My belated GOTY 2012 list

Originally posted on my blog.

Finally, I bring you a belated GOTY list cum essay for 2012. What felt like a rather short Christmas break followed by a return to Uni slowed the process of getting this done. I both felt that I needed a sufficient amount of time with the Xmas influx of games to finalise the list and that there had to be a reasonable amount of justification for each title to make the endeavour worthwhile.

The length of this did get slightly out of hand, but hopefully you appreciate the long form style. Regardless, let’s get started then.

  1. XCOM: Enemy Unknown
  2. Far Cry 3
  3. Dishonoured
  4. The Witcher 2
  5. Rock Band Blitz
  6. The Walking Dead
  7. Asura’s Wrath
  8. Mass Effect 3
  9. Max Payne 3
  10. A Cadre of underwhelming disappointments (ME3, Hitman, AC3)

* Ever the iconoclast, I’m breaking the rules of the usual GOTY format. Click here to reveal my true game of the year. An explanation for this madness should find you should you choose to accept it, after the jump. Now back to normality.


XCOM: Enemy Unknown

XCOM earns its place as the number one game of 2012 through sheer quality in execution. Many games boast beautiful graphics, are lauded for a great story or any other number of secondary merits – commendable attributes to have certainly, but secondary nonetheless. XCOM however, excels in the keystone of any videogame, in the execution of its gameplay.

The mechanics in XCOM feel exquisitely designed and fully thought out. To play it is to marvel at the expertise in its craftsmanship, akin to a Swiss timepiece. The meat of the game comes in the form of turn based boots on the ground missions. These are a tactical exercise, both thrilling and mentally demanding while the base management metagame back at XCOM HQ layers on additional strata of complexity.

Herein lays the engrossing joy of XCOM. Each fully realised system has an intricate interplay with the others, nothing feels surplus to requirements. One bad move on the battlefield can leave you with an injured soldier, this may exacerbate poor planning leaving you with a weak roster to field to a critical mission, you may then fail this crucial mission losing further soldiers, next Canada and South America pull your funding leaving you in the red and unable to afford the gear that would now be giving your squad a much needed edge back on the field.

A single poor choice can escalate into a butterfly effect catastrophe because of the interweaving nature of every aspect of XCOM; that is to say that it is entirely within a capable player’s ability to execute perfectly and it is ever so satisfying to achieve perfection and a rewarding experience to pursue it.

Unfortunately none of these soldiers survived

Far Cry 3

Far Cry 3 succeeds and effortlessly excels its promising yet clunky predecessor by trimming away the fat and refining systems into a polished product. Far Cry 3 places so high because it is just a massive amount of fun to play. It drops you into a gorgeous sandbox, equips you with an arsenal of toys and simply encourages you to run wild in its lush environs.

Far Cry 3 has no qualms about empowering the player, be it through a very forgiving stealth system replete with powerful takedown moves, easily expanded health and ammo reserves or an absolute psychopath’s wardrobe of guns of every flavour – Jason Brody, and by extension the player, feels like a certified badass.

Beyond that the variety of play styles catered to is exceptional. Clearing an enemy outpost by carefully approaching by sea, pulling unwary patrol-men into the water then stalking through the brush, pouncing on pirates for a knife takedown whilst using THEIR OWN MACHETE TO THROW INTO ANOTHER GUARD lets you feel like some kind of stealthy god of tribal death. Conversely you could storm another outpost, releasing wild animals on panicking prey whilst razing it to the ground before destroying a roving attack helicopter with an explosive arrow just as it clears the tree line in true Arnold/Stallone fashion.

Far Cry 3 is awesome.

Do not mess with Jason Brody when he’s on his Turok flow

The Witcher 2 (Xbox 360 ‘enhanced edition’)

A swathe of the gaming audience is desperate for games that feature mature, involving narratives that can be used to legitimise video games as a fully fledged medium for real grownups. This has led many to eulogize The Walking Dead as this scion of gripping, nuanced storytelling and player interaction while actually being a pulpy drama piece with a shallow degree of player choice and even shallower gameplay mechanics.

Those looking for a deep, winding narrative with true opportunity to shape its outcome should look no further than The Witcher 2. Players can relish guiding the amnesia stricken Geralt through a world of political machinations and brutality that would make Game of Thrones look like a light episode of Eastenders – all while falling into some of the most complex gameplay seen in 2012.

