Features
Interviews
Columns
Podcasts
Shopping Guides
Production Blogs
Contests
Message Board
RSS Feed
Contact Us
Archives

 

gameon.jpg

Geez, what the hell happened to playing games for fun anymore?

I mean, seriously. There was a time when i would play a game simply for the enjoyment of playing that game. I loved to do reviews, because i would pick apart the subtle nuances of each and every title in my catalog and only the most worthy would survive. Nowadays, this is simply not the case.

Now, I play games to pad my “gamerscore”. Yes, primarily I DO play them to review them (when I do get the chance) but now, rather than trying to see a game for it’s merits, i see it only as 1000 more points under my gamertag.

And honestly, why the fuck does THAT matter…to anyone? Those points are meaningless, and yet, some strive for full completion of a game (or at least full allotment of points for a game) simply to add the number to their score, a notch in the belt of geeks everywhere, full bragging rights and all that.

But that’s all they are; bragging rights. They don’t bring you money, fame or fortune, they just say “look at me, I have less of a life than you, I was able to get all 1000 points in GUITAR HERO III and all I have to show for it is arthritis and some bloodshot eyes”. They offer no other recourse other than comparison with one’s frends, and more often than not, ridicule.

Occasionally (read: ONCE) Xbox has held a competition to see how fast you can advance your score in a set period of time, and issue rewards for such “achievements”. This is a brilliant idea. This should be implemented on a more frequent basis. Like every month. For example, every time you get…say…8,000 Gamerscore, you should get, like, 500 Microsoft points or something. Give us an actual initiative to fulfil the requirements of beating a game to it’s fullest.

This way, we would feel a bit more satisfied for slogging through dreck like VIKING: BATTLE FOR ASGARD. Sure, beating the game is a great way to advance your score by about 600 pts, but you’ll feel dirty inside. You hack, slash, and slice your way through endless hordes of demons to save your brethren, only to do it all again in the next town. And while the graphics are decent, the gameplay is slow, and there’s little reward or replay value. There’s boobs, there’s fire, there eviscerations galore…but lasting fun? Not so much. It’s not horrible, mind, it’s just so damn repetitive.

The same can be said for DARK SECTOR. It’s a gorgeous game, but a little on the “lather, rinse, repeat” side of things. The glaive blade spices things up, but if it weren’t for the GEARS OF WAR style cover system or the RESIDENT EVIL 4 over the shoulder targeting, it’d be just any other dimly lit brooding third person shooter. The story is decent enough here, but they don’t give you ENOUGH of it to stay invested in the characters, so once again you find yourself pushing forward to the end of “just one more mission” (whose corridors look the same as the LAST mission, by the way) just so you can hear that satisfying “badoop” and get your 20 more pts for beating a level.

I even fall victim to it in sports titles. Hell, i don’t even LIKE sports titles, but occasionally, i find myself playing them, just for fun. As long as they’re of the more arcade nature, i actually get some enjoyment out of them. Or at least I used to. Take, for example, NBA BALLERS: CHOSEN ONE. here’s a series i really enjoyed in the last generation of systems. Arcade gameplay, goofy powershots and just the right dose of fun. Now, however,, all of that is stripped away in favor of flashy”game breaker” combos and moves with animations you can’t skip. The stat system is supposed to adjust your skills according to how you play, which is a great idea if i t actually DID that. I spent one match throwing nothing but three point shots, and at the end, i got higher stat improvements in things i didn’t do at all such as REBOUNDS and STEALS. Meanwhile, my three point skill went up by ONE. And yet, i keep playing the game, knowing it’s not as good as the last, just so I can break 30K.

I find it’s influencing the other game’s I play too. In the handheld FINAL FANTASY VII: CRISIS CORE (PSP) and FINAL FANTASY CRYSTAL CHRONICLES: RINGS OF FATE (DS) i see myself judging the games, wishing I could get achievements when I’m fighting through the parts I don’t like (which for CRYSTAL CHRONICLES was all of it…the multiplayer especially is lag-tastic) just to make playing more worth it. Admittedly, though, CRISIS CORE is VERY worth the play through if you’re a big FFVII fan: it begins the story very well and brings all the right elements to the front of the epic we already know. Unfortunately, the battle system is a little imperfect. You’ll find yourself wailing on the X button all day, just hoping for another cut-scene. And you forget to cycle BACK to your attack move after highlighting a health icon for a quick save, you’ll end up eating 3 potions before you realize you’re not even striking that giant dog in front of you.

Still, that’s not as bad as on the consoles connected to my TV. I get OKAMI for the Wii and all i can think is “gee, I wish I playing this again added to my score” rather than thinking “gee, they sure cut a lot out of the Wii version”. As it stands, the controls aren’t as fluid on the Wii version, which is bizarre, considering you’d think the Wii-mote would be a perfect fit for such a title. Also sad is the fact that most for the character introductions in all their wordy Japanese translations have been severely cut-down for the Western audience, which if you’ve played the PS2 version, you’ll know they were initially intact over here. Still, at least the game is worth playing if you missed it the first time, and as long as you can deal with the controls thinking you’re painting rather than attacking every so often.

I knew I was in trouble, however, when playing MARIO KART WII with my girlfriend. We were having fun racing down familiar tracks from past entries in the series, the Wii Wheel was actually responsive and fun to use, and boosting during drifts was easier than ever (though the old snaking method is still there for BIGGER boosts for the hardcore fans). Yet somehow, my girl managed to make all the good points vanish when, as i asked her if she’d lie to unlock the new courses in single payer, she remarked “nah, i don’t get any gamerscore for them”.

I’ve created a monster.

Ah well. It’s not all bad. Some games are worth playing even beyond the gamerscore. CONDEMNED 2: BLOODSHOT scared the shit out of me so much I didn’t even think of how many pints i was earning, just how many pants i was ruining. The environments and story elements were top-notch and helped clear up the rather ambiguous and confusing ending of the first game, and the battle system was even better than before. The multiplayer was also a welcome addition, and served to while away some time in a crazy first person FIGHT CLUB WITH BUMS kind of way.

Plus, there’s GTAIV to keep me busy. I’d write about it now, but I’d like to actually finish the game before making my final verdict on it, and the game is just SO encompassing that doing so in a timely fashion while also working a full time job takes more effort than I have. Plus, I’m trying to get that “Liberty City Minute” achievement for beating the game’s story mode in under 30 hours.

 

VIKING: BATTLE FOR ASGARD

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

DARK SECTOR

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

NBA BALLERS: CHOSEN ONE

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

 

FFVII: CRISIS CORE

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

 

FFCC:RoF

One Gamer’s Opinion:
eh.jpg

 

OKAMI

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

 

MARIO KART WII

One Gamer’s Opinion:
kickass.jpg

 

CONDEMNED2: BLOODSHOT

One Gamer’s Opinion:
lib2_1.jpg

THE GAME ON! RATING SYSTEM

 

gameonratingscomplete.jpg

Ratings From Greatest to Least:

Kick Ass, Right On, Okay, Eh, and Stinker (aka CRAPTACULAR)

Comments:

Leave a Reply

FRED Entertaiment (RSS)