It is later than normal for this edition of Our Week in Games, but I passed out when I heard that Black Mesa, (the mod which re-creates Half-Life in the Source engine) was actually going to be released in 12 days time. Either that or I had a busy day at work. Either way, it is Our Week in Games, in a week which saw Guild Wars 2, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition and The Walking Dead: Episode 3 get released, what have we been playing? Read on to find out…
Guild Wars 2…my my it is oh so good! I will be writing words on this majestic game sometime this week, but in-between reading Moon Shot, this has taken over my week. I am still only in the Human starting region and I have sunk quite a few hours into the game. It really seems massive, and I love being able to play by myself with the option of taking part in organised party events, but mainly facing any challenges as they arise. Craig of Gaming Daily has written some very good words on the game, words which capture my thoughts on it right now. As I said, I will hopefully have more later this week.
Oh August you silly month, why exactly did you think your final week was big enough to include Guild Wars 2, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition and Episode 3 of The Walking Dead? I laud you on your fine bank holiday timing, but really now, I’d like to have a life outside gaming at some point and you’re making that simple wish look more like an impossible dream.
This weeks gaming bounty has actually driven me to writing pleas to abstract constructions, it’s been a bit special y’see. Guild Wars 2 has sucked up countless hours already, the long lusted-after MMO has had the teething problems one might associate with an MMO launch, but issues aside, it’s in rude health. Once the bugs are squashed beneath the poised heel of Arenanet I have little doubt it will be a very special game indeed. So far I’ve managed to get my thief up to level 39 and he’s a joy to play, in all his burly Norn glory.
In between long bouts of Guild Wars 2 I’ve also returned to Dark Souls, to sample the horrors on PC. It’s taken a fan patch to get it up to scratch, but with that inconvenience aside, it’s shaping up to be the definitive version of the game. The new content is not the filler we might have feared and gives that same sense of dread and excitement veterans of the game crave after learning every inch of the base game. The multiplayer aspects are also integrated far better than they were on the 360, even despite GFWL’s unwelcome presence.
I haven’t even gotten around to playing Episode 3 of the Walking Dead yet, being too caught up in the soft loving embrace of the aforementioned games. Although the Dark Souls embrace is less soft and loving, more painful and soul crushing. But I mean that in the best possible sense.
This week, after totting up some 40 hours in Hero Academy (I swear, that’s because I leave it running in the background) I decided to check out Sleeping Dogs, courtesy of the demo. This plan was somewhat scuppered when I realised that the game’s keyboard/mouse support was lacklustre: and in a perfect storm of poor planning I’d killed my controller the week before. Hmm. Guess I’ll try it some other time.
Instead, I checked out Mission Improbable, a HL2: Episode 2 mod of all things, a discovery I made by idly flicking through Rock Paper Shotgun’s recent articles. And, brief as it was, I enjoyed the hell out of it; a heady mix of self-aware comedy and classic level design. It brought me rushing back to the golden age of Half-Life modding, when the community went into overdrive, churning out everything from singleplayer total conversions to Counter-Strike clones.
Designed by a pair of talented DICE mappers (if I recall the readme correctly) Mission Improbable prompted me to start looking up what else I must have missed; discounting TF2 and a brief spin of Dota 2, I hadn’t played a Source game/modification in years. I had visions in my mind of grabbing every mod, ever, and playing through them in a single sitting.
And then my Episode 2 install corrupted and required re-downloading. I’ll report back next week. Unless I manage to break something else…
After resisting the call for only so long, Skyrim has once again summoned me back.
After living in comfort at the Companions’ Guildhall for some time, quaffing mead and singing rowdy tales of bravery, Jarl Druss, Axeman of the North, Head of the Companions and Lord of the Werewolves, had settled in for a life of relative peace. Since his defeat of the Great Alduin and marriage to Ysolda, life had taken on a predictable rhythm – every few weeks he’d stroll the landscape around Whiterun to take in the gorgeous scenery and deal with the occasional bandit infestation. When night fell he’d return to the safety of Whiterun for more mead and song. Life was good.
One day on his morning constitutional, a guard happened to make a passing comment about Dawnguard, a mysterious fort to the southeast. Whilst the guard had few further details to offer, he was helpful enough to mark the location of Dawnguard on Druss’ map, along with the name of a contact.
Druss was happy, but the promise of combat beckoned him. The warrior inside him had been calmed for too long, so with a fond farewell to his wife and dog, he pulled Wuuthrad from its hiding place at the back of his closet, donned his Companion armour and set off once again into the wilderness.
Once clear of Whiterun, he looked back one last time. Remembering the wise words of his mentor – ‘four legs good, two legs bad,’ he glanced around to make sure no-one was watching. Finally satisfied, he reached inside his soul and unleashed the beast inside. His muscles rippled and bulged, bones snapping and reforming, adapting and re-shaping to fit his new form. Growths of fur spread rapidly across his back, piercing his flesh like a thousand needles. It was agonizing, but worth it.
Finally, he opened his slavering jaws, looked up at the moon and let out an almighty howl.
The wolf was back – it was time to play.