Wolfeinstein, WoW, Etc

I picked up Wolfenstein: The New Order, a game that I would have normally blown off, at the end of the Steam Winter sale at the recommendation of TotalBiscuit's YouTube channel. Wolfeinstein is surprisingly fun and had no right be as good as it was. It is an odd combination of old school run and gun with modern gameplay and narrative. It also has a functional if not basic character progression system. I liked the combat flexibility but I really did not enjoy the boss fights as they seemed to be little more than poorly integrated trial-and error style encounters. Great gameplay, decent characters, decent narrative. Definitely worth picking up; Probably one of the more fun first person shooters that I have played in a while.

I haven't logged into WoW in about a month. My WoD fixation lasted about 2 months and some change, which is about what I had originally estimated. You can only poke the good old garrison so many times before it becomes routine I guess. In all seriousness, I will probably return and resub when 6.1 is released to finish the last wing of Highmaul, complete my ring, say hi to people, and what not. We should hopefully be less busy by the time the patch is released

Speaking of busy: The podcast is on hiatus until further notice. Though, if all goes well we should have an actual office and dedicated room to record in within the nearish future.

A Year in Gaming: 2014

The gaming resolution for 2014 that I had posted a year ago was as follows.

 I shall make no more purchases off of Steam until I finish some of the games that I already own; And by 'already own,' I am specifically referring to the 4 games that I had just purchased the other week.  

3/4 games that I had purchased last Steam Winter sale were at least beaten or at least played to a significant degree. As far as the rest of the unplayed games in my Steam Library? They for the most part remained untouched sadly. 2014 was another fairly light gaming year for the both of us; Likely in no small part to the majority of the first half of 2014 being occupied by wedding stuff and the second half of 2014 not really offering a whole lot in terms of games that we absolutely had to play on the spot.

As stated in my previous post, the older we get the more patient we seem to become in regards game releases and the date at which we choose to purchase them. Unless there is a title that I am really must play immediately (there are probably only about 3 a year nowadays), I don't really see the need to spend upwards of $60 on 4 to 10 hours of enjoyment max. Plus, waiting = 80% off eventually on Steam. Without further adieu:

Allison's game of the year: The Sims 4
The Sims 4 isn't perfect or really even close to perfect, but if there is one game that I played and enjoyed the most this year it was The Sims 4. Few other titles have captured my attention for such a great length of time. 

Dave's DLC of the year: Hearthstone Goblins vs Gnomes
Dave doesn't feel that there was any new release that he played in 2014 worth nominating for game of the year so he chose Hearthstone for a second year in a row.

Mobile game of the yearIngress
By "fairly light gaming year" we were referring to PC/Console games. It was however, a pretty decent mobile gaming year for the both of us. This one was a toss up between Ingress and Threes for me. Ingress wins out by virtue of something that we enjoyed playing together and something that we enjoyed playing on top of other activities. Plotting to overthrow the green portals at an art museum for example, was something that we greatly enjoyed doing in addition to visiting the art museum itself and so forth.

Best half finished game that I really want to finish: Transistor
I don't remember why I put Transistor down. I think either a game or some show game out that I was fixing on back in June? If I had to nominate a game for best aesthetic it would go to Transistor.

Game from 2013 that I most enjoyed playing in 2014: Brothers A Tale of Two Sons
Brothers is a beautiful and fantastic game. Gorgeous cartoony aesthetic, perfect marriage between narrative and gameplay. I really enjoyed playing this game and highly recommend it. 

Game from 2014 that we are most interested in finally playing this year: Wolfenstein The New Order.
To be honest, if it wasn't for TotalBiscuit's 2014 recap videos, I probably would have continued to brush this title off as a piece of crap. Apparently multiple sources considered Wolfenstein FPS and/or game of the year so I figured it was worth picking up on sale for $20. 

Most disappointing game of the year: None
If it looked even mildly bad we didn't buy it. So go us I guess.

