After finishing Ultima 4, I will be moving into my “Player’s Choice” for the blog. I have decided to go with a game that is highly recommended and respected in the media: Braid. I will be starting the game relatively cold having only completed the first world a few months ago in passing. Hopefully, this puzzle/platformer will have a little more pick up and play qualities than Ultima 4 did to provide a break from longer gaming sessions that are hard to schedule.
I do not know much about Braid other than it was designed by Jonathan Blow as a meta-commentary on games and is built around the concept of reversing time to solve environmental puzzles. The deeper contexts of the game should make for interesting writing and analysis. Unfortunately, that is literally all I know to write about thus far since it seems going in without any knowledge is the best way to play the game. If you have played it before and have any advice or tips for me, feel free to leave comments. I may also ask for help with prizes given for the most creative or helpful answers.
In the meantime, I have finally gotten around to playing the new Xcom game by Firaxis. Although it plays quite differently from the original UFO Defense, it has a lot going for it and suits my time schedule much better. As much as I would like to get mired in the stats of each soldier, micromanaging each base, and using large squad tactics, I just don’t have the time. Xcom streamlines many of the features that were tedious to perform in the original and has a great atmosphere about it. The plot is much more front loaded and does not emerge as a result of the missions themselves, which I am a little disappointed about, but it does hold true to the feeling of the original. The frailty of your assault teams and the inscrutable intentions of the aliens causes constant tension.
The only major complaint I have about the game is that the battlefield treats the enemy as ‘mobs’ that need to be activated before they begin moving. One of the scariest parts of the original X-Com is the inability to do anything as aliens wander around a populated city killing innocents while your troops desperately advance. Removing this makes the game feel less ‘real’ and reduces the sense of urgency in each mission. Other than that, I’m loving it so far.
[Oh no! I've 'agroed' the 'mob'.]
This has been a short announcement post, but I have the blinders on for Braid to save any surprises that may come in the game. Wish me luck as I know the puzzles are quite mind bending.