I never know how to name these weekend update posts in a way that makes them understandable when I look back on them in a few months.
As promised, I need to roll back my earlier statement that Gears of War 5 was a wash for me. After watching Nimgimli post several Tweets and a blog post about the game, I figured I owed it another shot because there was something I was missing. And by missing, I mean not even having allowed it to stretch its legs. I reinstalled it on Saturday, and then spent several hours over the course of Saturday and Sunday going through the campaign (I have not yet finished).
After spending literally years playing FPS, the over-the-shoulder third person perspective in Gears still makes me uncomfortable. I always have trouble moving successfully between cover locations without standing up and ambling around like a target dummy, and I am always so focused on the action that I almost never remember to read the tutorial instructions that pop up on the screen. I struggle through combat most of the time, and since I’m not an egoist gamer, I’m OK with aim assist and all of those kinds of bells and whistles. To my credit, I have not lowered the difficulty to the easiest setting, though; I want to get through the story and actually do the work, it seems.
The game is absolutely beautiful,. If memory serves, every single Gears game sends you through some kind of ruined city, and each one has been breathtaking in its scope and detail. The boss fights are difficult enough to make me feel accomplished, but not so difficult that I throw my game pad through the screen (barring the events of the previous post which I admit were a tad bit hasty). There are some pretty amusing moments, some absolutely horrifying moments, and some poignant moments. As far as the ongoing Gears story goes, I’m not as familiar with it as I am with the backstory of Halo, but I do feel the need to find somewhere to read about the events that have transpired up to this point so I can understand certain aspects of character interaction. This is one game that I am glad I managed to snag through the Ultimate Game Pass, because I know I wouldn’t have purchased it otherwise, and I’m happy I gave it a second chance.
In other news, I played a decent amount of Rogue Galaxy Outlaw this weekend. I am very torn by this game. Usually if there’s a sandbox game that allows you to fly a space craft around the universe, shooting things, buying and selling, and interacting with the wildlife, then I’m all in. On the other hand, RGO might be a bit too simplistic after having played games like Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen. I had been hesitant to even buy RGO because in the marketing materials the cockpit views — where you spend most of your interactive time — reminded me of the old Wing Commander days on account of how low-fi the graphics looked.
But then again, the game does remind me of another game from back then, Freelancer. I loved the hell out of Freelancer. It was basically RGO before RGO, right down to the menu driven station interactions and jump gate navigation system. Still, that was then — when such simplistic game loops were cutting edge — and this is now — when we’ve moved way past such arcade-like simplicity — and while RGO is fun to jump in and play now and then, I can’t foresee myself burrowing into this game unless I am absolutely bored or only have a half hour of time to play something.