I’ve been absent for over half a year now, and I sincerely regret it – I haven’t lost interest, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’ve simply been swamped in a lot of other stuff; school, work, and – oh, I had a daughter last November, so that’s been keeping me appropriately busy lately. Not only have I not had time for writing a whole lot, but I haven’t been playing as much as I used to, either. I suppose that’s a good thing, in a way… You know, having a family now and all. But no, I haven’t quit altogether, and I’m not intending to.
I can’t promise I’ll be able to make posts as regularly as I did last year, but I’ll try to put out something every now and then. Actually, I’m looking forward to expanding my topics from just video games to other stuff as well – mainly comics, but likely also TV-series and movies, and occasionally whatever pops into my head. Makes it that much easier to come up with something relevant to write about with a better pace.
Speaking of comics, I’m currently in the process of writing the script to my very first graphic novel. How I’ll get it printed is still under consideration, but I’ll likely either arrange for a Kickstarter campaign to self-publish it, or I’ll offer it to Image Comics or some such. If neither of those pays off, I might just launch a web-comic, and wait for a better moment to try and print it. Either way, I’ll make the comic, and one way or another it will be accessible eventually.
Now, video games. During my long months of silence, I still have been playing games, although not as extensively as I sometimes have. I thought that, for this special blog post, I’ll just do a quick recap of some of the more relevant titles I’ve been playing. Some of them (if not all) are sort of old news by now, but hey, this isn’t a “first glimpse” type of blog anyway.
Pillars of Eternity
First, I would like to mention this spectacle of a game properly released about a month ago. I, along with a great deal of other believers in the Obsidian magic, backed the project on Kickstarter, and since then, it felt like I waited for a decade for the game to finally arrive. When it did, however, it made me utter the worn old phrase, “well worth the wait”.
I’m not going to go into too much detail about the game itself, but the general feeling throughout the time I’ve spent in its time-and-attention-consuming vortex has been, “familiar but not too much so”. It sort of reminds you of all those things that your memory says you loved about Baldur’s Gate, but it doesn’t feel like you’ve been there before. It’s an entirely new game, and it feels fresh and exciting.
Another note about Baldur’s Gate, though: Recently, my friend and I were discussing Pillars of Eternity and the former game came up in the conversation. We ended up realizing, that as great a game as it was, Baldur’s Gate was still filled with awkward, clumsy, even disturbing, game mechanics and executions – a lot of them due to hardware restrictions, but still. It’s not as bad as a lot of old games in this sense – meaning that they were better remember than replayed – but Pillars of Eternity sort of nails a lot of the mechanics that you miss in Baldur’s Gate with better, smoother success. With that, it sidesteps the trap that a lot of nostalgic games tend to trigger: they just make you want to play the “original” game after a while, and the new one ends up gathering dust. Seriously, that’s a tricky one; even XCOM: Enemy Unknown eventually made me want to quit in favor of playing X-Com: Terror from the Deep again. With Pillars of Eternity, I’m not seeing that happening anytime soon, because as my friend and I realized, Baldur’s Gate was actually a terrible game in a lot of ways, gameplay-wise.
I’m really glad Pillars is a fantastic game, but even if it wasn’t, Obsidian would still remain a developer in whom I place more trust than almost any other. I would’ve been disappointed if Pillars had sucked, sure, but I’d still know they’re capable of good games. Actually, it’s not even about that – even if they could never make another good game, they have succeeded in so much already that just to reward them for that, I’d pre-order just about any game they’ll make in the future, even not knowing the first thing about it. So I guess if their next release will be a Barbie game, the joke’s on me.
I pre-ordered Evolve a couple days before its launch, and was really excited about it. The early gameplay videos I had seen got me hooked on this execution of non-symmetric multiplayer action, and I can’t say I was disappointed when I actually got to play the game. I spent some time playing solo in order to learn the basics and familiarize myself with the maps, but as with any game of this type, you haven’t really played it until you play online. That’s a concept I’ve only recently come to appreciate – I suppose I was a kind of a closet gamer until then.
I’m not even going to go into all the noise about the DLC and whatever the community liked to trash the game about, because I didn’t really care about that in the first place. Instead, I liked taking in all the variety and clever executions that the gameplay offered – each hunter class has separate purposes and each hunter in that class shares some attributes, yet each individual hunter has their own tricks, each suited for a different type of player.
After the initial dazzle, Evolve still remains a fine game, one that is great for playing a single match every now and then, and sometimes to kill a bit more time with a series of games. It should be noted that the community is generally pretty decent as well, although since I’m not that used to playing mainstream online games the crap-flinging is still a bit too frequent for my tastes (can it be that Guild Wars 2 has one of the best online player communities in existence? Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten used to that).
Dragon Age: Inquisition
I got the third installment in BioWare‘s Dragon Age series only briefly after my daughter was born, so I didn’t spend as much time playing it as I had anticipated when I pre-ordered it. To say the least, the game is awesome – definitely a major improvement over the disappointing second game – and if there’s one thing BioWare does well, it’s creating a compelling setting for their games. Inquisition once again expands the existing world in interesting ways, although I must say I wasn’t especially hooked with the game’s main story. In more than one instance, I had to ask myself, “why should I care about any of this”? But, out of respect for the writers who I know are good at what they do, I kept going. It didn’t really bother me that much, but I was indeed disappointed. Then again, the first game’s story wasn’t exactly unique either – I suppose it was just the fact that the world was brand new that made it matter even less; it still seemed interesting enough.
There’s a number of great, intriguing characters in Inquisition, the best ones just about matching the best of Dragon Age: Origins. Some of them have truly interesting backstories, and personalities that make them a pleasure to have in your tow; although some less successful ones are among them.
Alright, I’m going to wrap up this pseudo-post now (in a very clumsy way) and hopefully craft something more wholesome in the future. Thanks for those who still found interest in checking my new (mostly irrelevant) post, even after all these months 🙂