Monday, February 2, 2015

Game Diary. Dying, Dungeons and anime girls!

Let's take a peek at Dying Light's metascore, shall we?  71 for PS4, 75 on One... which is odd, given that Digital Foundry found the One's version lacking - but that score scatter of 71-75 isn't odd, for a Techland game.  Techland's games (Dead Island, Dead Island: Riptide) have classically, criminally, been underrated by the media as a whole.  And Dying Light doesn't begin as strongly as Techland's previous efforts.

It's more of a slow burn, but once it gets going - once you've unlocked a bigger health bar, a bigger stamina meter and better parkour abilities - it's absolutely sublime.  This is the sequel to Dead Island, and I know exactly why Techland were prepared to say it is their first serious entry in the triple-A space - because it is.

Dying Light is triple-A in the same way The Elder Scrolls or Fallout are triple-A - in terms of voice talent, in terms of graphical presentation - it's better-looking than anything Bethesda has ever made.  It's not as well-written or as deep, in terms of narrative - but that has always been Techland's tack.  They let Bethesda create worlds that are rich in story, because that's what Bethesda does best - and Bethesda also sucks at first-person combat.

Techland are masters of sublime, tactical, vicious first-person combat - and with Dying Light, they add the more-than-significant purchase of a fabulous first-person platforming system to the mix.  I'm serious - Faith wishes she was this smooth, when locomoting around her futuristic city.

I'm not finished Dying Light's campaign yet, but I can tell you in no uncertain terms that it retains all the strengths of Techland's previous efforts with a serious dose of visual polish and a fantastic platforming system on top.  And readers of this blog should know well - a good platformer is worth infinitely more than its weight in gold.

Consider the pure fun factor of Super Mario World.  Of inFamous 2.  Of Sly Cooper or Mark of the Ninja.  There is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding about having such agency within a game world - something indescribably beautiful about a game in which the controller disappears and you're almost willing yourself through that space through intention alone.  Leaping from rooftops, landing in a protective roll, bounding off the head of a zombie to catch a ledge...

It's wonderful, man.  But, of course, that's not all I've been doing with my time.

All weekend, I've been watching these Darkest Dungeon streams.  Dansnax has stopped his, which is a shame, but Phillip Weber's YouTube channel has filled the bill.  He's got hours upon hours upon hours of footage - I was finally able to watch the Swine Prince boss fight today - and has racked up enough experience with the game to make watching him a pleasure instead of a discomfort.  He knows what he's doing, and has made it quite far indeed.

Kayla seems to have begrudgingly accepted my wanton Dark Dungeon lust, flipping through her iPad while I watch Weber's uploads on TV - but it's become so pronounced today that at work, on my breaks, I didn't play my Vita.  Instead I sat down at one of our shitty Internet stations (which literally run the internet through a server in my country's capital, then beam it back to the station in my centrally-located city a few seconds later) and browsed the game's official forums, starving for more.

Tomorrow, Darkest Dungeon Early Access goes public, and we shall see if my awful desktop can run it.  Fingers crossed!


I beat Atelier Ayesha today.  I did not get the good ending, but the ending I got was so... bleh, so anticlimactic in any direction, so nothing that I feel like it deflated everything that came before it.

I don't often feel so cheated by a game's ending - and I know it was designed to get me to power through NG+ and get the good ending, but man... I just don't care to.  I think I'd rather run dungeons in Dragon's Crown or not starve in Don't Starve or finally - and this is the most notable option - begin my Persona 4 Golden playthrough in earnest.

...expect a brief review this week.  Assuming I can tear myself away from Darkest Dungeon for longer than it takes to eat, sleep and smoke a cigarette.

I feel like that wasn't enough anime girls - or at least, not enough to live up to the promise of this post's title... umm...

Bam.  G'night!


  1. Totally feel you on Darkest Dungeon, Chance. Actually, I wrote up a long comment today at work and then the browser bugged out and deleted it before I could post.

    I won't rewrite everything I wrote there, but I'll just say that I'm right there with you on being unable to stop thinking about the game and its awesome art and its crazy, deep mechanics. Actually, because I didn't bother to check my Hotmail over the weekend, I didn't realize that I had a Steam key sitting in my inbox - so I was pretty pumped to get home tonight and install DD and sink some time into it. And it's freaking great. I'm pretty crazy about the Dark Souls aesthetic - the gothic architecture, the hopelessness and shadow, the piercing glow of fire and gleam of metal that highlights the heroes, the brutality and gritty realism of it - and DD takes that theme and combines it with the character-focused, super-detailed cartoon look of something like Fire Emblem, which is music to my ears. Er, eyes.

    I haven't gotten far enough to really get deep into the nitty-gritty of the gameplay systems, and unfortunately, I felt like I was rushing through it a bit because I just wanted to make progress since I had limited time to play tonight - but this is a game that I see myself poring over and obsessing over and just... sitting at my PC, highlighting each little stat and ability, getting lost in the world. It's great. I love it. It's scratching my FE itch (just a day after I was telling a friend that I was thinking about replaying Fire Emblem: Awakening because I'm in the mood for a character-focused tactical RPG where I could really get attached to the characters and appreciate the art). I can't wait to play more.

    1. Home from work! Purchased the $27.00 version with the sountrack and omg it JUST FINISHED DOWNLOADING MUST DISCOVER IF MY PC CAN RUN IT Aiiiiiii!!!!

    2. Hahaha! Excited to hear your thoughts.