Monday, October 7, 2013

The Playlist - October 1-7, 2013

Today, in my first ever 'The Playlist', I highlight the games I have been playing last week and give an idea of what to expect coming up in the blog in the next while. Most of my time was, surprisingly, eaten up by Marvel Heroes but I also gave a couple games from the recent Humble (Indie) Bundle a whirl to mixed results. Rounding it out I dusted off some Borderlands 2 for my twitch stream on Saturday. Blog wise, I am tweaking the weekly format a bit and am prepping for a much needed vacation.

What's Coming Up?
I will be taking a week long vacation starting on Friday (October 11) but am hoping to mostly run the blog at the usual pace this week (including the Weekly Roundup on Saturday!). That said, I won't be live streaming on Saturday and am unlikely to post Monday-Friday next week (tears go here). Also, if the internet is unavailable (read too expensive) at the hotel the 'Weekly Roundup' may get dropped. In the pipe this week is the launch of my new weekly piece 'The Playlist' (hey your reading that now!) where I am trying to open up a bit and talk a about what I have been personally doing gaming-wise while not writing and give a bit of a preview for the upcoming week (hey that's this paragraph!). Along with this, I am hoping to expand my 'About' page to include a bit more info on the blog schedule so people know what to expect and when. Also this week, expect a review for FTL along with the usual random assortment of posts (not the newest game but I am having way to much fun with it).

As an aside, I am always looking for feedback on what I am producing. Specifically, I would like to know if you like the idea of knowing a bit more about my personal gaming habits from week-to-week. Also, for those who watch the Saturday streams, I am really interested to know what kind of games you want to see me play in the future (competitive multiplayer, modern single player, retro, or otherwise). 

What I've Been Playing

Marvel Heroes
With the release of patch 1.3, and with the Steam install file having survived a recent reformat, I decided to dust off Jean Grey and rip through hordes of faceless enemies. I was surprised by just how much of a time sink this game was last week despite the new patch really not bringing much new to the table (it was mostly a balance patch). Jean’s AOE capabilities feel quite powerful in their current form and the free EXP/loot boost over the weekend was enough to entice me to play. Despite the play time, I still feel that there are numerous issues with the game, some of which are endemic and unlikely to ever be fixed. The graphics still look ugly, numerous balance issues remain (with 'starter' heroes much less powerful than others), and repetitive enemies and zones quickly wear thin. In the end, I felt mostly unsatisfied with my Marvel Heroes play sessions this week.

Outlook: I doubt this will stay in my playlist next week. Sometimes I think that picking up a new hero would breathe some new life into the game but quickly realize this won't solve all of the problems with the game.

This game has been on my radar since its release last year. After picking it up as part of the Humble (Indie) Bundle 9, I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a go. I was not disappointed and spent a lot of time traipsing across the galaxy in my flimsy little ship. I have always been a little hesitant with the roguelike subgenre as the randomness is a huge drawback for me but FTL does a pretty good job of mostly keeping things fair. You can catch my full review later this week.

Outlook: FTL has inspired me to check out a few other roguelikes but I fully expect to play this in the upcoming week while I am on the road.

Borderlands 2
In preparation for my twitch stream on Saturday, I decided to chop some heads as the DLC character Krieg. I bought Krieg during the Steam Summer sale but have yet to actually complete the game with him. Overall, I feel it was a bad purchase in that I am not a fan of the character's gameplay and feel little compulsion to pick up the game again. That said, I had a pretty good time on the actual stream as Axton and definitely recommend the game to anyone who hasn't picked it up yet. Some new DLC has been teased for later this year but, for me, this game has mostly run its course (100+ hours played according to Steam stats, great overall value).

Outlook: Strictly on my radar this week for the Twitch stream. This one is back on the shelf.

Rocketbirds: Hard Boiled Chicken
Another game I picked up in the Humble Bundle, I knew absolutely nothing about this title before I installed it and started it up. I was hoping for a puzzler but was greeted with a 2D platformer with a ton of personality (and jetpacks!). I ultimately only played a short while and swapped to play FTL which mostly took up the remainder of my time. After checking up on a few faqs I have determined that I have played through about 20% of the game.

Outlook: I liked what I saw but wasn't really in the mood for the gameplay at the time. I will certainly finish this at some point.

Path of Exile
After watching a preview on GameSpot (and after feeling a bit unsatisfied with Marvel Heroes) I figured I would see what had happened in the past few months with this promising title. Unfortunately, some conflict with my laptop video card was seriously hindering performance in full-screen. I tinkered around a bit with a new character and was a bit upset to learn, after scoping out the forums, that many of the go-to skills I remembered were still the foundation for most builds and not a lot of content had been recently added. I was really hoping to have some new builds to test as I had mostly burned myself out on the established ones. The game is nearing the close of its open beta and feels complete just as it did six months ago.

Outlook: The GameSpot preview made some of the new skills and builds look pretty sweet but they haven't been implemented yet. I will probably pick this up at the official launch if for no other reason than to write a review.