The Witchcer 2 is for people who want a long engrossing story that makes space for legitimate player agency. It is for people prepared to delve into complex systems and learn the intricacies of combat systems that are often as welcoming and multifarious as its characters. The Witcher 2 is pretty much exactly what I look for in a game.

It takes an 8 year university course and several years of placement to become a fully certified Witcher.


So many games are content to plop the player down in a lane of bad guys, offering them their choice and calibre of weapon with which to put holes in them as they run along a linear treadmill of bland environments and explosions.

Dishonoured is a throwback to a time when games really were dynamic, and demanded a certain input from the player that only this medium can. The world here is far from bland, a turn of the century steampunk Britain, grimy, dangerous and succumbing to a rising rodent plague all of which is carefully conveyed to the player with the lightest of touches through exploration and incidental dialogue. The world is built with subtlety, much like Bioshock or Deus Ex – the player is expected to think for themselves and read between the lines rather than pandered to with lousy exposition.

Dishonoured presents the player with a rogues gallery of fiends and arseholes who must be assassinated to clear the protagonists name. This is where the game really comes alive, as you are thrown into an open ended level with one of said targets within it and an embarrassment of ways to conduct your business. Corvo is fully equipped to be able to rampage through the level, cutting and stabbing his way to the target as he is to stealthily breeze non lethally to his quarry or even engineer a deliciously ironic fate suitable for such foul foes.

Dishonoured pairs a unique setting with a willingness to empower the player to excessive degrees, letting them ply their dark trade in whatever varied way they choose and it is this choice that really makes playing it a satisfying experience.

Grasping a human heart at a fancy masquerade ball… not suspicious in the slightest

Rock Band Blitz

Blitz is unashamedly a rhythm game. Forgoing the usual peripheral driven experience, Harmonix harkens back to one of its earlier titles (one of my all time favourites), the fantastic Amplitiude, refining the Rock Band experience down to its key components for big scores and big fun.

Racing back and forth between instruments in pursuit of earning a high score on your favourite tracks is a stupendously good time, bolstered by the simplicity of the controller interface and enhanced by having the full force of the existing Rock Band song network to dip into so as to bring your favourite songs and artists into the fold.

Rock Band Blitz is Amplitude for the DLC era, polished and refined into overflowing, salubrious fun at a commendable price point.

You’d be wrong if you thought Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ could get no more flamboyant

The Walking Dead

I’ve been a huge proponent of Telltale Games for several years now. As a fan of the garrulous, puzzle heavy adventure games of the Lucasarts era, seeing the form renewed so expertly and lovingly by many of the very people responsible for its inception made me feel rather warm inside. From the charming Twin Peaks inspired sleuthing of Puzzle Agent to the rejuvenated Tales of Monkey Island, I’ve loved what Telltale has been doing and wished they garnered the mainstream appreciation I always felt they deserved.

Adulation came in sweeping praise hurled at their newest property (The Walking Dead), whose heavy story focus earned critical praise for its intensity and unpredictability. It may be clear to you by this point in the list that I’ve soured slightly on the game; partially in retaliation to the overwhelmingly masturbatory media reception and partially due to peering behind the curtain and realising the extent to which the much ballyhooed choice in the game is a product of artifice. This revelation made what I considered to be a pulpy, familiar but ultimately well told narrative much less impactful – and the tacked on puzzle mechanics all the harder to forgive.

Despite this, TWD builds upon the foundations of Telltales earlier work nicely and the real strength is in the development of the central characters, Lee & Clementine. The fact that the final episode essentially ruined several days of my life due solely to my attachment to these characters sets the game apart from its contemporaries – it’s just a shame that some more robust puzzle mechanics couldn’t be inherited from Telltales back catalogue because in my opinion these are worthwhile rather than atavistic qualities.

This may look bad, but it’s nowhere near as bad as some of the situations TWD thrusts you into

Asura’s Wrath

Asura’s Wrath is a stupid game. Plenty of games feature player characters that perform well beyond the limits of human endurance, hulking action movie heroes who soak up damage and deal it out in equally inhuman measure. Often these protagonists are supernaturally powerful. However, in Asura’s Wrath you take the mantle of an actual GOD, and the game does an excellent job of making that tangibly awesome and worthwhile.

