Elden Ring is a new game from FromSoftware. They are famous for their ‘Souls’ games that established a whole genre of their own: games with gigantic boss enemies and unforgiving combat. Basically, these games were the origin of the ‘git gud’ meme.
Elden Ring is that “Souls-like’ concept writ large. I have proven once again that I don’t like this style of gaming: but once again it taught me some things about why. It isn’t because I’m ‘not good’ or don’t know how to play. I’ve been playing computer games for over 40 years and, although I’m not claiming any great skill, I can work out the basics. Elden Ring just appeals to a very specific player which isn’t me.
I have had an Xbox since not long after they first came out: back when ‘Xbox’ was the entire name of the console. I’ve been on the Xbox Live service nearly as long: over 16 years.
So it goes somewhat without saying that I wanted to get the latest iteration of the console: the Xbox Series X. Unfortunately the global chip shortage for ‘advanced’ technology components meant that getting one wasn’t so easy. The Xbox Series X was (and still is) very hard to come by: any that appeared online were bought up in seconds, and then offered for sale via Ebay or Amazon ‘resellers’ at several times their retail cost. I fought this battle for about six months in ever-increasing frustration.
I finally got an Xbox Series X in November via the ‘All Access’ program: more on that later. A month later I realized my fancy new console was defective. This is my story.
I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed Odyssey for a few weeks now. I think I can form a personal opinion: it is good, excellent in parts, but struggles somewhat under a weight of grinding which seems clearly in service of micro transactions. Overall, I’m definitely enjoying the game, but I also feel a little bit ‘dirty’… and not because of all the murder.
I’m not a Pokemon person. My computer / console gaming history started in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, and completely missed Nintendo. And to be honest, none of the Nintendo games really appeal to me- they are just a bit too ‘twee‘
Fallout 4 has been out for over eight months now. Even for a procrastinator like myself, that is more than enough time to formulate an opinion. So now I’ll endeavour to document my thoughts on Bethesda’s latest open-world post apocalyptic role playing game
I received my Xbox One back in November. I have some observations to share after something approaching six months living with the big black box.
There are no where near enough good games available yet for the Xbox One. Titanfall is out, but yet another multiplayer shooter isn’t really all that appealing
I expect the game selection to improve vastly by this fall
the One itself is solid, quiet, and performs well. The hardware hasn’t shown any quirks at all yet
There were some pretty serious shortfalls with the Xbox One software initially. Forming up and communicating via parties was clumsy in the extreme, the friends interface was inefficient, and everything felt slower than it should because of the multiple steps through the UI that always seemed to be necessary.
Microsoft has been doing an impressive job fixing up those shortfalls with a fairly quick release schedule. The improvements since January in particular have been remarkable. I would say there is still room for improvement: adding friends to a party still feels slower than it should be, and looking up friends and their achievements is sluggish. But I’m happy with where things are heading
The Kinect is… interesting, but not exactly overwhelming. I’m probably not the “target demographic”, which seems to be people who use their Xbox One as a “home entertainment center”. I don’t hate the Kinect, though, so it could be worse
It is finally possible to hook up a third party chat / audio headset. Microsoft starting shipping the headset adapter in March
I’ve had my XBox One for a whole 16 hours, give or take. So far, my experience with it is completely positive. I’ll be updating this post a bit over the next couple of days as I experience more with this Generation Eight console.
Here are some quick observations in bulleted form:
Massively multi-player role playing games have, with very few exceptions, a standard motif. You create a character, complete a few “orientation” or introductory quests, and are then left to your own devices. Thousands of boring and repetitive quests combine with your character having complete lack of any perceivable impact or even place within the background story to encourage a kind of hamster like behaviour. You run in your little questing “wheel”, seeking levels or gear to help you continue to run in that wheel. Your long term goal: running in the wheel long enough and fast enough to eventually jump to the big, shiny end game hamster wheel of raid content. Raiding is where you get to spend all of your time staring at a wall, or the back end of some other person’s character, for hours on end as you beat some giant monster to get more shiny gear so you can do the next bigger raid. Most people don’t even read the story associated with each quest, and in many MMOGs that is a blessing: the stories are vanishingly thin and comically trivial. They have to be, since your character has no impact on the world whatsoever.
Star Wars: the Old Republic (SWtOR) breaks out of that motif. It plays more like a single player RPG, where your character is the hero of his or her own story. Other players and “group” dungeons (flash points, operations, and Heroics in SWtOR parlance) certainly exist, but the personal story your character is playing through is paramount. It is a refreshing and welcome change, even though the basic mechanics of the game are otherwise pretty traditional.
I have played a few games in the Elder Scrolls series, and each successive one seems to be a little bit better- at least in my opinion. I played Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and now Skyrim. And, with a few caveats, Skyrim is basically the best computer RPG I’ve played to date.
Risen is an old-school role playing game that does very little to make itself appealing to the more “casual” gamer. In terms of overall characteristics, Risen is similar to games like Oblivion- but whereas Oblivion tries to make it easy to progress and overcome your mistakes, Risen makes no such allowances. Interestingly enough, although I generally like “easier” games, I’m actually really enjoying Risen… on the PC. From what I’ve seen and heard, the XBox version should be avoided. Continue reading Risen: Spiritual successor to Gothic 3→
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