Thursday, January 31, 2013

The things that have killed my PC gaming

I have been blogging since 2006 or so. However as my time went on I found less and less to talk about in the avenue of MMO's. Recently I have blogged about miniature gaming and board gaming as well but that has died off quite a bit. My current kick is the XBOX360 as, after 5 years or so, I have finally sat down and forced myself to use those controllers and get used to the analog sticks.

There are many cons to console gaming and rarely did I find the positives. I hated the controllers and found PC gaming vastly superior especially for in depth wargames. Lately however I have been in the process of replacing my most popular PC games with XBOX 360 titles and forcing myself to play it exclusively and I can now conclude that there ARE some positives for the console generation. So much so in fact that with the addition of the XBOX 720 or whatever it may be called I could see myself no longer upgrading my PC to play the latest and greatest. 

I want to just plug in and play and not worry about drivers and things like that. Also it has seemed to be the past couple of years that every stinking computer game (minus MMO's and RTS games which are mainly PC based) has been some version of a poor console port that really just sucks to control. Like Dead Island, Space Marine, Borderlands etc etc. So the revival of my XBOX 360 near the end of its lifespan has brought about the following discoveries:

  • More game time. It is quicker to get in and get out and switch games on a console. I have a lot of digitally downloaded games from XBOX Live's On Demand and they are fast fast fast
  • Better controls mean I dont suck as much. I hated the way Dragon Age played on the PC. Now I am 20 some hours in WITH all the DLC downloaded and having a blast. I still have issues with shooters however and I know I will never truly master that. But the shortcuts on a controller and not having to worry about keyboard reference cards is a godsend.
  • Larger TV and viewing area
  • Easier to find online games and opponents
  • Minecraft is ever better....which I would have never thought. I love that the crafting recipes are right there in game. All you need to do is find the things and spend less time guessing how to make them.
  • The social aspects and use of XBOX Live has replaced my ROKU and Apple TV especially for watching shows and things. Digital downloads of movies and TV's have been nice and this gets me off iTunes which can be annoying.
  • Achievements.....they have me hooked. I like that I see my Gamer Score go up. It sounds lame but I just felt Steam achievements were something no one really looked at.
  • Im downstairs more. My girlfriend has her own XBOX also upstairs so we can switch and do whatever or even co op in games etc etc. The price for two of those were cheaper than her entire computer. 
  • All of this has led to less downtime and less blogging and more instant sharing and instant posting of quick game events than writing entire blogs. As such I have moved mainly to my Google + account to post about gaming and less posts here.
There are some things that cannot be replaced in PC gaming. I know that. I am a staunch PC gaming defender. But each day I am missing them less and less to be honest. Since I dont miss MMO's at all (seriously burned out on them. They do nothing for me anymore) the only title keeping me PC bound is Diablo 3 and Dawn of War 2 at this point.

I will admit Farcry 3 probably pushes the XBOX 360 a little too far but I still play it on there more than PC. I guess the older I get I find less and less enjoyment out of sitting in front of a computer. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Experimentation with monster power levels continues

My first Barbarian is in ACT IV now but he is mainly a sword and board build. By the way the cutscene for ACT IV was freaking awesome. Quite a twist in the story.

Anyway my second Barbarian is a two hand build and she had gotten all the best gear so far including two Legendaries. I had an epic battle in ACT III with GHOM on monster power level 7 earlier. I had to really kite him around in between swigging health potions.

He is dead now...barely. Sonja, the two handed wielding Barbarian, uses a Legendary weapon and helm. Of the three items I have found only the ring did I give away.

So far I was unable to defeat Balil on Monster Power level 7. He is just too tough and we don't do enough damage. After numerous deaths we had to drop it down to 4 or 5. I haven't tried him solo on level 7 yet but I am guessing it will be the same result. 

I have not hit the auction house yet. This is all from drops. I suppose I could get more legendaries off the AH but I want to see how well I can do with drops. 

I have three other characters in ACT 3 now. My goal is to finish the game on Normal with each character class and then go from there to see if I want to continue and play the game the way Blizzard wants us all to play it: farm and play the Auction House. I am not sure my heart will be into it but at least right now with the difficulty adjustment ability it makes Normal mode much more fun.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

XCOM: Enemy Unknown

I spent about 4 hours yesterday digging deep into this title after several attempts to start over and try to see a pattern in how I am supposed to run the defense of the planet.

One thing I am worried about is making mistakes early on that no matter what I do I will not be able to fix it later. Pretty much working my way into a corner.

Though I started with the tutorial I am already having issues with understanding the lack of engineers, building the base, the proper build order, which countries to let go into chaos and more. Do I put at least two medkits in the squad? Do I need that stun device to capture aliens? How many aliens should I plan on capturing? What about Interceptors?

There are a lot of questions in this game that I just have no idea about. It is very deep but I do have some issues. One is the camera. It is terrible. Since it doesn't rotate like normal and in "segments" it makes it hard to get a good shot on the action. To my liking it does not zoom out enough either. Also the distinction between the floors and getting troops to go up steps or onto roofs is incredibly annoying.

The directions per missions are a little cloudy as well. On the bomb mission I thought I could still deactivate it  when standing next to it even though it had been activated. Instead I had 3 turns to bug out and everyone blew up and died. If I am standing next to it why can I not just still shut it down?

I have a lot to learn in this game but I may hit up the Steam workshop and see what mods are out there to fix some issues I have unless anyone can recommend good ones here for me.

Despite those problems I have to say the game is a blast. I cringe when I lose certain troopers and there is a lot of depth, I just hope there is not one linear path to winning and multiple strategies can work.