It's been a while since I've done much blogging. The last one I wrote was simply to promote the book I wrote, so I didn't feel right connecting it to the forums because it was technically an ad, but now I'm back to talk about video games!
The last time I blogged about games was centered around The Walking Dead and Darksiders II. I have played Episode 4 of The Walking Dead, but all I have to say about that is that I can't wait for the "final" episode (or at least the final one of this "season"), and that Gary Whitta likes shooting guys. If you've played the episode, you know what I mean.
But the game I want to write about today is Tokyo Jungle. By now you've seen the Quick Look, either of the two times Patrick played it on TNT, and probably read his review too. It's safe to say that Giant Bomb has had a lot of coverage of the game.
And for good reason. Tokyo Jungle deserves the coverage, because there's nothing else like it. Okay, that's a blatant lie, but there aren't many other games like it. I won't go into too much detail about the core mechanics of the game because I'm sure you already know what the game is (and if you don't, watch the Quick Look). Instead, here's my experience with the game.
So, a few weeks ago it went home for the weekend because it was around the time of my birthday. Tokyo Jungle had been released that week, so naturally the first thing I did when I turned my PS3 on (I leave it at home) was to buy and download Tokyo Jungle. And a short time later (because PSN downloads way faster for me than it seemingly does for everyone else) I was running around as a pomeranian trying to survive in the game. And like most people who played the game, I initially didn't really know what to do. I knew the core mechanics, as I had watched Patrick/Jeff play a bunch of it, but that was just novice level information.
After playing for a bit I started unlocking new animals, but none of the low level animals were really that interesting. Pomeranians are funny because aside from the freakishly huge "pomeranian" my cousins have (I'm convinced it's not pure pomeranian, despite what they claim), they're tiny little dogs. The idea of one of those being able to survive in post apocalyptic Tokyo is absurd in a really endearing way. But the first few animals you unlock are just things like cats and slightly bigger dogs. At least in the predator path, I still haven't gone far down the grazer path.
But recently I've gotten into wolves and other moderately big predators. The farthest I got was the hyena. This wasn't on my birthday weekend, I should say. This was just last weekend when I went home again for no particular reason (other than to play The Walking Dead and Tokyo Jungle). So last weekend I was playing a bunch of Tokyo Jungle, and like I said, I unlocked the hyena. But then I died to the cheetahs. And then I died again. And again, and again...
In between my bouts of getting angry at cheetahs, I was also playing through the game's story mode. I didn't like the story mode. There are some interesting bits, and some parts that are funny, but what really sticks out to me are the parts where the story mode just stopped being fun. Like the forced stealth sequences where being seen is instant failure. And while there are checkpoints, they weren't plentiful enough to negate my anger. Oh, and I should add that in these stealth levels (that seem to take place in real time, rather than Tokyo Jungle time) you still have to worry about hunger. Because obviously a hyena has to stop and eat three or four times when it's out sneaking for twenty minutes.
But that's far from the worst part of the stealth levels. Much like pre-MGS3: Subsistence, you don't have any camera control. But here you don't even have the option to view the world in first person. Normally that's not an issue in Tokyo Jungle because normally just being seen by other animals isn't instant failure, but in this case it is instant failure. And it's not fun. Just as annoying is the inconsistency with how well they can hear and see you. You can run right behind animals that are awake (and supposedly patrolling for enemies), but if you try to creep behind a sleeping animal, the animal will wake up, see you, and you go back to the last checkpoint.
During one of these levels I literally got so angry that I just quit the game and played some Burnout Paradise to try to calm my rage. Luckily it worked, and my rage was calmed.
I should say that I went to Burnout Paradise because I have the digital version of it on my PS3's hard drive, so it was only a few button presses away.
Unfortunately, it wasn't just the stealth levels that made me angry. There were a few boss fights that got me raging up as well. Maybe I'm just bad at the game, but I was getting my butt kicked by some of them. I know I'm definitely no Tokyo Jungle champ, but a lot of the time it kept reminding me of Dead Rising, by which I mean that I was fighting against the game play mechanics more than I was the enemy in the game.
Tokyo Jungle plays just fine if you are sneak-killing enemies, or fighting just a few smaller enemies. Dodging an incoming strike and then doing a counter-kill is great. Mashing the square button next to a boss that seems to just be brushing off all my attacks isn't. Especially when I get hit, knocked to the ground, and then have to wait for the animal to get back up (from what I could tell mashing buttons and stuff didn't seem to speed up the process).
So by the time I was at the end of the story mode, I had lost most of my interest. Even being able to play as a robot dog didn't help, despite it being by far the best animal in the game (of the ones I've seen, at least). Plus the fact that the twist revolves around time travel didn't help, because time travel is usually pretty dumb, and not one of my preferred plot devices.
Then I went back to trying to unlock the cheetah and died again. Cheetahs go down extremely quickly if you strike first, but if you don't you're probably dead (at least when playing as a hyena). I know Patrick managed it (he did in that TNT, I think), so I probably can too if I put in the time. The game just gets frustrating after a while, and the core mechanics aren't really interesting enough on their own to be fun for more than half an hour or so at a time. At least not without the constant carrot on a stick that is unlocking new animals.
Or in other words, the game is too grindy. Either that or I need to be better at it. Even when I got the cheetahs to spawn in a different zone of the game, I still died. They're especially tough when there's more than one of them. They can decimate a group of hyenas in no time if you aren't careful.
But that's Tokyo Jungle's biggest strength. Despite everything I complained about above, I still want to play more. I still want to keep going and unlock more animals. There are dinosaurs! And just like Patrick, I am obsessed with Jurassic Park (it consumed my childhood), and thus dinosaurs in general. I will unlock at least one dinosaur in that game, even if it takes months. I will do it.
Jeff Goldblum, the star of Jurassic Park.
That's about the only thing I've played recently. I'm definitely excited to play Dishonored, but I probably won't have a chance to play that until Thanksgiving, or maybe later. I'm also stoked to play Borderlands 2 at some point, but that's a larger time commitment that will have to wait until December. Aside from that, I'm excited for Assassin's Creed III, and I think Black Ops II will have a fun little campaign that I'll want to play through. But that's about it for unreleased games this year that I'm planning on playing. I probably forgot something that I will remember in half an hour, but that's the way things go.
I was briefly considering waiting for 12 hours outside a Wal-Mart to buy a Wii U at launch (like I did for the Wii), but apparently Wii Us are all pre-ordered out everywhere, so that won't be happening. Not that there's anything at launch that I'm super excited for (Scribblenauts Unlimited will be fun), but I know I'm going to get a Wii U eventually, so I thought I might do that. Guess not!
So, as always, I leave you with a picture of our greatest living voice actor, Nolan North. Oh, and check out my book too. But I won't link directly to it because that would be an advertisement and the mods might see it and get angry at me. Shh! Don't tell them!
At this point I don't even remember why I started putting pictures of him in my blog, but I won't stop now.