I Play Video Games Sometimes – Thoughts on Deadpool, Tomb Raider and Assassin’s Creed 3

Posted: August 7, 2013 in Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , ,


Deadpool GameI managed to bang through Deadpool in a week. Not even a week of furious game-playing. Just an hour or two a night. Yes, it was on Easy, but then I wasn’t looking for a challenge, just some fun. It’s what I like about Activision’s Marvel games – they’re pretty straight-forward. You play a game with Wolverine in it, then Wolverine is going to run around stabbing dudes and yelling. Hell, it’s unlikely he’s even going to die all that much, assuming you put a lot of XP into his health bar.

Same with Deadpool – and that dude not only can heal and slice people, he can shoot them and teleport out of danger, too. So, that’s what you do. For, I guess, about 12 hours total. There is a more unconventional spot in the middle where Deadpool has to venture into a strange underworld to retrieve souls for Death, though surprisingly that still involves a lot of shooting dudes.

Ultimately, it’s on me for enjoying Batman: Arkham City, the Assassin’s Creed series and even last year’s open-world Amazing Spider-Man tie-in so much. I don’t need EVERY game to have expansive sets I can wander about and explore in (and buy new outfits in), but without that feature, it sure does feel like an unambitious game.

Lotta cursing in there, too. That was a surprise.

Best part of the game: Sinister’s imperfect exploding Gambit clones, who come at you in droves chanting “MON AMI! MON AMI! MON AMI!” before you blow them up.

Tomb Raider

Tomb RaiderMy first question when my friend lent me the rebooted Tomb Raider, as I looked at young, inexperienced Lara Croft on the cover and remembered those weird comments about keeping her safe from danger, was, “So do I have to worry about the threat of rape in this thing?”

“No…well, I mean one guy does get a little handsy, but that’s it.”

Relieved, I went home and started playing, until I realized I also should have asked, “Do I have to worry about getting mauled by wolves or crushed under a rock or stabbed in the neck?” Because the answer to that is, yes. Yes I did.

It’s not so disconcerting that they chose some pretty graphic, messed-up possible deaths, it’s that WOLVES ARE MAULING AN INEXPERIENCED, TERRIFIED GIRL. It’s startling, and you as a player feel guilty that you let it happen. In starting Lara Croft off at ground zero with virtually no resources, few skills and – this is the important thing here – living in a constant state of fear and exhaustion – it actually makes the player feel complicit every time you fail to get her out of danger (and again, I am not great at video games, so…this girl is going to be dying quite a lot, I’m afraid).

Which is a very strange motivator to get through the game – to reach a point where you/Lara are skilled enough to not, y’know, get stabbed in the neck with a booby trap. It’s like the GOB Bluth method of gaming: “Now once you can climb over that wall without getting punched in the stomach, you’ll have a lot more fun!”

Assassin’s Creed III

This game is so assured that you will like it that it makes you sit through 10 minutes of “The Story So Far…” explanations about a character nobody gives a shit about, and a conspiracy involving assassins, Templars, Roman Gods and the Apocalypse that is nearly impossible to make sense out of.

Pictured: A guy you do not play as for 2 hours.

Pictured: A guy you do not play as for 2 hours.

And then it sticks you on a boat for another 20 minutes.

And then once you finally get to Boston, just when you think you’re going to get some sustained combat going, it makes you reload a musket in real time.

And that’s when it dawns on you that you haven’t even been playing as the ostensible star of the game, the guy on the box in the white hood … you’re playing as his dad. For two straight hours.

What I am saying is that Assassin’s Creed is a series that is comfortable with everyone taking their time.

  1. Jeff Holland says:

    What’s really weird is that I wrote this before getting to the point in Assassin’s Creed 3 where I ALSO had to worry about being mauled by wolves.

    2012: The Year of Wolf-Mauling in Video Games.

  2. braak says:

    In 2014, we will see an ironic meta-reaction, where you play as the wolf in all of the side scenes, trying to maul hero characters who are completing quests.

  3. braak says:

    Hah. Hahah. Actually that is a really good idea for a videogame.

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    I would play the shit out of Mauling Wolf.

  5. Bill Pettit says:

    hehehe. Deadpool said “stink-pickle”

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