Musings of a Gamer VIII
1. Resistance 3
The Resistance series has long been one of my favourite PlayStation exclusives. I have enjoyed it since picking-up the original with my first PS3 and, although I may be in the minority, I thought the sequel was an improvement on its launch era predecessor. Resistance 3 marks another solid entry in Insomniac’s alternative-history shooter, and the single player campaign alone has kept me entertained these past three weeks.
It’s a bit rough around the edges and the story isn’t up to much, but it is great fun nonetheless. Insomniac are the kings of unusual weaponry, and each area of the game dares you to try out something new. Unlike most games in the genre, where you usually settle on one automatic weapon which you spam for the entirety of the game, Resistance 3 is constantly giving you new and unusual editions to your arsenal and challenging you to use them. Whether you are tagging a nimble target with your bullseye or causing an unfortunate chimera to break out in explosive, bubonic pustules, the guns are the real stars. The automatic upgrade system kept things fresh over two separate playthroughs and meant that getting the platinum never dragged.
2. A Year of Toomanywires
It just dawned on me that Toomanywires-uk is almost one year old. This was the first post to go live here on 31/10/10 (the September 2010 write-ups were posted in November and back-dated) and I have since shared my thoughts on everything from my love of Mogs to a day in the life of Kazuma Kiryu. I still greatly enjoy video game blogging and there is no end in sight for toomanywires.
I'd like to thank everyone who has gone out of their way to visit over the last year, and especially those of you who leave comments. As a small site - of late I have been getting an average of around a 1000 visitors per month - I'm very fortunate to have a group of regular commentators. Hearing back from you really does make a difference, and makes it much easier to motivate myself to write another post of an evening, instead of collapsing on the sofa and doing something far less constructive.
I'm still looking to do a bit of a re-design for the site, though my design skills are about as good as my singing ability. Also, every time I go to change the template I panic that all my work will be lost in the black hole of the world wide web. I'm slowly making small changes - the "About Me" and "About toomanywires" sections have both been updated over the last few days - and I will get around to a re-design at some point before 2014.
3. Killing Time Until the Main Event
Uncharted 3 comes to British shores on 2/11/11. From then on out, my gaming schedule will be packed well into the New Year. My wife has already accepted that I shan’t be communicating with her in any meaningful way throughout November and that I’ll be half tucking-in all my shirts for the next two months.
There may be two more weeks until Drake comes to town, but I do have some quality games to fill that time. Batman Arkham Asylum arrived in the post yesterday – we poor Europeans were forced to wait five days longer than our American friends – and although I've played it for less than an hour, I'm sure I’m going to love it. I’m a good way through ICO, though I’ll save my thoughts on that for another time, and as soon as I have a moment I’ll get stuck into Shadow of the Colossus. Better five years late than never.
I have also been playing Child of Eden on the PS3, using the classic controller as I have yet to succumb to PS Move. As strange as it may sound, I can’t decide if I’m enjoying it or not. I want it be Rez 2.0, and in places it is, as it represents the perfect marriage between music and gameplay. The striking visuals are certainly mesmerising, as puncturing holes in a whale has never been so relaxing and the sight of various targets exploding in unison, along with the track, is hugely satisfying. However, I find the OST to be a hit and miss affair and not a par with the heavy-hitting Rez, and if it were up to me I’d actively encourage the encroaching virus to devour Lumi whole. I can’t help but cringe each time our damsel in distress comes into view, staring into space, mouthing nonsense and looking forlorn.
I also had time to try the demo for Payday: The Heist, a co-op, challenged based FPS on PSN. I must say I was rather impressed and am intrigued by the potential of the full game. It looks like it will be a blast with three friends, though I foresee plenty of arguments about who is De Niro and who gets stuck with Kilmer’s pony-tail. I will definitely be picking-up a full copy when it finally hits in Europe, a street date that happens to clash with Uncharted 3. Sony Europe, you fucking geniuses.
4. Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer
For a solid week, nothing mattered more to irrational, rabid gamers than the news that Mass Effect 3 would include a multiplayer component. To be honest, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. As I understand it, it will be four player co-op that will be a separate experience from the single player campaign, much like the co-operative modes from Uncharted 2 or Resistance 2. It will introduce new characters and let you take control of other alien races. Sure, the overall description of the co-op objective ("wrestle control of certain areas away from enemies") doesn't sound particularly exciting, but I'm always up for some co-operative fun and I'm not really sure how, or why, this would effect the single player experience. At best, it will add a new dimension to a well loved series, and at worst it will be a superfluous addition that we can choose to ignore.
5. Battlefield 3 Review Copies
As an addendum to my post earlier this week about the current state of video game reviews, I wanted to share this story, via Kotaku, of EA exerting pressure on Scandinavian reviewers for the forthcoming Battlefield 3. In an attempt to root out publications that may actually think for themselves and not just repeat ad verbatim what they have been fed by PR, EA Europe instigating a vetting process to decide who would receive review copies and who would not. This entailed sending a list of questions that any interested party was required to complete before being considered. The most blatant of these questions included -
Is he a fan of Battlefield?
Is he a fan of Call of Duty?
Has he expressed enthusiasm or concern for BF3? What are they?
What is his present view on the game?
Further questions included what side do you dress on and do you agree that Bobby Kotick is a c*nt. I find these kind of practices disgraceful and they piss me off far more than they should, though I am happy to see that some publications were willing to go public with these questions, at the risk of being black-listed by the second biggest publisher in the industry. I'm under no illusion that EA are the only publisher exerting this kind of pressure on reviewers, and it further brings into question the relationship between publisher, PR and reviewer and its effect on the credibility of professional, video game reviews as a whole.