Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Playlist - 6/30/2012

I’ve been traveling all over the world this week, from Russia, to New York, to Dubai. I’m looking forward to even more globe-trotting next week as I head to New Vegas and spend my time there.

The Secret World

The Secret World is unique in that it is classless and has no levels. Instead, it offers a Skyrim-type skill system, letting players choose their skills and abilities with no limits. I chose Illuminati (as opposed to Templar or Dragon) as my faction and already have a nice red and black suit coming together, although I am tempted to buy a fancy dress shirt and tie from the cash shop. I’m focusing on assault rifles at range and chaos magic when enemies close the gap. I’m nearing what feels like the end of the Kingsmouth area, having just made my way into the airport from clues that point to it as where I will find some revelations. What those revelations will be one of the great things about The Secret World. In a setting where magic is possible, dark horrors await around corners, and conspiracies are rife with truth, it’s a game where exploration is once again fun and surprising.

Metro 2033

I want to talk about stealth in Metro 2033. The game has other great qualities including the bullet economy, the language of the setting (I’m playing with Russian voices and English subtitles), and the effects of wearing a gas mask for extended periods of time, but the stealth has resonated with me most. It reminds me most of the early Splinter Cell games. At times in Metro 2033, you have to make your way across tunnels and caves with more enemies than you can feasibly take on. Taking your time to turn off lanterns, hide in shadows, avoid the various traps in the area that can give away your position (trip wires, broken glass), create a level of cleverness in the player. I’m currently in level where I need to make my way across a warfront between in the middle of a war between Russian fascists and communists. Working my way through using stealth will not only make it easier to say alive, but I’ll save bullets that I can otherwise use to pay for air filters for when I inevitably make it to the surface again.

Spec Ops: The Line

I love games that subvert reality for the player. From just looking at Spec Ops: The Line, it looks like another third-person cover-based brown military shooter. However, underneath all the sand is an insanity-laden narrative melded with a setting that is as isolated as any jungle out in the Asian-Pacific. The game doesn’t make you feel like a hero like other military-shooters. The consequences of your actions are brutal and others view you in a different light because of it. This is a game that won’t make you feel good about yourself, but it will make you question the mindless-killing you’ve done in past and future games. The game was delayed so many times it looked like it might have been put on indefinite hold, but releasing after E3 couldn’t have been better timed. With so many calling E3 a spectacle of murder-simulators, I can look at Spec Ops: The Line and say confidently that games still have things to say.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Game update 1.3 released this week and I’ve been taking advantage of it with the new group finder. I can efficiently spend time getting gear for my Jedi Guardian with it, and soon I hope to have her in full Columi gear from hard mode flashpoints. I haven’t dived into ranked warzones yet with my Commando, as I figure that will take a bit more effort to find a group to play with. I do need to play some warzones though, if only for the fact that my valor rank is still 57 and I need to achieve 60 in order to equip my black and red Vanguard armor. What mods I will put in that armor is still something I’m trying to figure out.

Game Deals

The Secret World (PC) July 3 – Newegg has a better deal in my opinion than the previous Amazon one I mentioned. Use the promo code EMCNDHA44 for $10 off, effectively making this $39.99. Keep in mind this is a physical copy that will need time to ship, so it’s doubtful you have this at your door on July 3 when the game officially launches.

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