The Gaming Season

Well it should come as no surprise that I’m going to be talking about my love for video games. It’s an art form and story-telling device that I’ve enjoyed for the better part of my life. I’m huge into music and books, as well, but nothing tops video games for engrossing me into stories. Granted most games have pretty linear stories, but it’s nice to have some say in how you get to that ending. Well, let me get back to the actual purpose for this blog. Around this time of year the biggest games of the year usually make their way into the homes of avid gamers. This is something I’ve grown accustomed to throughout the years. This year, however, has been a serious overload of fantastic titles from the biggest gaming companies. I’ve tried to pick up what games I can, but there’s plenty others I’ll have to play at a later time. These are the few I’ve had the pleasure of playing through.
The first game that immersed myself into this season was Batman: Arkham City. Now I should note, I really didn’t know much about Batman outside of the cartoon series and movies. No, Jack, Batman Forever is not my favorite Batman movie. This game, however, enlightened me on the Batman universe. I was introduced to some of the lesser known characters and locations. Of course the Joker, Riddler, and the Penguin make appearances, too. I must confess, the Penguin sounds awesome with a cockney accent. Aside from learning more about Batman and the messed up population of Arkham, the game is a blast to play thorugh. You truly don’t have to know anything about Batman. The combat is very intuitive. The punching, countering, and use of gadgets all make up for interesting take downs. There is also a huge aspect of puzzle solving in the game thanks to the Riddler. With plenty of side missions and extra game plays, I had a copious amount to do. The ending of the story was as shocking as I expected. With the completion of the game, I started reading some of the Batman comics. I’ll talk about that at a later date, however.
With a huge smile on my face after the completion of Arkham City, I looked to the next game coming out, Battlefield 3. Now I had never played the previous Battlefield games. For my first-person shooter fixes, I would turn to the Call of Duty franchise. This time around, though, I was interested enough to try it out. Well, once I started playing I knew I made a good decision. It was vastly different from what I was used to playing the Call of Duty games. First off, they have vehicles you can hop in and control. Such as, tanks, helicopters, and jets. Because they impliment vehicles, the maps need to be much larger than those in Call of Duty. There are finer differences, such as a class system where you choose to be a certain specialist. One specialist being an engineer. This class is special for repairing and destroying vehicles. I must say, blowing a jet out of the air from the ground is very satisfying. All in all, It was a breath of fresh air to play a first-person shooter than doesn’t rely heavily on twitch controls. However, since the game relies on teams working in unison, it’s much harder to win the games on your own.
As I was enjoying Battlefield 3 for a couple of weeks, I knew that the next game on my need list was coming. The highly anticipated, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This is the game that even casual gamers know about. Hell, angry neglected girlfriends know about this game. This is the first-person shooter that has many gamers playing through the night just to get a certain camo or upgrade for their gun. Once they get that upgrade, they just want to try it out for one more match. That one match turns into a dozen matches. It’s an ugly sleep-deprived cycle. The competitve nature of this game brings out the anger in everyone at some point. Everyone has something to complain about, which usually consists of somebdody complaining about someone else’s fighting tactics. An example being, “Oh you little bitch, you’re such a camper.” I should explain what a “camper” is. A “camper” is a person who prefers to stay in one certain area of a map and kill people from there instead of running around the map searching for his prey. I’ve heard the most soft-spoken of people rant and rave like a racist lunatic in the online lobbys. It’s one of the biggest reasons I love playing this game online. Now since this game lacks the vehicles that are in Battlefield, the maps are much smaller. It’s logical since you’re running everywhere instead of hitching a ride to a certain part of the map. Since the maps are smaller, it’s very tight-quarters and you have to rely on quick reflexes to hit anyone who happens to be around every corner. I’m sure I’ll be spending plenty of time on this game, but there’s one game that seems to be monopolzing any of my spare time.
The game that has been attracting all my attention this year, is Skyrim. It’s the next game in the Elder Scrolls series. I’m not even sure how to begin explaining the vastness of the game. Not only is the game built to such a huge scale, but you can actually venture anywhere at any time. From the huge mountains to the vast icy seas, there is really no limitation to what you can trek across. The game revolves around exploring and leveling up your skills. Whether you prefer to be a thief who can pickpocket and pick locks, be a mage who can light little critters on fire, or just a brawny warrior who can beat a troll into submission, you’ll find a play style you like. You can, in fact, be a brawny thief who likes to light things on fire if you prefer. This is one of those few games where your choices actually effect the whole outcome of the story. Whether you want to help out the Imperials who believe everyone on the continent should follow the same set of rules, or help out the rebels who just want to have the freedom to choose in their own country, you will make an impact on the outcome of the war. There’s plenty more to do than further the story along, in fact I’ve spent most of my time hunting down dragons and advancing my smithing skills. There’s nothing like building your own sword to cut off the head of a bandit. It’s strange to think that doing things like picking flowers for your potions and mining for your materials used in building your armor could be so fulfilling. I suppose that’s just in the charm of the game. You can buy a house and fill it with your spoils of war, and then you can have someone guard that house. As I’ve said before, there is just an copious amount of things to do.
So far, with just this handful of games I’ve played, I feel as though I’ve already played through a year’s worth of games. In reality, though, there are plenty more that have come out that I also look forward to playing. Whether it’s searching for ancient artifacts in Drake’s Deception, roaming Italy as an older and wiser Ezio Auditore in the new Assassins Creed, or taking the reins of Link in his new adventure to save princess Zelda. So if I’m not seeing you at all during the holiday season or at my place of work, you better add me to your friends list on Xbox or Playstation if you want to contact to me. I go by the handle, PapaSquatch, on both systems. Game on.