XCom – Tough work

Xcom is harder now. I was used to the fully research, well resourced highly skilled team from the old game. Now, it’s back to square one.

I’ve had some casualties, I could be about to lose a couple of countries which could be pretty terrible. The aliens are similar to the first game, but there are a few twists. There is a new mechanical squid thing, that can go invisible. It’s an ambush predator and like to appear right beside a soldier before strangling them.

The new enemy.

The new enemy.

I picked up a tip on that before I started playing, so whenever they are in the vicinity I need to ensure everyone is covered by someone else. But to be honest, in this game, that’s good practice anyway.

Teamwork, taking it slow and having an attack or response up your sleeve are the catch words here.

I’ve left the the story alone for a bit – a dangerous move in this game, as the aliens steadily get stronger whether you do or not. So if you leave it too long they can overwhelm you.

There’s been a couple of hints at something more happening. I just collected a man out of China (I think) and he hinted at some things. Hopefully we’ll see soon.

I’ve finally started the Arc Thower and will need to build a containment facility. I’ll try to do that once I get through the next monthly review. I may just have enough satellites up to hold on to the panicked countries.

Fingers crossed.

 

No PC, but that’s Ok

The repairs, services, new tyres, rego and insurance across my pair of bikes has sucked my saving dry, so no new PC for me. At least for now.

So I figured something else to keep me occupied. I could have gone back to finish Batman that I bought with the PS3, but I had a different idea.

xcom_enemy_within-1920x1080This is the standalone, new adventure in the XCOM franchise. Not really a sequel, as you start from the very basic tech level again, not DLC as it stands on its own, almost a restarting of the game – only different, with new tech available later etc.

As I’ve actually finished the earlier one, I figure there’s a good chance I can finish this one. And it can occupy me and see how my savings go.

bg-infoThat power suit is one of the new options that I hope to get to some time. Looks like the aliens have them as well. I’m enjoying it again too and that’s the best bit.

On another note, the WoW 90 boost is tempting. Apparently you end up with almost 400iLevel. That’s more than Mabaho has! And I hear if your toon is already level 60 they also max their professions, so I could have a maxed engineer/tailor (or something) . I also understand you get one free one or you can pay to boost others.

I have a couple of ideas lined up as well – Borderlands 2 was fun, but annoying having to switch it off all the time – now I don’t have to. The other option is to Bootcamp the iMac and play Mechwarrior Online. Again, I’d be able to concentrate on that properly and use comms without worry about waking the kids etc. I really don’t want to Bootcamp, I’d rather wait and have a separate computer for that, so I can still have this up and running.

 

 

A Survivor is Born

a-survivor-is-bornI made it. Right to the end. I’ve finished Tomb Raider.

There were a few little puzzles towards the end, which was really nice. Then a harrowing climb up the citadel to the top, before a battle. This went pretty smooth.

The second to last boss, a giant armoured samurai was tough, I think I emptied my entire shotgun, rifle and most of my 9mm into him, before I could get some solid axe strikes to finish him. He was tough and the fight had me leaping about, like the old Tomb Raider. Auto Aim doesn’t work on bosses either. Had me leaping about in my seat too, every time he managed to grab me and toss me across the arena.

Then it was a scuffle with Mathias, the crazy leader of the other castaways before a slightly anti-climatic destruction of the Queen (I wanted Lara to stab her with an arrow – maybe in the knee, lol) and

A survivor is born.

Tomb Raider finished.

Now I’ve done the first one and the last one… suppose I should get onto the ones in between someday. I have them all, stashed away. Mostly PS versions I think. Couple of PC.

Oh, and this means I can get started on the new PC. I’ll just wait for the fallout on my bike expenses and see where I stand after that.

 

Killing the Red Head

The Red Head mini-boss. Not my picture, this guy did it with the pistol, wow. Read on for my own solution.

The Red Head mini-boss. Not my picture, this guy did it with the pistol, wow. Read on for my own solution.

