Aside

League brings on the man tears: A Loadout Review

These last two weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to do much of anything other then work, write a few words, and booze it up.  Always time for booze.  My nice liquid cooled PC master race box, has gone utterly unused.  After a long day while I sit on my couch, with my cat on my shoulder, I just can’t bring my self to take the 20 steps and reach my desk.  Then it takes time to boot the beast up and talk to people to set something up. I guess it’s just supreme laziness, the kind of laziness that stops people from burning time on dumb things and instead literally doing nothing for an hour.

On the couch, I have turned on the TV to catch some of the LCS and every single game makes me want to boot up league and have another go.  I am definitely one of those players that is more negative then anything else, but I’ll have you know I suffer in silence.  It takes maybe 5 losses in a row, trying to just win one game before bed, around 4 in the morning on the sixth game and I can’t seem to catch a break.  In my head, my options come down to 2, pull all my hair out or say something to the top laner pushed up to the enemy tower with no wards and 4 deaths.

For the last two weeks I’ll go as far as to have the computer booted up and league updated.  Then I’ll hover my mouse over the ‘Play’ button and flashes of horrible games will bring me to tears.  Shuttering with sobs, my girlfriend will put a blanket over me and whisper, “It’s ok, take your time.”

At this low point, when I question my very will to game, grassy snipes.  “Come on try Loadout”, I can hear his evil smile.  I am a 100% jaded gamer and don’t fall for the ‘new thing’.  I like to sit and wait for a game to ripen before I decide to spend any time on it.  Free to plays are so rarely worth the time they want that I stay away. A new one, ‘that is totally different’, pops up every 2 months and Grassy eats that crap up.

Fine, it can’t destroy my day like league does, let me give it a shot.  It turned out to be ok. I would give it a solid ‘meh’ and a half.  Didn’t suffer from crazy lag and only required some fighting with the dumb Friends list.  Why, if you are on steam, would you make your own clunky friends list?

Quick review, stages have little to no thought in them. It doesn’t matter so much, since the game modes are what any other came would consider novelties.  With check points bouncing here and there and people spawning everywhere, it’s just not possible to make a balanced map with any kind of depth.  OK, maybe it is, but load out definitely didn’t manage it.  Might not bother casuals, filthy as they are, but the time required to start getting a customized character isn’t worth spending in a game with so little depth.  I could be spending my time on something productive, like trying to get karma on reddit or crying in front of the League play button.

Dark souls opens doors and is such a breath of fresh air for me.

My inner pessimist and optimist were in complete agreement that I should wait before booting the game up.  One wined, a single player game hasn’t held my interest for more then an hour or too in so very long.  The other pleaded, so many people enjoy this game, it might not hold up to the hype, so save it for later.

Two weekends ago, later finally arrived.  I was an idiot for waiting so long. Simply put, this game kindled my enthusiasm for single player games again.

I had grown tired.  FPS’s put me against dumb AI.  Dead spaces, Bioshocks, Skyrim, Tomb Raider all did this. Not to say they weren’t fun in different ways but what they lacked in mechanics and AI they hoped to make up for in story and presentation. As a gamer that isn’t afraid to pick up a book I require a bit more in story to hold my interest.

Not to imply that games can’t tell amazing stories.  Most games just don’t manage it.

As an example, I beat through Bioshock Infinite solely to see as much of the amazing world and performances as I could. The game play almost completely broke immersion and boiled down to killing waives of enemys till you could move to the next room.  Most of the weapons and powers amounted to just a few actually mechanically different options.

Gaming is still my major hobby.  That time is spent in multiplayer.

Dark souls introduced me to a game that didn’t sacrifice game play for story or presentation and a world were AI wasn’t the focus.  In dark souls the focus is mastery of the mechanics.  Enemy’s are predictable but vary in difficulty not only by level, but my the build you chose.  So each build you create changes the game so much.  What was tough then is now easy and you are forced to come up with different approaches, which in turn makes me want to try other builds.

Much of Dark souls is completely a mystery to the first time player.  Which can make for a steep learning curve.  Items of value can easily be wasted or passed over.  Once I realized that the game was supposed to be about exploration.  I wasn’t afraid to just start over and try something new. It can be punishing but restarting is fun and feels like a world of new options.

This so far sounds like a game review, which is not.  I just want to explain where I am in terms of single player and Multi-player.

Other games do this but in much smaller scales.  Binding of Issac comes to mind.  Starting over and getting different items to beat through the game a very different way.

That scale of difference is what makes me so much want to just jump in to Dark Souls right now and try something new.  Everything in Dark Souls is build for a unique experience.  Almost every weapon, even the ones you start with, have potential to be amazing. There is no ‘best’ weapon.  It all depends on how you want to use it.

Even the Multi-player in dark souls is unique every run through.  Turn to human form for help with a boss you know your build isn’t ready to handle.  What do you know you were invaded and now you have a whole new experience and it all feels natural, even part of the single player.

I wish this game wasn’t such a rare gem.  I wish more major titles would focus on mechanically interesting and different games.  Till then, Dark souls 2 is coming out 2014.