What I've Been Playing -- The Woefully Tardy Edition
June 20, 2015

I often think that keeping DE around has been a mistake thatís too late to rectify. In this case, heís a pain in the arse because heís one of those MOBAers and, like all those MOBAers, spends a lot of time telling people they should be playing MOBAs. I spent some time a few years back playing Awesomenauts, which was enough for me, so I managed to ignore him for many a year. then Infinity Crisis became a thing. And it ate hours of my life. And now itís dead.

EmP's image

I should explain; the rugís been pulled from the DC MOBA and it is due to close its doors come August. That kind of blows; players that invested in expensive starter packs will get their money back, but those who ploughed real money into champions and skin sets for said heroes are quids out. That sucks, but all I invested into the game was hours. Seventy two of them, to be precise, blowing away opposition with either the mechanical version of Wonder Woman or an undead vampire version of Batman. I lost some and I won some, but I got good. It wasnít a smooth path, but I figured out all the little quirks and finally managed to hold my own against a userbase that usually had months of gameplay under their belts, or at least familiarity with the genre. I made it a point to try and work in at least one run a day. I canít bring myself to bother now I know the entire thing has only months to live. I guess, whatís the point? But while the game was a viable option, I will begrudgingly admit I had a blast and will remember it fondly. Iíll always have those memories.

As a quick sidenote, when I die I want DE to be the one who lowers my coffin into the ground. Just so he can let me down one last time.

So, we were winning this 5v5 we had no right to be winning. We were a player down from the start making it 5-on-4 and one of our team was already a kamikaze deadweight feeding the other team with braindead charges into enemy turrets, Still, we chipped away at them and finally had a corridor into their base. We made a bit of a crazed run and almost took the game. DE died like a girl and I, like a true hero, made myself a roadblock so the other two could get away. While I was dead, one member of the other team strolled into out full-strength base and won the game.

Why was this DEís fault? Well, it wasnít entirely; they had to destroy a turret along the way so the two remaining people had plenty of warning what was happening. They just chose to ignore it, dicking around in the jungle for reasons I will never understand. DE, on the other hand, had decided to wander off after his flaccid death so, when the core attack happened, it happened inches from his character who stood around gawping at it.

Then, a couple of days later, the game got its deathnote. Its eulogy from now until forever is destined to be ďFor fuckís sake, DE -- do something!Ē

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today (PC) image

In between the incompetence of others, Iíve employed a shotgun scattershot philosophy to gaming, picking up and dropping without pause scrolling shooters, adventure games, anime minesweeper, 4X, horror and manly brawler/visual novels based around ripping peopleís clothes off. I picked up Dead Synchronicity after someone I know on Steam dropped me a heavy recommendation that I was happy to pick up. I asked for a review copy but decided, as it was a few past release date it probably wasnít going to come and went out and bought the game. It was a bit naughty of me because I was contracted to work on ManaCollect, which I had agreed to cover to score off pesky M because who wouldnít want to play an expanded version of Minesweeper filled with giant anime eyes that stare into your soul? Dead Sync, though, rocks, and I had one of these moments where I booted the game up just to make sure it worked okay, then spent the rest of the day playing through it, making vampiric hissing noises at anything that tried to distract me. Itís not a short game but I beat it in a couple of days anyway and had the first draft ready by the time I was dropped a note saying my review code had arrived. It has since found its way to WQ by way of a tourney so it can rot in her Steam library and get played exactly never.

Star Ruler 2 (PC) image

Keeping with that theme, Will asked me a while ago if Iíd like to cover Star Ruler 2. He couldnít do it because a/ heís unbearably lazy b/ heís somewhat sociable with the developer and it wouldnít be right for him to cover it. So I said Iíd do it and put a bit of time away to sink into 4Xing, which is a massive time sink. Then nothing happened, so I accepted Manacollect instead and ended up doing Dead Sync. Then I did ManaCollect like a good reviewer who keeps his word. Then I hunted down a copy of High Strangeness and had a very short lived interest in doing a longplay on it. Then, and only then, did someone make mention of ďSteph mentioning someone on staff wanting a review copyĒ This was odd -- it took a bit of sleuthing to figure out where this had come from and letís kind of skim over the fact that Will goes by a girlís name on another forum. To each their own. Star Ruler 2 is an awesome 4X wherein I spent far too much time constructing my own flagships from scratch and cackling like a madman the 10% of the time they worked out and didnít accidently contain a Death Star-like weak spot Iíd somehow overlooked in my efforts to graft on more lasers. I made a Borg cube once. It was kinda rubbish.

