Monday, October 28, 2013

The Playlist - October 22-28, 2013

This past week was spent easing myself back into the flow after a short vacation as well as starting to get familiar with the new sites I will be contributing for. I downloaded the release version of Path of Exile and have mostly been playing it with the intention of producing a full review. For the stream, I made some decent progress into Super Mario World and, based on some feedback, played a bit of Eternal Champions to see if it will work for a future broadcast. Rounding things out, I scratched my Civilization itch and whiled away a bit of time with QWOP.

What's Coming Up

As I explained in Back to the Future, my writing is now being split over a few different sites. While nothing has officially gone live, I submitted my first two articles for StudentCom which should be going up early this week. The first article is a simple profile that briefly describes the roots of my passions for gaming and writing (it's a bit personal but is meant as a way to introduce myself to the new readership). The second is a piece on reasons to be excited for the next generation consoles even though they won't represent a big leap forward in terms of graphics. For Geekbinge, I worked out a few details on posting structure and am hoping to have a review of Path of Exile go live at some point this week. Also, depending on scheduling, my piece on 'Games as Art' should be ready to go for publication early next week (or very late this week). On this blog, expect another Sofa Story and the usual Weekly Roundup. I know it has been a bit light content wise the past two weeks but once the machines of the new sites I am working for get running you should be seeing new stuff at a pretty rapid pace again.

What I've Been Playing

Path of Exile
With the game officially transitioning from open beta to full release, I figured now was as good as a time as ever to give it the full review treatment. Consequently, I started a new character from scratch and progressed through the first two difficulties. Again, as mentioned in the last Playlist, I am a bit disappointed that not much has changed gameplay wise over the past six months. On the plus side, the launch day patch actually rectified a bunch of the performance issues my laptop was having (...although this may also be the result installing the latest Nvidia drivers as well). I won't spoil the review here but am mostly positive on the game and would recommend picking it up if you are at all interested (it's definitely worth the price of free and the risk of a bit of time in the download).

Outlook: Still have a bit more playtime in this, at very least to get some screen grabs for the review. Doubtful it will stay on my long term radar.

Super Mario World
I played through this for the stream. I struggled a bit with the keyboard setup on the emulator and found myself pining for a proper gamepad. In any case, once the stream ended I plowed through a few extra levels for a bit of fun. Super Mario World still stands up as one of, if not the, greatest platformers of all time. If, for whatever reason, you haven't played this yet, get yourself a copy ASAP!

Outlook: Doubtful that I will finish what I started on the stream. I find when I play Super Mario World it is either completed in a single play session or not at all.

Eternal Champions
It was requested for next week that I play Eternal Champions on the stream. I used to love this Genesis fighter when I was younger but wanted to see if I felt I could narrate a stream properly while playing it. In short, I don't think it will translate well to my format and it hasn't stood up very well to my childhood memories.

Outlook: On the back burner until I feel more comfortable on the stream to do the game justice. No definitive timeline on when you can expect this.

I finally decided to give this browser game a try while waiting for Path of Exile to finish downloading. Words simply cannot describe the gameplay and I recommend anyone with a few minutes to spare to experience the glorious frustration of utterly failing for themselves.

Outlook: This is definitely now on my quick list for when I need to kill a few minutes or just distract my brain.

Civilization 5
A couple of week's ago, I made a pretty epic start with Babylon that completely reignited my Civilization cravings. I have gone on record before stating that Civ 5, despite it's flaws, is my favorite of the series and I still stand by that. Combat is broken, but a recent major patch overhauled numerous systems which has gone a long way to improving other aspects of the game. It never ceases to amaze me how every match I play is unique but familiar. In my most memorable of last week's matches, as Egypt, I managed to secure almost every wonder in the game and cruised to a cultural victory.

Outlook: I think I have satiated my Civilization appetite for now, but like a eating two dollar meal at a fast food restaurant you know that you will be feeling hungry again soon enough.. Fortunately, in the gaming world this is a good thing!