>Weekend Recap: Dark Star, RDR, Limbo

>I am feeling compelled to post something, anything, even though I’m not sure I have anything truly compelling to say at the moment.

The weekend was gaming-heavy, as it turned out. I’ve been dealing with some anxiety issues lately and having my mind occupied helped a great deal in getting over the hump. I finished Limbo, did some online co-op in Red Dead Redemption, and put in quite a few hours into Dark Star One, which is probably more than it deserves.

Let me clarify that last bit. I bought Dark Star One on the PC however many years ago, played the first few missions, and then put it away. I liked the idea of it – it was basically Grand Theft Outer Space – but for whatever reason I didn’t really bond with it. (Ever since consoles really came into their own, I’ve had trouble really getting into PC gaming; I think the last PC game I truly got lost in was Grim Fandango.) But I was curious about the 360 port, because let’s face it – there aren’t any space combat games anymore. And these are the dry days of summer, after all, and there’s nothing else to play, and Dark Star One has hours and hours of (the same) stuff to do.

Anyway. It’s a straight-up port of the PC version, which means it’s ugly as hell, and features some of the worst voice acting this side of Sacred 2. And yet there’s something charming about it. The combat is actually quite exciting, which turns out to be quite important because in spite of all the story and side missions you need to do in order to advance the plot, all you’re ever going to do is blow up other ships. There’s also a sort-of economy system, wherein you can import and export certain goods, but it’s not really all that necessary in order to make any money (which is good, because it’s also never talked about or explained in any way – it’s a good thing I still had my PC manual, because otherwise I’d still be confused as to what everything means). And the game feels… ambitious. This was not just a hack job done in order to fill in some numbers in a ledger somewhere (at least, the PC version wasn’t); you can tell that a lot of passion went into the design and feel of the game, even if the talent wasn’t necessarily in place.

It’s charming enough that I’ve decided that I want Rockstar to stop making GTA5 and start making GTA Outer Space. Because if this sort of thing is going to be done right, then the right company needs to make it. (Also, I’m thinking that at this stage of development, Mass Effect 3 will not have space combat.)

Playing the online co-op in Red Dead Redemption reminded me how much I miss that game. I haven’t really played any of it since I finished the game however many months ago; I dabbled in some post-ending Achievement hunting, and did a little bit of Free Roam with friends, and then that was about it. But the co-op was fun as hell, and I wish there was more of it. Maybe I’ll start getting back into Free Roam again…

I am reluctant to talk about my experience playing Limbo. It’s a wonderful game, don’t get me wrong; it’s just that I ended up using a walkthrough about halfway in and once I started I couldn’t stop. I blame the Achievements. I do feel obligated to give it another go without the walkthrough, though, just to experience it the way it’s supposed to be experienced. Hopefully I’ll have forgotten everything by the time I get around to it.

Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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