Gaming without your brother

Tag Archives: steam

Credit to Flickr user Contz

MAN! I am two for two this week of just being inflammatory, borderline rude, in my post titles.

I saw this post by the Geek Force Network (check ’em out, lots of great content, but only after you read my blog, please don’t leave my blog, sob) and then proceeded to read the comments and was once again struck by the overwhelming popularity of the Dragon Age series. Based on the hype alone, I bought Dragon Age: Origins in a Steam sale ages and ages and ages ago (truly, I think it was one of my first Steam purchases ever). At the time, I tried to get started on it, but my laptop struggled so hard the game would just quit after about an hour of play, so I just shelved it until I knew I could get a better gaming rig.

Enter last summer, after I built a sweet-a gaming machine, and told you guys that yes indeed-y, I would inaugurate the beast with Dragon Age: Origins, to really get back into the story that so many gamers I respect, really love. I started. I tried so hard. And yet, I got to the first city area, and I just . . . can’t care. I just . . . have so few f—s to give (hi, Mom).

I think in this last attempt, I got to the camping waypoint after that first town, after I handle the thugs on the road heading out of town. I’m pretty sure my lack of interest stems from the difficulty of combat in that first town. The story, when I stop and think about it, is legit. Trying to save the world, recruiting people and help on the way, rich conflict between “races” if that’s how the magic-users are designated. I have multiple characters die in the first few battles. I often have to go back to previous saves to try again, so I don’t lose my power house when fighting that thing at the top of the first tower. And perhaps that’s the only reason I haven’t gotten really invested?

On a side note, I think another aspect of my lack of caring is that I am way out of practice of managing character parties. That was THE THING of Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, all those wonderful SNES RPGs, but lately, I just play who I play and who has to come with me is who has to come with me, and I like getting off easy in that regard. The little bit you have to do in Mass Effect 2 doesn’t even matter that much (for the most part . . .). So getting all of these characters in the beginning and having to immediately use them intelligently? Also adds to the difficulty, even though I’m just playing on normal.

That’s sad and troubling to wonder if that’s really the reason I don’t love this game. Am I so lazy, such an entitled gamer, that unless I succeed for the first half of the game, I can’t appreciate the experience? The thought really terrifies me. Enough to dive into Dragon Age yet again to try to find the joy in it. Also, I recognize I’ve devoted very few hours to the game, and where I am is not very far at all, so it deserves from me (if for no other reason than I should get my money’s worth out of it).

So educate me, friends of the internet! What do you love about Dragon Age? What do you hate about it? Worth my time, or should I finish Tomb Raider, and AC3, and Saints Row III, and To the Moon, and my million other Humble Indie Bundle games first? Rant at me in the comments!


Forget about blogging, do you remember when I had the time to actually play games? Ah . . . those were the days. The days before freelance gigs and significant others took up my evenings and weekends. OH MAN! IN A GOOD WAY. I MEANT THAT IN A GOOD WAY.  . . . Yikes. Anyway.

I did just get Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations to educate myself and catch up before I buy Assassin’s Creed III, so you know . . . I’m coming back to the fold. But! Since I haven’t gotten far enough in Brotherhood to give a definite blog post/opinion, I decided to use this blog post to knock out a review that’s been circling my dome for weeks now. You should all play Orcs Must Die!!

Funny, challenging, fun. The trifecta!

Funny, challenging, fun. The trifecta!

Er, that needs a little clarification. If you like tower defense games, then this is one of the best of the genre. In all the hubbub of Orcs Must Die! 2 coming out, Orcs Must Die! was supa cheap on Steam some time ago. This was one of those Steam sale games that had been staring at me like an orphan for months because I never played it. So I finally did, okay Robot Entertainment?! Stop judging me for not installing your game sooner!

The game begins with your wizened master dying in a sea of orcs in battle, lamenting that he has to pass his torch on to his apprentice, who is an idiot. “We will surely die,” is is his concluding thought. I was laughing right from the get-go, not just at the deprecating humor, but at the cartoon-y, charming artwork as well. You then take up the main character, only known as the Apprentice, to place a few traps and helps at your disposal (limited by how much money you have an how expensive an item is) around an enemy entrance to guard the Rift, a magical opening between worlds. Once you’re ready, you start the orc onslaught, and you get to shoot with magic, bombs, or arrows, or just melee attack orcs along with the other weapons you placed, like arrows that shoot from a wall or slime on the ground that slows enemies down. Maps get bigger, and enemy numbers increase, as well as enemy types, as the levels progress. There are multiple Rifts throughout the game, so you go to different locations to guard them.

