I finished Fez. Started a new game + to see if I can find some of those tasty secrets. Some of them are ridiculously hard.
Also I returned to Plants vs Zombies. I abandoned it three levels before finishing adventure mode.
98 is the new 100
Here's the trouble: it's really hard to make combat interesting and challenging on a small scale. Real combat is terrifying, interesting, challenging, and outside of military engagements (and with most weaponry)--incredibly short. In addition to that last bullet point it's also hard to fit into a game effectively. Fantastical combat works better in a video game and bear in mind that video games--like any other fantasy medium--can afford to go nuts which can be engaging and interesting in it's own way. In his vibrantly colored, fantastical world? Booker made more sense than Gordon Freeman ever did because we understood why he was a capable, violent, taciturn son-of-a-gun--or at least while we were still figuring it out it was communicated to us that there was something governing that, that he was a person not a gun on a stick.
That's one reason I loved the endings to Bioshock Infinite and Mass Effect 3--they weren't cut-scene epilogues. They were gameplay finales that weren't boss fights. You were still in control. You were still playing the game on established convention. You were being led more thoroughly than at many points in the game, but you were still playing until the delivery of the character's final affect on the story ... then BAM, done for Bioshock Infinite and cutscene epilogue for Mass Effect 3 because Bioware and their fans didn't have the stomach for it otherwise (partially justified--the epilogue was quite in keeping with the spirit of Mass Effect). In any case, these moments showed that the designers understand that narrative play doesn't have to be open and doesn't have to be bombastic--that control and role-playing and interactivity are intricate and malleable.
Where Bioshock Infinite outclasses Mass Effect consistently is in the showing not telling that creative writing teachers and book/film/movie critics like to bang on about. In Mass Effect 3 (well ... the final mission of ME2 less the boss fight and let's add the lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, too) Bioware really started paying attention to giving in-fiction nods to mechanical decisions and delivering plot with less exposition. Even things like switching out party members mid-mission were suddenly given sensible justification where before it had just been a ludicrous mechanical invasion--there are only three seats in the cab, James has to guard the entrance to make sure no one gets out (a Chekov's gun moment--he pulls through on his task later making the team feel cohered even when you aren't in charge of everyone directly as a Squad member), and the whole "Who says we can't? All hands on deck for this one" bit in the Citadel DLC and so on. Bioshock Infinite is really good at this sort of narrative roller coaster effect; the narrative takes you for a ride and the mechanics engage when you pass certain kinds of scenery and that is essentially never subverted. You don't shoot things in cut-scene moments and you're never thrown silly one-time-use mechanical actions--it's all shoot, press button, open door, pull lever, use Sky Rails ... when they want you to do something new, they attach one of those actions to it rather than squeezing in a new mechanic that only lasts a single scene. Crucially it also doesn't make the mistake a lot of science fiction works make of assuming that suspension of disbelief is directly related to how well explained something is (see Star Trek and it's many painful attempts to explain technology to it's viewers often awkward both for making no sense and for being totally 4th-wall-breaking).
I'm rambling a bit now, but in any case, I think Bioshock Infinite works as a shooter. At the same time I long to see what could be done by the team that made Bioshock Infinite if they put effort into making a more mechanically difficult game design that struggled to engage the player without shooting or with a more "restrained" sort of violence (""'s because it need not be restrained in terms of realism just in terms of the player being an all powerful god of the battlefield facing down hundreds of enemies). I've never played it, but I've heard wonderful things about the opening moments of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth in which you have very little to defend yourself and are running from an angry mob, stacking things in front of doors and such--that sounds like the kind of thing Irrational could be great at. Give me a pistol, make me bean-count my ammo, tell me a story, and make me feel like a single bastard with a gun is something to be reckoned with even as my character and his/her associates shake up the whole world with their actions.
