Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
More in-depth thoughts have already been shared, and not a minute of the campaign or Exo Survival mode have been played, but this game remains in the rotation. It is hard to tell if this game is just not as fun, or if the series is just tired and played out at this point, but Advanced Warfare has not seemed to have garnered the same amount of play time up to this point as previous iterations. The maps are well designed though, and that makes the game less frustrating to play at any given moment. Regardless it’s hard to see playtime reaching previous years at this point, especially with the recent change to Domination scoring which has made the mode mostly unplayable.
Hockey games are just an occasional purchase, but a Black Friday (weekend) deal of getting this game digitally for $40 was hard to pass up. For people that are not diehards of a certain sport, it’s easy to pick up a game like this and play it for a couple of years because the latest and greatest rosters do not matter a whole lot. NHL 15 is gorgeous looking. The presentation is spectacular and the pregame intros from actual announcers are cool, but they get repetitive fast. Like penalties and fouls in football and basketball games it seems like penalties don’t occur frequently enough, and it seems like AI teammates never commit penalties, ever. The game feels great though, and the way that the clock always counts down from 20 minutes (just faster or slow depending on the period length) makes the game feel more real to a certain extent.
This is especially useful with penalties, when they actually are called. On 6-minute periods a 2-minute penalty would take up 1/3 of the period, but the penalties are scaled accordingly meaning the penalty also goes by faster than 2 real-time minutes. This means that power plays don’t last as long, but that is OK because there are not many of them anyway.
Without a lot of past experience it’s hard to say how this game stacks up to past iterations, but it’s smooth, pretty and fun to play even for a novice.
This is kind of random one. Aside from a brief dabble with Legends of Wrestlemania on XBOX 360 wrestling games haven’t been purchased in the Hippo household in a long time. Part of the impetus for this purchase was the pre-order bonus of Sting, the longtime face of WCW and a childhood favorite1. This game looks very, very good. There are also enough ’90s wrestlers to keep someone who has been away from the sport for over a decade entertained. The career modes seem pretty deep, almost too much so. But there are so many different types of matches that a person could stay occupied for quite a while just screwing around.
Many of the WWE “legends” have to be unlocked by completing challenges. These are time consuming, and often hard, unfun, or both. For $2 everything in the game can unlocked at will. Old school gamers might balk at paying for something that used to just require a cheat code, and others probably think it’s lame to pay to unlock things that would be free with some time and effort. But $2 is a small amount of money, and many people won’t feel like spending 50 hours to unlock everything in this game.
WWE fans probably enjoy the heck out of this game. Nostalgia seekers2 will have fun, but probably a limited amount. It would be fun to throw in when friends come over, but the learning curve is such that an experienced player would have a massive advantage.
I wouldn’t have bought this game without the Sting bonus, and in retrospect I am sure I won’t get $60 of value out of it, but these things happen.
Game of Thrones
Telltale games has been releasing episodic video games for popular intellectual properties for a few years now. They have done Back to the Future and The Walking Dead and this time took a stab at the HBO hit Game of Thrones. This game is based in the universe of the TV show and features several characters that fans of the show will recognize. The story picks up late in season 3 (see the following footnote for a more spoilery description3).
The game has players in the role of various members of House Forrester, an actual family from the Game of Thrones series, but apparently one that has only been mentioned in passing in the books. This gives Telltale a chance to take some liberties.
The bulk of this game is the story. There are quick time events here and there but mostly it’s reacting to other characters by choosing from 3–4 possible responses, each of which drives the direction of the story and has impact on future events of the game. Essentially playing this game is like watching an interactive, “choose your own adventure” style version of the Game of Thrones TV show.
It is far from action packed, but feels very close to the show it is based around. The graphics are good, but not great. It also only costs $5 for the first episode, so it won’t take much to find out if it’s worth. So far, it has been.