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6th November 2018: Forever The Wanderer

Back in the very early 2000s I played a bit of Diablo 2 after hearing my bro talking about it. He'd played it co-op with a few of his friends and they all seemed really into it, so I ended up giving it a try.

It was all well and good, and I was quite into it. That is, until the third act I believe it was. During that part of the game, as far as I can remember, you are tasked with collecting three items that will allow you to unlock some magical staircase and continue the adventure.

Now, I collected these items, and used them to open the way forward. Then, I saved the game and turned it off. The next time I came to play the game, I found that the way forward was again closed, and all of the items had vanished from my inventory. As I didn't feel like playing most of the third act again, I just gave up.

I never really bothered with the game after that other than a few years later when Scoob and I started to play it co-op but didn't even get out of the first act.

Anyway, fast forward to this September, and out of the blue we decided to try again. After (seeming) to get it to run on my two current computers, we fought our way through act one, and were enjoying our couple of hours in the game every weekend.

However, the progress did not come without its costs, as at several times, my older computer just decided to crash in a variety of ways.

After the last crash on the first sewer mission of act two, we seem to have decided to not push this one any further. Unfortunately, this again seems to leave this game in its perpetual state of limbo, as it's unlikely I'll play it on my own.
Just not sure what to say. This game appears to be cursed for me for whatever reason.

Scoob and his force of skeletons looks on as I break into a chest

Scoob and his force of skeletons looks on as I break into a chest

Trying to hold back an army of demon women until backup arrives

Trying to hold back an army of demon women until backup arrives

There was a battle here

There was a battle here

The Countess goes bye-bye

The Countess goes bye-bye

Act one boss Andariel wants my booty

Act one boss Andariel wants my booty

28th November 2016: Brothers & Transistors: A Tale Of Two Games

2016 has been a bit of a slow year for completing games, so recently I sat down to rush through two shorter games from a couple of years back that have quite a good reputation out there on the t'interwebs.

Up first was Transistor, a game by the same people who made Bastion. I could certainly feel a bit of a Bastion-like influence in this, but for the most part it was a very different game, especially the combat.
Battles can be fought in real time, or you can pause and plan out your attacks using something called Turn(). Using Turn() lets all your planned actions activate before the enemy can react, but then puts your skills on a cooldown until Turn() is ready to go again, leaving you very open to attack. I struggled quite a lot to get used to either form of combat, until later in the game when I had unlocked a nice selection of functions which allowed me to use Turn() to plan out some very powerful combos. Though I had struggled with the earlier bosses, by the time of the end boss fight I was so ready that I smacked him around with barely a scratch in return.

The story was a weird one. A lot of the lore was hidden in text files and messages that get unlocked as the game progresses, and as I was blitzing through the game I didn't care for any of that, and am not really sure about many things. The general gist was that some bad guys called the Camerata (who may have actually been good guys?) were trying to use a special sword called the Transistor to help rebuild the city, but lost control of it, and it ended up spreading something called The Process: machine-like things that are now taking over the city and killing everyone they can find.

You play as Red, a famous singer who has been rendered mute, I assume psychologically, after an attack on her life instead claimed that of her lover, whose essence was then sucked into the Transistor. Red now has control of the Transistor, from which her lover still speaks to her, and together they set out to try and destroy the Camerata and The Process.
Yes, as I said, it's a weird one.

I had quite a few issues with the game to be honest. Firstly, I couldn't get it running smoothly. Even forcing vsync on in the nvidia control panel, or trying some weird command line option I found online, couldn't stop this from stuttering around all over the place. Made me feel a bit sick.
Real time combat was pretty much unplayable for me. Red's abilities are not supposed to have a cooldown in this mode, to make it a viable option in addition to the Turn() system. However, all the attacks I tried had massive wind-up times, or a good second or two afterwards where Red wouldn't do anything, and I kept getting hit by return fire.
Very often during Turn(), the game would indicate I could do enough damage to kill an enemy, but when I unpaused and unleashed the planned combo, the enemy would be left with quite a lot of health left. Either I was missing something, or there was some strange shit going on there.
Using the jaunt function was also frustrating. This is like a dash or blink move, but sometimes it would only jump to maximum distance while other times it would let me dash a shorter distance. Sometimes it would let me dash over walls, and sometimes it wouldn't. It was a pain.

