Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dark who?

Ok, much to catch up on. Most of the soreness from this weekend's riding lessons has passed. My trip to the DMV was successful and I am going shopping tonight for new wheels. Now, on to much more important things.

The narrative in Metro: Last Light fell apart complete in the third act (sound familiar?) I recall the same thing happening in the first game. Apparently surviving in subway tunnels after nuclear war while fighting Nazis, Communists and monsters is not fertile enough ground. Last Light takes a metaphysical turn, becomes incomprehensible for several hours, and then just barely reigns it in for the whiz bang finale. It also explains nothings and kills Artyom, something that I did not think games that just might have sequels were allowed to do.

When the silliness finally ended and the game got back to shooting people all was forgiven. The last ditch defense from the Reds is more intense and desperate than anything I have played in quite a while. While no secret is made that it is a hopeless battle the player is allowed to have small successes and feel like a badass before everyone dies. First a subway train crashes through a wall and enemy soldiers pour through. No problem, there is an ammo crate sitting right next to some cover. After the first wave a tank on rails shows up and Artyom is tasked with destroying it. Again, the game presents a new problem but also makes the solution available: a high powered sniper rifle is leaning up against the wall and the targets on the tank are glowing red from heat.

The process is repeated one more time with a minigun and several dozen armored enemies the game makes it abundantly clear that you are not going to win. First there is a new enemy type, a giant armored dude with a flame thrower, surround me another new enemy type, guy with body sized shields. They form phalanx around the flame thrower that I could only break by using all of my grenades. Then more enemies flow through the tunnel, only the ammo supply is gun. Just as I was about to run out of everything a second train plows through the tunnel and everything goes black.

It was that most finely tuned encounter I have played through in a long time. If the rest of the game played this way then Last Light would be a classic. Questionable battles like big momma, who I got lucky fighting but ruined the game for others, sour the whole game. Plus I cannot forgive the story going to shit by becoming far too complicated for its own good and still not explaining who or what the dark ones are. It's a good shooter but it still isn't the spiritual console successor the the first S.T.A.L.K.E.R. that I long for.

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I purchased Magic 2014 last night and immediately regretted it. The campaign for 2013 was never finished and I should be spending my free CCG time on Scrolls. The one good aspect is that it will keep me from starting Fuse for at least a day or two.

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