Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Queue: Update

This is, um, an update to the queue.  Surprise!

Dungeons and Dragons Online.  I think I may have hit that snag I was foreseeing.  So, I've got Segomedes, my current main, around the middle of level 4.  He's going good with most of his business, but I recently started to, well, run out of quests.  Now, in other MMOs I've played (WoW and CoH), quests are one-time deals.  You get one or more objectives, meet them, and get some nice experience and maybe some cool equipment out of the deal.  Then you go on to find some more.  DDO, however, is quite a different animal.  There's literally no experience to be had outside of quests, and therefore most of the regular quests can be repeated.  I've made it to level 4 without having to repeat a quest.  Beyond that point, the only quests available to me are quests well above my level.  I got onto the in-game chat, curious about the fact that there weren't any more quests hanging around, and was told that the way to go was repeating old quests at higher difficulty settings.  While it may have been the only way to go -- considering that, as a nonpaying member, a great deal of material was locked off from me -- it does not seem very appealing to me, as I've confirmed from starting to attempt it.  I don't know.  I'll still give it a try, but it seems to be going downhill.

Puzzle Quest.  I'm consistently finding, as my good friend the TV Tropes Wiki has confirmed, that the Computer is a Cheating Bastard.  It's got me so paranoid that, when the computer suggests a move, with all things otherwise seeming equal, I'll make a move other than the suggested one.  At first, it often seemed that the computer's move suggestions were setting me up for big combos by my enemies, and now that I've been scrutinizing it, I've caught it, on several occasions, trying to lead me astray.  Never mind the fact that the levels of my enemies seem to scale to my own level and not to the story -- I hope rather hard that the level 18 boss I encountered when I was level 12 will stay that way as I grind XP against random enemies that are invariably the same level as me.

Plants Vs Zombies.  Still fun.  It's got a little harder as I've started the back yard night levels (the fourth "World", if we're to use the Super Mario Bros. hierarchy).  That's because certain types of zombies -- namely the balloons and diggers so far -- have proven capable of totally subverting my normal defenses, absolutely requiring that I plant specific countermeasures.  These particular special zombies amount to a rather significant game-changer.  In I think two levels so far, I've had to fall back on the last-ditch lawnmower defenses for the first time.  It's tough, but I hope I can survive the zombie apocalypse.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  Holy cow, I can't believe I forgot this one in the last post.  Yeah, I only started playing it this past summer.  After some other games came into my life, I put it on hold; I'm somewhere in the non-linear section towards the later middle of the game.  Excellent game, but it feels like it's going to be too short, if my current level (within the 20-level d20 system on which it's based) is any indication.

Killing Floor.  I was extremely surprised by this game.  Killing Floor is an FPS, based entirely around the idea of murdering a series of waves of zombies, along with a few friends.  It's labeled a "survival horror" game, but if I were to compare it to the leading zombie-killing FPS Left 4 Dead, I'd have to describe it as more of a survival action game.  I know I heard or read some videogame pundit saying so -- could have been anyone from Shamus Young, author of DM of the Rings, to Anthony Burch, brother of and costar with the eponymous gamer of Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin', to Ben Croshaw, creator of the excellent Zero Punctuation series -- but a lot of recent attempts at survival horror make no or little attempt at the atmosphere required to produce actual horror, and replace it with difficult combat against creepy-themed opponents.  I would say that Left 4 Dead can definitely qualify as horror at times, particular when witches are involved.  Killing Floor, on the other hand, makes little attempt to terrify the player; at best, you may be startled to round a corner in a darkened building to be confronted with a Fleshpound or the Patriarch.  But!  For me, this is to its credit.  I don't like being frightened or startled.  This deters me from proper horror games like Silent Hill, and from horror movies as well.  Call me a wimp.  Go on.  Anyway, even though it labels itself as "horror", Killing Floor doesn't really horrify me, which makes it just fine in my book.  The fact that it's a cooperative game adds even more points: I simultaneously have the support of other players, who will almost invariably be better than me at it, and I don't have to worry about facing intelligent opponents, who would almost invariably be better than me at it.

And you thought you had wasted time reading my last post.

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