Instead of continuing with the September heavyweights this weekend, I opted to look through my collection and play through some titles that I had rightly or wrongly neglected over the course of the year. First cab off the rank was Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, which proved to be quite the surprise packet. I won't delve too heavily into my experiences with this title, as I will post a review on Wednesday; you should know however, that it was not the unmitigated failure that I expected it to be. The single player quest while brief, features several memorable sequences. Also of note: the multiplayer modes on offer in Dog Days are so drastically different to anything else on the market, and if it weren't for the small community and generally poor connection quality seen in matches played; I would argue that it could warrant further investigation.
I also logged a few hours on the single player portion of Bizarre Creation's latest racer, Blur. If nothing else, Blur is the most visually spectacular racing game to be released this year. With the amount of cars, explosions and related chaos on screen, I was suprised to find the frame rate never dropped. It is a shame though that the racing action itself is not as consistent as the visuals. During some events I sped through courses unhindered, yet still failed to place. Conversely, sometimes I found myself copping more punishment than a beligerent school boy, and still managed to win by more than a few lengths. After several hours driving solo, I was keen then to test my skills online. Much to my disappointment though, I found less than a hundred players total, playing in the available lobbies. Almost slimmer pickings than Kane and Lynch 2 right there!
Recently I've been able to experience the Eastern and Western flavours of organised crime. With 2K Czech's Mafia II, I learned that mob life in the US was not without consequence. Vito Scaletta's meteoric rise was peppered with tragedy, but also with excitement. The thrill of car chases, shootouts and fist-fights. There was a heavy focus on narrative, and I was engrossed in the entire experience; warts and all. Then there is Sega's Yakuza 3, and after three hours I still have no idea what it's about. In its defense, I opted to watch movies that catalogued the events of the previous instalments of the franchise prior to starting Kazuma's latest adventure: lots of people died, there were a few double-crosses, there were reunions and even a tale of unrequited love. Still, after this hour of narrative catch-up I failed to make any sense of the opening cut-scene. Someone was killed, I'm sure he was a prominent figure, but I can't tell you who he was, or why his death was pivotal to the plot of Yakuza 3 (or the series as a whole).
The confusion didn't end there, and nor did the boredom. Pages worth of text-based expostition, punctuated with repetitive combat have left me exhausted, and restless. I've spent such a short amount of time actually playing Yakuza 3, and I can't stand the prospect of sitting through another pointless exchange on a rooftop, somewhere in Kamurocho.
What did you all play this weekend?