Daniel and Art Share Their Final Four in February Updates

Artimus

Confession time.

Destiny

There has been a lot of negativity directed at Destiny since its release. Some of it is warranted, but most of it is just getting out of hand. The game as a whole is great fun. Destiny has some of the best movement and combat mechanics of the current console generation. All the weapons feel unique and powerful providing satisfying feedback when used. Class upgrades come in just the right interval and offer good bonuses for each level-up. As morbid as it may sound, the most satisfying thing about the game is the flare burst explosion that occurs when getting a “precision kill” which is basically a killing-headshot. The game does so many things right in its execution of gameplay and interaction with the environment. That being said, there are some pretty harsh criticisms with the title.

The game’s chief complaint is that it has a lack of narrative. While it can be said it isn’t as engaging as others such as Borderlands, it absolutely has more than most would lead you to believe. I feel the reason it comes off like this is that it caters to those players who either won’t be interested by the story, or won’t take the time to get involved with the lore but that is part of its charm. It meshes with people who want to jump in and shoot stuff, just as much as it offers lore and narrative for those who want to get involved. It doesn’t shove narrative in your face but offers just enough to give a direction for what you are doing mission-to-mission. This direction is more than enough to keep me engaged while playing.

All that is a necessary preface to this next statement. While I spent over 40 hours playing games in the last ten days, only a couple of those were spent in Destiny. The game is fantastic, I just got drawn to a very different space adventure…

Starbound

Starbound is still in Early Access, however this week’s play pushed it to number six on my Steam “Most Played” list. Starbound is a sandbox adventure and exploration game played from a 2-D perspective. There are seven playable races, and after character creation the narrative picks up. Essentially you have run away from your home planet, only to crash land on another. Your first task is to get your ship’s FTL drive operational, and then you are free to roam the galaxy exploring unknown planets and helping others with their problems.

There is no central narrative currently, but there are quite a few quests in place to push forward character progression. One of the things I like most about the game is there are no levels to your character. You get stronger and gain more abilities by exploring the galaxy and completing tasks. If you are lucky enough to find what would be a level 100 weapon early in the game, there is nothing keeping you from using it. And you probably should because that would be awesome!

As I mentioned, the game is currently not finished and there is still a lot to add. However it is loads of fun in its current state. Especially when exploring “unfriendly” planets with a friend and stumbling across a mercenary base performing experiments on people, which naturally needs to be sorted.

Daniel

So, we’ve come to an end to the challenge, and it felt a little bit like cheating (since I extended my gameplay to March 1st), I’m happy that I managed to burn somewhat three games from my backlog. Here are the results at the end of the challenge.

Dark Souls

Definitely Dark Souls wasn’t a good game to start out this challenge; it easily swallowed half the month and I’m still unsure how far I’m from the ending. Still I’m happy with my progress and I’m looking forward to keep pushing myself till its proper ending.

Assassin’s Creed Liberation

As I mentioned last time, I beat this one up quite easily. I wasn’t expecting much considering everything I had read before playing it, but it was rather entertaining, and I’m happy to get this one off my chest, now I’m just one Assassin’s Creed game away from playing the entire series.

Mark of a Ninja

Simply an awesome game! I beat this one last weekend and it was quite a ride the entire time. After a while I was already mastering the art of being as fast as I could while being rather slow.

I love the entire set of moves and items that the game provides you in order to beat the game, but I also appreciate the fact that the game doesn’t force you to use one or the other in order to succeed; there were a few times when I encountered a challenge where I thought “it would be easier if I equipped myself with X or Y”, but after analyzing the situation (and yes, a few deaths down the road) I managed to keep moving, and making me feel truly awesome after overcoming said challenge.

I’m sure I’ll be picking this one later to complete the rest of the challenges and beat New Game +. I’m not sure if I liked the ending though, is there a different ending than the rather short two I got? I’ll have to find that later (or maybe you can spoil-free tell me about that!).

Metal Gear

I thought I’d beat this game in a heartbeat. I was wrong! Right from the start I was wondering how different this original version would be compared with the NES version; now I realize it’s a lot different.

While my memories of the NES version helped me out to realize what I had to do at some point, they also betrayed me quite a few times. Combine that with the fact that there are things that can and can not be done in this version.

For example, the binoculars are very useful in this version; they also worked well in the NES, but whenever you used them they respawned the enemies on the room you were. I can’t tell if that actually was a “feature” found in the original game, since I perceive there is some controls refinement on this version I’m playing on my Xbox360 (i.e. it’s very easy to browse back and forth between the weapons and equipment menus.

But that caused me to get stuck in the game, since I keep using these newly helpful binoculars every time I need to check if I should go to a room or the other; at one time I found this “dead end” at the other side of a room I didn’t feel like visiting, and after getting stuck and backtracking for an hour or so, I recalled that this dead end could lead me closer to my objective, and it did! (In the NES version, this opportunity was found in the back of a truck.)

I can’t help but mentioning that it feels quite great getting to come back to this game after playing both and Assassin’s Creed game and Mark of the Ninja; it makes me appreciate even more how far have stealthy video games have got over these many years.

Anyway, that’s it for our Four In February challenge. I hope you’ve enjoyed these rants, and hopefully you’ve worked on that backlog games on your list this month. If you’re interested I’m starting a new campaign on XCOM: Enemy Within, Classic difficulty, with Ironman Mode ON (that is, there’s just one save state for the whole game, and every action or mistake during the game counts!), and I’ll be updating frequently (here, at CultureMass, and at Twitter!) about my daily progress until I get to a possible utter failure where I would have no way of coming back the end of the game.

Artimus Charest-Fulks

Artimus Charest-Fulks

I am a technophile and amateur space archaeologist who has been playing games for longer than I can remember. My fuel is an unwavering passion for the escape and immersion only video games offer. I avoid subscribing to any one specific genre and instead look for enjoyment in all that games have to offer. Whether it's nostalgia in Halo, competitive rivalry in Mario Kart, winning strategies in Civilization, living a fantasy in Mass Effect, or anywhere in-between; if there is fun to be had I will surely find it. Go Leafs!
Artimus Charest-Fulks

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