22 November 2013

"You MUST play this game."

Not a line I hear very often from the overloaded of gamers, Scotty, famous for his ever growing pile of untouched video games.

It has been suggested he look for a partner on Craigslist with the suggestion that she help him with said pile.

But it was the line I was provided when his copy of "The Last of Us" was placed in my hands.

I hadn't paid much attention to the reviews aside from "this is game of the year" and etc etc etc. But I hate that kind of hype. As soon as I see that sort of thing, I shrug my shoulders and walk away. There's no real base for that kind of reaction, but it's just the way I act.

But when Scott handed me this game, not explaining anything about the game and simply repeating that line, I just had to obey.

I got home, sat down and decided I was going to live tweet this as much as I possibly can. This is what I experienced in the first twenty minutes of the game. Parents should brace themselves.

I thought it was really nice from the moment the main menu music loaded, but Holy Fucking Shit. The game gets better from then on, showing massive struggles and innocence of both characters and give the player a very real connection with them. As a game, it's very familiar to a well refined Splinter Cell, but as a story... well, I put it down as the best TV show that's actually a Video Game that I have had the pleasure of experiencing.

There was one other game that had me well involved as a good TV show was Remember Me, though it was more of a Film than a TV Show, where it had the Quality but not the Volume in comparison.

It was another big budget game that was fun and had two different feels, from playing a modern Streets of Rage, to watching a French Science Fiction film, and it was a genuine sort of feeling because very little of it looked familiar. Those that did were simply the smooth and mechanical features of an artists future, which come across in other Sci-fi games.

Given a couple of months later, though, and I was given another game from Scotty. He said it was a good TV Show, which Piqued my interest until that second voice in my head said "What does he mean it's a good TV Show? It's a Video Game."

"Yeah, it is. But as a game..." and with a shaking of his open hand, he told me exactly what he meant. And he was right.

The game as a game is pretty piss poor. The most impressive function of it is how you change your Ellen Pa- Sorry, Jodie Holmes. The rest of it? Well it's Action Prompts. Yes, Action Prompts. Where a slow motion section appears and you press buttons or move sticks, or you find a dot that you can mess around with to make life a little easier. Or to scare a bunch of rude bastard children.

That was the redeeming part of the game, the TV show itself. That particular chapter, the main character interacts with kids of her own age and is invited to a party. She's a young teen and is somewhat happy to join the experience.

Personally, it was super awkward making this fictional character make out with a guy on the dance floor. I'm not a young girl, but here I was making a young girl fling herself at a guy who was interested in her. Why? I don't know. I just imagined myself being eager to please these people, and taking every opportunity available.

I imagined myself. She was honest about herself when asked questions. And took up opportunities that cropped up.

Then the awkward settled in, whereby I realised I was roleplaying a teenage girl, something very unfamiliar to me. I was a teenage girl kissing a guy I'd just met.

Then the anger settled in as Jodie was abused, ridiculed, humiliated, and forcibly thrown into a closet. These bastards had to pay. I don't like Bullies. And frankly, a gaggle of them in an enclosed room and the ability to just go mad at them with my Entity? It's the perfect opportunity.

I didn't go too far. I knocked out a couple of kids before returning to a crying girl who felt she went too far, even if they are bastards, then seeing Willem Dafoe come and pick her up.
Just a note: I said me in place of Jodie there before amending it.
While this game is a good example of fantastic concept and writing, not to mention some good use of art and depiction, it's still supposed to be a game. And frankly, it lacks as a game. They've left a blatant note tacked on the end of the show stating "We're going to milk this for at least a sequel, maybe a trilogy" so it'll be interesting to see if they'll do more with their good writers and concepts to make an actual game system that will challenge players more than figuring out the most elaborate way to steal government papers.

21 November 2013

Dear Xbox Avatar

I have been good to you. Made you look any range of dapper, to cool, to just plain nerdy. However I have spent too much money on you. Too much for a pretty little guy who just doesn't do much except represent me in the Xbox-verse, with features that aren't appreciated enough.

Quite frankly, it's a tad disappointing. Knowing that you're wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog hoodie and discovering that Sonic once came in a cartridge almost as big as a DS. Or wearing an Orc mask and a Warcraft Horde shirt while riding a Dire Wolf and throwing a Spear. Or wearing a Nanosuit and shooting across cover with an SMG and pistol. Or wearing your own incorporation of your ex-military corporations uniform, and driving around in a Bandit Truck.

I've spent far too much to have these features, all for no purpose but my own entertainment.The one outfit Im happy to have gotten, and without having to pay, was the Doomguy suit. And I received that by finishing a chapter in Doom II. And it was a Fkn hard chapter too. When faced with a horde (yes, a horde) of Imps you tend to freak out. And then finish shitting your pants when you see the Cyberdemon turn the corner.That's what I call an outfit to be proud of. It means something. You wear it with the pride of a soldier wearing a medal.

Cos frankly, Doom is a game that shows it's age, but nobody gives a Fuck. It's still relevant. I still have a hard time trying to sleep when i hear that patient Imp noise, something akin to a hungry truffle pig.

But having something to wear to show that I overcame those Imps by spamming my BFG, and dodging the Cyberdemon Rockets while making it catch my own?  It gives me a gleam in my heart.

So why don't games do that more? If you complete a game that offers an Xbox Avatar costume for you to purchase in the marketplace, why not reward the player with it?  Finish Xcom: Enemy Unknown on Easy, you get Xcom basic armour and a Pistol, Normal you also get Carapace Armour and a Laser Rifle, Hard you also get Titan Armour and a Heavy Plasma Cannon, and Impossible you get Psi Armour with an Animation of them casting Psionic Rift.  Heck, eliminate Exalt and you receive their operative outfit and weapon.

That's another thing.  I want to use my Avatar in game.  I've seen a handful of games that do use them, such as World for Keflings where you're a Giant and order your diminuitive minions around and build a Medieval Town for them to reside and work in, but could I find something a bit more... standard?  No.  I couldn't join in an MMO of Xbox Avatars to find myself shooting my way through a series of waves of Xbox Exclusive All star bad guys, could I.

No, he just sits there with little potential taken up by third party developers.  Microsoft couldn't just make an MMO using these Avatars, something they automatically subscribe to with their Xbox Live Subscription, could they.  Where a group of friends in contact with each other, with nothing to do on a Saturday night because they're bored with Halo or Borderlands, but still want to put in the effort of playing a game together.  No.  Those poor sods will have to make do with what they've got.

One day though.  One day.  Xbox All-Stars MMO, using your very own Avatar.  Recreate extreme demo scenes in games like Gears of War or Fable or whatever racing game they have an exclusive on.  Things like that.  Maybe not those specifically, but you get the idea.
It's an idea though, and that may be all it'll ever be.  But damnit, I want to see my Orc mask get some face time in a game, not just when I flick between screens on the dashboard.