Games. Games. Games.
First of all, I’d like to express my elation with Barack Obama. And I really mean that. Even here, half-way around the world, in a country so liberal your scale doesn’t even go that far left, this will be a day long remembered. It has seen the end of a reign of incompetence and negligence and will soon see the rise of what I truly believe to be not only a good man, but the right man for the job as president of the US.
Secondly, I have certainly been, if not incompetent, then at least somewhat negligent, namely in writing for this site. But there’s just been so much to see to lately. First I had a driver’s license to take—nailed it by the way—and then the gates of Hades opened up on the unprepared masses and unleashed not one, not two, not three… No, one BILLION games.
So I’ve eagerly been playing as much as I’ve been able to, so far making headway in Dead Space, Farcry 2 and Fallout 3. Tomorrow Gears of War 2 is coming out and I just got word that Little Big Planet shipped. And later, there will be cake. And more games. So…
This is all largely spoiler free, but not opinion free, so beware.
Oh dear Science. It’s so derivative. It’s sooo been done before, that it’s really kind of embarrasing to sit through the story as it unfolds exactly as you’d expect. System Shock meets Alien meets Event Horizon meets Bioshock. It’s like eating pre-chewed food; fairly unsatisfying.
I don’t like the whole ‘look, I build this power suit out of copper, and my guns look stupid and can rotate’-look, but that said, it’s very well-crafted and highly polished, which is more than can be said for so many other games these days, so…
I hope I can muster up the drive to play through it, but I’m not entirely sure on that one.
I didn’t like the first Farcry. Luckily the sequel has pretty much nothing to do with it, so that’s something.
For the first few hours I really didn’t like it. It was confining and annoying and felt very unfocused. But then it slowly started clicking for me. I had some moments, the likes of which only a sandbox game like this can give. And then I loved it. And I loved it for a good 8-10 hours or so. The mechanics are great, the AI pretty nice and some of the landscapes are just downright gorgeous (even if the PS3 does start sounding like a jet when I take a boat down river and it needs to stream data faster than it wants to). The setting certainly has its moments, and it’s just great to see Africa portrayed so well and put to such good use.
But when you get the 10th ‘go across the map and do X’, and you know that doing so means passing through 5-6 checkpoints, all of which are hostile and all of which you’ll have to fight, after which you’ll have to find a place to stock up on ammo and maybe new weapons… Well, it loses some of its charm.
And it’s such a shame. Such a shame. Maybe I’m simply not far enough into the storyline for me to make alliances or something like that, but I would love to be able to pay off someone so I could be granted free access through certain areas, or something similar, which would make the world seem so much more alive. Hell, they even do it in the intro!
Furthermore, for such a cool world, it’s a damn shame that there are no civilians. Everybody has a gun, and everybody wants to kill you.
I don’t know that I’ll make it all the way through this one. But they do have some very cool stuff going on.
This is what I’m actively playing at the moment. I’m some 18 hours or so in, and despite all of the ugly characters, horrible lighting, ‘animation’ and whatnot, really really enjoying it.
And it has made me realize just how much I’ve missed playing an old-school sci-fi RPG, like the old Fallout’s. How much I love getting lost in the story and the characters and the far-out world.
It’s far from perfect, certainly. As mentioned, it’s ugly as sin itself at times (though it does have its moments) and lacks the humor of the old games. But it just doesn’t matter when you lose yourself in the world of it.
And I really didn’t like Oblivion. I wanted to. But when I after 8 hours found out that the entire world kept leveling up as I leveled up (‘click’, now you never see a wolf again, it’s too low-level), I put down the controller, ejected the game, and never looked back.
But so far I haven’t been disappointed. And luckily, despite the game having a certain feeling of having been rushed, I’ve mostly seen aesthetic bugs, and not gameplay-related ones.
Gears of War 2
I’m not going to buy it. I’m simply too cynical and annoyed at the whole concept. Yeah yeah, the first one was entertaining and all, but I have to face the fact that I turn on to the fiction of a game more than I do the gameplay, and I cannot deal with the pubescent hyper-masculinity of Gears. It’s just too much for me.
And hey, I grew up with Commando and Cobra. I swam in testosterone. And then I kept growing. And hey, I love me some Predator and all, but haven’t we at least come to a point where we can do a game like that of Gears, and not have it be as ‘erect penis’ as it is?
It might even be better if the first one didn’t actually try to seem as if it had some kind of a story beneath all the pumped, oiled muscles. Or if Cliff Blezinski in all his rockstar developerness wasn’t also pretending just that.
Gears also contains what Bleszinski calls a “going home” narrative: “There’s a sublevel to Gears that so many people missed out on because it’s such a big testosterone-filled chainsaw-fest. Marcus Fenix goes back to his childhood home in the game.
When you start to peel back the layers of the Gears world, Bleszinski told me, “there’s a lot of sadness there.” #
Dudes, the emperor has no clothes! Give it up! Gears of War is space marines vs aliens. And not even interesting aliens; but the same ol’, same ol’ ‘uuuuh, teeth and mean eyes and uuuuu’-scary. Yeah, the setting is nice, but the fiction of the world has no more layers than Pacman, it’s just wrapped up nicely.
Sure, it’s a relentless, stupid action game, and I understand that. But come on. It’s style over substance to the nth degree, and I’m just too old and too cynical for it.
E-Day. Give me a break.
Yeah, I’ll probably borrow it and play it eventually, but I just can’t get my manly panties in a bunch over it.
But yeah. Busy days and so many games to play.