What I’m playing

I like hearing what other games people are playing. Every week I look forward to Evil Avatar’s “Weekend Gamer” to read what the current gaming zeitgeist is (right now it appears to be Shadow of the Colossus). It puts a human touch on our collective gaming hobby. It’s good to see that other people are enjoying similar games and someone always mentions an older classic that brings back good memories.

I’ve done a “What I’m playing” a few times here on the blog. I’d like to do it more often. I’d also love to hear from readers what they’re playing.

Anway, on to what I’m actually playing. I’ve jumped back into Guild Wars. I’m getting used to the interface and reacquainted with my skills. My Necro/Mesmer just hit level 20 and I’m getting close to ascending. It’s good to be back into the swing of things and the lack of paying a monthly fee has freed me from the shackles of feeling guilty if I’m not playing every day.

I’m also playing Resident Evil 4, trying to get 5 stars on each level in the Mercenaries mini-game. I can’t get enough of that game. It’s challenging but hardly ever frustrating. My current favorite character is Hunk (pictured, sort of) and his neckbreaker is devastating. I’d like to go back and beat the main game on the hard difficulty. There are two months of releases left this year and it doesn’t look like any titles will be unseating RE4 as Game of the Year. Why hasn’t Capcom capitalized on the success of RE4 and released all the Gamecube Resident Evil titles (remakes and ports) in one big compilation? I’d be all over that for Christmas.

Finally, I’ve been playing a lot of Advanced Wars on the DS. This is a great game. How great? This great. That’s all I have to link about that.

So that’s what keeps me busy. What about you?

Simple games

Sometimes simple games are the most addictive and engrossing. I enjoyed, to a certain extent, the strategy in Final Fantasy: Tatics Advance, but it really wasn’t too hard. There are many characters available and you can switch “jobs” anytime you want to improve a certain area of a character, making your characters a formidable fighting force, effectively reducing the amount of strategy and forethought before each fight. More time was spent determining which members of your party were best suited for the laws of the encounter. It was fun and midly addictive, but it didn’t burn too many brain cells to beat.

Now that I’m back to playing Advance Wars, I really think it is a better game. I think its appeal is its simplicity. There are only a handful of units available and each commanding officer has a certain power that gives him a brief advantage. Moves require chess-like preparation, avoiding long range missile attacks while considering the best defensive position for the next computer turn. The strategy component of AW is much more pronounced. Each move will impact the next. When I played Age of Empires, my strategy and style was build up a big army and then send them to their death while I pumped out more units. Wars in Age of Empires usually become wars of attrition. Not so in Advance Wars. Often you have a limited arsenal and you’ll need each and every unit. Brute force usually isn’t the best answer (unless your C.O. is Max). The computer can be brutal, too. But while the computer AI is tough, I wonder what a human opponent would be like.