Tomb Raider is progressing quite well. I adventured off to find some tools to fix a boat. This ended up on the wreck of our first boat, the Endurance.

One of the first bad guys I encountered was this large fellow, who appeared could only take damage at the head (hence his “red head” in TR’s Survival Mode view). With my terrible ability at aiming, I was finding myself very quickly overwhelmed and shortly dead. I was starting to look at it being a very frustrating roadblock.

Oh, how about….

Grenades!

A few well placed grenades and the area effect had him stumbling about with the finishing button flashing, so an axe to the head to put him down. That seems to be the easy way :)

Lost another friend in the ship. Having found most of them in the last few “stages” they’re quickly ending up dead. Or kidnapped again, again. So with the boat fixed, I’m off to rescue the Japanese girl again, and hopefully stop whatever has us all trapped on the island.

Just over 60% through the game according to the save game. The optional dungeons are the  best “dungeon puzzles” so far in the game, but there is the odd “how do I open this” puzzle elsewhere as well. A bit less fighting and more puzzles.

Ohhh… and stealth. The old Tenchu game was a big favourite and there are parts of this one where a bit of stealth and the silent bow work very well. I spent a good few minutes stalking an area around a hunting lodge picking of enemies undetected, before I got a bit lazy and took a shot at one who alerted the few remaining. Still about 6 down without anyone noticing. Fun :)

Keen to see this story to the end.

Grenades!

Nah, haven’t un-un-subbed. Been enjoying Tomb Raider. I’ve made it into the castle, rescued my friends (at least for now I suppose) and managed to get myself out of the pit I ended up in. I’m really enjoying the game, though I still would like a little more “puzzling” out levers and jumps etc.

The bow continues to be a strong weapon, though now I’ve moved up from pistol, shotty and have just picked up a grenade launcher so watch out! I haven’t had to fight one of the giant samurai statues, but I’m sure I’ll have to eventually.

Finally set my controls up and find fighting achievable. I find the thumbsticks kind of awkward for aiming (in other games too) and so struggled in much of the fighting. But a sort of auto-aim setting, brings it back to almost the original Tomb Raider. The original, Lara tracked her enemies automatically. This one doesn’t track them, but it does auto aim at the enemy when you draw, then you have to track them yourself  (or keep drawing).  

So anyway, it means I’ve been able to push on through the game. And keen to finish that now. Then maybe I should work on Borderlands 2.

I want to get into playing MWO, but I need a PC for that. I’m not allowed one of those until I finish TR. That’s the rule.

 

And now, back to the game…

I decided after rather awkward attempt at Eve I should go back and try out some of the single player games that I have stashed about.

The Steam summer sales have started too, and whilst I was browsing I remembered that there was a new chapter for The Walking Dead. So I downloaded that and got back into it.

Being that it’s just more content, there are still all the same annoying controls in this chapter too.

In this one, you play about 5 different people at different points in the 400 days since the infection. I’ve played two so far – an convict escaping death at the outbreak and a woman forced into some difficult choices about 250 days in. I wonder if they’ll give use one as a zombie?? That would be unusual.

It is more of the same so, if you loved the other chapters, you’ll love this one. I am still ambivalent really, though I guess, more on the positive as I actually spent money on it.

This afternoon I warmed up the PS3 with some Tomb Raider. Yes, I used my PS3 for gaming, not as a PVR.

When I last left our heroine she was spotlighted and in the open with about 15 guys shooting at her. This set piece took several attempts and a lot of frustration. Very happy when I realised I was through the first wave, because I was pretty sure I could get through the dribs and drabs that would come.

Outside it was daytime (answering another question I did have about the game) and I had to get to the top of the radio tower.

By using a lot of cover and a fair bit of retreating, I ground through the next set of enemy. Bow is still great at range, better than the submachine gun I’ve picked up.

