Xcom: This is Bullshit

I really wanted to like Xcom, I really, really did. All my friends seem to like it, lots of fans of the original seem to like it. I do not. I can’t even be bothered to dignify it with a full playthrough. I proclaimed the eponymous ejaculation, ‘This is Bullshit’ just after the third time I tried to maneuver my dude into cover only to be beset with twitching betwixt levels of terrain, not actually going in to the cover despite it being clearly flagged as cover, and not being able to reach and reside in what appeared to be a clearly blank space. It wasn’t just that I was annoyed at of course, that was merely the proverbial straw that caused the camel to ragdoll gracelessly about. Some of the changes are actually quite welcome, two turns for each guy makes a kind of sense I guess, and the tactical part of the original could, at times, be slow and unwieldy, so doing something about it is perfectly fine. The original could benefit from a autosave system, which is bizarrely off by default, but I’m assuming that’s to keep the usual people happy. You know the sort, the sort that rants about how challenging the game is before they mention what the gameplay actually is. Gamers seemingly have so little self-control we actually need an option to enforce not loading rather than … well, not loading. And this of course is to be celebrated. Making a wrong move because the game can’t decide which elevation level you mean after you haven’t selected a new level be damned apparently.
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Skyrim DLC

Well, shockingly, the release of Skyrim DLC was actually closer to eight months than six.

What is to be done about Bethesda though?

Is it time for a boycott of their products, shall I vote with my wallet? Shall I encourage others to do so?

No, for one, I want to play the games, but that’s not a very good reason.

The main problems with a vote with your wallet mentality are that:

Those with the biggest wallets get the most votes.

Which is important, but more convincingly:

Voting with your wallet may not send the message you really intend to send. All not buying a game shows is that you haven’t bought a game. It doesn’t tell anyone why you haven’t bought it. For example, if Bethesda find out that PS3 owners haven’t purchased any DLC they could assume with no other information available that PS3 users aren’t hugely interested in DLC. If the next Bethesda game fails on one platform, or even if all console and PCs owners join together in cause against arbitrary paid-for platform exclusivity (it could well be the other way around next gen after-all) and refuse to purchase their next game; it may only register as a general lack of interest in the sort of game they make.

What instead? Well, that’s pretty simple. Complain. Complain loudly and in the appropriate places. On your own space, or on theirs where they’re likely to see it. You can withhold money if you like or not, but the important thing is to write it down.

Idea

Replace the public voice of Silent Hill with someone who doesn’t want to rewrite classic Silent Hill games and doesn’t use YouTube-level arguments like “The sad part is the people saying Downpour sucked never even played it.”

How about that?

I find Tomm to be neither the good natured saviour of Silent Hill, the powerless figure-head who just wanted to do the right thing, or even the straight villain people have … accused … other people of … accusing them of … its complicated … anyway.

He is a terrible public speaker who says very silly things. He shouldn’t be the public voice of anything.

Goodbye Tomm, its been … interesting I guess?

Yes, that is an actual quote.

Steam on Linux

Well, I’ve been saying for a while that with Steam on Mac it would only be a matter of time before it would appear on Linux, and so it has. It works almost flawlessly. In fact, they’ve just fixed the one really irritating bug where your desktops cursor was changed to Steam’s. The experience with Steam is very much just like Windows and presumably Mac. All the games I own that have Linux versions work absolutely great right away, the only thing that was a slight bother was getting it installed in the first place since I’m on Gentoo, but the overlay works fine. I think the only slight disappointment is that I was kinda expecting the Mac versions of the Grand Theft Auto games to have been made available on Linux too.

The future, however, is bright.

Although I do find it odd that Steam has managed to bring more games so quickly. I figured it would be Android’s mega popularity that would have finally been the event that brought gaming to Linux in a profound way and it kinda didn’t.

Trying Out Ubuntu

So I thought I’d try out Ubuntu 12.10.

I’ve heard mostly good things, but I’m weary of any GNOME 3 silliness when it comes to the desktop.

The Ubuntu installer worked well enough, even though I wanted to awkwardly install it to the blank space at the end of drive, it did this quite well. I was getting prepared to have to re-do my boot partition, but Ubuntu uses the up-to-date GRUB2 which is a wonder to get going. Unlike GRUB or LILO, GRUB2 is largely automatic and picks up the installed OS’s on my system perfectly.
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Don’t You Hate It?

When a Let’s Player will talk about how they’ve played the game before, yet they’ll then, one sentence later, pretend they’re seeing a monster or a scenario for the first time?

We don’t do that.

And our footage looks better.

For the discerning Silent Hill fan:

Our Let’s (not) Play of Silent Hill 2 (Blind) is complete. So if you’re one of those people who have been waiting for the playthrough to finish, then now is your time.

7 hours, 58 minutes, and 53 seconds of videos. With a combined size of 25.2GB in ‘Nigh Lossless’ quality, it’s the best looking Silent Hill 2 footage we’ve seen. 1080P widescreen, no stretching, PC version. We’ll add the Maria scenario probably some time next year.

Please, enjoy, and spread the word. It would be nice if a high quality Let’s Play without the usual screaming reactioncam can also do well.

Year’s End 2012

This post is dedicated to YouTube user: MrCalu24 whose upset mindless fanboyism inspired me to write this. Without people like you, I’d have no-one to upset on principle by telling the truth about over-rated pablum. Thank you.

Actually, the real reason I was tempted to skip this post this year is that I haven’t had the opportunity to play several of the few big releases that haven’t been postponed to next year. No Dishonoured, no Xcom, no Assassin’s Creed III. The reason for this is switching from buying games and then re-selling them to renting them from LoveFilm. The advantage of LoveFilm is the volume of games I can play and review, the disadvantage is that it is harder to get the more up to date games. I do also game on my PC of course, but due to injury it has been easier to simply use the PS3. So instead of this being a Game of the Year style article concentrating on new games, its going to be a simple round-up of games I’ve played and what I thought of them. Luckily the title lets me do either – which is handy.

Let us (EAT LETTUCE!) start at the beginning.
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A Time, A Place, A Book of Memories.

Reviews are coming in very slowly for this game, and it isn’t even coming out until early November here, so obviously early days yet.

GameRankings: 78.67%

MetaCritic: Critic: 62% User: 64%

Gamerankings-wise, that’s pretty good, but only based on three critic reviews. That puts it in a similar place as Silent Hill 4: The Room, Shattered Memories, and Silent Hill: Origins. That’s above Homecoming and Downpour, but below 1, 2 & 3.

Metacritic-wise, with only four critic reviews, and 132 user ratings, Book of Memories is now tentatively below the lowest performing Silent Hill: Downpour.

Book of Memories is in the strange position of having been released (at least in some areas) yet without review from many big industry names.

Not actually a handheld gamer myself, so you won’t be seeing a review from us unless it receives a port.