Some quick ramblings while the snow starts to accumulate:
1. I’m roughly 14.5 hours into Far Cry 4. The front splash screen tells me I’m only 36% complete. I clutch my head in despair. I find myself pressing on in spite of everything telling me to stop, including the game itself. For example: I’m in the mood to do some of the propaganda missions, so I open up my map, set a waypoint to the nearest one, and then find a car. 5 seconds after I start driving, I get a radio message telling me that the camp I just left is under attack, and so if I don’t immediately turn around and defend it, I lose the camp again. This doesn’t feel like dynamic, organic gameplay in a living, breathing world; this feels like the game yelling at me to do a chore that I already did. And yet, as I said, I’m compelled to keep playing. In addition to the numerous side activities, I did quite a few campaign missions over the weekend; I visited Shangri-La for the first time; I conquered my first fortress; I upgraded my homestead. I do appreciate that I can make a 15-minute session as productive as a 4-hour binge, if I so choose. But it’s hard to get past the underlying blandness that permeates everything.
Speaking of which:
2. The last FC4 campaign mission I finished before checking out for the weekend involved me taking over a “brick factory” / opium den, and once I was inside my character started hallucinating (i.e., things changing colors, weapons changing at whim, enemies exploding into colorful chalkdust). This reminded me quite a bit of Saints Row 4, and then I remembered – oh yeah, I rented the Xbox One version that just came out last week, why not check that out? And, um, it’s pretty underwhelming. I’d finished the original game on my PC, and while my PC is not a powerhouse by any standard it still looks better there than in this XB1 version. I can forgive that to a certain extent, but more troubling was that the combat/shooting felt kinda terrible, too; maybe it’s because I’ve been playing a lot of FC4 and GTA5 lately, where the combat feels quite good (or maybe it’s just the lock-on targeting in those games is a bit more pronounced and I know how to use it well), but I felt wildly inaccurate when shooting in SR4’s opening missions; and I’d be remiss not to mention that the combat didn’t feel particularly powerful or meaningful. Granted, I know full-well that you have to play SR4 for more than 10 minutes before it starts getting meaningfully insane, but given that I’ve already played it… I’m not sure I need to continue. As far as HD remasters go, this one is pretty disappointing.
3. Surprise surprise, I splurged a little bit in the weekend PSN Flash Sale / 10% Discount. Among the haul:
- Super Mega Baseball
- Costume Quest 2
- Shadow Warrior
- Geometry Wars 3
And, separately, I pre-ordered Grim Fandango Remastered. Yes, I know I said I wouldn’t pre-order anything this year, but Grim is a special case. And given that NYC might be under 12 feet of snow tomorrow, I’d rather have that shit already downloaded before I need to worry about power outages. (Which is to say – I’d like to have the Vita version downloaded as well, so that I can actually play it in the event of a power outage.)
4. I’m about to finish reading Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 1. I’m enjoying it, and I’m looking forward to the next one, but it’s a very hard book to recommend; for a 380+ page book that I was given to understand is a postmodern spy novel, very little actually happens – it’s mostly a series of endless paragraphs filled with laconic, obsessively detailed observations about human nature. There is value in such a thing, and I’ve been highlighting quite a few passages that resonate with me very strongly, and it’s because the writing is so unique that it doesn’t often get tedious. But I’ve found that it can be difficult to stay engaged with it when I’m in bed.
I thought I had enough for a 5th bullet point, but I guess not. If you’re in the Northeastern US, stay safe and warm and indoors.