We’ve been gone pretty much all summer, but that doesn’t mean that gaming wasn’t happening. Summer always surprises with a game or two out of nowhere and then there’s always that game from your backlog that takes over your life.
REPLY TO ALL – The Horrible Night contributors answer gaming questions and try to determine who has the right opinion.
What did you play this Summer?
Cole – My two favorite games from the Summer of 2014 have been Divinity: Original Sin and then The Last of Us: Remastered. I actually haven’t been playing many games this summer. There was a tiny itch clawing at the back of my head about playing but I never scratched it. Even after Divinity was released. I played that game sporadically and what I’ve played of it, I love. However, it is one of those games where I can’t be playing anything else for a long period of time or I will forget how to play it. That being said: it’s gorgeous, fucking hard as hell, and something that I think could possibly stand the test of time.
I just picked up The Last of Us: Remastered a few weeks ago and had to play through that emotional beginning again. Well not really “had” to but wanted to. I understand that some people might have issues with how it handles and the difficulty spikes, but for me it’s all about the story and I’m loving it so far. I haven’t had this kind of stress playing a game in quite a long time. The PS4 graphical upgrades are noticeable but not worth it if you finished the main story and DLC on the PS3. It definitely lives up to all the hype and awards it received last year.
Justin – I’m still terrified of Divinity. The learning curve looks like a lot of work, but it also looks like a dangerous addiction once I’ve gotten through it. My antidote to Divinity this summer was to play a ton of Torchlight 2. My brain didn’t have to work as hard.
I was so excited to play TLoU: Remastered again, and then my feels during that intro reminded me what I was about to go through. I’m glad I bought it and it sure is pretty, but every time I try to play it the whole world gets heavy.
Jason – My gaming has been pretty quiet this summer. I can’t say I’ve had anything that I’ve solely been focusing on outside of my usual staples. It’s been smooth sailing keeping up with all of the Minecraft updates and now that 1.8 is getting released soon I will likely bury my head into it a bit more.
Telltale’s The Walking Dead Season 2 has finally wrapped up and with season 3 just announced I’m looking forward to see where they take the series. I’ve been waiting for The Wolf Among Us to wrap up and I will likely start it from scratch very soon. I’ve dabbled with State of Decay a bit enough to think that it would be fun to either stream or record for my YouTube channel. Haven’t quite pulled the trigger on that decision yet.
Jordan – The only new game I played over the summer was Firefall. I played it because it was highly visible up in the Featured Items carousel on Steam. I was bored and it was free. I remember seeing it at SXSW back in 2012 and watching some YouTube beta play of it. I can’t say I remember hearing anything about it since. I kinda assumed this game was already out. I remember thinking it looked pretty cool back in 2012. Like it might be a massive multiplayer Borderlands. Nothing much to say about it though. It doesn’t seem to have changed at all since 2012. Its got the free-to-play grind so you can unlock “better” weapons – but everything new I was getting didn’t seem (or felt) any different from what I already had. So there wasn’t much incentive to grind for better gear. The game has a jet packs which is a plus. That might lead one to assuming that the entire game is this giant, opened world with very vertical landscapes… but, outside the HUB area, most missions are instanced. The verticality ended up being another chore for the HUB world missions. Point A to Point B didn’t seem very far on the map until you realize you have to go all the way around and up a mountain to get to the top. You can just jump off and glide right back to base when the mission is over though. That is kinda cool. I’ll probably give the game another chance. Its seems an easy game to play casually. It’s a first person shooter (the most casual of genres) without any PvP. So you can jump into the world, kill some giant space bugs and then forget about it for a couple of weeks.
My backlog game this summer has been La-Mulana. I love and hate this game all at the same time. In one moment I can be blown away by all the simple ways the game manages to create complex puzzles – then at the same time pissed off because the jump mechanic is utterly broken. Which may actually be part of the game’s puzzle design. I was ecstatic when I discovered the double jump item. I could finally make a tiny course correction mid jump with it. There are also items in the game that make most of the flying enemies pass through you. Not having to worry about the five bats flying around the screen was a godsend. You are also able to warp to the different areas of the game… but its kind of hidden inside a(n easily solvable) puzzle which I couldn’t figure out for a while. I almost quit playing it because I got so sick of having to run all the way back through the same areas every time I died. If a game requires even the slightest bit of problem-solving, I usually pause it and pull up the game wiki on my phone and ta-da – problems solved. I am a very lazy gamer. However, I gave the blind play-through my best effort with this one. I also got out a notebook and wrote down every little piece of dialog and script that was presented to me after I realized they were are all clues. And most are clues you’ll need later in the game. And most are only one-sixth of a clue you’ll need to piece together from other clues scattered about. I like to think I made it pretty far on my own – because I’m a vain and self-centered – but in actuality I could never have finished this game on my own. So the verdict is still out on whether I’m just dull-witted and/or this game is overly obtuse. Either way, this is probably one of the best games I have played in a long time. It’s certainly the kind of game I have always dreamed of making. A pixel-art, 2d side-scrolling platformer, metroidvania style game with complex puzzles (and a whip as your main weapon). This game is not for the casual play session. You need to be rested, in a quiet space, and paying complete attention to every little detail to make any progress. I’m thinking of playing the game through a second time and seeing how much I missed on my own the first time through. After 40+ hours with a game you kinda forget how your experience with it started.
