Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A practical guide for Christmas 2008 - Part 1

Not long now.

The closer we get to December 25, the more games seem to pile up. With an incredible amount of decent titles on the shelf, obviously it's nigh on impossible to purchase all of them at once, what with expenses like home loans, gym memberships and $8000-a-week cocaine habits eating away at our wallets. So, what's best for you? Well, everything. THEY'RE AWESOME VIDEO GAMES.

Okay then, not everything. Let's see what's good and/or bad about the amazing releases at the moment and perhaps you'll realise which ones suit you (and your children) best...


PRICE: $89.00

Before purchasing the adventures of space engineer Isaac Clarke and the gruesome fate of the mining ship USG Ishimura, be sure to unplug your phone, turn off your lights and buy a decent pair of headphones. Played in the wee hours of the morning, Dead Space can provide you with those much needed feelings of dread and scares not properly seen since Resident Evil 2.

PROS: Remember the movie Event Horizon? Remember how it had a brilliant premise and setting and then fucked it all up with stupid Hollywood script changes and last minute editing? Well, prepare to have those needs met with Dead Space. The cold, loneliness of space comes through thick and fast. That and all the spooky whispering. When you get to actually go outside the ship, the vacuum of space causes you to be enveloped in overwhelming silence. Which is disturbing when you realise you can't hear the creatures sneaking up behind you.
CONS: It doesn't stop. Dead Space justs goes on and on. Now, I don't mean it's too long but nowhere in the game is there any place to naturally say "Okay, that's a good place to save my progress and go mow the lawn." No, I'm afraid it will be more like "Oh shit, if I don't get to the bridge and jump on that laser cannon, those asteroids will tear this ship apart. Move!". All the while the sun is rising and you have to go to work.


FABLE 2 (XBOX 360)
PRICE: $79.00

After a tragic childhood, you play a young adventurer on the path to revenge in the fantasy world of Albion. Guided by many engaging characters, you traverse a MASSIVE game world to busy yourself with quests to free slaves, buying real estate, gambling, wood chopping, sharp-shooting, spellcasting, dancing, lute-playing, killing bandits, killing townspeople, marrying women, marrying men, having children, neglecting children, being divorced, furnishing houses, collecting rent, talking to ghosts, diving off cliffs, fighting trolls and...digging up condoms. All before exacting your long-awaited revenge.

PROS: Nothing is boring in this game. Even being a bartender. I spent a unhealthy amount of time pulling pints of beer in this game. It's a fine art and the better and more consistent you are at it, the more gold you earn. After earning hundreds of gold bartending, I'd walk to the other side of the pub floor and gamble it away. I did this for weeks. That's weeks in the game mind you, not in real life.
CONS: Your constant companion throughout the game is a dog. He'll follow you to certain death and fight alongside you and gradually he'll become like another part of you. But the trouble is, if he gets hurt in a fight and you hear him whimper, you'll instantly turn into a red tornado of rage toward whoever did the damage and suddenly you're on your feet screaming at the TV "DON'T YOU DARE HURT SERGEANT SNUGGLES, YOU MOTHERFUCKER! I'M GONNA THROW THIS INFERNO SPELL UP YOUR ARSE! CHOO CHOO! HERE COMES THE DEATH TRAIN YOU SON OF A BITCH!". Which can be disconcerting to anyone sitting in the same room.
Disclaimer: I called my dog Basil and gave him an adorable blue collar.

FAR CRY 2 (XBOX 360, PC)
PRICE: $89.00

In war-torn Africa, gun-running is big business. And sitting on top of a pile of money is a dude called The Jackal. It's your job to make sure he doesn't earn one more dollar from arms dealing. How? Why, by brutally slaughtering hundreds upons hundreds of rebel faction members, of course. And then shooting him.

PROS: Well, where to start. You get paid in diamonds to drive around the savannahs of Africa and engage in contract-killings of corrupt police chiefs and rival weapons traders. You befriend mercenaries who help you out when you almost die and you can upgrade your weapons until they resemble nothing but awesome. What about that could you not like?
CONS: Let me tell a story. I had just finished blasting through a railyard filled with angry enemies who wanted me dead. After healing my wounds (in a rather gruesome bush-doctor fashion), I calmly walked back to my black Jeep SUV which I parked on the side of the road further down the hill. Happily reloading my shotgun, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a zebra sniffing around next to my car. At this point in the game, I hadn't been this close to any of the African wildlife, so I was amazed. He seemed to be interested in my car and didn't really notice me as I walked closer. As I was intrigued by his behaviour, suddenly - out of nowhere - the zebra headbutted my car and dropped dead. I was shocked. I ran up to his body like a child who had just lost his toy down a storm drain, emitting nonsensical jabbering such as "Huh?" and "Wha?". I couldn't understand why this poor creature had decided to end his life on the rear crumple zone of my Jeep brand Wrangler. Just as I was starting to wrap my mind around this event and work through the grieving process, a green hatchback appeared and drove towards me at top speed. I dove out of the way just in the nick of time to turn back to see the driver climb out of the car and point his gun at me. It was then that I realised he had run over the body of the poor zebra. And he didn't even care.

I won't go into too much detail about what happened next, so let me explain in pictures:



Obviously, parts of Far Cry 2 can easily address some deep issues that not even my subconcious self has the balls to fucking deal with.

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