Archives for May 2016

Weekend Gaming – Duskers

Duskers and I continue to have a hot and cold relationship. I followed the game’s development for a while and made the purchase on its release day this past week.

In Duskers you remotely control a team of drones who explore derelict spaceships, space colonies, space stations. You’re looking for scrap and salvage and other drones to bring back to your ship in order to further the investigation into why the universe is seemingly devoid of humans. But each location is also occupied by various baddies, or ‘infestations’, that will, without hesitation, immobilize or outright destroy your deployed drones. Progress is deliberate, positioning is important and decisions must be thought out. And of this is accomplished by a command line. /line

Duskers

It’s an interesting concept for a game, one that is fairly well presented. I love how it intentionally has zero (0) music files in order to maintain the dark and dangerous setting – Especially so since the drones’ video feed is unreliable; one must place equal emphasis on listening. I love that. I get that. Upon noticing there is no music in the background, the thought of loading up my own iTunes library never even came to mind. The setting is very real and very present.

Generally, my main issue is the command line. I appreciate that Duskers is going for a neo-retro feel, and a command line interface not only compliments this but it necessary to maintaining that feel. But too often I think, ‘what I am doing now – these commands that I am giving – can still be accomplished by using a mouse.’ The basic commands of opening a door, moving a drone, rerouting power, – basically, a majority of what you do in Duskers – by command line becomes rather arduous to me overtime. This feeling is only amplified when the takeaway loot from a particular ship is piddly.

I want this game to be more tactical. I want to set up a command sequence (not just order, lets get some booleans up in here!), press enter, and watch my plans unfold from room to room. Sure, you can go a little deeper with the capabilities of the command line, but I still want to be able to do more with them and, perhaps even more so, with the loot that I find.

Despite my grumbles, I am sensing that Duskers is a slow burn, revealing itself overtime. This is why I haven’t walked away from it already. My approach to it has been in bursts. Much the same as it is whenever I play Invisible, Inc (which shares many attributes with Duskers): When I’m not into it, I’m not into it; When I am into it, I am very, very much quite into it. We’ll see how our relationship fares over this weekend.

Weekend Gaming – Descent Road to Legend

This weekend I’ll be diving into a dungeon driven by an evil artificial intelligence.  This AI will play the role of a sadistic overlord who is determined to see me meet my fate at the end of a spear or in the maw of a great beast. It will hurl goblins, venomous spiders, and possibly even a dragon my way as I descend into the darkness below.

This battle will unfold before my very eyes in breathtaking 3d, in the highest definition imaginable, right on my dining room table.  That’s right, I’ll be playing an AI enhanced board game.

Descent: Road to Legend is a companion app to a board game that has been around for over a decade, Descent.  This game is traditionally played as a one vs. many, one player is the dungeon master (overlord) and the rest are a team of adventurers infiltrating a dungeon.  Road to Legend introduces, for free, a new game mode and campaign system.  It presents an AI that acts as the overlord so you can play on your own or cooperatively with a group of friends.

I’m really excited to try this thing out and it gives me a great excuse to pull out a fantastic game that I barely get off the shelf.  I’ve already loaded the app to take a look inside.  I’ve selected which physical descent products I own and it’s populated the experience to match my current catalogue.

This weekend I’ll be giving the tutorial a whirl to see how it plays.  I’m eager to experience this great old game in an interesting and unique way.

So, what are you playing this weekend?

Road to Legend Announcement Trailer (Video – 1:14)
Road to Legend on iOS
Road to Legend on Google Play
Descent: Journeys in the Dark on Amazon

D-28: Or, Looking Forward to Hearts of Iron IV

With absolutely nothing else of interest going on at Paradox Development Studio today, we can calculate that at this very moment here on 9 May 2016, Hearts of Iron IV will be upon us in exactly 27.84 days. Paradox took a week-long hiatus from their “World War Wednesday” Twitch streams last week in order to, I can only assume, convene into the company’s war room to develop last minute designs for the game and to advance, with what will certainly be, a bombastic digital marketing campaign that will rely on the primacy of the game’s setting and not, say, cheap and flimsy SWAG.

We, the ranks of HoI4 recruits – We, too, have much to prepare. While other Paradox players on this day are otherwise occupied by lesser things, we must steel ourselves, sharpen our focus. We must unroll our terrain maps, the corners weighed down by our miniature Panzer models and artillery shells. We must crack open the tomes of military operations. We must study this original history. And as intelligence is added upon we can therefore ask ourselves, ‘what if…’ Thereby, the spirit of HoI4 can be made manifest.

Yes!

This is more than just expansion and extermination of the enemy. This is not some half-assed broadstroke over a massive interstellar expanse. This is about digging deep, of taking the initiative to color history, to become a sort of reflective historian. To this end, German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel explains: “Here the main thing is the elaboration of the historical material, which the historian approaches with his spirit… Especially important are the principles the author sets up for himself, based in part on the content and goals of the actions and events [of history], and in part on the way he constructs history.”

What a marvelous opportunity HoI4 will give us: To give us this orb of history, of this specific conflict and allow us to interact with it on so many different fronts. The game’s setting is recent enough that we can impart our own principles, as Hegel states, in how we go about playing. How big are the ripples we can create. How altered our modern world can become. How twisted or righteous will the geopolitical landscape turn out to be? How engaging can we make our end game screenshots!

… We have but 28 days to find out.

