I’ve been playing a cute little indie RPG dungeon-crawler called Dungeons of Dredmor. It’s a $5 game on Steam, with a charmingly retro look and some clever writing. At first glance it does not appear to be the type of game that would suck away great swaths of your life. But it is.
Now that TV is in re-run mode, I’ve started relying on the internet and my iPod touch for entertainment. I have a few categories that I like to cover on a daily basis.
Money App: Smarty Pig – This doesn’t actually do anything fancy. In fact, it doesn’t do much at all other than track the money I’m saving up for various goals. You can set up an account on the web for as little as $25, and then choose to automatically deduct whatever amount you choose for however long you choose to save up for whatever the heck you want. Admittedly, the interest on these accounts used to be much higher. However, it’s better than stuffing it in your mattress. Plus, they have a cute little piggy bank that tells you how far along you are with your goals.
So, I finished up L.A. Noire, at least the main storyline cases.
Overall, I really enjoyed it. The game has plenty of problems and there are a number of elements I wish had been handled differently, but I have to give Rockstar and Team Bondi some kudos for trying something a little different and succeeding where they did. Looks like it took me about 27 hours to finish the cases, handle about half the street crimes, and just muck around in general: well worth the price, and I’ll probably play a little more from time to time until there’s some DLC.
As for where they failed and succeeded, well, I don’t want to get specific. There’s some mostly general, non-spoilery stuff below.
(For any newcomers: My wife, Kris, writes a weekly column under the heading “Lady Business”, giving her perspective on movies, television, pop-culture, and in this instance, video games!)
My attempt at playing L.A. Noire ended in tragedy…more than a few times.
I can only really get my mind around two video game controllers. The first being the Atari 2600 joystick, because the thing had a single stick and button. The second being the Wii controller, because if you want to move forward you just push your arm forward. Both are beautifully simple. L.A. Noire for X-box means that I’m stuck attempting to click on a whole host of buttons, all of which seem to be super sensitive.
On Friday night, Chris manned the controller while I made the choices on where to go and what to do. We solved the cases fairly quickly, though I felt squirmy about calling a suspect a liar even though they were clearly lying. Turns out my wussy non-confrontational side calls the shots in video games as well as real life.
Los Angeles. Nineteen-forty-something-or-so. My name? Chris Livingston. I’m a police officer. My name? Cole Phelps. So, uh… forget about the Chris Livingston thing. I got confused.
I’m investigating a murder. It’s not just any old murder. It’s a tutorial murder. Maybe it’s the damn heat, or maybe it’s just this damn city, but tutorial murders are up 23% on my beat. Damn these tutorials! They cost too many lives. Lives this damn city can’t afford.
I find a gun, and take it to a gun dealer to see what’s what. The gun dealer won’t give me a damn thing, except for the fact that he had the gun in his shop, that he sold the gun, the name of the person he sold it to, and that person’s home address. Fine, play it cool, Buster. Let’s see how cool you are when I closely examine all the DECORATIVE WOODEN DUCKS you’ve got in your store. Feel like talking now? Oh, wait, you did talk, and you’ve been extremely helpful. I’ll just put all your decorative wooden ducks back and leave. Thank you for your time, sir.
I decided to take a look — just a look — at Portal 2 co-op over the weekend, and wound up playing through the entire thing, staying up until almost 4am Saturday night. And then I did it again the last night, staying up until midnight. It’s just a hard game to stop playing before you’ve finished it: the satisfaction from solving puzzles, and the desire to see what sort of puzzle will come next, is impossible to resist.
Well, I finished Portal 2 last night. To avoid spoilers of any kind, this installment of Bullet Points is going to be pretty short. Even the spoiler-free reviews I read after finishing the game gave away stuff I’m much happier to have found out myself while playing, so don’t read any of them! Don’t even read this one! (Actually, this one is fine to read.)
I played great gobs of Crysis 2 over the weekend. Enjoying it still, for the most part. I’m seven hours in, according to my Steam stats.
I think I’ve been a little too sloppy with posting spoilers, blatantly listing out the storyline and such, so sorry about that. I’ll try to be a little more general with my descriptions from here on out, for those of you who haven’t played but are interested.
There will be no spoilers below, I’m just going to be talking in very general terms about the game (which I haven’t even finished). There’s too much fun stuff to discover on your own, which is why I avoided as much of the pre-release media blitz as I could. (And I feel like I’ve probably had too many spoilers in the Crysis 2 stuff I’ve been posting). I’m not even going to post screenshots. About the only thing I mention specifically below is about an actor who does some voice-work in the game.
Anyway. Portal 2! It’s finally here, and out a few hours early to boot. It unlocked for me around 10pm last night, and after about ten minutes of waiting for the files to decrypt, I was able to start playing. I played about two hours last night, and followed it up with a little more this morning (I called in late). I haven’t tried multiplayer yet; I want to finish the single-player stuff first.
How is it? It’s great and you should buy it and play it. Some general deets and thoughts below. If you leave a comment, please keep them spoiler-free as well.
Busy week, what with trying to get this blog off the ground. Thanks to anyone who’s been reading!
My own personal menu for the weekend includes a watching of Tron: Legacy, which just arrived on DVD from Netflix. I’ve seen the first ten minutes of the film already, and I don’t have a lot of hope that I’ll enjoy the rest, because the preview featured a digitally-created young version of Jeff Bridges that was creepy and unconvincing. He looked like a character from a video game cut-scene. From two years ago. Also, there was a guy base-jumping off a skyscraper that served no purpose except to make the character doing it seem X-TREME.
Here’s the weekend menu; see you on Monday!