Quick and Dirty: Spoiled for Choice

what's left of the stash

Rapid fire time, to save face (and owe the Palette Swaps crew less beer); 1 hour time limit.

Instead of hand-wringing and bailing on writing something entirely, I’ll tackle everything I’m considering and / or plotting a long-form for. Some PC entries, my current GameFly offerings, other stuff. It’s all here. Spoiler: I don’t finish much.

Format = Name  [percent completed%]  — Words.   Go!

Portal 2 [85%? Maybe more] — My pace is deliberate now; a slow and steady jaunt through Valve’s opus du jour. I’m as blown away as I was when I got my first taste. But as the world expands and I move further down the proverbial rabbit hole, it’s getting harder and harder to let it go. Which is making it harder and harder to stay. Tie off tap tap jab the vein coast, 15m jaunt through a puzzle and then push off and away, can’t spoil the feeling.

Pokemon White [you teach me, and I’ll teach you…] — When is this going to be a proper MMO? Toss in some proper berry farming, add three or four new monster designs every 6 months, and you’ll have my $5 – $10 subscription, easy. I could care less about battling, as I’m not at all competitive. But I see that empty Pokedex, and I feel empty.

EVE Online [n/a%] — I won’t evangelize EVE, or make excuses for it. I’m a sucker for engrossing narratives so WoW will always exist in the dark crannies of my mind, and I’m known to flirt with other electronic-diversions (RIFT et al). But EVE isn’t a game; it’s that long-term project, a petri-dish that’s earned my time and curisoity, the genesis of a dozen spreadsheets and long, sleepless nights.

Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Convictions [40%] — Basically, I want another Thief. I’ll take this, but goddamn it Ubisoft.

DO: encourage multiple approaches to a scene / problem. A viable stealth option is always preferred, but gung-ho types should be able to blast their way through satisfactorily. Sam Fisher is equal parts ninja and commando, I like.

DO: offer a “realistic” difficulty setting. Challenge should be about putting everyone on the same playing field, not adjusting the multiplier on a baddy’s health / armor stats. Deus Ex did this. Crysis 1 did too. It’s my first Splinter Cell game, but bravo anyway.

DON’T: instant-fail scenarios are instant fail. If I get detected, fuck you let me deal with it. I shouldn’t have to restart a scene fifteen times because you couldn’t think of a way for me to otherwise bypass a security door.

DON’T: if you’re going to toss in an instant-fail sequence, then quick-saves are a must. Seriously. Did anyone playtest that garage scene? Fuck.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn [DNF] — The design and vision, stunning. Unlike any of Kirby’s previous jaunts, and yet so true to form. About four or five worlds deep (of seven), but I’m done here. It’s a bit same-y. Dull? Not quite dull. Not boredom either — more like ennui. Which is boredom with a nice hat. It’s not a bad game, so much as it is a bad fit for me right now. It’s sugar and spice, everything nice. I’m craving…  turmoil? I’m craving that untz untz untz frenetic pace.

Kirby’s Epic Yarn is pretty much the diametric opposite of…

Super Meat Boy [@#&$!%] — Eat a dick, Super Meat Boy. I know I’ll never finish this one, but it’ll live on my hard drive, fired up on quiet afternoons once memories fade, and the swelling in my [redacted] eases. It’s hard. But fair? A bit like Demon’s Souls, in that sense. There are rules. But Super Meat Boy is wavering on the razor’s edge. There are certain levels that’re just… fuck.

Dragon Age: Origins [??%] — Back in my day…

No, really. I’m not even very old. But I do remember the figurative weight dumped on my shoulders when Gorion was pimp-smacked into a slimy pulp by shady forces unknown. Betrayal around every turn. Organic conversations amongst companions. A long, winding road. The seeds were there, way back in Baldur’s Gate [DNF], and again Baldur’s Gate II [DNF].

But I fire up DA:O (55 hours deep, no progress made) and… it’s exactly the same, in all the wrong ways.

  1. Set up the Hero’s Journey (via the Origin Stories); I’ve done just about every permutation, hence the lengthy playtime with nothing to show for it.
  2. Introduce the villain(s), the purpose (See: Ostagar, Betrayal at).
  3. Adventure!
  4. Conclusion?

Step 3 is where everything falls apart. The games of yore had proper worlds, derived solely through presentation. Consider Baldur’s Gate. Smaller than DA:O (probably), with a similar structure. But where DA:O paints a direct, Super Mario World-esque path to the endgame, complete with HERE ARE THE MAJOR STORYLINE LOCALES, MAKE YOUR BINARY MORAL DECISIONS BEFORE STEPPING ONTO THE RIDE PLZ Baldur’s Gate dropped you on a long and winding road.

It’s the difference between Book, and Choose Your Own Adventure.

Also, losing a character forever when they got hit by a particularly nasty crit? That was fucking *EPIC* if you were honest enough to keep the save file going (I wasn’t; ❤ Minsc).

Crysis 2 [20%] — I wanted to like this, so I do. I’m probably “doing it wrong,” playing on the middle of the road difficulty and using stealth all the way through. But I can approach every scene and genuinely feel like I’m making decisions. It’s a rush, really. Dying in new ways every time.

Killzone 3 [50% it feels like] — I wanted to like this, but not so much. In fact, I’m convinced the only reason I’m still going at it is that the Move controller offers such a novel way to play first person shooters on a console. Gears, Resistance, Halo; I was using sandpaper for years and then someone hands me a bottle of conditioner, a Sears catalog, and a pack of Lucky Strikes. More on that later (the first part, not the metaphor), but suffice to say I like to Move it Move it [intended].

Bulletstorm [90% I’m told] — Ha, Dicktits. Okay, what else is on?

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