By loopy_101 1 Comments
Howdy, howdy, howdy. I thought I’d make a positive start to my first blog of the year and, heh, this update is going to be a long, vain boast of my regular gaming endeavours since you may or may not of last heard from me.
2011 was a fairly jam packed year for gaming. It has been a while where the I would genuinely want to play and experience over a dozen of release over the autumn and Christmas period in the year with the likes of Uncharted 3, Battlefield 3 and Saints Row 3 dominating my time shortly after their launch dates in Europe. Lots of three, yet somehow all managing to be better or atleast equal to the earlier two and one versions in their respective franchises. I won’t go much further on any of these games because you’ve heard atleast a million things about all of them before me and Battlefield 3 versus Modern Warfare 3 alone could cost me too much time while I’m writing this.
At the sametime I’ve only just began experiencing games like Alice: Madness Returns , Shadows of the Damned and Driver San Francisco. The first, I’ve literally only made a start on now. I’ve probably put in only a hour’s worth of gameplay into Alice but I intend to mammoth it once I’ve finished a few other games in my backlog. Shadows of the Damned on the otherhand, maybe one of the most under-rated of this year’s releases, is typically awesome of a Shinji Mikami game, dozed with the artistic genius from the equally as talented Suda 51. It plays like Resident Evil 4, which I dug immediately, but has it’s own edge. I’m not sure as of yet where the hate derives from in this game: it visually looks solid, the writing is comical and the action is tight so perhaps the worse elements that have been omened will prop up later on. I am presently at the beginning of act 3, I believe I have a long ways off to play yet even so. Driver San Francisco, which I forgot to comment on originally as I published this blog, definitely had some interesting ideas of it's own, particularly the morphing ability that allows you to zap into any car in the city.
I also got the chance to play id Software's newest property, RAGE. It is a surprisingly long title, with my record clocking in at atleast eighteen hours gametime, a couple of which I spent additionally in the co-op and competitive lobbies in the game. For the most part, it is typical territory for the Doom developers who bulge out a ballsy first person shooter in RAGE, with heavy but comfortable controls, similar to Killzone 2 perhaps. It also features some simple loot and item creation system, vehicle sequences and various minigames that makes a welcome addition to the combat and gameplay. The technology of id Tech 5, the newest engine used by Carmack's company, is impressive, and pop-up aside, looks luscious on the Playstation 3, running smoothly at 60 frames per second and in 720p native, for the most part. It is a rarity in most releases to have that standard of visual quality out of a game, especially an FPS.
The technology does have a few less so desirable traits although. I hated the length of RAGE’s loadtimes and they can often make you wait a minute before the section has loaded. Fortunately, the levels are large and thus loadtimes aren’t quite as consistent or even pointless, as in Duke Nukem Forever but it can border in that territory if you die often in one section or need to complete the racing tasks as I set out to do in my playthrough. They were less so fun because it nudgingly felt that id Software didn’t know how to make a car game, especially based on how poor the level design was at times, it was an issue in Doom 3 also. I’ll have to save it for another time but to keep a long story short, RAGE drifts into different, less so memorable territory by the half-way point. Subway Town in particular felt like a stapled on area to help push the game to a narrative conclusion as the game takes more than a different feel upon the sudden departure to it.
Swiftly moving on, I think I should bring attention to games I finally decided to get a crack on with. About a month ago I FINALLY finished Bioshock 2 on Playstation 3, and I’m sort of surprised I did because this was all within the process of a week as opposed to slugging through it like I would with a JRPG. Still, it was difficult to avoid the fact that Bioshock 2 wasn’t all that different from the first game. It recycled a great deal of the content and lacked the same gripping story or character development as it’s predecessor. It is clear 2K Marin did their best but whereas I admired Ryan and liked how he was unravelled as the Caesar of Rapture in Bioshock 1, I absolutely detested Lamb in Bioshock 2, a character who had never been mentioned up until that point, who’s philosophical ramblings wanted me to choke her to death all through the campaign! She was a miserable cow with a rather deluded reason for being as such, thus I lacked sympathy for her. I think Bioshock 2 does work on a few levels though. It heavily improves on the controls and interface of the first Bioshock, being much more convenient in that plasmids and weapons can be used at the sametime. I like even more how this is adopted into the multiplayer, which actually isn’t half bad despite the initial concerns I had against it.
I’m also presently in the process of playing Mafia 2 again on Playstation 3. I first played this game on PC but lost my saves for it about a year ago, I was close to the end of the game on Chapter 13 too. I love Mafia 2 and I'm not even sure why, it is a sandbox driven game but pulled together by one hell of a strict narrative. Mafia 2 itself does have a much tighter set of controls than it's competitors, it has a wonderful score and atmospheric cinematic presentation, equivilent to the mobster films it is based on. It has a much deeper place in my memory than your average Grand Theft Auto clone. This is all very unlike the first Mafia, which I interpreted no further than as an overbloated tech demo, don't hate me for thinking like that - it always found to be shallow. Speaking of shallow, the butchered PS3 port of Mafia 2 has a rather colourful history of it’s own, something I reckon I should write up on when I feel the urge to. We'll leave that for another time.
I'd like to conclude this blog by mentioning a couple of Wii games that I've been finishing up on. I always have the best intentions of playing on the Nintendo Wii, like most people, although I’ve simply never found the courage to play on it. Wario Land Shake Dimension is a game I probably picked up long ago in late 2009 and for whatever reason never got round to full playing and enjoying it, which is a shame because now I’m going through it I realise how much of a gratifying experience it is to play, both from an artistic perspective with it’s hand-drawn art and from a fan of 16/32 bit platformers. This comes around the time of Rayman Origins which now is doing exactly the same thing only for the HD machines. Similarly, another game I’ve found myself wrapping up on has been Mushroom Men: Spore Wars, which again, is a mesmerising game visually and harks back to a previous time when platformers were large, sometime literally. It has huge levels that beg to be explored, secrets that obscurely dig in areas that remain to be found and a funny gibberish based languages that only the in-game cast would understand. I feel like a ten year old again. The best thing about it has to be the soundtrack by Primus. Serious, Les Claypool provided the game's soundtrack. Here is his band's best song, I hope you agree:
Puff Tijuana kids and Shake hands with beef :D
Well I guess that summarises my exploits. Please feel free to post nasty comments or whatever else you folks like to do.