Kemuel's Place

A diary of sorts, wherein I moonlight as a games writer. Under haphazard construction.

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Destiny 2’s grandeur

Not being one for console shooters, I didn’t come into Destiny 2 with the same expectations carried by fans of the original, and as such found myself rather enjoying the difficult followup act to the cult hit that many others dismissed. I had a really good time for the 40-odd hours I spent with it, but when it came to shelling out for more via the DLC pass I just wasn’t feeling it. I spent a month or so doing laps of the endgame content available to me, and dipped my toe again at Christmas for the seasonal festivities, but soon drifted away. Whilst the shooting was fun still, the skinner box of constant incremental progress had ceased to tickle. Now the new Forsaken expanion’s bundling in the first two pieces of DLC for free, I’ve been feeling myself drawn back again.

Some of this is nostalgia for the cozy evenings spent playing it last year as the season turned cold, but there’s something else there too. Something unique to Destiny that it’s taken me a few days to put my finger on, and that has come to me now whilst sitting here and waiting for the 80gb download to finish. The grandeur.

When I think of Destiny 2, one of the first things that springs to mind is the main menu music. Yes, partially because I spent a not-insignificant amount of time listening to it whilst the game servers were struggling, but also because it captures so well the atmosphere the game strives to achieve. Destiny takes itself seriously. It’s a lore-heavy space fantasy epic that focuses a massive corona of glowing pseudo-religious magic bollocks into a laser point, through then lens of good old earthly gun-fetishism. How does it carry this off whilst still maintaining it’s straight face (and slyly concealing the cold statistical machinery below)? Majesty. Splendour. Grandeur.

Everything is sleek, and gilt, and magnificent. Orchestral scores soar. The names of weapons and armour pieces hark back to myths and legends that, whilst mostly superficial, succeed in lending you the feel of being part of a lineage of epic celestial heroes. Your foes are ancient and primordial- simply the natural darkness to your light. The backstory is gubbins, but like the skyboxes of the planets you roam, presents a glorious illusion of depth- a starry tapestry encompassing you so thickly that you can’t see where the edges lie. Even at the low levels where the story sees you brought low and conducting your operations from a humble abandoned farmstead you are made to feel like your rightful place is amongst the heavens, and when (surprising nobody) you reclaim it at the end of the story, it feels good to be home. I say this as someone who never set foot in the first game’s Citadel beyond the free PS3 alpha.

I am excited about stepping back into the filigree boots of my Guardian again because it feels like I will once more be answering a call. Rejoining the ranks of the space wizard heroes and be set adrift once again on their sea of endless cosmic lore. It’s an impressive feat for a glorified loot treadmill to have achieved, and a masterclass of set-dressing.

Anyway, download’s finished. Back to the radio silence.

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Old stuff I’ve only just played at long last: Timesplitters 2!

If you’d asked me a couple of weeks ago what I expected I’d enjoy playing the most whilst on holiday with my family last week I probably wouldn’t have said Timesplitters 2. Or probably even considered it for that matter. Or even remembered that I owned a copy.

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Pause 2: The Unpausening

Not having anything to write about’s a rubbish excuse, but it’s one that I’ve somehow managed to thoroughly convince myself of. “I’m not playing anything current right now”, I say, whilst continuing to make slow and appreciative progress through the bright themeparks of Wildstar. “Nothing’s really impressing me enough to write”, I claim, despite wanting to rant to everyone I know about how much I am loving Netrunner, and the X-Wing Miniatures game and Mighty Tactical Shooter, and how everyone else should be playing them too right now. “I’m mostly just spending my evenings on Hearthstone, or Kingdom Hearts, or Dwarf Fortress”, as if none of them would be worth writing words about.

I need to take a step back with this place, I think. Stop trying to write big grandiose pieces and just settle for whatever I’ve had fun with the past couple of days. I’ve been hesitant to touch Netrunner or X-Wing or Hearthstone or Wildstar because they’re so widely-discussed absolutely everywhere else, but I really need to stop letting that put me off. This is my diary of stuff I’m playing and enjoying after all. It’s not like I’m trying to break news or do anything particularly deep or original here.

So yeah, I’ll get on that.

For now have some random screenshots of the early Wildstar game up to level 20. I’m not entirely sure what it is that I’m finding so compelling about Wildstar, but the fact that it looks like this all the fucking time can’t be hurting.

Screenshot 2014-06-08 10.18.06Screenshot 2014-06-08 16.01.14Screenshot 2014-06-08 18.58.30Screenshot 2014-06-09 20.31.04Screenshot 2014-06-29 10.34.19Screenshot 2014-06-29 10.25.43

Pause

Well, I knew at some point I’d have to start actively looking for things to write about, rather than simply putting shape to existing ideas. And I guess I kinda knew I’d struggle with it, particularly whilst changing jobs. I’ve been at my new office for two weeks now, one which was busy because I was learning tons of stuff very quickly, and the other because the office had six visitors staying all at once. Now I’m ill, so that’s an excuse as well, I guess, but not a bad one as they go.

Once I’m better I’ve got a few things to write about, mostly about what I have (and haven’t, in fact) been playing lately. Hearthstone, Sir You Are Being Hunted, Dark Souls,  Dragon’s Dogma, Divinity: Dragon Commander, Lego Marvel Superheroes, Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends (真三国無双7:猛将伝, rather), Metal Gear Solid 2, more Wildstar..

It’s felt like I’ve not really been playing anything lately, and I’d probably have told you as much before I stopped to think about it, but then, I guess it never really does when I flit around between stuff. Lego Marvel’s definitely grabbed my attention, though, and Dynasty Warriors is still holding, it against all odds. So much so that I might end up spending money to import the base game as well, and then buying it in English on Steam. I think Wildstar’s also slowly winning me over too, so I’ll have words about all three once I settle back into a writing routine. Which I shall do! I found previously that writing between 9 and 11pm worked out nicely, so hopefully when I’m not quite so exhausted at the end of each day I will be able to try that again. 

So yeah, this is a brief pause I guess, but hopefully it’ll be over soon.