Friday, March 6, 2015

Personal note.

Good day, dear reader.

In a matter of hours, I and a stalwart band of merry men shall load up the accumulated detritus of a life spent absorbing gaming culture and make good our escape to new digs - a house, with Kayla, my sweet heart.

I have, thusly, spent the lion's share of today working like a dog, packing up said geeky life into assorted boxes - and the time has come to pack up my most constant of companions - the computer I write this on.

I shan't have it up and running (and connected to the Internet) until Monday, so I trust you'll forgive me as I merely lob tiny posts written on my cell phone at you - which will no doubt serve, as that's what I've been doing for like two weeks anyway.

Can we talk about games now?

The Order seems doomed to be one of those games that flashed in the pan of popular gaming consciousness, momentarily, and disappeared forever - but I'm having a hard time feeling indifferent and negative about it.

I will now coin a phrase - the Dragon's Crown effect.  That is, how many shits I give about a game - how much a game excites and inspires and interests me - can be directly measured by how much I end up writing about it.  And I know, I know, I haven't actually written many posts on The Order - I've been working on the review.

The review is up to four thousand, five hundred words.  And I think I've got another thousand or two to go.  I find it intensely interesting, as someone who's consumed most of the triple-A releases of the past decade, and I cannot advise you or anyone else that it's not an experience worth having.  There's a ton to say about it - I find the way the game handles all its little choices to be very endearing, and worth pointing out.

Meanwhile, primetime has struck my Vita in a big way.

Helldivers, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines and Olli Olli 2 landed on my Vita this week, and all three are pretty sweet, so far.  I only got through the tutorial of Helldivers, but Oreshi... Y'know what?  I hate calling it Oreshika.  Its original title is way better.

I'm calling it Over My Dead Body 2 from now on.

Over My Dead Body 2 is... like if Okami were a turn-based RPG.  In terms of presentation.  Remember how Okami was just a big, heartfelt love-letter to Japanese flavor and culture? How its flames were Japanese ink-block flames and its enemies were stylized ink-block enemies?

That's Over My Dead Body 2.  It's absolutely gorgeous, it's designed to be played in nice short bursts of a month or two of in-game time (as each of your heroes only has twenty-four months to live, it breaks it up into manageable months), and it is an incredibly gritty, grainy game.  There are a massive number of systems competing for your attention, in this game, but even with this ludicrously low-priced high-end RPG on my plate, what I'm playing, when I have a spare moment and want to unwind, is Olli Olli 2.

I pushed Kayla to snag it with her PS+ membership, and she's having much the same experience I had with the first game.  "I'm just not very good at it," she told me today.

"That's Olli Olli," I assured her.  "That's the universal experience of playing it.  Just work towards getting the five stars on each level before you move on to the next - that's how the game really teaches you how to play."

I've gathered all five stars on each level, so far, and I'm within striking distance of the ending - and this is one of those games I agree with the critics on.  It is a sequel done right - everything you loved about the first game, made better.  Better environments and deeper gameplay, but the same flow and feel of the gameplay one came to love with the original.

If you've got a PS+ membership, check it out.

If you don't have a PS+ membership, buy it.  Roll 7 have released another excellent game.

And now, back to packing.

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