Asura sprouts extra arms when enraged, storming around like a mythical Japanese Hulk, he fights ludicrous battles on a literally astronomical scale and when he loses, hibernates for tens or hundreds of thousands of years before bursting out of the afterlife pissed off to a degree unfathomable by mere mortals.

The only real gameplay is patronising character action fighting that is to be endured for a negligible amount of time to reach the true spectacle. Quick time events. Normally QTE’s are the bane of a much better game, however here they are the ludicrous centrepiece at the head of a bemusing anime inspired dining table. The key difference here is that button prompts are well conveyed, easily spotted and weaved into the action. Not only this but there is no real penalty for failing them. You will never have to repeat a sequence in Asura’s Wrath, scenes continue on unabated in their full, rambunctiously silly glory.

Asura’s Wrath is a stupid game, but in this case it’s a good kind of stupid. Sometimes you need stupid.

Asura after 6 arduous minutes of looking for his car keys

Mass Effect 3

Despite the backlash and absolutely insulting, lacklustre ending, Mass Effect 3 is still a good game. Combat, while far too heavily employed and with the exception of mindless turret sequences is clean and tight. Stepping back into the shoes of Commander Shepard is an exciting prospect for a good 40-60% of the game, while it’s still full of promise.

Downplayed as it is, interacting with the crew in the Normandy is satisfying in a way most games never achieve. The heartfelt one on one interactions with the party are indulgent almost to a fault but almost always feel earned in no small part due to the amount of time and development afforded these characters and this world throughout the series.

As much as a misstep as ME3 is, it never fully abandons the greatness it established for itself. Be it when battling through a desperate situation or bantering back and forth over sweeping moral decisions with the established cast past and present, that greatness shines through – the glean just about eclipsing the faults in the moment even when the overall experience is tainted after all is said and done.

Autonomous machine gods have no chance against stylish facial hair like that

Max Payne 3

The great moments in Max Payne 3 come when Max is careening through the air, the world slowly drawling by around him, two pistols held akimbo, firing off incisive, well placed shots into foes. Max hits the floor with all the force of a battered, overweight fifty something former tough guy, his bald head gleaming with the evidence of his exertion. As time shudders back to normality, thugs collapse succumbing due to their newly perforated bodies. Max remains grimacing face down on the floor, with a steely determination he rolls across onto his back – pumping round after round into an assailant charging from behind in the culmination of a balletic tour de force worthy of John McClane.

It is moments like these, of which there are many which excuse Max Payne 3’s competent but forgettable tale of retribution and depression and numerous minor frustrations like loading screens masked by unskippable cutscenes. Thrillingly visceral shootouts are the bread and butter here, and crucially they are entirely in the hands of the player. When a spectacle of bloodshed and bullets comes off like it was scripted by John Woo, there is no director manufacturing the events. At its best, the experience is entirely dictated by the player and all the better for it.

Max Payne: pictured here having the worlds most intense mid life crisis

The Cadre

Yes, Mass Effect 3 again. Like a mad Aunt at a wedding ME3 starts out cheery and fun but progressively embarrasses itself and disappoints you. As the final instalment in a stellar series, it should have been a thrilling dénouement that tops off the trilogy in style. Instead, this is a game that eschews the rich character development and world building found in earlier games – especially as it reaches its climax – while offering wrote, deus ex machina like plot developments, an eye rolling 50’s style sexy robot lady, squandered DLC only story content and the much maligned endings that feel totally impersonal and leave the universe the player has become so attached to over three games in a perilous state almost as an afterthought.

Mass Effect 3 should have been a delectable dessert course that the player never wants to end, yearning for more. Instead, it simply leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

“Commander Shepard has become a legend by ending the Reaper threat. Now you can continue to build that legend through further gameplay and downloadable content. “

Presented without comment

Hitman Absolution should have by all accounts been a more polished, accomplished successor to the excellent if slightly janky Hitman Blood Money. Disguises should have been donned, assassinations delicately planned and executed to perfection in a number of possible permutations. Unfortunately, while the graphics have been polished to a stupendous degree, the newly added disguise mechanic is devastating for players accustomed to the sneaky impunity that a change of attire used to bestow. Now the player is quickly reprimanded even while disguised. Enemies will easily spot the player at insane distances, becoming alerted and ruining the stealthily clean approach.

