What Are You Playing Wednesday

Triss from Witcher 2. A red haired sorceress wearing brown boots, green pants, a blue and white striped shirt, and a green jacket.

It is time for our weekly questions:

  • What games have you been playing lately?
  • Are there any you would recommend to other Border House readers?
  • Are there games that have you ranting or raving?
  • Are there any games that you played and want to see covered on the site?

This past weekend I participated in a beta event for Guild Wars 2. Having played and enjoyed the beta, I went back to the original Guild Wars and went back to leveling my character there. I am finding the original game slightly frustrating. I wish I could level up the henchmen (NPC companions) in the game and that the map was a bit clearer. Hopefully it will become less frustrating as my character levels up and gets better armor and weapons.

I also got my copy of Witcher 2 for the xbox and was very happy to not only be able to play with Polish voices and English subtitles but to be able to increase the default text size. I am still in the first act of the game, but it has the same dark tone as the original game. It also looks amazing on the TV.

So, what have you been playing lately?


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38 Responses to What Are You Playing Wednesday

  1. Kimadactyl says:

    I’ve just been playing FEZ. Truly an awesome game, such a shame it’s so overshadowed by it’s creator being a dick.

    Honestly think it’ll be my GOTY. Nearly finished it and will be sad to see it go.

  2. Llamaentity says:

    Haven’t had as much gaming time as I’d have liked this past week, as my laptop was barely able to run anything anymore (constant overheating, random blue screens, and hard drive issues). Spent the last days setting up a new laptop… most of the time was spent importing a ton of saved games over from my old laptop.

    Now that I’ve got a smooth-running laptop going again, I’m planning on continuing with Lost Horizon and the Witcher, and I’m going to start up Company of Heroes and Ultima VII just to mix things up a bit.

    I also just started playing Tera Online with Ike and a friend I used to work with (I am Cryptodira on Dragonfell). The hypersexualization of the women (their character models and armor/clothes) is completely ridiculous and pervasive… seriously, everywhere you look, can’t seem to avoid it, and people seem to talk about it a lot. I turned off everything but party and guild chat :’x

    Aside from that, the story is pretty bland, although there is some kind of ongoing plot at the very least. The main draw is the action-based combat, which allows you to dodge enemy attacks (and them to dodge yours), and requires you to manually aim at what you’re fighting. Sort of makes it more interesting and keeps you paying attention. Mostly, it’s just fun being able to play a game cooperatively with Ike and a few other friends, and like most MMOs, I suspect the friends and family will be the only aspect making it worthwhile for me to stick around.

    Oh, and on the iPad, I’ve been playing Bubble Pig, which is an absolutely adorable platformer with a bouncing pig which has you going around collecting apples, grapes, and coins, trying to light up a series of lights while trying to get a high score. Solid platforming goodness.

    • Korva says:

      Ultima VII! Wow, that brings back memories. :) I loved the series until they abandoned everything that made it special with VIII and especially IX.

    • Ike says:

      One thing I especially hate about the art style of games like Tera is that they make species with extreme gender dimorphism, and it’s always to make the males “beastly” while making the females “hot”.

  3. Maverynthia says:

    I kinda took a break from Xenoblade as I got to the SNOW LEVEL and I hate snow levels. Even the daytime music is so terrible I have to switch to night. Then the next level is NAVIGATION HELL! >_< There's platforms and ramps everywhere. I was hoping to a new town to do quests for but NOOOoo.

    So I went and watched anime mostly and played different Wii games :P I'll get back to the Dunban Chronicles in time.

  4. on ipod: bakery story
    on computer: tera (i’m a panda… i wish i could wear something other than a leotard tho), WoW as usual, started up plants vs. zombies again since i lost my old save, kingdoms of amalur: reckoning
    on ds: harvest moon: the tale of two towns

  5. menunu says:

    Too much WoW.

    Also, I tried the Diablo Beta a week or so ago. Did anyone get a chance to play it? I tried out the Demon Hunter and the Witch Doctor classes. I really liked them, though I think I will play the Demon Hunter class more.