I’m not certain that Orcs Must Die! was the first to put a 3rd person perspective on the tower defense genre (drop knowledge if you have it, in the comments), but I feel like it was the first that got a lot of attention for it. Or maybe I’m making stuff up again, who knows. It was the first I heard about it, anyway. And it was intriguing. I really like tower defense games, and have wasted many work hours in a tiny flash window in a browser trying to destroy hordes making a break for my pile of jewels, or whatever their incentive might be, depending on the game you’re playing. And that’s just it, isn’t it? They’re all pretty much the same. A few different items, but the mechanics are rote.

Like these orcs about to be stabbed from below, the tower defense genre has been . . . stabbed with ingenuity, from Orcs Must Die!?

Like these orcs about to be stabbed from below, the tower defense genre has been . . . stabbed with ingenuity, from Orcs Must Die!?

That’s not to say that a lot of the familiar and perhaps boring pieces of the genre aren’t in Orcs Must Die!. Getting some prep time to set up your traps before the enemies start swarming the map, guarding the sacred object, and getting more money as enemies die, to keep buying and placing more weapons to stop them. The gameplay elements that diverge from the norm that I loved were getting to attack enemies myself, as a solo character while my traps and weapons from below, above, and all other sides do their worst as well. That also adds the challenge of not being able to monitor every enemy entrance because you are only one guy, in one spot, and that is getting more and more difficult the more I play (which is awesome).

We’re deep in an era of nostalgia gaming, where people take beloved genres or stories and recreate them and make a million dollars on Kickstarter. So when something like Orcs Must Die! comes along and seems to say, “Listen, we get it. You love what you know. But we can also help you love something beyond what you’re most familiar with,” I’m totally on board. And you should be too! Play this game for smiles, laughs, and as the levels continue, a healthy impulse to rage quit, followed by a satisfying win to yet another map.


When I read the synopsis of Splice in the back of the PAX program, with the rest of the PAX10 games (ten indie games at PAX, highlighted by industry experts for how awesome they are), I was pretty sure it was going to be over my head. But I had made a goal to try and play all ten PAX10 games before the doors of the convention center closed two days later. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to play all ten games (I couldn’t find six of them whatsoever, so that’s on you, PAX), but I did get a chance to try out Splice and pick up a coupon code so I could buy it on the cheap after PAX, which I did.

Splice was made by Cipher Prime Studios and is currently available in the iTunes app store as well as on Steam for Mac and PC. The marketing copy boasts over seventy levels, and the company also offers a deluxe edition that comes with the soundtrack. That was my first tip off about the music. Just like Catch-22, in the exhibition hall at PAX I couldn’t hear the soundtrack but when a game starts offering their soundtrack along with the game, not as an afterthought months later, you know it’s going to be a good soundtrack.

I didn’t get to talk much to the Cipher Prime guys at the booth because some “big wig” who “voted for their game to be in the PAX10” or something lame like that walked up right when I did. Sheesh. The nerve, huh? /sarcasm. Anyway, I pieced together a little bit of the game play, got stuck on the seventh strand of the first sequence, congratulated them on the game, and left. I finally got around to buying, installing, and playing the game last night.

As for the actual game play, all the player has to do is move around microbial units (sure, that’s what we’re gonna call them) to fit in the frame that the level provides. But when you move one microbe, it effects where the others are and they move as well. You have a limited number of splices, or moves, to get all the microbes to match the shape of the frame. In later levels, microbes get special actions, such as splitting in two to make more microbes, and other actions that are harder to explain. I heard one YouTube reviewer compare the sequences to worlds in a platformer, and the individual strands of Splice to levels in a platformer. So when I say sequences and strands in the rest of this, think of it like that. Strands are levels essentially, and they’re grouped into sequences, which are pretty much only there for organizational purposes. The funniest phrase of this paragraph is “all the player has to do,” because for its simple objective, I found Splice stupidly hard.

