Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What not to do and what to do

Hotline Miami worked one more night of magic, making time disappear more quickly than I thought possible. It was almost unnerving: I sat down with about seven levels to go, finished those along with two bonus levels, and once again three hours had gone by. My soda had gone flat because I forgot to drink it. My knees hurt because I had not moved. This gaming distilled down to the most bare essentials. It a high proof experience that should only consumed in small doses and even then with great care.

Not that I know anything about this kind of thing. Anymore.
There is nothing negative to say about Hotline Miami and I am ashamed that I had not played it sooner. It would have been nice if it made a little more sense, and if I had known there were puzzle pieces to collect in every level that unlocked a different ending I might have tried to find them, but the story ambiguities actually added to the experience. Why am I killing people? Am I actually doing this or is it all a dream? Why does wearing a horse mask allow me to murder people by slamming door into them?

None of that is important. All that mattered was pressing X to try one more time. Again and again and again.


My first reaction to The Last of Us, once it stopped showing me things and let me do something, was not a very good one. The combat felt sloppy and imprecise and it really wasn't very much fun. After dying over and over to a clicker surrounded by less lethal, more observant zombies I figured it out: you aren't supposed to like the combat. It doesn't matter if it is against a room full of infected or a dozen guys with guns and body armor, combat is not supposed to be fun. Joel is no Nathan Drake: getting shot hurts like hell and knocks him on his ass. Aiming is less of an exact science and more 'I hope this hits' and hand to hand combat is painful for all involved.

It is a radical departure from Uncharted, one that I was not quite ready for. Now that I know what I am not supposed to do I am sure it will be more fun. Still, fuck clickers, one hit kills suck not matter how you justify them.

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