Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gamer's Diary - Catching Up

Note: My experiment with E-Prime is over. I can find less excruciating ways to avoid passive voice, when I wish to do so.

The week of Christmas I visited family in another state, so I only took portable games with me. The previous year I took my PS2, but decided not to this time as TSA employees have been known to steal valuables from checked baggage (One got cauight with something like 100 stolen items). I only played one game while on vacation: Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney. Replaying it puts me in mind of rereading a favorite book.

After I returned I resumed playing Ridge Racer 6 and finished the normal races. Shortly after that I realized that I'd grown tired of the game, and put it away. I'll tackle the special and advanced races some other time.

Then I bought as my first new game of the year Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode 2. I didn't do more than sample it, as I'd prefer to play it after I complete Episode 1. What little I tried of it suggests that it plays much the same as the first, and continues the story and humor.

I played some more Half-Life: Decay and found myself frustrated by it. The difficulty has increased to the point that I can no longer use it as comfort gaming. So, back into the random playlist it goes.

I don't mention this often (if at all), but I still play Bejeweled 2 in Endless mode on my Xbox 360 and iPaq. It fits perfectly into those moments when I'm waiting in line or on a download etc. and don't care to engage my brain at all. I won't mention it again as I have little to say about it.

For my second new game of the year I picked up Silent Hill Homecoming. I like this series, and Silent Hill 2 has the distinction of convincing me that I could enjoy games in the third person perspective. I much prefer getting creeped out to getting startled; these games have a Lovecraftian atmospheric creepiness as their stock in trade, and I found Homecoming's stockroom full.

This Penny Arcade article, which I came across while reading something else, convinced me that I should give Enchanted Arms a try. Gabe described it as an unabashed pure turn-based JRPG with an interesting story and good presentation, and when I play a JRPG I want exactly that. Also, the price of a used copy has dropped to $20 USD, which fits it nicely into my budget. So I did try the game for an evening, and Gabe totally called it. I'll play it some more after I finish the Silent Hill games I'm in the middle of, or when it comes up in random rotation.

Since then I haven't played much; I've concentrated instead on learning ballroom and swing dancing, cooking, and organizing tax paperwork. I did find time to try a couple of demos and pick up a new Xbox Live Arcade game.

The F.E.A.R. 2; Project Origin demo creeped me out and provided some fun FPS (and mech) action as well. If the rest is as good as the demo, I'm buying.

The Resident Evil 5 demo didn't grab me nearly as well. It didn't frighten me or creep me out, and when my character got killed by the first wave of zombies, I felt neither shock nor fear nor sadness, but rather frustration. I had no desire to restart from the last checkpoint or try the other included level.

I'll probably end up buying the damn thing eventually, because it is, after all, Resident Evil, but that certainly won't be on launch day nor at full price. I'll reveal one little detail as to why:

You can't move and shoot at the same time.

That's right. Aiming your weapon glues your Goddamn feet to the floor. You can still turn, but you can't go anywhere. It's like one of those dreams where you're paralyzed and can't run away, but this time what you want to run away from is the game designer.

I had heard and read good things about The Maw, so I downloaded the trial from Xbox Live Arcade and gave it a go. It's cute and funny and easy and you can't die, so when I reached the sample's end I immediately fed The Maw 800 MS points so it could keep eating. I'll be playing more of this one.

No comments: