Friday, June 1, 2012

Gaming update . . .

I haven't chimed in in a while.  I have been all over the place when it comes to gaming,  I'll try to give a semi-non rambling version of what I have been up to, since it is all over the place.


For a while I was churning along in Mass Effect 3.  I was enjoying the game and I was real curious to see how this saga would end and how all of my prior choices would come into play.  I heard about fans being upset with the ending, but I didn't let that sway me.  I made it until the end, or very close to what I assume to be the end, and I was in a particularly intense section, fighting off very tough waves of enemies while buying time for some missile to arm (or something, I forget).  My health was low, my shields were down, and I was surrounded by enemies and I get the call to finally activate said missile, so I run over to it and press "A" to activate . . . except that stupid "A" is also the button you press when you want to dodge.  The game thinks I am trying to dodge (of course) so instead of activating the missile, I dive off to the side.  My screen is blurring red now from the damage I am taking and I run back to the button and press "A" again.  And AGAIN my stupid ass Commander Shepherd thinks it is a good ideal to dive off to the side, instead of activating the damn missile I have been waiting for!!!!!  I died.  I stared at the scream in disbelief for a long while.  The fight had been so intense I was really caught up in the moment.  I was THERE.  I was having a great time.  I felt the overwhelming enemy force.  I felt the desperation in the entire situation.  And it was ALL immediately erased because of the game's controls and it thinking I wanted to dodge.  That one moment took me out of the game and left me so enraged and depleted that I removed the game from my 360 and I have yet to get the urge to play it again.  That must have been a month ago.  After playing through practically all three games (like I said, I was right at the end of this one) I seem to have lost all interest to continue because of that one incident.  Go figure.


Next up, The Witcher 2.  I never played the first game and I knew very little about this series.  But I have been interested in this sequel since its release on PC last year.  Looked great and the gameplay sounded right up my alley.  I snatched it up on 360 and immediately was disappointed in my first few hours with the game.  Hell, maybe even longer than that.  It took almost all of Act I before the game finally started to click with me.  The game does many things well, straying from the normal gaming conventions.  And then others are so straight up gaming clich├ęs that take you out of the moment.  By the time I made it to the second Act I was having a great time though.  I was enjoying the story and liked the characters.    Decisions you make in the first act really do change the course of the game and are pretty significant.  But then it happened again.  At some point early in Act III, I just lost all interest.  It came out of nowhere.  I completed a certain mission and I just did not feel like playing anymore.  Very odd.


So I did the logical thing.  Instead of maybe going back to Mass Effect 3, or the 25 other games I have yet to complete, I decided to start playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (for like the 6th time) since it was offered as a free download for PS Plus subscribers.  I still own my original copy of SotN.  I played and beat it several times.  I also own the Live Arcade rerelease and also played through and beat it then as well.  So I started playing this again and became just as hooked as the first time.  I absolutely LOVE this game.  I played through it, all the way through and even started a new game after that!  I was on message boards, FAQ pages, reading old reviews of the game, it was pretty pathetic.  I wanted more old school 2D Castlevania!  So I ended up getting Dawn of Sorrow and Order of Ecclesia on the DS.  Yup, I have serious problems.  I haven't played either, and knowing me, I may never play them, but I bought them because I was riding on a Castlevania high.


Next, due to Gabe's texts about co-op, I picked up Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.  I've played a handful of the single-player game and it has its ups and downs.  It is not a bad game, but doesn't feel very Ghost Recon-y to me.  Worst of all, Ubisoft totally killed the co-op in this series.  Playing GRAW and GRAW 2 co-op with Gabe and our other Xbox friends has been some of the most fun I have had this generation.  Each co-op level consisted of one HUGE map that was completely open and you had objectives to complete.  You had to be very stealthy and really plan out your attack.  Plan poorly and you and your team would get destroyed.  It was insanely fun since it encouraged improvisation and trying different tactics.  If something didn't work you would try something else the next time.  You spent a lot of time in the prone position, using your UAV to mark enemies and basically being STEALTHY, which is what Ghost Recon has always been about.


Co-op in Future Soldier is complete garbage.  The standard co-op mode is nothing more than playing through the story-mode with your friends, which removes EVERYTHING that made the previous co-op so enjoyable.  The open ended nature of the game, the huge map, taking everything at your pace and using your own tactics, all gone!  The other mode, Guerilla, is just as insulting to Ghost Recon fans since it is just a horde mode where you face off against waves and waves of enemies.  The mode itself can be fun, and if it was included along with the traditional co-op the GRAW series was known for, it would have been a fun diversion.  But because the old co-op mode is completely absent, the addition of this horde mode instead is just another sign that this series has moved to a more action-oriented, Call of Duty-like game.  Very disappointed.


My last bit of gaming news is tied to a new purchase I have made.  I recently got rid of my lovely, original HDTV (which was so old it was a big, heavy CRT model! 200 lbs in fact!) and grabbed me a brand new, top of the line model, LED LCD.  The Sony Bravia HX929.  It is absolutely gorgeous and after I spent countless hours calibrating that puppy, I had to pop in every bluray and game I own to see what they looked like on my new toy.  Side note, Avatar on bluray is the best looking thing I have ever seen from a picture quality standpoint and I cannot think of better demo material to show off a new display.  On the games side of things, all my games looked better than ever but there was one in particular that looked worlds better than it did on my older set.  God of War III.  Holy crap that game is gorgeous.  The textures are unbelievable and because of this new tv I now consider it the best looking game I have ever seen, taking the crown from Killzone 3/Uncharted 3.  I was so impressed by the visuals that I decided to play the entire game again.  So there you go, I am playing GoW3 again and loving it more than the first time.


So to recap, I have had mixed feelings about the 3 new games I tried yet I have been having an absolute blast playing through older titles which I have already beaten.


Makes sense to me.