It’s your final weekend to be happy with the games you have, because in just a few short days, you will be looking ahead to the future. So, before Nintendo wows (hopefully that is the right adjective) us all on Tuesday, tell us what you’ve been playing this week and plan on playing for the next couple of days? Tell us in the comments below after reading our gaming endeavors this weekend!
This weekend is all about E3 anticipation and a great game I recently received as a gift: Alan Wake on 360. I cannot wait to dive back into its awesome gameplay, and the title’s story can only be described as that of a horror novel but in video game form. While not too scary (this is coming from a twenty-four-year-old who still fears Skulltulas), certain moments early on had me leaning back in my chair. Alan Wake represents everything great about this industry. Imagine a very realistic, story-heavy, Luigi’s Mansion with weapons instead of the Poltergust 3000. Collectibles are scattered, a la Resident Evil 4. If you are a Nintendo fan and also happen to own a 360, I highly recommend Alan Wake. Most importantly, Nintendo’s E3 press conference is just days away!!! After spending time in Bright Falls with Mr. Wake, Sunday at work I will be daydreaming about Nintendo Direct and Mr. Fils-Aime’s pending reveals on Tuesday. The clock is ticking…
The variety of games that I play have been growing scarcer and scarcer for the past couple of months, and it is NBA 2k12 to blame. When I’ve acquired myself some free time and plan to play a game, I think to myself “Hmm, I really should finish up Mass Effect 3…” or, “Wow, I haven’t even opened Xenoblade yet, perhaps I should give that a go…” (seriously, I bought Xenoblade months ago and have yet to even open it!), but, in the end, it typically boils down to something like “Nah, I’ll just play a few games of NBA 2k12“. Sure, over the past couple of weeks I’ve managed to squeeze in some Deux Ex: Human Revolution (which is an amazing game, but is almost completely ruined by its boss battles) or Mario Tennis Open, but the variety is few and far between. The game is destroying my gaming life as we know it, it has, in words, taken me hostage… Help me!
This weekend I expect to cross the 50-hour mark on Dragon Age: Origins on PS3. Since my PS3 purchase was just last fall, I’ve been playing older games first, and the prospect of having the entire Origins collection, including all the DLC, for just $20 was a slam-dunk. Origins channels the conventions of two favorite RPGs. The first is the D&D classic, Baldur’s Gate. Origins‘ liberal borrowing of Lord of the Rings / Dungeons and Dragons lore is beyond shameless, from the cave-dwelling dwarves to the warrior elf I created that came out by default with dual wielding daggers and a bow. The depth of lore in the game is cool, though, and represents BioWare doing what it does best. (Oh, how I miss you, Knights of the Old Republic.)
The other connection is the Nintendojo’s own Kevin Bacon, Xenoblade Chronicles. Origins evokes, among other things, Xenoblade‘s a) varied armor that looks different even during cutscenes, b) lucid plot, c) moderate degree of open-endedness, and d) MMO-style cooldown timer on special attacks. Xenoblade doesn’t obviously look as good as Origins, but I thought the combat and some of the smaller things were a bit more accessible; I think the cross-bar on Xenoblade works better than the more limited mapping on the PS3 version. It is always fascinating to see the areas of similarity between a western RPG and eastern RPG.
I know it’s blasphemy, but I have actually not turned on a Nintendo system at all this week! Why? I have been taking a trip back into the wonderful world of Sega. I’ve been sorely addicted to the Dreamcast gem Shenmue (which is an amazing game). Shenmue is really the only game I have been playing this week, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly huge and deep game. Not since Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon 64 have I felt so compelled to just lounge around a virtual town and visit. I always get Ryo to buy a toy capsule and a can of orange soda every day. After that, I go to the shrine and feed the stray kitten the neighborhood kids are looking after. Then, I have Ryo head down to the video arcade to enjoy some darts or Space Harrier. I have spent a month living in Yokosuka in late 1986, searching for the man who killed my father. Do you know where any sailors hang out?