Odds and Ends: December 30th 2014

WoW Stuff: We have been running Highmaul via LFR and it is, needless to say, even easier than LFG heroics. TLDR Strat for all bosses: Don't stand in things. People however, actually died during some of the fights in the second wing so maybe the instance will get harder? Gearing for raids feels oddly trivial given that I can churn out iLevel 645+ epics without leaving my garrison via the high level garrison missions and blacksmithing epics.

In regards to the Steam Sale/whatever digital distribution network sale, the one and only game that I have purchased for myself so far is Prison Architect. I am pretty tempted to reward myself with either Shadows of Mordor or Dragon Age: Inquisition, especially since both are on sale at the moment at a similar price. But you know what? The older I get the less I care about playing anything at release unless it is a title that I am really looking forward to playing or have some sort of social agenda. So that said, I guess I'll wait. Plus, we have Mario Kart 8 and Smash Brothers to occupy our time.

We finished two shows recently: The Legend of Korra and Sword Art Online II. We will probably discuss these whenever holiday social activities die down and we get around to doing the next podcast episode.

  • LoK: As stated multiple times before, was an absolute pleasure to watch. Great animation, pleased with overall character development, and satisfied with the plot resolution. Also, without spoiling the ending, we totally called the relationship thing last season.
  • SAO II: We still enjoyed watching this show even though our interest in it severely waned most of the way through the first story arc. I still feel that it lacks cohesion, among well, other things but I like the characters and it was fun to watch, particularly for an MMO gamer. I liked the last story arc and the fact that it ended on a good, non rapey note for once. I could have done without the Akihiko thing at the end but I guess that means we are likely going to get a season 3?
  • Interstellar: Fantastic movie, enjoyed it greatly. Probably one of the most original sci-fi movies that I have seen in recent memory. If it is still in the theater, I highly recommend seeing it.

I kind of want to do a Best Of 2014 gaming post, but I don't think that I played enough new titles this year to warrant said post. 2014 does however, mark the year in which I have almost exclusively relied on YouTube, Twitch Streaming, Podcast and Social Media personalities for game opinions (in addition to friend recommendation and normal Reddit reading) versus reading Kotaku or any major publication .

Odds and Ends: November 12th 2014

I'm not going to promise that I am going to regularly update my journey to level 100 because I am generally horrible about updating this thing, but I will make a valiant effort.

My initial fixation with World of Warcraft has obviously passed, seeing as how I have not logged onto the game in about two weeks or so. There really though, is not a whole lot to do in WoW at the moment other than to level my alts and raid on my paladin, which I’m not in the mood to do at the moment. In theory I should clean up the mess that is my bank. I guess much like virtually everyone else, I am just biding time until the expansion pack releases in a couple of days.

I admittedly haven’t been playing much of anything other that The Sims 4. Partially due to being real-life busy, partially due to spending time with other hobbies, and partially due to obsessively playing and documenting my Legacy Challenge Family. I am actually pretty close to completing the challenge. Generation 8 just reached adulthood, so generation 10 isn’t all that far away. I haven’t decided if I am going to start a new challenge afterwards or if I will put this game down for a bit to play other things.

Watching:

  • We just started watching The Legend of Korra Book 3. Still greatly enjoying even even though Korra is kind of a turd at times..
  • Sword Art Online II: I will admit that, despite the show being mediocre, it is nice that the series has returned to Aincrad.
  • Parasyte: This show is new this season and is based off of a manga series that I read and enjoyed quite a bit about a decade ago. Just think of it as a more violent and more fucked up version of Midori no Hibi. Migi is by far the most interesting character in the show so far; Everyone else is pretty mediocre.

The Naruto manga has come to an end after 15 years. I started watching/reading it shortly after the anime series was released in Japan, so it’s a series that I have been following for quite some time. I’m not sure how I feel about some of the romantic pairings. It’s almost as if Kishimoto started coupling the leftovers (Choji, Karui, etc). Also, apparently everyone had sex and spawned at literally the exact same time, given that their kids are presumably all around the same age. Regardless, I am pretty satisfied with the ending.

