I took some melatonin last night to help me sleep, and it worked – I did sleep – but I’m having a gawdawful time waking up, the sort of awful zombie nightmare hangover that no amount of coffee can rescue me from. Which is not to say I won’t continue drinking obscene amounts of coffee; I’m just acknowledging how futile everything feels right now.
What follows are some random thoughts – because that’s all I’ve got right now – that are either too long for Twitter, or are adapted from IM conversations I’ve been having with my buddy (and long-ago SFTC contributor) Greg.
1. King games – Candy Crush, Farm Heroes, Pet Rescue, and my current nemesis, Bubble Witch 2 – are fucking bullshit, and I hate them, and I hate that I’m still suckered into playing them when they’re objectively and obviously horrible. The games ultimately feel like carnival contests, rigged against you from the moment you get started unless you pay for power-ups. Skill is helpful but ultimately useless; I fail most levels not because I’ve messed up, but because the algorithm that governs the randomness of the tools at my disposal makes sure that I can’t win – unless I decide to purchase special powerups (at obscene prices). I refuse to spend money, though, and so I’m stuck banging my head against the wall. Ironically, the 30-minute wait to refill one (1) life is actually a godsend, because it means that when I run out of lives I don’t have to reload the page for another 2.5 hours, and I can do something meaningful with my life.
2. I cannot explain why I’m willing to wait for a game like Divinity: Original Sin to appear in a Steam Sale, and yet I’m actually contemplating buying the PS4 version of Diablo III at full price – a game that I’ve already sunk 100+ hours into on PC, and where I can’t transfer those PC characters to my console. The aforementioned Greg is playing it for the first time, and he appears to be enjoying himself, and I’d love to play co-op with him, and all the big sites seem to indicate that this PS4 edition is the perfect place to play D3, and that it’s worth coming back to. I did not want to hear this news.
3. What the hell ever happened to the Steam Box? I keep hemming and hawing over the Xbox One but if they announced a Steam Box with decent specs (i.e., better than my 4-year-old PC) at a decent price (up to $700), I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
4. It’s a goddamned shame that the Burnout franchise appears to be dead. It’s even more of shame that it had to die so that Need For Speed could live. I suppose I’m bummed that I’ll miss out on Forza Horizon 2; I can only hope that DriveClub and/or The Crew manages to capably scratch my arcade racing itch.
5. Likewise, I’m ready for a new PS4 DiRT game. And if Microsoft wants to woo me back, they could certainly find a way to revive the Project Gotham franchise.
6. Speaking of arcade racers: as long as they’re making HD remasters of last-gen games, my buddy Greg and I feel very strongly that Split/Second should get a remastered treatment. That was a criminally underrated (and undersold) game with a ridiculously fun multiplayer side.
7. I am not necessarily as down on CounterSpy as my friend Carolyn is, but I see her points. Truth is, the game was never really described all that well; it’s marketed as a stealth game, and it looks like a Metroidvania game, but neither of those impressions are actually true. For one, stealth is damned-near impossible – you have to kill everyone you see if you hope to find anything of value before exiting the level. For another, each level is short and procedurally generated, which ostensibly means that no two levels are alike (even though you’ll start to recognize how the different parts repeat and align). I also wish it performed better on the Vita than it does, because it’s a perfect mobile title – each level takes around 20 minutes to finish, which is a perfect time for a commute – but the load times are horrendous, and the performance is spotty at best. It plays much smoother on the PS4, but that’s not where I’d prefer to play it – if I do indeed continue to play it at all.