I’ve Been Playing – Episode 11,265

I’ve blitzed through a whole bunch of games in the last month. Friends, family and work have been the Spitfires to my game-completing Luftwaffe, but I’ve bravely still found the time to drop my bombs of game completion on London, which in this metaphor is some videogames. I think.

I apologise to those tragically affected by World War 2. But obviously this metaphor is more important.
I apologise to those tragically affected by World War 2. But obviously this metaphor is more important.

First, I managed to finish XCOM: Enemy Within. As with the game it expanded, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, as long as you don’t rush things, it gets easier and easier from the mid-game onwards. The first time you play though the game, that’s actually a satisfying feeling – after struggling through the early battles, barely scraping by on meagre funding, suddenly you’re able to fight back against the alien threat by turning their weapons and tactics against them – it’s your reward for that initial perseverance. On the third playthrough, when your soldiers are tough to kill and tooled up to the nines, the constant sense of peril isn’t there and it all gets a little boring.


After that, I spent an evening with The Stanley Parable. It’s a “walker” game, i.e. a first-person game where you don’t have a gun and just sort of wander about. Think Gone Home or Dear Esther. In The Stanley Parable, you start off as an office worker who notices that all of his colleagues have disappeared. As you traipse through the deserted corridors, a narrator snarkily comments on your actions, whilst trying to lead you down a certain path. It’s often funny, and the locales are genuinely well-designed, but also inevitably repetitive and ultimately a little un-fulfilling. Each time you see one of the 10 or so endings you’re placed back at the beginning and have to meander through again, tracing your steps back and remembering to do the opposite of what you did last time. I’d love to see a sequel with more player agency, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek shooter or full-fledged adventure game with the same narrator in tow.

I’ve also squeezed in a full playthrough of Far Cry 3 on PS3. Dodgy frame rate aside, I had a lot of fun with it. Liberating outposts, hunting for animal skins and climbing up radio towers never got boring, and the wide-range of approaches available kept things interesting for the 20 or so hours I spent with it. My favoured strategy was to try to eliminate every outpost guard silently through the glorious power of cowardly sniping. When that predictably went pear-shaped due to cack-handed aiming, I’d whip out the flamethrower/grenade launcher/molotovs and set fire to everything. Also: bears.

So far, so good. Get 'em, Yogi.
Flaming bear death for all.







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