Friday, March 13, 2015

What I'm Playing - 3/13

I'm not doing very well at keeping a weekly cadence up on these posts...

Sunset Overdrive

This isn’t a good game. Well, it’s okay. There are moments where the writing and cutscenes are genuinely funny. But by the end of the game, it relies so heavily on breaking the fourth wall to acknowledge “we’re in a videogame” that it’s easy to forget some of the actual jokes told hours earlier. It pokes fun at itself occasionally, but still settles on a wildly traditional structure, right up to a three-part final boss battle with a heavy sequel tease at the end. There’s an impressive horde of enemies onscreen, but 90% of the time it’s better to skip the generic, boring combat in favor of moving the plot along. The city itself isn’t completely forgettable, but there’s nothing particularly memorable about it either. Every neighborhood is colorful, but they are all colorful in the exact same patterns. Moving around the city by grinding on power lines and bouncing on cars and rooftop garden umbrellas is unique, but the power lines and garden umbrellas are so ubiquitous that traversal never really gets changed up.

On top of all that, there’s a truly useless combat upgrade system. You get “badges” for doing things, which can be turned in for 1% increases or 5% increases to damage. You can collect items throughout the city that create weapons mods that do 10% more damage when grinding.

I finished the campaign and didn’t feel any need to do the endless sidequests that popped up.


Capitalist ADVenture / Feed the Monster

By coincidence, I happened across two iOS Cookie Clicker style “idle” games. As per Cookie Clicker, you tap to gain currency. Currency is used to buy upgrades so you can grow currency faster. In Feed the Monster, currency grows your monster larger and larger until he resides in the stars. In Capitalist ADventure, you periodically “cash out” of all your investments to gain “angel” investors, who give you additional upgrades so you can gain all the money back and more.

I find both of these games soothing. I often fiddle with my phone during meetings, and having something relatively brainless to tap on while others are talking keeps my hands occupied so my mind can focus.


Alto

This game got a lot of press for its art. It’s a pared-down version of one of my favorite games, Ski Safari. The art is, indeed, gorgeous. However, the day/night cycle is implemented such that it’s almost impossible to see what’s going on if the sun isn’t out. That doesn’t seem intentional.


Guild Wars 2

I finished all the games I wanted to play on the Xbox One for now, so my evenings have gone back to spending a bit of time in Guild Wars 2. I am playing World vs World, where my server competes against two others. Our server works together to capture towers and keeps from other servers using siege weapons we construct with supplies from captured camps. Mostly this takes the form of “zerging”, where we swarm in a mindless mass lead by a single commander. It’s fun to cooperate with others and test our luck against the other servers. One commander is quite good at outflanking enemy zergs to ensure victory, which lends a bit of strategy and variety to an otherwise low-key activity.

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