My previous admission about how terrible I am at puzzlers still stands. So it shouldn’t be surprising when I got stuck on the same strand of the same sequence two weeks after I played it at PAX. I eventually got it on my own, but it took me so long, it wasn’t even gratifying. I was still shaking my head, like “Man, how could I have figured that out faster?” I got stuck again on sequence two, strand three but not wanting to waste more time (which is how I always view beating my head against puzzles, i.e. as a waste of time), I googled a solution. Thankfully (for my pride, anyway) the reviewer explained some more mechanics of the game so I didn’t have to watch the full solution; I realized the solution now that I understood what the new microbes actually did.

I haven't rage quit Splice . . . yet

I haven’t rage quit Splice . . . yet

I stopped my brief run through at sequence three, strand five. Like all puzzle games I play, it might be awhile before I actually finish this one because I am impatient and apparently an idiot. I recognize the deliberate choice to go minimalist on the game play by not explaining how to play the game, but at the same time, players get nothing to go on . . . For as much as I love progressive gaming, the lazy, puzzler-handicap in me shakes its head at setting up gamers to fail. And it’s more than others. Limbo, for instance, explains nothing. But it’s such a familiar backdrop (i.e. platformer) we instinctively figured out what to do. Splice is breaking boundaries all over the place, so our frame of reference is limited, if not gone entirely for those of us who don’t play puzzle games often enough. I think at the end of the day however, I’d rather developers assume I’m too smart than assume I’m too stupid. This rant is just because I’m mad that I’m really bad at this game.

Far and away though, this has got to be one of the most beautiful indie games I’ve ever played. There isn’t a ton to go on visually throughout the game, it’s true, but again the minimalist art style and controls, as well as a superb soundtrack (officially called Flight of Angels) that I’m going to buy off of Bandcamp in just a few minutes, creates an ephemeral place in which to ragequit. Ahh, how pleasant.

If you like puzzle games, you will love Splice and you should definitely spring the $10 to buy it. It’s only $4 for the iPad, and I don’t see anything telling me that it has any fewer levels, so if you have an iPad, save some dough and buy it in the app store. If you don’t like puzzle games, I think this is still a beautiful enough game that if you like being challenged in non-puzzle games, you’ll appreciate the experience in Splice. Just wait until it goes on sale.


I should’ve posted this yesterday but I realized if I get into the habit of daily posts, I’ll be beating myself up to maintain that and I don’t want to sink into gaming as a chore again. So I paced myself, played another one of the PAX10 (ten of the best indie games shown at PAX, chosen by a panel of industry experts) called Containment, and had a fairly good time doing it. Good, not great.

I happened to wander by the Bootsnake Games booth in between waiting in line for panels. It was on the sixth floor and not in the hubbub of the AAA title company booths on the fourth floor, which I preferred. I set out at the beginning of the weekend to make sure I played all the PAX10 games (which didn’t happen), but I saw this booth fairly early in the weekend and confidently stood behind someone else playing a demo to listen to an explanation of the game (I did in fact play the game a few days ago, have no fear).

Containment is a zombie puzzler, where you manipulate people in four classes (primarily designated by four different colors) to surround a zombie in the four cardinal directions. Once a zombie is surrounded on all four sides by one color (e.g. all pink, all green, all blue, or all orange) the colored characters kill the zombie and more characters slide down from the top of the screen to fill in the spaces that were just occupied by the zombies and the attacking characters. You can swap characters from any spot on the grid to strategically place a character. Don’t be fooled though, it’s not a turn-based game. As I sat for the first few seconds pondering what I wanted to do first, a zombie ate the character next to it and turned it into a zombie as well (the primary zombie movement mechanism – infecting others). You can surround groups of zombies with one color of character to defeat them as well, and edges of the count as the color of character you’re using, automatically. Defeating all the zombies in a grid before another zombie can crawl it’s way in advances you to the next grid and through the game.

Different classes drop different items. Surrounding zombies with all pink doctors will sometimes mean these pink ladies drop a hazmat suit item that protects three horizontally adjacent characters of your choice to be protected and to act as character color wildcards, still swappable anywhere on the grid. Surrounding zombies with all green soldiers will occasionally net you a grenade to blow up a  cluster of people, whether zombies or friendlies. Blue groups killing zombies will sometimes drop a sniper shot to take out one zombie outright (there are varying classes of zombies that are harder to kill as the game progresses), and orange characters that kill a zombie or group of zombies sometimes drop a Molotov cocktail that will burn a cluster of zombies and allies without discretion.

