Arkham Asylum: I’m Batman!

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Lately, I’ve been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum when I’m in the mood for a single player game. I’ve somehow managed to avoid spoilers and the game in general for a long time. I found it on sale earlier this month and for whatever reason I was in the mood to do bat things. And there are a lot of bat things to do like throwing batarangs, sulking in the shadows, and being reminded for the hundredth time that Bruce Wayne’s parents are still dead.

I’ve had a love hate relationship with Batman. On the one hand, I grew up on the animated series cleverly called Batman: The Animated Series. I didn’t know going in that Batman and The Joker were voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil from the animated series and that already makes this game amazing.

On the other hand, the Christopher Nolan movies defined Batman as a character for a long time. As much as I wanted to be as hyped as the people around me about these movies, they  just didn’t do anything for me.

So I swore off all things Batman for a while. That is until I discovered the excellent comic series written by Scott Snyder in 2013. My faith in Batman was restored. He was a cool, mystery solving, gadget wielding, action hero Batman again and not some grainy, over dramatic, lets yell at everyone in a gravely voice Batman.

I didn’t even see Batman Vs Superman, I just didn’t need that in my life.

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But Back to Arkham Asylum. I really didn’t know what to expect going into this other than I would be Batman and the Joker probably had some horrible plan up his sleeve. The whole opening scene I was sitting there just waiting for Joker to escape. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. But the gist of it is that Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum for his own nefarious ends and Batman has to stop him. Pretty standard stuff.

I’m about 20% in and I can’t stop playing it. I love the little character Bios you can collect, I love the voice recordings you can find of therapists meeting with super villians like Scarecrow and Killer Croc, and I wasn’t expecting to love the Riddler Challenges so much. Every new area usually has some riddle and you have to use Batman’s withcer senses detective mode to find a certain object and scan it. Then the Riddler says some demeaning comment about your intelligence and you get on with your game. They’re really quite addicting…except the annoying ones but I’m not a completionist so I skip those.

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Those Scarecrow levels though, those are weirdly fun. They take the game from a 3d stealthyish game to a 2d side-scrolling stealthyish game. It adds a little variety to the somewhat repetitive game play.

Not that repetition is bad, it’s actually a pretty satisfying game play loop of find some clues, hide in the shadows and swoop down on your unsuspecting foes, and then beat them up until they’re unconscious, find out a little more about the Jokers plan, then rinse and lather. The combat is so simple and yet its fun. It’s Assassin’s Creed style beat up your enemy until another one attacks, parry them, and then go back to beating up your enemy. Plus you get the super slow mo finisher scenes when you defeat the last bad guy. I thought they’d get old…they haven’t yet.

It’s been a long time since I played a super hero game but I always find them fun. They just make you feel like your in a comic book or movie. Instead of reading and watching your favorite hero fight bad guys, you get to fight bad guys as  your favorite bad guy.

 

 

 

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Baby Steps on Fallen Gate

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Since the Everquest 2 Fallen Gate has launched I haven’t had as much time to sit down and play as  I would have liked. But I did get to play a little over the past couple days. I chose to make a froglok coercer and go around the Isle of Refuge enslaving every mob I saw.

It all started on a boat, as all good tales do, with a thinly veiled tutorial on how to do MMO things. Like opening chests, buying and selling to merchants, and of course, killing rats. My biggest surprise right off the bat was that I had 4 inventory slots, just 4, and it stayed that way until level 3 when i picked up another 4 slot bag. It looked like I was either going to be going back and forth from the merchant to sell things often or just not pick up every piece of junk that dropped. I chose the latter.

Combat is harsh, I can barely take on 2 mobs at the same time even with a charmed creature fighting with me. It’s gotten to be a fun little dance of mesmerizing and rooting targets when I aggro one too many. But at the same time it takes a long time to down each one. Not excruciatingly long but long enough that it’s noticeable. I’m sure re once I have a few more skills to press it won’t be as noticeable.

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I made it to level 5 and completed  all of the isle of refuge and set off for the Frostfang Sea. Mostly because it sounded cool. Maybe that wasn’t the greatest choice as my boat was attacked by orcs and I seem to be on another tutorial island. It even told me how to gather and fight things again. But I quickly moved past all the level 1-4 quests and am on my way to a new area of New Halas.

So far the leveling hasn’t been too much of a turn off. I knew it would be slower than the live character I made but right now it doesn’t seem too bad. The chat is lively with people looking for groups, guilds recruiting, and the general chat making the same jokes about some new game called World of Warcraft. It was also nice to see people in the isle of refuge instead of walking round a ghost town on the live server.

I’m enjoying myself so far. I’ll definitely be playing a little more over the weekend to get a better feel for the game. One thing I really like is that the quests are in chat bubbles instead of a separate page to read all at once. It feels more like a conversation between the NPC and your character as opposed to the NPC just ordering  your character around.

Trove’s Sort of Megalithic Update

Megalithic Update!

