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The Stainless Steel Rat's LiveJournal

The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Yesterday was another "quiet" day.

I played a huge amount of Dead Island, which I'm very much addicted to. It would be vying for Terraria as my game of 2011, although it would have helped if I'd started playing it a bit earlier. Certainly a contender for 2012, albeit a 2011 game. Confused yet? I'm further wowed by more features of the game: the missions are wonderfully varied and just never-ending. OK, the main mission structure has started to get a little repetitive, in that you go to Location A, get several side missions, and one main mission. Then once all those are completed you go to Location B and repeat, Location C and repeat etc. But to give some flavour of how long all the missions take I am currently only at Location C (with a third of the main missions completed). But unlike some games of late I'm actively choosing every mission I can, because I'm finding them that enjoyable. The mission system so far is stuffed with content, and as mentioned the missions themselves don't feel all that repetitive, even if they do follow common themes e.g. go to Point A and collect Item B. Because the narrative is so good though I haven't really spotted the repetitive nature as I'm buying into the story. Combat is a blast as well, no pun intended. I've finally got firearms, albeit just pistols and a shotgun with one cartridge so far. I've upgraded a few weapons, and have almost 20 weapon mods available (the biggest problem is finding the right items in sufficient quantity to effect the upgrade, and it didn't help that I threw lots away thinking it was affecting my inventory, when it wasn't). Normally I get bored by things that get in the way of combat, but I like the idea that weapons degrade during use, as it makes you think about what you need to prepare with. So far the game is very well balanced in terms of providing enough money for repairs and upgrades, and just providing sufficient loot generally (lovely loot!). Firearms fans probably won't like it so far though, as it's very melee weapon based. Normally I prefer guns, but I'm actually really enjoying the melee combat. There's something about the combat that's chaotic, yet sufficiently under control that it's fun. It's also surprisingly easy to target blows and dismember a zombie, to comical effect (well, about as comical as zombie dismembering gets).

Maybe it still helps that I had low expectations.

There are aspects of the game that feel a little rushed though. I've hit a couple of bugs which seem to reset my position. One of these was during a mission, and I had no idea at all what had happened, but I went from outside in a car in a car park, to standing next to a hotel. OK, it transpired this is how things should have worked, but it wasn't explained at all. There's also a more general feeling of a lack of polish in places, but it's not a showstopper.

In other news...

Lu went out shopping with the MIL and Amélie yesterday afternoon, and they were gone for 4-5 hours.

Amélie was in a rambunctious mood, and was being particularly difficult during dinner. She wanted to stand up in her high chair, and it ended up being a stand off between Lu and I, and her. It was so obvious she was testing us, as she both looked at us and then gingerly stood up (again) to see what the reaction was. It was the last straw, so we took her out of the high chair and she had a huge strop, and started biting herself (something she has done a handful of times recently). Then she ran over to me, one of the sources of her frustration, and bit my side! It was bloody painful, but everyone including me burst out laughing, which probably didn't help the situation. The difficulty is trying to punish her in such a way that conveys she did something wrong, or more so being able to explain to her what she did wrong, which is pretty much impossible with her limited communication skills. Oh well, so far it's yet to prove a huge problem. I suspect she feels just as frustrated at times.

Karaoke is hopefully on the cards for this evening. It also looks hopeful that the lovely Carlos will be going as well. He wants to see Amélie, and I've said we're available pretty much whenever, but it also takes him 90 minutes to get across the city by bus to where we are. "The plan" (my plan) is to get there for 6pm when it opens, so we can get maximum time. Even more so if it gets busy, in which case we'll leave early anyway. It's gutting that such an excellent place exists just 5 minutes from the PILs, yet I've found nowhere like this in the UK, let alone somewhere that's a 5 minute drive. SingStar... KaraokeBox... they just don't compare to a proper karaoke bar.