Four in February 2017

Four In February 2017

28 Days. Complete 4 Games.

 

An annual tradition started by the now-defunt Joystiq, Four in February is a challenge to finally play a few of those games that we all just have lying around collecting (virtual) dust. The goal is to complete four games during the month of February.

I attempted it last year and came close. I successfully completed three games: Rise of The Tomb Raider, Far Cry 4, and Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People. I think I would have met the goal, had I not been sick for almost a week! I’m going to give it a try again this year. Check out my picks below! I also plan on streaming as much of my attempt as I can, so I’ll update the information below with archives of the streams as well!

 

Watch along when I’m live at twitch.tv/lazyrivr or gaming.youtube.com/user/lazyrivr/live

The Walking Dead: Season 2

Yeah, season 3 just came out. I’m a season behind, which is all the more reason to fire up season 2 and play it! I “enjoyed” season 1 (as much as you can enjoy a story like that), so I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to playing season 2 yet. I recently picked it up when it was free through Twitch Prime though, so there’s no more excuses. It’s time to enter this tough and depressing world again.

Image from Telltale’s website.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

This is a short one. I’ve heard it only takes one sitting to complete, but I’ve also heard nothing but good things about it. This is one that’s been sitting in my library for quite some time, but I just haven’t taken the time to play it. I’m going to finally fix that.

Image from the game’s website.

Darksiders II

I’ve actually played about 4 hours of Darksiders II before, but then I just never came back to it. I remember thinking that it scratched the same sort of itch that the Legend of Zelda series did for me, so I think it’s time to give it another go. I’ll be starting over since I don’t really remember anything about the story or how to play the game, plus I’ll be playing on the newer Deathinitive Edition as it will hopefully be a little more compatible with Windows 10 than the older version. This one’s my long pick, as I expect it will take up to two weeks to complete.

Image from THQ Nordic’s website.

Undertale

That is why Undertale is my final pick for Four in February. I attended AGDQ 2017 a few weeks ago and was in the room for the Undertale run; the finale of the marathon. It looked pretty good, but when you’re skipping so much stuff, you don’t get a good sense of the story. So it’s time to play this game. I don’t even own it yet; I’m going to buy it specifically for this.

Image from the game’s website.

Watch along on Twitch...

I’ll be streaming as much as possible while playing these games, so watch on my Twitch channel!

...or YouTube Gaming

I’ll also be simultaneously streaming to my YouTube Gaming channel, so you can watch there too!

Four In February logo

4 in February 2016

4 in February 2016

I haven’t been playing very many video games lately. Sure, I got sucked into Fallout 4 for about 40 hours, but then a whole lot of nothing. It’s time to break out of that. It’s time to actually play a few of the (very) many games that are lying untouched in my library.

4 in February is a yearly event, started by (the now defunct) Joystiq, challenging people to complete four unplayed video games during the month of February. The idea isn’t to go buy four new games, but to make it through four that you already have, but haven’t gotten around to.

With that in mind, it’s time to tackle a little of my backlog. Here’s my 4 in February.

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Conveniently, Rise of the Tomb Raider makes its way onto PC on January 28th, just a few days before the start of February. Given just how much I love the Tomb Raider reboot (I’ve played through it twice), it’s no surprise that I want this one on my list to beat in February.

It’ll be very nice to look at as well – this Christmas I upgraded my PC with a new GTX 970, and that’s the card for the recommended spec!

Mission Accomplished!

That wasn’t quite as long as I expected. It only took about 12 hours to complete, and I powered through it in just 3 days. I streamed the whole thing – check out the recordings to the left!

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 3 just came out, but I think I’m going to wait for that to go on a better sale. In the meantime, Just Cause 2 is languishing in my Steam library, not even 2 hours played. I don’t remember much from the brief time I’ve already spent with the game, just that I think it was fun, and that it sure looks like it’ll be a lot more fun when I dedicate a proper amount of time to it.

Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People

Remember that great website HomestarRunner.com? The one that’s showing signs of coming back to life? Well, back in 2008 they partnered with Telltale Games to make a series of point-and-click adventures! This was back before Telltale’s games were basically just dialog trees and tough moral choices – they were legit point-and-clicks. I did play most of the first episode at one point, but there’s no way I remember how to do it at this point. It’s broken into 5 episodes, so I think I’ll just play one all the way through each night till I finish it.

Time Gentlemen, Please!

Time Gentlemen, Please! screenshot depicting a couple of characters in a forest with a bird saying "Bwark!" sitting on a tree.

This is actually a sequel to the studio’s previous game Ben There, Dan That, but I won’t play that one first unless I’m making really good time on the others during the month. It’s an absurd comedy point-and-click adventure game, but most importantly it’s kinda short. It’s only about 6 hours long according to user submissions at How Long to Beat. With two big AAA games in my lineup this month, I’ll need a shorter one to serve as a palate cleanser.

So there it is. The four games I’ll be trying to tackle in February. I think I have a good mix, even though two of them are point-and-click adventures. I’ve got a little snack-sized game, an episodic game with easy stopping points, a sandbox mayhem generator, and an epic action adventure. I’ll probably be streaming my time with these games when I can on my Twitch channel (or maybe YouTube instead). We’ll see how I did on March 1st!

New(-to-me) Games Week!

It’s only about a week before I go back to school, but I still have a massive Steam library of games that I haven’t played yet (though that’s been true of my Steam library the entire time I’ve had a Steam account!).

That’s why, every day this week, I’ll be playing a game I haven’t played before every single day! I’ll be trying to include genres that I don’t usually play either because I want to branch out a bit. And just to make sure I give each game a fair shot, I’ll be playing each game for a minimum of 2 hours.

