The Division – Survival

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Now that Survival is out on PS4 and readily available to all, let’s talk a little about it.

The first few times I played Survival I hated it, absolutely hated it. You start out with nothing but a pistol and shit gear. All the gear you earned playing the game in any mode up to this point is now unavailable to you and you ask yourself “well, why the fuck did I play this game then?”. Not only do you not have your gear, you now have a slew of other factors to battle: infection – which you need meds for, cold – which you need better apparel for, thirst and hunger – which you need consumables for. Add all this up and the game seems insurmountable if not just un-fun.

But then after you play the mode a few times it grows on you. Running from place to place, looking for shelter or warmth while scavenging every piece of loot you can find becomes a challenge rather than a chore. The more you play, the more you remember the map and where loot may be. All the things you have to deal with become easier to deal with as your looting skills get better. When you find a “nice” upgrade to your gear you get a small rush and your enthusiasm rises enough to keep you going even further.

It probably took me about five or six rounds before I stopped hating the game and started seeing why people wanted this mode. With the option of PVP or PVE, I usually play PVE just because I normally avoid PVP to begin with but I do see where it adds an extra thrill to the game that would be a draw for other people. Even playing PVE, this mode is something that I can jump into for a session or two a day and have fun with. It seems counter-intuitive to call a game that forces you to struggle fun but that is exactly what this game does in this mode. It works because when you do succeed you get that feeling that you accomplished something, as opposed to the other modes which have, for a lot of people, become nothing but a grind.

Unfortunately, as much as I am enjoying this game mode I am not very good at it. To this point I have yet to actually complete my mission in this mode to extract the anti-virals you are tasked to retrieve. I’ve gotten as far as getting the anti-virals and calling in my extraction but something always goes wrong. The first time I had thirty seconds before my copter landed only to have another player spawn his hunter, which he failed to kill, and it killed me. Another time I went to the extraction point, called my copter in, spawned my hunter only to find that somebody else’s hunter was still there as well, ooops.

Massive has done well with game mode not only in its design and delivery but also in the fact that it is a service to the players. This is something that gave players still engaged and playing the game something extra to do and it has drawn players back that left the game because they were tired of the senseless grind. Survival may in fact be the thing that keeps this game alive and surviving.

 

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

2016 Game of the Year!

image via blogspot

image via blogspot

With 2016 nearly over, it’s time to do what so many others are doing. No, not holiday shopping…making a game of the year list! There were some highlights and some lowlights. I’m only going to include games I actually played. That will certainly keep the list short but it will also leave out a lot of games since my time playing games released this year was somewhat limited. Let’s get started!

Honorable Mention – Destiny: Rise of Iron

DestinyRiseOfIronTechnically this can’t be on this year’s GOTY list because it is only DLC and not an actual game. It does get an honorable mention though because it did give players a reason to come back to Destiny at least for a while. The content was fun to play but it didn’t do a great deal to expand the Destiny universe and in some ways it felt like a step back from The Taken King. However, it did show that there is room for growth in the game and that fans are still interested in it.

Dishonorable Mention – No Man’s Sky

no-mans-skyWhat can be said about this game other than it may qualify as the year’s biggest disappointment as far as games go. I was excited about this game ever since it was announced but my fever diminished every time it was delayed. By the time it actually did release my expectations were at an all time low, that was until I played the game. This game was nothing that I imagined it to be and I’ll take the blame for that but I won’t take the blame for the clunky game play, cumbersome UI, lousy inventory, and overall poor performance that has plagued this game. It still own my copy just so that every time I get excited about an upcoming game I can look over at my bookshelf, see No Man’s Sky sitting there, and instantly temper my expectations.

And a 1 and a 2 – Amplitude

amplitudeThis rhythm based game looks a lot like Guitar Hero but somehow you are flying a space ship. I never understood the underlying plot of the game and didn’t really care. My time with the game was fun even for a person that is not good at rhythm games.

Needs Improvement – Alienation

alienationA twin-stick arcade shooter from the people that made Dead Nation? Hell yeah! Well, not so much. This game turned into a loot-based shooter that got too difficult too quickly. You couldn’t get better loot without playing a higher level than you were geared for but you could barely survive at the higher level because you weren’t geared for it. See a problem? Then there was the whole issue about how the enemies scaled to the number of players in the game. With a few corrections this game could have been much better.

Maybe I Missed Something – Titanfall 2

titanfall2For whatever reason, people really liked the campaign in this game but I couldn’t disagree more. Titanfall is a first-person shooter whereas the campaign was designed as a platformer with a lackluster story. I had a great time with the original but this follow up just didn’t have the same draw for me. I respect most of what they did with the game and think it is a quality product despite my lack of interest.

It’s the Boys! – Gears of War 4

gears4_large_opt-7b31920efee146258aa0b4e06f6b3632It was great to see a fresh entry in this series but it was far from perfect. The story was a little wobbly and ended abruptly. Horde mode had some changes that I didn’t care for, particularly having to collect your money between rounds. Maybe the best part of it for me was that it showed that The Coalition wasn’t going to ruin Gears of War for me like 343 Industries ruined Halo, at least not yet anyway.

Please Fix – Tom Clancy’s: The Division

The-DivisionUh, I know some of you are rolling your eyes that this game is even on my list. This is the game I probably spent the most time with this year despite all of its numerous issues. My fondness for third-person shooters kept me going in this game along with Massive’s efforts to improve it. However, I’m not going to pretend that the game still doesn’t have issues because it does.

Obvious Game of the Year – Uncharted 4

uncharted4Whether you believe or not that this is the end of the series, this is a great game. The story kept me playing for hours and the characters had me invested in them completely. This is the type of game other should aspire to make. I’m not sure if Nathan Drake is done or not, it could be that Naughty Dog doesn’t make the next Uncharted game. If this is the last game in this series it was a heck of a way to go out.

 

There it is, sort and simple. Wish I had played more games but I didn’t. I wanted to include games like Battleborn and Overwatch but my time was spent in the betaa and I feel that shouldn’t count. Perhaps next year I’ll get to play a larger set of games. It is a completely different discussion of what games I hope will be on this list next year.

dudewantshisrug-profile

Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Typer of Words, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.