Welcome to another Our Week in Games here at The Reticule Towers. I think the biggest news of the past week was the confirmation that Samsung and Oculus are working together to develop the Gear VR, an Oculus-like headset that can be used with Samsung’s Note 4. I haven’t tried an Oculus yet, but while I can see the attraction of using a VR headset when playing on a PC or a console…I don’t see the attraction of using it with a mobile device. That might just be me, what does everyone think about VR?
Once you’ve thought about that, hit the break to check out Our Week in Games.
I’m struggling to identify where the past week has gone. I’ve spent most of it waiting for various handymen to come around the flat for various work while avoiding the swarms of police that have been around South Wales because of the NATO summit.
In gaming terms I’ve largely been playing Diablo and Battlefield on the PlayStation. I would have started off with The Sims as well, but once I had my Origin key…I didn’t have a chance to dive in and check it out. Getting drunk is sometimes more important. With a week away coming up, I won’t be able to check it out either for a while. This makes me quite sad.
On the plus side, PC Gamer’s Chris Thursten has been streaming the game on his Twitch channel this past week. He set up journohouse which contains esteemed figures such as Chris, Matt Lees, Dan Grill and several others (and somehow I’ve found my way in there). Until I get around to playing, this is keeping me entertained.
I’ve been lost in space this week.
Making the clearly stupid choice to buy into the Elite Dangerous beta last week, I have been drifting noisily through the interstellar vacuum and having enormous fun. This doesn’t sound like a bad thing, but as I have Cloud Chamber to review at the moment, it is rapidly becoming one. Time, in Elite Dangerous, tends to lose meaning rather rapidly.
You see, ED is a special game. Mostly due to the fact that despite there being very little to actually do in it, the actual business of flying a ship becomes the best thing ever. Take landing for instance – most space games have a simple analogue of touching down somewhere for resupply and stretching your legs. And most of those have an automatic system, or guidance in some way to make it easy – so that it becomes like pulling into a parking spot. Simple, no fuss, look at the pretty lights etc.
Elite Dangerous laughs at that notion, and offers you a tiny slot on a fifty-mile-wide station. Oh, wait, that’s still kind of easy, here let me spin the station for you, just to keep you on your toes. So now it’s a tiny slot, in a fifty-mile-wide station, that is spinning anti-clockwise. So you take it slow and steady, and make it through in one piece… before a dangerous voice squawks about an authorised ship in the docking area and you are promptly shot to buggery.
Ah, forgot to request docking clearance. Let’s try again.
On the next try, you manage to float through the letterbox like a slightly drunk fish with a fin or two missing, and actually feel proud for a moment. Then you realise the station is hollow, and the actual docking pad is a tiny spot on one of the walls of this cavernous space. And now you have docking/undocking ships to contend with on top of all this, all spinning and in your way. Oh, and for goodness sake don’t try and land at a different pad – they shoot you for that too. So once you finally find the pad (numbered for your convenience, hah!), you then have to land by aiming your ship as level and as centered as possible. Fortunately there is a nifty little graphic that pops up showing your position relative to the pad, making things decidedly easier.
Once docked, you have access to the ships facilities and market, but frankly I had no interest in this. Nope. I had but one thought in my awestruck and stress-addled head.
I undocked, flew away, then tried to do the whole thing again, only faster.
Choice. It’s that thing that happens at the end of a game, generally involving pressing a choice of buttons, shooting someone or not, pulling one lever or another, or jumping into a selection of oddly glowing lights. Mask it how you will, but in the end what’s being asked from you is to pick what you think is the most satisfactory ending to the long and sometimes arduous journey you’ve fought your way through. Everything you’ve done, everyone you’ve met and the decisions you’ve made all boil down to this one, final choice.
Problem is, what if you can’t remember why you’re there? What if, hypothetically speaking, you’d put the game down about a year ago and now have absolutely no idea who any of the important characters are, what ideals they represent and above all else what side you’re supposed to be on?
This weekend, I finally finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution – I think I did, anyway. I saw the credits roll at least, but I can’t help but feel like I missed something somewhere. Having not played the game in almost eight months, to say I was a little behind on events would be an understatement. Where the hell was I? Who were these people and why were they firing at me? Why was I firing at them? Did they fire first, or me?
Anyway, I was talking about choices, wasn’t I? After much shooting and stealthing around, the final choice came and I had to make it. I stood and listened to what was probably a very important speech, pleading me to think carefully about my actions and the potential ramifications on the whole of humanity.
I looked down, and picked an option.
I wonder if I chose right?