By Sparky_Buzzsaw 7 Comments
I don't know if this is actually going to be a return of my blog or if it's just a one-time thing. Over the last year, I've come to view my blogs as pretty pointless meanderings. At best, they're a way for me to get some creative writing done, but at worst, they are nonsense that no one and their mother could care about. It's not a self-pitying thing. It's just the slow realization that some of the things I do ultimately just don't matter and will be lost in the ethos of the Internet. That being said, I'm sure I'll continue to heap praises upon the games I enjoy, and I'm certainly not going to stop gaming. Here, then, is my massive list of games I've been playing and what I've thought about them.
RESIDENT EVIL 5
I can't play horror games. I just can't. I thought this might have changed with the more action-centric Rezzie 5, but nope, it's still the same. Let me get something clear - I'm not afraid of most anything. I write horror, I watch horror, I've faced down my own personal fear of going completely blind in a six month situation where I had to wear sleepshades every day for eight hours, and even that didn't really faze me. In any other medium, the stuff contained within Resident Evil 5 wouldn't make me bat an eye, but as a video game, it scares the everloving shit out of me. It has to do with actually controlling the character, the feeling that I am in danger and not the avatar. It's frightening fucking shit, and I know I'm gonna get razzed for it, so let the insults fly.
The state of the horror game, much like the rebounding adventure genre, always continues to astonish me in great ways. With games like RE 5 and Dead Space 2, the genre is not only alive and kicking, but it's doing pretty damn well, too. Even if I can't play the bastards, I salute the genre as a whole for sticking through some rough times.
BATTLEFIELD: BAD COMPANY 2
The Giant Bomb staff review of BC2 stated that the campaign was kind of bland. While I see what they're saying, I disagree. I'm not saying it's the best in its class, but it's certainly entertaining, has many memorable firefights, and the squadmates' personalities are endearing. The story itself is pretty generic (gotta stop a super scientist from unleashing bad shit upon the world, and you're apparently the only military within 5,000 miles), but it's the actual gameplay and the afore-mentioned firefights themselves that left me alternately grinning like a fool and cursing like a sailor.
And the sound effects! Oh my God, the sound effects! My TV is certainly not anything to sneeze at, but my sound is somewhat limited. Even on my TV, though, the sound effects were incredible. The gunshots sounded resoundingly real, with a punch I've never really heard from games before. The dialogue is surprisingly well blended and very audible, though at times, things tend to get a little hectic and voices can sometimes be a little drowned out.
My only wish is that I could try the multiplayer. Sadly, my Internet connection still stinks to high heaven. Eh, oh well. The campaign totally made the budget price more than worth it, and I'll be revisiting the game again. Speaking of, does anyone know if weapon unlocks carry over to a new campaign? That'd be sweet!
I spouted a lot on my status about how much I liked Mafia 2, and my feelings really haven't changed. Other than some bland overworld elements, I thought this was a superbly told story with some surprisingly fun set pieces that reminded me of the best of Max Payne 2. Yes, it wears its influences on its sleeve, but those influences are of such a high quality that I really don't mind a bit.
My frustration with Heavy Rain's nearly unintelligble on-screen control icons are more than balanced out by the superb story, interesting characters, and novel approach to every aspect of the game. Like most games this generation, if they only added larger font sizes, this would have been near the very top of my favorite adventure game list.
RATCHET AND CLANK FUTURE: A CRACK IN TIME
I might have talked about this game in a previous blog in December or November, but I've been revisiting it a bit lately, and I still really enjoy it. It's just a solid, well-crafted action platformer with tons of extras to keep me busy. If you're turned off by this sort of game because you think it's too "kiddy," you're doing yourself and this game a disservice. Give it a go, and I promise, you'll have a blast.
MADDEN 11/TIGER WOODS 11
Solid entries in venerable sports franchises. Not much more to say about Madden - it's a fun diversion of a game. Tiger Woods has thankfully dropped the on-the-fly skill system in favor of a tried-and-true RPG-esque system. Yes, they've done variations of it before, but I still think this is the best version yet. DLC courses aren't implemented into the Tour (boo!), and the price of DLC is still way too fucking high. Other than that, from what I understand, they're going to do what we all want in TW 12 and drop the bizarre idea that experience points should purchase clothing, and instead make all clothing purchasable with in-game money. Good stuff.