By 2PM on Saturday afternoon, I was convinced that I could not move on from Red Dead Redemption. Even though I had tied up the loose ends of the narrative, I was thinking that I would be happy not to touch another game until I had killed every buffalo, helped every stranger and found every township. After having dwelled on my conundrum for another hour, I thought to myself that it may be time to move on. If only to see that I wasn't missing much if I was to leave the Great Plains.
The first disc loaded was King of Fighters XII. I paid 19 dollars for the Collector's Edition, which included a detailed statue of SNK stalwart, Terry Bogard and it still felt like a monumental rip-off. This is the most shallow, uninspiring fighting game I have ever had the displeasure of playing. The arcade most consists of 5 fights using the usual 3 versus 3 KoF formula. No boss fight. No noticeable rise in difficulty across fights. The aim of arcade mode is to have completed all 5 fights in an overall time which is faster than your opponents. This time attack slant on the franchise could have been interesting if it weren't for the fact that the computer-controlled opponents are only able to manage a time of 59:59:59. In my first of two playthroughs, I completed in just over 6 minutes and didn't lose a single round. While the achievement whore in me was happy enough, I felt robbed. Robbed, as there was no final confrontation, no real test of skill. I thought I could satiate my thirst for a challenge by taking the fight online. How wrong I was. For the few players still accepting matches online are a class of player worse than the achievement whore; they are achievement vultures. Still trying desperately to attain that last bit of gamerscore for participating in 300 matches. I don't think the two players I came across were interested in winning as they both appeared to have put the A button on autofire while I proceeded to smash them with Joe Higashi's Hurricane Upper. Once again, I snagged a few achievements but I was far from satisfied. To further spoil the deal, KoF XII is one ugly duckling with heavily pixelated (I will concede however, rather large) sprites, a handful of arenas and frame rate hitches when anything resembling modern visual effects appears on screen. The only bright side to this grim tale is the responsiveness of the 360 controller in this 2D fighter. I could pull off any maneuvers I desired after 2 attempts, which for anyone who has played Street Fighter IV on a 360 controller would know, is impressive. Avoid at all costs dear readers, you have been warned.
After this bitter affair I felt guilty, and thought that I should return to the streets of Blackwater and repent after my unfaithful behaviour. I booted up my PS3 to find a friend had invited me to play Lost Planet 2. Could I really do this to old Red twice in one day? Well, it had been two weeks since I had played Lost Planet 2, and a veneer of dust had begun to accumulate on the brutally difficult action game's case. It couldn't hurt. Headset equipped, I ventured into the dense jungles of EDN III to battle a band of snow pirates (?) who appear to enjoy bondage play and have an affinity for large tribal tattoos and revealing clothing. The results were highly favourable. With the difficulty set to easy, I was able to forgive my lack of skill (in normal difficulty at least), and finally best the evil tattooed biker bondage pirates and fight another day.
Could I really enjoy something that wasn't Red Dead Redemption?
Moving away from RDR again, I booted up Mass Effect 2 for the first time today. I'm only about 3 hours in and it looks as though Rockstar's Wild West masterpiece will enjoy some rest for the next few weeks. The opening sequence aboard the crumbling starship, Normandy was truly something to behold. Further to that, Bioware's mastery of chatter and consequence has sucked me in again. The gunplay and visuals have also been significantly improved over it's predecessor.
So the answer is: Life carries on, even outside of the greater South-West. What games were you all playing over the weekend?