I’ll be streaming at 11am Pacific each weekday this week. You can watch at twitch.tv/lazyrivr or at my gaming blog lazyrivr.com.

Here’s the (tentative) schedule for the week:

Monday

Avadon: The Black Fortress

Perhaps best described as an old-school RPG, this is a game I’m hoping will surprise me. I’m not a huge RPG fan, especially the old-school kind. They’re awfully slow, and I tend to want to overthink when playing an RPG with all those stats and equipment slots. This is mainly why I’ve got the two hour minimum.

Tuesday

Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3

Here’s another RPG, but with a little more modern twist. It aims to be old-school, but it’s got a funny slant, instead of being all “steeped in mythology.” So I think I’ll enjoy this one a little more.

Wednesday

Jurassic Park (Telltale Games)

I first sat down and watched Jurassic Park (the movie) all the way through a few months ago while it was in its theatrical 3D re-release. It sold me. Great movie (short on plot, but big on fun). I’ve heard some… not-so-nice things about Telltale Games’ adventure game based on the franchise. I haven’t played it, so I guess I’ll find out if it’s as boring as people say it is.

Thursday

Alan Wake (subject to my computer’s awfulness)

Alan Wake looks like it’s pretty awesome. Moody and atmospheric, I’m just hoping my computer will be up to the task of playing it and streaming it at the same time (spoiler alert: the graphics setting will be on “really really low”).

Friday

Retro City Rampage

Friday is a time to just shoot things up. And that’s what I’m going to do. Mayhem! 80s references that will go above my head because I was born in ’89! Stopping the evil good guys! I hoping this one will be a blast!

 

Each day after I’m done playing, I’ll try to pull out a few highlights and write up some thoughts about the game.

Here’s to making that Steam library more worth the money!

Games I Love: Psychonauts

A quiet day at the lake at Whispering Rocks summer camp. For psychics.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m one of those people. The ones that gush praise on Psychonauts saying things like “it’s so underrated,” and “it should have sold so many more copies than it did.” I agree with that second one wholeheartedly. I have played through this game several times in the past, but my interest was rekindled when they released a Mac port. And they added Steam achievements! And they made one of the hardest parts of the game a little bit easier!

Let’s face it: this game has its flaws. Especially in the last level, some of the platforming is deviously hard. But this game simply oozes charm. Until Portal 2 came along, I would say that this game had the best writing and voice acting in a video game I’d ever played. That’s probably not a coincidence either: Erik Wolpaw was a writer on both Psychonauts and Portal 2.

Things are… not quite right in this paranoid’s mind.

Minor spoilers in this paragraph. In the game you are a boy who has run away from the circus to join a summer camp for psychic kids. However, things start to go wrong as your fellow campers’ brains are stolen. And the adults have to leave for some kind of “psychic emergency.” Eventually you are the only one left to try and find everyone else’s brains. For your training you go into people’s minds. The teachers’ minds are normal enough: one is a battleground from memories of war, one is a very well-organized mind that begins to get out of control as you mess around in it, and another is a giant dance party. But the minds get increasingly strange as you go off in search of your campmates’ brains. One is a legitimately insane paranoid person. Another is battling a genetic memory of his ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte. Another is haunted by critics’ views of her stage performances. And another is haunted by the image of a rampaging bull. And you literally have to enter the mind of a giant fish that has been forced to kidnap children; in that mind you are a giant Godzilla-like figure that the fish calls “Goggalor.” Each mind has its own unique visual style and every style is wonderful. The minds of your instructors aren’t really focused on anything but getting from the beginning to the end, but once you hit the asylum’s minds, it becomes a matter of puzzles to make it through each person’s mind, as you have to help unravel their problem and resolve it.

The game’s visual style is very cartoonish in a delightful kind of way, which helps to cover up the dated graphics (it is an original Xbox/PS2-era game). The game works best with a gamepad, but I’ve always played it with a keyboard and mouse and it still works fine.

This game really is one you must play. And do pay attention to the Steam achievements: they help you discover some of the great things that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Psychonauts on Steam

Games I Love: Portal 2

I played a lot of games during December, but the last few months of school have been very busy. I’ve wanted to write about so many of them, because I played a lot of great games! I finally have a little time to write about some of them. Portal 2 came out a year ago next week, so I thought it would be the perfect time to write about Portal 2, for the few people who haven’t played it yet.

One of the test chambers in Portal 2. With objects flying toward you courtesy of GLaDOS.

One of the test chambers in Portal 2. With objects flying toward you courtesy of GLaDOS.

Portal 2 is a brilliant game. It’s challenging, it’s fun, and it has some of the best writing and voice acting ever seen in a video game. Hands down, it’s just all around great. But if you haven’t already been convinced by everyone else on the internet to play it, I won’t convince you either. It’s just amazing. And I’d recommend it to anyone. So do yourself a favor and just play it already. If it’s too expensive for you, wait for it to go on sale. They’ve even dropped the price to $20 now without a sale, so there’s not much excuse to not get it. Did I mention it’s even compatible with Macs?

I’m gushing all this praise on it and I haven’t even played the co-op part yet! Now that’s saying something!

It's your old friend: neurotoxin. At least you're not in a test chamber this time.

And the companion interactive e-book “The Final Hours of Portal 2” is a very fascinating read. It chronicles the game’s development, including the internal struggles they had. It’s very open and honest, even talking about the year they spend developing Portal 2 before scrapping the entire game to start over because it just wasn’t working. It’s a great look into how a game is made, including the struggles of developing a sequel to an instant classic.

Portal 2 on Steam, The Final Hours of Portal 2 on Steam for PC and Mac or on the App Store for iPad. BONUS: Download the Portal 2 soundtrack for free! (Don’t worry; it’s totally legal!)