I spend a lot of time around games, but I seldom get to play them – except for ones I have installed on my phone. (On that score I’ve enjoyed The Guild of Dungeoneering, Futurama: Game of Drones and I still really dig Imbroglio.) Recently though I saved up and bought myself an XBox One, and I’ve tried to make some time to enjoy it.
I’ve only bought a few games for it so far, and to my surprise two are online shooters – not the kind of thing I’ve ever enjoyed before. The first was one of two games I bought with the console: Star Wars Battlefront. I’d played some local co-op with one of my best friends and his enthusiasm for how well it throws you into various Star Wars scenarios was pretty infectious, I have to admit. I’m still not a great fan of online military FPS, but I have really started to love the starfighter battles. At school I loved combat flight-sims; I bought a secondhand Flightstick Pro from a kid at school. But while I played a bit of Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, really I mostly used it to play X-Wing and especially TIE Fighter. Getting back in that cockpit and shooting at X-Wings (or from an A-Wing) has been great fun – and I’m way better at it than I am at running around on the ground with a blaster rifle (though playing co-op with friends is good fun).
Overwatch got my attention and I have friends with whom I’d like to play, so I’m starting to get into it and learn how it all works. I like the individual character selections, rather than having faceless classes, and so far my faves are Hanzo, Ana (who I didn’t realise was the first post-release character; she’s great!) and Winston, but I’m planning to try everyone.
The other game I bought with the console was Fallout 4. I really loved Fallout 3, and spent a lot of time on six years ago; so far 4 doesn’t quite feel like it has the same magic, but it has lots going for it. I got a bit distracted by the settlement building and crafting, derailing both the main quest (which should feel much more urgent than it does) and my usual excitement of exploring a game with such a big world. It also reminded me that I never finished Fallout: New Vegas, though since it’s one of the growing number of backwards compatible titles I have installed it to continue on after a dear friend told me they liked it better than 3. After picking up from where I left off (at around level 14, and approximately halfway through the main storyline I think?) I realised one of my frustrations with the game: I didn’t want any of the perks. In Fallout 3 I could avoid the combat perks and focussed as much as possible on the ones that offered new dialogue and interaction options, or aided in exploration. In New Vegas, it feels like all my options are just about new ways to kill people. Still, the story is pretty good, so I think I’ll finish it too.
I also bought Batman: Arkham Knight. I wasn’t sure about this one; the Arkham series seems to be a case of diminishing returns, with the original Arkham Asylum still by far my favourite of the series. But I liked it a lot and now I can try the newest iteration.
But perhaps the game I’ve played most since getting the XBox One is Doublefine’s Massive Chalice. A turned-based strategy game with a long-term tactical element, it’s a bit like X-COM crossed with Game of Thrones, only without all the awfulness and a tremendously fun sense of humour. I love the classes, the dialogue, the system by which you can marry off your heroes (in any combination of genders, by the way) and raise new generations, all while you sit chained to your immortal throne trying to hold the kingdom together for 300 years when the titular chalice can finally cleanse the land of the evil Cadence. I backed the game on Kickstarter so I get to play with my own house: House Kenzie, whose emblem is a green Kraken on a black field and whose motto is “worse things happen at sea”. (I usually start with them and House Duffy.)
Next time on the blog: tabletop games! I want to play more of them too, and there are a couple of new releases I’m particularly interested in…