Friday, June 16, 2017

What the heart wants.

My brother borrowed Horizon: Zero Dawn months ago, and given that I always take a few days off for E3, I forced him to return it to me.  I finally had some time to play it on Wednesday night.

After a bit of Overwatch, of course.  I booted it up and loaded my last save, and Aloy had just entered a Cauldron - one of Horizon's narrative-heavy exposition-dump dungeons that would take me an hour or more to escape, and wouldn't do a great job of reminding me what the controls were in the process.
I could have just started a fresh save, but to get past the game's narrative-heavy tutorial and reach the point where Aloy can even just explore the first valley would be, again, over an hour.

I turned, instead, to an old favorite.

Last night - Thursday night - I was kind of riding the post-E3 high and thinking about Wolfenstein: The New Colossus, which Chamberlain and I both agree is the Game of the Show.  I put in Wolfenstein: The New Order and let it install.

Its opening sequence is really not the nicest, graphically-speaking, but soon enough I was dual-wielding heavy machine guns and busting my way through some Nazi trenches.  But man, I forgot how challenging this game could be.  I'd only set it on the middle difficulty level - "normal," to my eye - but I was dying just enough to cross the line from "deliciously challenged" to "what else have we got to play?"

So I turned, again, to an old favorite.

Two nights in a row, I've tumbled into Darkest Dungeon.  Last night I ran a bunch of champions (highest-level heroes) through a Long run in the Ruins - a Valkyrie flight of a Hellion tanking, a Grave Robber for burst damage, a Plague Doctor for damage over time and a Vestal healing - and beyond the Grave Robber and Plague Doctor getting a little stressed, they were incredibly successful.

I had almost gone with a Crusader in the tank slot, but the Hellion's flexibility and that all-powerful stun make her the best tank, in my book, and these ladies crushed it.  They had to take out like three Bone Bearers (the new special enemy types that appear in the Ruins on level 6 runs) and a Collector, but the Collector got wrecked easily.

Wednesday night was a lot harder.

I guess I'd just never fought a Hateful Virago before - again, one of the new special enemies if you take a crew of level 6 heroes into the Weald - but this thing kind of destroyed my team.  She debuffs your team, puts some DoTs on you and you don't think much of it, your ranged attackers focusing her in the back while your frontline deals with her frontline.

Don't do that.  Don't deal with her frontline.  Stun them so they're not hurting you, maybe, but don't kill them.

The Hateful Virago will take the corpses of any of its allies and turn them into... mushrooms.  Just mushrooms.  The mushrooms don't attack you.  They just sit there, where a corpse used to be, so you attack the next enemy and maybe keep plucking away at the Virago, and those DoTs it used are starting to make things a little dangerous, so when your Vestal's turn rolls around you're really ready for that heal and you'll notice... all her healing abilities - the buttons for them - are now overgrown with evil mushrooms and a toxic green haze.

You can't use any healing abilities, once that Mushroom takes the field, and so the Hateful Virago continues to bleed the life from your team as you desperately try to eliminate it and its mushrooms - all in the hopes of getting in to the next fight where you might actually be able to heal your team to a comfortable place.

And I ended up fighting like five of these things in that first run on Wednesday night.  It seemed like every other fight had one of them in it.  My Highwayman went mad first.  Then my Crusader.  The Vestal in the back, when her time came, ended up becoming Stalwart and her stress never went above 30 for the rest of the run.  She, alone, kept that team running as all her companions descended into madness.

They made it to the end of the dungeon - turned a tidy profit of like fifty grand on that run - and piled everyone but the Vestal with ice in her veins into stress treatments.

Two people in my orbit of gamer consciousness are suuuper hyped about the upcoming DLC for XCOM 2 on PC - Alex and the guy who draws Nerf Now! - and I gotta' say, I get it.  The Radiant update's relatively small changes to Darkest Dungeon have taken one of my favorite games of all time and made it scary and thrilling and new again, and I'm gonna' have to install Steam on my new laptop to ensure I can check out The Crimson Court (which launches on Tuesday!) as soon as possible.

...should probably get a head start on that...


  1. come play with usssSSSssSSSSSSs....

    1. DD's installed on the new laptop. Just gotta' get home and snag the DLC ^.^