I don’t mean to start 2012 on a down note, but here we are.
The main thing on my plate these days is The Old Republic. My Bounty Hunter/Mercenary is now level 18; I’ve got a bitchin’ spaceship and I’m doling out death and destruction all across the galaxy. I’m really enjoying my time with it. As noted the other day, though, my wife is also a full-blown TOR addict; she, in fact, pulled an 11-hour marathon yesterday, which is something that even I haven’t ever done. She’s having somewhat of a more frustrating time than I am, though, even though she claims she’s still having fun with it. (I’m definitely going to do a podcast with her in the near future.)
So while she was Jedi-ing yesterday, I was left with my 360. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, except that I’m not really into anything at the moment. As I said last week, I’ve started to sour on Skyrim, which is a bummer. I finished the Civil War side-quest yesterday – or, at least, I think I did. Maybe I didn’t.* The whole thing was unclear, and in any event it was incredibly anti-climactic, riddled with bugs and strangely staged in-game cutscenes where the music was (a) louder than the dialogue, and (b) on an endless loop, which tended to decrease the tension with every subsequent replay. Now that I’ve beaten the main story, and I’ve discovered most of the stuff that there is to discover, there’s really not a lot pulling me back to the world – it’s certainly not the narrative, which feels positively clunky and dead next to The Old Republic.
I also put some time into the Stranger’s Wrath HD remake on PSN. The best thing about HD remakes – when they’re done well – is that they don’t diminish your memories of how those games used to look.** The Oddworld games were always quite pretty, but they were running on primitive hardware (compared to today), and one only needs to look at the PC port that appeared on Steam last year to see how far graphics have come in only 5 or 6 years (or however long it’s been). The PSN HD remake looks absolutely fantastic – they’ve re-skinned and re-textured pretty much everything, down to the last pixel. The gameplay is still refreshing and inventive – the live ammo thing is still pretty clever – although the level design feels a bit archaic, with lots of canyons funneling you into small clearings, where the action is.
Finally, I continued to dabble in Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, which remains profoundly disappointing. I feel terrible about saying this, but I think I’m gonna trade AssRev in. I’ve played – and loved – each of the three previous games to death, and yet this game feels totally foreign to me. The controls are far too complicated – there are two different buttons you need to press just to run – and it’s ridiculous that I’m fighting the controls at this point, being that I’ve already sunk probably 100 hours in the franchise already. Does that make sense? I used to know how to kick ass and run around and could stealthily eliminate an entire town square, and now I can’t even figure out how to climb a wall. It should feel familiar, and instead it feels clunky and overly complicated and – most depressingly – uninspired. I sincerely hope that the inevitable Assassin’s Creed 3 is more of a re-boot – this franchise needs a kick in the ass.
*I got the “Hero of Skyrim” achievement for capturing Solitude? I have a feeling that there’s yet one more piece to that puzzle, involving the Thalmor.
** Microsoft might not have been wrong when they made the 360 not-totally backwards-compatible – some of those previous-gen games look kinda terrible running on today’s demanding resolution standards. Just look at the recent iOS port of GTA3 – yeah, it’s great that it’s running on my iPhone, but it also looks kinda old.