I’m Rob, and here’s what I’ve been playing – 08/10/17

I’ve been playing games mostly.

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One of my all time favourite games is Baldur’s Gate II.  I played an unbelievable amount of it over the years after it released.  And whilst I tried a number of other games set in the same world, even made with the same engine, I couldn’t find anything that hit me in the same way.  With recently releases like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity bringing back those classic CRPGs, I decided to give one of them a try (and a thank you to my wife for buying it for me).

Baldur's Gate 2
I haven’t played the Enhanced Edition, but any enhancement on perfection can only be a good thing.

So Torment: Tides of Numenera turned out to be pretty damn great.  The main plot and side stories were engaging, the characters were varied and interesting, and the gameplay allowed you to deal with situations in a lot of different ways.  Pity about the bugs and the occasional difficulty spikes.  Still, there was a world full of different (and often very creative) things to discover and I enjoyed my time there.

Torment
Torment is pretty great. I haven’t played the original so I don’t know how it ties in.

My wife bought me Nier: Automata for my birthday.  This is a game I’ve been wanting to play since release and now I might finally get around to it.  Pretty much anything made by Platinum grabs my interest by the simple virtue of my having never played a game made by them that I didn’t immediately adore.  Metal Gear Rising anyone?  I’ll get onto this one pretty soon I think.

Nier Automata
I’ve been very keen to give this one a try. Platinum tend to make very good character action games and I’ve yet to play one that’s disappointed me.

Another birthday present I received that I’m very keen to try is Pandemic: Reign of Cthulhu.  Our family would play Pandemic a lot, so any opportunity to play more of it is welcome.  I had heard of this one but didn’t know anything about it.  Having read the instructions, I’m quite excited to give it a try as this feels like more than a simple reskin.  The game plays in mostly the same way but with some significant twists, such as Old Ones rising and altering the game’s rules in place of epidemics.  Plus the board looks gorgeous which certainly helps.

 

Cthulhu
Fear great Cthulhu! And my carpet.

I picked up Marvel Vs. Capcom Infinite at the weekend ago on a whim.  I enjoy playing Street Fighter V with my daughter and figured something with Marvel characters in might be fun.  We’ve enjoyed playing it together (although I regret playing as Dormamu at one point as he seemed to scare her a bit), but I haven’t touched the story mode yet.  Personally I find the gameplay a little too…floaty?  I don’t think that’s the right word.  But I feel like none of the attacks really have any impact.  I do enjoy fighting games, in spite of being terrible at them, but this one’s moment to moment action hasn’t grabbed me as well as I’d hoped.

Thanos
Still don’t want to get into a fist fight with this chap.

My new PC finally arrived, ready to take on some games that need a GPU more powerful than a cheese sandwich.  I’ve yet to really try anything particularly taxing on it, but I didn pick up the XCOM 2 expansion and I’m keen to give it a play.  Any opportunity to hop back into that game is one I happily take.

XCOM 2 Faceless
Hopefully my new computer will be able to run this at more than 30 FPS

Oh, and I downloaded and played Final Fantasy: All the Bravest.  But more on that another time…

So what about you?  Have you started up anything new and/or fun recently?  Something freshly released?  Or maybe back to the backlog or a classic that you’re returning to?  Let me know!

I’m Rob, and Here’s What I’ve Been Playing – 10/09/17

I’m struggling to get motivated to write up individual games that I have finished in the last few weeks, so instead here’s a quick look at what I’ve been playing this week!

Memes
Gotta have memes. Does this count as memes?

Year Walk – iOS 

Year Walk
Year Walk (2013)

This was on sale for £1 a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been intending to try it for a while due to it’s interesting art style and supposedly creepy atmosphere. I’ve racked up a whole 20 minutes so far and would consider it a modernised point and click adventure. It makes good use of touch controls but I feel mechanics are under explained. I had no idea I could spin a dolls head around to make it dance to give me a clue. Standard point and click moon logic.

Year Walk
I don’t know what this is!

