Sunday, January 10, 2010

Out of the blue.

An odd thing happened while playing Darkest of Days last night: there was a brief moment of quality. Out of absolutely nowhere the game got better, if only for a few minutes. Since no one should actually play the game, I will spoil it for you.

After jumping into World War 2 and killing slowly jogging nazis with a sniper rifle that did almost all of the work for me I was captured by enemies that weren't there thirty seconds ago. Following the customary beating I woke up in a train surrouded by other men, all dressed in prison stripes, none of whom spoke english. The train ground to a stop and we were all ushered out by cold, grumpy germans. No subtiltes, no explanation, just you and a bunch of whispering, scared russians. I knew we were being hearded into a concentration camp, but the character, who had just recently been plucked out of from under General Custer's nose, would have no idea what was going on, which added to an already present feeling of isolation and panic.

Over the next few minutes I was pushed through barbed wire lined hallways, menaced by underfed dogs, and hit over the head several times by guards. No one else in line raised a finger to help, leaving me alone, weaponless, cold, and having no idea what to do next. I still had my map, but it had several large holes in it along with the instructions, 'find your target, don't die.' Big help.

The game had just jumped far out of its own league, almost as if this area was done by a more competant section of the development team just before Activision found them and they were absorbed into another, larger talent black whole. As suddenly as this new found quality arrived, it was gone. My guide, who has been a font of terrible lines and meaningless profanity, shows up with this gem:

'My German blows goats. Take this, you'll know when to use it.'

And then I remembered that I was not playing a good game. Darkest of Days is a terrible game that stumbled ass backwards into a good idea and had no idea what to do with it.

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