Monthly Archives: April 2015

Age of Wonders and Why I need just One More Turn…

Hello, my name is Sarindre and I am an addict. You might think that I am addicted to WoW or other video games, but really I can stop playing most video games and even WoW and make sure I get to bed at a good time at night for work in the morning. But turn-based strategy games are my vice. I love them. I used to play Civ 5 all night long. I could not stop. I mean every turn only lasts like a minute or two, why not take just one more? That one turns into two which turns into 10 which turns into you being up until 3 AM and you still have not beaten the campaign!

Age of Wonders 3

Cut to Age of Wonders 3 which was on sale about a week or so ago on Steam. I have never played an Age of Wonders game before but a friend talked my husband and me into trying it. We saw it was only 13$ so we picked it up. Once I logged on, I instantly knew I was hooked. It encompasses all the elements of Civilization 5 that I love and includes great new features. Where I am addicted to doing the Culture victory in Civ 5, in Age of Wonders I am focusing more on war. There is a different learning curve with this game than with Civilization, but once you are able to walk through and figure out the steps, it is easy to follow. One thing I do think that needs improved is the tutorial. I am a hands-on learner and when I am unable to learn all that I need to in a tutorial I get lost and frustrated. Granted Age of Wonders has a great guide that you can search and find pretty much everything you need, which I use all the time. But there are times when there is so much going on that I wish they would have just went over it in the tutorial.

What I enjoy is that fact that the game is hard. It is not so hard where I cannot handle it but there are times when my armies get destroyed by the enemy and I lose the level. The enemies are challenging and the campaign missions and sometimes go astray. But I think once I get it all down, I will be able to do it easily.

We do have a play by email (PBEM) going on right now, my husband, a friend, and me. So far we are only on turn three since we all play at weird times. It is a neat concept though for friends who might work different shifts and still want to play together. I will have to see how it goes as we get farther along.

Civilization 5

Civ 5 was probably my first experience with a turn-based strategy game. My husband was working for a gaming company and was actually a tester on the Mac version. He thought I might like it so I got it and was hooked from the moment it installed. I instantly took to Russia and had a blast dominating the map with culture, which is my go-to win. It really never gets old. I have played the same country on the same map with the same people against me about a hundred times. The only NPC I ever remove is Gandhi because he is mean and will go to war within the first 5 minutes of the game only to have the LARGEST ARMY EVER standing outside of my zones. Not cool Gandhi, not cool.

New Games!

As I have stated before I own a ton of games and have no time to play them. So I figured, let’s add more to this list. Yesterday I bought the BioShock Bundle off Newegg for 10$! It has 1, 2, and Infinite! What an amazing deal. I have really wanted to play all of them again and this will help! I also picked up the Alan Wake deal from Steam. I have never played but I have heard great things. And for 8$ you cannot go wrong!

Happy Gaming!

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Dang you Alien: Isolation, Give me the Knowledge to Play Effectively! 

On Thursday I decided that since I got past those androids it was time to continue onto mission five. This mission is all about sneaking around an Alien and trying to find a passcode and a key card to get down an elevator. There were some moments that I would spend about 20 minutes in a locker or a small box just to hide from this rampaging Alien. Trust me, he was out for my blood. But I was being super patient. After playing for about an hour and a half, I was finally found in a locker by the Alien and killed. Really I had NO chance since right before the Alien looked into the locker I was in, the game told me to use LS to lean back. Before I even had a chance to try this and hide from the Alien, I was pulled out and killed. Plus, I never found a save point…an hour and a half of progress, all gone… Just saying game, it would have been nice to know this method before I was in this situation so I could have lived. I did quit playing after that on Thursday since it was late, but I was not very happy. I am glad to say that I beat mission five last night and even got a stealth achievement! See, I did learn something! 

  

Quicktime Events and Lacking Information

This sort of game play made me think of other games that put you in this situation or that have quicktime event which this game does have a good many of thought so far they only seem to be ones with minor importance, like removing blocks from doors and the like. Resident Evil 4 is one of the major games that pops into my mind that thrived on quicktime events. I remember the first time I hit a quicktime event in that game I died since it caught me off guard and I was too busy looking at the beautiful graphics. Many of these events determined life or death and of course the one I miss was a certain death for me. God of War is another series that has a lot of quicktime events. 

