The Magic Is Gone
For this week’s What Are You Playing This Weekend?, Samantha Nelson gave us the scoop on the latest Puzzle Quest mashup. This time out, its blend of jewel-matching and monster-slaying has been combined with Magic: The Gathering, but as sweet as that sounds, Samantha wasn’t convinced the marriage was a strong one. Down in the comments, Chris Ingersoll echoed those sentiments and had some more complaints:
For me, the worst part of MTG:PQ is the fact that you have to be online to play. I really hate having my data plan on for extended periods of time, and it absolutely kills my phone’s battery to play this for more than one quest or two—and that’s when the connection is stable. I’ve had more than a few sessions become a nightmarish parade of “Can’t connect to server. Retry?” messages and my AI opponent taking forever to take a turn while it waits for the connection, all while draining my battery.
Also, the “brief description,” as Samantha called it, of whatever you’re facing in the storyline mode is just the flavor text from the actual printed version of the card more often than not.
That said, I’ve more or less put the game down. I had been checking in every day since its launch in mid-December just to claw my way to the free bonus at the end of 31 days, but even that is broken. It goes by the CALENDAR MONTH, not consecutive days, so the counter reset on January 1st, meaning it was impossible for anyone who started on December 17th or whenever to actually receive that reward. (Unless I actually missed a day. But I don’t think that happened because I was pretty diligent about it.) That just stank of the old “dollar bill on a string” routine, and now I just don’t care.
Elsewhere in the comments, Much loved character from canc laid out a lengthy and detailed backstory for their Fallout 4 character, one that brings in some series lore to explain specific traits and motivations in interesting ways. Here’s a taste, and you can find the rest in the original comment:
All Cole ever wanted was a family. He spent the first eight years of his life under unspeakable conditions in The Pitt before the scourge, watching as everyone who tried to take care of him mutated or went mad. No one could be trusted, and no law existed.
Then the Brotherhood Of Steel came and took young Cole away. He had never seen metal men like this before and immediately thought they were angels. He learned they were only people, but they were people with a strict code. They were not affectionate but not cruel, and above all, their actions were always consistent and predictable. He grew to love these people, and more importantly he grew to love the ideals of the brotherhood itself. People could disappoint you, but order was salvation.
He became an initiate and followed his new family to the capital wasteland. He despised the wasteland savages, not so much for the situation they found themselves in but for the fact that, from his perspective, they did little to improve themselves. It is one thing to find yourself in chaos, it is another to revel in it and call it freedom. Real freedom was the strength to not be afraid and having allies whose allegiances were plain and unchanging.
So when Elder Lyons began to stray from the path of total allegiance to the goals of the brotherhood—when he began to value the people of the wasteland over his own soldiers—Cole left with others who stayed true to order. Soon after, on a mission to recover technology from the Dunwich building, Cole found himself separated from his team. He began to feel disoriented, incapable of remembering where he was or how he had got there. He stumbled through black passageways tormented by vicious whispers that reminded him of his childhood terrors. He began to feel like his power armor was suffocating him, so he took it off. Stumbling out of its bulkiness though, he hit his head and lost consciousness.
When he woke up, he found himself in a lab on a table, connected to wires and tubes. There were doctors in the corner, whispering that it had not worked (“What hadn’t worked?” he thought, still groggy), and that they should send the soldier back to his unit. Another doctor countered that he would be sick for some time and should be given leave.
Cole lost consciousness again and awoke to find himself in yet another strange place. This time it was a house and he was in the most comfortable bed he had ever been in. He was extremely feverish and could not speak. As he faded in and out of consciousness, a woman was often there. He came to understand that she thought his name was James. She believed herself to be his wife. She believed he had been the victim of a chemical attack during a battle he had fought. That he had first been pronounced MIA but miraculously the military had found him. And, most importantly, that she loved him. She was so kind, and existence was so peaceful—even more than when he was with the brotherhood, which was orderly but never serene—that he began to believe her.
And in some Gameological community news, today is January 8, which means it’s time for DL’s monthly Mario Kart 8 On The 8th community grand prix. The racing is set to start at 8 p.m. Central time, and the special code to find the meet-up is 8746-0403-4714. Good luck!
How Did This Get Made?
Devil’s Third, the latest game from Dead Or Alive and Ninja Gaiden designer Tomonobu Itagaki, has been a long time coming. It was first announced more than five years prior to its December release date, and so much about it has changed in that time: its initial publisher, THQ, no longer exists; its game engine, the underlying technology making the whole thing work, was changed at least twice; and its original starring duo were replaced with a bald guy who plays drums and is covered in tattoos. Nintendo, of all companies, picked it up and released it as a Wii U exclusive, but given its reception, maybe it should’ve been left to die. The fact that Devil’s Third managed to survive this long is completely flummoxing, and the storyline and game modes its creators eventually settled are equally bizarre. The Space Pope summed up its (smidgen of) appeal nicely:
If there’s one thing to admire about this fascinating train wreck, it’s this: If you’re going to be shitty, go big. Satellites being destroyed? How about all the satellites being destroyed! Guitar-motivated murder! Chicken herding! No one will remember something that’s shitty and generic, but everyone will remember something that’s shitty and ridiculous. Better to be Plan 9 From Outer Space than…okay, I can’t think of a good counterexample—which actually proves my point. Ha ha!
And Duwease stopped to consider the game as part of the Wii U’s library, which is turning out to be a strange one:
This certainly doesn’t scream “Wii U,” but then again, on reflection, the Wii U catalogue is a bizarre mishmash not seen since the heyday of the PlayStation2. Who knew that this far into the current console generation it would be the only one with a major Japanese RPG (Xenoblade Chronicles X) and hardcore technical action games (Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101). That’s not mentioning the quirky little puzzlers, platformers, and independent games in between.
That’ll do it for this week, Gameologians. As always, thank you for reading and commenting. We’ll see you again next week!