As I said, one of the first game play features I noticed was that it’s not turn-based. Zombies don’t want for you to strategize before munching on your citizens. Initially I thought this was clever because it forces players to think and act quickly, which isn’t always the case for the puzzle genre. Later in the game though, I realized more and more that I was approaching levels with a brute force approach because I felt time was more important than finesse. It’s a fine line to be sure, and one that might be praised by some and criticized by others. I vacillated between the two, as I said.

Another strength to the game were the characters. While the animation was clean and neat, but nothing special, the characters you move on the grid to surround and kill zombies had some really clever short lines of dialogue, and the voice actors did a good job in their brief appearances.

Now to reference the title, and my easily contained excitement for the game. I was impressed that the team at Bootsnake Games bothered to put in a story at all, and the exposition that rolled onto the screen in between zombie grids had some funny one liners every so often. However, overall it was your standard zombie tale, without novelty. Also, I couldn’t imagine a more boring font. I’m no typographer so I don’t want to purger myself but the font of the story was something like Helvetica or Arial. Seriously? I would’ve preferred the cliche zombie font over reading three acts with five levels a piece entirely in the plainest sans serif font available. A small detail, you’d think, but from the time the first bit of plot was scrolling off of the screen and to the next grid, I was already bored of reading it the exposition in such a boring font.

Seriously, I would've rather read pages of this, as annoying as it is, than ARIAL.

Seriously, I would’ve rather read pages of this, as annoying as it is, than ARIAL.

Overall, the game was a little easy. I didn’t die once until sometime in the middle of the second act. In Bootsnake’s defense, I only played through the campaign mode. There is also a survival mode that I would bet gets pretty difficult. Additionally, there is no penalty for incurring collateral damage. In fact, killing more of your allies unlocks Steam achievements. I think an easy way to up the difficulty would be to penalize players for avoidable friendly fire. Without that penalty, I was dropping grenades, warheads, and Molotov cocktails willy nilly, just to get a few zombies.

Update: I just jumped into Survival mode for a few rounds to double check, and not be a lazy/crappy reviewer, and you do get ranked on how many civilians you kill per round. Having said that, I wasn’t too careful about it, and I got an “A” in the first three rounds so . . . maybe it’s still not that hard.

And again in the game’s defense, there is the company itself, Bootsnake Games. I said it once and I’ll say it again – the nicest people go to PAX. I listened to one of the people working the booth explain the game and gently guide the PAX attendee playing the game to make better choices. Another booth worker came up to me to answer the rest of my questions, invite me to try it out on the iPad, and convince me to buy it for $3 there at the booth. Supporting the indie devs! My favorite pastime.

Wa hoo, independent developers! Stick it to the man!

Wa hoo, independent developers! Stick it to the man!

The game is available on Steam for the PC (which is how I played my copy when I got home from PAX) and it’s in the Apple App store.  For $2, I would recommend giving it a shot on the iPad, just because it is generally fun and I bet you can get more traction out of the survival mode than I got in the few hours it took me to complete the campaign. For $5 on the PC right now . . . sure, I recommend it too, so long as $5 is chump change to you (right now, $5 is a day of food for me so Containment wouldn’t be a priority. Catch-22 would be, just for reference). Like I said, I just love giving independent developers all of my money.

Any zombie games you guys have totally loved? I usually try to avoid the genre, but this was a pleasant introduction. Leave suggestions for me in the comments!


Noob Alert! I originally said I watched Team Digitas as one of the first teams to play in the LoL championship. That should read Team Dignitas. My mistake, and if you like LoL and haven’t given up on me yet, sorry for the typo.

1) On Thursday night we pulled into Seattle to meet up with my friends’ Minecraft server buddies for dinner. They turned out to be a twenty-five year old woman who was the community manager and a man in his late thirties with his nine year old son. All three were so incredibly nice and so passionate about Minecraft that even though I didn’t really know what was going on (I have still never played Minecraft, and I know that makes me a bad person), I was grinning like a kid as the table bantered about Minecraft then Magic then tabletop games. After the meal, the father invited us all to play Risk in the lobby of his hotel with other people. After wandering the convention center for awhile to just check everything out before the influx of people the next morning, we wandered into one of the hotel lobbies and I saw every table and chair occupied by fellow gamers playing all kinds of board games and card games. I started smiling like a kid and when I tried to explain it later to family and friends, I got choked up. People all together for the same purpose doing the same thing. Incredible.

