I play games, sometimes too many at once. So i mix up the era, genre and styles. An old game can make an average new game feel very fresh. An old game can stand the test of time and for all its slow pace and pixelated motions it can carry a passion for design across decades. Some games are always just fun. Here are some of both types I played (for the first time) lately.
Horizon Zero Dawn
It is a finely made game. A concept that can really carry a world and many forms of gameplay, the issue being I enjoy the world vastly more than any of the gameplay. The climbing really felt as if from a game from a whole generation ago while fighting any enemies or using any of the weapons or tools was a chore for the first 20 hours of gameplay before upgrades start turning the battletide. I gave it a good 30 hours before I dropped it but I did enjoy the time spent in its world, however the game simply did not give enough back to me that was more substantive that the regular open world collectathon with some old-styled combat tools. I like the protagonist but the story itself didn't draw me despite the talented voice acting. I did not play on since every time I played a story mission it almost immediately became not fun to play and a sense of rinse and repeat through checkpoints because choosing to proceed without stealth felt like chaotic madness.
The games reputation and renowned acclaim affected me at the time of release when I purchased it 5+ years ago. So I passed on it after about 3 hours of gameplay. A month ago, some since forgotten impulse to blame, I noticed this game was still installed on my laptop. I'm glad for the desire to be distracted which saw me give it another try. It clicked for me this time around. I don't know what clicked or what I seen this time but it somehow came together in a way puzzle games do not often do so for me (I'm more skilled at the well-timed-jump kind of puzzle) but this was just a lot of fun. I also think well balanced difficulty made this both accessible and enjoyable. The design feel polished while having a personal touch that can be enjoyed despite whatever external media exists on the creator. I believe the game will survive and go on to, and continue to, inspire other designs.
A game designed under heavy limitations, or so I'm inclined to think. This company has a lot of games I really like and would describe the same way. I think this is one of their best. I wish there was more of it, official or via mod, both of which unjustly don't exist. It is still functional to the point where I would recommend it to some people, some people with specific tastes. The car combat doesn't end up being all of what it should/could been and you can really mess things up for yourself if you don't know when to run from a fight, but this was a big leap for this developer and it's a shame the game never took off in the modding scene. The best parts are when you are kept busy gathering scrap, raiding for fuel and hunting with harpoon, all which mean getting to the action fast since freedom means just a lot of empty deserts, which I still enjoyed. It's fuel gimmick still felt enough like Mafias 2's for me to not mind it much.
Good natured and simple fun. I have yet to finish this game but it is a fine example the more top down Zelda titles, with a great impressive deal of show do not tell. The game has a relaxed pace which may turn off some players, and the games sense of direction is often left up to you or which every NPC helper you are meant to follow. The game does reward you for sticking with it, the typical genre upgrades and exploration are incentive to keep playing and the game difficulty is uneven since enemies rarely offer anything harder than the puzzles (or navigation trials).
Why didn't anyone tell me? Okay, everyone has had their laugh by keeping this one hidden from me. Go on, let me dive into retro FPS games without anyone telling me about the gems. Let him wander aimlessly through Doom and Blake Stone and their knockoffs. Oddly I played Hexen (considered Heretic's sequel) before this game and the game did not grab me, which is of course down to personal preference such as levels divided into stages and choice of character classes. A game with some very fine level design that genuinly was exciting to play. It really felt like the sweet spot between Doom and the fantasy genre. The game loses steam the further you get through the available chapters which is when you need to go online to the mod scene.
A hard game to recommend but only because the whole experience is so unique ...and a little slow in both audio and visual. It's a fun time, it plays like the books the main characters enjoy and I enjoy the same type of corny melodrama dialogue. The puzzles are strange but often humorous. The setting, atmosphere and soundtrack did alot of heavy lifting. While not everyone will feel this game has aged great, full 3D remake most likely incoming, I look forward to diving into the rest of the series. I actually think people who enjoy mid-2000's TV shows would find this right at home (I call this a rainy Sunday type of game).
Duke Nukem 3D
I may have made a mistake playing the 20th anniversary edition. In fact the further you get from the time of release only dilutes the playing experience... in my opinion. I simply did not enjoy the levels in the game,which are not without cool set pieces. I found the enemies more annoying than challenging and the guns I struggle to even remember having used. Unfortunately the most fun I had with this game was via unofficial content. The legacy cannot be denied and maybe one of those fan-made redesigns would suit me better but it just didn't gel with me the first time around. I am open to a second attempt once the after taste is forgotten.
I like new and old, the balance can be fun and lead to interesting and awful combinations. Let me know of any odd balance acts you juggle in your gaming backlog.
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