  6. Beth N. says:

    Set Agarest War aside for a bit, picked Kingdoms of Amalur back up, still slogging through LoTR: The Third Age an hour or two at a time, and am almost finished with the Hero section of Half-Minute Hero. A couple of new ones:

    Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny (Wii): this is a Harvest Moon-JRPG hybrid, with a large number of cute townspeople to make friends with (and one who I kinda like but don’t know what to make of, if you’ve played it you’ll know who I’m talking about). The farming that is a big part of Harvest Moon seems to be mostly shuffled aside in this, in favor of exploration, fighting, and crafting. It’s nice and relaxing and it’s way too easy to play for “just one more day” to earn some more money or make progress on a quest or two.

    ZHP: Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman (PSP): marathoning Half-Minute Hero cuts the edge off its charm, so I’m interspersing it with this for my portable game. This is a “Mystery Dungeon”-style game made by the same people who did Disgaea. The comedic skewering of Japanese boys’ adventure stories seen in Disgaea is here, too. I thought that going back to lv. 1 and losing all the stuff I’d gathered when defeated would be oppressive, but it’s surprisingly refreshing to not feel too attached to my inventory.

  7. Lassarina says:

    I got to Day 7 in Devil Survivor (taking Yuzu’s path, the better to get to New Game Plus immediately.) Other than that, since I spent Thursday through Sunday at Anime Central, I’ve only been playing Glitch, which is a ridiculously adorable little Flash-based MMO with not a shred of combat anywhere, just item collecting and crafting. It delights me. (Mostly because it is totally aware that its actions are awkward and subject to double-entendre like whoa and has embraced that completely.)

  8. Jeannie B. says:

    Still working on my 1st playthrough of Skyrim (only started it about a month ago). Currently have 115 hours logged in! I’d heard all about the “arrow to the knee”, so I wasn’t surprised when NPCs started saying it. It became so common that I WAS taken aback when one NPC said “an arrow to the chest” & another “an arrow to the eye”!!

  9. lucysnowe says:

    Witcher 1 for PC and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying the former – I’ve been leery of the series for probably fairly obvious reasons. But I finally caved and decided I wanted to play The Witcher 2, and as a steadfast completionist I decided I’d better get the first installment out of the way. And, shockingly, I really like it. I certainly have some issues with it, for sure; I’ve had more than a few Picard facepalm moments, and the game’s certainly never been shy in reassuring me that this is a Manly Mature He-man story for Masculine Manly Men (facial hair and lumberjack shirts optional). But the overall story and the implementation of player choice, combined with the feeling that this is a real, dynamic world, have really hooked me in. I have to say, I really think Bioware could learn a bit from the Witcher devs. I think if Bioware managed to combine the story and sensibility of the DA series with the graphical and world-building abilities of The Witcher series, they’d make my ultimate Holy Grail of games.

    Not really far enough in V:TMB to havemuch of an opinion yet. However, having to immediately switch out character models for the female Malkavian (the clan I really wanted to play) did not leave a very favorable impression, I have to say.

    • feministgamer says:

      V:TMB is one of my favorite games, but I understand any aversion to it. The amount of role-play in it, however, has always made putting up with the flaws a bit worth it. But I understand if you can’t get into it. You should probably play a “vanilla” Vampire (not Malkavian or Nosferatu) for your first playthough anyway, but of course only if you ever plan on replaying it.

      • Ms. Sunlight says:

        Agreed; the experience of playing Malkavian or Nosferatu actually changes the experience enough that I’d also recommend another clan first time through. Tremere is a lot of fun.

        V:TMB has its problems – no-one can deny it has problems with sexism, sexualisation and portrayal of mental health difficulties – but I still think it’s worth persevering, there’s a lot of good there amongst the bad and I’ve never to this day found another action RPG with so much replayability value.

        • lucysnowe says:

          Ok, I played it for a couple hours last night, and I’m beginning to see what you guys are talking about. The atmosphere is pretty great, I’ve got to admit. Possibly enough to overlook the other stuff. It’s tough to completely dislike a game where you can fling spells around while getting beaten to death with a dismembered arm.

          Oh, and yeah, about half an hour into playing a Malkavian it dawned on me that perhaps this was not an introductory clan, so to speak (plus the damned text is so hard to read), so now I’ve got a Tremere.

          • Henson says:

            Mine was a female Gangrel. Grungy feral goth all the way. Though I dig the female Tremere design, too.