Blizzard Fortress 2

Well, I can't say that I was expecting Overwatch or even a game like Overwatch to be announced at BlizzCon this year, but I was really hoping that new intellectual property would be announced and that is exactly what I received I guess. I am pretty sure that the last new piece of IP released by Blizzard was Starcraft and that was released what, 16 years ago and change? So even if it is obviously a Blizzardified Team Fortress 2,  having someone break out of the sequelitis plague makes me happy. I am also pretty curious as to how much of Overwatch was originally the now defunct Titan if any.

I like the basic premise and the art style, particularly the character designs. However, I don't think that they did too good of a job making characters with a visually distinct silhouettes based off of the short preview clips that were shown. If I recall correctly, Valve specifically designed the Team Fortress 2 characters with very distinct profiles that could be seen easily from a distance, while moving at a high speed, and so forth. I guess we will eventually see how that impacts gameplay.

There is a suspicious Overwatch sized hole in my gaming schedule for a casual FPS and I haven't yet played a Blizzard game that I did not enjoy, so bottom line: Will I be playing Overwatch? Sure.

"The Sims 4 Has Stopped Working" Crash Fix

When I had attempted to load my legacy save this morning, I was unable to do so because it would crash to the desktop after spitting out the error pictured above. I was able to fix that corrupted save, but my crash symptoms were very specific so the fix provided in the steps listed below many not apply to other saved game crashes:

  • I was able to successfully load The Sims 4 without any issues.
  • I was also able to load all other saved games as well as a new game without any issues. Whatever caused my crashed seemed to be isolated to a specific household at a certain point.
  • I was able to even successfully load the corrupted save without any issues, but upon loading the save in question, it would load into the Manage Worlds screen.
  • The game would crash after attempting to resume play on my legacy house. It would load for a few seconds and then sit out the error pictured above.

I had tried moving my "The Sims 4" out of C:\Users\<username>\My Documents\Electronic Arts and only the desktop, loading the game to create a freshly generated "The Sims 4" folder and then manually copying over the corrupted save, but that also resulted in the same crash. Repairing The Sims 4 from origin did not help. The crash would by the way, literally only happen to that specific family so I suspect that the corruption was either with a specific sim, an item on that lot, or with the family itself. This is what I had to do:

  1. Load the corrupted save to the Manage Worlds screen. As mentioned above, you should be able to do this when loading the save. If your saved game won't even load to this point or if the game won't even load, then your issue is different than my issue.
  2. Instead of loading the corrupted family, load any other house in that world (I am pretty sure that the corruption in my game was with a specific sim in that family).
  3. You should be able to successfully load that family.
  4. Go to the menu and click "Save As.." just to make sure we save a new copy of the game instead of writing over the old one.
  5. Go to Manage Worlds.
  6. Load the previously corrupted family.
  7. As a precaution, I saved a NEW game at this point.

The odd thing is that after performing the fix, I had tried loading the corrupted save again for the sake of taking a screenshot for this article but was actually unable to get the game to crash again. The only way I was able to recreate the crash was to use the old "The Sims 4" folder that I had backed up to the desktop before attempting to fix the corruption.

Pre-WoD Gearing

  • Posted on: October 24, 2014
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

Thanks to circling the Timeless Isle hunting out treasure chests and what not as well as the fact that the Valor Quartermaster goodies are now available for purchase with gold, my gear is officially out of the green shit-tier status. I even managed to replace my blue 450 weapon with that one polearm available for 20k tokens from the Timeless Isle loot vendor. I still need to gem and enchant everything and in theory, I should probably also work on my tanking set, but since my gear is out of the red zone, if I really wanted I could probably join some of the lower tier MoP raids in LFR.

This activity of gearing my character up is probably pretty moot given that the expansion pack is being released pretty soon and given that it's not like I am planning on doing any serious raiding other than occasionally hopping on LFR, but whatever. One interesting thing is that, despite not having played for almost two years (I think?) I still remember exactly where all of my retribution combat abilities are on my hotkey bar as well as what my old rotation was purely by muscle memory from hitting the same buttons repeatedly for years. A couple of things obviously were missing from the recent patch, but I am not entirely sure if I miss them?

