Posted by: smirkdirk | November 1, 2009

Returned! A Video Game Post

As a rule, I generally don’t share my thoughts about games that I haven’t played either all the way through, or nearly all the way through. Recently though there have been a couple of games I’ve obtained under what I like to call “The Gamestop Free Rental Plan” – that is, taking advantage of Gamestop’s policy that any used game purchase can be returned for a full refund within seven days for any reason, including just plain, old not liking it. If you have a Gamestop near you I totally recommend taking advantage of this policy. (Honestly, I wonder who all these people are who buy games at Best Buy and Walmart for full price with no way to return them if they absolutely suck.)

Anyway, here are three games purchased recently that I returned within the seven day time limit for my money back, and the reasons why I thought they sucked.

#1 Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood

As I was finishing up Devil May Cry I researched what I should play next both by price and content. After all was said and done I settled on this one. After my research I was totally looking forward to it too. There aren’t that many Western games and after the gothic geekiness of Devil May Cry, I really thought this would hit the spot. The first level played a lot like a Civil War version of Call of Duty 2, which consists of a lot of making your way through dirt trenches. I totally appreciated the fact that the main characters were Rebels and Confederate flags were flying everywhere. It was old school Americana come to life! And then, I got to a part, still in the first level, where I was in charge of a cannon. These damned Yankees were down below on the river trying to cross on rafts, and the mission was basically to blow their asses out of the water before they could hit the shore. Well, five times I tried to blow them up, and five times I failed miserably despite the rafts being directly in my cannon’s cross-hairs. I ended up looking up a walk-through on the internet – ON THE FIRST LEVEL – and read you actually have to aim a bit above the rafts to actually hit them. Okay, okay, I understand gravity and such and how it may be realistic to sort of overshoot your target to actually hit your target from such a distance but, well, F U! Its a video game! And its the 1st level! Note to developers: If you want players to actually play the game to the end, you must first sort of seduce them into caring about your game before pissing them off. In other words, make the first three or four levels completely completable and then throw the trickster, frustrating crap at them once they have some emotion and time invested – then they’ll actually have reason to be patient and work it out. Anyway, one word, Returned!

#2 Left 4 Dead:

My that’s a nasty thumb wound!

So, part 2 is about to come out just in time for Christmas, and I thought it might be time to get around to part 1. Everywhere I go on the web people are freaking out about this game. Even some of my regular web hangouts where people aren’t that into video games, they’re into Left For Dead. So yeah, supposed to be totally awesome! And I’m sure it is in multi-player. I can’t say this game sucked since it seems the strengths lie in the multi-player aspect. I’m just a solo type of gamer and when I popped this one in for the one player campaign, well, the entire game is pre-opened up for you. There is no opening up level after level – you just choose the scenario and go. I played through one level and there really wasn’t a story, and since there was no challenge, to me, solo-wise, there was no point. This is definitely a case of my gaming preferences just not being compatible with the game. So I hesitate to say the game sucked or really hammer into it in any meaningful way. That being said, for being so popular and having so many people rave about it, I thought the graphics were definitely subpar for such a hit game. But I digress… the point ultimately is that the game was returned. In its place I got “Ghostbusters: The Video Game” which I did finish and will write about soon.

#3 Ninja Blade

The fact that I returned this game is a shame. The graphics were very good. Lots of violence. A lot of coolio running along walls and stuff. I invested 45 minutes into it at about midnight the day I bought it. I had to work in the morning and had to go to bed. I fiddled around with the pause menu but no save feature. I shrugged. I’d been hitting checkpoints all along the way, it probably auto-saved at all the checkpoints…. right? I held my breath and turned the Xbox off. And then, curious, turned it on again and started the game, and there I was, all the way back at the beginning. I cursed and went to bed. In the morning I looked it up online and just as I suspected, the game does have an auto-save feature, but it only saves at the end of each level, each of which take an hour to an hour and a half to complete. Sorry Charlene, I’m the one who budget’s my time, not a game. If I want to play a game in short 15 minute spurts, that should be my business. I’m a busy guy and having to make sure I have an hour or more to spare before I pop in your game isn’t going to work for me. I’d like to break this off nicely and say, it’s not you, it’s me – but no, unfortunately it’s you. And, like I said, its a shame since it seems you had so much to offer.

Anyway, that’s it for now. Having exhausted so many gaming opportunities only to be disappointed, I’ve decided to return to my first love – music… which could never disappoint.

Happy Listening!


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