Weekly (II)

There’s been little progress since the last entry. First it was the ungodly heat wave which hit my part of the country and sucked every little bit of energy from my veins, then the slumbering beast called ‘social life’ suddenly opening its eyes and making me engage in unexpected activities like a music festival or a fishing trip (the latter apparently being the real-life equivalent of Dark Souls).

So, I barely touched the games mentioned in my last post, like Sunless Sea or Verdun. Still, despite the circumstances I was able gain some ground…

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…in a game which is perfect for short sessions after work, when your body is melting down. Meet Völgarr the Viking, a retro hack’n’slash platformer I’ve been casually playing for a year. The game has never mentioned on this blog because I’ve never treated it too seriously and expected to get far in it due to its very demanding difficulty level, but, to my surprise, I somehow managed to reach the final level and enter the devil’s den, as pictured above. Even if I beat it in the coming days, this will give me (spoiler alert!) the worst possible ending, but maybe I’ll play New Game+ then, testing my patience even harder.

As for other goals, everything tells me that I will be very busy again, so it’s the bare minimum: finally close the Space Marine playthrough and write about it. With some nice screencaps if possible.

Cheers and see you next Monday.

 

Weekly (I)

…and here it is, my first report from the week that perished. Posted with a little delay, but the first step is always the hardest.

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The best thing that happened to me last week was the sudden realisation that I’m not the worst Verdun player in the world. Playing a few matches every day, I noticed that my score is quite decent and I’m somehow able to give basic advice to less experienced players. Who would expect that an online shooter makes you feel paternal instincts.

FAther's Bones

The final journey on the Unterzee began a month ago, but during the time given for this report I was finally able to make constant progress, even if it was a bit slow. And I really have to hurry up because the sequel Sunless Skies will be available on the Steam Free Access with the end of this month.

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While Captain Titus is having a pleasant conversation with an Inquisitor (and his personal torture expert) on board of a Black Ship, I’m finishing my Space Marine playthrough after a prolonged break. Maybe the lack of patience is one of my weakest points, but somehow I was able to beat the game’s hardest difficulty level and now all that remains are a few single-player achievements to complete.

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‘Only in death does duty end’. Even though my Adeptus Astartes adventure didn’t end yet, I shed the ceramite-and-plasteel armour for the baroque attire of an Inquisitor. After a few hours I can certainly say that it’s worse than disappointing — it’s a shame to the fictional universe I love so much, especially when the game is based one of the best WH40k novels. Still, I’m willing to be very forgiving and just enjoy the story and voice acting.

Back with a Bang (or rather a whimper)

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I LIVE

I DIE

I LIVE AGAIN

My WordPress dashboard tells me that I published the last post more than half a year ago, shortly after I bought my brand new, shining gaming rig. A very long period of silence followed. How to explain that? An abyss of confusion.

Playing on my old laptop gave me a very limited choice. Oldies or indies. Getting a PC more suitable for my favourite hobby made me think really hard about the concept of choice cost. Suddenly, a whole new galaxy was opened before me – and Steam sales certainly don’t help you to focus on a single target. Yeah, time to change my approach and avoid hoarding unfinished games in my library — which is, by the way, the most disgusting form of consumerism.

Mad Max

The best mediocre game I’ve ever played.

Sure, just like I mentioned in that post, all the reviews I’ve read before and during playing Mad Max were right. It’s flawed. A disappointment. And yet I consider it to be one of the best experiences in my lifetime of a vidya fan.

Sure, I can see the flaws mentioned by other reviewers. Gameplay is repetitive. There are no dialogue options and the text is scarce. Difficulty threshold is way too low and you ascend to the position of a wasteland demigod too soon. Maybe there are many other minor details which would make me criticise this game if I only were a professional reviewer?

Too bad I’m just myself. Someone who finds the weakest points of this game really appealing.

There is no such thing as repetitiveness when you’re impersonating Max Rockatansky in the middle of a wasteland. Everything, driving, fighting, exploration, is hypnotising — which would be hardly possible in another setting.

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Just a few heartbeats and shell explosions after I’ve entered my first battle, I meet a small team of professional and extremely polite German players who are ready to guide me, a complete Grünschnabel. Out of sudden, I have just found my regiment, the local equivalent of a standard multiplayer clan. The battle is finished and immediately after the new map loads, one of my new trench friends quotes a very gloomy German poem about dying in the trenches. Just a few seconds later I find myself lying on the bottom of a trench, covering from artillery barrage and looking at the uncanny depiction of a hole in human skull and a pulsating brain beneath it. Shivers.

Yeah, maybe I found a FPS shooter which I can enjoy playing online after all.

