What I'm Playing (Besides The Division)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I've been talking about The Division a lot. It has occupied the majority of my game time since its release, but I have been playing a few other games here and there. None are really new games, just games that I'm playing for the first time on this PC or games that I decided deserved a second playthrough.

XCOM 2: One playthough is never enough for me when it comes to XCOM. That first playthrough was far more challenging than I had prepared for, so I was a might trepidatious about increasing the difficuly for my second. I stopped short of Iron Man for now, instead focusing on using some of the community mods to change up the mechanics of the game a bit. Most of the mods I've downloaded are simply there to eliminate pesky bits of the game, like unnecessarily long pauses or to provide more complete information at a glance, like telling me how long a wounded soldier will need to recover in the after action report instead of having to search for them in the roster later.

The remaining mods are largely cosmetic, adding a number of accessories, tattoos, and armor patterns to the game. The squad cohesion mod however, adds a new dimension of realism to the campaign. Soldiers who work together often form bonds that result in bonuses for the squad. Transversely, when a soldier dies in a squad with good cohesion, those that were closest (emotionally) to the deceased have a higher chance of becoming shaken. It adds a lot of emotional weight to the average combat mission and I've loved the emergent stories that have come from it.

Sir, You are Being Hunted: I bought this one ages ago, but my old laptop always seemed to chug a bit when trying to play it. It runs beautifully on the new PC, of course but I've been spending most of my time reacquainting myself with the various enemies and terrain. Hiding in the grass from a troupe of aristocratic robots is still as much fun as I remembered it being, perhaps more now that I can experience it without the clunky framerate.

Since the last time I played, Sir has integrated the multiplayer mode, I haven't toyed with it yet, but look forward to evading my mechanical doom with the aid of Wesley.

Destiny: I know what you're thinking right now. I know, I swore off of Bungie's first person number generator a while ago, but after the last update, I was drawn back in. No, I can't lay the blamon the update. The real culprit was the opportunity to play with Wesley for the first time ever while she was six hours away, house-sitting for some friends of ours. We both agreed that if we could play together, it would revitalize our interest in the game. It is the principle thing that has kept me from enjoying Destiny more,

The update did bring me back in for a look, and I had fun playing the new Prison of Elders matches and earning new bits of gear with Ssalarn. Earning gear to pump into my light level felt a lot easier (I went from 294 to 306 in two days), but with the increase in the top light level, Bungie also increased the light requirements for most of the activities. In effect, all they've done is extend the grind, not alleviate any of its frustrating underpinnings.

That's about it for the games I'm playing. The Division beckons me to finish reaching level 30. I've been reading of the community's outrage at the changes in the April 12th patch and their dislike for the incursion. I hope to be able to take part in the end-game activities later this week. I doubt they are as bad as some have made it out to be, but time will tell.