mercredi 18 juillet 2012

The joy of having no expectation

I'm the type of gamer - and the type of person in general - who really likes to know what's what. In other words, I'm not a big fan of unexpected moments in my life. When my wife and I are going to rent a movie or go to the theater, I usually go on Rotten Tomatoes and/or Wikipedia to look at various things like critics, movie length, synopsis, etc. When I go to the mall I like to know what stores I'll have to go to, how much time I'll stay there, etc. And, obviously, when I buy a game (I very rarely rent one), I'll watch/read reviews, sometimes forums, consult the trophy/achievement list, ask what the length might be, if there's any bonus if it's bought new, who's the developer, etc. I just like to be safe. What happens then when you throw safety out of the window?

I recently went to the local game store where I bought, for 15 dollars, two relatively old PS3 games I knew very little about. In fact I had never read a review nor watched a gameplay video for either game. And I don't think I've ever done that this gen, except perhaps for PSN titles, which were very cheap or even free. Anyways, those games were X-Men Origins : Wolverine and Wolfenstein. In fact I knew so little about the games it so happened that both were made by Raven Software and published by Activision. Not unlike, ironically, one of my favorite "non-mainstream" games this gen : Singularity.

Let's start with Wolfenstein, which I finished, in approximately 7 hours, earlier this week. For the first half I really enjoyed it, thought it was great... but the pleasure didn't last and I somewhat had to convince myself I should finish it. The story was uninteresting because of the way it was presented, the characters were bland and had horrible voice acting (Why would Germans speak english to each other with a German accent? Why not simply speak German with subtitles?), but at least the gameplay was sharp. The powers your character could use weren't balanced at all, but they made some sense and at least one of them was pretty fun to use. The boss fights were OK for the most part, except for one near the end which was completely pointless and boring. Overall the gameplay and original guns saved the game, and I daresay it was a good game. Especially since I didn't except anything from this game, nothing at all.

Now, as for X-Men, it's another thing completely. I have to say I haven't finished it yet, but so far I would say it's probably the best "Beat'em up" or  "GoW-clone" I've played since... well probably the first God of War. The fact that I've always liked X-Men and especially the character of Wolverine (not original, I know) helped somewhat, but the game itself is VERY entertaining. Sure it's a bloodbath, but somehow that negative side got drowned (no pun intended) by the pure joy brought by the awesome gameplay. The "Lunge" game mechanic by itself is worth the 5$ I've paid for the game. And now I feel sad I didn't pay more for the game, or even bought it new, to encourage Raven for making such a great game. It's not over yet, but so far it's a LOT more than I ever expected.

On that note, my PS+ subscription gave me the opportunity to get Gotham City Impostors for free. That's another game I feel ashamed not paying for. Since it's easily worth the 15$ it's asking for. Or it would, if the matchmaking wasn't so broken. But when it works, it's FPS-multiplayer fun very few games could match.

I'm glad I tried those three games without thinking about what they were or how they were rated by anyone. I might do that more often now. I WILL do that more often, even if I sometimes am disappointed by the result.

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