A Lack of Patience

1. My latest Uncharted 4 correspondence for Videodame’s Co-Op Campaign is up!  Check it out here.

2. Earlier this year I wrote that I was done with Lego games, having struggled to finish Lego Marvel Avengers..  To be more specific:

The voice acting is mostly taken from the movies, except each line reading feels strangely sleepy and deadened in its delivery; the action is relentlessly tedious, endless waves of enemies descending out of nowhere, for no particular reason except to pad everything out.  Plenty of bugs.  A whole bunch of puzzles that do not explain themselves at all, which is all the more frustrating because the game doesgo out of its way to explain the dumbest shit in agonizing unskippable camera swoops.  I know, I know – I’m 40 years old, I’m at least 25 years past the target demographic, etc.  This doesn’t stop a shitty game from being a shitty game.  Remind me that I said all of this when Lego: Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out in a few months.

Well, for some stupid reason I decided to rent Lego Star Wars TFA, and, lo and behold, everything I said in the above paragraph applies to this new game as well.  I am no longer interested in having to repeat the same platforming exercise dozens of time because the game is too stupid to recognize where I’m jumping.  And while it’s great that they added some new stuff to break up the formula – 3rd-person cover shooting, space combat – the new stuff is so poorly executed that I’d rather they kept it out.  I barely got through 2 chapters before deciding I’d had enough.  I’d rather watch the movie anyway.

3. I realize that I never updated my progress with respect to INSIDE.  Well, I finished it, and… um… yeah.  I stand by my initial assertion that it packs one hell of a first impression, and that the animation and sound design are particularly excellent.  That being said, I have literally no idea what the hell happened there at the end, and I was left with a lingering sense of “what the hell did I just play, and why?”  Hard to explain unless I get into spoilers, though even with spoilers it’s not like it gets any easier.  Would be curious to discuss it with someone who got it.  Otherwise, I’m starting to wonder just what it is about PlayDead and their fascination with child murdering.

4. I’m kinda drifting along through my gaming library at the moment.  I should be focused on finishing Witcher 3: Blood and Wine, but that requires a time commitment that I simply don’t have right now; that’s not the sort of game that I can play for just 30 minutes and then log off.  For some reason I bought the PS4 editions of Saints Row 4 and Gat Out of Hell, probably because they were stupidly cheap.  I do kinda love how ridiculously dumb SR4 is; it’s the Crackdown sequel I always wanted.  The PS4 edition barely qualifies as a “remaster”, but that’s not necessarily enough to ignore it completely; it’s a fun, dumb game, and I’m happy to mess around with it unless it completely crashes (which it actually did the other night).  I’d never played Gat out of Hell, and after 30-45 minutes with it I’m not sure I need to.   I am obviously going to start playing Red Dead Redemption again on Friday, once its transition to the XB1 is complete; I don’t know if I’m going to start over from scratch or just pick up where my cloud save left off, but all I really want is just to hang out with it again.

The Sense of An Ending / INSIDE

1. I’ve been continuing on my reading tear of late, and I’m sure it’s because I’m feeling pressured to make sure I hit my Goodreads Reading Challenge number for some stupid reason.  And most of the books I’ve read lately are on the short side of things.

Since my last post, I’ve finished Emma Straub’s “Modern Lovers”, which I found somewhat disappointing, though I’ll admit that it may only be disappointing in that what I expected is not at all what I got.  I should note that a lot of what I’m reading these days is stuff that I’ve picked in order to help me formulate some lyric ideas.  And a book about middle-aged people who used to be in a band in college and reexamining their lives in light of their shared connection – well, that’s a topic that’s very much on my mind, both in terms of lyrics and just in general.  “Modern Lovers” does not really focus on the stuff I’d hoped it would.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s without merit; it just means I was looking for something that simply wasn’t there.

Then I read Joe Haldeman’s “The Forever War”, which Amazon had recently featured in a Kindle sale for $1.99 or something ridiculous, so I picked it up.  It is known as a sci-fi classic, and apparently you can’t describe it without mentioning its commonalities to Vietnam, of which Haldeman was a veteran.  To that end, it presents a unique perspective of the soldier’s point of view, which is certainly worth absorbing.  I was a little put off by his more far-out ideas of sexuality and eugenics, though.

Last night I began Julian Barnes’ “The Sense of an Ending”, and I finished it this morning, and WOW, WOW, fucking WOW.  I’ve read quite a few good books lately, but there’s a difference between reading a good book and reading a good book by a great writer, and Barnes is absolutely magnificent.  I am also perhaps a little ashamed to admit that I related to the narrator far more than I was prepared to be?  In any case, this was the rumination on nostalgia and loss and remembrance that I’d hoped “Modern Lovers” would be, and now I want to read everything else he’s written.  I think I’d been aware of this specific book for a while, but it wasn’t until the reviews came out of his latest book, “The Noise of Time” – a (fictional?) book about Shostakovitch – that I started looking over the rest of his work.


2. I stared playing INSIDE last night, the latest 2.5D game from Playdead, makers of Limbo.  You can’t talk about INSIDE without referencing Limbo, and I suppose that might be part of the point – they’re both very moody and atmospheric, and both feature a child running away from something horrible towards something unknown but also probably horrible, and all the while platforming and puzzling around dangerous obstacles.  And both games are not afraid of showing the gruesome fate of an ill-timed or wrong-footed step.  I’m about 2/3 of the way through and am hopeful I can finish it tonight.  I don’t want to say anything else about it except that it is, so far, absolutely stunning.  Remarkably articulate animation (helped out by finely-tuned controls), astounding sound design, and a very pleasing use of physics manipulation where necessary.