Then it was boss fight time, and I had a guy with a armoured shield and some kind of crude body armour. Bounced a lot of rounds off his shield before getting enough past it to knock him down. Still easier than the set piece.

A last survivor and the building was clear. Now it was just to climb to the top of the mast at the top of the island and try to contact help.

And that’s where Lara is now. Standing at the very top of the tower, gazing at the dawn. I so wish I could get a screenie there.

I still hate the way that aiming is controlled. I’ve noticed its common in several games, as Dust514 uses the same control (with about the same sensitivity) and I just can’t seem to get the hang of it yet.

Sneaky Lara

Tomb-Raider_2013-1

One thing I am liking a lot about this Tomb Raider, hmm actually something I am liking some of the time, is the bow. Now initially when it was my only weapon trying to get a solid kill on a charging wolf was kind of hard.

However when you’re sneaking up on a bunch of the islanders, it’s very effective for a quick clean and most importantly quiet kill. I’m on my way up the island to the radio tower (so yes, not very far through the game) and I cleared a whole building without so much as a whisper from the guards.

Of course that was pointless when I subsequently had to blow up a wall to get through the next building. I think they heard me as I’m at the start of a set piece with a room full of islanders who all know I’m coming.

So far there isn’t the real “Tomb Raiding” feel to the game, but then if it is a reboot as described and this is the tale of how Lara gets that confident then I suppose its to be expected. Some of the hidden areas seem like they will lend themselves to more jumping and guessing than the main path currently does. The main storyline is a lot more action orientated than I expected. Again, I’m only something like 10% into the game.

Adding in the sneaky Lara, reminds me of one of my other most favourite games, Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (on PS1). I used to spend long minutes, real time, with my ninja completely still, usually hanging from a cliff edge or perched on a roof, watching the guards as they did their routines. The game did have a some randomness, but not totally – if you waited long enough patterns emerged and you could sneak past or go in for the silent kill.

Lara is a tough girl though. She’s had an arrow through her thigh and I think I remember a piece of reinforcing iron going through her side at one point. Still she’s up and around and leaping across chasms :)

I am also wondering if it ever stops raining or if the sun ever comes up??

Anyone know a way of taking screenshots from a PS3, I’d love to be able to do that to share with you guys.

Tomb Raiding

I think I noted somewhere that my most favourite franchise after BattleTech is Tomb Raider. I am sure many are aware that the new game was released to pretty good reviews. I’ve been eyeing the prices until I found one I was comfortable and picked it up over the week.

268-tomb-raiderI well remember the hours I puzzled away at the original and the enjoyment I got from it. I do have all of the games since, but have only played bits and pieces of them but due to other commitments, never finished another. I enjoyed what I did see of them.

This one has been no different than that… a lot of fun. It’s early stages is not so much about puzzles and figuring which combinations of ledges to jump to, but I’m hopeful that at least a bit of that will come. This early stages is more about surviving.

It’s tough without her trusty automatics though. Trying to line up a charging wolf with a bow is hard work. I think I’ve died every possible way so far except falling too far. I’ve been choked, mauled, crushed by rocks, burned, shot (arrow and bullet) …  lol.

Having come from a WoW background and the strongest TR memories being the first one in 1997, the graphics have improved… well enormously, lol. On the PS3 the game is very fluid. I hear of some breaks on the PC version, something to do with quicktime events, but I don’t see this on the PS3. The graphics might be weaker, but really I still enjoy the first ones, so graphics isn’t the be all (and never should be).

Compared to my most recent The Walking Dead game, this is a lot more of an action game and less of a choose your story one. Subsequently there is a lot more to do, and Lara is more directly under your control.

I highly recommend it so far. It’s no shoot em up, thankfully, but I do hope things calm down some and I can spend some serious time leaping about caverns and exploring the island, at least for a little bit :)

XCom – Vale: CAPT Matsumoto

RIP Captain “Ghost” Matsumoto.