This in addition to the blatantly offensive story and the ensuing linear story driven experience abandons the uniquely attractive sandbox puzzle aspect of previous games and serves to make the stoic Hitman the centrepiece of an abysmal action movie which he is particularly ill suited (pardon the pun) to participate in. This is a bum assignment for agent 47.

Agent 47, posterboy for the follicularly challenged on his way to a Ross Kemp lookalike contest

Assassins Creed 3, despite being the fifth (go figure) console release in the franchise opts for a slow opening that belabours mechanics already familiar to anyone playing this instalment (and which are inherently so well designed that they can be picked up without comment) to an absolutely maddening degree. Were this not enough this hand holding introduction also finds itself weaving between the stunningly baffling overarching narrative of Assassins Creed (an impending solar eclipse forewarned by a highly advanced extinct elder race!?) and the stunningly unnecessary modern day sequences with Desmond and his massive arsehole of a father (whose presence is not explained at all in this time) while the focus should be on the actual protagonist of the game who ends up with a paltry few lines that give us little indication of his personality.

After a languorous 8 hour tutorial, I finally found myself decked out in the reassuring Assassins garb, handed the reins with full freedom to explore and no inclination to do so. I have progressed no further. I may never learn of the fate of the silly forerunner aliens or why Desmond’s dad is such a bellend (he wears two jumpers at once and a suit jacket) and I really don’t care to find out.

When a spookily lifelike digital Danny Wallace is the highlight of your game, something has went either terribly right or terribly wrong, and in this case I’m afraid it’s the latter.


The HD Collection Section: MGS, ZOE, RE4

Because it would be a shame to end with an Assassins Creed rant, and because these games deserve praise.

While putting in these rejuvenated gems from my collection of personal favourites in the list would be a disservice to games actually released this year; it would be wrong to ignore the absolute joy of experiencing these classics again. Replaying defining behemoths like these is a delicious reminder of my personal gaming golden age. Despite offering little additional value other than a slight graphical boost to make them a bit easier on the eyes, revisiting these milestones of the medium has been some of the most fun I’ve had with games this year, recommended to old pro’s and the uninitiated alike.


Greenock weathers the storm of underpriced alcohol.

Yesterday my small hometown was gripped by the terrible onset of hoards of bargain frenzied shoppers, who descended on the local Tesco store having been alerted to a catastrophic error in the Tesco pricing system, which caused crates of beer to be critically under-priced. News apparently spread quickly, propelled by the cold, unrelenting power of social networking sites and word of mouth. I even have first hand accounts of stunned shoppers telling anyone within earshot as well as phoning friends and family members. After several hours of this madness, Tesco deigned to limit the crates of beer to 3 per customer, as the small supermarket's infrastructure struggled to deal with patrons purchasing inebriatory delights in the quantities they had been loading up on. Later in the day I personally watched a man struggle to lift 3 crates all at once, his mind too addled with the prospect of cheap beer to go get a trolley. Fuller details are here for anyone with an unhealthy interest in pricing cockups - 

You may at this point be pondering the extent of this snafu. What magnitude of mishap could price beer so cheaply that droves of people appear in strong enough numbers to cause serious congestion in a supermarket car park, summon the police and turn the entire event into national news material? 3 crates of beer could be bought for a very reasonable £11, making for a saving of £9 on the expected price. Nine pounds! That's all it takes presumably, to pull people from their homes and instigate a local disaster. Perhaps this is a matter for an economics paper - people are stimulated in some way by the opportunity to grab a deal they shouldn't be getting - but to me this speaks to the underlying alcohol problem we have in my country.

Scotland, for those of you living out-with Britain, has something of a drink problem. Like many post industrialised areas, (we at one point, built an impressive number of ships in Scotland - especially in the area in question, the West of Scotland) we have pride for our past accomplishments, the same accomplishments which are probably the underlying cause for the debilitating alcohol culture we currently cultivate. This is kind of a reminder for me of the many shames that blight what is in many ways a great country. 

So I'm wondering, should I have a problem with this culture? Are any of you guys disturbed by the pervasiveness of alcohol where you are? I'm not a big drinker anyway, and I can't help but think it's because I dislike seeing it given such weight by everyone around me. In case you're wondering, I didn't jump on the deal, Heineken was overlooked. Also, would you guys pounce on 3 crates of beer for £11 ($18)? It's a bit of a steal but it wasn't riling me up the way it was the rest of the town.

