Unsolicited Mental Objects, Week of 11/23

James
I got a few matches of Smite in last night with Jason before getting in a game of Dota 2 with Tony.

The first match in Smite was an arena game type and we had a disconnect on our team within about 5 minutes from the start and things weren’t looking all that good for us. The lead that the enemy team had built up was dwindling and we were catching up. it was down to the point where one kill either way would determine the victor and….we won! It was definitely a fun match because of how close it was and the effort it took to pull out a win (don’t mind how badly I did).

The game Tony and I played was a train wreck. You can tell from the graph we weren’t making very much headway. Whenever a team fight broke out our teammates would slowly meander over and line up to die one at a time. The worst part was that I denied the Phantom Assassins contract and we could have had a chance to get some sweet drops if we won… =(

I’m sure I’ll get some gaming on Friday while the lady folk are out spending $.

Jason
I’ll admit that I’m humble bundle obsessed. I’ll attribute about 90% of my steam library to little bundle purchases that I’ve grabbed over the past several years. They do a service for the gaming community and the charities that they support.  I’m hard pressed not to pick up every bundle that has a worthwhile game or two within it.

This week brought the Humble Sega Bundle and along with it a NEED for SPEED. For a couple bucks I managed to get myself into a delightful little Mario Kart clone called Sega All Star Racing Transformed. Quite honestly, it’s the best kart-style racing game I’ve played on the PC in a long while.

SASRT has one of the most dynamic and gorgeous set of kart racing maps I’ve had the privilege of playing. Maps are unique and draw inspiration from many Sega titles like Jet Set Radio Future, Space Channel 5, and the Sonic The Hedgehog.

What makes this game so fresh is the way the maps seamlessly transform the game play from a road racer to a hydro thunder style boat racer and then into a high flying air racer. You’ll be battling in your kart and the ground will crumble beneath you transforming your kart into a boat as you splash into the water. After crashing through waves and diving through boost rings you’ll eventually be propelled into the air to blast your opponents out of the sky.

All in all I’m really pleased with this humble pickup. Most of my Humble bundle games just pad my collection and collect digital dust but I can see picking this one up on a regular basis. Replayability is a huge deal for me and this one will be easy to pick up for a few minutes at a time for some fast, frantic, and fabulous fun.

Nick
The Steam Autumn sale is rumored to begin today at 1PM EST. Quick! Everybody go bananas! This news grabs hold of an internal conflict which has been brewing deep inside for several weeks now and thrusts it to the surface. The conflict: Do I purchase Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor or Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag. I could realistically afford to purchase both, but that would be too easy and chafe against my tendency to make mountains out of molehills. And so, the bout continues.

On one side is Shadow of Mordor. I have never played a game in the Middle Earth realm, so I am curious. The combat is universally being compared to Arkham Asylum, and this pleases me – I had a blast in AA. I’m not all that crazy about stealthy/rogue characters but for some reason rolling this kind of character seems appealing, probably because stabbing unsuspecting orcs in the neck looks sweet (this an aspect I loved about Dishonored. Pacifist? Psh. More like Knifeinfist). The only downside that I am ignorantly perceiving is just how big and playable this Middle Earth is. I lose interest pretty fast in an open world like this. I’ve never been one to dally around fulfilling countless side quests, so if, in SOM, I can blaze through the Main Quest line then I may actually sort of care about the game’s story – which is rare in video games – and complete the game!

On the other side is Black Flag. Boats! Pirates! Booty! Thanks to the thoroughness of gaming websites I have learned that BF is basically the Assassin’s Creed series saying, “Let’s set aside the lore for now. Let’s go be pirates!” AC3 is the only other game in the series I have played. It was alright. I didn’t complete the game but did I appreciate and applaud the historical backdrop. Any game that brings history to life receives an automatic nod from me. And I loved, loved, loved the naval battles, which, if I understand correctly, is amplified and embellished and a primary activity in Black Flag. I am a salty dog at heart (when I am not a cowboy or exiled monk) and this speaks to me. But I fear that the naval aspect will grow tiresome and I will be stuck back doing the same types of things that made my experience with AC3 fizzle out.

This is the battle. Only one will emerge the victor and the other shall sulk away – That is, until the winter sale when it will win unchallenged. Of course.

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