It's Dai Time

Katie & Scott & Simon & Cecily.

Category: gamelog (page 1 of 3)

Army of Two: The 40th Day

If you like fist-bumps, a ravaged Shanghai, and hints of beastiality, do I have a game for you. Hunter and I started playing AoT:tFD when it first came out (January of 2010) and finally beat it. It’s a fictionally preposterous game and a relatively standard shooter with cover mechanics otherwise. The things that make it stand out – the moral choices, the gun customization, the mask customization – are more satisfying the more emotional investment you put into them.

The moral choices are kind of absurd. They’re so often a clear choice between moral and immoral, yet the outcome vignettes seem specifically to twist your choice into something different that, as a player, you feel a bit insulted. They’re interesting attempts at storytelling, but the fact that they don’t affect anything other than the vignette directly afterward weakens them to these one-off moments that almost are there to trick the player into feeling bad about their choice. One choice we made, though, concerning a really cool kid with a helmet, will always stick with me.

The gun customization is fun, but surfaces a problem we ran into often. It’s very hard to know whether we should keep upgrading our current gun or to buy a new one. The base stats of the new gun may be worse, but it’s hard to tell what upgrades may be available for it without buying it. Also, there are several parts that seem to have in-game effects that aren’t mentioned in the actual upgrade menu. Lastly, the fact that there are only auto-save checkpoints mean that customizing your gun (which can take a while) and then dying means you lose all the customization work you just did.

That said, walking around with a gold-plated shotgun with a bayonet attached to the end and a silencer (what?) is pretty pimp. So, there’s that.

Mask customization is by far the most satisfying thing that I experienced in the game. Being able to create a mask on the game’s website using a mouse and shapes meant that we were able to take Salem and Rios through the game wearing Buddy and TOBOR masks (from the MySims franchise, don’t you know?), making our sarcastic buddy romp through a devastated Shanghai go from simply weird to a Kafka-esque level of absurdity. Making the masks took a few hours to get the details right, but it was more than worth it. Going through the game with the default masks would have made it half as fun.

It’s a wacky game. The overall plot was unintelligible to us, the dialog was funny but hard to hear over the loud and constant gunfire, and certain sections of stages seemed to have an infinite number of enemies. But we got to blow up Shanghai and play rock-paper-scissors whenever we wanted. So. You know. That’s that.

Transformers: War for Cybertron

Played through the co-op 3-man online campaign on Easy. Transformers: WfC was a fun shooter with some really interesting levels and a strong thematic element. I wouldn’t have picked up WfC and played it myself if it weren’t for a certain Transformers-obsessed co-worker of mine.

I’m glad I played this game. While the action is sometimes a bit too frenetic, the boss battles a bit too punishing, and the art style a bit too overwhelming, it’s a decent shooter and it was a lot of fun to play with friends.

The aerial levels were especially satisfying and the game simply invites moments where a player can transform from a charging vehicle into robot form whilst hitting an enemy with their melee weapon. This feels incredibly good. Also, space slugs: ridiculous but fun.

It’s the kind of game that I don’t anticipate picking up and playing again, but have no regrets about playing through once. I’m sure a true Transformers fan would get a lot more out of it than me, but I would encourage any shooter fan with a few friends to check this out as well.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II

When I borrowed this game from work on Friday, I didn’t expect to beat it this weekend. But beat it I have.

I was relatively excited to play through this, as I had enjoyed The Force Unleashed despite its shortcomings. And while the strengths of TFU are still evident in the sequel, I feel like the game has now overstayed its welcome.

I spent about 5 and a half hours completing the campaign and that was enough for me, thank you. I beat it on easy, although I started the game on medium. I switched to easy halfway through the first or second level and I’m glad I did, despite the hit to my ego. The difference between easy and medium seemed like a chasm – on easy, your health regenerates if you don’t take multiple sources of damage in quick succession. In medium, it doesn’t. I’m not sure if the game is designed to be an optimal experience on easy, but I can assure you that I would have probably would not have finished the game and would have been much more frustrated.

Regardless, there were two primary things I enjoyed about this game: the cutscenes that told an interesting if rather shallow story in the Star Wars universe, and the areas where I got to kill hundreds of stormtroopers without breaking a sweat. Everything else felt a bit like slogging through a Dagobah swamp.

Boss fights, which were already a bit tedious in the first game, either got worse or my tolerance of them lowered. Larger enemies became a boring 30-second montage of the same saber-throwing repeated ad naseaum. Even the final fight of the game felt like the same 4 minutes of gameplay repeated 9 or 10 times. And let’s not forget that I had jumped from identical platform to identical bridge to identical platform for the 15 minutes prior to that in order to get there!

I did beat the game. I did deem it enjoyable enough to devote over 5 hours to it. But in the end, the entire experience was all a bit boring. Who knew that a game where you play as a Jedi could actually be boring?

50 Cent: Blood in the Sand

I played this game because a co-worker friend of mine has an unhealthy love for it and it supports 2-player online co-op through the entire campaign.

I’ll admit that I thought this game might be bad. That’s not the case. It’s a decent shooter with some interesting ideas, but nothing that’ll win any awards – except maybe an award for weirdest juxtaposition of spoken dialog.

The story is kind of a moot point. 50 wants this skull, see? And other people have it. So he and a member of his G-Unit crew shoot and blow people up in order to get it back. It’s the kind of game where you can buy new guns, new melee “counterkills,” and new taunts. The kind of game where taunting after getting a kill gives you more points. The kind of game where the more expensive the taunt, the more profane it is.

It’s all a bit ridiculous, really. But that’s part of the charm of it and assuming you aren’t turned off by the continuously pumping 50 Cent in the background, the incessant swearing, and the fact that two Americans are killing a seemingly endless number of generic mercenaries and terrorists in a fictional middle Eastern nation to get one skull back, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

It’s almost the kind of video game that makes video games look bad to people that don’t play video games, except I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy it myself. I don’t imagine that I’ll be playing it much more, but one time through the co-op with a friend was like watching a B-movie with friends.

Blood in the Sand doesn’t try that hard to be serious, and because of that, it ends up being a bit of a delightful romp.

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