Category: Now Playing

I’m not trying to be one of the dicks I’ve seen in ArcheAge forum posts, but…

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I am starting to get worn down by the problems of this ArcheAge head start.  If this is what it’s like now, before the game is even open to the non-subscriber public, what will it be like on the 17th when the gates are really open?   I am unable to even login this morning which gives me time to write this when I would much rather be checking my crops.

I am new to MMOs so I assumed all the queuing, the authentication errors, failed logins and infinitely looping intro movie were normal for a brand new game. I figured Trion World does Rift and other mmos, so surely they are prepared.  I asked seasoned mmo players if 20 minute queues were normal for a paying member  at launch and found out they really aren’t. A friend said they were there for Rift’s launch and it was nothing like this.

I paid $50 for this game and the times I can get logged in to play it I feel it’s absolutely worth the money. I have already had $10 worth of fun since last Friday which I hope won’t be ruined when the official launch starts. I’m playing with online friends I really like that I don’t always get to team up with, plus my husband who I work well with in game (and out obviously).  There are so many routes a player can take in this game that from what I have heard are unique for an mmo.  I am leaning towards the gardening and crafting with a bit of trading.

I am sad that some people rushed to grab land so now many of us who were trying to take it gradually have nowhere to place a house. I have read that some guilds bought land up on purpose to resell or reserve for their guild or something, but as we know, most people are dicks, online doubly so.

I am able to login now, so that’s all I will say, at least until the official release.  PS We have a GameLuv guild as of last night “Gameluv dot com”

Still Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS) Pt.3

Here’s some trans-media content for ya, a little video tour of where I’m at in Trials Frontier. I’m using ADB’s screen record function here so there’s no audio and it hits the framerate a little hard in spots but mostly this is what it’s like to play; slick victories and grindy prize wheel spinning alike.

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 2 and Part 4

Still Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)

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Quests, coins, upgrades and time sinks

In my last post about Trials Frontier I was on the verge of unlocking a new bike and a new tier of races. That much went fine but shortly after the game’s progression hit one of those trademark Trials inclines that looks impossible to ascend.

The new tier was fun to explore and the courses really feel on par with Trials Evolution. There’s even a few physics-y gimmicks I don’t remember dealing with in any previous Trials game. It was around this point, though, that bike upgrades became a necessity and not just a periodic quest line. It doesn’t look like it by the tiny sliver of top speed or acceleration that you’ll get out of a $20,000 upgrade but you can definitely feel it.

And so the grind has been on for coins and crafting materials while I continue to beat my head against an array of ghost races. At least three different quest lines have you racing AI or live player ghosts to progress; one set is literally a bunch of races against a ghost. Despite the impressive number of tracks available (I’ve got 50 unlocked so far) the game seems to favor the same seven or eight courses which makes things feel even more tedious. Adding to the slow new pace of progress is some actual slowdown. Sometimes a race will load and the framerate on my Galaxy S4 will be cut in half. The slow-mo effect has helped me win a few races by giving me time to fine tune my landings but overall it’s a bummer.

All this could instantly be rectified if I were willing to pump some money into the game. For $5 I could get enough gems to skip the crafting materials and for another $5 I could buy enough coins to pay for the next few upgrades. But the races themselves still have to be run and won so I’m taking this new pace as the game’s slower middle age.

I still play several times a day and almost every day. The slot machine continues to provide fun new challenges and doles out some nice rewards between quest victories. Just the act of playing Trials still feels great and that’s enough to keep me going for the time being.

Continue reading this series with Part 1Part 3 and Part 4

Now Playing: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Xbox One)

Welcome to blaaaaaaaaah

Welcome to blaaaaaaaaah

Eagerly awaiting my “free” games for Xbox One I was still a little bummed with the initial offering of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. Giant Bomb’s Quick Look of the game didn’t impress but I’ve always appreciated what the series has done to add to the archaic platformer gameplay. That said, my first night with the game didn’t immediately destroy my trepidations. There’s not so much a learning curve to Max as a ‘learning wet noodle’. The game doles out its gameplay mechanics excruciatingly slowly but just as it got past bedtime things were finally getting interesting.

