Archives for August 2014

Weekend Gaming: Hearthstone, Anathem, not Divinity: Original Sin

For this weekend I foresee myself giving a disproportionate amount of attention between Hearthstone and Neal Stephenson’s tome Anathem.

Not a video game.

Not a video game.

Somewhere around the time when my tooth pain (as can be read in the previous WG post) was getting the better me and when I was growing weary of Divinity:Original Sin I decided that I needed an upheaval – or, a restructuring, if you will – of my leisure time activities. I was in a gaming slump. And when things get like that I take it as an indication that I am in need of some Analog Time. I’m not going full-on Luddite; this is not a post decrying technology. But every now and then I need to tip the scale in favor of the printed word. Anathem continues to be just the book for the job. The book’s length and subject matter demand a heady dedication if there is any hope of making it through to the end. Which means that, on many evenings, this requires me to power down the computer and burrow in with my reading lamp.

Although the Gaming & Book scale has been tipped, do note, as indicated, that the whole contraption has not toppled. Hearthstone is the perfect game for filling in those semi-brief blocks of time when I’m not reading Anathem. Currently, I’m not so much concerned about the ladder climb than become better acquainted with the classes I’ve yet to play, namely Paladin, Warlock and Warrior. I eased into the Druid pretty well this past week, and I still hate opposing Mages. Hunters are all the rage now but I’ve been able to manage and tame the majority I’ve come up against. I still have to give Arena a serious try – Maybe this weekend, maybe not. I’m amassing a decent chunk of gold so maybe I’ll buy into a Naaxramas wing. What to do. What to do. So many possibilities.

Concerning Divinity: Original Sin… Too often I would think, Man, this game really makes me want to play XCOM. Indeed. I enjoy the tactics, even the inventory management. But I am not all that invested in the story (I rarely am in video games). This apathy combined with the game’s lack-of-hand-holding (which I do not bemoan) does not sync well over time. I’m not quite sure where to go next, and the thought of fishing through lines of dialog with NPCs to trigger a quest that points me in the right direction makes me grunt. So, Divinity and I are in a stalemate right now. Man, this game really makes me want to play XCOM. And wouldn’t you know it: XCOM along with select other 2K games are on sale this weekend on Steam.

What are you playing this weekend?

P.S. The cause of my tooth pain was never really identified. I heard three different answers from three different dental professionals. And yet, the pain originating from my second molar persisted. The dentist subscribed an antibiotic and a pain killer, which was completely ineffective. We tried a root canal, which was a bumbling failure. At my wits end and contrary to professional advice I decided to just have the stupid thing pulled. The process was Medieval and awesome and horrible and brief. And now, three days later, this is the most comfortable I have felt in a month.

Not a video game.

Not a video game.

August Releases

August is traditionally the last month before the glut of game releases begins in earnest. It’s usually when Madden is released and a whole bunch of shovelware that studios want to get out the door before they start launching their heavy hitters in anticipation of the Fall and Holiday seasons. This year, August actually has a few games that aren’t Madden that are still worth a look or two.

With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Xbox One

Week of August 19th
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition – I’m still not sure why Diablo III didn’t do it for me the way Diablo II did. I also wonder if the console version is worth the time. Either way, Diablo III has a faithful fanbase and they love them some console Diablo.

Week of August 26th
Madden NFL 15 – With everything that EA is dealing with concerning the Ed O’Bannon case, this year marked the first time in over a decade that they didn’t release an NCAA version of their football game. Even though it was Madden’s neglected younger cousin, it was a fan favorite among college football fans, myself included. And since last year’s cover was graced by Denard Robinson, a former University of Meatchicken Skunk Weasel, I guess my run with EA’s NCAA ended two years ago. That’s all to say I loved NCAA Football and never cared for Madden. I don’t think I’ll care this year, either.
Metro Redux


Week of August 5th
Darksiders – Collection
Ultra Street Fighter IV – One thing Capcom can never be accused of is being unoriginal with their iterative titles.
Sacred 3 – Sacred 3 is intriguing to me. Way back in the day, (five years ago, to be exact), we were provided a copy of Sacred 2 for review. James reviewed and gave it a solid “BUY” rating back then. I’ve played it, and while it was rough around the edges, it had its moments. With the eminent release of Sacred 3, I am intrigued. I don’t think it will have the tactical depth of Divinity: Original Sin, but I think it could be a fun hack-and-slash romp. I’m putting this on my “definitely maybe” list. (But I’ll probably pick up the already released PC version)

Week of August 12th
Risen 3: Titan Lords
World of Tanks

Week of August 19th
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition

Week of August 26th
Madden NFL 15


Week of August 5th
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Week of August 26th
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney


Week of August 5th
Ultra Street Fighter IV
MX vs. ATV: Alive + Supercross
Red Faction – Collection
Darksiders – Collection
Weather Lord: In Pursuit of the Shaman – (Included for completeness sake, and a totally bonkers name of a game. Weather Lord? Seriously?)

