The Spice of Life

I always find it so refreshing taking a break from MMOs.  When I’m actively playing a game like World of Warcraft, I tend to shut myself off from any other game, slavishly devoting myself in the name of “progression”. Now almost two weeks into my latest break from WoW, I’ve settled into a few games, each a bit different from the other, and I’ve been having a blast.

Of the games downloaded off of Xbox Live, I am particularly enjoying Ticket to Ride and Castle Crashers. Both games are great for the times when I just want to power on my Xbox and play a quick game.  I had tried the demo of Castle Crashers quite a while ago, and didn’t think much of it back then despite its presence on most “best XBLA games” lists out there.  I decided to buy it when it was half price and after spending some time with it, I don’t regret the purchase at all.  It’s really quite fun.

When I have a bit more time to spend in front of the Xbox, I’ve been slowly making my way through Darksiders. There’s no denying that this game is an exact Zelda clone in every way except the setting (I haven’t played all the Zelda games, but I’m assuming none of them involve the legions of hell romping through a post-apocalyptic world). The graphics and imagery are fantastic, and the game itself is enjoyable enough to keep me interested (that’s a good thing). I almost whipped my controller through the TV though after reaching the boss Tiamat. The difficulty of that fight was so disproportionate to all that had come before it, it was ridiculous. My first few attempts at the boss were abject failures, and I was ready to quit and never play the game again.  I decided to give it just one more go however and everything clicked for me, and I was able to bring the boss down.

On the PC, there have been two games that I’ve been playing; Magicka (pictured) and Borderlands.  To date I’ve only made it through the first two levels of Magicka because I’ve become quite consumed with Borderlands.  The two levels of Magicka have shown me enough to know that I like the game, but there’s something “missing” from it for me.  I have to play it in windowed mode because it’s pretty choppy and slow-moving if I have it full-screen, which is odd, because I’ve got a pretty powerful gaming rig.  According to the forums, lots of people with high-end systems are having the same problem, and yes, playing in windowed mode fixes it.  Aside from that quirk, I find I don’t really love the control scheme, mostly because I have difficulty setting up the spells that I want while fending off the onslaught of the monsters.  My “micro skills” just aren’t uber enough I suppose.

Finally, there’s Borderlands, which, as I mentioned previously has reeled me in hook, line, and sinker.  I love it.  I’ll expand upon that sentiment in upcoming posts, but for now, the one observation I had was that I find it funny that the game I’m most drawn to during my break from MMOs is a game very much like an MMO.

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