Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Metal Gear?!

I put Infamous to bed over the weekend.  I have a review haiku that pretty well sums up how I feel about the game, but as a teaser: it's pretty forgettable.  It's well done, and the story is batshit insane, but ultimately all of the mechanics are cribbed from other games, and mostly overdone, too.  I grow tired of going from point to point around an open city doing the same handful of activities, and this game's superpower set are just analogs of your typical pistol/rifle/grenade/rocket launcher kit of every other open-world game.  Climbing is well done, but the environments are mostly extremely bland; big rectangular buildings with little in the way of tricky navigation to be done.  Meh.

Among my spoils of the Steam Summer sale are the majority of the Call of Duty franchise, and I've sunk my teeth deep into the first game, and it's a lot of fun!  It's a balls-to-the-wall, no-thinking exercise in shoot, advance, shoot, and for what it is, pretty awesome.  I kind of want to power through it and a bunch more of the series, too, all of the WWII games available on the PC.

Last night I did some monster hunting (Tri), finishing up a couple of the online 1-star quests, and collecting materials for a sword/shield combo I wanted that both matches my Jaggi armor set and will stay sharp longer than the tomahawk I've been using (though it's a bit weaker per hit).  Very addictive.

Then, today, my passion for gaming got the better of me, and I rationalized myself into a MGS: Peace Walker edition PSP bundle.  See, I had a $100 gift card from being employee of the month at work, plus $60 from when I sold my original PSP a long time ago, so all I needed was the price of MGS: PW itself to make up the entire price of the bundle.  Plus, I am kind of a collector of MGS games (NA editions, anyway), and this is a limited edition bundle.  I'm a little let down that the UMD didn't come in the proper packaging for the game, but just a little cardboard sleeve, but it would be idiocy to buy another copy of the game just for that.  Right?  I do own every version of every MGS that has been released here, though, aside from the VR missions and Portable Ops Plus.  I guess I should have pre-ordered at Gamestop and gotten the very limited camo PSP, but fuck Gamestop.  I hate them.

So, the game, Peace Walker, then.  I played it for a couple of hours tonight, and so far so good.  I'm using the new "shooter type" control scheme, though I'm not convinced it's much different from one of the schemes available in Portable Ops (it has been a while, though...).  Anyway, it's working sufficiently thus far.  I realized today that with the way the 3DS is looking, I'd better just go ahead and get comfortable with a single analog for some games, and try to avoid those where it's just too much of a hindrance.  I managed to finish MGS: PO, though, so I'm sure I can manage Peace Walker, if the purported Monster Hunter difficulty of some of the bosses doesn't get in my way.  The base building and team building stuff also seems really reminiscent of PO, along with the mission structure, so I remain skeptical about this game being all that much of a quantum leap over the prior PSP game.  Again, it's been a while since I played PO, though, so I could be misremembering. It does seem clear that the scope of PW is greater, though.  I can already see that there are a ton more side missions and things to build up and research in this latest game.

The plot pretty much has to end up being more important to the overall series arc, too.  PO's plot, while definitely a part of the MGS canon, is pretty dispensable, and entirely omitted from the intro to PW, which wants to bridge the gap directly from Snake Eater.  I'm not sure how I feel about this move, which is tantamount to a retcon of the first PSP series entry.  At the time PO was about to come out, all we were told was how much of a legitimate entry it was to the series entire arc.  We'll see about that when all of Peace Walker's plot comes to light.  I remember being a bit unsatisfied with the events of PO.  Big Boss still hadn't exactly gone rogue enough to end up where he had by the events of the first Metal Gear (sans Solid).


Greg said...

So what do you think of the PSP now that you bought one again?

I've really been wanting one and as bad of a decision economically as it may be, I've really been wanting the PSP Go. Apparently the screen is sharper and I like the idea of not having to mess around with UMDs when I really want portability. They still have the deal going where you get 3 free games with a PSP Go which makes the price more reasonable.

Count Elmdor said...

If you're considering a Go, just be really careful, because not all games are available through PSN, such as Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, the psp remake. I had a look around on the PSN store for PSP games, and the prices look pretty fair, surprisingly, though you will still find better deals at most retailers. Best Buy in this area currently has FFT and GoW in clearance bins, among others.

What do I think of it? I can't say my opinion has changed. It's a cool device on the one hand, but it's a shame how many (if not most) games are just shoddy cases of trying to shove a square peg into a round hole, and that includes some of the better ones! Like any system, it has a handful of exclusives that you won't get anywhere else, though, and being as its still got games coming out for it (though I can't understand why), it just makes it over the cut-off line of systems you have to have if you want to play everything or feel like you have to.

If you take a step back and just examine the PSP as a device, it suffers from the same syndrome as a lot of Sony electronics do. A lot of the functionality is kind of useless except in very niche cases; take the remote play or digital comic viewer, or even the fact it plays UMD movies. Who'd ever want to watch a movie on a PSP?

It's also kind of big to really be portable, though the 2000 and 3000 models are much better in this regard than the 1000s. The Go does win in that category.

Greg said...

Up to 22 stars now in Mario Galaxy 2. I just started World 3 and the gameplay mechanics are starting to get interesting.

Greg said...

I can't remember, I think I got 70-something stars before I lost interest in Mario Galaxy 1. I got rid of the game a few months ago.