It’s worth noting that while wandering around the convention center Thursday night, I saw a troupe of Mass Effect cosplayers who were perfect. In particular there was a guy dressed in the best geth suit I’ve ever seen. He proceeded to moonwalk in his suit as people were taking pictures of him and then I knew: my life was complete.

2) We got up early to get in line by eight for getting into the exhibition hall as soon as the doors opened at ten. After seeing some amazing cosplay that kept a smile on my face for two hours, the doors officially opened and I wandered the floor in a crowd of people, playing a few games (Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs) here and there, but mainly feeling a little overwhelmed, and not wanting to wait in line for any demos. Eventually I wound up on the sixth floor and watching the North American regionals for League of Legends. I’ve played the game a few times, I’m really bad at it, and I know there is strategy but I’m not sure what it is. However, I knew the tournament was a huge deal this weekend so I wanted to at least see a little bit of it. And as the teams started the game and Team Dynamic drew first blood and Team Dignitas got revenge a few minutes later, I felt my involvement and excitement rising. Despite not knowing how these players were great I could tell they were great, and the energy in the room was almost palpable. That was the moment I realized PAX was so much bigger than I fathomed initially and I was a part of it and my life is awesome because of that.

3) I was waiting in line for the Destructoid panel as a Fallout cosplaying couple behind me were talking to a few people behind them. I then heard the boyfriend say that his girlfriend got some great swag earlier that morning, and the girlfriend promptly burst into tears. Unable to abate my curiosity, I turned around to see her show off a sparkling (and quite massive) engagement ring to the interested parties. My joy for them (and I’m sure the joy of everyone else in the line) was overwhelming and it struck me how gamer or non-gamer, we’re all so much the same. Beautiful things happen at PAX.

4) There are a few remote locations for panels and events outside of the convention center itself, within a few blocks of it to the north and west. As I walked from one hotel meeting room to another for the next writing panel I was attending, I realized the sun was shining and I was walking around sans jacket. I looked up in the cloudless sky and noted its absolutely perfect shade of cerulean blue. I was at a gaming convention where beautiful things happened like moon walking geth, cosplay marriage proposals, getting career advice from Chris Kohler of Wired, telling Evan Lahti of PCGamer.com that I would send him writing samples, and too many other great things to mention. The location was also beautiful. It has been an unbeatable weekend.

So far I’ve received incredible writing and career advice, I’ve laughed a lot, I’ve played some games (not nearly enough), I bought Containment for $3, and I’ve made a long list of blog topics that I should be posting faster than I’ll be able to. My brain and notebook are at full capacity with more topics I want to write about and more topics I want to get back to the convention center to cover as quickly as possible tomorrow morning for the final day of the expo. PAX has been phenomenal, more posts are coming, and thanks for sticking around.


Too much gaming, no time to write! So, here’s a quick run down of thoughts on all the gaming I’ve done since I built my PC:

First, building that thing was so fun. It was the best of both worlds – getting to work with my hands and getting to work with a mouse and keyboard. I had a few problems getting the motherboard to recognize my GPU, but I figured it out and now it’s running like a champ. I will say, I used the stock thermal paste that came on my stock heatsink, and the CPU runs pretty hot sometimes. My first update purchase will probably be thermal paste. Then maybe more fans (the case only came with one! My one complaint about that Cooler Master case). Aside from that, I think the weak link in my setup is my motherboard but that’ll take me longer to replace just because I don’t know if I want the hassle, particularly because my rig is running like a CHAMP! So true, it’s worth saying twice. I’ve never seen games run on “Very High” graphic settings in real life before. Only in videos. Beautiful. Also, all on my 32” HDTV. This is heaven, as Jimmy Eat World once said.

The Friday that my final PC pieces arrived, I was geeking out checking the shipping logs online at work and my boss asked me what game I would first christen my system with. I had never even considered it! I logged into my Steam library to give it some good hard thought and settled on Dragon Age: Origins. It’s my oldest game in my library that I still haven’t played because I bought it when it was on sale and my laptop could barely run it. As I built my machine that night, I was getting bored waiting for Windows updates and I opened a game of Mahjong, which I later realized was truly the first game I played on the PC. Highly disappointing, unless you’re my mom, then it’s really great.

