[PC] I Found My Filler

I decided to finally finish Dragon Age: Origins and I’ll be using that as my filler game until Skyrim comes out. Oddly enough, I completed Dragon Age 2 but not the first one. Of course, the second one was far shorter and didn’t really have as much content as the original one.

I took a look a Oblivion, but I have completed that and wasn’t all that keen on playing through it again. I was already done with Sanctum which was much like Plants vs. Zombies in that it isn’t a game you play at length over a long period of time – it’s more like Minesweeper or Solitaire.

I was flipping through Steam pages looking at games but nothing stood out. I almost picked up Dead Island but I can’t really get into zombie killing games. I feel guilty for the senseless violence they focus on all too much and it bores me in a very short time. Generally the zombies are not all that challenging or different in much other than looks. Yeah, I get that there are quests and missions and it’s sort of like Borderlands. I just don’t like the content of it. You could have quests and missions just like Borderlands but have the content be Hello Kitty stuff and it wouldn’t do anything for me either.

I even briefly considered checking out Age of Conan which I didn’t really like much beyond level 20 and not much really before then either. The idea was neat, but meh.

So after all that reflection, I decided on DA:O with the excessive gore turned down (at least turned off the persistent blood). I went with a Dalish Elf Rogue (female) because I didn’t play a rouge before and thought it might be different. My previous characters that I played through about 50-60% of the game were Warrior types; one was sword and board while the other was dual wielding and failing horribly because of the heavy armor (he was always out of energy after using one or two of the abilities).

After playing it for a bit yesterday, I’m not sure I shouldn’t just play a Mage type… That’s the same sort of trap I fell into last time, I kept restarting and trying different characters and back stories. Ah well, I’ll knuckle down and see if I can’t get it done by November 11th.


[PC] First Loss on Sanctum

I played a little, probably for about one hour last night after the kids were in bed. I spent the whole time on one map which was quite tricky.

You have four platforms that are tied together sort of like a trident. At the tip of each spear point was the alien spawn area and at the bottom of the shaft *giggle* is the core that you have to protect from the aliens. Sort of like this:

S  S  S
X  X  X

The lines being a wall between the platforms which had tunnels and a blocking point so you could prevent all three from flooding through. The platforms are all connected with ramps that do not have building points on them.

I ended up creating blocking points to flush the aliens through the right side. The right side spawn had a little maze to get through to get to the middle which then had a short maze to get to the left which had a winding maze through most of the left side with a winding way back through the middle, to the right and then finally through to the back where there was another maze.

What did me in was a flier wave with lots of spores and darting bugs. I had adjusted the front three mazes to use Violators (drones that shoot air and ground targets) instead of mostly Anti-Aircraft seeking missile launchers which explode and do damage to multiple targets which would have made short work of the drones.

I was also upgrading a lot of ground targeting defenses and put down damage amps on the ground tiles of the maze which I don’t think impacts the fliers at all.

Ah well, I know what to change and I’ll give it another go.

Looking ahead, I think I have two more maps left to do, maybe three. That doesn’t seem all that long of a game but if you go back and play through it again doing things differently, it could extend the life of the game some.

One worry I have about not having a MMO to play is that I’ll rapidly consume single player games and my costs for video games will increase dramatically.

[PC] Sanctum is Amusing

I picked this up off of Steam just yesterday. I had seen it previously but wasn’t sure exactly what it was until I tried the demo. I enjoyed the demo enough to drop 20$ on getting the full version with the extra DLC on it.

It’s a First-Person Shooter version of Tower Defense. You face waves of varied enemies and you need to defend your core against them. To do so, you build blocks to re-route the enemy and delay them from getting at your core. You can then upgrade the blocks to have weaponry in them which creates a deadly maze of death! There are also floor tiles you can place down that slow, amplify damage or even harm aliens that pass over them. Also there are flying aliens so varies anti-air weapons exist as well and you need to pay attention to ensure you have that covered. You can also choose to upgrade a block into a televator (I think it’s called) which is a point you can teleport to and also doubles as an elevator if you’re down in the maze and need to get out.

Blocks aside, you have your own load out of weapons of which you can pick three to bring into a map: assault weapon, sniper rifle, shotgun or freeze gun. Each has an alternate fire as well; assault weapon has a grenade launcher, sniper rifle zooms in (twice) and the shotgun builds up a charge until you release it. I haven’t really played with the freeze gun so I can’t really say what it does. The weapons are limitless in ammo but you have a number of shots before the weapon needs to reload or overheats.

Between each wave of aliens, you’re given more resources which you can spend on building more blocks, adding weapons, upgrading block-weapons or upgrading your own weapons.

The alien AI is very simple, they’ll run blindly forward taking the shortest route to your power core. They don’t try to attack you on their way by but will trample you if you’re in the way. They have a various number of forms including two fliers (spores and what look like wasps that dart about and are hard to hit) and several walkers. The walkers have varying characteristics including specific weaknesses. Some are invulnerable to damage from the front, others have mobile or tiny weak spots, one takes more damage as you do more damage to it and can take a lot of damage and another can ball up into a cocoon but is otherwise really fast.

There is a limited number of maps to play on and you’re limited to where you can build blocks. Some have on single entry point while others have multiple attack points. I think the most difficult one had four attack points, two on each side of a really large field with your core in the middle. With limited resources it was quite tricky to build a maze, defenses and teleporters to get around quickly. I almost ended up losing that one because I underestimated the gun placements I had and fliers (spores) started piling into my core.

Something about the game appealed to me. I think it goes back to my childhood years where I’d draw mazes laced with deadly traps and vicious weapons, then I’d imagine a how someone might stumble through. Well, no more imagining, now I can make the mazes (in a very limited fashion) and watch as a horde of different aliens rolls through getting diced up.

It does support up to four players in multi-player mode – which I have yet to try out. I’m not sure how that works. Are there new maps? Do you share resources? Is only one person a builder?

I can think of several improvements. Having alternative player models (or even skins) would be nice and more player weapons would be nice too. The game has a very small selection of maps, from what I see, which is somewhat surprising given most of them are fairly simple.

Heck, a map editor might be cool too – something like a tile placer with some obstacle options (think Neverwinter Nights 1 here); but I’m guessing that would be a lot of work. It’s too bad, a lot of communities spring up around games because of the option for user created content.

Good game, very amusing but needs more maps. I’d definitely recommend trying out the demo to see if it’s your cup of tea before buying.