The days are getting longer, and the nights are getting warmer. What better time to fire up some sweet, sweet interactive entertainment?
It's hard to believe it's already April, and that 2014 is almost a third over with. So much has already happened, so many big announcements and great games. As I've been doing each month this year, I thought I'd kick April off by asking what you're playing. Here are the games that have been occupying most of my time of late:
Infamous: Second Son: I finished this game on a "good" playthrough and am now messing around with playing it evil. Turns out, evil is a lot more fun, especially at first, mainly because you no longer have to worry about not blowing things up near civilians. It's also much easier to earn an karmic streak and set off your amazing super-ability, which I used about 4 times total during my good playthrough.
There are still a lot of things about this game that annoy me, chief among them the incredibly accurate enemies who peg me with bullets no matter where I am or how fast I'm moving. I'm also surprised how much less variety there is in this game than there was in Infamous 2: There are fewer enemy types, only two "islands" of the city, the environments are less varied, and the boss fights mostly take place in enclosed spaces, rather than out in the city. But it's just so damned pretty, and so fun to fly around the city, that I'm sure I'll keep playing. I hope Sucker Punch is planning some solid DLC for this game, as I'd love to have some more real challenges to sink my teeth into. For now, anyway, I'm looking forward to playing it without any HUD.
Monument Valley: It's a really good week for the iPad. Last night I started playing Monument Valley, a nifty puzzle game that combines Fez-style perspective puzzling with a slightly Journey-ish vibe. I've heard the game is very short, and so far I wish that the puzzles pushed back a bit more than they do, but as small, self-contained experience, it's been lovely.
FTL: Faster Than Light: I'm finally obsessed. I played some of the PC version a little while after this game came out, but it wasn't until I played the iPad version that I dove in fully. I've been playing for hours on end, and have gotten very close to beating the game on easy difficulty… but I'm not there yet. I'm only beginning to experiment with things like teleporting over to enemy ships, and each new thing I try feels like a big gamble. Which is exactly what makes the game exciting. Some commenters were complaining about how the randomized nature of the game makes it feel less masterable and sometimes cheap, which I totally get - I haven't minded much so far, though. A recent, panic-inducing boarding left me scrambling to protect my ship and keep my crew alive, but thanks to my blast doors (always get blast doors ASAP!) I survived. What a great game this is.
Fez: I've been playing Fez again, this time on PS4 and Vita, mostly just to see how the game works on the new platforms. It looks pretty amazing on PS4, and the way those sunsets fill my living room… ugh. Gorgeous. I never finished the game the first time I played it and probably won't finish it this time, but it's nice to see it on new systems. The PS4's game library is really rounding out, eh?
Luftrausers: I've been playing on Vita, and haven't gotten far, but so far A) I love the music and B) the control scheme is brilliant. Especially on vita, it's one of the best simple/complex control schemes I've come across in a while. I haven't personally been bothered by the Nazi-evoking iconography in the game, though it sounds like some others have. That said, I certainly wouldn't call it a "pleasant" game to play, and I found this article by the game's creator Rami Ismail to be super interesting. I love how openly Ismail talks about his creative process and, crucially, its aftermath.
Final Fantasy X HD Remaster: I've been playing this mostly on Vita, because I love playing meaty JRPGs on Vita. I'm much more into it than I was expecting - the aquatic world it conjures is lovely and vivid and the story is growing on me, though MAN are some of these characters doofy. But it's really the combat system that has me hooked—I asked Twitter what they made of FFX's combat, given that I was really liking it, and it turns out that a lot of you feel similarly. It might be the most satisfying turn-based system I've played in a core Final Fantasy game? (I'm not sure I like it more than Chrono Trigger, but that's another story.) I don't know if I'll be able to spare the dozens of hours more that it'd take to get to the end, but I'm having a good time.
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Jason Schreier has been urging me to play this one for a while, and after I so enjoyed Danganronpa, I decided to pick up a DS cart and play through it. I haven't gotten that far because I keep being distracted by other games, but so far I'm really into it. I plan to finish and then restart and complete Virtue's Last Reward, hopefully in time for Danganronpa 2 to launch this fall. Gonna be a big year for visual-novel-style games!
Threes!: In the wake of all this 2048/1024/cloning stuff, I actually started just playing Threes again, and I'm having a blast. I think that it was reading through some of those awesome development texts and emails, but now that I've started to learn some strategies I'm getting higher scores than ever. (Though I've resigned myself that I'll never match Jason's insane top score, because he is a cyborg.)
Titanfall: This game continues to surprise me in that I find myself regularly going back to it even after sinking in a dozen or two hours during the first couple of weeks. That's more or less unheard of for me with an online FPS, and a testament to how fun Titanfall really is.
One thing that's got me bummed out, though: It really runs so much better on PC - the framerate is rock solid on my mid-grade rig and there's no screen-tearing like there is on Xbox One. And yet, alas, I've accumulated so many levels on Xbox One (and my friends are all on Xbox One) that I don't want to make the switch.
Those technical shortcomings aren't a deal-breaker for me, but like I said when it first came out, I'm surprised the Xbox One version isn't more polished, given how hard EA and Microsoft pushed it as the most important platform. I hope that an update is coming that'll clean things up. When it comes to this game, I care so much less about resolution than I do about frame-rate. Then again, considering how much I tend to fixate on that sort of visual stuff, the Xbox One version's frame-rate issues haven't done much to diminish how much I'm enjoying the game.
Upcoming Stuff: I'm sure there'll be a lot of April games that I won't see coming, but for now, I'm looking forward to playing Child of Light (which I'll be reviewing here) and the PC version of Dark Souls 2, which I've been holding out for despite really wanting to start the game on PS3.
So, that's me. What have you all been playing?