*Disclaimer - the word "inebriatory" is not considered an actual word. Consider it a neologism, or a mistake. 
Madness descended on this very dreary little Scottish Supermarket 

I love the modern warfare series, but hate black ops. Am I crazy?

 I should preface this by saying the multiplayer in call of duty games does very little for me (putting me firmly in the minority on that one) and that the real draw for me has been the campaign of the Modern Warfare games. It's a pretty wrote subject, but personally I really dislike the Treyarch developed call of duty games, while loving Modern Warfare. It's difficult to properly pinpoint what exactly turns me off of these games, but a generally hokey story is a start. I really gave a shit about the characters in Modern Warfare, and what they were doing while on the other hand I absolutely don't care about anything going on in black ops. Granted, I have only played a few hours of the world at war and black ops campaigns, but considering the length of these games that's probably a suitably substantial chunk. 
 I suppose that my main problem is that I can't quite connect with the gameplay so to speak. It's a bit of a wishy washy statement to use, my analogy is that the gameplay feels like one of those terrible Steven Seagal action movies, where everything is very transparent in that you can see actors intentionally falling over on cue, rather than seeing a person killed in a realistic way and acting accordingly. More specifically, it feels like there are a lot of moments which really should evoke that "OH SHIT!" response that you might get while rappelling out of a Gulag with a heroic, mustachioed SAS badass, or being swept up by the pressure wave of a distant explosion while your hard charging GI buddies scream "HOO RAH!" & "GET SOME" generation kill style. In terms of actual gameplay, scripted sequences feel very obvious and the ai (in between spawning en masse around corners on cue) will often act in very odd ways, like charging past numerous npc's in order to attack the player specifically or at other times being completely oblivious to your presence even whilst being gunned down. 
At this point, I'd like to point out that this is my opinion and that I accept that you may disagree with it, or that I may simply be wrong. I want to ask if you agree that there's something iffy about these games, or if you think that my quarrels are just constructs of my imagination and that there really isn't a discernible difference between these games.


Late to the party : my thoughts on infamous

I've always thought of infamous as one of those games which I've been missing out on by not owning a ps3, and while I couldn't justify getting a ps3 for infamous I definitely enjoyed the game. The game doesn't exactly offer any great leaps forward for open world games in general other than the super powered premise, and considering that this is a console exclusive released only a year ago there are a number of small yet jarring issues with polish and animation throughout that initially can pull you out of the experience. On the topic of first impressions, the first several hours of the game can be a hard slog, especially considering the frugal introduction of new ability's at this stage. 

Minor quibbles aside, the gameplay itself is the centerpiece of proceedings and is fun while offering a satisfying degree of acuity when it comes to actually using powers. Cole feels nimble, all of the ability's are fairly easy to deploy and after around 20 minutes with each you'll be adding them into your repertoire of carnage. The powers as a whole  mesh very well as a set, numerous combination's are possible and the ensuing havoc is always awesome. Difficulty is variable, typically fair after some initial adjustment but occasionally overly tedious such as in "protect the vehicle" sequences. 

The story was surprisingly well honed, and while secondary characters were not as well defined as rockstar would typically offer, the central concerns of the protagonist are adeptly explored and personally I empathised more with the quandary's of Cole than with those of Nico Bellic. A late yet genuinely surprising high concept twist is well implemented and it's refreshing to see that the broader franchise has been given some thought and was laid out in the game rather than being left as an afterthought to be considered if the game finds success. 
There's obviously more to be said about infamous, but in brief, regardless of repetitive side missions and a handful of detrimental factors I really enjoyed my time with infamous. Above all else, infamous is just great fun and if the bombastic combat, solid traversal and comic book stylings don't appeal then perhaps the theme will?

The tale of my Alan Wake S rank comes to a close, for now...

Alan Wake is finally S ranked, and other than the pain of tracking down every last collectible, it wasn't all that taxing. Most of the achievements are pretty sensible, and the Nightmare difficulty is fairly breezy as long as you play it correctly ( run as much as possible, use flares to cover your back etc). As satisfying as the S rank is the upcoming DLC will need to be completed fairly soon, and hopefully those achievements aren't ridiculous. 
Did anyone else enjoy Alan Wake? Personally I'll be disappointed if we don't see a sequel because of poor sales, which may well be the case.