I can't really write about this game without talking about its music, especially after Bastion's was so good. Unfortunately, while it suits the game and is perfectly adequate, I just didn't find it as "cool" sounding as Bastion's music. While I would be quite happy to listen to any of Bastion's songs, there are only a couple of the lyrical pieces from this one that I have imported into my library.

Red poster

Red poster

Red thinks she's She-Ra

Red thinks she's She-Ra

Planning to take out the Jerk

Planning to take out the Jerk

The Camerata

The Camerata

There's always time for pizza

There's always time for pizza

The fight against The Spine was the hardest one

The fight against The Spine was the hardest one

Good riddance

Good riddance

WTF is going on right now?

WTF is going on right now?

Spanking the end boss good and proper

Spanking the end boss good and proper

16th December 2014: Not So Marvel-ous

Getting on for a decade ago now, Scoob bought the two X-Men Legends games on the PS2. After borrowing it from him, the first one became one of the few games I ever completed on that console (well, I do only own eight). We played most of the second one co-op, but never got around to finishing it for whatever reason. Nevertheless, we both remember those games fondly, and the chance came to re-visit that era when I picked up Marvel: Ultimate Alliance for the PC cheap from eBay.

I'd recently bought a 360 controller to finally get around to Witcher 2, so we started off with Scoob using that and me on keyboard. Unfortunately, aiming ranged attacks while using keyboard is almost impossible, so I was forced into using close combat champs. We formed The Skumsplattaz superhero team with Scoob using Wolverine and Thor, while I went with Deadpool and The Thing. When using the keyboard had got on my nerves enough, I looked at other options. Luckily I found out there was a new, better way of installing PS3 controllers on Windows, as I was not a fan of the software that I used for Resident Evil 3 a couple of years ago. Of course, this means I didn't need a 360 controller after all, as I could have just used both my PS3 controllers. But whatever.
With joypad in hand, I replaced The Thing with Iron Man, to get some long range energy blasts in there.

So what's the game like? Unfortunately, we found the whole experience very underwhelming. Maybe it's because we're older now and button mashing brawlers just don't suit us anymore. Or it might be that the game just isn't as good as the X-Men games were. Without a doubt, the way that levelling up is handled in this game is inferior to those X-Men games. Rather than spend your experience points on increasing your hero's stats, you instead have to find stupid little drops throughout the game that do this job. Meh.

In terms of gameplay it's pretty much exactly what you would expect. You just run around clobbering bad guys and jumping around like a lunatic.
There were definitely a few things that really annoyed me. Firstly, there were way too many little cutscenes that took control away from us. Sometimes these were used for dialogue exchanges between bad guys, but usually it was just so the camera could spin around and show us something in the world that we needed to see. The thing is, if that thing it was showing us was necessary to continue, we would have found it anyway, quite easily, without the need to lose control.
There were also no real interesting boss fights. In pretty much every one, the fight was just a series of quicktime events, which was really disappointing as we really wanted to have a proper down and dirty scrap with these characters but couldn't.
Most of the time the camera was free to move, but some times it was strangely locked to a certain viewpoint. Very frustrating in some situations where we were fighting right on the limit of one fixed camera angle and another, meaning every second or two the camera angle would flick back and forth.

But still, it's another one down, so can't complain.

Thor and a bad guy do some synchronised dancing

Thor and a bad guy do some synchronised dancing

Two Mysterio copies do some synchronised dancing

Two Mysterio copies do some synchronised dancing

Seeing into Wolverine's brain

Seeing into Wolverine's brain

The Thing plays an old ZX Spectrum game

The Thing plays an old ZX Spectrum game

Wolverine's new wheels

Wolverine's new wheels

Deathbird dings the dong

Deathbird dings the dong

Let me go, bub

Let me go, bub

All Silver Surfer can do is annoy Galactus

All Silver Surfer can do is annoy Galactus

Evil Spider-Man copy being a twat

Evil Spider-Man copy being a twat

Wolverine wins the game with QTEs

Wolverine wins the game with QTEs

3rd December 2013: Scratching A Witch

I just got done with the Witcher after a three day marathon, and I have to say I'm very glad it's over. The game was a drag and a half. I continued to get plagued by all the problems I stated in my last blog entry, with one very big addition: the amount of times the fighting would be interrupted by a cutscene, only to then put me back into the action completely surrounded by enemies and without my sword being ready. Damn you, game!