Look What I Finally Did

  • Posted on: October 19, 2014
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

More than a couple of people that I know in-game and in real-life, aside from my husband, are playing World of Warcraft again or at least constantly talking about it. So after about a year and a half to two years of not playing, I actually resubscribed to WoW. Ugh though, it's frustrating going from knowing virtually everything about the game to not knowing jack shit because it's either something that's new or something that I had forgotten.

My UI was surprisingly intact. Because of some of the new interface changes, I was able to drop quite a few things such has ArkInventory (BAG SORTING FINALLY) and my map mod. I haven't really bothered respeccing my paladin or looking into what the new optimal rotation is for my gear level. Surprisingly enough, I was able to remember virtually all combat abilities based purely off of muscle memory from hitting the same key over and over for keys on my gamepad. I did end up forgetting a couple of important things like say, Redemption and a couple of other utility spells.

For what it's worth, my character now looks really weird and vastly different from pre-patch 6.0.2 Keiya with the new models. Also, WoW looks pretty and smooth on ultra with my new video card.

My Pending WoW Return and What Not

Just a quick post since since I have not done one in a while. The one and only game, other than anything that I play on my phone has been The Sims 4. I think I had originally stated that I would do a follow up, state-of-the-game review post of The Sims 4 about a month or so after it had been released. The answer to that, given that this game is all that I have felt compelled to play for a while is: Yeah, it's pretty fun. It's also pretty spiffy that ghosts, pools, etc are being added in at no additional cost. So, good on you EA.

The Sims 4 will likely take a back seat pretty soon though, possibly this weekend. Word on the street is that the new WoW patch is out and that I should resubscribe because enough people that we know on the server are playing now to group together and instance. Neat. I wonder how broken my user interface is going to be? Also, I've heard that Blizzard has finally added in bag sorting among other things into the game. I can probably just dump half of the addons in my user interface folder.

Other things: We have been super lazy about the podcast lately but will be recording an episode and releasing it this weekend. We haven't been home on the weekends lately, which is our preferred recording time. Legend of Korra is pretty good. Dave and I just finished book one. In all honestly, I had forgotten that Korra was on my to watch list until the Book 4 previews were linked on Reddit. We'll probably end up discussing it on the show. Better late than never, right?

The Sims 4: Review and First Opinions

If anyone is curious, she is annoyed because she set fire to the bedroom...

The Sims 4, from what I can tell so far is pretty stable. I played for several hours on Monday evening, about an hour Monday morning, and all of last night without even a single crash, hang, or game breaking glitch, which I find fairly impressive based on my experience with the previous games. I know that clipping was a huge concern to many people who have been watching the pre-release live streams, but to be honest I haven’t noticed it all that much. If a sim absolutely cannot find a path around an obstacle, they will clip slightly. I don’t really see it as all that of a big deal as it does not really break game immersion for me.

The load times don’t suck: I know that there was a lot of buzz about having to between areas but honestly, it is not that big of a deal given that loading and saving takes all of about 3 seconds to do (in comparison to The Sims 3 where loading quite frequently would take over 5 minutes for large neighborhoods…). From desktop to playing a saved game takes about 1 minute tops. Awesome.

WINDOWED. FULL. SCREEN. MODE. All games that don’t explicitly need to be locked into one monitor (first person shooters primarily) need this option. I prefer playing most games in windowed full screen mode so that I can access my second monitor without having to tab out and minimize the game. At the same time, I really don’t like seeing bordered windows, particularly when there is no option to maximize them.

Good Things That I Liked

  • I really like the new look and art style. It’s smooth, vibrant, and polished. As mentioned before though, my tastes lean in the favor of stylized cartoony aesthetics and away from pseudo creepy realistic character designs.

