Couple things to talk about today:
1. I think I’m done with Diablo 3. Haven’t touched it in over a week. It’s basically come down to this choice: I can either keep re-running Act 3/4 of Hell difficulty until I scrounge up enough gold to buy the equipment I’d need to survive Inferno, or I can just move on with my life. Starting over with new characters is not really all that appealing to me, either; I’ve played every level so many goddamned times now, and being a wizard or a witch doctor instead of a monk won’t make left-clicking any more interesting. Ultimately, I definitely got my money’s worth, even if I’m still unsure about how much I actually enjoyed the experience.
2. My shift from the PC back to the couch meant that I got to play (and finish) Spec Ops: The Line over the weekend. I wasn’t really planning on playing it; I only rented after listening to a bunch of Giant Bombcasts. It’s a hard game to recommend based purely on its gameplay – it’s a third-person action shooter in a military setting, and it’s not like that’s an empty genre that needs filling. That being said, it takes some very bold moves with its storytelling, and it asks you to do some pretty unsavory things, the repercussions of which are somewhat hard to swallow. It’s an ambitious game, even if it doesn’t really appear to be at first glance. It’s also gruesomely, spectacularly violent, and if it makes you feel guilty about all the murdering you’re doing, it also makes sure you see it in slow-motion, where a well-placed head shot literally makes your target’s head explode. Also, Nolan North says “fuck” a lot and gradually goes insane, which is in many ways the proper response after killing hundreds and hundreds of people (unlike, say, Nathan Drake, who manages to stay calm, cool and collected after killing hundreds and hundreds of people). As usual, I highly recommend checking out Tom Bissell’s piece in Grantland for further, better-written insight. (And I’ll probably do a more spoiler-heavy write-up later this week; while the game’s story is based on Heart of Darkness, and while it wears its Apocalypse Now influence proudly on its sleeves (perhaps too proudly – the 60’s soundtrack feels downright anachronistic), there’s another movie whose influence on the story – particularly the ending – is perhaps even more obvious, but to say it basically gives it away.)
3. Speaking of incredibly dark videogames, I am now fully caught up with The Walking Dead. I don’t watch the TV show, but my wife is a big fan, and so we’re playing the game together – I drive, she makes the decisions. Both episodes thus far are quite good – great writing, great voice acting, great art direction. Tough choices. And I love the touch at the end, where the game shows you how your decisions compare with everyone else who’s played. It seems that Episode 1 was pretty even-handed, with the general public mostly split around 50/50 – Episode 2’s results, on the other hand, seemed to be pretty one-sided. Curious to see how that’ll affect Episode 3’s beats.
4. All this grisly murder requires an occasional cleansing of the palate, and to that end I am profoundly grateful for last week’s XBLA release of Zuma’s Revenge. Nothing feels so refreshing after slaughtering thousands of virtual people quite like the matching of brightly colored spheres. Similarly, I am very much looking forward to this week’s release of Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD.
5. I’m not the Achievement Whore that I used to be, but I guess it’s worth noting that at some point last week I crossed 80,000.
6. Finally, I just want to give Valve’s Steam Summer Sale a hearty “fuck you.” I’ve bought too much already, and we’re not even a week into this thing:
- SOL: Exodus
- Legend of Grimrock
- Saints Row the Third (which I’ve already finished on the 360 – but how could I pass it up for 75% off?)
- Indie Bundle 2 (Botanicula, EYE, Universe Sandbox, Oil Rush, Splice)
- Anno 2770