Sunday, 14 July 2013

Forgotten Realms

My gaming world seems to have gone mental lately through the collision of multiple trends:
  1. First there is the rise of the household's new gamer, my son. His world is now divided between his Nintendo characters, Skylanders, and "his" iPad with its endless supply of games and videos to consume. Since my son occupies most of my time at home, so does his gaming.
  2. Me, I'm trying to get rid of most of my PS3 games because my PlayStation is not a PlayStation anymore, it is a Mass Effect station. There is no point in holding on to other games because, one by one, I sample them only to realize I prefer to play the real thing instead. It got to a level where there is a brick wall between non Mass Effect games and my PS3.
  3. All the reservations I have concerning the upcoming new generation of consoles is leading me to look for better alternatives. The glaringly obvious is the world of PC gaming.
Thus I am finding myself exploring this world I haven't visited for long while, the world of PC gaming. Thus far I tried my hands with several games:
  1. World of Tanks: My PAX Australia ticket came with a bonus offer for this game so I thought I'd give it a shot. It's quite nice but its highly competitive player vs player collisions made a couple of things glaringly obvious: first, I am totally useless with keyboard+mouse controls. And second, my Windows laptop, purchased three years ago solely for its attractive price, is no gaming machine.
  2. FTL: An interesting game I got through the Humble Bundle for Windows, Linux and Mac in a DRM free package for $2.50. Steam is currently selling it for the same price through its current sale. That said, I haven't actually given the game a proper go yet...
  3. Star Wars the Old Republic: Acknowledged as an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) failure of a game, I tried it on for size because I could play it for free and because it was made by Bioware. As in the makers of Mass Effect Bioware.
  4. Company of Heroes: Good Game recently mentioned this 2007 game in their review of its sequel. I got this RTS (Real Time Strategy) title, a genre I used to like in my former PC gaming days, through the Steam sale for $7. Thus far it seems as if my son and I could spend a lot of time with this title. Being an old title, it also seems to work fairly well on my incapable PC!
  5. Dota 2: The latest MMO from Valve seems a promising free to play Dungeons & Dragons like adventure.
  6. Neverwinter: Talking about Dungeons & Dragons MMOs, this is the real thing - and it looks damn good, even on my PC.
The point of this story is that it seems as if I'm on to a whole new complicated world of gaming. The last three titles in particular seem as if they will easily consume the next few months of my life; from there the road to further incursions on my wallet, for better hardware, is firmly paved.
More importantly, I am reminded of where the attraction in PC gaming is: through the availability of a keyboard and a mouse, and the lack of limitations imposed by console provider servers, games can be much more complicated. It appears as if MMOs are taking full advantage of this power to create an attractive gaming experience, and experience I am now looking forward to exploit.

Image rights: Neverwinter

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