  • I like the new UI, it is slick and unobtrusive even though it does take some time to get used to. Also, being able to finally search for items in build mode is a very useful feature.

  • Gameplay is pretty solid. Multitasking is fantastic and plays a huge role in not having to constantly cancel actions in order to engage in specific social interactions with people. An entire group for example can sit at a bar, watch TV, drink, and talk amongst different group members all at once.

  • The genetics are better than The Sims 3. The children produced, at least in my opinion, look quite a bit better.

  • The emotions are a great addition and really do add personality to the sims in my opinion. It feels more realistic and natural playing with a sim’s emotional state in mind and working around that. By the way, don’t mind the marketing. The emotional doesn’t really make sims all that smarter in the AI sense, but it does add an extra layer of strategy and depth to the game, which is really what I wanted from it.

  • Build mode and create-a-sim tools are fantastic. I won’t go into too much detail because I am sure everyone has seen them by now.

  • I like the overall early game difficulty: bills have teeth, if something breaks you have to repair or replace it before using it again  (such as the toilet), pregnancy test vs instant indication jingle

Not So Good Things

It’s difficult to judge a new sims game based off of the number of items in the new base game in comparison to its predecessor, mostly because it’s been so long since The Sims 3 was released that I do not remember what was or was not in the base game; And it is very much a base game, so if you are judging this game based upon the fact that it did not come preloaded with seasons or supernatural content, that is an unrealistic expectation.

All that said, there really are quite a few basic items missing from the game. Despite all that is good about this game, as I play it is pretty apparent that many features aren’t present most likely because the game was rushed out. It is not only the much aforementioned toddlers and pools, but also the fact that there are for example, no dishwashers in the game in addition to just about all NPCs are mysteriously absent from the game: No firefighters, babysitters, firemen, policemen, robbers, etcetera. Independent of not having any expansion pack content, The Sims 4 does feel stripped down and partially finished to a large extent.

The towns are nice, but they do feel small and limiting. Genetics are improved but they are still not true genetics as there are no dominant or recessive traits for hair, eyes, etc. At least none that are passed down through create-a-sim genetics based off of limited testing.

Conclusions

In any case, the general flow of gameplay and design of The Sims 4 is inherently different than The Sims 3. In truth, it is probably safer and more accurate to view this game as a sequel to The Sims 2 than the 3rd installment in this series. There is a taste of open town gameplay in the form of being able to explore each neighborhood (if you visit a neighbor’s house, it will incur a loading screen), but the game is obviously designed with rotational gameplay in mind whereas The Sims 3 was more geared towards one family per town. Even though this change aligns rather well with what I was specifically looking for from The Sims 4, it may not align well with what you want. So in that sense, The Sims 4 is and will most likely remain a polarizing game amongst fans, at least until it has a few expansion packs under its belt.

As a side note, if they release an Open For Business expansion pack along the same lines as The Sims 2 expansion, then all transgressions will be forgiven.

Updated Sims 4 Wishlist

In lieu of the post embargo Sims 4 news influx, here’s a an updated list/commentary on things that I would like to see in The Sims 4. First and foremost, despite the lack of swimming pools, toddlers, and the other numerous features that were cut, what I really really want from The Sims 4 above all else is a more stable base engine. By stable I mean, a game engine that doesn’t corrupt saves or critically glitch out regularly and with every expansion pack.

If EA/Maxis can release a game that isn’t plagued by constant technical and memory issues (like The Sims 3 and predecessors), that’s a major kudos in my book even if it comes at the expense of other features. Along the lines of performance and more intelligent sims, I would love it if The Sims 4 had better pathing so that half of the day isn’t spent resolving a conflict between two sims attempting to pass through the same door or stuck elsewhere in the neighborhood.