Yesterday, Trove released it’s Megalithic Update for both Consoles and PC. Megalithic is a great word but if your going to use it as a patch name your patch better be big. For console players it’s huge as it will catch the consoles up to the PC version. For PC players,not so much, there’s a change to daily login rewards and a new event.

Console players will be treated to the newest class, the Dino tamer, and complete dungeons in the Juristic Jungle. Console players will also be able to loot chaos chests, a premium lock box, in normal dungeon and compete in mini games for daily rewards. All of these will catch the console versions up to the PC version which has had access to all of this since the last major update in September 2016.

The patch also brings with it a change to the daily log in rewards. Come July 1st the Daily Loot Boxes will be replaced with Daily Log In Tokens. These tokens, which will be different each month, will then in turn be used to earn rewards from the Radiant Dayspring. 18 tokens will get you a shiny new dragon egg, 9 tokens will give a flying carpet mount, and 1 token will give you a lock box. It just wouldn’t be Trove without more lock boxes.

I never really cared much for the daily loot boxes. They never netted me anything but new styles for gear which is great and all but I never got anything else out of them. Trove already has a pseudo-premium currency called cubits that you can collect 500 of once a day and use in the store to buy some items. This alone has been a pretty decent incentive to log on and run a few dungeons each day but now there are other rewards too. I love collecting different mounts in Trove and  the Dragons usually look pretty sharp. Not to mention that they give a permanent stat boost to your character too.

Oh and if you miss a few days and really want one of the monthly rewards you can always buy these daily log in tokens the following month in the cash shop. Now at first I thought that was weird. Shouldn’t daily login rewards be given for, I don’t know, logging in? At the same time it’s not all that different from selling last years seasonal events or a certain Living Story. Some people got them for free, yes, but at least theirs an option to get said item or content instead of missing out on it all together.

There’s also a new dinosaur invasion event on the way. It says there’s a 9 step quest chain but usually all these events boil down to collect all the things and or kill all the things and then collect and kill more things.

Trove in a nutshell.

 

 

Getting to Know the Elementalist

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My mini pet is almost as big as me!

I spent some more time with my Elementalist over the weekend leveling and trying to do more of the story quest. I’m getting the hang of switching between the attunements and understanding what all of my weapon skills do. I’m so glad this class doesn’t have a weapon swap, 40 skills would be a lot to remember. I’ve decided to go with the staff for now. I like the mix of damage and utility it brings and I really like calling down meteors on my foes.

One of the best things about Guild Wars 2 is that everything seems to progress you further. Everything from exploring to gathering gives you some sort of experience and it’s all doled out so generously. I don’t know if this is true after level 80 but so far I’ve really been enjoying the leveling process.

Finding the points of interests and vistas are one of my favorite activities. The vistas especially when the way up isn’t clear. Completing the maps in general are a lot of fun. It’s really relaxing running from one renown heart to a way point and then a vista.  I’ve only fully explored 2 zones so far, Metrica Province and Brisban Wildlands, and I’m already level 31. I love how the game scales your level down to match the area so that your never steam rolling through areas.

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Skritsburg is my favorite area in Brisban Wildlands

I like that the story moves forward every ten levels. By the time I was done with the level 20 story sequence I was ready to get back out there and explore the world and by the time I was level 29 I was itching to get back to the story. It really is very good pacing so far. I guess we’ll see how I feel about it as I get to higher levels.

I’ve been running into a lot more people than I thought I would have in the lower level zones. I’ve done some world bosses which are cool to see so many people show up but even the random events seem to attract a few players. It has not been a lonely experience at all which MMOs shouldn’t be.

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The only thing I’m finding a bit frustrating is the inventory. It fills up so fast even with all the bags I have equip. I like that you can deposit all materials to the bank right from the inventory but a lot of the lower level crafting materials are already at the max stacks from the last time I played so I end up selling them on the market place. I’m not sure how I feel about not being able to sell or salvage soul bound items it seems like such a waste to throw them away.

Now I’m in the middle of the level 30 story sequence. It’s starting to get even more interesting with fake deaths and people talking about elder dragons. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

It’s Summer! Games Must Be on Sale


The Steam Summer Sale and all it’s goodness are upon us again. Honestly, I thought I’d be more excited. Now I’m not one of those people who were all up in arms about the removal of the daily deals of years past. They were nice to find new games I wouldn’t have found otherwise but they weren’t all that enticing usually. 

This year, there isn’t all that many games that I want and the games I do want are the price I was expecting them to be at. My mustbuys for this sale are Grim Dawn, Elite:Dangerous, and Cities Skylines. I’ve been waiting until I had a computer that could run them to play these. Also, my friends are all getting Killing Floor 2 so I’ll be picking that up too.