The setup here is that Max wishes his annoying little brother away and realizes what he’s done just as a gargantuan claw swipes his sibling. Max leaps through the portal after him but he’s already been swept away to MacGuffin Tower. Hot on the trail, Max runs into an old witch who is oddly happy to transfer her soul into his magic marker allowing him to manipulate the environment in unique, if specific ways.

At the start it’s simply pulling towers of dirt out of the ground to make platforms or move objects around. It’s neat enough but the mechanic is a little cumbersome and there are a few too many simple tutorial bits that ram home how it works. You’re also in a desert which doesn’t do anything to add to the appeal beyond some hi-res textures and nice animations. You’re also… kinda lame. Max’s quips are as flaccid as that wet noodle and while that’s fine for a younger audience there’s no high level Pixar style writing to smirk at so far.

Oh! This is much nicer

Oh! This is much nicer

Finally, though, things started picking up as I unlocked the second magic marker ability: BRANCHES! What I thought was going to be a simple draw-a-platform mechanic turned out to be a pretty big deal. With the ability to raise towers out of the ground and draw plank and box-like vines the game has started to feel a lot like Trine; less platformer and more physics puzzlery. There are some pretty clever puzzles, especially if you’re after the collectibles which have been more fun to suss out so far than simply moving forward.

That’s about where I stopped for Day One. The visuals have gotten much nicer as I’ve started climbing this huge tree and coupled with the atmospheric musical cues I’m getting a nice Rayman 2 vibe. I hope to return with even more surprisingly pleasant stories about the game but I’m still a little worried I’m just going to give up before long.

Now Playing: Trials Frontier (Android, iOS)

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Not that there’s much barrier to entry now that Trials Frontier is available for free on both iOS and Android, but for anyone still wondering you only need to answer one question: Are you good at ignoring free-to-play conceits like limited energy and for-pay currencies? If you said ‘yes’ you should already be clicking one of those links to grab the game for yourself. Because beyond the mobile game “features” is a Trials game that’s just as fun to play as any before it and light years better than all the other knock-offs.

I love that the very first thing you do — before the title screen, before being bugged about your Facebook account — is play Trials. You’ve got forward/reverse on one side of the screen and left/right lean on the other, now go run through this little course. If Trials Fusion is set in the far-flung future then Trials Frontier is the Mad Max post-apocalypse that comes after it. An almost-cel shaded look accentuates the old west/steampunk/retro-future designs and color palettes. It runs smooth, loads fast (reloads even faster) and has a comprehensive menu system that shows you all the little details of the various races. It also has crafting.

Because what modern publisher wouldn’t want to pad its game with resource gathering and pin them to a luck-based wheel of fortune spin regardless of how well you raced? It’s a gross mechanic that requires you to re-race the same courses in order to spin for fabulous prizes like… rusty nuts and blueprint scraps. The upside to it is that you get to play more Trials which, despite the grind for silly mats, remains fast and fun. The quests that require these crafting materials regularly coincide with bike upgrades so as you grind it out you notice the subtle changes to handling and speed as you clock faster times. I hate to say it but I’ve never gotten as much of a reward from these little improvements as I have with this game.

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Naturally, you can pay real money to skip a lot of this junk. You can buy more gems to spin the spinner endlessly to farm resources. You can spend gems to get a bigger “gas tank” so you can run more races before “refueling” which, of course, costs gems if you don’t want to wait. Passing checkpoints in races earns you the coins needed for upgrades but you can spend gems to speed up the timer or purchase a coin doubler. Eventually you’ll hit the point I’m at right now where you need a new bike to continue onto new courses and you’ll be faced with the choice: grind or buy. So far I’m perfectly happy racing old courses to pass the time because the game feels so good to play. The one thing they won’t sell you is a way to remove the commercials that sometimes burst onto the screen after races, overriding your phone’s volume setting. Yeah, that’s a pretty big bummer at work.

So it’s time to ask yourself again, is all of that junk worth some sweet, free Trials thrills in your pocket? It definitely has been for me. Like having Spelunky ever at my side on the Vita, I’m happy just to know that Trials is always ready to go for a spin regardless of how long it takes me to unlock more stuff.

Continue reading this series with Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4