As a part of my extended Easter holiday, I spent a significant portion of the time playing an assortment of games. Steam sales will do that to you.

Three Joys and a Disappointment

944 words about life — 19:00 · 26th Apr 2014

Instead of writing a long introduction—I know how you all love that—I thought I would get right to the point for a change. And the point is: games.

In an irresistible -70% sale I had bought Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning the Friday before last, and whilst I had managed to try it out I hadn’t had the time to really get into it until Tuesday when Lucien went back to school and Rebecka so nicely took him the first morning, giving me space and time to both make myself a delicious cup of coffee as well as get into KoA:R properly.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an epic, open-world role-playing game set in Amalur, a mysterious and magical new fantasy world created by New York Times best-selling author R. A. Salvatore. Brought to life visually through the trademark visceral style of renowned artist and Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, Reckoning brings a new level of intense action combat to the RPG genre. Official website

Which meant that it’s “Elf Fae-face stabbing time!”

Back when KoA:R was first revealed I thought it looked a lot like Fable but with more slashing and stabbing. Which seemed very interesting at the time but I quickly forgot all about it—probably because I didn’t write a blog post about it.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a game of magical monster slaying.

According to my Steam statistics I’ve played it for 18 hours so far and I’m sure it will be more because KoA:R is quite awesome. From the visceral art style and creative character designs to the fun timing-based combat it’s been quite a while since I’ve enjoyed a game this much.

There also seems to be quite a lot of content for a game that feels shallow at first—I’ve spent about 15 of these 18 hours pursuing side-quests alone and have barely touched the main story quest.

With the right amount of depth and genuinely fun combat I would definitely recommend this and give it a solid “Yes”.

Moving on to the next game.

What is there to say about a Lego game that hasn’t already been said? Yes, they’re good. Yes, they’re awesome for children and adults alike, even better together.

And yes, the controls are still a bit “Ooops, I fell to my death” at times and the A.I. is completely crap when it comes to balancing on narrow beams.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes
Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, a game of repetitive brick punching.

Lucien of course just enjoys the punching and kicking of minifigs into bits bricks. But after 8 hours of playing I’m getting a little bored to be honest. Yeah sure, it’s fun and cute and all of those things—as all Lego games are—but it gets stale and repetitive quickly.

Maybe I’m not quite their target audience?

Departing from AAA big budget games to something a little smaller, something a little more brutal.

I’m of course talking about Spelunky.

An indie action-adventure game about exploring a series of caves while collecting treasure, saving damsels, and dodging traps.

I’ve played 6 hours, during which I’ve died a total of 105 times. That’s roughly 1 death every 3,5 minutes. I’ve been nibbled to death by bats, succumbed to spider bites, clawed to death by skeletons, squished by frogs and so on and so forth.

Spelunky, a game of forgiveness and love brutal deaths.

My favourite death was in The Mines 1-1—which is the very first level—when I got lucky and found the shotgun in a crate. Crazed with power I laughed as I pulled off an overpowered shot into the nearest spider I could see, only to seconds later, misjudge my jumping distance resulting in my instantaneous death… by ground. Damn it.

Unforgiving and intoxicating, Spelunky hits the sweet spot.

Moving on.

Remember how excited I was about Thief?

Boy did that game ever disappoint me. From the clumsily told story to the uninspiring linearity, it’s quite blatantly sucks. And that’s that. I’ve only played a little over an hour and I have no desire to play anymore, it just doesn’t beckon me.

Thief, a game of sneaking from point A–B.

But here’s the thing; I thought that was going to be the end of it, until I happened to see that Rock Paper Shotgun had a “Wot I Think” article where this was the first sentence I read:

Oh thank God. It’s good. John Walker

Damn it. If they liked it, then maybe I had judged it too soon?

I haven’t read the rest of the review because I want my opinions to be my own but I’m haunted by the thought that I might have misjudged Thief.

So cursed by that thought I have decided to persevere by booting up Thief some more, and sticking with it for a couple of more hours.

But that’s it.

If it can’t capture me after, let’s say 3–4 hours, then I’m calling my original opinion “accurately judged”.

You’ve just read Three Joys and a Disappointment.

In which, 10 years ago, I wrote 944 words about life and I covered topics, such as: kingdoms of amalur: reckoning , batman , spelunky , thief , and video games .