Another update, of sorts
July 15, 2016

Games I'm playing, at least most of them. As I've been having my usual summer struggles with motivation, since when the weather's nice, I don't tend to get into gaming and recreational writing to the degree I do when I'm in the middle of a frozen tundra or torrential downpour. Which is why the vast majority of what I've written about are those short Kemco RPGs that don't take a great deal of effort to get through.

1. Mass Effect -- started the first one and have advanced to the point where you can explore the galaxy to do stuff. So I've been doing the side-quests I've gotten during my walks through the Citadel. Which leads to fun planet exploration stuff where I find minerals and learn that Garrus' Electronics skill still isn't where it needs to be to do the one thing where "debris" is marked. Oh, and there was that one time I encountered a Thrasher Maw and ran like a coward because that thing looked a lot scarier than the average Geth or Scavenger. It took a good bit of running to get it to stop chasing me. I consider that to be justified. My Shepard's backstory had all his friends killed by those things, so I figured pure, unreasoning panic would be the right way to handle that situation. Yeah, I was role-playing. It wasn't me freaking out. It was him. I suppose I'll kill it eventually; I just want to be a bit better at controlling the Mako or whatever its called first.

2. Doom 2 -- A good time was had by all. Or at least me, all the Hell Knights, Cacos, EmPs and other hellspawn might not have enjoyed all the shooting they've endured. I'm up through The Courtyard, so I have 12 levels of the main game and then the XBLA add-on scenario. This is cool, as I'm not as familiar with the levels at this stage of the game. I have the first half almost memorized, but the second half, I haven't played near as many times.

3. Twilight Princess -- I'm right before the boss fight of the Arbiter's place (the dungeon with all the quicksand and bugs and undead). The pattern remains the same -- I love the dungeons and endure everything else.

4. Grandia -- I'm a good bit into the second disc (nearly done with the shrine dungeon under Zil Padon). This game is totally easy, but in the most fun way possible, because of how every weapon, spell and skill you use strengthens you in some way, so you're constantly working to improve.

5. Etrian Odyssey Untold: Millenium Girl -- I'm up to the fourth stratum. Well, technically, the part of the other dungeon that you can access from the 16th floor, where I've done everything but one room with two FOEs and the room with this area's boss. Of my three 3DS games I've been playing for forever, this is the one I feel motivation to get through. I play Bravely Default and Shin Megami Tensai IV every now and again, but struggle to really get into them to the same degree I get into others. I mean, they're good games and I have fun with them, I just don't have the same motivation to play them when I pick up my 3DS.

6. Avernum: Escape From The Pit -- My Steam project. I've covered a good chunk of the world and am mainly warring with the Slith in preparation for that inevitable battle with Sss-Thesss or whatever. I dig this game; it's essentially a simpler-interface version of Baldur's Gate II with a ton of stuff to do.

7. Lunar Silver Star -- I solved the whole problem of the queen being impersonated and am now taking Ghaleon back to meet the white dragon. WHAT CAN GO WRONG? Took a little while to get into the Sega CD version (I met this game via the PS remake), but I'm sailing through right now.

8. Super Mario All-Stars -- SMB 1 and 2, down. In world 4 of SMB 3 and then get to see how much of Lost Levels I can tolerate before snapping and screaming about how my 17-year-old reflexes could have gotten this. Never mind that I think I'm better at this sort of game now than I was then. I mean, SMB 2 was the only classic one I was particularly good at and I beat Rayman Origins without a lot of the frustration that I gathered some people got from latter stages (not counting treasure chest chases, I gave up on those quickly).

And of course, the Android Kemco stuff. I have a review for Fanatic Earth in the queue; I have to start writing one for Tears Revolude and I'm in the early going of Asdivine Hearts. All three are more recent games than most I'd previously reviewed and all three are generally better than most that I've previously reviewed. Not great games, but fun wasters of time and disposable income.

Most recent blog posts from Rob Hamilton...

LeVar_Ravel LeVar_Ravel - July 16, 2016 (12:08 AM)
Rob, do you know of any Avernum: Escape from the Pit tips/tricks/mods to zoom in on the characters or make them larger? I found the game fun in some ways, but I had to quit, because the graphics were just too tiny and eye-straining.

None of my resolution options were good on this issue.