HoiSoon

Weekend Gaming – TBD

I’ve got a Steam backlog – not as robust compared to other users but it’s there, all right. It doesn’t haunt my thoughts or give me pangs of guilt or remorse or shame. But, still, it’s there. And I am mindful of it. I was prompted by this particular forum thread over at Gamers With Jobs this past week to add the prices paid for my unplayed games and the sum was enough to give me pause. Again, my reaction didn’t result in some kind of staggering existential crisis, but that monetary figure was heavy enough for me to ask myself ‘Is it worth it?’

I related this experience to Sir Tony ButtonMasher who suggested that just in even asking myself this question there may be ‘something more’ to this problem. Perhaps this isn’t a concern about money spent but moreso time spent or that the time and money could have be spent elsewhere.

No. That wasn’t it. Gaming is a hobby which I consume in measured increments. I have never ever felt the need to justify the time and money spent. It is enriching and not just a distraction. The video game industry is growing and maturing, becoming, I think, a legitimate focus of critical thought. And I think that is fascinating, a cause for celebration. To me gaming is not just passive consumption, hence one of the reasons I enjoy writing about it and, when I can, streaming it.

I arrived to the conclusion that by asking ‘is it worth it?’ I wonder what I’m missing in my own library. Games genres are vast and multiplicative, they morph and cross-pollinate. Yes. Video games do not just appear from a puff of purple smoke. There are people behind these damned things. And whatever the result, however (un)successful a game is, however large its impact, there was, at the very least, an effort made, time spent, in transducing it from the theoretical realm. And the very least that I can do is make the effort to interact with these efforts.

So, here’s what I did: I created a new category in my Steam library. The ‘Pick List’ is a curated collection of games that are either Humble Bundle B-sides or whose discounts were so steep that I bought them just because. Sprinkled in there are ones I dabbled in but am now judging worthy of a revisit. A few titles that populate the Pick List are as follows: Banished, Eufloria HD, Grim Fandango Remastered, The Last Federation, Penumbra:Overture, Sacrifice, Teleglitch: Die More Edition.

The angle, here, is selection. I will not even make the attempt. Curated custom list or not, I’d still feel the same analysis paralysis. No. This task will fall to my wife who is about as removed and disinterested from video games as one can fathomably be. I will sit her before the Pick List and it will be Greek to her. I will instruct her. I will say, “Honey Bunny Darling, I’m going to turn around. You will click on one of these mysterious titles. You will say nothing about which you are picking! After you click on one of these mysterious titles, you shall then click the blue ‘PLAY’ button”. I will then play this game, make the effort to give it my due attention. Perhaps I will be engaged, perhaps not. Regardless, it is here, where once it was not.

May Releases

We’re changing up the format this month’s release list. I’ve cleaned it up a little bit, removed the images that I never really loved to begin with and now another Buttonmashing blogger, Nick, has joined in with his two cents on the releases that interest him. I hope to add another twist on the monthly release list, but that twist will have to wait until June. With that said, on to this month’s releases:

Microsoft Xbox One

Week of May 3rd
Battleborn

Week of May 10th
Battle Worlds: Kronos
Doom

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution

Week of May 24th
Overwatch – Origins Edition
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan
Tropico 5 – Penultimate Edition

Week of May 31st
Dead Island Definitive Collection
One Piece: Burning Blood
Prison Architect


Nintendo Wii-U

Week of May 31st
Mighty No. 9


Nintendo 3DS

No new releases for the Nintendo 3DS in May.


PC

Week of May 3rd
Shadow Complex RemasteredTony: Shadow Complex was a game I enjoyed on the 360 and never got around to finishing. The Metroidiness of Shadow Complex is real and I may pull the trigger on this game this month.
Battleborn
Dr. Spacezoo
Positron
StellarisNick: I wish I was more excited for Stellaris. Part of this apathy may perhaps stem from my overexcitment for Hearts of Iron IV, by which Stellaris is caught in the back side of this eclipse. Also, perhaps, that I’m just tired of spacey spacey pew-pew stuffs. I don’t know. meh. *shrug*

Week of May 10th
Rocket Fist
Neon Drive
Elite vs. Freedom
DOOM

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution
Tales from the Void
DuskersNick: Technically this isn’t a new release since it is actually just coming out of early access. But the game has a really cool concept and looks like it pulls it off rather well. The environment looks convincing and the command line interface has me giddy. This is a strong contender for an official ButtonMashing review.

Week of May 24th
Feudalism
Portal Stories: VR
Robot Arena III
Total War: WARHAMMER

Week of May 31st
Meridian: Squad 22


Sony Playstation 4

Week of May 3rd
Battleborn

Week of May 10th
Battle Worlds: Kronos
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s EndNick: Uncharted 2 was one of the most fun I’ve ever had playing a video game. The set pieces were a blast and there was minimal platforming. Uncharted 3 was pretty meh. It tried to do too much and diluted itself. Let’s see what the closing chapter of the franchise brings, if anything other than copious amounts of hype.
Doom

Week of May 17th
Homefront: The Revolution
Valkyria Chronicles RemasteredNick: The more that time passes, the more enticing the PS4 looks to me. Initially the main appeal was just Bloodborne. And now, just in May alone, we’ve got Uncharted 4 and Valkyria Chronicles. Bruh.

Week of May 31st
One Piece: Burning Blood
Dead Island Definitive Collection


Sony Playstation Vita

Week of May 10th
MegaTagmension Blanc + Neptune VS Zombies

What are you picking up this month?
(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.)