Waiting on One
For awhile now I have been watching the Xbox One console, wondering if I should try and get one. There are a lot of cool features, not the least of which is the fact that you can stream from your console to a windows PC. There are many nights that I would prefer to sit my butt on the sofa downstairs, but would far rather be playing my PS4 that is hooked up in my office so that I can stream over OBS with it. The truth is… other than my recent foray into Destiny, my Xbox 360 has set pretty much unused for most of the time I have owned it. To make matters worse, I technically have two of them, thinking my first unit was kaput and picking up a second one cheaply… only to realize later that it was simply the power supply. The fact that I just didn’t seem to enjoy playing games on the Xbox 360 really soured my consideration when it came to looking at the Xbox One. This combined with the really poor marketing message at launch, and the fact a good number of my friends were already on team PlayStation ended up pushing me in that direction. When I finally picked up a PS3 late in the game, I experienced somewhat of a renaissance of console gaming… and the more bought into the suite of consoles I got the more rewarded I was. Playing games remotely through a PS Vita is kinda awesome… even though I honestly don’t do it that much.
The justification thus far that I have given myself for not buying into the Xbox One was the fact that most of the console “exclusives” seemed to eventually come out for the PC. Whereas on the other side of the equation, none of the PS4 console exclusives seemed to make it out on the PC or Xbox One for that matter. That said there were always a few games that I considered might be worth picking up a console for, but as it stands… there seems to be only one of those that is truly “console exclusive”. Over the Christmas break it was announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider pc would be hitting in January or at least “Early 2016”. At the announcement of this game I thought it was all too specific that they kept saying the same verbiage of “Exclusive for Holiday 2015”. So this knocked one game off the list of “worth purchasing a console for” and yesterday knocked another one off. Since it was announced I have been pumped about the modern incarnation of Killer Instinct. I thought it was a pipe dream that the game would be coming to the PC, but during the last round of conventions when they talked about Gears of War getting a PC release…. I thought maybe just maybe that the game might jump off console. It seems that Windows is putting all of their eggs in the “Exclusive for Windows 10” basket as well, and I guess in the grand scheme of things I am perfectly fine with this. The problem being… that once again it erodes at any reason for me to shell out money for an Xbox One. Right now the only game that seems firmly landlocked on the console is Halo… and considering the lack of ease I have had getting into those games during my recent attempt at playing them on the 360 tells me that I will be just fine without it.
Last night I started work on the January AggroChat Game of the Month, because I wanted to give it enough time to hopefully beat it by the end of the month. This time around Ashgar chose the older Indie game Aquaria, which actually released back in 2007. I remember this game being in one of the very first Humble Bundles that I ever purchased, and it has sat in my steam library waiting there unplayed. When Ash described it on the podcast last weekend, my initial thought was that it sounded quite a bit like Ecco the Dolphin. I mean the game has the similarity that you are a character swimming around an entirely aquatic world, and also shares some metroidvania tendencies, which at the time I felt Ecco did as well. What I did not realize is just how much the experience would feel exactly like my memories of Ecco. The weird thing about Ecco is that I was fond of the game, but at the same time anytime I attempted to play it I felt nothing but sheer confusion. I never knew what I was supposed to do and when exactly I was supposed to do it… and for the most part that is precisely how I am feeling about Aquaria.
The game is gorgeous, and the characters move around the world nicely… even though the main character has a bit of a paper doll thing going on in the way her limbs attach to her body. The control scheme on the other hand is deeply confused. It supports a controller, and for the most part moving around screen feels so much better with an analog stick. However when it comes to inputting song sequences… the controller is almost impossible for this task. The first song ends up alternating between left and right twice… so that one is completely doable… however there is one later used to unlock a gate that involves moving your joystick to a sequence of the minor axis which feels completely impossible to pull off smoothly. So as a result I found myself shifting back and forth between controller and keyboard and mouse giving me an extremely frustrating gameplay experience. I feel like this is a game where I am going to have to either look at some maps or follow a guide to get “started” because I think maybe once I understand what the hell is going on… that I will like it. Even last night Ash talked about having trouble getting started, which tells me that maybe this game is far too esoteric for my tastes.