This was an interesting weekend. I'd been playing a lot of Wii recently, specifically a LOT of Animal Crossing: City Folk! I have a lot of good memories of the original Animal Crossing game for the gamecube, and have been having a blast returning to the newer game and building myself a house, filling the museum, etc. For those that don't know AC is a game where you move to a little town full of anthropomorphic animal neighbors. And... that's it. You pay your mortgage, interact with neighbors, collect furniture, run errands. It's actually a ridiculous game concept, but rather enthralling!
We've had an xbox 360 laying around for a while, but we haven't really used it at all for a long time. Well, on a whim we decided to go and trade that sucker in for a brand new, shiny, PS3! I've always wanted one (And it doubles as a Blue Ray player!) but I'm not really a hardcore console gamer anymore. Oh, I played the hell out of SNES, Gamecube and N64, but these newer ones... not so much. And I'm pretty terrible at first person shooters, especially those using dual joysticks. I'm usually running around looking straight at the sky or down at the ground. It's pretty embarrassing.
Among the games we bought for it was Red Dead Redemption- a western themed sandbox shooter game.I'd always wanted to try it, because let's face it, a western themed game that's both popular and good is pretty rare. No one does westerns anymore!
I was serious about that 'western theme'....
Starting off went fine, and I was really enjoying it, getting into being a cowboy and all that rot. But there's something I've noticed with these new games- They all follow the 'learn as you play' style of teaching you the game controls.This has been around a long time, and is pretty standard. Just like Mario games; walk into the turtle and you die, jump on the turtle, and it dies! Ta-dah! This works well for older games with limited move sets, and controls that never change. In Mario, the 'A' button is only ever jump. And besides throwing an occasional fire ball, jumping is all you ever do.
When you get into these new, high tech games, this teaching style is not quite such a good idea. For someone who's both learning a new controller type, and the FPS style game, it's a NIGHTMARE! The game decided to teach me how to shoot my gun from horseback while I was being attacked by coyotes.
It's the video game equivalent to giving someone the driver's education manual when they're already on the highway during rush hour! The game was popping up script at the top, telling me what to do, but I was also trying to figure out which buttons to push, steer my horse, and aim a rifle at moving, snarling, jumping coyotes. It was frustrating to say the least...
Another big turnoff to me is games where you get confused. Being a virgin to these new systems, most of the older games I played were fairly straightforward. You ended up with stuff telling you what to do and where to go. If I'm spending ten minutes wandering around confused, you've lost me. I finally got where I needed to go and followed the sheriff and his buddies out into the desert to kill some cattle rustlers. For all the trouble I had with it (I died so many times, the game asked me if I wanted to turn on a special mode that gives you increased health and helps with aiming) I enjoyed the harrowing gunfight.
But after we finished off the dastardly rogues the sheriff and his friends rode away, and I promptly got lost in the desert. And it got dark. I turned the brightness up in the game menu, but I don't see very well anyway, and this is roughly what it was like.
Night time in this game is serious- very realistic, but also kind of annoying. So I'm riding this horse around in the desert, trying to figure out where to go, when I hear a yell for 'help'! Now I'm wandering around in the dark, trying to avoid getting the horse stuck on cacti and looking for this 'helpless' person. And that's when the dude calling for help appears out of no where, grabs my cowboy character, flings him off my horse, and steals the damn thing. He stole my freaking horse!
By this point I'm hunched in the middle of the couch, raging at the screen about my "F***ing horse!", desperately running after the thief and shooting bullets in every direction but his, because I don't have any practice shooting on the fly while running. I promptly turned the game off.
Maybe I just need practice, or maybe I'm just not cut out for first person shooters. Really, the games are so very different from those I used to play. Even the controllers are different. The joysticks are far more accurate and way more sensitive. The games are hyper realistic. I don't have any experience doing this kind of puzzle solving... At least not recently!
Or maybe I'm just starting to get old?