I’m going to persevere with this one though. I like the atmosphere, and the sound is excellent. I’m sure there’s a story too but it’s quite unclear right now. I can always pop open a guide to get an idea of what to do next if I’m stuck too. Not bad so far!

Destiny – Xbox One

Destiny
Destiny (2014)

Yep, the first one.  Not that new fangled fancy one with all the graphics and whatnot.  A friend of mine happened to have a spare disc of the base game and gave it to me which I’m very grateful for.  So far I’ve reached level 16 as a Warlock.  It was fairly easy to start with but some of the Strikes can get rather overwhelming with the sheer volume of enemies.

Destiny
A promo shot, yes. But a pretty one nonetheless.

I’m enjoying it all the same.  The combat is pretty satisfying for the most part and the ever increasing power of item drops is as addictive as ever.  The bosses are a bit bullet spongy for my liking, taking far longer to put down than I’d like, but I’m having fun with it for now!

Redout – Xbox One

Redout
Redout: Lightspeed Edition (2017)

Big thanks to B3 for providing me with the review code for this one (keep an eye out there for the review popping up).  I reviewed this last week and found it to be ludicrously fast.  It’s somewhat like Wipeout and other anti-gravity racers, but with the speed turned up to infinity.

Redout
This is the fastest racing game I’ve played bar none. Still a really fun time though!

In addition to the speed, it’s also insanely hard.  I reached Class 3 (of 4) before finding it a little too hard to finish races anywhere above last due to my feeble old man reactions not being up to snuff.  Thankfully the quick restart times meant I could plug away at it for a while without sitting around on a loading screen.  It’s incredibly polished but some might consider it to be (cliché alert!) the Dark Souls of anti-grav racers.

Spaceballs
Yep. There was no way I was missing an opportunity to include this.

Elder Sign – PC

Elder Sign: omens
Elder Sign: Omens (2011)

It may surprise you to learn that I like board games rather a lot.  The difficulty is sometimes getting a group together to play, but also the setup and tear down times (Marvel Legendary is great fun but now takes about 20 minutes to set up thanks to all the expansions).  For this reason, I like that digital versions of great board games are available.  Elder Sign: Omens is based on the board game of the (almost) same name and involves dice rolls being assigned to events to earn the titular elder signs with the goal of preventing ancient gods of Lovecraft’s stories from devouring the world!

Elder Sign: Omens
A lot of the game is spent here, deciding on your current characters move before chucking those dice!

As a digital version, it sticks to the board game rather well, with plenty of different challenges and characters to choose from.  BUT.  Where is the multiplayer?!  Yes, I suppose you could play it locally by hot seating, but there is no online whatsoever.  Considering you could play and finish a game of this in around 20 minutes, an online co-op mode would fit right in.  Throw in a chat box and you have a pretty complete system.  I have no idea why this would be omitted.  Still, it’s fun to play here and there as it is.

So how about you?  What are you playing?  Anything good?  Something terrible?  Let me know below, and happy gaming!

 

Games with Gold for September 2017

This months Games with Gold have just cropped up! Whilst they are (mostly) pretty good, I’m disappointed to already own most of them. If only I’d waited!

Forza Motorsport 5 – A pretty good game even by today’s standards, but very limited in terms of cars compared to more recent outings. Would rather a more recent racer be included.

Oxenfree – I loved this game when it came out. Still do now! It’s a narrative driven walking simulator of sorts. There are consequences for your conversation choices leading to a number of different endings. It’s about 4 hours long (which is great for me) and the characters are what make the experience worthwhile.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane – This is the one I haven’t played. Jet ski racing I suppose! Might be good, might be awful.

Battlefield 3 – I’m sure I don’t need to go into this. Lots of military shooty bang bangs. The campaign was reasonably fun and the multiplayer still holds up fairly well. I imagine this release will see an increase in he online player base.

What do you reckon to this month’s offerings?

The Happiness Tag

Happiness is contagious. Or so I’ve been told.

Thanks to Google for the pictures and all that.