Now I really wouldn’t call the action given to me in Alien:Isolation a quicktime event since once you learn it you can do it automatically and it was really just informing you how to hide from Aliens. Or the time it tell you how to hold your breath when you are in a locker. I didn’t get the button in time and was killed by an android.  But the moment that it tells you that you can perform this action is very untimely and feels like a quicktime event for me the first time it happens. In fact, it made me wish that I was given more of a tutorial in the beginning. I know this is a survival horror game, but I hate feeling like I was set up to fail. There is a high possibility that the user manual might have said these in it and I didnt read it, which then it would be my fault entirely. However, I feel that the best time to teach a player to hold there breath at least would have been in the cut scene where you see the Alien for the first time. There could have been a better quicktime event to show you the ropes since you did have a moment when you were staggering breathe and the Alien PROBABLY heard you…just saying. 

 

Surprisingly Cool Mechanic

Like I said earlier, Alien: Isolation allows you to hold your breath in a locker or other object where you can hide so the Alien doesn’t hear you. What you do not notice at first is that as you hold your breath you start to die.  The screen flashes red around your edges, and then there are heartbeat noises and what looks like veins. I really enjoy this aspect of the game. Though I wish that I could see my health while I am hiding. This has almost caused my death a few times as I get too low in health!  

All in all I am still enjoying this game so much! I cannot wait to play more tonight, though it will have to be after the Game of Thrones premier!!! So excited! 


This Weekend in Gaming: Feeling the Final Fantasy Love, I Hate Androids, and What is Up with The Evil Within?

This weekend was a long one for me. I had off Good Friday and I took off Monday so I still feel like I am not back in the groove with the work week. Non-gaming wise we had a great few days off with the kids since it was finally nice out! Plus with Easter, there was egg hunting and basket finding galore. We also spent Saturday building a garden box for vegetables that we are going to (attempt) to grow this year. It was even haircut time for the kids and that even went remarkably well. Shocker!

Feeling the Final Fantasy Love

I talked before about playing FF8 and why I do not play FF7. Since it is still about a month until FF10 gets rereleased, I was looking at other Final Fantasy games that I could enjoy. Then I remembered that Final Fantasy Type-0 came out and if you bought it you could play the demo for FF15. SOLD!  I cannot lie, I do get a bit sceptical when it comes to Final Fantasy games (I am looking at you FF10-2 and 13-2) since there are some that are just lackluster for me. Now I did enjoy FF13, though I didn’t play it much and FF12 was Ok too but we decided to take a chance and get Type-0. We ended up downloading it on Saturday (hubby beat Bloodborne but was waiting for a friend to beat the game so they could start NG+ together) and tried it out. Since Type-0 downloaded first, we tried that out. I have to say that I rather enjoy it! The story at first was a bit confusing and you can definitely tell this was in Japanese and they just put English over it since the mouths will move at random times, but for a game that was on the Vita, it is great! The graphic are beautiful and not just in the cut scenes but in gameplay as well. I am also enjoying the combat. The open combat system that Final Fantasy has moved to is great. This time, they allow you to pull in various squad members and when someone dies you can replace them quickly. We are not too far along in the story or missions since we did our common Final Fantasy plan of levelling up all party members to much higher than needed to continue on…opps! At least now we are ready for anything that comes at us.

I Hate Androids

OK so I love Alien Isolation, I really really do. But one thing I do hate: androids. I hate them so much! Why are they so freakishly strong? How do they stop a flying wrench? And please explain how they can see me through walls; I know they don’t have x-ray vision! I am pretty good at sneaking though not from androids. PLUS, I continue to be very good at hiding away in lockers, except when there are androids around and their supersonic ears hear me breathing. Psst game, thanks for telling me about how to hold my breath in the locker right before the android pulled me out of it. Last night I finally got past mission 4 and the annoying androids. It was not done my sneaking or hiding because I feel that there is one section that you cannot sneak by. Let me give you the scenario:

There are about 3-4 androids patrolling this “C” shaped hallway (I marked their paths with red on the map below). They walk back and forth in predefined areas. However there is one section (in the blue box below) where there is an android that just stands there and watches over the stairs/back area. After about 30 tries, since he just stares there and even if you do not move and are hidden he will see you, I got caught and just RAN to the elevator. Luckily androids are slow and couldn’t keep up with me. I am not sure why I didn’t do that the first time…In the next mission I was able to see an Alien! He came out of the rafters and I hid in this little tiny box that would take me personally about 20 minutes to try and get inside and Ripley was in there in about 5 seconds. I am glad that I am finally past the dang androids and I sadly feel I will run into them again.

aliens1

What is up with The Evil Within?