            I can’t imagine ever playing Nosferatu. Crawling around sewers is not my idea of fun.

            • S says:

              I loved that game! Really enjoyed what it was trying to do.

              I’d watched the TV series and read all of White Wolf’s World of Darkness stuff as it was coming out in the ‘90s but never played any of it (tabletop or live action). The writing was great though. It really felt like a stealthy feminist (amongst other things) project to me until Mark Rein-Hagen retired. If they could translate some of those sensibilities into video games, I’d be a happy camper.

    • Korva says:

      I heard much high praise for the actual, meaningful choices and consequences in the Witcher games — an aspect that, to my ongoing annoyance, most games lack (almost) completely, with Bioware sadly being no exception. But I can’t warm up to the setting and characters, probably for the same “obvious reasons” you mentioned. :/So, yeah, a great big whole-hearted agreement for wishing someone would merge Bioware’s (old? past?) strengths and this game’s and merge them into a vibrant, involving AND inclusive game.

      I also have V:tM (my character is a melee-using Tremere) but it’s unfinished. It has its positive points for sure, such as oozing atmosphere from every pore — sadly the female characters are NOT among them. Malkavian was what I wanted to play as well, but … ugh. Not only is she designed as a sex doll even by the dubious “standards” of the game, but I found the portrayal of her mental illness just as bad.

    • Christin says:

      You know what, after having played all the way through the Witcher 2, I feel like it stepped down a bit from the first game in terms of story and character. I didn’t feel drawn to the characters as much as the first, and when I did want to know more about a character, the game just cut off my choices to find out more. I will say, however, that I <3 Saskia forever, but she was a bright spot in the game.

      As another quick point about the game, I felt that there weren't as many opportunities to stand up for principles, to kick guys in the balls for being pigs, to put people down absolutely for being horrible human beings. Take the first meeting with the thugs on the battlefield before you meet Foltest. They let slip that they were going to rape you and your woman, Triss, when they had you captured, but then they backpedal and say that they were really only going to rape Triss. There is no option to punch them in the faces for this, not even to put them in their place with a quick threat. Geralt just kinda lets this slide, and is just a little bit "meh" about the whole thing. Just seems like a big departure, since it's not out of character for Geralt to stand up for himself, the poor common folk, and his friends in the first game.

  10. I had downloaded Christine Love’s Digital: A Love Story a while back, but I didn’t get around to it until last week when I started using Backloggery and it showed up as a big fat Unplayed that I wanted to get rid of. And now it’s one of my favorite bite-size games ever. It was a little frustrating at times because of the deliberately retro interface, but it actually contributed to the tension, with a bonus of making me appreciate just how good we 21st century computer users have it.

    After that, I downloaded and played Love’s next game: don’t take it personally, babe, but it just ain’t your story. I loved that one too, for a lot of reasons, but mostly for the writing and the characters, which feel more contemporary and real than anything else I’ve seen lately.

    I would have moved right along to Analogue: A Hate Story after that, but I have to wait until my next paycheck. *curses the sky*

    • …. technically she wrote another game between those, it’s just that it was not thematically related and not that well-received.

      see: “Love & Order”

  11. KA101 says:

    Uninstalled Diablo 2 and reinstalled Star Wars: Rebellion. One clickfest for another, I guess, but I much prefer having an effect on the story. Any word on whether player actions actually matter in D3?

    [Reb is a Compressed-Time Strategy that kicks in right after A New Hope. Pick a side, and develop the situation. No requirement to follow the movies’ plotline.]

    • Nathan of Perth says:

      Star Wars: Rebellion! That game was so much better than the Empire at War analogues that followed, loved it so much.

      Partly because I loved building ginormous fleets and naming every last ship….

      • KA101 says:

        Not to mention the massive fighter swarms, battles that last long enough for the Death Star to recharge and superlaser a second terrorist ship, and seeing Red Group blown out of the trench. E@W is purty and all, but too small-scale.

        (And the random Force-sensitivity is kinda neat too.)

