What I’ve been playing over the 2010 holidays; impressions of King Arthur & Far Cry 2

Over the last couple of weeks, while I’ve played a fair bit of Civilization V, on the whole I’ve taken the scattergun approach and spent a little bit of time on a lot of games instead of focusing on a couple of titles. Some of the games I played are old favourites: I returned to Fallout 3 in order to blast through the Broken Steel DLC before I wrote my feature on storytelling in Fallout 3; and I tried my hand at what seems to be the most popular challenge for Europa Universalis III veterans, rebuilding the Byzantine Empire. Some were titles that I hadn’t played before, but which I’ve owned for some time. And some were new games, largely purchased during Steam’s recent holiday sale. Here are my impressions on some of the games in the two latter categories:

 

  • King  Arthur: The Role-playing Wargame (new game): So far, I’m impressed by the production values of this game, its dark, brooding art and ethereal vocal music, and I love the premise that King Arthur and his knights live in a world filled with giants and faeries both “seelie” and “unseelie”, Christians pushing back against the old gods, and where half of England is covered by a mystic forest where time passes differently. However, I haven’t got the hang of the actual gameplay yet: more often than not, my battles seem to degenerate into confused brawls in the woods.

 

  • Bioshock and Mass Effect (backlogged games): Both these games intrigue me, and on paper, I should love both of them: one reputedly has fantastic writing and themes, the other is supposed to be a well-executed space opera pastiche. But neither has really grabbed me after the first hour or so, and again, the gameplay looks to be the culprit. Which takes me to…

 

  • Far Cry 2 (new game): This is the stand-out of the games I’ve dabbled in. When the game opened with a bumpy jeep ride through sub-Saharan Africa, with the driver telling stories about brush fires, bribing mercenaries at a checkpoint, and pointing out the last plane out of the country, I knew I was in for a distinctive, original setting. And when I lost my car in game, trudged along for a little while, realised why people find a car so essential to get around, and decided to raid a mercenary outpost just so I could loot a new one, I knew I was in for a distinctive play experience.

 

I still have many more titles I need to dig more deeply into (AI War, Rise of Nations, Rise of Legends, The Sims 3, Resonance of Fate, Dragon Age…) and something else may well capture my attention. But just based on what I’ve played so far, I suspect Far Cry 2 will end up booting Bioshock and maybe Mass Effect back down into my backlog. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I like Far Cry 2, given that I also enjoyed STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, another atmospheric open-world shooter. And as a result, I suspect those shooters I buy in the future will likely be in the same vein.

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2 Responses to What I’ve been playing over the 2010 holidays; impressions of King Arthur & Far Cry 2

  1. Josh says:

    There’s nothing wrong with Far Cry 2 booting Bioshock, but I will talk evenly about my own experiences with each.

    Bioshock: Don’t give up on it. If I recall, part of it has been spoiled for you. I don’t know which part. But consider this, close to the beginning of the game (a few hours in) Bioshock evoked a sense of anger, vengeance at what had happened in part of the story. I wasn’t driven to the end by the goal of ticking a box and saying the game was done, I was driven by my own emotion to see it to the end; suddenly, the story went into 5th gear and I was emotionally invested in what happened.

    Far Cry 2: So I’m walking the African wilderness with my shiny new sniper rifle that I had just unlocked. It is the black one. I don’t normally care too much about sniping, but the black one simply sounded cool when it fires. Just like how much I admire the rumbling sound of an explosion, normally hits me when I throw a grenade for the first time in a while when picking the game back up.

    But yes, I am walking around the wilderness when I stumble across a camp. I was on the high ground. They hadn’t seen me. I get the scope up, and centre on a guy taking a casual leak against a wall. My finger is on the trigg….. errr, mouse button, about the fire. But I don’t. I look at the screen, then relax back into my chair. If only Aristotle were still alive, for I’m sure there could have been some sort of deep philosophical conversation about what went through my mind in those moments. What point was there in shooting the guy. In a real life scenario, what would be achieved shooting the guy, knowing full well I was outnumbered, and in all likelihood, opening myself to probable death or serious injury. I didn’t shoot, I went on my way knowing full well a firefight would serve no purpose (unless I needed ammo of course), but from that moment, the game changed for me. I was only shooting out of necessity depending on the circumstances, not because it was fun.

    Needless to say, both are great games in my opinion.

    • Peter says:

      Hmm. In both cases, Bioshock and FC2, you reacted to an in-game event as though it were “real”, right? That says good things about the immersiveness of those games. :D

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