Monday, November 11, 2013

The Playlist - November 5-11, 2013

Last week was quite busy with a ton of stuff going up on every site I contribute for. No doubt, the majority of my time was spent playing Batman: Arkham Asylum after I picked it up in the latest Humble Bundle. Also this week, I dusted off C&C Generals for the stream and stomped the computer a few times. Rounding things out, I made a start into Arkham City, fed my Street Fighter 4 fix some more, and spent about 30 minutes with Fez before getting dizzy.

What's Coming Up
I am expecting at least one article to be going up somewhere every day next week but there may be some days with two depending on the scheduling. Either way, it's going to be busy! On a short piece covering my impressions of Blizzcon should be up Tuesday; I don't think that Blizzard justified the need for their own convention this year instead of just hosting a booth at E3. GeekBinge is going into overdrive and is covering the next-gen console launches heavily so expect a few contributions along those lines from me. Last week I also wrote a short piece discussing Call of Duty: Ghosts. For StudentCom, early next week you should see a piece on the latest Humble Bundle entitled "The Superhero of Games Distributors". Also, you can expect a piece on Nintendo's woes to be up in the second half of the week. For this blog, beyond the usual weekly pieces, I am working on something Batman: Arkham related.

What I've Been Playing

C&C Generals

I dusted off my old Command & Conquer: The First Decade disc to play on stream. I talked about Generals in a recent Sofa Story and this directly influenced my decision to play it. The graphics are starting to look dated and the balance is still way out of whack but I have such fond memories of this game that I don't notice it while playing. Stomping the computer is always satisfying and employing a selection of near-future weapons makes me feel giddy. I freely admit that the nostalgia factor is high for me on this one so I don't outright recommend it as a purchase (especially considering that the only digital version out there comes as a bundle costing a steep $29.99 and requires EA's horrendous Origin service to play). That said, you could spend five bucks worse if you see a physical copy  in the bargain bins at your local electronics giant.

Outlook: Since bothering to install and patch for compatibility on Windows 7 was such a pain, I will be sure to squeeze a few more skirmishes out next week to justify my time spent.

Batman: Arkham Asylum

I played through this on the Xbox 360 way back when it initially launched but didn't give it the full attention it deserved due to the launch of Champions Online shortly thereafter. I had been meaning to pick it up for a while on PC but seemed to have the worst luck for checking in when it was discounted during the Steam Sales. Finally, last week the Humble Bundle included it and I felt justified in picking it up for a decent value all while donating to charity. I sunk about 15 hours into this last week completing the main story and exploring Arkham for a bunch of hidden goodies and must say that this game is still a blast to play. The combat is, by far, the most striking (puns!) aspect of this game feeling simultaneously brutal and fluid. I forgot how the last two boss fights were kind of a letdown contributing to an overall weak conclusion but the rest of the game is so amazing that these issues are totally forgivable.

Outlook: I finished this game and have moved on to the next in the series.

Batman: Arkham City
Also included in the Humble Bundle was this sequel to Arkham Asylum. For whatever reason I never got a chance to complete this game when it initially released but recall that all the reviews indicated that it lived up to its legacy. Having finished the first game, I have managed to invest a very small chunk of time into this one and have progressed just past the tutorial missions. So far everything feels just as awesome as its predecessor and I am totally psyched for another awesome Batman game! I can confidently predict that I will enjoy Arkham City but have conciously told myself that I will not pick up the latest title, Arkham Origins as it is a blatant cash grab and is not receiving particularly good reviews.

Outlook: Probably the game I will play most next week. I've only had about an hour with it so far and am totally hooked.

Street Fighter 4

A carry-over from last week. I fired out a couple of hadoukens and continued to work on my Blanka. My overall  record hasn't improved all that much but I had fun nonetheless. I also spent a bit of time clearing a bunch of trials but still have difficulty when it comes to Focus-Attack-Dash-Cancelling combos (I just can't train the muscle memory to pull them off with any sort of consistency). I am really stoked for Ultra SF4 next year!

Outlook: I think this one is out of the loop next week in order to make room for Arkham City and will probably stay that way for the next while.

I played a bit of this for stream consideration until I decided on Generals. I forgot how sick this game makes me feel with the constant world spinning. Ugh. I honestly can't remember if I felt this game was over-rated when I initially played through it.

Outlook: Depending on if I can stomach the spinning, I might play through it again to provide fodder for a blog post idea I have. Not sure though.