I have been informed that I make people “happy”!  Anyone who knows my teaching style will be aware that happiness is an emotion I try to avoid conveying during my lessons.  I prefer “bitter teacher, resentful of the youth of today” but if happiness is something I’m providing through blogging, then so be it!  Vahrkalla of V V Games recently posted a blog also entitled The Happiness Tag and pointed out that I am a blogger providing happiness to the masses.

Crazy Happy emoji
Look at how happy I’m making you all! LOOK! YOU ARE THIS HAPPY!

I’ll actually say thank you to him for the tag.  I’ve had a few of these “award” tags recently and I haven’t got around to posting my responses to them which I think looks fairly bad so I’m going to use this one to catch up.

Rules and such:

  • List 5 things that make you happy
  • List 5 songs that make you happy
  • List 5 bloggers that make you happy

Things

1. Video Games

So this one seems pretty obvious considering the theme of my blog, but gaming keeps me centred most of the time.  Good day or bad, I like to play something in the evening (or at any opportunity really).  I tend to stick to one or two games at a time so I don’t lose track of story/controls/other things but regardless of what I’m currently playing, coming back to having a game or two of it makes me happy.

2. Family

This seems like a bit of a cop-out, of course family makes me happy.  I love my wife and my daughter is amazing (she’s 4 and likes playing Street Fighter…) so, you know, happy stuff.  I’m also fond of my in-laws and my sister (don’t tell her) and her family and have just come back from a big group holiday that consisted of a week of beaches, BBQs and board games.  Happy times!

3. Whisky

Look, don’t judge me alright!  I know the idea of booze making me happy would be somewhat frowned upon, but I like whisky.  I don’t drink it to excess, but I tend to have a a glass or two over the course of a week.  Unlike my experience with most spirits, I find whisky interesting because almost every brand is different.  I love trying a single malt that I haven’t had before and comparing it to previous bottles in the never ending effort to find a new favourite (Talisker is the long time reigning champion of my mouth.  Yes, you read that right).

4.  Walking

I’m in the enviable position of living about 3 miles from work meaning I can walk to and from work every day.  It’s a great way to start and end my day, and whilst I have to leave the house very early in the morning, it allows me to reduce stress at the end of the day and get home in a better mindset that if I’d been stuck in traffic for the past 20 minutes.  Plus I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

5. Books

Right, I like to read books from time to time but I never really have time to do so.  I’m also a pretty slow reader for no particular reason.  This ties in with my previous reason, because I’m really glad to have Audible and the chance to spend around an hour and a half walking every day.  Rather than reading I can listen to the books on my travels.  I’ve been listening to the Dark Tower series recently as well as Yahtzee Crowshaw’s books.  I especially enjoyed Under the Dome as an audiobook.  It was like having a drama series in my ears with a new episode every day.

Songs

If you do one thing with your day, make it listening to these.

1. Superman by Goldfinger

2. Blitzkrieg by Reuben

3. Buck Rogers by Feeder

4. Second Solution by The Living End

5. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Bloggers

This is easily the most difficult one.  Choosing only five bloggers of the large number I read is tricky, but here are five for your delectation.  I’ve gone for ones I’ve followed more recently.  Do read their words!

Neko Jonez

The Dragon’s Tea Party

Musings of a Mario Minion

SquareBlind

The Video Game Virtuoso

Good evening to you all!

1 Year (and a bit) of Blogging – 12 months of this drivel

I’ve spent 12 months (and a couple of weeks, I didn’t keep track well enough) writing about games.  12 months (and a bit).  52 weeks (and a bit).  365 days (and a…I’ll stop).  I wasn’t sure I’d spend a single month doing this, but I’ve enjoyed it and found a lovely community of like minded people to share my tripe with.  And some of you read it.  And some of you even seem to enjoy it!  Madness!

Celebration Balloons
Balloons. For celebrating. Which is what I’m doing!

