It’s been a rare weekend where I’ve found myself playing games purely for my own recreational purposes.
Having spent the week trying to negotiate with a viral infection coughed up by the Dark Lord Beelzebub himself, I finally finished Gears of War 3 and played enough multiplayer to get the gist of it enough to splutter out a rather huge review for the guys at Techday.com, for their Games Console section. You can read my Gears of War 3 review here.
Before playing though Gears of War 3, I also had to (start and) finish Gears of War 2, which I’d had lying about for the last few years without bothering with. After putting Gears of War 3 to bed (and back on my shelf), the completest in me turned to the original Gears of War, which I also never completed. I 99.9% finished it, tight up to the final fight with General Ramm. At the time, it fell into the too hard pile and I lost interest. Having spent the best part of the last week doing nothing but shooting grubbs, I decided to give old Rammy another bash…and killed him on the third attempt. Easy really. So in one week I finished all three Gears games. A Gold Star for me.
There’s no doubt that the Gears of War trilogy brought something very special to the Xbox 360. Even though I’ve bagged the story as shit in the past, it’s not shit. If it was a movie it would be, but it’s not. It’s a series of video-games, a bloody good series of video-games. It is amazing to see how the games have evolved visually, to see great graphics get greater and greater to the point that the game engine graphics are so crisp that they show up the pre-rendered cut-scenes. The other thing that I can’t get enough with gears (which was, sadly lacking in the subterranean second outing), and that’s the fabulous architecture. Sera’s buildings are adorned with some of the most beautiful facades your are ever likely to see in a video game. Fantastic.
Finally seeing the end of General Ramm, made me think about the series’ boss sequences.
Now I detest boss sequences. They’re shit and, in my opinion, there’s no place for them in a the modern narrative-based video-game. The intelligent flow of a game can be rudely interrupted by the appearance of these gaming relics. There I am, usually having a whale of a time, when some fucking huge overly-powerful, randomly regenerating mutant bastard turns up. After a meaningless, convoluted and usually repetitive attack sequence, the behemoth is brought down. I feel physically drained and so stressed I may as well have kicked off my slippers, driven to the office and done half-hours work for all the R&R it did me. For every one of me, bitching about boss battles, there are hundreds of sad fucks who will go on about the exciting challenge that boss battles bring to their pathetic little lives. If you need boss battles to provide challenges in you life, go out and get a fucking real job. Or, if you are a little kid, come back and share your zeal for the challenge of boss battles when you’ve spent the whole day sorting out whining people’s problems at work only to get home and have the kids whining and crying at you. After all that all I want to sit down, switch brain off and play games. I want to fuck shit up, I don’t want to be put through the fucking wringer.
Gears of War actually does bosses rather well. These aren’t the Japanese style, multiple headed regenerating types. Their appearance makes sense and their difficulty befits the setting that the player chose. I did have a minor, “what the fuck am I supposed to do here”, moment at the end of Gears 3 but it passed and Marcus Fenix got his well desired sit down by the beach.
I also finished, as much as I’m ever likely to, Fallout 3. I only had The Pitt DLC to go, really. With that finished, I did a little bit of Achievement whoring looking for the last few locations in Point Lookout and clearing up a couple of side quests. With Fallout 3 in the bag, I’m on to Fallout: New Vegas, which I’ve played a fair bit, but with the thought of the incomplete predecessor in the back of my mind.
Lastly, I’ve been back on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A fantastic game, with the most retarded boss battle mis-steps in the history of gaming. Here is a game that you can sneak your way though, until you meet the boss, whereby all the stealth is out the window. Not cool. Thankfully, the boss battles are not too hard. Other than that, Deus Ex is a little gem. I’ll be sad when it’s over, as I don’t think that there’ll be a grain of replay value in it for me.
I had a quick go on the Xbox 360 Battlefield 3 multiplayer beta. I had early access to it, oh lucky me. unfortunately the only other people with early access were a load of folks in Iceland or somewhere and they were using 56k modems which gave me a bit of La Cucaracha retro-lag, 90s stylee. I’ve found DICE’s Xbox 360 netcode to be a bit unforgiving in the past with BF1943, the Bad Companies and Medal of Honor. Things got better over the weekend. Overall, I’m not impressed, it looks like any other shooter. Those groovy graphics must have been from the PC version. I did like the Mirror’s Edge-style vaulting over obstructions, though. Still, it’s Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3 for me on the Xbox 360 (BF3 on the PC).
Next week I should be playing F1 2011, which I’m looking forward to, for a review. I’ll also putting the finishing touches to El Shaddia Acension of the Metatron which I’m supposed to be reviewing as well (delayed due to illness).