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Guacamelee! and other Gaming

August 15, 2014

Dear Reader,

I’m still playing all the games I listed before: Spelunky, Civ 5, WoW, MtGO, and ESO, but for good measure, I figured I’d throw another game into the mix.  I felt like I needed something to play alone (so ESO and MtGO are out) that was more manageable in small play sessions (so Civ 5’s out) that was new(ish) (so WoW’s out), that wasn’t constantly boning me with randomization (so Spelunky’s out).  All that really boils down to that I needed again that wasn’t likely to annoy the piss out of me since I’ve been on such a short fuse recently with the move and the no job and all.

I picked up Guacamelee! during the last Steam sale.  I’d seen it at PAX and was a little underwhelmed, but it’s hard to pick up a controller at a game convention with the play the game completely out of context and really understand what’s happening.  When I mentioned that I was playing it to my blind buddy, he was surprised, since what we’d seen wasn’t too impressive.  However, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised the with game as a whole.  It’s very visually unique, for one, as well as focusing on a unique character type: luchadors.  The story is rather predictable and stereotypically derived (save the princess, etc), but the game also makes fun of that very tendency; one of the bosses is, in fact, beaten by grabbing a golden axe, after which the floor beneath it despawns, causing the boss to fall in lava.  

The gameplay itself has been enjoyable; it’s very well designed to slowly ramp up the learning and difficulty as you gather new moves to use against increasingly difficult and protected monsters.  The game operates on a color scheme, too, which is very useful for players to help learn what move to use; instead of a subtle outfit change or a telegraphed attack, enemies can become coated in colored shields that indicate what the proper counter is.  I suspect it’s very visually-impaired friendly, but since my buddy has already written off this game as “bad” from the three minutes I played at PAX, I doubt we’ll ever know.

I think I’m about 33% of the way through the game, based on the map I can see, and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly so far.  If you see it for a fair price and like side-scrolling action games with some character customization through “leveling” (with money, in this game), then I’d suggest you scoop it up.

Other than that, not much “life” movement is happening.  I keep up with my daily craftings in WoW, but not much else.  I missed the flex this week because I thought I might have an important “school hours” call the next morning, but it never came.  My Civ games are too easy on the next to hardest mode and seemingly impossible solo on the hardest mode.  MtGO continues to be a place where my buddies can take advantage of me and beat me into a senseless pulp unless I play one of my power decks, in which case they verbally berate me for being so cheap (to be fair, we all do the exact same thing to one another when we’re losing, so it’s mostly tit for tat).  I keep making it to the final boss in Spelunky and failing to kill him; I understand how, but there’s so many little nuances about standing near him that can kill you that I keep getting killed in ways I didn’t know I could.  ESO continues to be enjoyable, when we can play, but that time comes and goes based on people’s availability and interests.  We did the other two “starter zone” dungeons, both of which I really enjoyed and were largely a fair challenge to three players.  Those are by far the activities I like the most in ESO, so I look forward to more of them.

Sincerely,

Stubborn (and playing the waiting game)

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