  12. embereye says:

    I gave up on Oblivion and am playing Half Life 2 (which I’ve never played before). Controls make me a bit crazy and I’m fascinated by the almost complete lack of tutorial, but… I’m having fun! A game that was made prior to the “players are stupid” levels of tutorial referred to here I guess! http://www.giantbomb.com/news/dont-assume-players-are-stupid/4121/

  13. Korva says:

    Among my current same-old games, I also tried the demo for Warlock: Master of the Arcane, partly due to it being said to be something of a spiritual successor for Master of Magic. While the demo was entertaining if not “I want this, NOW!” material, I have to say I disagree with THAT claim. No heroes, no armies, no artifacts and artifact creation, no alchemy, no town screens, no unrest … Just because it’s a turn-based fantasy strategy game with a customizable player character, random worlds and different magic types does not make it MoM-like.

    Meh, I’d just love a proper successor. Maybe I’ll just put MoM on my play-soon list again, though even with a tweaked DOXbox it runs like a snail.

    • Laurentius says:

      Yep, MoM it’s one of the few old games that I can’t get it to run properly under DosBox, it’s extremely slow and unresponsive. It’s such a shame that this game don’t have a proper successor. Elemental was such a disappointment, while game has some good ideas (like when with more investment into exploration more places to explore was uncovered within your borders) it totally killed my fun of building my empire with cities serving only a purpose of utilities.

  14. GarrickW says:

    I finally finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution! I accidentally killed a few people on the way through, particularly in the opening chapter before you get the ability to perform takedowns, so that’s a shame. I want to try again, this time both without killing anybody and without tripping any alarms. The main thing I don’t like are the boss fights… ugh. Before I try again, though, I need to play the Missing Link DLC!

    Also, my girlfriend and I spend last weekend playing Botanicula, which I got in the latest Humble Indie Bundle sale. It was incredibly adorable, had great art and music, and was mostly quite relaxed, and a lot of fun to play together. The only criticism I have is that it’s too short (according to Steam, we spent just 4 hours playing it). That said, I’d heartily recommend it! Twelve hours left to get it (as well as Machinarium and Samarost 2) on PC, Mac or Linux, if anybody is interested!

  15. Jean-Paul says:

    I appear to have given all my spare time over to Dark Souls on the xbox 360.

    It really reminds me of playing King’s Field on the PS1, the feeling of exploration, the rewarding difficulty, and the jolt of coming across a section you are in no way prepared to handle, then just RUUUNNNNING towards the new items before you’re mercilessly slaughtered.

    It’s actually not as hideously difficult as I’d been led to believe. The difficulty level is harsh, but fair, and dare I say it, ‘old skool’.

    Plus, I’ve been able to make a character who is hard as nails, androgynous, and would be considered ‘overweight’. And with an excellent nose.

    Was a bit dissappointed to find the male and female characters weren’t offered the same choice of hairstyles, though! But that’s a minor gripe.

  16. lucysnowe says:

    Yeah, the Malkavian design is… eugh. I also ended up with a Tremere, and I find it hilarious in a very sad, pathetic sort of way that it was partly because of the lack of jiggle physics. And, yeah, not even going to go into the mental illness part (that ranked right up there with the whole ‘good/bad blood’ nonsense for me.) That said, I managed to get to Downtown last night and I’m starting to get into it (I’m a sucker for atmosphere, and God knows this game is drowning in it) – but I’ve developed a fairly high tolerance for ridiculousness in games. It is so frustrating, though, particularly in a game that’s vaunted as “mature” and “dark”, that so much of the basic design comes off as juvenile fantasy, thus detracting from the very darkness that’s one of the main selling points of the game. Of course, that can apply equally to The Witcher (says the girl who just accidentally got the ‘starving elf maiden’ [wtf Witcher, wtf] sex card and had to reload. Ugh. Seriously missing BW’s little pink hearts right about now.)

    I will say that playing these games has been really… enlightening, in terms of realizing what I’ll put up with and why. Particularly as I just came off a long BW binge (ME and DA series replays) and that difference is so stark. As many good points as both V:TMB and TW1 have, BW’s existence has rarely been such a relief to me.

    Damn, I could go on and on about these games. So many emotions! Heh.

  17. Momiji says:

    I’ve been playing Machinarium, a very cute and surprisingly difficult adventure/puzzle game. You play as a robot, who falls down into a scrapyard and, after locating his arms that fell off in the crash, makes his/her way into the closest robot city, where he/she stumbles upon a secret conspiracy. The story is mostly told through environments, thought bubbles and visual ques, so it’s easy to follow. The puzzles are challenging, but it rarely feels tedious, even when you have to replay a sequence for the n-th time. The game mixes it’s quirky style with a melancholy mood, which gave it an interesting contrast. I’d recommend it so far!

