Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The new eleventh month is Gametober

Oh it has been a long time since writing. And lo and behold what happens when I venture away from my blog for too long? A Damman goes and grows out of the cracks…

So lately life has been a whirlwind. I suppose when you step away and look at two months in any scenario, it will amount to an excess of thought and feelings, but these two months felt like more. In a situation where you’ve found your life void of security, lacking definition, and where once you felt solid, you are now weak; escapism is a fantastic thing. And so a month where I thought I would lose my job among other things, gave way to the greatest video game month in history. Thank god for virtual worlds.

It began simply enough with Fable II. A fantasy RPG truly allowing you to be someone else, I had a lot of high hopes for this. Driven more than it should have been by the desire to co-play with Damman, I grabbed this one on day of release. The multi-player proved buggier than Castle Crashers and wholly unsatisfying. The game provided a few days of exploration and then I dove into the story and was greeted by the worst character development and ultimate ending I have experienced in a decade. Much was made of this title being the deep, thought provoking game of the year. What it was, is an example of how off track and horrible a game can be when it relies on gimmicks. Here is a hint Lionsgate; Dog equals less than Awesome ending.

Score: Two out of Five Dammans.

That same trip to the store for Fable produced an unexpected purchase. I felt rich that day for reasons I have none. I managed to put down a copy of Armoured Core (for you Canadians) and pick up a copy of Dead Space. As Damman wept over the loss of reality in me rejecting a giant robot game, I dug into the most terrifying experience of my video game life. In all honesty, I never played Silent Hill, Resident Evil, or anything remotely shock inducing, except for maybe Phantasmagoria like 15 years ago. Dead Space kept the lights on for the first few nights, and it hunts me. I sit there now on chapter 5 of 12, not wanting to turn it on. I don’t want to walk down the hallways and look behind me, I don’t want to watch my air run out as I flee baddies, I don’t want to play a game and be scared into finishing it quickly. My gosh though, do I want to see it’s sights, not hear it’s sfx in the volume of space, and feel the design of the world. It is an arty masterpiece, redefining sensory involvement, but at times, it is off track. Judging solely on 6 hours of play, I cannot rate this total experience, but I rate it based on enjoyment … and fear.

Score: Four out of Five Dammans.

Fallout 3 came out in the middle of all of this, and honestly, it is going to be ridiculously awesome. All I have done is escape from the vault and walk out into the nuclear disaster of D.C. and I stopped. I cannot approach this until all else is at rest. I want to be as dedicated to this as I am to my nose.

Score: Five out of Five Dammans for anticipation.

Red Alert 3 is as campy as they get. I bought this for two reasons. My brother and I have a bond going back to before we had a bond when it comes to RTS games. Red Alert seems to have always been there. I remember him first introducing me to the concept when C&C first came out. And then there are the cut scenes. Oh I love the cut scenes. Ironic that last night as Medium and I lay the first campaign to bed, the cut scene is what ultimately KO’d my super computer. Somehow my PC was now convinced that a floppy drive was needed to boot my system. After fixing that little annoyance, I eagerly await claiming the Statue of Liberty back from the Soviets. Spasiba Comrade. The game play may be a bit faster than it should be, and the units are farther from reality than I would have liked, but overall, it is what RA is.

Score: Three out of Five Dammans.

Gears of War 2 is kind of like Nickleback. Frat boys and teenage girls will flock to this one and pollute the message boards and online community with thoughts I do not want to hear. This is the same crowd that forces me to unplug my headset while playing Halo. The quality of story in the media is lacking, but the professional polish is what it is. That all said, Damman and I plowed through this in marathon session part 1 and 2. I enjoyed it greatly and that probably says more about me than I hoped. The story, and ending, leave me kind of chilly, but oh my, does horde mode warm me up. That sir, is not sketch.

Score: Four out of Five Dammans.

Finally, Medium, Damman and I tried out Left 4 Dead last night in 360 demo form, and while I was first overwhelmed with hope and excitement over the promise of this, I left our session dulled. It felt too one dimensional. In a way this was Wolfenstein 3D all over again. I knew where to run, where to point, how to use my one of two guns. Any gimmicks that were there did not save my opinion. I cannot rate it as just a demo, but I think I’ll pass on this one.

And so, the story goes, November became Gametober, and the wallet screamed in agony, while the hearth rejoiced.