So I got The Bureau: XCOM Declassified for a tenner the other day and..not to beat around the bush and to put it in layman terms..its a bit shit. It really feels like a game thats been dumped on a few times and then cleaned with water. Theres something not quite right with it. And its probably not surprising, one does wonder how many times it was back to the drawing bored of doom with this one.
I think it stems from the missions, I don't think i'v ever felt in game like it was some kind of chore. Its like the washing up, you know you have to do it, you know whats involved and you know its going to be a highly boring and very straight forward. Thats what it felt like doing the missions. Or dare I say it, a Nolan film, I like his films but they appear to me as a bunch of scenes which is ok, thats what a film is but theres not much flow and Nolan always makes me think that with his.
I like how you can order your other two guys, I thought that was quite smooth, the trouble is they always keep fucking dying on me. They follow you and shout a lot, which is highly annoying when your looking for ammo(the stuff is like gold dust with the aliens being bullet sponges and all) the cover system is well..its ok but your forced to move every 10 secs because of either alien grenade spam or lack of ammo. The plot is about invading aliens(oh yeah! so it is) and the characters are boring and I wasn't really interested. Didn't like the main character, hes got that cigar in the throat but I need whiskey to dose it out voice which I hate. Some poor backstory about his family thats died and he can't get over and oh god its one of those.
I admit that I played about 4 hours before I gave up, it just wasn't fun. The weapons feel off, like i'm shooting a popgun and a mission I was on I think I saved a scientist and near the end when I killed the last alien he starts talking I think to me but i'm like over the other side behind a box and hes got his back to me so really hes talking to fucking thin air. Its things like that which put me off, like a bad smell. The smell of a unclean game. A shame really, reminds me of the Brothers in arms game which I like but no way near as interesting. Oh well, also playing Company of heroes 2, some thoughts on its way but I like.
Played a bit of Europa Universalis IV as Persia. I'm not sure what's going on, other than 1 level of difference in our Military Tech, but The Mamluks are tearing through my armies. Their 10k armies are sending even my 30k armies home in pieces (15k infantry, 10k cavalry, 5k artillery). Meh.
I agree with most of what you said. However, the following is not entirely true.
Finished up Fallout:NV as much as I could care. Was fun, but Fallout 3 was a better game for me and kept me interested for more than just 1 full playthrough.
Gonna fire up KotoR II with TSLRM and slash some hacks there.
Likewise, with one exception I can remember (when you get the Shock Jockey, I presume, though I did something different), cutscenes don't do things you could do without their help--though your right that violence does happen outside of gameplay. It's quite sparing, though, and used only at key moments. There could be more exceptions, but they are at least few and unobtrusive--this is something that bugs me a lot and I tend to remember it. Note, too, that the example you mention takes place during a quiet moment emphasizing the special nature of the violence. It's not one of those infuriating things where as soon as you've taken down the last enemy, the battlefield re-populates for the cut-scene where the hero shoots people down on route to the helicopter. It's a specially chosen moment that belongs in a cutscene.
Playing the Testament of Sherlock Holmes (I love dopey adventure games), replaying Far Cry 3 (awesome) and playing through Dead Space 3 for the millionth time (LOVE THAT GAME). Waiting patiently for Batman and AC4 at the end of October.
In any case, an interesting part of the world. I'm surprised by how involved I'm getting in Indian politics. Thankfully I'm still separated from the behemoth Russia. I'm guessing I'll leave the Ottomans to be the buffer between Persia and the Europeans for a while yet.
Beware the dawn of the metal age.
fucking mind flayers
OT: Still slowly playing Kingdoms of Ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah-ting-tang-wallawalla-bingbang---ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang and now I've completely completely forgotten what I was going to say.
7.5 stars out of 90%.
Twelve hours now into Stalker: Call of Prypjat and finally reached the name giving area. The first fights with Monolith fighters are over and I got the Gauss Rifle repaired and ready. I explored Zaton and the Jupiter Area thoroughly but was not able to find fine tools to further upgrade my weapons and SEVO suit. Maybe I was missing something or I will hopefully find it in Prypjat.