Enter The Scrub: Reverse First and Actual First

Since the last time I posted about Warmachine I’ve picked up a second faction, The Legion of Everblight, and acquired a lot more little Menoth dudes.  The little rules still catch me up; I spend the same amount of time asking “Is this how it works?” as I ever did, but I’m less frustrated about it.  Persevering is just about always the right answer.  When it comes to playing this game for me it’s not about getting better at the mechanics, it’s about overcoming my own fallacies.  So far, it’s working.

A few months back I played in a big 50-point timed tournament.  That’s as big as a Warmachine tournament game tends to get.  I threw down Kreoss, his first version (warcasters/locks can come in three different variations of the same character with different spells/stats) and lost spectacularly.  It was always to little mistakes (mis-measuring, putting Kreoss in a bad spot, losing to not being aggressive enough), I was disheartened but still having fun.  50 point games could still leave me thinking, “I never want to do that again.”  There’s a lot going on for me to keep track of and remember.  Two of my weakest points.  I came in last but still laughed about it.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago.  We play a Mangled Metal Tooth and Claw tournament (only 20 points, just ‘jacks or ‘beasts, the signature unit types of the game).  I play my Legion, Absylonia the first, with a carnivean, the Typhon and a single shredder.  I won every single game I played.  Even against some of the strongest players in our group.  The victory left me feeling happy and more capable than previous.  I had been playing more games than normal, pushing through the frustration I feel so easily, and it payed off.  I still frequently lose 50-point games, but I’m having more fun and feeling less frustrated.

Next Mangled Metal Tooth and Claw will be Menoth and we’ll see if I can pull out another win (probably not).  I’m just happy to continually work at it and maybe one day soon that horrible frustration, no matter the outcome, will completely fade away.


Fatal Frame V: A new horror?

A trailer for the upcoming Fatal Frame V was released that heavily featured gameplay. 

It’s left me feeling optimistic about the integration of the WiiU’s gamepad.  I love the idea of being able to angle the camera in order to better capture multiple ghosts.  I’m not sure about, at least what seems to be a mechanic to me, needing to angle the camera a specific way in order to capture non-aggressive ghost’s pictures and to get bonuses in fights.  It seems unnecessary and potentially annoying.

It was hard to not notice the jiggle physics.  Fatal Frame has always had an element of “fan service” (most of these characters are underage).  It’s not something I’m personally happy about.  It’s blatant and takes away from the atmosphere (and except in III it’s creepy).  It leaves me thinking about how obtrusive and obvious it is instead of freaking out about that shadow over there “Oh my god, do you see it!?”

My main fear stemming from the previous installment, Fatal Frame IV, is story.  The first two games were fine, they had some turns and were wrapped up well.  The third was alright, but definitely required a little more careful reading to deal with how convoluted the story was presented.  The fourth was terrible; texts within the game frequently didn’t make sense with one another, there were numerous story holes, and it just felt messy.  I’m scared this is going to be repeated in V.  In IV it felt like they were running out of storytelling steam, or they were trying to up the “mystery” and twists as a means to frighten.  Like Silent Hill, I would love a return to original form.

The scares in IV were also sub-par.  A lot of them were hollow imitations of former games.  Ghost designs copied from previous installments and in IV their A.Is were all the same.  Move/Teleport – rush forward – repeat.  The only ghost encounter with some semblance of interesting mechanics was the woman in the wheelchair with her sister.  The rest were “rushers” and group fights (of rushers).  I’d love to see new innovation in the battles for V.  Ghosts can be capable of all sorts of tom-foolery; they generally disobey the rules of space and frequently have telekinesis.

With the announcement it is getting a North American release I’m both excited and scared (not in a good way).  A Fatal Frame game is only as strong as it’s ability to tell a spooky story, create atmosphere and have genuine moments of fright.  I’m just not sure this series is still capable of it.