Friday, 5 August 2011

Coping with the early summer game drought

Droughts are only good for one thing; they make you consider your options. Of course in a desert this is never fun as you can only drink sand for so long until you begin to cry and attempt to lick sustenance from the few tears you might be able to generate. However, droughts in video game land allow us to go back over our collections in anticipation of sequels or just let us relive the good times.

My first trip down semi-nostalgia lane was Red Faction: Guerrilla. After playing the demo for Red Faction: Armageddon, I came away from the experience disappointed, a bit like visiting a friend after he had all of his fun and limbs surgically removed. It was an uninspired corridor shooter that took the best bits of destruction from Guerrilla and left them unattended on a train somewhere. It was so boring and it made me miss the mass destruction of its prequel.

Red Faction: Guerrilla on the other had is fun with a capital FUN. You can knock down buildings, punch through walls and create general chaos. I’ve yet to find another game that lets me climb inside a robot suit and plough through a building’s delicate infrastructure with robot arms flailing like a pair of demented Catherine wheels. It is so entertaining to smash up buildings to accomplish mission objectives. I even rescued some hostages (well, most of them) by driving a dumper truck through a wall and killing the majority of the hostage takers inside. Of course it could have gone hideously wrong, but even when it does it’s funny. Definitely my favourite physics model in a game.

Next on the list is Twilight Princess on the Wii. I love a good Zelda game and thought that now was the perfect time to relive some of those memories before Skyward Sword appears. Unlike Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask, I have only completed Twilight Princess once before, and so I decided to remedy the issue. I’m currently up to the Lakebed Temple and have enjoyed it so far. It doesn’t quite have the magic of the first playthrough tied to it, but that’s something that so few games of this nature can recapture. It’s still a fantastic game.

The final title on my current playlist is S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, the game with the most hostile virtual environment I’ve ever come across. Everything is out to kill you, from hideously mutated wild beasts to invisible hazards that hang in the air, just waiting to explode when you stick your nose out too far. You get the hang of it eventually, and with better equipment you can adapt to most hazards. But those first couple of hours can be very frustrating. I was chased into a house by a pack of wild dogs on my first explore. I thought I was safe until my suit burst into flames and I died.

Anyway, what really prompted me to delve back into the harsh lands of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. universe was the new PC that now adorns my desk. I’ve finally been dragged kicking and soiling myself into Windows 7, and while I still have a lot to learn about it, I can now look forward to games that will refuse to run on DirectX 9; in particular, Battlefield 3.

And that’s about it for now. I almost picked up Duke Nukem Forever when it was £12, but I think I’ll hold off until it appears in the digital bargain bin of wonder that a Steam sale will inevitably bring our way. I’m currently looking forward to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which according to the guys at PC Gamer and Official Xbox Magazine is pretty damn good.


Emblem180 said...

Aha, so this is your Personal Internet Abode! I invited myself in, I hope you don't mind.

Anyway, I'm in extreme agreement about everything you said concerning Red Faction. My favorite trick in Guerrilla is to strap C4s onto a truck and drive it into the wall of a populated enemy base. When my vehicle is swarming with soldiers, I hop out and dash away chuckling, reaching for the detonator as I congratulate myself.

Also, how's Windows 7 treating you? I've been using it for quite some time now and I've no complaints; great for gaming!

Anthony said...

You're more than welcome to come and take shelter in my small corner of Internet. Strapping C4 to anything and running away with glee is fun in Guerilla. Love that game.

As for Windows 7; the major problem I thought I had with it turned out to be a hardware fault. Other than that I think it runs alright enough. My main issue is how much it has changed since XP, meaning I need to learn the ins and outs all over again. Fun times.