  18. Scott Harrigan says:

    I have recently returned to playing Arkham City. Not only is the story awesome to play through multiple times, but the challenges are extraordinarily tough; I still have not gotten all of them. It is also just fun to fly around the city as Batman. Playing this gets me very excited for the next game that Rocksteady is developing. Even the trailer still inspires awe.


  19. Marco says:

    One of the last WAYPW mentioned something about Fiora in Xenoblade, so I decided to pick it back up since Pikmin got really frustrating and depressing for me. >u<;

    Getting to this part (finally), I'm a little curious. I've accidentally seen a very spoiler-ific pic of Fiora, so I'm trying to piece together so many potential story parts, and wondering when she'll come back in. Really sad that she won't be with us though. I mained her pretty much after she was made available to play at all. I was looking forward to Riki though (and the white-haired gal), so maybe they'll be just as fun~.

    The Mechon have started looking (er, acting) very human though, and that's rather curious.

    Aside from returning to Xenoblade and starting Pikmin, my boyfriend and I finally made a town together in Animal Crossing (Population Growing/GC) and I'm thinking of returning to FFV, IV and IX soon.

  20. Kimiko says:

    The last week I’ve been busy with setting up some new computer hardware at home, so I haven’t played as much as usual.

    In Valhalla Knights 2 I’ve caught up with quests till where I’ve explored (Hokebai village unlocked, explored up to the church area and the robot area). I hope that in doing so my party’s become strong enough to make it through the robot area (forgot the name atm).

  21. Ultraviolet says:

    VtM:B ftw. loved that game and you folks tempt me to replay.

    I was a female Gangrel (just loved the style and hth violence – and retractable claws, for which i always have a soft spot) on my first and Tremere on my second playthrough. By conviction i am Tzimisce or Jormungandr Setite though. Tremere is the closest, their story very much resonates.

    And Lucysnowe i totally agree on the Witcher. I have read the books though, where Geralt of Rivia tbh gave the impression of roughly the same level of metro as Dante from Devil May Cry and that is not counting the somewhat interesting things on tactile level in the sex scenes, like all his catlike movement weirdness, velvety, electrified-feeling skin and lack of body hair if i remember correctly. The impression wasn’t exactly queerish but considerably more alien and definitely not fitting the human ultra macho mold. I kinda prefer that image – lol unsurprisingly for a queer woman with a fascination for alienness.

  22. Nathan of Perth says:

    Finally jumped onto the Mass Effect bandwagon. Rolled up a soldier femshep and went renegade. Was a bloody lot of fun actually, I was really surprised. Loved the scars that went with it, had a rather hard-nosed look to her. She had a soft-spot for her crew and colleagues, but played the geopolitical game with absolute ruthlessness, since everything was on the line.

    Need to do multiplayer things to unlock further progress but I hate public multi-player environments :S Need to talk my brother into buying the game…

  23. S says:

    I mostly backed off PC games years ago and play mainly console stuff when I can make time. But referencing VtM:B and the Ultima franchise games really piqued my interest. Ultima IV was my first PC game ever. I didn’t know there was a way to play VII now. Is it a legacy system of some sort? I was interested in Witcher 2 but it looked like it was going to offend me too much for the amount of time it would take. But y’all are tempting me . . .

    I put down Skyrim a month ago. I think I’m a couple hours away from the end but just got so tired of it. It’s beautiful but no Morrowind.

    I’ve been trying to get into Red Dead Redemption for a few weeks but keep feeling lost after a couple hours then putting it down too. I’m not very good at action shooters and all the dialogue confuses me because it’s not an RPG with dialogue options. I can’t figure out what to do to interact when things happen yet besides shoot people. I’ll come back to it later.

    A friend bought me a copy of Beyond Good & Evil and I put about 10 hours in last week. It’s holding my interest so far. Reminds me of The Journey to the West classic for some reason (maybe the pig?). Also, Dreamfall but I have no idea why. I’m not sure what to make of it. I think I like it because I haven’t come up with anything to complain about yet.

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