It all started with Uncharted‘s hard mode. It is true, LusiRogues. I cite that as the turning point for when I started to gain skill with video games. Although I had been a gamer for many, many years before that point, I largely played RPGs in which I could grind my way to an overpowered state. I was decent at a few games, I suppose, like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but I never truly excelled at any game. I am not sure why I decided to give myself a challenge, but all the times I got extremely frustrated paid off because it required me to improve my play to proceed. That combined with dipping my pinky toe into the development world started me on the path of looking at games differently and appreciating that video game skill is something that has to be constantly worked on. It is not a medal one receives for being a gamer for a certain number of years, although that does tend to help with comprehension of the basics.
Anyway, the point is that a challenge no longer scares me off like it used to, and I consider a lack of skill before I rush to assume poor mechanics, design, or controls. This also means that I have been slowly enjoying a number of roguelikes, and because of the “free” copies of Road Not Taken and Don’t Starve, it finally appears to be time to write an Editorial Miscellany about them.
Rogue Not Taken
After a little bit of research, it appears that – at first glance – Road Not Taken might appear the most like Rogue of the roguelikes I plan to write about, if only because it reintroduces the grid-based system. I have only played a few levels, but it has been an encouraging start in terms of atmosphere, creativity, and challenge. I love the game’s playfully dismal mood, never getting too heavy-handed, but never getting bland, either. It is a chilly yet magical atmosphere that successfully reflects the setting of the game. While Road Not Taken does encourage some experimentation, I benefited far more from thoughtfully taking in my surroundings and making sure I took the time to do so. The thing I am most appreciating about these types of games is the fact that I have to think about them and that I have to take my time with them. While the indie gaming scene is wonderful, it sometimes encourages jumping from game to game to game and most of the best games require a relationship to be formed with them. I am far too early into Road Not Taken to have a verdict or to assume that the game stays just as strong throughout, but it is a good first impression.
Forgive me, but Don’t Starve was actually the January game of the month on the PS4 side of PlayStation Plus, so I have had this game for quite some time. I had seen the PC version before as well, although it did not interest me much at the time. I love this game because of how obviously I suck at it. It is easy to tell that I am not doing well because I am not being efficient and not taking the right risks. It is easy to tell that there are many things just outside my reach that I have to earn the more I discover about the game and it is a very satisfying feeling. It encourages me to try harder instead of sitting back and letting the game happen to me. When I die very quickly from taking too large of a risk, I have nobody to blame but myself and it teaches me for my next run. This is old news, but this is a quality game.
While I got the chance to play those last two games for free through PlayStation Plus, I decided that I should spend some money in the genre. And that is what I appreciate about the service, really. These are games that I would not normally have ever given a shot, but now that I have learned to appreciate the genre, I would like to sink some money into it. I had heard encouraging things about Rogue Legacy and the fact that it is cross-buy sold it for me; I plan on having a Vita in the near future. A few hours and many, many deaths later, this game feels more forgiving than Road Not Taken and Don’t Starve and is far more RPG-like, but I am okay with that. The various conditions of the hero’s heirs not only provide different classes to become familiar with but a healthy assortment of boons and obstacles to work with and it helps to keep me on my toes. The thing is that although I would progress through the game faster if I adapted better, I am not particularly required to do so. As long as I earn enough money to buy equipment or stats, I can slowly progress farther into the castle at my own mediocre pace. The game is still fun, but I feel less pressured to improve. I would benefit from it, but I do not really not benefit from not improving. I suppose it is a good counter to the other two roguelikes I have been playing.
I also started watching my girlfriend play Dead Space and it is really good. Although it just makes me more aware of yet another victim of EA as I hear about how the game got watered down into just another action shooter. I also played a lot more Mario Kart 8 which only grows in my esteem the more I play it. What a wonderful game that is. The best 4-player local multiplayer Mario Kart, that is for sure. Although its Mercedes-Benz DLC makes me sick, and there are certainly strange meta-design choices, but man the races and courses themselves are fantastic. They are well worth the time it takes to master them. Anyway, what have you LusiHandsomes been playing?