Thursday, September 22, 2011

Been a while........

Suffice it to say that my recent blogging activity has barely registered as a blip on the heart monitor of life, but hopefully I'll be able to turn things around and become a tad more proactive in future.

Obviously August was a bit of a write off, as I was whisked away to Gamescom by x360a. It was probably the best year yet in terms of the social side of things, as I met up with Mr Webb and Alex once again, plus had the pleasure of meeting Mr Richard Walker as well (the man tasked with doing all of the news and writing on the site on a daily basis - pity and fear him).

Pretty much every night saw us going out to meet up with a variety of other games writers and PR staff, and it was nice to put some faces to names and meet so many awesome people. Enough brown nosing though, as I also had plenty of games to see and previews to write which is why I was a little snowed under upon my return.

Even after shifting the backlog I then had a bunch of reviews to get to grips with, such as the latest incarnation of Madden and NHL, not to mention Dead Island. In fact the scenic zombie slaying title led to a veritable barrage of messages, friend requests and hate mail on live. I've never played a game like it, with so many people wondering how I'd gotten a copy early and saying that I was a hacker and/or retarded. I kid you not. Obviously I invited such naysayers to read my pending review the following Monday when the embargo was up, but this being the internet it was obvious that some people were being dicks just for the sake of it.

I actually enjoyed the game to be honest, and the vast range of review scores does puzzle me somewhat. I can certainly appreciate that the game does have its faults, but when someone scores it a three out of ten then I have to question their sincerity. Reviews are opinions at the end of the day, but surely each writer will have to endure the same strengths and weaknesses of a particular title and draw fairly similar conclusions? Obviously personal preference and some bias may well creep in along the way but, personally I try and play each game on its own merits and discount whether or not I like zombies, or racing games, or banana peeling simulators. My job is to review the game based on its own merits, rather than perceiving slights based on other titles or my own personal feelings at the time. It seems that some reviewers do tend to forget that fact and people are left confused when a game can divide opinion so widely.

Anyway, in between smacking zombies around I've also had time to go back and polish off a few other titles that have been cluttering up the old gamertag. First onto the chopping block was Need for Speed Shift, well the DLC to be more apt. To be honest it took me a few hours to get everything done so it certainly offered value for money, though I would have to say that whoever decided on the lap time targets you need for some of the challenge stars could do with a swift kick to the nether regions. The amount of time and frustration that it took me to beat some of the times, even after recording flawless laps, is exactly why I tend to avoid racing games in the first place.

I also went back and knocked off the zero point achievements I needed for NBA Ballers and Battle for the Pacific, meaning they are now 'officially' complete in the eyes of both my peers and Jesus himself. I also found out there was a Ticker only style Horde event running on Gears 2 to celebrate the impending launch of the trilogy concluding finale. So naturally I suited up and went to town battling wave after wave of exploding manaces (though mildly irritating nuisances may be a better description). I roped in a few chums to help me get through the longer waves, and I also found a way to do some of the maps in autopilot (assuming they had a boomshield), though there were a few that required me to beat up my foes solo for 10, 20 or 30 waves which soon got old. Still I've now done all of the Horde achievements and managed to knock out 1999 rounds to boot - leaving me with just Seriously 2.0 to grind through before I can move onto playing Gears 3.

I'm a a bit of a lull at the moment, just finishing up some older games and playing whatever I choose, but the review season is well and truly upon us and that will mean a bevy of new titles to sift through and write about. Bring on the pain.