Sunday, February 24, 2013

Next-Gen, Backlog, and BioShock Infinite

     Seemingly out of nowhere, apparently the PS4 and XBox 720 are set to launch this year. I guess that the release of the Wii U spurred Sony and Microsoft into action, though they aren't likely to release sh*tty gimmick consoles...

I guess I have mixed feelings about the end of the current generation of consoles because I don't feel like we ever saw the peak performance of the hardware. I can only really speak firsthand to the performance of the XBox 360, but I don't know that PS3 has been pushed to the limit graphically.

I also have mixed feelings about rumored features, or lack thereof, coming with the next gen.

Backwards compatibility may be a thing of the past, there are rumors of games having an activation code to slowly kill the secondhand market, rumors of the XBox required an always on internet connection, and so on.

Bottom line, I don't see myself moving to spend $350+ on a new console. I've already got a motherf*cker of a backlog, and I can barely find the time to plod through it. Now I'm supposed to upgrade and start anew?

Speaking of that backlog, my progress has been virtually non-existent in recent weeks. Somehow, I keep getting sidetracked by other things.

I've been struck by the mood to play Batman Arkham City, MGS2/3, Dark Souls, Fable III, and when I go to put the disc in, I find Madden 13 in the tray and have the uncontrollable desire to play it.

The sad part is, I kind of hate the latest Madden because it forces the realism, making me play THEIR game rather than tailoring the experience to my own desires.

For the first time ever, EVER, I bought this year's version of NCAA Football intending on starting a player, taking him through college and then importing to Madden...

Only this year's Madden didn't have that feature. So not only can I not draft myself into the NFL, I can't fantasy draft an entire league, I can't play the classic franchise mode, and there are an abundance of online features I can't use because I don't have internet at home.

Thanks, EA. Burn in hell....

Moving on, the release of BioShock Infinite is on the horizon and I find myself lacking the same excitement I had when it was supposed to be released last October, and again when it was to be released in February.

I've watched the trailers, read the articles and as a faithful fan of the series, I find myself trying to maintain a blank slate of opinion. I don't want to say with all certainty that it will be the greatest game ever to this point, because I'd hate to say that then play it and find it to be terrible or just adequate.

It was a big risk to make such a radical change in the environment, from dark, dank and naturally terrifying underwater Utopia to a city in the skies, torn apart by politics, among other things.

Dishonored had me super excited when it came out last year and I've already voiced my displeasure with that title.

I've tried to avoid oversaturating myself with details, hoping against hope that it will help me keep my expectations tame, as well as avoiding delving too deep into details I'd rather experience firsthand with no foreknowledge whatsoever.

Of course, if recent history is any evidence, I'll probably start playing it, love it, then never have time to play it and end up having to come back to it years later like Assassin's Creed.

It seems like forever since I finished that game, and then sprinted through Batman Arkham Asylum. I have made no progress on my backlog... Dammit...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

So Much for Regular Entries

     My intention, upon starting this blog, was to keep track of what I was playing in order to offer my perspective in approaching my backlog as well as my thoughts and feelings about the games I was playing. It started off well enough, I beat Assassin's Creed in four week's time, then sprinted through Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Then I started Dishonored, and the whole "play a game from start to finish" thing fell by the wayside.

My issues with Dishonored are numerous, but are fairly simple. There is no reason to care about the story, the killing of the empress, the kidnapping of her young daughter and empress to be, the sullying of our (Corvo's) sterling reputation without so much as an attempt at a defense.

The pacing is off, with each trip to Dunwall broken up like a chapter with end of mission statistics, and the allies of Corvo in his fight to restore his honor, find the girl and restore order to the world, are wholly dislikeable.

Gameplay is satisfying, inventive and sufficiently brutal, but the "moral choice" aspect limits things.

If you want to go in guns blazing, yes, the ability to kill enemies in unique fashion is remarkable with the powers given to Corvo, but in terms of a stealth approach, they are largely wasted. Teleporting is the most useful power, while possession and freeze time are limited to knocking patrols out or avoiding them entirely.

I still feel like I should reserve judgment for when I have completed more than the first two or three missions, but it is so hard when things are so frustrating.

From there, I started Deadly Premonition.

Cult anything achieves cult status for a reason. It is either an overlooked masterpiece, a quirky and flawed offering, or something so awful you can't help but marvel at how bad it is. Like a train wreck.

Deadly Premonition falls somewhere between quirky/flawed and awful.

I tried, oh how I tried, to slog through the repetitive missions, meandering story, psychotically quirky characters and mismatched sound direction.

It didn't last long and I made the wise choice to move to something more palatable, Red Dead Redemption.

I posted a single update about RDR, raving about my love for every facet of the game, and then I stopped updating. I found it more difficult to find things to discuss week after week regarding a single playthrough.

Then I presented, and apparently abandoned, the notion of broadening my view to include new releases, impending releases, nostalgia gaming, opinions on gaming news, etc.

I never posted anything like that, and now here I am. Offering a retrospective of the blog that once was.

Now that I'm here, I might as well try to give you something you can enjoy or chew on, or ignore entirely if that is your prerogative.

We'll see...