, influencing my party members to fall in love and have children, and attempt to make the most convoluted and nearly-incestuous, time-travelling family ever. And at the end of it all, I’ll marry Paul Rudd.

    • TaumpyTearrs

      “attempt to make the most convoluted and nearly-incestuous time-travelling family ever”  Holy shit, Robert Heinlein made a video game?!

  • Eco1970

    I’ll be playing DC Universe Online, as I’ve promised myself that I’ll get to lvl 10 and then play one evening grouped with my friends (fellow orphans from City of Heroes [I must insert NCSOFT ARE BASTARDS here], we’re searching for something to replace it) before I uninstall it in disgust.

    I’m only lvl 4  at the moment, and its rubbish.

    Yesterday my gaming group and i played Infiltration for the first time – it’s a cool boardgame set in the Android Universe. I, as Mr White (‘the Brains’), used my jetpack to jump over a Sludge pool in the Hazmat lab, landed on a  Moving Walkway, Slippered Frictionlessly into the Infirmary where i shot the nurses dead with my Flechette Pistol before Sledgehammering a Tech Lock to bits and stealing 6 zettabytes of Data, then i left a Holographic projector there to fool my fellow techno-thieves before moving onward towards the second floor and hopefully the Brainscan Lab. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get to the Loading Dock in time, and so the Security Mercs caught me (and no doubt gave me a right good pasting). My friend as Hugo Cash (‘the Inside Man’) had stolen the Blackmail File from the CFOs Office, and so he was able to escape before the proximity Alarm reached 99, winning the game with 36 zettabytes of Data.