Going back to New Austin; going back to Civ

So I guess I’m playing Red Dead Redemption again, for real.  The brief foray back into the multiplayer side reminded me just how much I enjoyed the single-player, and since there’s nothing else going on, I figured I might as well dive back in.  It feels like I’m rereading one of my favorite books; there’s no surprises anymore, but I’m already comfortable with the lay of the land, and I can better appreciate some of the subtler aspects at work.  For example, the relationship between John Marston and Bonnie MacFarlane at the beginning of the game is so incredibly well written and performed; there’s a tenderness between the two that’s genuinely touching, even though nothing will ever happen.

And I still maintain that it’s one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever played.  Riding into the sunset is thrilling.  The environment really does feel dry and dusty, and yet the thunderstorms are earth-shatteringly intense.  I suppose the illusion falls apart every once in a while – I got sidetracked last night doing the 3rd Treasure Hunter mission, where the treasure is hidden away in the middle of a cliff, and so it became obvious that the rock face was just a texture map and not really as layered as it appeared from far off.  That’s nit-picking to the nth degree, and I kinda felt guilty for noticing it, to be honest.

I don’t know that I need to liveblog every RDR session from here on out, unless something truly blog-worthy occurs.


Let me save you the worry – Wipeout: In the Zone is a piece of shit.  My wife and I are fans of the TV show, much in the same way that we’re fans of America’s Funniest Home Videos – we’re not proud of it, but watching people fall down is always funny.  And so it’s not like we had high hopes for the videogame, as licensed products are almost always terrible and it’s not like Wipeout is some bastion of high quality.  Still, though, it’s even worse than you’d expect.  The Kinect controls are horrendously unresponsive, which belies the whole point of the experience.  If you jump in real life, you expect your avatar to jump as well; if you crouch, your avatar crouches.  This is the 1:1 experience that Kinect is supposed to offer.  I’m not sure that the development budget for this Wipeout game was more than $75, though, and it’s clear that none of it was spent on getting the thing to work.

If you absolutely need an avatar-based obstacle course game to play, I would heartily recommend Doritos Crash Course, which (a) has working controls and (b) is actually kinda fun.  And I think it’s free?


I’ve been trying to get into Civ World, the much-anticipated Civ title for Facebook.  Let me rephrase that – I did finally literally get into it (as the servers were melting when the beta finally opened up), but I’m having trouble figuring out just what I’m supposed to be doing.

That’s probably true of all the Civ games I’ve played, if I’m being honest.  I really enjoyed Civilization Revolution, and bought it for both XBLA and my DS (and I’ll admit to having the free version on my iPhone), even though I never played above the easiest difficult setting, and the one time I played multiplayer I got trounced in about 10 minutes – I was still sending out lone warrior units meant to conquer barbarians, and I think my opponent was already working with tanks.  Still, though, I really enjoyed the general idea of the thing, and so, because I’m a man easily obsessed and with little to no control over impulse purchases, I bought and played exactly one (1) game of Civ 4 on my PC, which I enjoyed, even though it’s rare that I have 8 uninterrupted hours to play with.  I also bought and played a few games of Civ V on my PC (and Mac – it’s one of the first things I installed when I got Steam up and running on the new MacBook); I was able to appreciate the differences between Civ 4 and 5, and certainly appreciated the few things it took from Civ Rev.

I still can’t get beyond the easiest difficulty level, though.  I work slowly.  To tell you the truth, one of the reasons why I got so addicted to Farmville was that I could take my time doing the things that needed to get done, with little to no resistance from the world at large.  My thing with the Civ games is that I get really into building up my little towns, and then before I know it it’s the 1900s and the other countries have submarines and bomber jets.

Anyway, so the thing with Civ World is that I’m kinda just making my little town, and my main issue is that I don’t seem to be getting enough Production out of my city.  I build houses but they’re not immediately settled, and I don’t know if they’ll ever be settled; the server is a bit wonky and unreliable.   Meanwhile, people are leveling up all over the place and doing all sorts of things that I’m nowhere near ready to do.  I’m still somewhat enjoying my little town, to be sure, but I know that I’m not necessarily playing the game the way it was intended to be played, which means that I’m doing it wrong.  And whatever enjoyment I might be getting out of doing whatever it is I do is tempered with the knowledge that the hard-core Civ players would laugh at me and tell me to go back to Farmville.

Oh well.

I’m not sure what’s on tap for the weekend; probably more Red Dead, and perhaps a little more of the Uncharted 3 beta, even though I’m still terrible at 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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