Friday, January 3, 2014

Day 3: Recent Gaming

I've not had too much time to devote to gaming, but there are two titles I have been enjoying:

XCOM: Enemy Within (PC)

This is an "expansion pack" for the game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which I've reviewed before. I loved the original and this addition, while not a true expansion in my eyes (it in no way actually changes or significantly adds to the story of the main gain), it does add enough interesting elements to make the game feel fresher, makes several new viable strategies, and balances certain things from the base game.

It adds three main things: The Exalt faction (human enemies with tech comparable to XCOM) and the missions that deal with them, genetic engineering to power-up your soldiers in interesting ways, and Mech troopers that can make you feel pretty damn invincible (on the basic difficulty). There are a couple of random council missions, a slew of new maps, the pretty awesome inclusion of other spoken languages, and other odds and ends. Playing through the game was familiar because it doesn't change the base game or base story beyond these additions and a few balances that, for the most part, I didn't notice. Sectopods seemed tougher and some perks were expanded, but nothing excessive. The new enemy types, while nice to see, didn't go too far into actually changing the gameplay -- Mechtoids are mostly weaker Sectopods and Seekers, unless found in a group of other enemies, are a bit too easy to deal with.
Happiest moment in the game for me. Well, almost...

There could have been a bit more done, such as three-way battles betwen XCOM, Exalt, and the Aliens. Or some bigger changes with base management, but I'm hoping Enemy Within is successful enough to warrant further expansions. Not exactly confidant, but hopeful. Would also be happy with a sequel...

All in all, a fully worthy purchase (even if you missed the Steam sale). You can access all of the new things in one run through the game, but that doesn't mean they won't remain interesting as you replay for achievements or attempt higher difficulties.

Battlefield 4 (PS4)

I picked this up in the hopes to play with one of my brothers, but he has yet to find a PS4. Either way, I'm glad I grabbed it because I have found much more enjoyment from the title than my experience with Battlefield 3 or the BF4 demo led me to believe possible. Being able to play in 64 player matches was a huge shift, but my favorite addition was the game mode Obliteration.

The goal is to take a bomb from somewhere in the middle of the map to one of your enemy's bomb points and planting/defending it until it explodes. The enemy is trying to do the same thing with the same bomb, so it can become a titanic battle to retain ownership of the bomb long enough to get it across the map. The game is over when 20 minutes have passed or all three of a teams bomb locations is destroyed. Vehicles are kosher and can be clutch in securing/transporting the bomb carrier. I love it because of the short (enough) matches and the high energy that comes from most every player in the match zeroing in on a particular point.
Basically me every time I get the bomb...

I've only found one or two maps I don't like, and even those are bearable. The classes are all solid and enjoyable this time around and they all can cover multiple roles -- by best class is Recon, but I've barely touched the sniper rifles. Set him up with a carbine and some C4 and you've got a nice covert operative that can take down vehicles with some well placed explosives.

I didn't play this title on the PS3, and I'm happy I skipped it simply because of the larger scale available.

Other than that, I haven't played too much. I've got some credit to use at GameStop but, after having cut down on the actual number of consoles I own to fund the PS4, there isn't too much out there that is especially appealing to me. I did try out Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. It was a lot of fun and a bit different in regards to how items are unlocked, but I wasn't in the mood to finish the game. Eventually, sure, but for now I'm a bit apathetic. Kinds wish the PS4 would release some more titles... now! The only one I'm looking forward to at this time is inFamous: Second Son, which isn't out until March!
Now please!

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