camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 62: Ring-A-Ding-DING, Evil Chandler Bing

When last we saw our heroine, Janice had just had another Wizard of Oz experience thanks to the Floating Head of Howard Stark. Well, not really- Mr. House didn't want to achieve immortality through his reputation or his kid, he wanted to achieve it through not dying- but close enough. It was now time for Janice to go and see about having a little word with Evil Chandler Bing.

camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 61: 'Lucky' 38, My Ass

When last we saw our heroine, Janice had just entered the Strip, met Victor the Creepy Robot Cowboy, and been told to report to the top floor of the Lucky 38 Casino to meet with Mr. House. As it 's been a long time since I started writing these things, I don't remember how much I may have said about the Strip or the setting in that regard; my apologies if I repeat anything you already know.

Cut for spoilers, because even years after the game is out, I still care. )
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 60: Back To The A-Plot

When last we saw our heroine, it was late in 2013 in RL and I was just sure I was going to do these things more often. I'm sorry it got away from me. I've had a terrible urge to go back to the Wasteland lately, though, possibly because I'm really tired of post-apocalyptic/dystopian settings that are top-heavy on zombies or arbitrary sorting of people into arbitrary categories. Possibly just because the Capital Wasteland and the Mojave Wasteland are warm, and I've just lived through Boston's snowiest winter on record. Who knows. Point is, I fired up the Xbox the other day and took me down some notes, so we're going back to Janice now.

Spoilers for Fallout New Vegas. I know it came out years ago. DON'T CARE. )
That's it for the moment. I have more notes, but I'm at a Starbucks and I can only buy so many drinks before I start feeling like I ought to give up the seat. More later, when we go INTO THE STRIP (dun dun DUNNNN).
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
Had another Civ: Beyond Earth play-through. Transcendence victory this time. Only marginally more interesting than the last one. It would help if they didn't first put the text for your victory on screen as just plain letters on a black background, then play them over their painting while an actor or actress reads them off; seeing the "You Won!" message like that before they give you a picture leaves you with the "A Winner Is You!" taste in your mouth and when they bring up the artwork and the voice acting it's too late to be properly impressed. That being said, the voice acting does not impress me at all. I mean, the actors are okay, but none of them are voices I know, and if they are not going to be voices I know then they should at least be voices that are impressive. They are not. The developmental paths for tech and society in the game are kind of interesting, but the whole "You have to choose one of exactly three possible directions to take your society in unless you want to use one of the really boring anybody victories" thing makes it feel like stuff's being rammed down your throat- especially since you only get three possible Affinities, which more or less amount to "AAAAAAH SPACE IS SCARY! WE'RE HUMANS! XENOS SCUM WILL CONTAMINATE US ALL!", "We're going to live in harmony with this planet. SERIOUS harmony. Raise your hands if you've seen James Cameron's Avatar", and "The flesh is weak! HAIL THE MACHINE!".

Which isn't to say that the game isn't kind of fun in its own way, but it's really hard to get emotionally attached to or even seriously interested in bodged-together scifi space cultures the same way as you can get wrapped up in a given culture of Earth, back in Civ V. Each of the culture leaders has a name, but I've had a hard time being impressed enough with any of them to actually learn them. I've wound up calling them Brazil Guy, France Lady, Maori Tony Stark (he's in charge of 'Polystralia' and he seriously resembles Robert Downey Jr.), CEO Susan (that's the American colony, they're corporate sponsored), That Asian Lady In The Green Outfit (she runs the Pan-Asian Collective and she sounds like she's speaking Chinese, but 'Sochua' isn't a Chinese name- I think it's Cambodian), Indian-Looking Prophet Lady, and African Guy. Oh, and Slav Guy, I forgot about him. I think Brazil Guy's first name is Rejinaldo. France Lady's name is Elorie or Elodie or something like that, but as far as I'm concerned she's France Lady. I think Maori Tony Stark's name is Hutama. Slav Guy usually winds up being called 'General' within about two or three diplomatic visits so I suppose he's General Slav Guy. African Guy kinda drives me up the wall because he mostly turns up during the game to offer trades of resources or energy, which is fine, but his introductory spoken line is 'No village was ever destroyed by trade'. Um... wow. Just... I'm pretty sure anybody who had to live under the colonial rule of Leopold of Belgium would disagree with you there, sir. Wow. And Prophet Lady is the faction I first played when I started the game; I picked her faction because I liked their ability to gain more ground very quickly, and only learned later that the leader was supposed to be the daughter of a charismatic speaker and leader and prophet who had united the whole Indian subcontinent under his leadership. Her name's Kavitha Thakur, but since some of the guys I saw in the startup animation for the game were wearing what looked like Sikh turbans, my brain keeps insisting that her last name is supposed to be Kaur.

