I’ve been playing a bunch of games recently, but I don’t think have a lot to say about each of them so I thought I’d talk about all of them in one post.
Divinity: Original Sin
I believe this was one of the earliest Kickstarted games, and it’s an isometric, turn-based RPG. What’s interesting about this game is you can play the story co-operatively – you and a friend take control of each of the main characters, both of whom are entirely customisable. Both of you can make choices that affect how a quest or event turns out, and in the event of a conflict, you play a rock-paper-scissors minigame to decide which decision to take. If you don’t have anyone to play with, you can flex your roleplaying muscles and give each character a personality of their own. I found it a little awkward at first in my solo campaign, but once I got into it I actually created some interesting situations.
The combat is pretty good too – you can pick classes for your characters when you customise them, naturally, and although you start off with a handful of pre-determined skills, you can branch off and pick up skills from other classes later. A lot of these skills affect the environment in some way – like the straight up rainstorm skill, which naturally creates rain, putting out fires, making everyone wet and creating puddles. You can then cast a lightning spell on the puddles, electrifying them and stunning everything that steps into the puddles. Be warned, though – friendly fire is present in this game in regards to magic.
Another Kickstarter game. I actually backed this one myself, after watching the Game Grumps play it a year or two ago. It’s an old school-style platformer, with plenty of secrets and upgrades scattered in levels and around the world. I’m absolutely garbage at platformers, so I have no idea why I backed Shovel Knight and Mighty no. 9, but Shovel Knight is super fun. The game levels are very well designed, drawing on that old school game trope of teaching mechanics or concepts from level design – as mentioned in this Sequelitis video by Egoraptor of the Game Grumps. The character designs, the music and the silly humour are also great. There’s also parodies of famous platformer characters popping up on the map occasionally – I recently fought a guy who I’m pretty sure is a parody of Simon Belmont (or a Belmont, at least) from Castlevania.
Fun fact: I actually recorded two and a half hours of this game for a potential Let’s Play series, but the audio is garbage. Since doing a Let’s Play channel isn’t high on my priority list, I thiiiiiiink I’ll just let that slide.
Uh, space ninjas you guys. I already talked about this game before. Give it a try at least, it’s free!
Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
I didn’t buy this game during the Steam Summer Sale because I’m a FOOL. That and I wasn’t at a friend’s place being unwittingly brainwashed at the time. The previous sentence is terrible but I’m leaving it in for humour. Anyway, let me explain: I wasn’t originally planning to buy the game, but I ended up buying it at full price because one of my friends has to be secretly working for Ubisoft. He bought Black Flag for his shiny new Wii U (Mario Kart 8 is great by the way, though it is mandatory to have friends who will still remain your friends after you finish playing) and we ended up putting it in to try it out.
Hot damn the game is a joy to play you guys.
Seeing how it was so fun on Wii sodding U, I concluded it must be 10 out of 10 ghem of teh year material on PC and bought it off Steam. Fun fact: that friend earned Ubisoft around 230NZD after one night of playing Black Flag. Three people went over to hang out, then three people went home and bought Black Flag. Fucking insiduous. Man deserves a prize, Ubisoft. Get on it.
Anyway, I have to first admit that I’ve never been into the Assassin’s Creed franchise. I’d heard good things about Black Flag, which was the only reason I was curious about it in the first place, but otherwise I’d never really looked into it. I don’t know how it compares to the other games, but Black Flag has pretty decent controls, pretty graphics and a lot to do. I’d heard the series’ combat is laughably easy if you just counter every attack, and that certainly seems to remain the case. I can’t say what exactly about Black Flag is so fun – there seems to be occasional FPS drops in cutscenes on PC (let’s not even mention the Wii U) and while freerunning is pretty decent most of the time, your character tends to automatically climb and jump onto anything he runs into while freerunning, which gets obnoxious at times.
However, the game feels…joyous. I’m 14 hours into the game so far, so I don’t know if any serious shit goes down, but right now it just feels like a romp through sunny Caribbean locales, hunting treasure, looking for shanties to teach your crew, assaulting ships foolish enough to cross your path and looting them, sailing across the seas, exploring and hunting…there’s a lot to do, and it all just feels really good. Oh, and occasionally there’s the usual Templar/Assassin stuff. I guess it’s sort of interesting. Oh, and the real world stuff. Hum. Wait, is that a brig on the horizon? COME ON LADS, LET’S SHOW THEM WHAT THIS BLACK FLAG IS ABOUT.
All of these games are pretty fun, so be sure to check them out during the next Steam Sale! You know you’ll be waiting with your wallet ready regardless.