Story wise the game was pretty cool, but does take a twist that really annoys me in games. You spend the whole game chasing the big bad who is called Javed, but then when he's dead the game springs a new big bad on you out of nowhere. This kind of thing has always cheesed me off since I played Final Fantasy IX with the weird appearance of Necron. Frustrating, but at least it's done.

I think it will take me a while to summon up the interest to play the 2nd game, which I hope will be much better than this tosh. The 3rd one is on the way, and I really want a reason to support the developers for their no DRM policy. But if the 2nd one is as poor as this one I doubt I'll be buying any more in the series, which will be a shame.

Strange shadow glitches

Strange shadow glitches

NPC goes invisible in dialog cutscene

NPC goes invisible in dialog cutscene

I know you're randy all the time Geralt, but don't even think about it

I know you're randy all the time Geralt, but don't even think about it

Urgh, bad breath

Urgh, bad breath

Berengar shows his useless 'bury my head and arms' skill

Berengar shows his useless 'bury my head and arms' skill

Great camera placing yet again

Great camera placing yet again

Floating (yes, floating) Cemetaur tries to eavesdrop our conversation

Floating (yes, floating) Cemetaur tries to eavesdrop our conversation

Crap, this is a lot of enemies

Crap, this is a lot of enemies

What is going on with Javed's right arm?

What is going on with Javed's right arm?

Stand still you little pipsqueak

Stand still you little pipsqueak

Geralt tries to kick a spectre in its nads

Geralt tries to kick a spectre in its nads

This is what you get for giving the world those singing chipmunks

This is what you get for giving the world those singing chipmunks

The start and end cinematics are by far the best things about this game

The start and end cinematics are by far the best things about this game


Say the hell what now?!?!

Say the hell what now?!?!

27th November 2013: Walking The Path

After getting Torchlight 2 done, Ye Olde Scoob and I decided to give newly released Path Of Exile a go to see how it compared. Soon, marauders Smashgrot and Klapdud were tearing enemies apart all up and down the coastline.
It's far more impressive graphically than Torchlight, and it's much easier to keep track of what's going on in massive fights, something I am very glad of. And for the most part, even though it's an internet game, the lag is even less evident than I saw during Torchlight.
There are some strange issues though, mainly with targetting enemies. Like in any game of this style, the enemies run around all over the place, which seems to be a problem for my immensely stupid avatar. If I click an enemy to attack it, my guy will want to swing his weapons at the location the enemy is standing, if the enemy is still standing there or not. He won't follow a moving enemy at all unless I keep clicking on it. He just wants to stand there and swing his axes into thin air. Infuriating.
It's also very annoying how there's no method of re-speccing your chosen passive skills, not even for money. As a free to play game, that seems like one easy way they could make a few quid, and make the game more playable at higher levels for people like me who would not want to go through the whole game again to level up a character with the most efficient skills.

We managed to get to the end of Act 1, but I'm not sure whether continuing will be high on our priorities. Overall, gameplay wise it's just too similar to Diablo II. It's pretty much that exact same game just more up to date. So, we'll see.

Splitting some witch's skull

Splitting some witch's skull

Practising some swings...

Practising some swings...

...before using them for real

...before using them for real

Wading through some zombies

Wading through some zombies

Smashgrot and Klapdud ready for action

Smashgrot and Klapdud ready for action

I think something just died

I think something just died

Act 1 boss Merveil bites the dust

Act 1 boss Merveil bites the dust

That's a lot of dead evil monkeys

That's a lot of dead evil monkeys

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