Rocket League, Wet Hot American Summer, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn and More
Rocket League continues to use the bulk of my playtime. It plays fast, although I have gotten into a couple of games where the beating is bad enough that it is discouraging. It has started to sink in with me that in order to be successful in one-on-one or two-on-two play, you have to be less aggressive. The game is less chaotic and more about control and counterpunching. If you overextend you leave your time vulnerable. It’s beautiful. I wish you could skip the replays. If even one person wants to watch the replays everyone has to watch them. I despise it. I don’t watch the replays in my single player games, and I certainly don’t want to watch them after eight goals have been scored against me, making a game take three times longer than it needs to. Still, it’s a small complaint about an amazing game. However, I had the realization that I am – I think – quite bad at the game. I do get a win every now and then, but I mostly just try to add something to my team.
I’m almost through Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and I stand by my opinion that it is better than the original film, likely because they had twice as much time to work with. Well, and the actors are all later in their careers and bringing a little more nuance. The story, as little sense as it makes, flows much better and it feels a little less like a series of sketches (a complaint I read a few times about the original Wet Hot American Summer, although not something that bothered me, personally) and more like a long movie. After this, I need to go back and finish watching Daredevil. My problem with shows is that I tend to look at all of the episodes at once and get intimidated. Like, how am I supposed to watch The Wire and Breaking Bad and Mad Man and whatever else. That’s like a billion episodes. The answer, of course, is that you watch them one at a time and you can’t worry about how many there are. Life lessons through Netflix.
My copy of Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn finally made its way to me today. I’m excited to have Isaac Vega’s take on the expandable card game genre in my collection. My hope is that it will take the place of whatever occasional desire I have to play Magic: The Gathering. There are a bunch of things that I feel that other games do better than Magic and I think that Ashes may touch on a few of those, like the alternating turn structure, how it handles resources (although I will admit that I am not sold on the dice quite yet) and that it is expandable but not collectible. I’m also really into the idea that you can set it up to run in a draft format, which I hope will allow for it to be a more flexible experience that isn’t necessarily drawn along the lines of premade deck balance (Although I hope that part of the game is good, too). That said, I really like Plaid Hat Games and I have a lot of respect for some of the products they’ve put out (Summoner Wars remains one of my favorite games ever), so I have high hopes for this one.
It was the second half of Ultimate Lucha on Lucha Underground last night, so I’m pretty psyched about that. I have especially big expectations for Albert El Patron versus Johnny Mundo, and I really think that Mil Muertes has come into his own and is probably my favorite big man wrestling today (in the way that term is sometimes used to mean someone that wrestles like a ‘giant’). NXT has been down a little lately. I just don’t get Finn Balor, honestly. I mean, I like his ring work, but he lacks the spark that Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and even Adrian Neville bring with them. He looks like he’s improving, so hopefully his time at the top of the card on the little brand allows him to continue to develop. I’m looking forward to Samoa Joe getting a chance to work more meaningful matches, too. Joe was the reason I got back into wrestling for, like, the third time in the mid aughts during his time with TNA where he was just wrecking dudes. It was amazing.
I’ve seen the stuff on Dark Souls 3 and the new Deus Ex game. I’m confident both will be great, but I think I may be done with them. I loved earlier games in both franchises, but I’m not sure that I have enough resources to experience those same games again. Maybe I’ll get them someday, but there’s so much coming out so often that it’s hard to justify basically doing the same thing again, no matter how good it is. Maybe I’ll be wrong and they will bring something incredible and new to the table, but I’m just not as excited as I was for previous entries in those same franchises. Right now, the game I am probably most excited about is Mario Maker. The ability to make and share Mario levels is amazing and it’s something that I’ve not gotten to do in a game before (I admit, plenty of games have level editors, but it’s not Mario, you know?).
I saw Monte Cook Games released their generic Cypher System Rulebook to allow people to use the system that powers Numenera and The Strange for whatever other games they might like. It always looked like a really nice system, so I’m interested to see what people do with it. I am also thoroughly intrigued by The Undercity (which the rules were just released for) from Privateer Press Games. I wish that I had more room in my life for another dungeon crawler, but I have both Space Hulk and Shadows of Brimstone (neither of which I have even got to play) to fill that space, as well as the original Descent (although I never went in on the second edition), so it would be hard to justify another game of that sort, even one with PP’s awesome art direction.
Oh, and I saw Invisible, Inc., from Klei is on sale for $11.99. I’d really recommend the game. It’s highly replayable, feels really strategic and the roguelike nature of the game gives it a real sense of risk and loss. I do not regret my purchase of it back when it was in Early Access one bit.