Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's not the same

Yesterday was in interesting day. Phantom Dust dropped with little warning, for free, and Injustice 2 came out. I was at a bit of a loss on which to play so I decided to let the consoles decide. Phantom Dust was a 9 gig download. Injustice 2 had a 950 meg day one patch. Both machines are on the same network, plugged into the same switch, and were downloading at the same time.

I cannot wait to be done with PSN. Phantom Dust was downloaded in about an hour and a half and the Injustice 2 patch took significantly longer. Take me home, Scorpio, take me home.

So I played Phantom Dust, a game whose pending arrival I have talked about several times on the podcast in glowing, slightly creepy terms. It is exactly as I remember it, to a fault. It really is an oXbox game resurrected to run at modern resolutions, a not insignificant task undertaken by a small team with a passion for a very niche game. I should be thrilled. But I am not.

It is not that I did not enjoy myself, I did, but my memories of playing Phantom Dust are tied to who I was playing it with. Being a semi-professional asshole I assumed that this was secondary to what I was playing and that throwing glowing balls of energy at randoms would have the same effect. It did not. It was honestly a bit hollow.

Getting into multiplayer games was on the difficult side and the total lack of voice chat outside of the party app is a significant loss but the rest of the game remained intact. From the outset you can download a free starter pack of skills. This allowed me to skip the single player portion entirely, a good thing, as it has not aged well at all. I made it through about a cutscene and a half before turning it off.

For the impatient there are all sorts of micro-transactions, ranging from in game currency to unlocking one copy of all 300 skills. It was so tempting but I did not do it. Instead I parlayed my winnings into junk packs, collections of five random skills. Cheap loot boxes purchased via in game funds. I am nobody's whale.

I will play Phantom Dust again but it is not return of a long lost love that I predicted. She's back, still looks good, still quirky and flexible, but I have changed, and I am not sure I have time for her anymore.

...

The last house I lived in before getting married was a double wide trailer inhabited by four guys, all of whom were eager to not live at home or at school and be able to drink as much possible at any time. It was a good six months, the end of which saw me move back home for six more while student teaching.

During a break from school I went back to that double wide trailer and tried to return to the old ways. A great deal of vodka was consumed, I blacked out, and the next hazy image was of me on my side and a good friend sitting in a chair next to my bed, making sure that I did not choke to death on my own vomit. Satisfied that I was out of danger, he rose and headed back to his room.

'You never can go back, can you,' I said.

He stopped, turned half way back towards me and shook his head.

'No.'

I learned then a lesson that I keep learning, that living in or for nostalgia is cowardly and disappointing. There is always more that will be than has been. Time to play something new(ish).

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