In that time I have:

  • Posted 57 blogs.
  • Had 3500(ish) people read this rubbish, which will seem like loads to some and next to nothing to others.
  • Had 185 (or so) people follow this nonsense.  Thank you to you all for your charity!
  • Received 475(ish) comments on this crap (excluding my responses), with The Shameful Narcissist, Vahrkalla, Defy The Majority, Lightning Ellen and Athena being the main culprits!
  • Been signed up to write for Big Boss Battle who are lovely and write lots of lovely words!  You should read them too!
  • Completed a 24-hour charity gaming marathon raising nearly £300 (thank you to everyone who contributed either money, time, or even just attention).
  • And other things that aren’t blogging related.  Like work stuff.  And family things.
  • And it all started with this poorly written tosh: Rainbow Six: Siege.
Sun_Apr_10_21-43-15_UTC%2B0100_2016
Mission Successful is right, screenshot!

This is shorter than most of my posts, but thank you to anyone who has spent even 5 minutes looking at this random collection of words at any point in the past year.  Knowing that even one person has read it is a lovely feeling, and you should all know that I fully intend to keep on writing combinations of words for your eyeholes to absorb.  Sorry about that!

The Surge
Expect a post on this at some point this year. Dark Souls with robots?! Sign me up!

And to you fine people, keep on writing too!  I love reading what you have to say and I want to carry on reading!  Enjoy what you’re doing, because I enjoy it too.  Here’s to another 12 months (or so).

The One Lovely Blogger Award – I suppose I am rather lovely.

one-lovely-blog

Again it seems that someone believes me worthy or an award!  In the short time I have been writing on here I have been nominated for several awards which is lovely!  Just as lovely as this award claims I am!  I’d like to thank the also lovely (and entertaining!) Retr0pia for nominating me for this.

This award entails sharing seven interesting facts about oneself, before nominating other lovely bloggers to join in the cycle.  So here are some things about me!

Fact 1: I am a teacher.

alternative-teaching-certification
This is not me.  I am older and more jaded than this chap seems to be.

Some of you may know this already, but I am a maths teacher of around 10 years now.  I teach kids between the ages of 11 and 18, many of whom are quite surprised to learn that I like video games perhaps more than they do.  Hopefully none of them have found this blog!

Fact 2: I love cooking.

img_0320
Some cakes I made for my wife’s charity night

I’m a big fan of cooking.  I like to try making something new from time to time.  Most days I make sure I’m home from work in time to cook dinner for the family, even if I only have about 30 minutes to get something made.  I have a tendency to make things up as I go along though, meaning if a meal turns out to be really good, I can’t remember what I did and we’ll never get it again.  Something to be said for the surprise though I suppose.

Fact3: I’m not just a fan of video games.

burger-up
Love this game.  Food plus gaming!

I also love board games.  I don’t get much of a chance to play them, but I do have some that I very much enjoy.  I also occasionally frequent a gaming group at a pub in the city.  Pandemic and Legendary are favourites, Burger Up has become one I’m a fan of recently.  I’m very much looking forward to the Dark Souls game coming out next year.

Fact 4: I’ve done a few charity gaming streams.

special-effect-1024x271
These folks do some good work.

As part of Special Effect’s annual Gameblast event, I’ve done some 24 hour non-stop gaming marathons for charity.  Myself and a few others who join me have raised about £500 for the charity, who modify consoles to allow people with physical disabilities to play games too.  I may do another stream around February, so watch out for it!

Fact 5: I do not like musicals.

musicals-musicals-3099621-1327-385
No.

No.  Just no.  Don’t sing the plot to me, don’t try to make me understand through interpretive dance.  Just…just stop it!

Fact 6: I rarely go back to games I’ve finished.

169-the-witcher-2-screenshot-42
I’ve used this same picture in a previous blog.  I have no shame!

This is really down to time, but it’s not often I go back to a game I’ve finished, which means I tend to miss out on content in some cases.  This is also why I tend to avoid very long games.  I doubt I’ll ever play Witcher 3.

Fact 7: I’m a whisky drinker.

img_0123
This is one my wife got me some time ago.

Big fan of whisky, me!  Scotch to you Americans reading.  As an alcoholic drink it’s one with so much variety, with a type that will suit pretty much every palette.  Talisker is my personal favourite, with a nice smokey flavour.  Not that I’m a huge alcoholic!

