Friday, February 24, 2012

Skyrim, The Simpsons, and Saints Row the Third

Skyrim continues to be my go to game.  130 hours in.  My stealthy archer character is now so powerful that I can take down most foes with one well placed arrow from my legendary Daedric bow armed with Ebony arrows and benefitting from the 3x damage of the sneak attack.  It is extremely satisfying, but in the long haul may be what makes me finally stop playing.  I am pretty unstoppable at the moment.  I was obsessed with making my character the ultimate archer.  Leveling up my skills, aiming to craft a daedric bow for the first time, finding or crafting enchanted armor to improve my bow damage.  I am now where I want to be.  As a result my character hasn't died is a really long time.  I fear no creature in all of Skyrim.  Even Elder Dragons go down easily.  Now that any really threat is gone, I feel like the game may become dull.  We'll see.


On the PS3 side of things my HDD has been filling up quickly with all these free games you get as a Playstation Plus subscriber.  Sony's online service and functionality may still be far away from Microsoft's, but I do feel like I am getting my money's worth from my PS+ membership.  So many free or discounted games.  My library is full of these things and most of them I haven't even played once.  I have the entire original Resident Evil trilogy, the new Back to the Future game (all episodes), countless classic games, and the list continues to grow.  One of the recent titles offered is the classic Simpsons Arcade game.  I had fond memories of sinking countless quarters into this thing.  I was really excited at the thought of playing it again, now for free!


Man, funny how clouded your memory can be.  Maybe it is just that my taste as a gamer has changed, but holy crap this game is terrible!!!  I also never realized how absolutely ridiculous its premise was.  It makes no sense.  Smithers robs a jewelry store and then kidnaps Maggie?  Are you kidding me?  Did the creators of this game ever see a single Simpsons episode?  The entire game doesn't make any sense in regards to its use of characters.  And the game is unbelievable cheap and difficult, which is a staple of these old arcade games and how they were programmed to take your money.  Anyway, word of warning, avoid this game.  Don't let your childhood memories fool you into thinking it was ever any good.  Because it's not!


The last bit of gaming news is that I picked up Saints Row the Third because of all the good word of mouth it received.  I heard it was over-the-top crazy and in my limited time with it (played for about an hour last night), it is.  Plenty of potential here for good, escapist fun.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Stupid Skyrim

I finished Uncharted 3.  The game definitely had its ups and downs.  I won't lie, the game had me on the edge of my seat at times.  When it did, it was fantastic.  But a lot of times it was also too formulaic, repetitive and not much fun.  Too much of the "been there, done that" syndrome.  I won't complain if Naughty Dog takes a break from this series and concentrates its resources in other franchises.


I haven't played Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath in a while.  In fact, I completely forgot about the game until I started writing this post.  Not sure if that says something about the game or my terrible gaming habits of leaving games unfinished and forgetting about them.


Speaking of which, I have completely stopped playing one of my favorite games from last year, Rayman: Origins.  I love the game but I just stopped playing.  Yeah, I have problems.


Which leads me to Skyrim.  Stupid Skyrim.


I've had a rollercoaster ride with this game.  I like it.  I hate it.  It is fun.  It is boring.  It is enormous, detailed and immersive.  It is shallow, bland and repetitive.  It is realistic.  It is extremely gamey and dysfunctional.


I could go on.


Regardless of my problems with the game.  Regardless of me actually trying my best to not like it so that I can stop playing the damn thing.  And regardless of all the things I wish I could change, the bottom line is this: I have logged in 120 damn hours into it and I am more addicted to it now than I was 80 hours ago.


Like I said, Stupid Skyrim.


A funny thing happened recently.  I stopped playing Skyrim in a "realistic" way.  I stopped trying to role play.  I stopped playing my character with the imaginary morale code I instilled in him.  I stopped trying to immerse myself fully in this world.  And as a result, I began enjoying the game much more.  Its silly, game-like, unrealistic parts stopped bothering me.  In fact, I started exploiting them.  I stopped caring about any of the characters and  story and I began concentrating on using the game world as my own personal "funbox", its sole purpose to be a playground to level up my character and become as powerful as I could.  All was fair game.  If a saw something I liked, I would steal it.  Even if I liked the owner.  Morality be damned.   If someone mouths off to my character, or shows a hint of attitude, I take them out.  I joined the Dark Brotherhood (something I was against previously since I was a "good" character) and I am more than happy to kill anybody any of the many Daedric gods want me to kill.  They are all just obstacles in my new goal of leveling up my skills to the point of eventually taking out Dragons in one hit, or walking into a town and wrecking havoc.


I didn't want to have to enjoy the game this way.  I wanted to enjoy it by being fully engulfed in the story and game and playing it straight.  But that just resulted in frustration.  Too often the veil of immersion is broken by the game.  So I just gave up.  As compensation I kinda gave a story-related reason for this recent change to my play style.  I finished the main quest (a first for me in Elder Scrolls games!  Yay for me!).  And when I did, not much happened.  I just saved all of Skyrim from annihilation, single handedly too, and I wasn't honored for it.  I'd still be put in jail for stealing an apple from a merchant's cart (hey, a Dragonborn has to eat too!).  Here I am, the savior of all of Tamriel, and I am treated as any regular commoner!  Blasphemy!  After all the dragons I had slain, all the sacrifices and dangers I faced, I was rewarded with nothing.  So my character snapped.  All the power he acquired went to his head.  He felt entitled to praise, gold, women, a lavish castle, and instead the world shunned him.  As a result, he is now in a quest to get all by force.  He is not dumb though.  He plays by the rules when watched, lies and acts accordingly to get his way, but when the time comes he will show Skyrim the true power of Dovahkiig!


Hey, I do what I can to enjoy the damn game.  Stupid Skyrim.