Welcome back to my weekly challenge to play a videogame. This is the fourth installment of a series that, I’m hoping, will bring me great joy, improved focus and better me as a person. Or maybe that’s just an excuse to justify buying and playing too many games.
This week we’re taking a huge step forward. I did not play a game. I did not play the two games I had planned to. I played three games! This takes the tally up to six games in four weeks. As for how it affects the challenge – it doesn’t. I’m not going to count these as three weeks worth of games and will still endeavour to play one a week for the rest of the year. I simply couldn’t help myself this week.
It’s an open world bonanza with the latest Zelda, the brand new Horizon and, first up, a mystery surprise! Let’s get into it then.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
I will try to be as clear as possible, but my feelings are mixed about this game and it’s largely down to confusion. Firstly, it’s actually quite relaxing to drive or fly around the huge open world and attack the bases, outposts, etc. Once you’ve done the opening tutorial type mission, I think you’re free and able to go off and do what you want. I’ve spent the majority of my time flying around Bolivia collecting weapons and only occasionally doing story missions. In fact, I’ve only completed two of the twenty one(?) regions, story-wise. That said, I’m not sure this game is very good. There are parts that are so silly, you feel like they must be deliberately so and it works. Then there are the bits around it that can be so serious that I’m not sure what the actual tone of the game is. The game is built to be a tactical stealthy shooter, but enemies can just decide to hear suppressed gunfire or spot things through walls. Taking out a bases’ alarm doesn’t necessarily mean the alarm will no longer work and doing that, only to then hear the siren and the approaching attack helicopter is an awful experience. The AI teammates you have are incredibly powerful at range and you can spot targets for them to kill from hundreds of meters away, through walls, with no line of sight and with no one noticing, as long as they’ve been marked, yet in an all out gun-fight, they seem less than useless. It’s a bit of a mess and I’m glad that I, personally, can switch off, ignore all that and run around the open world playground.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This game is wonderful. I won’t get into the ins-and-outs of whether or not the game is perfect, or as good as the reviews are making it out to be, but this is the game I’ve spent the most time with over the last week, easily and by some margin. It’s really pleasant to explore the world that they’ve built. I’m firmly in the camp of people that aren’t frustrated by the mechanics of the stamina and inventory systems, though the cooking could be a little better managed. The game doesn’t hold your hand and it tries to give you the most open open-world it can. If you want to ignore all the story fluff and march straight into the final area of the game, you can. If you want to climb a mountain over in the distance and see what’s at the top, you probably can. Equipment and abilities will make your journey easier, but the chances are that if you want to do something in the game, you can. It also serves up a healthy dose of your typical Zelda game with dungeons, puzzles, lovely music and returning places and faces. It ticks all the right boxes for me.
It’s another game that I don’t want to be too specific about because the things that happen, the things you do, help to build up your own personal story and adventure and I feel that the best way to experience it is to play it for yourself.
It’s a huge game, but what makes it magical are the little things that they’ve given so much attention. They are surprising, many and serve to make the game thoroughly enjoyable.
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Horizon is the game I’ve spent the least amount of time with this week, which is a shame, because it seems very well made. What it does, it does very well and it looks fantastic. I’m not sure I like the non-bow combat very much, but I think I might be doing it wrong. To this point I have managed to get by on stealth and frantic melee. The last couple of side quests I’ve done have seemed like I might need to start planning my attacks better, along the lines of a Hitman game (or actually hunting?), using the environment, tools and my wits to exploit enemy weaknesses rather than just bashing everything with a spear
I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes, how the gameplay evoles and discovering more of the machines, which have been fairly varied so far.
Week Five – Night in the Woods
After a heavy week of big hitters, I’m going to settle things back down with the indie darling of the moment. I don’t know how long the game is, but hopefully I can finish it this week while I continue to play around with the others. It looks lovely and I’m excited to see how it goes.
Quite a long one this week, expect normal service to resume next week. Thanks and take care!