Aliens, alien zombies, and babysitting with the promise of zombies.
Not a great week for gaming. With Halloween and real life obligations I was hard pressed to get to my games.
I did play my weekly game night with my friend and we continued our Dead Space 3 run. Unlike Doc’s article early in the week, we are loving the game. I think it makes a great co-op experience and really feels fully fleshed out as a co-op game. I have to disagree with Doc Seuss’ dislike for the common ammo in Dead Space 3. I never felt challenged for ammo in the previous titles, money was generally the shortage for me. However, the inclusion of the common ammo allows me to experiment with other weapons, something I never did in the two previous games.
In Dead Space and Dead Space 2 I used exactly two weapons the whole way through each game. Since the item drops in the games are based on your needs and ammo drops were based on the weapons you had equipped, there were few times you actually received ammo for different guns than the ones you were using. I think this really took away from the weapon experimentation in the games. Lots of the weapons in Dead Space and Dead Space 2 looked really interesting, but I had no desire to experiment with them since I was riding a pretty good system of ammo and weapon upgrades.
Dead Space 3 frees you from all of this. Ammo is universal, upgrades can be reassigned, and you can further customize the weapons by crafting and finding various tips, frames, and attachments. Plus, having two weapons on one gun makes for some amazing combo possibilities. You can really customize the weapon experience for your play-style, but you never feel locked in. I just switched to a shotgun weapon in our game after using a Tesla Coil exclusively up to this point and switching my weapon choice does not penalize me at all. I moved all my upgrade chips to that weapon and since all the ammo is universal, I am stocked and ready to go. I think the changes in the weapon system was well worth any minor appearance of changing the survival aspect of the gameplay. Sure, your upgrade path choices have less weight on the game, but since I generally play most games exactly once, I like to be able to see as many of the game features as possible on my single play-through.
My friend and I did lose connection to Origin twice though and that was very disappointing compared to our experiences with Steam. My friend was hosting and when he lost connection we lost a fair bit of progress in the game since the game did not save when he lost connection. I’m extremely impressed with all the performance aspects of the game and the online connection options are top-notch. It is a shame that the server booted us twice as it really takes away from the online experience.
I also had time to do a few maps in X-Com: Enemy Unknown this past week. I’m not far in the game, but I’m really liking it. I just played a mission where I lost three of my promoted units I’d had since the beginning of the game. I was devastated. I didn’t realize how attached I had become to those units until I played the next map and thought of all the new recruits as meat-bags that I sent off with more reckless abandon. They did manage to all survive and are now valued members of my team, but I think that was the first time I had experienced FNG Syndrome in a game.
My wife and I had time for a single session of The Last Of Us this week. We are now at the beginning of babysitting Ellie. I am a little disappointed in the lack of tension so far, but we really are just getting started. After the super-exciting beginning of the game the opening area is a little dull by comparison. Granted, it is a tutorial area I suppose and I can’t pass judgment this early, but it is an odd feeling after the adrenaline pumping opening. Also, I’m not sure I like the sound focusing mechanic. It is the sort of cheating x-ray mode that is in loads of games now. I know we have trouble simulating senses in games and that these view modes augment the lack of real senses, but seeing through walls always bugs me unless I am cybernetically enhanced for it. I would have rathered a cruder location approximation system if this is supposed to simulate hearing. (thanks to Google image search for The Last Of Us pic, I really should look in to something to capture my own console images)
I’ve got a busy weekend and need to get all the remaining summer stuff secured in the garage before we get hit with some serious snow, but I hope I’ll have some more time for The Last Of Us and X-Com this weekend.
So, post Halloween weekend, what are you playing?