Keep on swimming

2015-11-14

Between Fallout 4 and laying down to rest my back, the second sleeve is coming along quite slowly compared to the first one. Nevertheless, I’m past halfway and hope to have the sleeve finished by the end of Sunday and the neck done by Monday night! Then I’m showing it off at group on Tuesday and starting the socks for my family. I could start them now but that means I would finish them in time. Who would do such madness? Freaking out over deadlines for the holidays is what it’s all about, right?

I also went swimming Friday morning with some people from my group. It relieved a lot of pressure off my back, and although I couldn’t swim a whole lane without stopping 3-4 times cause of pain in my legs, I did swim about 7-8 full lanes. Not bad for a semi-disabled person huh? I took it at my own pace, listening to my body and that worked out well. I’m going again next Friday morning. I’m considering going regularly every month through the next year as it’s a great way to exercise without straining my back. I’m a little hesitant in terms of going by myself, but maybe I can rope someone else into going with me if the weekly group swimming stops.

Either way, I’m not doing too badly, I’m proud of my sweater so far and eager to finish. I wish I could play Fallout in longer sessions but my body demands the rest. Ergh.

One of the hardest games you’ll ever play.

If I say the words Rogue Legacy and you’re not nodding enthusiastically in agreement, I’m 99% sure you haven’t played it yet. Or you’re some kind of gaming genius who finished the game with the very first hero. (And in that case you’re not a human being and I’m terrified of you.)

This game is incredibly fun. But mostly frustrating at first, and awful if you hate losing, but so worth the pay off if you stick with it for a few generations.

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The goal of the game is quite simple: run through this castle, collect all the gold from enemies, furniture and chests, and try not to die so you can defeat the bosses. The execution requires a ton of practice, patience and smart thinking though. When you die you don’t simply respawn, you’re dead forever and that’s it. But fear not! You were very smart and decided to reproduce shortly before you went into this blasted castle (or one of your siblings who lived did, who knows!). Upon your death, up to three descendants of yours will have grown to maturity and acquired their own special skills, traits and abilities to follow in your footsteps. You get to choose to play as one of them.

I truly commend the developers for the humor here! If a character has vertigo, you play the game upside down. And I mean upside down in the literal sense. When one has I.B.S. the character randomly farts when you jump, and characters with coprolalia ‘swear’ when they get hit by enemies (little text balloons with @*$#! in them, it’s adorable!). I’m not sure if certain traits have any effect, such as on Sir Jacob here. “The One” and “Gay” traits appear to do nothing at all other than being amusing, but I might look into it and see if I missed something.

Before you go into the castle, the gold your ancestor obtained before they died is passed on to you, allowing you to purchase upgrades for your manor, buy equipment and runes to make you stronger. You find blueprints in the castle to allow the blacksmith to make you new equipment, and you find runes that the enchantress uses to give you new abilities and effects. As you try to enter, a character named Charon, who resembles Death himself, steals your lunch money before you can proceed, so it’s always a good idea to spend all of it on upgrades before you go on.

Once in, dying is only a matter of time. On my first couple of runs I didn’t even last a minute. Not a minute! It’s super hard and the controls take some time getting used to, especially if you’re used to different setups in other games. The upside is that the cycle repeats itself endlessly so you get to buy upgrades, pick a new hero and try again. Each run is different, as every room is randomly generated, but if you run through a castle you particularly like you can unlock the Architect in your manor and he can lock the castle down for your next run. He takes 40% of all your gold though, which can significantly reduce your progress to almost nothing.

There are special chests called Fairy Chests that require a special conditions to be met in order to unlock them, such as taking no damage, or not fighting the enemies, or killing every (sometimes unreachable) enemies. Locking down the castle when you run into one such chest can be worthwhile, as certain traits are necessary to get to many of them. That’s when you pick a hero who fits and try again.

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While easily frustrated people may find little enjoyment in a game that is designed to kill you for a hundred generations straight, it pays off in the long run if you stick with it. You grow stronger and start killing enemies in single blows, which means you’re ready for the next areas of the castle with stronger enemies. But they all also grow stronger the more you go on. It remains challenging, and I highly doubt anyone will ever breeze though. But for all of the challenges it has, it’s not unplayable, and it’s easy to get hooked to it.

A terrifying tale

Steam Summer Sales are on until the 21st, and that means my wallet cries and shrivels up before I even know what’s happening. My first SSS purchase is a questionable one though.

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Outlast. A first person survival horror game reminiscent of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, but with a modern twist and horribly frightening jump scares that made me scream and fling my mouse at my monitor within the first 10 minutes. The reviews on Steam are hilariously accurate and the game itself is not one I want to play at night time.

I’m not easily frightened, but the atmosphere in the game is magnificent and keeps you on your toes. You expect something to lurk behind every door, but you’re still not prepared for when you finally run into something. The usage of a hand-held camera with night vision to guide you through the game is not new to the horror genre (think of The Blair Witch Project) but I haven’t encountered it in a game before and it’s clever.

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The game warns of violence, sex and scary things. Gore is prevalent throughout the game and I’m curious to see how the sexual aspect comes into play. But so far I have to say, Outlast will be a favorite of mine. I wore Amnesia TDD thin to the point where it was no longer interesting to play, but Outlast is a worthy successor to continue my horror game addiction.

Shedding some light on dying

For years I’ve been an avid fan of first person zombie shooters. Among my favorites are Left 4 Dead and Dead Island. I do enjoy other genres – Mirror’s Edge is an amazing FP parkour game that I replay countless times (even though I’m terrified of heights, even virtual ones!).

Needless to say I was absolutely ecstatic when a message popped up in Steam telling me my boyfriend gifted me a copy of Dying Light. This game is stunning and incredibly fun, like an amazing mixture between all the aforementioned games. Not only does it combine parkour with combat and crafting, it adds a new element of danger at night. Special zombies who only emerge in the dark and are vicious, ruthless hunters unlike the sluggish undead by day.

I’m usually not very frightened by games, even horror ones, but my blood gets pumping when I have to run missions at night!

There are definitely some bugs that still need addressing here and there, but I have to say I’m super pleased with this game as it is right now. It’s the first game that truly shows my rig’s age though – at an average of 22 FPS I have to admit that I’m going to have to upgrade my video card again in the future. If my motherboard wasn’t so close to dying that’s all I’d need though.

Mr Zombie was in a safe area where he wasn't supposed to be. When I confronted him and took his picture as evidence for the zombie police, he had the audacity to try and shield his face! That dirty trick won't work, Mr Zombie. You're busted!

Mr Zombie was in a safe area where he wasn’t supposed to be. When I confronted him and took his picture as evidence for the zombie police, he had the audacity to try and shield his face!
That dirty trick won’t work, Mr Zombie. You’re busted!

I’ve had tons of fun playing with my boyfriend and I’m looking forward to making it to the finale of the game.