Gaming update

I haven’t talked about games in what seems like forever, so I’ll do a quick hits style thing of what I’ve been playing lately.

— XCOM 2 remains entertaining and enjoyable. Some needed improvements over the previous one, good tone, good overall plot. I like that it assumes failure in the previous game, which leads to a more entertaining game. I mean “We beat the aliens and they all went home forever” doesn’t really leave much to the imagination, does it?

— I picked up the Assassin’s Creed: Chronicles trilogy for like $20 a while ago. It’s a very different take on the genre, but has some good moments. China, the first game, has boring characters and a story that is neither new nor interesting, but the gameplay is solid. India, the second one, has a much more enjoyable main character and is much more colorful, although I’m not far into it.

— I really needed a space sim to tide me over until No Man’s Sky, and Rebel Galaxy fills the bill nicely. It’s made by the people who did Torchlight. It’s very accessible, easy to control, and the galaxy feels big but not too big. There are lots of nice touches, but it does lack a certain amount of depth. Most missions are “blow this up” or “take this stuff over to this planet, where people will try to blow you up.” I don’t quite get the sense of freedom that I got from Freelancer, but it’s close. A nice pickup for PC/PS4.

— OOTP 17 is a nice upgrade over OOTP 16. Trading is much more intuitive, for example, and AI is generally more reasonable. 3D mode has moving players, but it crashed on me the one time I tried it, so I haven’t tried it much since. They have every minor league player in the history of baseball now, even the ones who didn’t make the majors, which allows for some impressive historical players. Finally, there are historical exhibition games, where you can have the 1927 Yankees take on the 1966 Dodgers, for example. I’m frankly worried they’re running out of things to improve, and it isn’t like 16 was chopped liver.

— Competing with OOTP 17 and XCOM 2 for my PC gaming time remains Prison Architect, which continues to improve. I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun with a simulator (Game Dev Tycoon was fun for a bit, but the lack of depth kind of killed it) not made by Paradox. Banished is good too, but Prison Architect fills the sweet spot of easy to play, hard to master.

— I had high hopes for Cities: Skylines, but while I like the game, some parts of it were so frustrating and so poorly documented (exactly where water lines need to be placed) that I’ve put on the virtual shelf for the present. I have 90+ games on Steam, so I don’t know when I’ll get back to it.

— Speaking of games I’m not currently playing, Morrowind is another one I’m struggling to play. It asks a pretty big investment in time for a world that I don’t find all that interesting yet. However, I’ve spent a lot of time on side quests and not much on the story, so maybe when my schedule frees up, I can give it another shot.

— Fallout 4 is my Morrowind for PS4, the difference being that I do want to play to it, but just don’t have long enough blocks of time.

— Far Cry 4 is enjoyable, with a great villain, but it’s another one I can’t commit to. (I’m a sucker for sales).

— Finally, we have my two remaining sports games on PS4: WWE 2k16 (best of the series so far) and NHL 16 (ditto). NHL 16 was briefly irritating to me until I realized that there was no auto-save mechanic. I was playing the exact same games over and over again. Once I sorted that out, I had a lot more fun. Rookie mode seems too easy, but I’m only playing junior league hockey, so I don’t know if it’s me outclassing the competition or what. We’ll see what happens.

If there’s a specific game you want to hear more about, let me know and I’ll do a full work up. I even forgot some, I’m sure, like LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (very enjoyable for the most part, easy platinum). This is over the last few months or so, so it isn’t like my life is nothing but gaming.

 

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