Monday, July 23, 2012

Not Listening To Myself

I really should start listening to myself more often. I don't know how many times I've said that to myself after I've bought a game that someone told me was awesome but I knew from everything I had seen that I thought it looked like a horrible game for me. I have more or less always been right and can't think of a time that I thought "hey, this game WAS fun after all and worth the money!".

Call of Duty... many of them. I admit I've spent about 300 hours on the PC version of MW2 because I could play with my friends without exception and it was easy to just join a game. Yes, it was a wonky server system that didn't work all of the time, but it worked most of the time for us. Then came the other games. And I bought two of them, knowing I shouldn't have, but I listened to others. A bit like the "slow" idiot in this video.

And blah, blah and blah. No, I haven't fallen for all of the hyped games, but of course I've bought some of the huge AAA titles, such as Battlefield 3 - but that's because I felt from the start that I would like it and hey, I did.

The other day I bought RAGE.

I didn't like anything of what I saw from it, from the game play to the graphics and aesthetics. People and a couple of friends talked warmly of the game play however, and I thought hey, it's cheap during the Steam Summer Sale, so why not. Naturally, the day after I bought it someone pointed out to me that the game cost 1/3rd as much in a local store. Anyway, I installed the 21 GB of game and gave it a shot.

Blam. Unexplained settings. Unskippable intro. Okay, some important recording plays, but I interrupt it by opening the very first door upon which I step out of something. I can't get back in. I want to hear the message though... so I restart from last checkpoint. I need to watch the intro again. Still unskippable. I step out of the first thing, gets greeted by cutscene. A man asks me to come to him, sure, I'll do that, I'll just look over here fi- BLAM. Gets shot by invisible sniper because I passed invisible border. Dead. Reload last save, which luckily was outside of first room, but I have to watch encounter cutscene again.

Okay, passed that thing. I'm apparently in danger, especially since I'm clearly visibly someone that the bandits want and we have to bail. I get to a camp, gets a "quest" that I have to accept, and the quest is... to go to the bandit camp. The bandits that were awfully dangerous just a second ago. With a simple pistol. My reward? An armor to put outside my suit. Why not give me the armor before I go in? Why not give me the gun at the beginning, so we could just kill the bandits there instead?

Okay. Mission... Drive there. Oh, but not further, invisible car wall, for reasons. Why? No reason. Into the mission area, invisible walls everywhere. Can't go there. Can't jump over this, but you can jump over that. Health bar? Nope. But I have health. Why can't I see this important resource? Oh well. OK, so I'll have to defibrillate using some sort of mini-game. A timer tells me to get ready, alright! the end of the timer, it asks me if I'm ready. Yes... Now it's charging. Zaap... I completely miss the timing. I live again. Apparently, my timing here determines how much health I get when I live again. Wait, what health? Where can I see it?

Then, the driving back and forth. The people standing in your way to slowly tell you things that they'll then show to you, in writing, in a quest contract paper window that appears where you have to either accept or decline. But... if I decline, you'll just stand in my way and not allow me to pass you. The game will halt until I accept, so why do I have to accept? It's not a role-playing game. You're a shooter. You do that relatively good, I guess, so why are you wasting my time with nonsense?

I uninstalled it. 20 GB of "unique textures" that all look the same. Grey textures in uneven resolution loaded "as needed" meaning when I look around I can actually see them load, unimaginative areas, invisible walls everywhere, a metaphoric wading through mud between the actual game play just to slow me down, and the story is more uninteresting than the level 20 quests of the original World of Warcraft. I don't have time for this. Why don't you just give me a solid shooter experience when that's what you do best? It doesn't have to be Quake or Doom, but you're not an RPG in any stretch of the imagination so why do you want me to think you are?

Ugh. No.

I bought a lot of other titles during the Steam Summer Sale, following mostly my gut (and wallet).

Some Heroes of Might and Magic VI which will be the first in that series that I've ever played, Puzzle Quest I which I've bought and played on Xbox 360 before (I didn't like the story of the sequel). Bulletstorm, because I loved it and wanted it on Steam instead of Origin. Risen. Bastion. Deadspace I and II. Unreal Gold, because Unreal meant a lot to me years back. Mirror's Edge, because I loved it for the Xbox 360 and want to try it on PC. Cave Story+ because I played it once and loved the crap out of it. Fable I because I don't want to use my clunky old Xbox for it and it won't run on the Xbox 360. Dear Esther because the idea is fascinating. Recettear because it was crap cheap and looks charming. Galactic Civilizations II because I know I love that type of game ever since one of the first I played, Deadlock, back in the day. Darksiders, I liked it kind of, even though it has more tiresome testosterone than Gears of War and God of War combined. Everything roars.

Anyway, I should just go with my gut. It's usually right.

I should play old games more, too. I should try to get Fallen Haven to work again. I wonder if I think that's a good game still.

And I'm looking forward to Torchlight II and Path of Exile, both of which are made by open people that really know - or at least try - to make fun gaming experiences. They know their strengths and keep to them.

EDIT: Oh, and I probably should start playing the games that I buy. Like, sit with one of them and play it until I either finish it or grow tired of it. Or simply give up because I know I'll just get pissed if I continue, like in the case of RAGE.

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