A diary of sorts, wherein I moonlight as a games writer. Under haphazard construction.
Weeks have slipped by, and this is now very, very late. xD
So the weird thing about Eurogamer this year was that I’d already played the game that was at the top of the billing for me. My chance encounter with Evolve at MCM left me looking over the rest of the games on show, trying to work out what else I should be getting excited about spending hours queuing for. Alien Isolation? NOPE. Not after Rezzed. Far Cry 4? Meh. Borderlands 3-not-really-3? Maybe? This year’s Assassin’s Creed, whatever the hell that is by this point? Meh.
I found plenty of cool stuff over the two days I was there, but I felt like I was actively hunting for it more than usual, rather than vaguely knowing in advance what it was probably-more-or-less-likely-to-be, and then finding the odd surprise along the way. This was fun, because after I’d spent the first few quiet hours of Thursday queuing up for Evolve, Far Cry 4 and whatever the hell this year’s Assassin’s Creed is (the demo felt exactly the same as the one I played at Eurogamer last year!), I didn’t really know what to do with myself next.
I spent most of my time trying all the interesting-looking stuff in the PC area, because of course I did, but found lots of cool stuff outside as well. My favourite game of the show took me completely by surprise, as did my biggest letdown. So yeah, here’s the stuff that was noteworthy for me in the entirely arbitrary order of whatever springs to mind:
Not gonna lie, I’ve been too busy playing Wasteland 2 the past few days to actually find time any to write about it, and soon I’ll have played so much that I’ll probably start forgetting stuff. I’m making myself sit and write a bit now to reflect on the awesome start I’ve made before progressing any further.
I say “awesome”. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun at least.
The story of Wasteland 2 begins with your party of greenhorn Desert Rangers being despatched on their first mission: to investigate the assassination of one of the organisation’s elites. It’s serious business, and a job that’s perhaps a little too dangerous for rookies. But because resources are stretched thin and the pro teams are all occupied, the task falls to you. C’est la videogames. Best of luck.
Unlike their tabletop brethren, “roleplaying” games on PC often require the player to make a certain amount of effort to actually play the role of the characters they are given. Either we get a blank slate, only to be written upon if we go out of our way to do so, or a character with a personality so malleable that they’ll never hold a shape on their own, no matter which dialogue option you choose. Whilst loads of games do a good job of encouraging consistency through things like Mass Effect’s Paragon/Renegade points, or by weaving stories so linearly around the characters that it’s difficult or impossible to stray from their path, actually thinking about who your character is and how they’d act is pretty much always optional.
Assuming the role of a team of clueless rookie vigilantes in Wasteland has been pretty much effortless, however, because the game is really fucking difficult.
You stride out into the desert armed with your smart-assed toaster repair skills, a big stick and now idea whatsoever how to swing it, and you get chewed up hard. There are no toasters to repair, nobody to wittily back-sass, and you can’t hit shit. If it weren’t for the wonderful man at the Citadel gate who gave you a free sawn-off scattergun, you’d be spending most fights doing literally nothing but run around and get shot, but even pointing that in the right direction without catching allies in it’s cone of death’s a challenge. Because oh god is friendly fire a thing in this game. You realise very quickly that you’re gonna need to learn how to crack safes, or else the competent members of the party are gonna run out of ammo and medkits. You’re gonna need to get better at repairing things that aren’t toasters to overcome obstacles. You’re gonna need to learn to mod weapons. You might want to take some practice with that shotgun.
This is how my team have all been doing.
When I played Wasteland 2 at Rezzed I enjoyed it, but like so much stuff these days didn’t plan on picking it up anytime soon. It looked like a lot of fun, but wasn’t what I was really in the mood for. So many games, so little time, yah yah yah. Maybe when it’s inevitably on sale at Christmas, I thought. Playing Shadowrun Returns last week after scouring my “Untouched” list on Steam for mouse-only games I could manage with my broken collarbone changed my mind for two reasons:
1. It reminded me how much I love CRPGs, and how I’ve been meaning to start Planescape Torment or re-play Fallout sometime soon. I’ll probably do neither now that I’m going to be busy playing Wasteland. (Sorry, Greg.)
2. It made me want to play one that didn’t feel a bit crap. Not really crap! Just a bit crap. Like the last Shadowrun game. (Sorry, Mike.)
Kinda typical that just as I’m finding things to write about I go and break my collarbone.
I shouldn’t really be typing this whilst I’m still fragile, but something great came up whilst I was playing Gal Civ 3 this morning and I can’t just let it slip by.
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.