A few days ago I bought The Evil Within demo. When the game first came out, I was interested in playing it but I heard mixed reviews so I thought I would wait. When I saw that there was a free demo on Steam, I thought, why not. On Sunday night, when I was particularly mad at Alien: Isolation, I fired it up. The cut scene graphics were pretty good and the gameplay graphics were OK, but the first time I was able to take control of my character, I knew I was in trouble. Now, I will be the first to admit that I am not sure if this is my laptop running the game poorly (could be, but I never had any trouble with any other game) or not but man are the controls clunky. The character moves slowly with quick start and stop motions. When trying to turn he was jerky and the camera would swing around wildly. If you want to run you need to push up on the joystick and it is very unresponsive.

Now I have dealt with bad cameras and poor controls in survival horror games before with Resident Evil and Silent Hill series, but this one took the cake. When running from horrible monsters, it is nice to make sure you have complete control over your character especially when the one gets your leg with an unavoidable chainsaw and you are now limping around. The best thing that came out of playing the demo was the following exchange with my husband and I:

I am currently hiding in a locker (one of my strongest gaming traits) since I am being chased by a man with a chainsaw and my leg is all sliced open from or last encounter.

Me – “Do you think his chainsaw will ever run out of gas?”

Hubby – “Not before you run out of blood.”

End Scene

I might try the game again in the next day or two, but I will need to take extra special effort to work on getting the clunky controls down.

What did you play over the weekend?

This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.”


Find your Rage Stage!

Last night I raged and really I didn’t just rage, I RAGED. I normally do not get mad at games. Sure I am upset in WoW when raid bosses do not go our way, but normally I do not get really frustrated with video games. I see it all the time though when the hubby is playing Dark Souls, Demon Souls, or Bloodborne (really any and all of the souls gaming are rage inducing) so I created the Four Stages of Rage.

Stage 1 – Grumbling

  • You have died or failed your objective once. It is annoying but you are pretty sure it will take just one more try and you will complete your objective. You might sigh a little bit or mumble to yourself some minor obscenities but really if you do beat that boss or complete the mission the next try, you knew you could and it is not a really big deal anyway
  • Rage factor = 1-3
  • Obscenity level = Minor – could be said in a PG movie
  • Common quote – “I got this.”

Stage 2 – Posture

  • OK so that first time you died, it was fine and it happens to the best of us and you were just learning the fight. But that second and third time were completely uncalled for. If you just sit up and focus you can beat the boss this time. Make that back nice and straight, scoot your butt up closer to the edge of the chair, place your feet firmly on the floor, and if you are playing with a controller, hold it steadily in front of you. Focus and you got this!
  • Rage factor = 4-6
  • Obscenity level – Mild – You are pushing into a PG13 rating
  • Common quote – “You have GOT to be kidding me! I mean c’mon how is that even possible.”

Stage 3 – Force

  • This is the fourth time you have died and it is crap. Nothing is going your way. First there are about 10 extra guys have to fight. Then the boss pulled out a totally BS ability and killed you in one shot. You squeeze your controller really hard or push the keys on your keyboard with more force than what is needed. You are pretty sure if you would just mash the “X” a bit more than the system would have registered it and you would have hit faster, harder, and wouldn’t have died. Sometimes you shake or tilt the controller and that is sure to help you dodge attacks. Everyone knows the more force you put behind your button mashing the better you do. You will definitely beat the boss now since you are using all of your strength!
  • Rage factor – 7-10
  • Obscenity level – Medium – You are a PG13 rating and one more F-word and you are going into an R mister!
  • Common quote – “This is horseshit! Did you see that? Did you? I see how my abilities just passes right through them and they hit me every time. I was like 40 feet away!”

Stage 4 – Rage Quit

  • That is it. You are done. The game is cheating and you are pretty sure there is someone on the other end playing the bosses and laughing at you as you die. You turn off the system before you throw the controller into the screen or bash the monitor with the keyboard. You will have to wait and play until you cool down some. It could be 1/2 an hour or three weeks. But a break is needed for sure.
  • Rage factor = Turn it up to 11
  • Obscenity level – You are rated R, but some of those words you are using are confusing the MPAA since they are a mix of 2-3 curse words and you might just be banned from theaters.
  • Common quote – “Fuck this game.”

Like I said, last night I RAGED. I hit stage four after I died five times to some stupid androids, who cheat and  know where you are at all times no matter how sneaky you are. Oh and they choke the life out of you and no matter how fast you mash the A button you cannot beat them more than once. Plus the jerks grabbed my wrench mid air! Screw that game….I am done….until tonight that is. And tonight those androids will have no idea what is coming.