Goals for this month

Verdun: Reach player level 100

…and stop being such an embarrassment to my dear Kameraden. Seriously, some of them have reset their rank to plain zero since I’ve started playing the game in December.

Space Marine: win it for the Librarius

…finishing the game shouldn’t be a problem even on the hardest difficulty level. What really makes me excited is collecting the missing floating skulls – just because it made me leave the playthrough in the past. Funny, searching for them is far more frustrating than repeatedly dying after a close encounter with a Traitor Marine who still remembers the Heresy Era.

Sunless Sea: Finish it!

According to my Steam counter, it’s almost 700 hours spent on the Unterzee. No wonder I’m so lousy at finishing games. Besides, maybe Sunless Sky is still in development, but there is a fan-made spin-off to give a try to. Hurry up, Captain!

 

This Blog: Summaries.

Amazing! Extraordinary! I’ve actually managed to finish some games since the December. It’s only polite to write about it and feed my Just Finished category.

Constant Feature: Your weekly report

What I need is some discipline. Writing a report about my progress every week seems to be a good start. Of course, it should include noting down my thoughts and posting screenshots which are to brief or irrelevant to make an entire post. Since I do most of my playing on weekends, Monday is the best choice for such reports.

Beginning of Darkness: Mad Max

A man who lost his beloved family now loses his beloved car. He wins a dog and a friend and a friend — or rather a worshipper — so there’s still hope in this grimdark wasteland. More importantly, there is a chance that a prophet will make him a hero, not a broken degenerate seeking escape from the reality.

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Id vs Superego

After spending many years as a quasi-Luddite, mostly playing classic games and indies on my battered laptop, I finally managed to buy a decent rig. Of all the possibilities, I chose to try out a game every review warns me of. It’s dull and flat, they say, mediocre at best, a wasted chance for the game of the decade. Even if it’s true, it doesn’t really matter. Breathtaking desert landscapes, a postapocalyptic, crumbling society, cars and savages, and most importantly, the titular character — for all that, I’m ready to forgive every flaw the game may have.

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As usual, I think about adding self-appointed challenges, but after two hours of play it’s hard to figure it out. The only thing that comes to my mind for now:

Cockpit View Only – because immersion is important, and because this is how I played Interstate’76.

And now let’s find out if those critics were right.

Daily Gamer: Look Me in the Eyes

From the Day One, this blog was supposed to be a personal sketchbook to capture my disorderly thoughts about games I was playing, so I didn’t care much about having a profile picture, but since I’ve started to comment other blogs, I think that it’s necessary to finally get one. Because sharing your precious commentary without showing your face would be just rude.

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Flight Officer Squarehead reporting for duty.

Who would think it would be so easy to find a proper photo? The first game that came to my mind was Apocalypse — a long forgotten helicopter shooter released in 1994. The screenshot above comes from the game’s loading screen and shows our hero, an unnamed pilot on a search-and-rescuse mission in the dark jungles of Majipoor. The sterotypical face of an über-masculine action movie hero, its old-school pixelation and the chiaroscuro effect fit my gaming taste perfectly.

What I didn’t expect was that now I feel a strong urge to replay Apocalypse on WinUAE. Well, I was planning to return to it anyway, so let’s add it to my special list of classics I’ve never managed to finish and launch the emulator.

Daily Gamer: Get a Job

While I keep writing posts about my (mis)adventures in Sunless Sea, I didn’t even bother to say something about its parent game Fallen London, even though I’m playing it almost every day since two years. It’s time to right the wrongs.

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There is poetry even in being a butcher.

There are myriad reasons to like Fallen London, so many that I could spend the rest of my life writing about them. This is one of them: as the protagonist imprisoned in the Neath, you can do the most horrible things without feeling too bad about them, all thanks to the irony and melancholy of the narrative — a welcome change after playing dozens of games where choosing the traditionally ‘evil’ path has absolutely no appeal to me (I’m looking at you, Bethesda Games!).

Daily Gamer: Long-Distance Captain

This Sunday, I’m celebrating. You may call me a Seasoned Zeewolf now.

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To be honest, I’m really surprised with myself. The main reason for creating this blog was an ugly flaw of character: it’s very difficult for me to finish a game. All too often, I abandon a playthrough not just because I’m bored or don’t enjoy it anymore, but rather because I lose my focus. After all, there are always so many new exciting titles on the horizon, and a few classics I’d like to return to. This is not the case with Sunless Sea, however, because it appears that I’ve finally found a game which was made just for me. Everything — lore, graphics, musics, mechanics, dialogue, characters — seems perfectly tailored to my taste.

When I think about it now, maybe I really should sit down for a while, have a moment of introspection, and write down all the reasons why Sunless Sea is my current Number One. Let’s hope that I’ll be able to make a whole post about it.