Week of August 12th
Risen 3 – Titan Lords

Week of August 19th
Week of August 26th
Metro 2033 Redux
Metro: Last Light Redux
Metro Redux


PS4 Banner

Week of August 19th
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare

Week of August 26th
Madden NFL 15
Metro Redux
inFAMOUS First Light


Week of August 5th
Darksiders – Collection
Red Faction – Collection
Ultra Street Fighter IV
Sacred 3

Week of August 12th
AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed
Risen 3: Titan Lords

Week of August 19th
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare

Week of August 26th
Madden NFL 15
Tales of Xillia 2


Week of August 12th
Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited
AKIBA’S TRIP: Undead & Undressed

Week of August 26th
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

(Note: As always, all Amazon.com links have our affiliate code embedded in them. If you purchase something through our link, we get a little commission. It’s appreciated.)

Weekend Gaming: Monday Report – Hearthstone, Divinity: Original Sin

I am going to just go ahead and break convention by doing a Weekend Gaming post on Monday. Look at me. I am so defiant. You can’t control me, patriarch!

Friday was an awesome non-gaming day. I’m glad that Demolition Derbies have pretty much become an annual family tradition. But , it was Saturday evening before I the opportunity to load any games, and even then the circumstances and motivations were quite unique. Indeed. So, long story short: I have some dental discomfort going on for a couple weeks now. The one tooth in the bottom left hand side is chipped and may have a partially exposed nerve or infection or something. But like a dummy I had just kind of ignored the discomfort (and the phone number of the Endodonist). That is, until Saturday afternoon while our family was at the zoo when the discomfort jolted into pain. Thanks to Dr. Sam Delahunty, we were able to get hold of our family dentist, and she called in some meds. Therefore, my Saturday evening was spent playing Hearthstone while feeling all droopy on pain killers. Likewise, I also needed to do something to keep my mind occupied, away from the abated pain and frustration at myself for waiting to get this problem resolved.

Perhaps it was this slightly altered state of mind but I decided to finally begin climbing the Hearthstone ranked play ladder, one of the modes of competitive play. Again, I do not know why I had waited so long to do this (Clearly I have an issue with dilly dallying) because this has been the most consistent fun I’ve had. For the first time I feel like the game has evenly matched me with other players, as opposed to the ‘Casual’ mode where the match-ups feel very hit and miss.

Perhaps because of this slightly altered state of mind, this weekend also witnessed other changes in my Hearthstone routine. I decided that I need to play the game in 3-match clumps with some downtime inbetween. This way I don’t get all tilted and can think constructively about my losses, which is much-needed while building a Shaman deck. Another change I made concerns the music.  Quaint as the in-game music is, this weekend was also when I decided to drop that options bar all the way to zero (0) and then stream in some righteous stoner jams from my favorite Youtube channel. This keeps me in the zone, keeps me from getting upset, keeps me on top of what is current in the scene, and it doubly kept me from singling out the excruciating pain in my tooth. I love win-win-win-win-win situations. Overall, during the course of Saturday and Sunday, I managed to climb seven positions in the ladder without too many embarrassing losses.  Now I just need to work up the minerals to try the Arena. I might need stronger pain killers for that.

On other fronts: After an awful and near-sleepless Saturday night, I was able to poke around for a little bit in Divinity: Original Sin on Sunday morning. I was not in the mindset for battle or exploration, which was well-timed because my characters’ inventory was out.of.control. and needed addressed. So, when I learned that you can place empty treasure chests in your inventory (did you know you can place empty treasure chests in your inventory!?), I made haste to the church yard in north eastern Cyseal. Scattered there amid the toxin seeping ground are maybe half dozen chests.  I plucked those up and took them and the rest of my inventory-loaded/pack mule party members to the one empty house in town. There, I set up a base of operations which now includes a stock room of treasure chests stuffed with items for future use or – more likely – to be sold. Good stuff. One of my favorite aspects of this game is discovering little quirks and conveniences in the mechanics. I’m sure Tony has thoughts about the game as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear from him?