Monday, December 21, 2009

Adventures in Babeland - Weekly Gaming Girl Diary: December 21, 2009

Hi, my name is Kara. You might know me from a month or so ago. I write for this blog and have suddenly disappeared! But do not fret! I have returned from a blogging vacation caused by laziness to update you on my video game playing habits! REJOICE!

You missed me, right, RIGHT?!

It appears my last update to the blog was over a month ago..sheesh. I can't even remember what I've been playing in the last month. I'm sure there were good amounts of WoW, probably some Torchlight and definitely some Borderlands. Of course, there's always a constant stream of Farmville to top it all off, but those are all boring and mostly have been discussed before and due to my epically slow progression in games updating the blog on those activities could get boring and repetitive. Instead, I'll update on a new game I got to playing this past week, Left 4 Dead 2.

This past week I was on vacation for the holiday to my home state of Washington. Nate and his wife Cindy also came along and so did Nate's Xbox. We didn't get a whole lot of video game playing in while we were home just due to being extremely busy, but we did get to play some L4D2 a couple nights. I purchased L4D2 a few weeks ago when it was on sale on Amazon, but hadn't really gotten around to playing it. Nate and I sat down one night and started playing the Dark Carnival campaign. Nate really wanted to get the Guardin' Gnome achievement. We had attempted earlier to get the gnome, but failed miserably. This time around using an ample amount of assault rifles and moltovs we got it and were therefore determined to complete the campaign so he could get his oh so sweet pink Depeche Mode t-shirt. I have to say, completing this task was probably single handily the most frustrating, yet the most enjoyable moment I've ever had in video gaming. It wasn't carrying around the gnome that caused the issues, it was the fact that playing on Normal in L4D2 is HARD. I mean, I'm not talking die once, figure out a strategy kind of hard...I'm talking about dying multiple, multiple times and playing through the finale 5 times before completing it kind of hard. At the end of it, I was beyond frustrated, but looking back on it the next day it was so unbelievably fun. L4D2 is most definitely significantly more difficult then L4D. Normal in L4D2 feels like Advanced in L4D. When you suddenly have a spitter, a jockey, a tank and a boomer at one time, it becomes a bit overwhelming. Valve has most definitely achieved the goal of removing any and all strategy from the game that players might develop. While I look back on it now and relive the moment, the excitement and the frustration and feel a sudden rush of how much fun it is, I certainly hope that Valve releases a patch in the future to tone it down just a tad bit. I'm not asking for a cake walk, but trying to get rid of two tanks while a spitter is puking corrosive acid all over you sort of makes your blood boil. I could not even imagine playing that game on Expert.

Would you wear a shirt that had Mario's wardrobe on it? (Awesome Game Shirts)

Mario's Closet @
Mario's Closet design @ ©

I think that it goes without saying that this post is entirely self serving because I would love nothing more than to be able to wear this shirt. I am sure you feel the same way so please do click the link above and vote "I would buy this shirt" for this design. Even if you would not plan on buying it, please take the ten seconds necessary to do this for myself, yourself and your fellow blog readers. Drop it in the comments after you have voted. Thanks. Just in case you did not feel like scrolling up you can vote for it here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

WAIP: December 16, 2009 - On Vacation Edition

This post is not so much to chat about what I have been playing this past week but more to chat about what I have been playing for the past few days. There is always one game that is included in that category: Left 4 Dead 2.

I had previously been skeptical on whether I was going to pick up this game even though the original was my game of the year last year. What sold me on the game was actually playing through some of it with Kara and my wife these past few days and I have since ordered it on Amazon and it will be waiting for me when I get home.

I have only really dabbled but I am really a big fan of all the small additions to the game. These additions make the original appear very lackluster or almost as though Left 4 Dead 1 was just a test bed for the sequel.

I am enjoying working out ways to avoid kill the new special infected and combining that with strategies learned from the original infected. All of the old infected are fairly similar to how they behaved in the original with one exception - the witch. This time she wanders about making it both easier and harder to avoid her depending on the situation. It adds an interesting stealth-like element to the game whereas previously the object was to just reach the end as quickly - and with the least possible damage - as possible.

The addition of the Charger, Spitter and Jockey makes the game tense at all moments but I also felt that at times knowing which of the new special infected that was coming was predictable. An perfect example of this is when I was playing with Kara and I had not seen a Spitter in a while I said to her, "I think a Spitter might be coming up soon," and sure enough the next corner greeted us with a noxious green acid pool.

The Charger is not particularly hard to kill but is there to provide the unexpected annoyance of splitting up your party when you least want/expect it.

Lastly, the Jockey will always come around if you are falling behind your party or are getting ahead of your party. He will also come around regardless but if you have someone watching your back it is easy to make short work of him.

Something that I did not think that would make a difference to me one way or the other was the dismemberment. It is so gratifying and it makes killing zombies any other way just plain boring. The melee weapons really show this off when you are lopping off heads, arms, and legs with machetes, guitars, etc.

My favorite experience with the game so far was trying to get Gnome Chompski through the Dark Carnival level. At the end finale it provided such a level of frustration, excitement, and eleation. What sold me on the game was that I found myself talking to Kara the next morning about the crazy situations that we had gone through trying to get the Gnome out safely. The moments that you talk about sold me on the first game as well.