Okay. So two weeks ago, the northeastern United States suffered from the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. I happen to live in the northeastern United States, specifically Long Island, New York, which was pounded by this storm. People lost their homes, whole towns on the water lie in ruins. Luckily enough for me, I live enough in the middle of the island that the insane flooding was never a concern. We knew we were going to lose the power, the question was for how long. Last year, when Irene hit our coast, my house lost power for an entire week. That is nuts considering the damage, while bad, was not severe. This time though, the damage was severe, and I had no power for 11 days this go-around. In that time, the temperature started to drop, fast. High winds and no sun will certainly do that, granted, but this was also the end of October/start of November. Shit would get cold all on its own, didn’t need the help of a hurricane. In that time, I got sick. Heavy coughing, generally crappy feeling, the usual. However, I seem to be susceptible to a secondary effect of being sick like this. My vocal chords blow the fuck out from all the coughing and I lose the ability to speak for 3-4 days.
Now let’s talk about my job. Not this. This is a hobby that I would love to turn into a job. At my job, I am on a phone all day. All god damn day. That is my job. I work in car insurance, helping people who were in accidents. I currently have no voice. I have already been out of work due to being sick, and now apparently I have to be out longer because I am not able to work due to my voice being the sole way I communicate with people. So really, what do I have to do with my time being sick? Play video games! I guess then I should go over what I was playing, some new stuff, some old. One I even just wrote a review for, go read it.
Lunar: Silver Star Harmony: Again, I gave this game a full review. However, it is one of the two handheld games I played while I had no power, so I feel like this bared a second mention. Actually I didn’t even bring up why I finally finished this game so recently. Knowing I was not going to have power, I made sure all of my handheld systems were charged up and ready to go. The PSP is simply what I grabbed first and actually beat Lunar the day…after the hurricane? I don’t exactly remember, things get hazy about that time. You don’t need to see my thoughts on this here, just read the article before this one.
Pokemon Emerald: It will never cease to amaze me that not only Word Press recognizes Pokemon as a word, it will correct it if I spell it wrong. The Game Boy Advance was the workhorse of my blackout, exactly as I intended it to be. The battery life on that thing is long and great. My game of choice during this time was one of the more mindless choices I could have made, but that was for a reason. I was sick, and really just lying down and playing this really helped me waste a lot of time. Also as a side note, I often forget how fun these games really can be. Granted, they have not changed since the original red/blue carts for the Game Boy in style, but this series just taps into something so simple that it is really hard to put it down once you get going. Another side note, I still hate Zubat. Always have, always will. Fuck you Zubat.
Mark of the Ninja: What an awesome fucking game. This is easily my indy darling of 2012. Made by the Shank people, this game has sucked me in like a high-priced hooker running a special. I am not even normally someone who plays stealth games, finding them to typically be too slow and boring for me (The next game on this list doesn’t count, as it quickly goes from stealth to blood-covered mess), but this game is different. It may be the fact the 2-D graphics give such a definite and binary way of seeing the world around you. I never have to guess with Mark of the Ninja, I know how everything should end up as long as I do my shit correctly. That has been a theme in games lately; as long as you play right you should succeed. Take games like Super Meat Boy and Trials HD. Failure is your fault, and your fault alone. this is a welcome change to things, and lies really in direct opposition to things like the Kinect, where you can never be sure if it’s you, or the hardware. Give me a game like Mark of the Ninja any time. This may in fact be my Bastion of 2012.
Assassin’s Creed 3: This is the one game I have been waiting all year for. Granted the hurricane put off my start on Connor’s kill-spree, but I was able to jump into this game finally, and I have not been disappointed. Oddly enough at first, I was not enjoying the game. I liked the start with Haytham, with the reveal actually coming as a complete surprise, which is now paying dividends as I get deeper into the story proper. However, it was a bit long, and Connor’s intro was way too long. Not many of the abilites needed full mission explanations, let alone things like hide-and-seek to teach you how to examine clues, then have you learn to examine clues again while learning to hunt. A bit redundant, and just takes you away from getting to the main game. Once I got past that though, it was really smooth sailing, and falling back into a comfortable routine with running around the cities, as well as the surprisingly fun frontier.
Ubisoft may have gone ahead and made the combat too much fun in this game. Granted, it can still be played on the same old counter/kill relationship, but AC3 wants you to be a little more proactive in your killing approaches. The system they have in place now is very reminiscent of the Rocksteady Batman games, only complimented with a lot more tomahawks buried in skulls. If you know what you’re doing, you can take out an entire group of 20 in under a minute, and look damn cool while doing so. There is also enough variety in the enemy types to where I find myself not getting bored, and actually watching for things like Redcoats setting up musket firing lines, and heavies swinging their giant axes in close quarters. Really I have very few complaints about this game, and I may end up doing a longer review of it, so let’s leave the Assassin Order for now and go on to the final game that has been keeping me sane while I have been sick.
Torchlight 2: I bought this game by Runic a while ago, but it has been sitting around on my Steam library for some time because I was still suffering from slight Diablo 3 burnout. It’s a shame it took me this long to get to this great title. As far as a clicky-Heaven goes, this is where it’s at. I am in…Chapter 2 I think. I don’t know, this game is not usually played sober, but it is still awesomely enjoyable. Drunk or sober. Where D3 tries to make the story more center-stage in the game, TL2 barely bothers, getting you out and killing constantly. I love the colorful palette the game has, and the customization of your character is a great alternative to how D3 changed the game with level-ups. If you thought Diablo 3 should have been more of a simple extension from 2, get this game.
Well fuck, it seems I am better now and am back at work. I need to lose my voice again, I got a lot of gaming in. This time reminded me why I love gaming, and writing about it. I actually feel invigorated about my writing, for the first time in a while.