What the Actual @#%&?

Part three of my series on (relatively) recent gaming disappointments. Part one covered Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Part two covered Outer Worlds.

There’s a board game I love that no one else in the family ever wants to play. It’s called Iron Dragon, and whenever I suggest a round, everyone groans. Part of it is that the game takes at least four hours to play. Usually more. Okay, a lot more. Another part is the absolute tedium of it. You start out with a small train and a bag of money. You draw a card listing a series of destinations, the cargo they’re after, and how much they’re willing to pay. Then you plan your route accordingly, building track as you go. First player to connect six cities wins.

Playing well—and winning—requires a careful balance of risk vs reward as well as luck. I love it. Planning out my routes and calculating exactly how much it’s going to cost me to build the track there. How much I’ll make by connecting the dots.

Continue reading “What the Actual @#%&?”

Where’s the Rest of It?

Part two of my series on (relatively) recent gaming disappointments. Part one covered Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

The title of this blog post gives away my biggest disappointment regarding the otherwise fantastically entertaining game, Outer Worlds. But before I get into the ugly, let’s talk about the good and not-so-good. (No real spoilers follow except the fact the game was a lot shorter than I expected it to be.) Continue reading “Where’s the Rest of It?”

It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?

Late last year, I bowled through three of my most anticipated games in a matter of weeks, emerging on the other side somewhat disappointed and quite disillusioned. The critics loved these games. They were winning awards. But they weren’t winners for me. The question was, why?

We’ll start with the biggest meh of all—Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

This is the trailer that sold me on the game. Continue reading “It’s Not You, It’s Me. Or Is It?”

My Odyssey

Sometimes, instead of playing D&D, our group would get together and play a console game. Usually, it would be something we could take turns at, a perennial favourite being Katamari. Then we might fight it out with Super Smash Bros Brawl or, before Twitch was a thing, watch one person play Halo, Portal, or, in one memorable instance, Assassin’s Creed.

It was early 2008 and we’d never heard of this game, but it looked fun. Kind of like Prince of Persia, but with a much bigger world and story. So I bought a copy and played it through, experiencing the usual arc of new game discovery. In addition to learning how to make Altair run and jump and climb, there were extra senses and puzzles and things to collect. It was hard and frustrating, then not so hard and fun in that ‘I’ve accomplished a thing and I really want to accomplish the next thing’ way, then amazing, and then… wow. There was a story here, something deeper than an overarching reason to kill stuff and collect stuff. The best part for me, though, was the fact you didn’t have to fight your way to every victory. A lot of the time, you could sneak around the bad guys, pull off one spectacular kill, and run away.

This wondrous game had also solved the inconsistent puzzle of death and resurrection. Because the player character was reliving the memories of ancestors through a device called the Animus, death was really just desynchronization. Reload and try again.

Perfect game was perfect.

You can continue reading the highlights of my Assassin’s Creed journey in previous posts. (Assassin’s Creed III, Black Flag, Syndicate, Unity, and Rogue.) Today, I’m going to leap forward twenty or so years to Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, which I just finished, bringing me up to date and ahead of new releases for the first time in ten years. Continue reading “My Odyssey”

My Favourite Things: 2019

2019 has drawn to a close (finally) and it’s time to share all the things I loved. I read slightly fewer books and watched fewer movies in theatres. But I think I watched more television than ever before and I read a lot more non-fiction.

While fewer books and movies made it to The List this year, I still managed to discover new favourites, with some of this year’s picks definitely in the running for spots on my All-Time List. Which I should update at some point. Something for the long, cold month of January. Continue reading “My Favourite Things: 2019”