Thursday, October 1, 2009

State of Gaming - October

As we slip (officially?) into Fall - HI OCTOBER! - what's going on with my gaming?

I'm such a "behind the curve" gamer. I just picked up a batch of four XBox games that have been out for a while. My latest attempt to hook into the FPS genre, which I've never been a big fan of. Or am at all slightly proficient at playing - Dead Space, Dead Rising, Lost Planet and Devil May Cry 4 (Best Buy had a three pack of the latter three, and Dead Space was on sale). We'll see how that works out for me. I foresee a lot of frustrated controller throwing in my near future. And possibly nausea.

With the PS3 I jumped into Assassin's Creed this weekend, trying to get the feel for Altair's controls again. I missed diving off buildings. I'd put it down a few months back (April I think) when I hit memory block 5 and combat suddenly became a LOT harder. I really enjoy the game, but I need to hook myself into the control scheme before I become frustrated again. I find I'm running up walls when I meant to be running around them, and ladders have been confounding me lately. Elsewhere on the PS3, I'm poking into Penny Arcade's first chapter again.

The Wii has been gathering dust lately. Not much inclination to wave my arms around spastically in an attempt to get Mario (or anyone else) to gather bits and bobs. However, when The new Super Mario Brothers Wii version is released soon, I'll be all over it. I LOVED the DS version, and this one has multiplayer!

More of my recent gaming focus has been on the DS, spurred on by the latest Professor Layton adventure. I finished that already, and now I'm working through Scribblenauts, with Mario & Luigi, Bowser's Inside Story on deck. I picked up Lego Battles (because, you know, LEGO!) which has been a fun little strategy game. Very reminiscent of Civilization, but using the brick. And, since I convinced a good friend to pick up a DSi recently, I also grabbed some shovelware for the two of us to enjoy together - DRAMA QUEENS! A board game about being a teeny bopper worried about working at Hot Topic and who's dating who? Sign me up!!

PC wise I'm digging into EQ2's latest Game Update, #53. Tons of new bits to explore, including the Chronomagic, the new (to Norrath) Achievement system, Shard of Love, and a world event with a token (TOKENS!!!) reward system I must master. My laptop will be back on Saturday (Come on FedEx!) so I can get into two boxing and farming up some void shards for armor.

I also downloaded, but haven't yet installed, NeoSteam, based on some back issues of Beckett that dug into the game. I'm looking forward to losing myself to a couple of hours of that this weekend. Steampunkery for the win!

As ever, I'm faced with the conundrum of so much to do, and so little time to do it. I'm going to have to set myself up a schedule to get through all the great gamey goodness out there!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back to school!

Maybe it is the feel of fall in the air, or because I was lacking in card based combat. Or (most likely) because they bribed me with a 2500 gold prize I won for participating in their Facebook game. Whatever the impetus, I jumped back into Wizard 101 last night for an hour or so while I waited for my DVR to get a good lead time on Heroes.

I forgot how much fun this game is! I haven't played since mid July, though I've religiously banged in the codes for special weapons and pets that came out in Beckett's MMO magazine. I had a whole slew of new goodies to claim, as well as lots of new systems to begin exploring. Crafting has entered the game, an auction house, Grizzleheim, and there are a plethora of housing items for me to obsess over.

My favorite teacher, Cyrus Drake, was waiting for me, dripping with contempt and expecting answers as to why I hadn't finished the latest class quest with my level 29 Myth Wizard, Morgrim Hexmender. I just shrugged at him, and assured him I'd get right on it. The I skipped out of class and went in search of more housing goodies.

The last time I played I was on a mission to collect all the dropped and picked up housing items in Wizard City, so I could fully furnish my home. Thanks to the Friendly Necromancer's handy housing item chart, I was ready to farm to my little heart's content.

My first goal was to collect Rattlebone's feet. I'd been successively battling him in hopes they would drop, and had a bag full of junk that I'd gotten instead. Lucky for me, they dropped on the first fight! Woohoo! I have skeleton feet! I then stopped by my old dorm room to pick up all the furniture there, as well as hopped into the shopping district to get the little door from the pet shop. Let the decorating begin!

The wooded cottage actually has quite a bit of space for decorating. There are both indoor and outdoor areas, with a nice copse of trees and a river running through the grassy area out front. The Life Pedestal still seems to be broken (I couldn't get my Unicorn Statue on top of it) but the rest of my furniture looks great!

My next target is The Harvest Lord, who has a pumpkin and a smokey pillar that drop. It's nice to use these lower ranked targets as practice to get back into the game and remember what all my spells do. Soon enough I'll be back in Marleybone, completing my homework for Professor Drake!

Monday, September 21, 2009

DS is it!!

Most of my gaming time lately has been wrapped up in the latest Professor Layton adventure to be released stateside, the Diabolical Box. I fell in love with and devoured the first game, the Curious Village, because it was perfect for portable gaming. Easy to drop in and run through a few puzzles, or collect some hint coins, while standing in line at the grocery store. Diabolical Box takes the excellent formula from the first game, and makes it even better with a whole slew of quirky new characters and mind bending puzzles. Add in an interesting and innovative story, highlighted by superbly animated cut scenes and video, and I'm in gaming Heaven!

The puzzles range from the mundane to the complex, with many classics and many that are just plain tricky sprinkled about. Additionally, there are three mini-games that you can jump into whenever you like, new weekly downloadable puzzles from Level-5, and unlockable puzzles from completing mini goals during the storyline. The story itself has 138 puzzles, with an additional 18 unlockable for completing these goals, and (to count today) four weekly puzzles. On top of all this, the games interact with each other via passwords that unlock more puzzles and concept art.

Now I eagerly anticipate the next game in the series (according to Wikipedia there have been four and a half games released in Japan already) to be released here in the US so I can get my puzzle on again. In the meantime, I'm hunting down the soundtrack, as I love the music that is liberally sprinkled throughout the series.

Also, prompted by Stargrace's excited Twitterings, I picked up Scribblenauts yesterday and have been tearing through that ever since. I spent a good hour last night playing around on the log in screen, combining different tools and a variety of prehistoric monsters to see what kinds of trouble I could get in to.

Lots of good portable gaming to keep myself occupied on my commute for a while. Too bad I drive.... Time to look at getting back on the train!