In order to focus my energies this weekend I picked a genre: First Person Shooter; and even nominated some titles to play through; but I never got around to it. A psychotic, talking bunny and a 6 foot-tall dog wearing a suit hijacked the better half of the weekend. Sam and Max: Hit the Road was one of my favourite games during my childhood, where the Point-and-Click Adventure game reigned supreme for quite some time. With a dry, quirky sense of humour, the original Sam and Max featured some of the more memorable characters and (albeit nonsencial) puzzles I've played within this classic genre of videogames. More than 15 years since their debut on the PC, the Freelance Police have now made their way to the Playstation 3.
Unfortunately, PS3 owners have been made to follow on from Season 3 (The Devil's Playhouse) of the comedic duo's episodic adventures. Having now completed the first episode, The Penal Zone, I can't help but think the best days of this genre are well behind us. Sure the laughs are there, and the puzzles will force the occasional scratch of the noggin, but the whole process felt tiresome, dated, even redundant. This observation extended to the gags as well. I'm not saying that the standard of the humour was purile, but apart from a few restrained chuckles, laughs were not assured thanks to the hit-and-miss jokes employed throughout the episode. Thankfully, the episodes are now being made available individually so you can judge if the full season would be of interest; but for those of you (thanks Rubes) who paid for the entire season initially, this is a bit of a gamble. The second episode, The Tomb of Sammun-Mak is proving to be much more interesting due to the non-linear nature of the narrative, however once again the laughs do not occur as consistently as you might suspect.
Another contradiction to my words on Friday for your consideration: Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker had several protracted tours over the weekend. More challenging boss battles were punctuated by simple, yet entirely necessary micro-management, as well as some good, old-fashioned target practice. In its predecessor (Portable Ops), the recruitment and troop management system seemed pointless. In Peace Walker, with the exception of the Recon team, the troops you employ can reap some tangible benefits that have noticeably enriched the experience. Further into the game, you can deploy squads of your recruits, as well as any vehicles you acquire to various conflicts, which in turn earns money for research and development (R&D). Any upgrades to gear and equipment can be used by the combatants you control, and by the soldiers you dispatch to various conflicts across the globe. Militaires Sans Frontiers is now packing fully-upgraded rocket launchers and tommy guns. Classy! Navigating through the menus is seldom tiresome, and the conflicts peripheral to the main adventure do require some consideration if you are wanting to expand your arsenal and make the most of your time in Nicaragua. There is a whole mercenary economy at work here which at times demanded more attention than the adventures of Naked Snake, and given the quality of the voice-acting and illustrated comic cut-scenes, that is a compliment of the highest order.
Finally, a tip of the hat to the Oranje boys who put one hell of a fight against Spain. They may not have come away with the trophy, however I am still proud of the team and their efforts at this year's tournament. Go Nederland!