videogames

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

I finished Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End tonight, and while I don’t want to say that it’s an overrated franchise, but all the games are the same! Some of the plot beats change, but the structure is pretty much identical, and the gameplay has never evolved. Like, it’s great that they came up with destructible environments, but it’s the same game over four installments–climbing and combat involving chest-high walls. It’s also hard to credit the game with strong storytelling when Nathan Drake is all personality. Judging by his actions, he’s the world’s worst treasure hunter. The idea behind Nathan Drake seems to be “What if Indiana Jones but he ruins every place he visits and kills 600 people?” At least Indiana Jones bumped off Nazis or Cultists–people who would do evil things even if Indiana Jones wasn’t around. Nathan Drake just kills other treasure hunters! He has no more right to the treasure than they do, but I guess they have to die. My hero.

Anyway, these games are fun for what they are (I can’t imagine being so hard up more that I’d play The Lost Legacy or Golden Abyss), but it’d be baffling to pay $60 for it. I paid $10 and thought that was a fair price. It would also be worth a rental if I had a GameFly subscription.

Image via Naughty Dog
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 videogames No Comments

Titanfall 2

So I beat Titanfall 2 last night, and it’s a weird game. Not weird in the “Let me scour the deepest recesses of Steam for the most indie game I can find” way, but weird in how it’s ostensibly a AAA game that’s just a bizarre hodgepodge of ideas that kind of works and yet also feels like a demo for a more substantial game. It combines these desperate game mechanics like wall-running/platforming in first person (I’m not a fan, but I can see how some folks would enjoy it), mech battles, and one level that has you jump across time periods, and any one of these seems like it could be enough for its own game, and yet they’re combined into a relatively short experience (it took me 12 hours to beat it because I am bad at video games, and I learned I should never be a streamer because no one wants to watch me be bad at video games).

It’s not a bad game, although its depressing to see what passes as story in video games. Yes, the relationship between your character and your mech is nice, but the uniqueness is trampled upon by yet another scrappy resistance fights the evil aliens/government/corporation/etc. narrative. I could not tell you three things about the main character, and while I understand that he’s a bit of a blank slate so you can project onto him, aren’t we a little past that? If you’re going to give him a voice actor and his own name rather than a mute where you give them a name like in a 90s RPG, give me a real narrative and not just scrappy pilot partners up with giant robot to kill a bunch of people. That’s fine for what it is, but it doesn’t make for a particularly memorable experience.

titanfall-2

Image via EA

Friday, June 21st, 2019 videogames No Comments

Why I Don’t Like ‘The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’

Before I begin, let me be clear: I don’t think The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a bad game. I can appreciate the care, effort, and most importantly, appeal it presents. But it also kind of clarified the kind of gamer I am and the kind of games I enjoy. I play games to unwind, and unwinding for me is not having to put a lot of thought into anything. It’s why I like building LEGO from the instruction manual. Here’s the manual, here are the steps, and it’s relaxing to just follow those steps and get a nice little set at the end.

Breath of the Wild is all about exploration and daunting challenges. It relishes in frustrating the player and then, for those willing to weather those frustrations, they’ll be rewarded. So if you fight through a lot of tough enemies, figure out how to get to the tower, fight even more enemies, survive the terrain, figure out how to climb to the tower, survive more enemies, and then finally climb the tower, you’ll be rewarded with climbing the tower. You set the goal, you choose the way to figure it out, and punishing as it may be along the way, you’re theoretically rewarded at the end.

For me, I just like more guidance in my games. I like knowing where to go next and a clear path to get there. I’m not opposed to challenge per say, but I do get frustrated with ridiculous levels of difficulty that require me to “work” at getting better (which is why I’ve never bothered to defeat the Valkyrie Queen in God of War). I don’t want to have to work to get good at a video game just like I don’t want to have to dump hours of my life figuring out how to climb a tower. I enjoy the simple pleasures of a game, and becoming invested in my character’s journey. But what Breath of the Wild is selling, I’m not buying. I can understand why it’s popular, but after spending time with the game, I can tell it’s not for me.

Friday, June 29th, 2018 criticism, videogames No Comments

Cuphead

So I’ve played a bit of Cuphead now, and I’ve come to the conclusion that while the game is indisputably gorgeous and a wakeup call to other developers to up their game when it comes to art style, the actual gameplay is too grueling to be enjoyable. There are some gamers who get off on punishingly difficult games, but I am now one of them. When I push my way through a boss fight or a level of Cuphead, I don’t feel like I figured something out or I improved enough to proceed. I tend to feel like I got away with something and that with just enough breaks, I was able to win. That’s not a particularly rewarding experience, and even playing with a friend, there’s not so much a sense of camaraderie as there is a grim determination where after a few tries you feel more exhaustion than exhilaration.

In summation, Cuphead is fine for some, but if you’re looking for a great game to play with friends, check out Overcooked.

Saturday, October 21st, 2017 videogames No Comments

Funny Photos

Yeah, this blog can do that.  It shouldn’t, but it can, AND IT WILL:

Art by Chris Furniss via Super Punch.

 Via Uberhumor via Brother.

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 humor, videogames No Comments
 

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