New Year Update

Nearly midway through January and I’ve barely posted.  Hmmmm. I have some articles I’m working on, but they aren’t ready yet, so let me just leave you with a quick rundown of what I’ve been playing:

  • Lord of the Rings Online
  • Fallout 3
  • World of Goo
  • Fable 2
  • EVE Online

My EVE time has been solely limited to training since the end of December.  I had been doing a bit of mining both as a way to replenish my wallet and since its pretty easy to do when I’m busy with the baby.

Fable 2 has sat on the shelve since my initial run through.  I had started two more play-throughs intending to try out the other two endings, but no more progress on that (similar to my KoTOR and Mass Effect plans in the past).  I did pop in recently on my original character and buy up some more real estate with the funds he’d been saving up.

World of Goo is an awesome game. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already tried it, and for pity’s sake please buy it.  It’s not that expensive and its produced by a tiny developer.  If you don’t like DRM, this is a way to both vote with your wallet and have some fun.

My main two games since Christmas have been Fallout 3 and Lord of the Rings Online.  I had been playing Moria quite a bit up until the holidays, but took a week off from MMO’s to dig into Fallout 3 while I was on vacation.  It’s a good game although very empty, which I suppose is part of the point.  My only problem with this game is it reminds me of why I so rarely play shooters.

So since coming back to work on the 2nd, I’ve moved back to my primary game of the last six months.  I’ve advanced to level 56 with my hunter and am really enjoying my time with Moria.  My only disappointment so far with the game is how small of an area of Lothlórien is accessible.  I did a fun run from the Twenty-first Hall through Durin’s Way t o the First Hall and then out the eastern gate.  Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much to do east of the Misty Mountains yet.

So that’s been my gaming time for the year to date (really including time since mid-December).  Please stay tuned, there’s more comign shortly.

Fable 2 Follow Up

Last time I posted, I was enjoying Fable 2 but not loving it.  It turns out that I didn’t have to restart my character.  Apparently I had turned off the game without saving my progress so the marriage and a couple of evil actions I had performed were undone.

After sinking fifteen more hours into the game, I can now say that I’m loving it.  I think the major problem was getting over the initial learning curve.  There are so many activities, with very little structure, that you can get to a point where you are missing some expressions that you need but haven’t yet gotten.  That’s how I got into the situation where my character was married, his wife was constantly asking for sex, yet he hadn’t picked up the social action needed.

Having completed the sortyline as a good/pure character.  I’m working through the story again as an evil character.  I haven’t decided yet is he’s going to be totally corrupt or not.

The story itself is very good and there are several interesting moral choices that come up when playing.  Some choices even have game play repercussions.

Fable 2

The opening and introductory section is really good.  Once you become an adult and get turned loose on the world, the game felt a little rough.  The world is pretty wide open which I like.  But the interface doesn’t give me enough feedback and is not intuitive enough.

The quest log interface is a pain, though I like the glowing trails that show up.  The trails are especially nice, since there’s no on-screen minimap (which I miss).  The map that comes up in the pause menus is ok, but there’s no way to distinguish what store is where just where stores are located.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to find maps online or make my own, because I’m constantly getting lost in towns.

The +/- purity and weight messages seem to disappear too quickly.  I haven’t looked yet, but I’m hoping there’s a way to increase the amount of time the on-screen status messages display.

Now let’s talk about the d-pad icons.  Can anyone else tell what’s what?  Beyond the thumbs up and down, I really can’t distinguish which icon is doing what.  Often the icons switch pretty quickly as well.  I spend most of my time just using the menu that pops up.

All of these feedback issues were highlighted when I got married.  I was able to bring the woman back to the gypsy camp and setup a marital house at my starting wagon.  Then I got some dialog about having sex and my wife keeps making suggestive comments, but I can’t find anything either on the D-pad or the popup menu.  Did I get married too early (which I can’t type without chuckling)?  Is there a social action I’m missing?  There’s nothing in the in-game help to address this.  Once married can I get a divorce?  How do I go about getting a divorce?

These kinds of questions illustrate the pitfalls of having such an open game without a more comprehensive and detailed interface (which are at least partly due to the platform).

So at this point I’m really early in the game and I already feel like I’ve messed up enough that I should start over.  I’ve packed on some weight (doing some taste testing in a bar) and married before I was ready.  Before I restart I’m considering going little nuts.  What would happen if I take a girlfriend (someone ready to marry me) back to the gypsy camp and see my wife?  What happens if I flip out and kill everyone in the camp?  If I kill my wife, what kind of reputation impact does that have on my character and on my girlfriend (would she still marry me after)?  While it sucks that I feel like I need to restart my current game, these kinds of questions are a good result of having such an open world in a game.

Overall, I like the game, its fun.  But I’m not loving it.  Yet.  I’m not thinking about the game when I’m at work.  We’ll see once I restart how things go.  I think I’ll do less exploring initially and stay a bit more focused on the primary quest line.