How to Survive
It’s official; I will be moving to Virginia later this year. Mostly, this terrifies me; I have to sell a house – something I’ve never done before – and find a new job – something I struggled with literally for years upon moving to Illinois. Regardless, I think the move is for the best (especially since this hellhole’s had the worst winter in like 50 years, so I’m ready to be done with it).
As a result, there’s been a flurry of activity around my house. For one, I rotated a room 90 degrees at the real estate agent’s suggestion. This wouldn’t be so impressive except that the room had a seven-seat sectional as well as a satisfyingly large flat-screen TV on a nice wood and glass stand, as well as three bookshelves. It took hours, and my back is QUITE irritated at me.
On the gaming front, my buddy and I gave up on Far Cry 3 Co-op. Each board had a frustrating portion that was not only not fun, but also poorly designed. The one that finally did us in was a mission where one of us had to carry something very slowly back to a specific point while the other covered him from an absurd amount of randomly-spawning mobs. It would be fine, except that it was clearly a mission designed for four people: one person manning a short-range high-damage stationary gun, one person carrying, and two covering the 360 degrees around the carrier.
It was impossible with two. Impossible. We probably tried it fifty times – this is not an exaggeration. We tried it for hours over three play sessions. We’re both experienced FPS players, but mobs would spawn that could one-shot you – melee mobs or shotgunners – from multiple directions in packs of two or four, and one person simply could not kill them all fast enough. We tried having the carrier move a bit, drop the package, shoot some, and while that worked at first, by the end, so many mobs had spawned because it was taking so long to deliver the package that we were overwhelmed.
It reminded me precisely of what I disliked about Star Wars: The Old Republic. What made me the most irritated about that otherwise enjoyable game was the difficulty scaling between two and three people. The game was pretty clearly designed for one, two, or four – not for three. I’ve recounted before the hour-long dungeons with elite adds that spawn with the pull, making them un-CCable that were then run by two people in fifteen minutes.
This challenge was very much like that. I couldn’t pick a position and carefully take out the resistance first. I couldn’t stealth around and murder the guards to prevent them from calling for help. In fact, I couldn’t use any strategy at all; I just had to reactionarily shoot everything that spawned as fast as possible. That’s of no interest to me, particularly when they spawn at a rate faster than a single player can kill them. That leaves the players the choice of killing endless waves of adds but making no progress or making progress but dying from becoming overwhelmed. Fun.
So instead, my buddy and I installed How to Survive, a Diablo-style zombie horror survival game that he picked up for cheap. I was a bit skeptical because its metascore was 58, but since Two Worlds 2 had a 70-something, clearly those scores can’t be trusted at all (as that was basically the worst game I’ve paid for).
We’re probably half to three-quarters of the way through, and so far it’s been a lot of fun. The crafting system is great, the gameplay has been pretty fair so far. I think it would be really tough with just one person, but I don’t know if the zombies would be as numerous and tough as they are in two player mode. The plot line is a little thin at times, but so are most games nowadays, so that’s not much of a complaint. I will say that it’s much harder to play on a mouse/keyboard setup than with a dual analog system; it’s clearly designed for gamepad. My buddy essentially abandoned ranged because of how hard it was to aim (at least until he got a boomerang and thus could just spam attacks).
So overall, the big news is finalized, Far Cry 3 is out, and How to Survive is in, for now.
More next time!
Stubborn (with a sore back)