TAY! Weekend!!! Whatcha Playing?

Long Weekend here in Ontario, Canada. Rainy so far, so a nice weekend to spend inside gaming with the family.

I finished Darksiders yesterday...wow, I was really REALLY impressed. Tight gameplay that was loads of fun, really nice to look at (on PC at least), runs like a dream, fun story, great puzzles, and a good challenge.

The game design really struck me though, such amazing level design. Often these games suffer from boring backtracking and repetition, but it managed to really feel fresh the whole way through. CallistoEx mentioned last week that I would run in to some padding at the end and this is true. However, the little revisiting to the previous areas to collect the game ending objects was fast to do because of the quick travel and the almost immediate placement of these objects outside the fast travel exits for most of them. Plus, they really throw some heavy story pieces and combat at you during these revisits. Finally, during this backtracking I got to get all the chests and bits that I spent a good long time trying to get previously, pulling my hair out in the process. Given I didn't have all the equipment and powers on previous attempts, it was very satisfying to get all the stuff I pained my poor brains trying to get on the first run through. I'll certainly take that type of quick and very interesting backtracking any day.

Truly an excellent game. I was so reminded of the Soul Reaver/LoK series in many ways. I almost immediately jumped in to the second game because I loved the game so much, but I figured a little distance would be good. So I started playing Legend of Grimrock today on a whim.

TAY! Weekend!!! Whatcha Playing?

Wow, that's really old school isn't it? I'm only on the second level...but I don't know if I'm very impressed so far. I mean, I know they were going for an old school feel, but this is a little drastic.

I was raised on these games. The Bard's Tale, Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, Stonekeep...I could go on and on with lists of games like this. I had to laugh at the option to turn off the automapping and that they said this is so you can make your own maps on graph paper. What masochistic nut is doing that?! We had to do that back in the day because there likely wasn't a way to generate a map for the users because of the tech. But it was SLOW going. I can't bring myself to throw away my Bard's Tale maps on reams of graph paper because it was such an investment in my life. Granted, there is something to be said for making your own maps when the trap system is diabolical like The Bard's Tale III. Dungeons littered with teleport traps and traps that spin you around so you lose orientation are nasty and trying to map them can be a "game" on its own. But man, I just can't see that being any sort of appeal nowadays to draw your own map. Maybe they meant it as a joke?

Hopefully the game gets really interesting, or is really short. :)

TAY! Weekend!!! Whatcha Playing?

And finally, my wife and I started Tomb Raider this week after all the recommendations last week. She just couldn't stay interested in Silent Hill Downpour and kept falling asleep (though that's fairly par for the course with her), however, you know she really likes a game when she stays bolt upright when we are playing. She's really loving it...I'm liking it a lot, but *love* isn't there yet.

I do LOVE Crystal Dynamics and most of their games. I've been a huge fan of their stuff right back to the 3DO. Tomb Raider is pretty awesome so far, but I'm not feeling totally engaged yet. So far it is a little too easy (on hard) and there are lots of niggling technical issues that pull me out the immersion.

Don't get me wrong, it looks amazing and runs amazingly on my rig. However, her hair freaks out a lot, I lose animal corpses in rocks and trees, and some of the physics feels off for crates and urns. Maybe this is something to do with running it on NVidia and not AMD where is was optimized for. None of this is game breaking or even that awful, but there is a feel that the polish could have been better given the developer and the publisher.

I did run in to one game-breaking glitch so far, fixed with a reload, but it took a long time to even get to the point of looking for help since we tried over and over to figure out what "we" were doing wrong. The worst part is that this occurs in DLC, something you pay extra for and apparently isn't just a PC issue but happens on the consoles too and is fairly common. This didn't impress me. Here is a video for the bug...see if you ran in to it.

Everything is in place for an experience I'll really love. Astrokid248 got me excited for the bow and that doesn't disappoint. It all controls really well and so far the combat has been great. However, the glitches end up being a little distracting. I guess too that I'm coming off an almost perfectly executed Darksiders which makes these problems a little more glaring. I'm am anxious to play more though and really in the end...that's what you want most from a game.

Hopefully you are having a great weekend and have some free time to play, if so, what are you playing this weekend?