Anyway. The game's all right. The graphics are neat and the music is pretty awesome. The gameplay isn't really all that innovative, though, and the tech web- technologies are arranged in a web rather than a linear tree, so you don't have to progress through a specific linear path of development- can be a little annoying if you don't remember where to look for the next tech you want (Swarm Intelligence and Swarm Robotics, for example, aren't anywhere near each other). It's an okay game, but the scifi elements aren't enough to really get me going. If you like world colonization and development games, go buy Civ V and make sure it's got the Brave New World and Gods and Kings expansions. I can't recommend Beyond Earth, at least not yet.
camwyn: (ew)
Had my first Civ Beyond Earth victory last night. Word of advice, if you're playing the game and starting to be fascinated by the technologies and the implications and the potential promise of stuff, don't let yourself get roped into a Contact victory. It sounds great- find things, build tower, signal aliens, see what shows up- but you literally spend X number of turns building the beacon and when you turn it on it takes 1000 energy and siphons off all surplus energy for thirty turns and then A Winner Is You. No cinematic, no nothing- a little painting or some such with some vague images and a few lines of "we don't know what to expect but we have proof we're not alone!" and that's it.

I haven't had a game be that promising and have that unsatisfying an ending since the original Pick-Your-War-Crime ending of Mass Effect 3. Even Fallout 3's woefully unsatisfying original ending at least had Ron Perlman reading off a speech that was marginally affected by things you'd done.

I'm playing CivBE again, of course. I want a better ending. If all of them are that bleh then I'm going to be peeved; I don't mind an unusual Civ variant but I'd really like something that's at least going to live up to the promise of some of the more exotic bits of the tech web, not just "Have a still picture and a bland half-paragraph". Different civ this time- the Pan-Asian Cooperative sounds like fun- and I'm not sure if I'm gonna go for the same Affinity or if I'm aiming for Supremacy instead. We'll see.
camwyn: (brood ponder think scowl brood)
Started playing Civilization Beyond Earth last night. I keep trying to call it Civilization V: Beyond Earth, which is not entirely fair. Does rather resemble Civ V, though. I do like the way very nearly everything you build and create gets slightly tweaked along the way according to your decisions; that makes sense in an environment where you're starting from scratch. I'm a bit annoyed about the difficulty of keeping the colony's health up, though. And I am going to put the Brazilian guy and the French lady through the WALL. We came umptybajillion miles through space in coldsleep to find somewhere better to establish ourselves and you two can't figure out a way to handle your differences other than warfare? We are ON A COMPLETELY NEW PLANET. You have been here LESS THAN TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS. How do you not have enough room to refrain from trying to kill each other? HOW?
camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)
I've been playing a number of different video games lately, which is a fair part of why I haven't posted here much. Ploughing through a lot of game material tends to consume my attention. I plan on going back to the Fallout games soon, as I've had the odd nostalgic flash for the Capital Wasteland and/or Big Mountain lately, but I've been having a go at other areas of gaming for a while.

The first big one is that I've played through Assassin's Creed IV: It's Pirates This Time, You Like Pirates, Right?. Which was remarkably fun, and which made me very happy on a number of levels. One was the purely mechanical level, on which I was happy because OH MY GOD A VIDEO GAME VEHICLE I CAN STEER. Seriously. I've played Halo (CE and ODST), Mass Effect (see: Mako, Hammerhead), Half-Life 2, various Mario Kart games, etc., and the only vehicles I've had any real luck with at all have been the ships in Assassin's Creed games. It took me a while to get used to the ship to ship combat system, since you have several different weapons and which one you fire depends on which one you're looking at, plus I am not always good at remembering which buttons have to be pressed or not pressed for which gun, but once I did... YAY VEHICLE I CAN STEER. YAY COMBAT I CAN BE GOOD AT. On a character level I rather liked Edward Kenway; he struck me as a fine example of a Chaotic Neutral Slytherin very early on, and yet he had an appealing personality. Good supporting cast in the game, too- Adewale was kinda awesome, and the DLC in which you played as Adewale was pretty good, although since the main game was "Pirates! We like money and personal liberties! Mostly money" and the Freedom Cry DLC was "Welcome to Port-Au-Prince. Time to make people regret that they ever bought into the slave-based economy in the first place", the DLC was a rather different experience. (Note: you will not be participating in Toussaint L'Ouverture's revolution; AC IV was set in 1715 and a few years that followed, and Freedom Cry is set ten years after AC IV ends.)

And then there was Antichamber.

It's an indie puzzle game, it's been out since last January, and it is amazingly good at helping you clear your mind of extraneous crap and focus your thoughts. There are no enemies and no other characters; there is no plot. Unless you count 'figure out how to get out' as a plot, anyway. It's practically a meditation aid built as a collaboration between MC Escher and Bloody Stupid Johnson, except for the lack of lethality or even danger. The soundtrack is ambient music by Siddhartha Barnhoorn, with other sound effects added in at times- nature sounds, mostly. I wound up buying the soundtrack on Bandcamp. Overall the game is either insanely frustrating or very calming or both, and while people have talked about how much it messes with your head, I don't think I really felt that way about it. Might be worth having a look, if you're into that kind of thing.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 58: Brains? Seriously?

