Being passionate sorts, we at Power Up Gaming like to pontificate about video games. We tend to discuss their forms, themes and technicalities, whiling away the wee hours as we contemplate the structure of a particularly pleasing Carmack creation. We like to think of ourselves as video game philosophers, agonising over games in mind-expanding ways. Given that, it seems apt to quote Socrates and his famous phrase, “let’s play some video games, y’all!”
This week I have been continuing my quest to ‘Catch ’em All’ in Pokemon Soul Silver. After pouring some more hours into it I’m almost ready to challenge Jasmine, the sixth Gym Leader, from Olivine City. She is apparently quite proficient in Steel-type Pokemon, and my slightly adjusted top six will hopefully help me out both in the upcoming battle and ones in the future.
Prior to acquiring my fifth gym badge, I was in desperate need of a solid Water-type Pokemon in order to cross the seas to Cianwood City. While Magikarp/Gyrados or Krabby/Kingler seemed quite a straightforward choice, the allure of challenge no doubt factored into my decision. After much to-ing and fro-ing, my Level 27 Graveler was substituted with Poliwag – now a Level 31 Poliwhirl. The remainder of my immediate team hasn’t changed besides a few party members evolving into Hypno, Weepinbell and Ampharos. I’ve got a feeling my Pidgeotto and Quilava aren’t too far away, either.
From one RPG to another, I’ve finally started to dip my toes into The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I’ve come to the realisation that my 10 hours has, in the grand scheme of things, accounted for virtually nothing; the world is huge and there’s shedloads of stuff to do. The inclusion of Gwent has also been a surprisingly welcome distraction and breaks up my aimless wandering really well. The drawn-out story missions are quite stimulating, but I’m yet to complete many side quests that correlate to my relatively low level. Hopefully, when my level is high enough to attempt some of these missions – secondary quests and Witcher contracts – they’ll be just as stimulating as the main quest line.
In preparation for The Witcher 3’s new DLC, Blood and Wine, I’ve slipped back into the incredibly comfortable shoes of Geralt of Rivia. Why are they so comfortable? Well, it’s largely because my level 36 monster hunter can now delicately slice apart low-level monsters with a satisfying ease.
My play time is bordering on ridiculous, but there are still so many goals I have to reach. So, in order to keep myself grounded, and not get dragged to around on a whim (like a teleporting horse named Roach), I’ve been methodically working through the game’s trophies list. Putting together a full set of armour was an easy task, and completing all the monster contracts is enjoyable, but completing the game at a higher difficulty is something that I’m not going to do for a while.
I’m on a tight schedule at the moment. TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan is out this week, and I want to review it swiftly. Blood and Wine is out next week, so I don’t think I feel like returning Geralt to his base level. Then, Guilty Gear Revelator is out the week after, and I need to be ready to take on its influx of newcomers. I also need to get back to playing The Last of Us, which has become a running theme of the last few years.
The past week has been filled with just one thing for me: Exploring Uncharted territory. After hearing that the best fox in video games makes an appearance in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Scott convinced me to, finally, play through the PS3 trilogy and then move on to Uncharted 4. In the past 6 days, I have finished all three PS3 games (playing them on the PS4 remaster) and made decent progress with the fourth title.
Rather than stating why I think these games are amazing (because they are), I will just mention some of my favourite scenes from the trilogy. I really wasn’t expecting the supernatural mutant twist near the end of Drake’s Fortune. I’m not very good with scary things, and the monsters unnerved me a bit. Good twist, though. In Among Thieves, there are too many great scenes to mention. Everything in Nepal, the train, the ice cave in the Himalaya’s, Tenzin’s village shootout, it’s all amazing. The train probably takes the cake for being the best moment. Drake’s Deception took a while to get going, and I didn’t love it at first, but by the time I reached the cruise ship, I knew the game was fantastic. Suprisingly, I particularly enjoyed wandering around in the desert searching for water. The sandy landscapes are gorgeous, especially at night. Also, the Last Crusade-esque caravan takedown is pretty great. I’ll talk more about Uncharted 4 next week!
After finally spending some time with GTAV the last couple of weeks, I had to completely switch gears by investing some ample time into both Battleborn and Overwatch. I would go into the details concerning both of these but unless you’ve been living under a rock, I’m sure you know about them. Besides, they’re basically the exact same game anyway (I’m 100% joking. You do not have to type the hateful comment that just popped into your head).
My ups and downs with Battleborn have been interesting. I enjoyed the beta a fair bit and temporarily thought about buying the game as I could see potential. Upon playing the full release, I was glad I did not make the full purchase as I quickly found myself forcing playtime to adequately write the review. After spending several hours with the game, it has now nestled itself into my brain as forgettably decent. Everything is over-the-top, which some may enjoy, but I found it to be too much of an inconsistent mess. I also have unkindly reservations concerning the matchmaking and balancing systems. I do have a favorite character, which is always nice in character heavy games, but I can’t say I am craving more time with it in any way. Part of that may be due to the fact that I have just started playing Overwatch.
Whereas Battleborn was a bit convoluted in both direction and execution, Overwatch presents a tight FPS package that is hard not to love. Blizzard is known for quality and Overwatch has also received that treatment. Every aspect of the game is polished. The versatility in abilities, balancing between individual aspects for each character, the controls, the presentation, the accessibility, the attention to detail, the way they’ve listened to both critics and fans, etc., everything has been great. I have not decided on a main but then again Overwatch isn’t really made for that. Whereas I may start on defense in Escort with Junkrat, I may switch to Hanzo or Mei. Each character has their own impactful strengths and frustrating weaknesses but that’s what makes the game great. Many matches come down to the wire and it’s an incredible sense of accomplishment to be a deciding factor.
Look for reviews of both Battleborn and Overwatch here on the site in the near future.
My week has proven that no matter how busy you think you are, there’s always a game small but satisfying enough to fit your schedule. Free-to-play indie title Dr Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist clocks in at a whopping 15-30 minutes, so I really had no excuse not to give it a go.
DLTTaTTCE:aWH (not much shorter as an acronym, is it?) turns out to be something of a meta-game, imagining if games had support staff running around behind the scenes triggering all the events we take for granted. You load up in a backstage area of sorts, and are told rather awkwardly by a Wheatly-from-Portal-2 soundalike that you can’t play the game because someone else is currently in it. With everyone else on strike, it’s up to you to get the current player safely through the game so you can finally have a turn! While it’s linear and without much actual gameplay or reason to play through a second time, who doesn’t have half an hour to go through a cheeky little indie game for a laugh?