Orcs Must Die Unchained
This morning I am struggling more than a little bit. The last couple of nights have combined being up fairly late with not really sleeping that terribly well on top of it. As a result I am significantly more groggy than normal this morning and also more than a little late getting started with the blog post. A good chunk of this mornings posting time was spent playing the opening tutorial for Orcs Must Die Unchained. A few weeks back I posted my treatise on exactly what I meant when I said I wanted a PVE MOBA. One of the first comments came from a friend of mine… who may or may not work for Robot Entertainment. He said they were just patching in a new gameplay mode that sounded pretty close to what I was describing. So yesterday myself and practically everyone I know who signed up for beta… got into the game and I finally got around to testing it out this morning.
I have to say what I have seen briefly in the tutorial gives me hope that maybe this might fit the bill. I am going to have to spend more time playing it to really see, but it feels less tower defense and more dungeon keeper which I am okay with. Granted I did not play Orcs Must Die 2, and I am guessing a lot of the gameplay evolutions come from that title. The tutorial starts you off playing the sorceress which was a strike against it, but I am sure as soon as I can get my hands on a melee champion I will be just fine. It seems like there is a lot to figure out as far as trap placement, because I absolutely thought I would stop most of a minion wave… but barely phased them. There is also an interesting card collecting aspect that allows you to summon specific minions in each “warcamp” which seems pretty interesting as well. I will spend some more time this weekend playing this to give it a more proper test, but so far it seems interesting.
This weekend is the AggroChat Game Club show devoted to Ashgar’s pick… Astebreed. The bulk of my evening was spent playing this and I made it to chapter five before my thumb got sore enough that I wanted to take a break. I am really really hoping that the game will let me continue where I left off… because I am not really looking forward to playing back through the four chapters to get to the point where I left off. My opinion of the game is somewhat mixed right now, but hopefully I will get some more play time in before Saturday. I am not sure how far from the end of the game I really am, but based on some quick googling it looks like the game has six chapters as a total. The game play has been fun, especially since it lets me win by slashing things to death with a sword… which is not exactly something that most SHMUPS do. I wouldn’t really call this a bullet hell shooter, but there are definitely moments where there is a silly amount of stuff on screen that you have to try and navigate.
The biggest positive is the fact that your ship actually has a surprising amount of health. Usually in a SHMUP you get one or two hits before you lose a life, and in Astebreed you can actually soak up a surprising amount of damage before having to be concerned with death. Essentially at the end of Chapter 5 I encounter what I would consider the first really hard boss, and quite frankly by that time my thumbs were sore and I was ready to just be done for awhile. The boss had this super annoying attack that caused you to fly around the screen to avoid it… which meant you were not putting ANY damage into the boss. My theory is that you needed to use your missile lock type functionality while flying around to avoid damage… but I didn’t put in enough attempts to really test this one out. According to steam I have only actually put in 71 minutes… but it felt like significantly longer. I did manage to get a very “Bel” achievement called “Too Much Destruction” where I apparently killed 30 of these missile batteries on the boss at the end of Chapter Four.
The rest of the evening was significantly less focused, and I think a combination of sleep deprivation and having spent a little over an hour mashing buttons on a controller furiously left me in a bit of a stupor. I ultimately went downstairs and booted up the laptop, patching things up so that I could do something. I managed to watch through the first four episodes of the Humans television show, and I am actually enjoying it quite a bit. It is an excellent mix of creepy and endearing at the same time… and I am happy to see Katherine Parkinson that I know largely from IT Crowd. I attempted to play some Final Fantasy XIV but ultimately logged out after running a Vault on my Dragoon. I was feeling super disconnected from the world and my free company, so I slinked off into the shadows and booted up something I could solo without any human contact. Right now that game is SkyForge, and I spent some time working through another big open area… and my desire to “complete all the things” is ultimately what lead me to stay up so damned late again… only furthering the zombie like state.
The strangest thing about SkyForge so far is the fact that I do not have a single person on my friends list. Even in games that I am only thinking of playing for a few minutes… I still usually have a batch of people on my radar of sorts. I think this is a side effect of Final Fantasy XIV being my social game right now… and this being a game when I just want to blend into the crowd. I am not terribly opposed to having people on my friends list and you can find me there as Belghast Sternblade, but this is absolutely not a grouping game for me right now. I am enjoying poking my way around and soloing the content, and as counter intuitive as it might sound… I am really starting to enjoy the fact that every mission seems to have both solo and grouping options. Last night I very much felt like my interaction batteries were completely drained, so I just needed to spend some “me time” while slicing enemies with a sword. All things considered though the more I play of it, the more enjoyment I am getting out of SkyForge. It seems like just about the perfect foil to Final Fantasy XIV and does a good job at giving me an option to play that doesn’t require a lot out of me.