The Temple ship is destroyed, Earth is saved. XCom has accomplished its goals and the team returned home, almost unscathed.

(Some Spoilers Ahead)

CAPT Matusmoto, the team sniper and also the psi gifted member sacrificed himself at the moment of ultimate defeat in order to snatch victory from the terrible forces about to destroy the planet. Forcing his teammates from the ship he turned back to the ship’s bridge and without regard for his life, gained control of the ship that was tearing itself apart (and the earth with it). He managed to force the ship to a safe distance before the ship was destroyed. His body has not been recovered.

468px-Spi

 

FULL REPORT – TEMPLE SHIP

The team progressed carefully through the ship, facing all of the aliens that had been opponents throughout this alien crisis, from the easily destroyed Sectoids and Thin Men to the tougher Cyberdiscs and Sectopods.

Throughout the mission I had an ominous feeling that victory in this mission would lead to the ultimate failure in XCom’s mission to protect the Earth. The ships commander provided comment and assessments as we progressed and the general feeling was of doing exactly what he wanted us to do. Had the whole XCom project created exactly the supersoldier that the aliens desired, created them out of us!

XCom_Enemy_Unknown_Final_Boss

The Temple Ship Commander – The Uber Ethereal

 

Several tough battles were fought by the team. A pair of Sectopods were probably the toughest opponents before they made it to the bridge. Careful use of grenades, sniper shots and Shredder Rockets saved the team several times and by the time the bridge was assaulted no one had been killed. A memorable moment occurred when a Drone wandered into an area where all six team members were on Overwatch. Six shots reached out and annihilated the drone.

Once on the bridge it was clear that this is what the aliens had wanted. The Psi troop would become the start of their newest breed of soldiers.

Two Muton Elite, two Ethereal and the Uber Ethereal meant there was a lot of mind control ability available to the enemy. The team spread wide across the room, so that if any were mind controlled it would be hard to shoot at teammates. However they were all placed to be able to shoot the Uber.

Several shots were deflected in the first round, however a successful rocket hit and one other had him on low points, before their turn. 2 members were mind controlled, but a hit from another trooper before a careful shot from CAPT Matsumoto destroyed the Uber, in the process destroying the other aliens on the bridge. Victory was ours!

Then the ship started to disintegrate. At XCom headquarters it was clear the ship was about to destroy itself, taking the planet with it.

Onboard, CAPT Matsumoto’s psi powers let him see the ships plans and that’s when he knew what was required.

XCOM – Short Review

OMG I finished another game! And I did enjoy XCOM. I may even go back and try it again, perhaps on a more difficult setting, or with a different start base. Unless you are violently opposed to turn based games then I recommend this game to you.

Two games finished now and its only February, what’s in store for March?

……… actually I’ve started Trine 2……..

XCom – Final stage

I HAVE A PSYKER!!! Well it’s only taken me almost two months (though that’s only about a dozen plays or so) but I finally found another psi gifted troop.

I had some tips over the month to try folks with strong Will score. This score builds as yo level your troops and I had been testing all mine as soon as the arrive as recruits, hence the terrible run of failures.

As the last batch of the old test regime finished (no psi) I found one Captain that hadn’t been tested, hmm, a sniper that we’ve heard so much about before.

10 days of testing and he’s passed! So I kit him up with the Psi-amour and I am informed that he is powerful enough to use the Gallop Chamber.

Woohoo, I can finally move on to the final mission.

At this point the game warns you that any further research or engineering is impossible. That’s fine for me as I have warehouses full of stuff to equip more than just a 6 man team. I have at least 8 full Colonels (though none support or sniper) ready and waiting for deployment on this mission.

The Gallop Chamber is activated and an assault on the Temple ship is now possible. The team is assembled, the psi trooper must participate and he must survive the assault. I kit out my best troops and launch.

Concept_-_Temple_Ship2

As I type the team has arrived at the ship and had its first combats with the alien crew……