Justin – Firefall sounds like the most forgettable game of all time that was worked on for close to a decade. I’d play it with friends though just to mess around, because…. free.
You just got me really excited for La-Mulana. I played through the first part of it a few different times and loved it, but had no idea this was a “get your notebook” out type of game. I’ve heard it was hard, but that’s beyond what I’ve expected. I’ll be curious if La-Mulana 2 simplifies things or just leans into the challenge.
I’ll be honest, my game of the summer has to be Hearthstone just based on sheer amount of time/rounds played. It’s been fun to play with friends, too, as there are a handful of my coworkers that play.
That being said, if you have to play a summer release my vote goes to Wolfenstein: The New Order. There is no reason a new Wolfenstein needs to be made and there is no reason that a new Wolfenstein should be good. For some reason though, I gave a shit about BJ Blazkowicz and I’m a sucker for any alternate future involving the Nazis. It also helps that dual wielding weapons has never felt better, the action was fast paced, and those mechanical dogs scared the hell out of me.
Jordan – Hearthstone… I didn’t know we were including “casual” games in the mix. In that case I’ve been playing the hell out of iSudoku on my iPhone. Game of the Year 2014!
I don’t know if Firefall can be made fun with friends. I suppose we could drop a Thumper and gather up resources for the mining conglomerates… that sounds fun right?
Based on the current state of its Kickstarter, I’ll assume La-Mulana 2 is going to be more La-Mulana. Which will be awesome. After beating the first one I still want more and feel a bit confident I could conquer another without much help. Probably the easiest way to describe La-Mulana is Fez with tons of mini-bosses. That’s the only other game this side of the second millennia that I needed to keep a notebook by my side.
I’ve heard a ton of positive feedback from people who have played Wolfenstein. Which is kinda surprising. I watched a bit of the beginning of the game and the character of BJ and the story seem impossibility stupid. I’ll need to stick with the rest of the game since it’ll probably be a heavy contender for some Game of the Year categories.
Coop – I’m gonna 2nd Wolfenstein. That game had no reason being good, and so far I don’t have any complaints. Sure the enemies without guns are a little derpy, but lets face it, Wolfenstein is about guns, and most of the Nazi’s have them. Shooters should be about guns first and story 2nd. I’m digging both.
I also blew through The Wolf Among Us now that the season is over. I used to hate Telltale games. I didn’t get them. Of course I was always an action guy so that’s probably why. They changed my mind with The Walking Dead, and The Wolf Among Us holds up pretty well. I loved the world and the Characters. I didn’t feel like my choices has as much of an impact as they did in TWD, but maybe they did and I just didn’t notice. Anyway, it’s a solid game and I’m glad I played through it.
Aaron – My fresh summer game has to be Hearthstone, as now I’ve got so many of the cards and I play several matches a week, watch other people stream it and talk about it with co-workers day after day. My main goal remains to live it up as a thoughtstealing priest, but I’ve been distracted lately by replicating what I see all the other big dogs do in torunaments. Let’s just say, money has been set on fire over here. If it weren’t for that, I’ve enjoy the bit of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare I played shortly after its PC release. That game is goofy, adorable and makes Call of Duty look like a serious ripe old butt. Your view of CoD may vary.
I did recently dip into my backlog last weekend in an attempt to finish Darksiders 2. It was surprisingly easy to pick up again and I still believe I’m more of a Death fan than I was of War. Must be the dual scythes and sick parkour.
Justin G – Hoo boy. I think this summer can be summarized by Michael Bay and Robert Ludlum. I have played a shitload of Titanfall, which is only marred by people’s unwillingness to use their mics in a game designed for team communication, and I responded to Nicole’s request for someone else to replay Deus Ex: Human Revolution with her. For the record: beat it on the hardest mode. Without the tranq gun. With minimal casualties. You can kiss my ring now.
Basically, I’m excited to be back, talking about gaming.
Well put, Gifford. Now about those games… stay tuned.