What We’re Playing – March 23
The weekend is upon us and it’s time to play some videogames. Here are a few games we’ve been playing away from the office this week.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
How does one attempt to create a vision of the future that is tangible, exotic and reflective of the current sway of culture and politics? I have no idea, but luckily the chaps at Eidos Montreal did and they managed to flesh out Deus Ex: Human Revolution with as much detail as was necessary to create a realistic and evocative cultural landscape worthy of its lofty premise.
It’s always the small things that sway my opinion and with Deus Ex it was the environmental detail that captured my imagination… oh who am I kidding, it was the gorgeous interior decoration. I’m serious; I was cooing like a schoolgirl with every new wall and fixture and even began plans to redecorate my office to replicate some of the more oblique creations. Who knew I had a touch of the Llewelyn-Bowen about me?
God of War: Ghost of Sparta
I dread to think what the PSP would have been without the fabulous Ready at Dawn studios. In Ghost of Sparta, their third (and presumably final) release for the system, they have consistently pushed the technical and practical capabilities of the system to its limits. If all studios had approached the PSP in a similar way, it would have been the resounding success Sony yearned for, and continue to do so with the Vita.
Whereas Chains of Olympus was essentially God of War 1.5, Ghost of Sparta feels more natural as a handheld release. Save points are more frequent, time-consuming puzzles kept to a minimum and battles restricted to an appropriate scale. Even the story itself is more of a sidestep for the series than an attempted advancement; a back story that enriches the main console series, rather than advances it.
When released in late 2010, the PSP was grinding to a halt in a similar way the PS2 was for the release of God of War 2. These two sequels share many other similarities and I’m not quite sure how its possible to praise Ghost of Sparta more than that. It’s admittedly just another God of War game, so as such can’t be considered truly essential, but it’s a welcome reminder that perhaps Sony finally does understand what it takes to make a handheld succeed.
Red Dead Redemption
Ever played a game that seemed to speak to you personally on your current predicaments? That’s what Red Dead Redemption is doing for me, and that’s perhaps why I haven’t played it up until recently – the timing so beyond coincidental it might as well have been preordained.
Sure I can talk about the engaging combat, the meaty collective of sidequests, the wonderful side games (I’m quite the beast at Liar’s Dice), the powerful dialogue, or ‘dat soundtrack’ but it’s the whole package that counts. RDR is a pristine example of the raw potential and future of video games – how some stories can’t be told through books or film.
That said, Rockstar goes to show just how it should be done when you’re creating a work of art that perfectly portrays the rough and sensitive subjects of life unfair, full-circled revenge, and the eternal macabre exhibit that is human nature. Some may say it’s over-the-top, and some may find it offensive, but this is a title that merely aims to spit the truth, one that has pollinated well before 1911. Excuse me while I continue my second playthrough.
“We die alone, but we live amongst men.”