Genetics

I would love to see genetics return to The Sims 4 (to my understanding, it has). The Sims 2 had an actual simulated genetics system in which dominant and recessive phenotypes were passed down from parents to children for hair, eyes, and skin tones. If I recall correctly, personality traits could also be inherited as well. Genetics in the Sims 3 were grossly simplified. Instead of using a genetics system, randomly chosen characteristics were chosen from the parents as well as previous generations. There is unfortunately, a fairly high chance of mutation, 10% if I recall correctly. I would for example, receiving blond haired children from a family of brunettes. That’s not to mention odd problems such as dyed hair being passed down to children.

Unique/distinct personalities

Looking forward to playing with the emotions system. I did see one gameplay video however (forgot which one, my bad) stating that Maxis had put a lot of time and effort into the new emotion facial expressions and animations that were unfortunately, often missed given that many simmers tend to toggle between pause and max speed.

Better town customization tools

It does not appear that we are going to get any sort of official world building tool any time soon but from the previews that were just released, it appears that you will be able to edit public lots on the fly without having to exit out into town edit mode, select a lot, etc. Kind of similar to how you would enter build mode on your own lot.

The return of in-game storytelling tools

If I recall correctly, one of the previous sims games (it was either the first or second) had an in-game photo album that would allow you to select screenshots, annotate them, and even export/upload the album to the sims exchange. I would love to see a feature like that return in The Sims 4.

Odds and Ends: July 25th 2014

There's just not a whole lot of new and interesting media to play or watch now, is there? I say that as I am thumbing through my ginourmous backlog of purchased, undownloaded, and unplayed Steam games. I think the only new titles releasing anytime soon that I am looking forward to playing would be The Sims 4 (even though I know that it is a complete money trap) and Destiny.

Hearthstone
As just about everyone on the internet is aware, Curse of Naxxramas went live this past Tuesday and as such, I picked up Hearthstone again. I am having fun with my paladin taunt deck and hunter zoo deck though unfortunately, since I never played all that much in the first place, I still have quite a few cards to unlock before I can build the decks that I really want. I am pretty dead set on not spending any real life money purchasing card packs so, a lot of play time ahead.

Ingress
It’s like a multi-player faction vs faction version of Nintendo 3DS StreetPass. Mechanically, there’s not a whole lot to it other than opening the app and clicking on a Portal of there happens to be one nearby. The only actual element of skill involved, if you can even call it skill, is the amount of time that you have spent tapping on your phone and happening to live or work close to a portal. But that said, it’s actually a lot of fun and apparently absolutely everyone I know plays. I really like how Ingress encourages community play and the visitation of places that they may not have considered visiting if it wasn’t for the game. Just about every mural, statue, and public art display has a portal so at some point in the near future, I will probably go walking around, looking at art, and tapping on my phone. Oh: This game eats battery life.

Clash of Clans
I am currently TH5 and at the point where upgrading things takes at least a day if not multiple days so play time for this particular title has slowed down drastically as I don't really want to upgrade to TH6 without upgrading everything to as close as max as possible.

The Early Access Game Problem

Early access game programs are tricky because there’s no definitive line as to when they are and are not appropriate; They fall into a gray area. An early access program can make perfect sense for certain titles whereas for others, no so much. Minecraft I suppose, would be the natural example of an early release title that has succeeded to almost an extreme extent, I would say mostly in part to it being on a continuous development cycle. Though it had a hard release date separating the full release of Minecraft from the alpha and beta, it’s just one of those games that receives regular updates that adds game content beyond the standard bug fix patch.

So, for games like Minecraft, games that have developers who are transparent about the state of their game, what is planned for it, when updates will be released, and so forth, early access programs are great and make a lot of sense. However, for every jewel, there has to be at least a dozen games with frustratingly slow updates or worse yet, games that seem to completely stall out once they receive their initial influx of cash. It is within those types of titles that the problem lies. Overall, using an unfinished game as a business strategy concerns me and I feel that it sets a bad precedent as it can and well, to be honest has, created the opportunity to use early access programs as a means for lazy funding. At worse, it can be abused as a blatant cash grab ala The War Z scandal.