Spoilers for Fallout New Vegas. )

Anyway, that's it for this session; tune in next time for Lieutenant Worf.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 56: The Worst Liar In The World. Also, Impending Elvis.

Read more... )

Okay, I thought I'd get to Elvis in this chapter originally, but I was wrong. So- next time, there will be Elvis, more or less.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 55: Right Yes Okay Back In The Saddle Now

I'm pretty sure I can keep doing this on a proper schedule now, honest. )

Anyway, I think that's enough to start off with. When next we meet Janice will have a shiny new follower. Also there will be Elvis. Sorta. More or less.
camwyn: (Vault Boy With Crowbar)
Well, I'm awake and I'm at work, and while I'm still wheezing and coughing, I feel much better than I did earlier this week. It's all good.

I've played Transformers: Fall of Cybertron recently and will probably play it again a few times just to poke around the world and follow a strategy guide. It's the first game I've played in a long time where I didn't consult some form of walkthrough (except for exactly once, when I had spent ten minutes in a given spot and couldn't figure out how to get my circumstances to change, but all I had to read was 'Follow the prompt and change Grimlock to dino mode or the enemies will never stop coming' and then I closed down the page immediately). I kind of died a lot as a result and missed a lot of the extra material lying around the world. That's fine, though. I made it through in the end. Overall I was pretty pleased with the game. I've got X-Com coming up next week, once I get paid; I adored that game in college and wanna play it on the 360 now. Hopefully it'll be good. I've avoided any exposure to the new version other than a brief glance at about two minutes of a ten minute gameplay video, so I know nothing about the new port.

I'll resume Notes From New Vegas next week, though. I've got the notes for the next section on my new PC (had to replace the old one after a water spill) and should be able to coax something out of them soon, so I'll get back into swing on that. Might take some time off to visit the Capital Wasteland, though. As much as I admit that Fallout: New Vegas is a less buggy and probably better-written game with more compelling characters, I really rather liked FO3 better overall. Possibly because of the desolation. New Vegas has a certain amount of 'well, this COULD be post-apocalyptic, or this COULD just be that the economy went to pot' about it- it's not that human civilization in the area was destroyed so much as the desert shrugged a little harder than usual and man had to back down in the face of it. FO3? 'Man brought this on himself. Big time. One hundred per cent. What're you gonna do about it?'. That, and... well, in FO3, your story line ultimately amounts to 'save all of humanity, or a significant portion of humanity, from total extinction'. In New Vegas? It's 'settle a political struggle'. Not really the same stakes. I dunno, maybe it's just me.

Anyway, that's not gonna stop me, there's gonna be Notes From New Vegas again soon. And then, who knows?
camwyn: (Vault Boy)
I'm gonna pick up on my Notes From New Vegas schedule, I promise, but I thought I might mention that I started a new game today for the first time. Sleeping Dogs, from Square Enix. You're a Hong Kong undercover cop, and there are gangs; fill in the blanks from there.

I've played for all of twenty minutes and I already care more about Wei Shen and busting the Triads than I did about anything or anybody, least of all Cole Phelps, in several hours of playing L.A. Noire. I'm more interested in the world, too.

So, yeah.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 52: Now We Are All Sons Of Bitches

Spoilers for Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road ahead. )... and oh God Janice just leveled up. Gah.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 51: Oh Dear God What Is That Thing

Spoilers for Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road ahead. )Tune in next time for, well, elevated highway full of horrible death.
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 50: We Can't Stop Here, This Is Allegory Country

Happy Independence Day, everybody. Sorry about the delay. I know I said 'tune in next week', but I've been in the middle of a seriously nasty heat wave and turning on my Xbox tends to create almost as much heat as my air conditioner nullifies. I don't believe in Method gaming, so the Lonesome Road stuff had to wait until the area cooled down a bit.

Spoilers for Fallout New Vegas: Lonesome Road ahead. )Tune in next week for horrible things with scales on!
camwyn: (Ron the Narrator)
Notes From New Vegas 49: Good Lord, I Never Thought I'd Be Carrying On About This Game For This Long

Okay, so.

Those of you who have been following this feature for some time know where the story stands at the moment, or at least I imagine you do. It's been a while since I began and there was that hiatus in the middle before I started on Dead Money. Those of you who only started reading recently might or might not want to go back and have a look at the earlier parts of Janice's odyssey through Fallout New Vegas- admittedly, the first few entries are more concerned with game mechanics and graphics than with the storyline, since I was just getting used to FNV and its differences from FO3, but still. In that spirit, and the spirit of not making you use the journal tag feature, here are links to parts one through forty-eight of Notes From New Vegas, and then part 49 proper.

Links, and spoilers for part of Fallout New Vegas, behind the cut. )

Thank you for sticking with Notes From New Vegas 1-49. Tune in next week for episode fifty, in which Janice finds out that she probably should've stuck with the razor clawed murder death lizards in the first place. It's just going to be that kind of a day.


camwyn: Me in a bomber jacket and jeans standing next to a green two-man North Andover Flight Academy helicopter. (Default)

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