Welcome to a brand new monthly segment here on Are We New At This called “This Month in Gaming”, where I will discuss why this is a great time to be a gamer, the games I was privileged enough to enjoy the month prior, and what I am currently playing.
October 2012 holds the dubious honor of being the first month since at least August 2004, when I did not play an MMO. Not a single one. I even sought public opinion on whether I should play Guild Wars 2 or The Secret World, which garnered a very large number of opinions. The Secret World won in the end, but for some strange reason, even though the installer sits in my downloads folder, I cannot quite bring myself to play it just yet. It is an odd feeling. I have this inkling to get my grubby paws on whatever MMO I can find and play it, just to satisfy the itch. But then I look at the list of everything else I was able to play and enjoy this month, and I realize that maybe this is a good thing!
First, just the list:
- Faster Than Light
- Of Orcs and Men
- The Walking Dead: Episode 4
- League of Legends
- The WarZ (alpha)
- ARMA II: Army of the Czech Republic
- Mark of the Ninja
- XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Aside from XCOM and Mark of the Ninja, I “finished” every other game on that list. To put a long story short, October 2012 was an amazing month for gaming, with some of the best, original and refreshing titles I have had the pleasure of playing in recent years. Check after the jump to see what rocked, almost rocked and flopped altogether!
This infographic by Riot Games just blew my mind!
You know that moment, when you get up from your PC, and cheer out loud, because you accomplished something so insanely unachievable, you can’t believe you did it yourself? That is what happened to me in my first Dominion match in League of Legends.
I was playing with a friend. This friend was in the same room as me, sitting to my left. A third guy, someone we had randomly met online was also in the game. The last two spots on our team were filled by pugs.
The match started, and we started rotating through the various nodes. The three of us managed to hold on to two nodes and kept methodically pushing a third, the other two players milled about in the middle and occasionally assaulted their nodes closer to their nexus. The enemy was able to dedicate four champions against our three, and of the two nodes, we occasionally lost one, and fell back long enough to capture another node, bringing us back to the status quo of 2 nodes. We were effectively bleeding points throughout the game. By the end, their nexus had 350 points left, ours had only 1.
We were losing, badly.
And then something magical happened. Through no coordinated effort of our team, we managed to neutralize two nodes and capture three. For the next six or so minutes, we fought for our lives as we pushed against the enemy, interrupting node channeling and keeping them from capturing even a single node. They came close several times, beleaguered and disrupted, desperately trying to get that one final point that would bring them victory. But somehow, through sheer willpower and an unprecedented amount of effort, our team managed to keep them at bay.
The match ended with 0:1, in our favor. They lost all 350+ points against our final point. We shoved our chairs back, threw our fists in the air and cheered. It was one of the greatest moments I have ever had in online gaming.
And that, my friends, is why we play.
I just finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution after my second time through. My save files were corrupted right after I completed everything in Hengsha the second time around (about 80% of the game completed). As much as that had sucked, that actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because it turns out I had made some fairly silly augmentation choices.
- The various augmentations. Despite there being some really foolish augmentation choices, the overall system was well-thought out and true to the Deus Ex experience.
- The stealth aspect was superb. I learned to take out entire groups of enemies using just single takedowns and the cover system (no double take-downs, no noise reduction, no forced distractions, no invisibility). You can upgrade your abilities to further augment the stealth play-style, eventually turning into an invisible killing machine. But I loved the fact that you could use stealth to your advantage from the very beginning.
- The game offered multiple paths to reach your objective. I think it is a little misleading to say the game offers multiple options to complete an objective, because at the end of the day, you just need to get from point A to point B. The game does offer multiple paths to get there though. You can run and gun. You can use lethal takedowns and stick to the shadows. You can use non-lethal takedowns to pursue the path of being a pacifist. You can bypass most enemies en route to your objective.
- The moral dilemma upon landing in Hengsha the second time. I had played as a pacifist the entire game, and I had to choose to remain a pacifist or to save a character’s life. I ended up choosing the later. It is moments like these that make great video games, when you are forced to make genuinely tough decisions, where the option you choose isn’t the easiest or the most moral of the presented outcomes.
Did not Love:
- The damn boss fights. They sucked. They didn’t offer “choice” in how to handle the boss. Each boss fight was “pump boss full of lead till it keels over”. As a stealth player, I was sorely disappointed.
- The story, though well-written, can be summarized in about seven sentences.
- Stealth gameplay adds artificial length to the game. If you shoot your way through and don’t engage in side-quests, I don’t think the main story would take you more than 5-6 hours. Which is a little lame.
- The choice at the end was to literally press one of four buttons to see a different ending. I felt cheated at the end. I felt like the game had engaged me to make all of these decisions during my adventures, and none of those decisions eventually mattered because in the end I could simply flick the switch for whichever ending I chose, regardless of the logistical or moral choices I had made up to that point. I didn’t like that one bit.
Overall it is a great game, and one I would recommend for any RPG/Stealth lover. It has it’s flaws, but they can be (largely) overlooked. Give it a try if you haven’t yet.
Online Gaming Overload
I had slight MMO overload over the last few days. I played WoW almost compulsively, because it was so easy to invest just another half hour into it and get another level for your character. I had a small episode of a burnout, so I decided to purposely stay away for a few days. It worked. It has been three days and I am itching to play it again.
I have been dabbling a little into Champions Online. I am level 11 now, but the I am not quite happy with the Archetype I picked. I also read that this was probably the most balanced of the offered Archetypes, so if this is the best they have to offer without paying, then maybe I ought to focus my attention on City of Heroes, which has recently transitioned into an F2P model as well.
Good game to start off in, the tutorial levels are very well laid out, and I had a lot of fun with the smaller skirmishes. But I have my hands rather full these days and something’s got to give. That something has turned out to be Global Agenda. Not that it matters, because where I dropped Global Agenda, I picked up…
…League of Legends
God damn whoever made this game because it is addictive as hell. I have only played two games so far, but my DOTA flashbacks have effectively ensured I will be screwing around in this title for a while. I am going to try out all the free to play characters for now, just to get a better handle on the game, and I am not touching Dominion yet, simply because I must wrap my head around the basics first. I will also continue to research the paid characters and see which one best suits my play-style. All in all, good game, and I am glad (wroth) that I got coerced into giving it a try. Because now I am hooked. Damn it.
I am steadily getting better as a Protoss player. I have made it a rule to get at least four to five 1v1 matches in a week so my macro game continues to improve. But my true love in StarCraft II right now is playing with a friend in ranked 2v2. It is a treat to play and I am very happy with everything it has to offer so far.