I feel that retailers who have early access programs, need to be more apparent the a game is in pre-release and that the consumer is purchasing a title that is not yet complete. For example, DLC releases on Steam have a purple colored tag on the upper left corner of the game portrait. This tag is visible when viewing games on the front page and makes it fairly easy to see that a particular title is downloadable content and not a standalone game. It would be nice if early access games had something similar.

I do not think that a game developer or publisher should treat or advertise and early release title as if it were complete; That’s just...deception. I also feel that at the very least, a rough timeline if planned releases and what not should be added for the consumer’s benefit. It would also be nice to have some way of filtering out all early release games from the store. It just feels kind of shitty, in my personal opinion, when most of the games on the front page of Steam are early access titles; Lastly, a title that has been posted for early release should be fair game for reviews. Lastly, a title that has been posted for early release should be fair game for reviews. If you feel that your game is presentable and playable enough to the point where you are willing to charge the general public to download and play it, then you should be ready to accept any criticism, whether the actual game is finished or not.

There really isn’t anything wrong with offering a game for early release per se, so long as the developer/publisher is transparent about the state at which the game is being released in as well as with overall development progress. Ultimately, consumers do have the power to choose what they do and do not want to buy, early access release games included. Don’t want to play a game that’s not 100% finished? Well, there’s really nothing forcing you to. And to that extent, as long as it isn’t outright deception, I really have a difficult time feeling too bad for anyone who gets burned buying into a flopped early release. As a general rule of thumb, take a look at the status of the game that you are thinking of purchasing. If you would not be satisfied should development on the title suddenly halt, then you may want to reconsider your purchase.

There is certainly a risk that a sub-par game will be released or that the game project will be abandoned altogether; There have already been several cases in which this has happened. But that sort of risk is in the nature of buying a product before it has been finished. If you don’t like it, don’t support it or at the very least, do your homework on the studio and the progress of the game before dishing out cash. Also remember: You still do have the option of waiting for a more complete and polished product to be released. It boils down to patience I suppose.

Throwback Thursday 7/17/2014

  • Posted on: July 17, 2014
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:
    WoW

 

I was digging through old screenshots and I found one of the earlier screenshots of my husband and I before we started dating. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any of the Zul'Aman screenshots from before we guilded him; That would have been closer to when we first met. WoW isn't a perfect game and we had our share of in-game drama but we sure did have some good times.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I feel mildly ashamed that I let Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons sit in my Steam library for over half a year, fully knowing that it was a very good title that does not consume too much time (it is about 4 hours in length). Brothers is a third-person adventure game developed by Starbreeze Studios; It follows the journey and adventures of two brothers as they struggle to find a cure for their ill father. You can play technically Brothers with either a keyboard or a controller but I would highly recommend using a controller.

Single player co-op is probably the best wording that I can use to describe the gameplay: You control two brothers simultaneously to solve puzzles and progress within the game. The left stick and left trigger are used for one brother, the right stick and right trigger are used for the other. It is a control scheme that feels unique and is used to full advantage narratively to the point where Brothers is probably one of the few games to offer a near perfect marriage between narrative and gameplay.

One of the beautiful aspects about this game is that it tells a story with zero dialog. There is no flavor text, there is really no user interface, and all voices in the game are spoken in a fictitious language (ala Simlish). Aside from 2 or 3 diagrams showing the player how to use the controller, there are no in-game explanations and very little plot exposition; The entire story is dictated through action, body language, and tone of voice.

It is a gorgeous looking game with a stylized cartoon aesthetic, meaning that it probably run on just about anything. I guess if I had any criticisms it would be that the puzzles are satisfying to complete but not entirely that difficult, probably at least partially due to many of the puzzle mechanics being repeated quite often, such as the climbing puzzles, and the lever puzzles, etc. The controls are a bit awkward when the camera shifts around or really, any situation where you are forced to use the left stick to control the brothers on the right side of the screen and visa versa. I did not feel that the this detracted from the game experience, but it is worth noting.

If you can catch it on sale, Brothers literally costs a couple of dollars at most. It is still well worth picking up even at full price.