pre-Thanksgiving status report

Just a quick status report:

1.  There will be little to no posting over the holiday weekend, as I’ll be away from my consoles and PC and there’s only so much I can say about Chip Chain, other than that I’d love it if they patched in an “Undo” button.

2.  Has that mega-patch for Assassin’s Creed 3 landed yet?  I thought it hit yesterday, but I didn’t get an update prompt when I fired it up last night.  That game is really starting to try my patience.  If there was only a way where I could turn off the meta-challenges, that might make it easier to deal with in the moment-to-moment gameplay.  But every single major historical event that I’ve run into has been downright farcical in its execution; this does not bode particularly well for the rest of the game.

3.  Downloaded the new Borderlands 2 DLC last night, also, but couldn’t seem to find how to start it.

4.  Downloaded the new Marvel Civil War table for Pinball FX2 this morning; my wife is a huge Marvel fan and an even bigger Civil War fan, and so this was a no-brainer.  It’s kind of a bland table, at least when compared to the Avengers table, but still:  it’s incredible how well they’ve supported that title.  When all is said and done, that might be my most-played game of this console generation.

5.  I sent Halo 4 and CODBLOPS2 back to Gamefly today.  I suppose I feel bad for not giving them more of a shot, but I just don’t think I’d ever see myself really digging in and getting into them; I just don’t have that kind of time anymore.  But I also feel obligated to at least try Hitman Absolution and Lego LOTR, too, as those are next in my queue.

6.  Speaking of not giving things a fair shot, I don’t see myself getting a WiiU any time soon, if ever.  If I were to suddenly get a job as a games critic (anyone?), I suppose I’d get a system and check it out, if only to fulfill my professional obligations.  But I’m not a games critic, and I have a baby on the way, and the WiiU seems like a waste of money right now.  (I’m not the most objective person when it comes to Nintendo, though.)

7.  Since the year is more or less over as far as compelling new releases go (Far Cry 3 notwithstanding), today I started doing the preliminary work on my GOTY post.  I used to have a bunch of zany categories in previous GOTY posts, but the first thing I noticed as I looked over everything I’ve played is that this was a pretty un-zany year.  No real risks, apart from some pretty amazing arcade stuff that surfaced on PSN in the 2nd half of the year, some of which I’ve yet to play (i.e., Tokyo Jungle and Unfinished Swan).  I’m not sure this was a bad year, but it certainly wasn’t great.

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

weekend recap: so many bullets

[This recap is a day late, and edited to reflect yesterday evening; my entire Monday was spent at the DMV, which was about as awesome as you might expect.  I’m just going to leave it at that, because I really don’t want to think about it any more.  It’s not like you need to hear about how miserable the DMV is, anyway; we’ve all been there, we’ve all experienced purgatory on earth.]

Here are some stray observations from a dissatisfied weekend:

  • I was a bit reluctant to get back into Assassin’s Creed 3 until that mega-patch landed (I think it lands today [Tuesday], as a matter of fact).  But when I got back from the hellish experience that was the DMV, I decided to give it a go and see what else was in store.  As it turns out, this may have been a bad decision.  I’d written the other day about how underwhelming the Boston Tea Party mission was; well, you also get to experience Paul Revere’s Ride, which very well might win my 2012 award for the Most Poorly Conceived and Poorly Executed Mission Of The Year.  Instead of a lengthy chase sequence on horseback, which is what I was expecting, Paul Revere sat behind me on a horse and yelled out directions in which I should turn, and we had to do this quite slowly so as not to attract attention (even though Paul Revere was still shouting “I THINK IT’S THIS WAY!” every 20 seconds), and we only ended up knocking on 3 or 4 houses (in which the same NPC answered the door).  I’m not really sure why I’m continuing to bother, to be honest.  This franchise started losing its way last year, when it started to confuse ambition for enjoyment.

 

  • I haven’t necessarily forgiven Halo 4 for its teleportation sins, but I’m still slowly forging through the campaign.  I’m impressed with the graphics – this is easily the best looking Halo game in the franchise – and I certainly appreciate 343’s attempts to mix up the action and pacing with vehicle and turret segments.  (Also, flying a pelican is pretty neat.)  Still, I think my biggest problem with the game now is that none of my objectives are particularly interesting; I’m clearing landing zones, I’m shutting down 2 or 3 towers to open up a new thing or whatever.  It’s grunt work, basically.  And a lot of the enemies are bullet sponges (or, at least, they are when I’m shooting), and that can get dull.  

 

  • I forgot to mention that I’m also playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.  Totally forgot I’d put it on the rental queue.  Shooter fatigue notwithstanding, it’s actually pretty fun, even if I don’t really care about these characters.  I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a huge difference in feel between Halo 4 and CODBLOPS2.  In Halo 4, enemies take lots of damage before going down; whereas in COD, everything is more or less a one-hit kill, and so you feel like you’re moving through the game a lot faster.  Similarly, in Halo 4 you run out of ammo pretty quick, so you’re constantly picking up and experimenting with new weapons.  In COD, your first gun will pretty much get you through the whole mission, and as such there’s no real need to experiment with found weaponry (unless it’s clearly given to you because you’re going to need it.)

CODBLOPS 2 is pretty fun, I guess, although I’m currently up to my first Strike Force mission, which is a weird not-quite-tower-defense / real time strategy sort of mission, where I’m defending 3 different points on a base, alternating between an eye-in-the-sky, a weird mech-tank-dog, and individual soldiers.  I have no idea what this has to do with the story; nor do I know why the designers thought that radically changing the action would be a good idea, especially since the friendly AI is incredibly stupid and useless, and the only way to really accomplish anything is simply to make yourself one of the soldiers and kill everyone, the way you’d normallyplay.   Still haven’t finished that mission, either; I was getting my ass kicked quite thoroughly and had retreated all the way so that I was defending the last point on the map, whereupon I got killed, and then the game crashed.   Haven’t felt compelled to give it another go since.

As much as I’d like to finish these three big games before the end of the year, I’m not sure I’m going to; all of them are driving me a bit crazy, and I can’t say I’m truly enjoying myself in any of them.  Nor am I sure there’s anything else coming out before the end of the year that I really need to get my hands on – I don’t care about Far Cry 3, and I’ve never been good at previous Hitman games, so Absolution doesn’t really sound all that appealing.  I do want to finish the last 2 episodes in The Walking Dead, and I must confess to wanting to give Lego Lord of the Rings a try, since the wife might enjoy playing that with me in co-op.  The second bit of DLC for Borderlands 2 came out today as well, although it’s getting somewhat weak reviews.  I suppose I could always go back and play some more XCOM

Still, expect a GOTY post sometime in December.