i fucking love video games
I don’t often reblog, but sometimes you just have to.
i fucking love video games
I don’t often reblog, but sometimes you just have to.
PLEASE NOTE, THERE MAY BE MINOR, INSIGNIFICANT-ISH SPOILERS FOR DEAD SPACE 3, TOMB RAIDER AND BIOSHOCK INFINITE IN THIS POST. BUT ONLY LITTLE ONES.
While the big news of early 2013 was the announcement of PS4, 2013 still has a fine selection of current gen games in the pipeline. The first major release of the year came in the shape of Dead Space 3 in January. The first Dead Space flew under the radar a wee bit, solid if unspectacular critical reviews didn’t predict the word of mouth momentum the game created. Gamers praised the game for it’s tight-knit, claustrophobic survival horror experience that hadn’t been seen on this scale since the earlier Resident Evil games. Dead Space 2 came along and upped the anti - bigger, bolder and prettier, which left me for high hopes for the third instalment. However, there were murmerings that the series had strayed too far from it’s survival roots into action territory (ahem Res Evil ahem) and, while I do have to say I enjoyed the game, these murmerings rang true.
WHAT HAVE THEY DONE? WHY DO THE NECROMORPHS HAVE GUNS NOW?
As mentioned, I liked DS3. It was a decent game. It looked as good as anything released on this console generation, it played and handled as well as the previous DS games, and there were some excellent set pieces. However, that’s all it is - a decent 3rd person action game. I’ve played plenty of them, and plenty of better ones. What I haven’t played on this generation of consoles is a survival horror game that matches the original Dead Space. A baffling inclusion was the co-op, which helped in this move away from survival horror into action territory by taking away the fear factor of playing alone (the game was of course playable alone, but the fact co-op was there at all is strange). Other decisions though - giving some necromorphs guns, bringing in human enemies - also dumbed the experience down somewhat. What made the title unique, what made it special, has been lost to pander to the supposed gamer majority (whether this was a decision made by Visceral (probably not) or EA (probably definitley), I don’t know). Did this decision backfire? Judging by the mediocre sales, yes, for sure. While games like COD will always sell millions, there’s an intelligence to many gamers who yearn for more than your Call of Duty games (that’s not a slight on COD, it is popular for a reason). However, DS3 didn’t capture the imagination of the previous 2 entries. Some may argue it has just reached saturation point, being the third in a series. I argue that Uncharted 3 for example didn’t suffer the same kind of mixed reaction. So, overall, a good but unspectacular (and ultimately, given what came before, a disappointing) start to 2013.
Next up was Crystal Dynamics’ take on rebooting a much beloved and pivotal gaming series, Tomb Raider. Tomb Raider 2013 is an origin story - we catch up with a young Lara Croft on her maiden expedition, full of excitement and doubts about the way ahead, before inevitably everything goes to shit and Lara has to learn to survive on an island inhabited by people who don’t seem to want her or her friends around very much.
Lara - she’s come a long way since the 90s…
Tomb Raider very much wears its influences on its sleeves, taking ideas from a wide variety of games (notably Uncharted, which of course was inspired by the original Tomb Raiders. Totes meta!) However, for all the borrowing of ideas, it doesn’t feel stale because it does everything so well. Tomb Raider is an immensely enjoyable, fun experience, with a mix of theaforementioned Uncharted and Assasins Creed 2. Gunplay is great (but I prefered using the bow and arrow in combat), and there’s plenty of collectables and underground tombs to, uh, raid. While the story is linear, the game itself is an interesting mix of linear and open world gameplay, which does set it apart from Uncharted.
Negatives? As an origin story, we see Lara go from young girl on her first expedition who has never killed anyone (or ever been in the situation where that would be necessary), to hardened survivor who is happy to shoot arrows right through peoples faces. For me, the build up to your first kill was excellent, Lara displays a sense of shock at her actions as the enourmity of killing another living, breathing human to survive dawns on her. Then straight after that it’s all arrows to the face, bullets to the brain, kicks to the crotch. The switch is immediate, which I found slightly jarring. Also, while the story was quite fun, it was very predictable, with no major twists and a rather generic villain. Still, it was a lot of fun, it played well and it never outstayed its welcome. The game swung from action shootouts, to a few QTEs (which I’ll forgive it) as well as the tomb raiding and some excellent set pieces. A fine start to a remaining of the franchise that promises much for when the PS4 arrives.
