I have practically no homework this week. I’m still waiting for a talking bunny in a top hat to bounce over and tell me I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole, but for now I shall do my best to appreciate this astronomically unlikely freedom and do another update. When I was making a transition from my old website to my current one, I realized that the move to a fresh site afforded me the opportunity to narrow the focus of my postings. To focus on my blob comics for example, or devote my time to writing about the amusing (although they rarely seem that way to me at the time) things that happen to me. And so I sat down and started writing down the pros and cons of these areas and debating their various merits. An hour or so later I looked down at my paper full of illegible writings, announced “screw it” to the various stuffed whales, kiwis and owls perched around my room, and decided to just do whatever the hell I wanted. And so I shall spend the remainder of this post reviewing some of the games I’ve played the last time I was free (Christmas break 2012), because why not?
Random Musings of an ohcy thus proudly presents: 3 Game Reviews That Are Probably Useless To You Because The Games Are So Old
1) Batman: Arkham City
I think it’s pretty clear to most people who know me that I have a preference for the Man Of Steel over everyone’s favorite Dark Knight, despite the inherent un-coolness of liking someone who could just as easily be termed The Crimson Diaper. However, I must clarify that even though the last son of Krypton is numero uno in my books, Batman comes a very very close second. Hence it was with great anticipation that I began my initial playthrough of Batman: Arkham City.
It was awesome.
The creators of the game are clearly huge fans of the Batman mythos as well, and I say this as someone who can probably describe to you the bowel movements of Ace the Bat-Hound*. Little bits of lore and trivia abound everywhere in the game and it’s always a delight to find them. If only I didn’t have to complete so many #@!!$@! Riddle Challenges to get them.
* I can’t. I really really can’t.
Naturally all the important elements of a great game are there as well – excellent graphics, an awe inspiring environment, kick-ass ass-kicking action and so on and so forth. The most important aspect of the game though, is that you actually get to feel like you’re Batman. There was heart pounding moment somewhere during the 6th or 7th hour of my play through that I accidentally dropped straight into the midst of a group of gun wielding thugs. Almost panicking, I threw down a smoke bomb, disabled 3 of them with batarangs, somersaulted over the person charging at me, stunned a second attacker with my cape, and then proceeded to go all chuck norris on their asses until they lay unconscious at my sexy, boot-clad feet. Throwing my headphones to the table I turned to my roommate –
“DID YOU SEE THAT??? DID YOU FREAKING SEE THAT???? I AM BATMAN!!!!”
“That’s nice”, he replied, in the calm tones of someone who’s long grown used to having his flatmate scream out his status as a man-sized flying rodent.
It was, to put it simply, the most epic moment and thrilling moment I’ve had in gaming since the last time I made 11 random clicks in expert minesweeper without dying.
This is also a game that rewards planning and prudence. For the earlier enemies without guns or any sort of weapons, it’s usually a simple, but visually thrilling, process of jumping right into the fray and screaming “YATAAAHHH!!!” as loudly as you can while furiously clicking your left mouse button. But as you progress in the game and enemies with guns appear, adopting a straight forward approach is usually a trip on the fast lane towards becoming an ex-batman. You have to learn to plan your moves ahead of time, make use of the shadows and heights to hide you and utilize some seriously cool gadgets to move past these stages, which is frankly what being Batman all about. If all you had to do was walk into every fight and start punching people he’d have red underwear, a giant S on his chest, and all of you would be mocking me for liking him.
So to sum things up, if you want to experience what it’s like to be Batman without dressing up in a cape and growling out your words like a severely constipated man with a throat infection, I highly recommend that you check this game (and it’s predecessor) out.
Graphics: 17 Armadillos
Gameplay: 29 Parakeets
Total Rating: 14 Chimpanzees
2) Amnesia: The Dark Descent
This game is messed up. I got together with a couple of friends to play it late one Friday night, and 20 minutes later we were already all writhing on the floor like a ward of heart attack victims. The last time I heard so many females screaming in unison I was attending a Justin Bieber concert*.
*Very sadly, I was not picked to be his One Less Lonely Girl.
The puzzle gameplay itself seems so so, and the graphics are pretty outdated. But nothing beats watching an entire room erupt into screaming chaos just because a monster suddenly pops up from behind the door. Or hearing a friend declare repeatedly to the room “I’ll be brave and run away this time” and then watching as she shot-puts my mouse halfway across the room the second it appears again. Despite the lousy graphics, the game monsters are still pretty terrifying to behold and made scarier by their scarcity. To further illustrate my point, I named one Sir Pimsy and it still terrified me. I’m pretty sure this violates some universal rule of fear or something because no one should ever have to piss themselves running away from something named Sir Pimsy.
So if you’re looking to enjoy some brilliant puzzle action, eye popping graphics or gun-ho rambo style action scenes, then this is probably not the game for you. If however your only goal is to watch a roomful of sedate people transform into a cluster of flailing limbs and screaming voices, then Amnesia (and Harlem Shake videos) are your friend.
Graphics: 3 Albino Jellyfish
Gameplay: 22 Plastic Marshmallows
Total Rating: 15 Ellen Page Posters
I’m sure most of you have heard of this game by now and its various characteristics. You can’t have gone through more than a year of its release without some fanboy/fangirl raving to you about it’s beautiful environments, open world game-play and so on. And it is true, the environments are dazzling at dawn or sunset, the level of customization you can do seems endless and you can really and truly do almost anything you want in the game without sticking rigidly to the main story plot line. Some of my most enjoyable hours in Skyrim were spent wandering around drunk on mead, pushing people off mountains, luring hordes of rampaging mammoths directly into a populated area, and just being a general asshole.
I didn’t use to be like this though. I started out the game as a saintly noble do-gooder who went around giving money to the poor and saving damsels in distress. However, a couple of hours into the game later the constant deluge of people running up to me and asking me to kill some monster, assassinate some murderer or clean their grandmother’s left toenail was starting to wear on me. Hence while in the midst of accepting some quest from some hapless villager on a mountain path to kill Yimbol’s Shade*, I decided that neither Yimbol nor his shade had never really done anything to annoy me half as much as this wastrel now was and so uhh … I pitched him off the mountain. Things (and the villager) kinda went downhill from there.
*This is not his/her/its real name. Apologies to anyone named Yimbol reading this.
If Skyrim has one flaw though, it’s that it lets you do way too much without any sort of constraints whatsoever. When I’m at the final stages of the game quest some small part of me knows that failure to swiftly defeat the Evil Dragon God will result in the annihilation of the universe, but the major part of me is more concerned with picking cabbages and making sure my house has nice furniture. And the game doesn’t care. This just seems wrong somehow. Some hapless King or wise old wizard should be tapping me on the shoulder and going “Look here mate. I know them cabbages are really healthy and all and there’s nothing like spending a nice hour or two shouting people off high places, but we got an end of the world situation going on here and if you’d just slay the Evil God you can get right back to shooting those chickens with fireballs without another word from me yeah?” I mean, I would have said no and gone right back to Kentucky Frying those dastardly birds but it would have been nice to have been asked.
But I digress. If you really want to experience Skyrim in its full glory, I highly advise that you play around with some of the incredibly diverse, beautiful and flat out insane mods that have been created by its users over the last year or so. For all the epic duels I had, the hilarious hijinks and the legendary dragon battles, nothing still compares to the moment I looked up from the headman’s block to see a giant My Little Pony roaring fire at a village as the theme song played. Words cannot describe it. So here’s a video instead.