What have I been playing recently? Why, thank you for asking!
Parasite Eve made my list of Most Influential Games for the last episode of Cat Context, which got me thinking about it again. Thanks to the magic of the Vita it only took $6 and about an hour of downloading to own a copy.
(The Vita is so the perfect platform for nostalgia gaming. I don’t have a single game on there that’s less than a decade old, and I regret nothing.)
Of course almost 20 years have passed since I played Parasite Eve last and I was a little nervous about how the game would stand the test of time, but so far it’s been an entirely satisfactory experience. The gameplay itself is extremely similar to Final Fantasy VII or really any JRPG from that era with lots of menu fussing, adding mods to your inventory, and waiting for your action timer bar to fill up to attack, although with more aimed attacks that require movement.
Thumbs up, will play again in another 20 years.
ArcheAge (English Alpha)
I am honestly not entirely sure how I got on the list for an ArcheAge alpha invite, but I literally did a hoppy victory dance when the email arrived.
I want to dedicate a whole post to my first impressions of the game, but my short review is: fun, but going to be time consuming. ArcheAge is a (ugh) “sandpark”, which means that the mechanics are not that different from WoW, but the end game is about settling, crafting, farming, and trading, as opposed to running dungeons and raids.
The result is that it’s really hard to tell much about the game in the first 12 levels. So far it’s been a highly fun WoW-like with a small garden, but there’s the promise of so much more just around the corner…
Mass Effect 1
I have been working on a 100% run of Mass Effect 1 for a very long time. After finally clearing out every Mako quest I could find, a not insignificant challenge, last week I finally got back to the central plot and almost immediately got to make a decision to kill someone off. Hooray! Take that, person-I-will-not-name-but-is-a-dude!
Although the UI is old and clunky as hell — I don’t need any more damn omnigel! — and any Mako mission is like trying to commute in a bouncy castle, the immersion of ME1 is outstanding and the dialogue is even better without the shiny polish of parts 2 and 3. Now if only I could romance Garrus….
World of Warcraft – Challenge Modes
No suprise to anyone here — I’ve also still been playing WoW. Recently we’ve been working on hitting some of the Challenge Mode dungeons before they go away with an eye to getting Silver and the fancy reward mount.
I’ve been really enjoying the CMs so far. They’re tough, and they require buttons that I don’t usually get to hit in my standard WoW play. We die a lot, and suddenly have to worry about things like making sure someone brings buff Feasts and gathering mats for invisibility pots.
So far we’ve gotten 2 Silvers, which leaves us 7 more to go, an entirely reasonable goal for us casual critters. The whole experience has made me reflect on how I play WoW differently now though — I used to be a Gold-or-Die kinda player, not only in attitude and drive, but also in talent.
It makes me wonder where I’m lacking now. Is it just experience and the quantity of hours put into playing a character each week? It is experienced teamwork, rather than the sorta-once-a-week we play now? Gold seems like a huge amount of work, frankly, and that’s work I don’t want to do. What happened to me, man? I used to be cool.