Some nominees for this very same award!

Vahrkalla

Covell Capers

Conquering the Gaming Backlog

THE RULES:

  1. Write an article accepting the award.
  2. Thank the person you nominated you and put a link to their blog.
  3. Tell the reader seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other blogs for the award.
  5. Let them know that you nominated them.
  6. Post the rules to let your followers know how it works.

Entertainer AND Blogger?! I’m Both Those Things!

Varhkalla is a fine chap!  Well, I assume he is.  He’s never given me a reason to think otherwise.  And his blogs are entertaining which explains why he was given this award, which has now been passed to me.  I look forward to entertaining you all further.  Thank you to Varhkalla for this award!

The Rules of The Entertainer Blogger Award

  • Write a post including the award picture.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and most importantly ENTERTAINING!
  • Add these rules to the post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog!
  • Answer the questions down below:

What do you hope to gain from blogging?

Literally nothing.  I like games and writing about them allows me to appreciate them all the more by delving a little deeper into why I like them.  It’s also been nice to find a community of other bloggers writing about games, reading their thoughts on our entertainment of choice, and interacting with them.

What genre of film entertains you the most?

I’m a big fan of horror movies, and have been for a long time.  Sadly there haven’t been many good ones for a long time.  Maybe I’ve become desensitised to them, or maybe the genre has been tapped dry by this point.  To be fair though, I’ll watch pretty much anything, but I do enjoy a good mystery regardless of the genre!

Do you consider yourself a writer, and what inspires you to write? 

I am in no way a writer.  I mean, I can write words in somewhat coherent sentences, but I’m not someone who writes well or delusions that what I write is of any real quality.  I’m a mathematician by trade, and words are not the tools I use most often!

Why I write is simply down to my passion for this hobby.  I’ve been gaming for most of my life, read countless excellent reviewers, and their belief that this medium could be more than just shapes on a screen made me want to write about games for a long time.  Once it became abundantly clear that writing was not my strongest skill I let it slide.  But blogging allows anyone to share their thoughts through text and was the perfect outlet for me.  After a while of indecisiveness over whether or not I could commit to it, commit to it I did!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Interruptions!  They really get to me for some reason.  Anything that breaks my concentration annoys me, but people interrupting really bugs me.  A reasonable person knows better than to interrupt someone when they are working, focusing or talking and yet some people do it anyway!  In an emergency, or with an important interjection I fully understand.  But on the whole, it’s a bit no-no!

Why did you choose your particular WordPress username?

I know it’s not been all that long, but I’m becoming a little uncertain!  It seems like a nice way to sign off a game write up though.  It also pretty much sums up what this blog is about.

What is your favourite book and why does it speak to you?

I am, and have been since a child, a big fan of Terry Pratchett’s work.  I wasn’t a big reader as a kid, but I enjoyed fantasy games quite a bit.  So when I came across Discworld I thought I’d give it a try.  I’m glad I did.  I can practically recite The Colour of Magic word for word having read it so often.  The setting was great and the humour encapsulated pretty much everything I found funny at the time.  Fantasy and comedy was something I’d never considered before this.

What is your favourite song and why does it speak to you?

Too many to choose, and I’m quite fickle with music.  But anything by Reuben or Jamie Lenman is pretty good in my book!  A mix of calm and angry vocals, catchy guitar and some clever lyrics.

What is your favourite photograph and why does it speak to you?

There’s one of my daughter at the age of one looking through a hole so that she has the body of a dinosaur.  I won’t share it on here, but any parent can probably understand why that’s one of my favourites.

My Nominations:

Retr0pia

Hungry Goriya

I ❤ Old Games

Blow in My Cartridge

Nick The Gent

Explore the Gaming World

A Nerdy Nook

Games Revisited

Gaming Picks

Nintendo Bound

Falcon Reviews

Conquering the Gaming Backlog

I tried to include people I don’t think have done this one yet!  Happy blogging!