Quick thoughts on Alpha Protocol.

 I recently rented alpha protocol, after reading the review I had reservations (hence not purchasing it) but since I've been on a burn notice binge lately I decided to grab it and roleplay as Michael Weston to make the most out of it.
On the plus side I've found the conversation segments to be well built as well as satisfying while the same goes for the complex choices you make throughout the game. All of these choices seem to have a decent weight to them and are followed up quite thoroughly which is nice, as is the lack of a morality meter. Also the fact that a number of missions involve only conversation is refreshing and the allows the game to portray something more akin to real spycraft without shoehorning in a lot of unnecessary action.
And then we come to the action. I have to say Jeff's points were completely salient here, initially I tried to spread out my points fairly evenly which resulted in a lot of frustration. Unless you put a considerable number of points into a weapon category, you end up spraying hails of bullets into enemies which never actually find their target. Once I had followed Jeff's path of filling the stealth and machine gun categories things were much smoother and more enjoyable. Still, the AI remained atrocious and having Michael become invisible is rather jarring and breaks immersion no matter how many times you see it.
On the whole I am enjoying it, though it's a difficult game to recommend . If you are interested, your fist port of call should be Jeff's review, which adequately evaluates a game which could have easily been written off as broken or unfinished. Personally I do feel it's worth checking out, flaws and all.


Dexter Morgan Versus Michael Weston: the series crossover.

I may have descended completely into madness here, but would it not be awesome to have a season of television in which Dexter and Burn Notice crossover and we have an epic confrontation between the two titular characters? 
My logic (shallow as it runs) is that both shows are set in Miami, both are lighthearted procedurals  ( I am aware that Dexter kills people, but to me he runs into a new bad guy every week and takes them out in entertaining ways)  and both feature anti heroes trying to do the right thing while providing excellent narration. Preferably they would end up on the same side to take on the

or some other outlandish threat to Miami
Feel free to let me know how fucking ludicrous this idea is, or how much you want to see a sex in the city/ hills have eyes crossover.

Dissapointed about bobbleheads.

 Considering that there won't be a bobblehead in the collectors edition, I feel it's probably safe to extrapolate that we won't be hunting wobble headed vault boy's in the game itself. I loved that about fallout 3, but I can't really chastise obsidian for leaving them out, it's not essential to the franchise and it's their game and so far they are keeping pretty close to the fallout 3 blueprint that I enjoyed so much.
 Anyone else hoping for bobbleheads or any other fallout 3 facet to be included in new Vegas?
On a related note, I badly want a vault boy bobblehead in Vegas era Elvis attire.


Alan wake and the desire for S rank perfection.

 I thoroughly enjoyed Alan Wake, and after finishing it I knew that I absolutely had to get every thermos, sign and achievement point this game had in it. I don't quite know what it is about these collectibles in particular but I feel I need all of them, the points incentive is obvious enough but there's something more at play here. I suppose that knowing that the last few achievements are neither a massive commitment nor incredibly difficult is motivating, and the fact that they are within my grasp makes them that much more alluring. 

At this point though, it is obvious that with this many collectibles they could be tracked better than they are. Knowing that you have 6 more thermoses to find is good, but it's frustrating that you have no idea which chapter of the game they might be in. Nightmare mode might be a stumbling block but hopefully I can muddle through it  without  killing myself in the process. 
Are there games that drive you to that Vinny like 100 % anal completion? Are you enticed by the salacious desire to grab collectibles or do you despise them?




Alan wake and the desire for S rank perfection.

 I thoroughly enjoyed Alan Wake, and after finishing it I knew that I absolutely had to get every thermos, sign and achievement point this game had in it. I don't quite know what it is about these collectibles in particular but I feel I need all of them, the points incentive is obvious enough but there's something more at play here. I suppose that knowing that the last few achievements are neither a massive commitment nor incredibly difficult is motivating, and the fact that they are within my grasp makes them that much more alluring. 

At this point though, it is obvious that with this many collectibles they could be tracked better than they are. Knowing that you have 6 more thermoses to find is good, but it's frustrating that you have no idea which chapter of the game they might be in. Nightmare mode might be a stumbling block but hopefully I can muddle through it  without  killing myself in the process. 
Are there games that drive you to that Vinny like 100 % anal completion? Are you enticed by the salacious desire to grab collectibles or do you despise them?