DAMN you, Mahjong! You've tricked me for the last time!

DAMN you, Mahjong! You’ve tricked me for the last time!

Anyway, Saturday morning I was troubleshooting some last software stuff when I finally got to business playing Dragon Age Saturday afternoon. I had attempted to play through this game when I first bought it, but my laptop was struggling so hard I didn’t get very far. But after a few hours of play, I’m just about where I stopped the first time around and let me say: it is slow going. I’ve heard great things about this game, so I’ll power through. The combat I enjoy because although there are some really tough bosses, the strategy aspect of being able to pause and assign characters actions helps a lot. I’m also looking forward to trying out a different race at some point to see how different things really are.

But while I was playing Dragon Age, I made sure I was downloading other games at all times. But every time a game was finished downloading from my library, I thought “Oooh, I wonder how that will look” and I’d take a break and start playing another game. I finally downloaded and tried out StarCraft II (which is the first StarCraft game I’ve ever played). I enjoyed it so much that when the starter edition ended, I straight up bought the rest of the game. The original World of WarCraft games were RTS and I remember loving those so even though I didn’t have a lot of time logged to justify my $40 purchase of the rest of the game, I am nearly positive I’ll enjoy the time I get out of it. Plus, it was more of a social purchase. Everyone I know and their dogs play SCII so I need to start getting my game on. Anyway, great graphics, very fun voice acting, I have no idea what’s going on in the story in relation to the original SC but . . . great graphics!

Protoss? Kerrigan? Zerg? Sure, whatever.

Protoss? Kerrigan? Zerg? Sure, whatever.

I had to check out Team Fortress 2 on the big screen (big by my standards . . .) and with a faster processor. Holy. Crap. It’s like a different game! No lag, just blowing people away without hesitation! Seriously fun. The problem is becoming that I have too many awesome games to play, and now am always in a conundrum of what to start.

I should make this useful, instead of commenting on old games. I did try out a demo for A Valley Without Wind which . . . I somehow thought looked amazing from a gameplay demo I saw months ago. False, it is not. Boring, too much going on, a really expansive world but constant hints throughout tell you not to waste your time exploring everything . . . ? More time should’ve been spent on the graphics and gameplay instead of the map, frankly. Don’t waste your time on it. I didn’t even finish the demo, I just quit after a few hours.

But! Best demo of the week aware goes to A Book of Unwritten Tales! I saw this on Steam a few weeks ago and thought it looked pretty cute, lots of tongue-in-cheek humor about gaming and fantasy tropes. I downloaded the demo and finally played it last week. Hilarious! Superb voice acting, a highly polished visual presentation, and humor all over the place. The gameplay is your standard point-and-click adventure game, lots of repetitive walking and puzzling, which I’m not a big fan of. For that reason, I’ll wait until this goes on sale (it’s currently $20) but it’s available on Steam and gog.com so . . . go nuts if you’d like! I highly recommend at least trying the demo, which had me laughing out loud.

This is the ship that Death lives on, depressed that no one dies in the game.

This is the ship that Death lives on, depressed that no one dies in the game.

Reviews you can expect in the future now that I can play some old gog.com and Steam purchases: Myst! (never played it, we’ll see how much I can do without googling like an idiot), Commander Keen! (this game IS my childhood. All Commander Keen games were just $4 during the QuakeCon sale on Steam last weekend), and if I can ever kill that ——- piece of —- devil —— stupid —– DURIEL, I’ll write about Diablo II sometime soon (also beautiful on the big screen, if for no other reason than I can see things for once, instead of squinting at a 14” screen. Also need to finish and write about Lands of Lore, so I can get rolling on Legend of Grimrock! (thanks, Steam Summer Sale!)

Ugh . . . DURIEL.

My rage is unquenchable. Even eventually killing this devil will not satiate my desire to obliterate it from existence, from ALL FUTURE DIABLO II GAMES!

My rage is unquenchable. Even eventually killing this devil will not satiate my desire to obliterate it from existence, from ALL FUTURE DIABLO II GAMES!