Everything else is up in the air. What I did last year was look through my wish list and put everything that looked fun into my cart. Then I waited for a few days, removed things that didn’t seem as appealing anymore and checked out. It worked out well last year and I didn’t end up spending that much so that’s my strategy for this year. But I lready know what I want for the most part so I’ll probably only end up getting one or two extra games.

A Newbie in Norrath

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I learned last week that Everquest 2 is launching their 2nd Time Locked Expansion Server Fallen Gate next week and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never played EQ2 or Everquest for that matter so why would I be excited to play an 13 year old game? Well it’s mostly because I’m just so curious.

I just don’t know all that much about Everquest 2. Every once in a while I’ll read something about it but if it wasn’t for me randomly finding it on steam a few years ago I probably would have never known it existed. I’ve had this fascination with the concept of progression servers since Everquest announced their’s a few years ago. I like the idea of taking an old game with so much content and rolling it back to the beginning and slowly working it back up. So I’m both curious to see what EQ2 has to offer and starting fresh on a progression server.

Fallen Gate will be a different TLE Server than the previous Stormhold and Deathtoll servers. The first wave of progression servers had the player base vote on whether or not the next expansion should be unlocked and Fallen gate will unlock each expansion every 12 weeks.

The past week or so I’ve been playing around on a free to play account on the current live servers trying to decide if I like the game enough to pay a sub for it. From what I’ve experienced so far I can see myself playing this. I like how many different races and classes there are and I can be a frog, I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game where I can play as a frog. Even better I can play as a magic frog and have my own little frog clone to follow me around.

I’ve been fooling around with a handful of classes that look interesting. With the free to play account I only get 2 character slots so I’ve had to say goodbye to a lot of characters. I’ve tried playing some of the more familiar classes like ranger, beserker, and wizard but the less cookie cutter classes look like fun too. So far I’m really digging the Dirge with it’s buffs as well as it’s debuffs and melee skills. The illusionist has also been fun to play around for a few levels with and they get their own clone pet as well. The more frogloks the better. I still want to try out the Coercer for a few levels before I make my decision on what class to play I just love the name of the class.

Something that took me by surprise was that there was voice acting in the beginning area. Not all of the NPC’ have voiced dialogue but a good amount of them do. It’s just not something I was expecting to see. I don’t know how much more of the game is voice acted outside of the beginning area but it’s a nice touch. Also the graphics aren’t terrible. They don’t look as dated as I thought they would and don’t detract from the game.

I know I’ll be in the extreme minority on this new progression server as someone whose never played the game before but I’m looking forward to learning and playing a new to me game. I’m hoping that with this server I’ll be playing the old content in a meaningful way instead of rushing through it on the live server. I think this is what excites me most about it getting a fuller experience of what EQ2 was and is. Plus, the nice thing about the All Access Day Break subscription is that I can try their other games as a member if EQ2 doesn’t end up being my cup of tea.

 

Oh Tyria, I’m Home!

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Returning to Guild Wars 2 this weekend has been a little more complicated than I thought it would be. I’ve created and deleted so many characters this week trying to decide on a class to play. I’ve gone through a ranger, a necromancer, a thief, and a warrior, and elementalist. In the end decided to stick with the Asura elementalist. There’s just so many buttons to push.

Previously I had leveled a Guardian to 80 and an engineer to 59 so I didn’t want to reroll as those classes. Every class i tried there was always something around level 10 or 11 that i didn’t like. I didn’t like the weapon skills for most of the ranger and thief weapons and I didn’t like the utility skills for the necromancer. Both classes were promising in the beginning but by level 10 just didn’t look like they would play the way I wanted them too. I’m sure I’ll give them a second chance when I inevitably create more characters but for now none they just didn’t suit my tastes.

The warrior I would have stuck with but being a human seemed kind of boring and the Asura were calling to me. I was so excited when Guild Wars 2 was announced to play as an Asura and even though I already had an Asura Engineer, I made another one!

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One of the benefits of creating and deleting so many characters has been the chance to visit all of the starting areas. Out of all of them, Rata Sum is still my favorite city with Hoelbrek coming in at a close second. I’ve been enjoying finding all of the Points of Interest and Vistas just as much as completing the hearts. I haven’t had this much fun exploring in a long time and this game is just a gold mine for screenshots.

They must have updated the new player experience since I’ve last played. Weapon skills unlock based on level and not how much you use the weapon and I also remember their being access to the utility skills before level 10 but I could be wrong. Overall I like the change. Instead of giving you a bunch of skills at the start it eases you into them one by one. Even the elementalist who has a ton of weapon skills has been pretty easy to learn.

It’s weird because I’ve played this game before and I’ve leveled up to 80 before but the game feels brand new this time around. I think part of that is the better computer and the other part is I’m not trying to race to 80 to play with my friends. We never did end up playing together…

This time around I’m taking it slow, enjoying the world, and enjoying the personal stories I’ve done so far. The Norn one was just starting to get good when I got rid of the necro but I have a feeling I’ll be seeing the elementalist all the way through.