Because Iíve not forgotten my plan to cover all of the 32Xís, I played around with a few titles, mostly Corpse Killer. Zigfried warned me constantly back in the day about Corpse KIller. I should have listened. Iím sorry I didnít listen. Itís a light gun game no longer operable with a light gun that, rather than asking you to slog through a set stage-list instead employs unappetising GRIND, getting you to reply stages over and over again to stock up on special resources youíll need to kill off special boss zombies that you donít actually kill but cure and turn back into your friends who then donít offer you any help at all and may as well have stayed useless zombies. It did mean I could stop playing my other íin betweení game, Bloodnet. God lord, Bloodnet is still awful.

Solarix (PC) image

Solarix turned up a few weeks after I accepted it from Jason because he turned up in the developerís spam box, he told me with exactly zero self awareness. Solarix is what early Dead Space would have been if Dead Space had wanted to be Thief rather than Gears of War. And had a much smaller budget. And had just finished playing System Shock 2. I should replay System Shock 2. But I didnít; I played Solarix, which is still a good game and not anywhere near as ridiculous as Dead Space has become. Not always a good thing; the dev released a major patch fix while my review was still in draft mode, so I replayed a huge chunk of the game and rewrote a lot of the review. If the developers are willing to put that much effort into fixing their game, then I should be willing to put more effort into making sure they are represented fairly. Even if it saw my small window of free time devoured.

I played Ossuary next, which is a weird little thing that I could talk about at any length but none of you are going to play it. Itís a simple black and white adventure game where you explore a confined area with limited people to interact with and spend all your time trying to manipulate them by infesting them with sins. Itís almost satirical and almost sobering -- somewhere between the two.

It put me in an adventure-y mood, so I decided to replay The Longest Journey, which is something Iíve been saving for quite a while now. My worthless physical media CDRom was discovered with a great big crack in it, so I bought the Steam version because those things are checked so theyíd run on anything, right? The game would only display in the top left quarter of the screen, which was annoying, while the rest of the screen was set to fullscreen but blacked out. I played around with the application exe to run out a few fixes and now the game won't start at all. Iíve nuked it, Iíve nuked its steamapp folder and redownloaded everything, but now it won;t run at all and when I try and close Steam after a failed attempt it tell me I need to close down The Longest Journey first which isnít bloody running. Argh!

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PC) image

So, that wasnít to be a thing. Instead, I ploughed time into Akibaís Trip, a game about exploring a virtually recreated corner of Japan. The really, really nerdy corner. You can dick around buying anime and gawping at cosplayers but at some point, you just have to knuckle down and start beating people off and ripping their clothes off under their underwear is exposed for the world to see. Itís a really dorky game thatís obviously so in love with the material itís ending up that it never feel mean and the chaotic battles use a clumsy battle system that is still cultured enough to offer counter-counters and blouse-ripping chain combos. I was set to jump right back in after I completed it in order to attempt to woo a different girl through the visual novel-like aspect of the game that let you act like a pervy nerd or hit on the various girls in your social circle, but I remember that I had Supercharged Robot VULKAISER waiting for me, so I played that instead. Itís only half an hour long, so it seemed like I could get right back to Akiba. Then the crabs happened.

Crabs are fighting, you see, in a series of dimensionally-linked aquariums. But rather than do things as passe as claw and bite at each other, theyíve evolved the ability to use homing laser and plasma scalpels. Such is the premises of NEO AQUARIUM - The King of Crustaceans. Right now Iím trying to lead my sealife of choice to victory against a car-sized crab shooting a medley of face-burning disco lights from his spiny legs But Iím not concerned; I have recruited the most feared of all aquatic predators. I fight back using a the dreaded corn barnacle. WarÖ. War has changed.

Most recent blog posts from Gary Hartley...

pickhut pickhut - June 22, 2015 (02:17 PM)
Wow, you sure wrote a lot of reviews within two months time. So much so, that I somehow missed your Ossuary review! And after reading it, you're right, I would likely never play it...

Your coffin line killed me, too. Probably because I understand the pain of having team members letting me down too much during my Halo 3/Reach/4 and Team Fortress 2 days.
overdrive overdrive - June 22, 2015 (02:27 PM)
Oh yeah, update threads, it's been a hella long time since I've done one of those, too. Might have to give it a shot this week.

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