Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Shlockness with John Mikula

                This Weekend I decided to take a short break from the blog writin’, which is why this post is going up during McGee’s usual time slot. Seeing as how school is out and the mess of projects that I had to get done is now out of the way, I wanted to shut myself out of the world for the weekend, take a quick breather, and spend some quality time with my stock pile of games I need to play. Your uncle Shlocky works hard, children; he needs a break every now and again. However, I do not write empty handed. You won’t have to read about my adventures with the Logo Quiz or any other bottom barrel bullsh*t that you so lovingly put up with for the last few weeks. Nope, this week is shlock full of gamey goodness; and I don’t mean gamey like “damn, son! This venison is gamey!” I mean gamey like “damn, son! These games are gamey!” Let me know when your finished adding that to the list of made up words we use on this blog and I get to telling y’all about the games I played this week.
This is what polo is like...IN HELL!
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                Ok so Darksiders is pretty cool. I bought this game a while back during the Steam summer sale, and I am just now getting a chance to play it. If you’re unaware of what this game is then imagine if The Legend of Zelda had sex with God of War and their offspring has some kind of horrible, baby skin transplant with Diablo 3. What I’m saying is Darksiders plays a lot like a Zelda game with God of War themes and an art style like Diablo 3. Usually when I’m forced to describe a game as when something has sex with something else it means that the game is contrived and not very good; however, this isn’t the case with Darksiders. Somehow Vigil managed to make a game that has become more than the sum of its parts in a way that makes it feel like its own unique experience. When I play Darksiders, I don’t feel like I’m playing Zelda or Diablo, I feel like I’m playing Darksiders and you can’t say that about many other games.
This looks like a pretty fair match up
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                What I really appreciate about Darsiders though, is how mindlessly fun it is. The thing about modern games is that they all seem to be trying too hard to be more than what they are. Assassin’s Creed 3 is supposed to have two and a half hours of cinematics which is longer than most f*cking films. Mass Effect has evolved into some sort of living universe filled with more lore and history than my f*cking history book in high school. Darksiders is just a f*cking game. It’s not trying to fully immerse the player in a dynamic event driven world, or cram so much backstory down our throats that we can’t breathe; it’s just trying to have a fun time. Why am I horseman without my horse yet? Because it makes for good progression. Why is the interior of this seemly normal building very maze-like? Because it serves the level design. Why do I need to complete an arena challenge before being let through a giant door? Because it’s more fun that way. Darksiders really represents that sweet, sweet middle ground of console gaming that has been lost over the last couple of years. I’m talking about the games that may not have been super, triple A titles, but they were still quality products that were good for a fun time. They weren’t super involved or needlessly in depth or even technically innovative, but they had their mechanics, and they knew how to make them enjoyable. Christ, I can’t even play Skyrim anymore because it’s just too exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited for Watchdogs and Starwars: 1313 as much as the next shmuck, but damn! It’s as if you spent the last six years watching nothing but action blockbusters. After a while, you just want a nice rom-com. Darsiders is my rom-com.
It's like that poster for step-brothers, only way less depressing
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                Upon a visit to my local used disk repository and I found me a copy of Silent Hill: Homecoming and I thought to myself, “why not?” Since I finished SH4 last week I need something to fill the survival horror hole in my schedule, and what better than another Silent Hill game. I was a bit nervous at first because I had always been told that this particular series has only gotten worse with age, and since this game was released only a couple years ago I thought I may have reason for concern. I’m happy to say that after playing the game for myself I’m having a pretty fun time with Homecoming. The main difference between this game and let’s say SH2 is that this game is a true to life third person shooter. When you hold L2 a little reticle pops up and you must manually aim your gun instead of just letting the auto lock on take care of it. I think this system works fairly well. The horizontal turn speed is a little slow and there’s no way to change it, but the shooting has a good punch to it and its pretty fun to do. Now that I think about it, Homecoming play a bit more like Resident Evil 4 now than it does a traditional Silent Hill game, which is fine by me because I though Resident Evil 4 played pretty well. The crazy Silent Hill atmosphere is in full force here, complete with a thick fog and its own demented hospital. The story is just as whacky and the graphics are real sharp. The main thing I have to say about Homecoming is that it feels like natural evolution of the franchise to current gen hardware. A buddy of mine insists that Downpour is much better than this game in that regard so I’ll have to pick up a copy of that at some point in the future and see for myself.
Wait...But I though you only existed in Silent Hill 2. What is going on here!
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                I played some other stuff this week but I don’t really feel like getting into any of that right now. Maybe I’ll lie write about them next week even though I didn’t play them that week, but we’ll just keep that as our little secret. Until next time Shlockheads, this has been your Weekly Shlockness.

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