Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Deeper Underground

So as I'm sure I mentioned before, I'm doing my best to stay with my head in the sand today, trying to avoid the election bludgeoning the 24-hour news channels will be trying to give me, which is odd considering how much time I've devoted to it up to this point [certainly more than I gave the Canadian election, bad Trail bad, I know] but after seeing how the noble intentions of this election campaign collapsed into the business of usual mudslinging and smear tactics, and knowing how well such tactics have worked in the past, I can't even bring myself to be optimistic. So I'm just trying to avoid it as best I can, and hope I hear something I like in the morning.

Though truth be told, I'd be surprised if they really had a decisive conclusion by then.

In gaming, I spent a week with Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the ol'Xbox, and oh my God, never have I seen a game more determined to get in the way of its own fun than this one.

If you don't follow these things, TFU is a canon story told between episodes III and IV, concerning a secret apprentice Darth Vader mentored to hunt the remaining Jedi across the galaxy. So you do, swinging your lightsaber and using the Force to all sorts of destructive ends from blasting Storm Troopers with lightning to grabbing them from a distance and chucking them off a platform. Sounds amazing right? If only.

The funny thing is, the story never stops being amazing, yet the gameplay never lives up. Targeting is wonky, the camera apparently gets scared of bosses given the way it hides behind trees at inopportune times, and there's a lag in some of the controls which make something as simple as jumping a pain in the ass.

Oddly enough, after I played God of War, I didn't understand what all the fuss was about. Now, after playing games that want to be God of War, I see how they don't live up. TFU wants to combine Luke Skywalker and Kratos, but the controls just aren't that smooth.

This doesn't make it a bad game per se, just a frustrating one. It's totally worth it if you care about Star Wars at all, since it fills some of the ample gaps left by Lucas between the trilogies [and as I said, this is considered official history by the LucasArts Empire [no pun], and there are few things more badass than slapping somebody around with a black lightsaber, but there are significant flaws that keep it in the rent pile.

And as I watch the X-Play Gears of War 2 special as I write this, I wonder: Why does everybody in this game have an effing soul patch?

In conclusion, Bjork discusses her television.

Groovy, man.


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