June 04, 2013

Game Binge - Episode One

So the beginning of June marks another game binge: essentially, when I get together with any number of people and stay up 'til 4 a.m. playing different video games, often for the first time. And pizza. There has to be pizza. 
This time around, my old friend S came by the game room. S and I have been friends since we were kids, and video games were one of the many things we bonded over. We also used to rent anime tapes and stay up for days watching those (remember when you could RENT tapes?! Remember TAPES?!). Anyway, we used to spend every possible moment together but at some point, life started, and one of us moved far away, and now we're reduced to the occasional weekend of bingeing on games. And pizza. Not-so-much anime.

S might be an even more avid gamer than I. She studied game-making and does a mighty fine job keeping up with new releases, and plays pretty much everything through and through (achievement whore). This is one of the reasons I love gaming with her, she'll bring all sorts of games I've never heard of or would never pick up myself. I get to see what's going on in the other ends of the game industry and we always end up laughing a lot. The last time we got together, we got pretty caught up in Metal Gear Solid 4, and I got real loopy and invented a drinking game. No really. I wrote this:
Here's what you do: play Metal Gear (any one) and every time you see Snake smoking, you have to drink. Alternatively, every time you see Snake pick up a new weapon, you have to smoke... 
I also decided those new-age AT-AT-leg-looking-thingamabobs (Gekko. They're called Gekkos. I looked it up.) are hippos. Went something like:
Me: Whassat?
Me: Gotta be a hippo. Right? It's totally a hippo...
Me: Yep. Definitely a hippo.

And with that sort of calamity in store, we embarked on a mostly 360-heavy binge. This summer's adventure included:

Brutal Legend - 
Prime example of game I would never choose to play. That said, it is in fact, absolutely hilarious. You don't even have to describe yourself as a metal head to find this game entertaining. It's completely stereotypical. We didn't play it all the way through, but I'm left to understand it's a pretty quick play; fitting graphics; fun cast; and absolutely hysterical writing. Seems exactly like the kinda thing Jack Black would do. I still wouldn't necessarily pick this game up for myself, but it strikes me as a good party game. That is, you should play it with lots of friends around. Preferably metal heads. Lots of laughs. 

Beautiful Katamari - 
"It's A.D.D.-erific!" I have no idea what inspired S to pick this. Or what voice in her head told her to bring it to me. I'm pretty sure you have to drop acid for this game to make sense. I have a feeling this game was probably intended for younger audiences and simpler gamers. That said it did inspire me to invent another fun summer game:

Get your friends and buy cheap body suits. Find a field and cover it with lots of small crap. Marinate players in glue. Players roll around in field picking up small crap. Heaviest suit wins. 

Mass Effect - 
I know, I know, I'm terrible. So behind. I probably don't need to tell you about this game, it's pretty popular and already has several sequels. But I insist on starting at the beginning, and so I will. I'm told to expect this one to be significantly less polished than its sequels, which I suppose is fair enough. It's infrequent that a game is spot on in its first title. I'm intrigued by the fact that this game carries on through it's sequels, though, and also its science fiction fundamental. I just hope I have the patience to sit through it! 

Dragon's Dogma - 
Picked up the demo for this off Xbox Live. I was told it's a good RPG. It's… interesting. Certainly got that medieval feel to it. I don't like the way the game plays. It's so complicated and you have to remember what every button does and I'm frustrated with the camera. I don't see any "auto" settings anywhere (in the demo at least) and I hate constantly having to re-align it so I can see what the hell is going on. Other than that it's pretty cool. Strange enemies, familiar setting, story, etc. I think I'd probably really enjoy watching a pro play this game, but I don't know if I can get used to it.

Dust: An Elysian Tail - 
If the fact that the dude pissed away 3 or 4 years of his life completing this game isn't reason enough to play it, the fact that it is absolutely stunning is. This is my kinda game! Not only because of its beauty and story, but it has a relatively simple gameplay style that includes side-scrolling for crying out loud! I love side-scrolling! I will definitely, DEFINITELY be picking this one up, and so should you. 

Darksiders - 
We popped the game in, we watched the epic opening, we slashed some things, we went into "super saiyan" mode, the hawkmen from Flash Gordon showed up aaaaaand… my Xbox froze. We kinda gave up after this and moved onto PS3. However, the game does look interesting. I'm told to expect a very mature RPG, lots of fantasy components, and a pretty good game. I will probably give this game the time of day when I get a chance, but there's no urgency for me.

Heavy Rain -  
Typical man: sleeps 'til noon, doesn't get any work done, leaves wet towels on the floor, drinks from the carton…
I'm not entirely sure I'm mature enough to play this game. When I read a description of the game, I thought it sounded really interesting! I'm not exactly a shooter-type person and this is practically the opposite so it seemed like a solid idea. The gameplay is really neat, a little different from the usual suspects and the story has a lot of potential. I love the idea of a game where your actions dictate the outcome. Actually playing it is a bit of a comic experience. Maybe it's my own fault for using the controller instead of the motion? At least, when playing with others, I couldn't resist commentary on all the potential cheesiness of the game. I'm also prone to prediction and I think I might already have this one figured out. I will probably finish this game, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes suspense and/or mystery genres, and games that don't require a lot of panic.

And finally, 

Tales of Vesperia - 
I'm already pretty familiar with the 'Tales' series, but as I've said before, I've a history of falling behind on games. I recently downloaded the demo for this on 360 and immediately hated myself for not having played it. That said, it's currently sitting in my Xbox, waiting to be played, so I will have a more thorough opinion on it shortly. Follow along with me on my twitter!

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