A Gog user proposed a tactic using Windows Magnifier! S/he hadn't tested it, and in fact it didn't work for me and probably needs a higher-res monitor.
StarryPS StarryPS - July 16, 2016 (01:50 AM)
Hey, I hope you don't find me rude for asking, but what parts of TP are you enduring? The story, locations, etc? I was sorta in an opposite position while playing, where I sorta thought the dungeons were meh, but I loved the world.
overdrive overdrive - July 16, 2016 (08:59 AM)
Not that I know of. I guess for me, I don't have a problem because I play on my laptop, that's on a small stand right in front of my face in the living room, but I could see the zoomed-out graphical style to be a hassle, depending on preferences. Like, this game's been ported to mobile and I'd hate playing it on my phone. Which reminds me, someday, I'll have to try out my Android port of Knights of the Old Republic I got for free via Amazon Underground. Massive BioWare RPG on a phone...what can go wrong?

Essentially the busywork stuff between dungeons. I think part of it that I'm one of those guys who was on the Zelda train from the very beginning, when you just went from dungeon to dungeon and could just cruise through games (with occasionally a little work to get a particular item from somewhere in the world between two dungeons). I love the graphical style for the game and the world is beautiful (and not as generally barren as the Ocarina of Time world, which just seemed like a hub with all the dungeons being located in areas along the perimeter), but there have just been things I didn't like.

1. It takes at least an hour of prelim stuff to get to the first dungeon. Some stuff, like the wolf tutorial in shadow Hyrule Castle was cool and atmospheric. Other stuff, like being forced to fish (the whole chain-of-deals to get the slingshot, really) and the shadow bug hunting was annoying.

2. Between dungeons 1 and 2, the shadow bug hunt.

3. Between dungeons 2 and 3, the shadow bug hunt and that damn escort mission where I nearly threw my Wii control through the TV screen.

4. Between dungeons 3 and 4 -- uh, nothing really, although the game did crash once while I was trying to catch a bug in the desert, so I had to re-do some stuff. And it took me a hilariously long time to figure out the puzzle to get the Master Sword...

I mean, it's a really good game, but some aspects, to me, were drawn out unnecessarily. As for the dungeons, I'll concede the first one was a bit meh and the fourth one really reminded me of the fourth one from OoT with the ghost hunting (as opposed to ghost witches), but the imagery of an undead-haunted, bug-infested, quickland-having hellhole is really cool and dark. Zelda meets Silent Hill (and does it better than the last few SH games, but that's a different story). I loved the second and third, though. Especially the third, because it was so intricate. There were seemingly a million switches and things to pull, each of them turning on something in the temple and making something new open up.

I will say that adding that Oococo thing so you could warp in and out from the same place was a necessity, though. These dungeons have a certain element of linearity to them, where it'd be a pain to start from the front door and they're large enough that you'd need an extended period of sit-down time to clear all of one on one sitting.
honestgamer honestgamer - July 16, 2016 (09:16 AM)
LeVar, I played through Avernum 4 and reviewed it for another site (and enjoyed it a fair bit, too), and it still likes to default to a fairly small window. I don't think the solution is a larger monitor with higher resolution. I think the solution is to lower the resolution on your monitor while you play, so that all of the pixels are larger.
LeVar_Ravel LeVar_Ravel - July 16, 2016 (10:00 AM)
Thanks Jason; what I meant was the Windows Magnifier trick may need to start out with a monitor capable of very high-res settings of a certain aspect ratio, so you can magnify a window running Avernum: EFTP. IIRC I got the problem the Gog gamer mentioned at the end: the magnified image wouldn't all fit on screen.

I did try playing at the lowest-res options I was given, but they still looked too small.

Maybe they were goin' for realism: when you've been banished to underground caves, you're bound to have trouble with your eyesight!
StarryPS StarryPS - July 16, 2016 (11:46 PM)
Hmm, I gotta say, while I remember some things like the long intro, I sorta forgot how much stuff you had to do between every dungeon. Maybe I blocked it from my mind because of bad memories? Haha

Maybe I should do another playthrough to jog my memory.
overdrive overdrive - July 17, 2016 (04:46 PM)
Well, to be fair, it's the first three that suffer from this. After you get the Master Sword, things seem to get a lot faster-paced, where if you take forever to get to the next dungeon, you're probably running around to get Poes and stuff like that.

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