The final major release of this quarter was Bioshock Infinite. I’m going to lay my cards out straight on the table here, no messing around. This game is one of the finest console experiences I’ve ever had. Full stop. It’s amazing. I played it in two sessions, the second taking me quite late into the night (on a work night omg!) Simply, I didn’t want to stop playing. If you’ve played the first Bioshock, then you’ll know the basic premise (if you haven’t, go away). Playing as Booker DeWitt, you journey to the skyborne city of Columbia to ‘rescue’ a girl named Elizabeth. Needless to say, the journey is not quite so predictable and crass as that, as Elizabeth soon becomes just as important in your survival as you are in hers. Much like the first two entries, you can collect audio diaries (or voxophones) that give you an insight into the world you’re inhabiting. Bioshock is a game that rewards you the more you take the time to explore (frustratingly I found 76 of the 80 diaries on my playthrough) and it’s only when you learn about the history of Columbia and its people that you get a true sense of just how powerful this game is as an experience.
Elizabeth is your companion throughout Bioshock Infinite and proves to be one of the finest character creations of this generation
Inevitably, when something like Bioshock is released, there’ll be the backlash against it. Some have said it is racist (I have no idea how), and also there have been reports that some people have asked for a refund based on their religious beliefs.* To a lesser extent, some have said Bioshock Infinite is pretentious, and nothing more than a shallow, thin shell pretending to be something it isn’t. Regarding this final point, I genuinely couldn’t agree less. After I finished the game I sent a text to a friend (hi Terry!) who had also just finished the game, and we had discussions on pretty much all the themes that came up, and continued to do so when we were both back at work. Trying to figure out all the different threads, ideas, character motives - as much as I love gaming, often I play a game, enjoy it, finish it and I’m done. Bioshock sits alongside the likes of the telltale Walking Dead game and Heavy Rain as experiences that live with you after the final credits roll. However, unlike those two games (which I absolutely adored), Bioshock managed to wrap up these feelings in an all out FPS, managing to combine excellent and fun gameplay with a gripping narrative. The pacing is superb and the world of Columbia is beautiful and unique (and the music, oh the music! The Beach Boys have never sounded so good.) I never give review scores when I talk about games, but if I had to, I could only give maxium marks to Bioshock Infinite. 10 out of 10, 100 out of 100, two thumbs up. Yada yada.
So that’s my gaming up to the end of March. Despite the life of PS3 coming to a close, with releases like ‘Beyond Two Souls’ and Naughty Dog’s newie ‘The Last of Us’, there’s life in the PS3 yet, before (hopefully) the PS4 comes out before Christmas!
See, to me, it’s funny that someone can find this part offensive, yet be happy that the basis of the game is killing, murdering, others to survive. But I’m not religious, so I guess I don’t get the whole ‘blasphemy is worse than shooting someone in the face’ bit.
Apologies for the slightly dodgy video quality, you can’t record directly from a Playstation Vita so I had to film me playing it. But anyway. This is my 2nd Little Big Planet Vita Level, Midnight City (while it has nothing to do with the song of the same name by M83, it’s inspired by it. In the sense that I was listening to the song and I thought ‘that would be a cool title for a Little Big Planet level!’ so I made the level around what I thought a Midnight City would be). Enjoy!
Made a new Little Big Planet Vita level! Already the busiest one online (2nd in the Coolest levels list already!) Needless to say this makes me happy. If you have LBPV why not check my levels out?
It’s International Women’s Day. Therefore I’m going to share this video that I just watched. I’d share it anyway, but you know, it’s also good to highlight it’s International Women’s Day. Anyway, I’m what I would describe as a pretty dedicated gamer amongst other things (author, visionary, dreamweaver, plus actor). I’ve played a lot of games, and it’s ridiculous how many games follow this basic plot device, or slight variations thereof. It’s a good watch, if you’re a lefty do-gooder (my dad’s words) like me. Anyway, there’s a tumblr too: http://tropesversuswomen.tumblr.com
1,408 one-star reviews and counting (in the US), all because EA insist on people having to be constantly connected to the net to play this game, and their servers can’t handle the demand. Here in the UK there’s been similar server issues and currently Sim City has 142 one-star reviews on Amazon.co.uk. As someone with a Mac, I hope these issues get sorted before the game is released on OSX, because Sim City 2000 is one of my favourite ever games and even though the vast, vast majority of my gaming is on PS3, I was genuinely interested in picking up this title. But frankly, this highlights the craziness of DRM. Piracy may be a problem, but people not being able to use a product they’ve spent around £40 is ridiculous. A massive embarrassment for EA, a crying shame for Maxis.
So, I’ve just discovered the “gamer girl” tag here on Tumblr.
If you know me, you’ll know that I’m interested in feminism and popular culture. I’m particularly interested in the portrayal of women in video games, and how the industry views women as consumers. The issues here are many and varied…