Having only gotten an Xbox and Xbox Live account in the past year, as well as getting more into PC gaming, and having never really played FPS, I’ve never had to endure the world of online multiplayer. I say endure because the first time I attempted it, I downloaded and played a FtP MMORPG that I could only go so far in, independently. Then it was pretty much required that I join up with some other players to attack a dungeon and defeat a boss for the next storyline quest. But I still felt really newb-tastic and having to actually talk to all these impressive warriors running by me on the dusty road was too intimidating. So I stopped playing, relieved that I wouldn’t develop an addiction because I didn’t want to interact with others online.

I should probably dispel any possible misconceptions now; for the most part, I’m not completely anti-social. True, I don’t do much with people, ever, but when I do, I like to believe I’m fairly easy to talk to and relatable. Thankfully I don’t only talk about video games, and I can read social cues to know when to shut up or when to probe further about someone else’s hobby because they want to talk about it. But for some reason, the faceless, nameless judgment of someone else online is something I’d like to avoid at just about all costs.

So I bought Red Dead Redemption and never tried multiplayer, and started Team Fortress 2 and only played bots and tried out League of Legends and only played bots too. And then I bought Mass Effect 3. And to get the “perfect ending” (which I definitely wanted because I’m that anal retentive), I had to play multiplayer. So, expecting the worst, I logged in and started, and loved it! Co-operative team play with others, no friendly fire, this was my kind of multiplayer! I did get a bad player review from someone, and I’m completely unsure why, and it still really bothers me, but that’s obviously indicative of deeper psychological issues I have, ha. (In my defense it’s my only player review so it looks like I’m a really terrible person to play with because 100% of the people that have rated me, hated me).

AH HUSKS HOLY CRAP HUSKS DIE DIE DIE

AH HUSKS HOLY CRAP HUSKS DIE DIE DIE

With a positive multiplayer experience under my belt, I thought I’d finally give a non-bot run-through of TF2 a try, and surprisingly, everyone was nice there as well. It did prove to be more frustrating as I was dominated most of the games by really good players, but slowly my skills improved and I started setting personal bests with Demoman and I felt pretty good.

This all led up to finally trying RDR multiplayer, so I could start getting some of those multiplayer achievements. And the first time I tried it (months ago), I got wasted often, realized that you could actually roll in the game (I got 99.5% completion in the game without realizing that you could roll your character . . . sad), and got a couple of Xbox Live stranger-friends out of a full weekend of multiplayer. I then lent the game to a friend who just got an Xbox and had no money, and just tried multiplayer again for the second time this weekend. And now I’ve seen the true side of multiplayer that I hear about in CoD, Halo, and other games in the same genre.

I may just be in a generally irritable mood, but there were four out of this world good players who I magically never got reshuffled to be on their team (because I acknowledge that I would have been loving it if they were completely annihilating my enemies, instead of me and my teammates), and I got killed by over and over and over again. The last time I played, I recognized that I was generally getting better and better. This time, I spent most of the session re-spawning and watching myself die.

Despite it all . . . still probably my all-time favorite game.

Despite it all . . . still probably my all-time favorite game.

Then, someone on my own team shot me in the head so they could take my cover spot. What the hell is that about! How rude can you be! I tried to withstand the temptation, but a few rounds later, I had an opportunity to just blow this particular player away and I’m sad to say I took the opportunity to “get even,” which the more multiplayer-educated among you are now laughing because there is no “getting even.” The player simply shot me in the head again, a few rounds later. I then sent a choicely worded and explicit message to the player asking them to stop, submitted a bad player review, and quit because I was so frustrated.

The great thing about having a blog that only a few people read is that you don’t feel so bad when you rant and ramble without purpose. I suppose the purpose is venting, and saying that I suppose multiplayer isn’t all bad, but man . . . Red Dead Redemption multiplayer is highly frustrating. And I’m sure there are many people who would read my TF2 description and say “Really!? What server were you on, the rainbows and butterflies server?” So for the sake of my blood pressure and faith in humanity, maybe I’ll just stick with ME3 multiplayer. And it’s good to try different multiplayer experiences out – if only to confirm that I’m more grateful than not that I can’t play most FPS.

Maximum damage with minimal accuracy. My kind of character.

Maximum damage with minimal accuracy. My kind of character.

Vent your multiplayer frustrations, or share whatever you want about multiplayer. Do you guys hate it or love it? Or you are wiser than I am and realize it’s a mixed bag most of the time?