BTB #13: Diamond Dawgs 4Ever
Why do I do this? For some reason I have decided to install MGS:V after getting it in a Humble Bundle awhile back. A game I tried playing after getting it as a PS+ game and the beginning being so off-putting that I immediately uninstalled from my PS4.
I’m now like three hours in, probably more time I have immediately put in a game in months. That beginning? I still hate it! I have proclaimed this on Twitter previously and been met with “Gamers just don’t appreciate a slow-burn anymore”. And…I don’t know about ALL that. You don’t need to throw me immediately into the action but you have such limited control for roughly the first 45 minutes of this game. I only played a little bit of MGS4 so maybe the big, scary, fire man and scary gas-mask, ghost girl are staples of the series. For me, unfamiliar with anything, it was confusing and weird. Through the opening stanza, I didn’t engage at all. The game has “episodes” and this felt like the most uninteresting pilot possible. Actually, since they call it a prologue, it feels like something that a show would put on the internet knowing that it is wholly unnecessary for anyone to watch in order to appreciate the show. There is connective tissue but if you don’t see it, it won’t hurt you.
I’ve heard so many good things about the GAME though, I wanted to get to it. I wouldn’t let this intro stop me from trying the actual thing the game does. Being able to actually play that first mission, my feelings on the intro were scrubbed, yeah, the intro still SINKS, but if there was the ability to download a save to skip the intro, the game immediately feels good. There aren’t a lot of tutorial aspects from the intro that can’t be picked up by PLAYING in that first mission. The trickier stuff is taught through the first mission anyway.
Now I’m two missions deep and have done a side-op so I feel like I am truly, IN THE GAME. And all I can think about is Hitman (2016), my only touchstone for a PRESTIGE STEALTH-ACTION game. I am bad at stealth games. I usually make it 75% through a given level to where I need to be before the floor falls out. I have watched my share of Hitman Let’s Plays. They always look like they are having so much fun. Whether that is manipulating the AI in just the right way or working through the chaos. The floor falling out for them IS the fun. I don’t know why I am the way that I am but things going awry in Hitman is not FUN. I don’t technically hit a failure state…but I still feel like I’ve failed. The game feels designed so that you follow certain paths through the level, your own little story beats that lead to success. Having things break means I miss out on proper gags and the chaos of my failure isn’t a pleasure to manage.
That’s almost the opposite experience I had once some guard noticed his pal sleeping in the middle of the road because I didn’t have the energy to move him. Okay, so everyone is on alert, that stinks…or does it? No, not really, by the time they noticed I was out of the village, accomplishing what I needed. I did immediately come back to mow them all down as they were clumped together, but I’m weak and didn’t know what would happen if I didn’t “take care of them”.
The next village I needed to navigate was much bigger and layered. The whole set-up is so good. I get on a big old mountain across a valley, toss on the binoculars and scout the area. I’m a real damn action hero about to kill a Russian army in Afghanistan…nothing concerning with those optics. This time I slipped through a side path with one guard who had a good vantage point. Sleeping him made there was no one to alert him…unfortunately I start realizing these solidiers move and while they probably do have specific tracks they FEEL more complicated. Okay, so I unexpectedly run into someone. My silencer is broke so we are just shooting a loud gun in an area crawling with baddies. I have completely ruined things, bodies are dropping, this isn’t the ideal run…but I don’t feel worse for it. I am not a Hitman. Sure the greatest soldier ever should be able to sneak into a base and grab a target with barely a noise being made but I am also a super soldier so if taking down twenty guards with a series of throws and shots to the domes, that’s fine too. Sure, I will walk out with a B rank but a B rank that felt GOOD.
Then I learn about Motherbase, which, sure, I guess. Knocking out my own guards that have been brainwashed was something. Went on another mission and that was another hoot of a situation. I don’t know how far I will make it into this game but I have been looking for something that is easy to hop in and out of. The GAME, very much that…the game + story, less so.
Oh, also I hopped back into Dark Souls as I was stuck in Blighttown and couldn’t beat the boss so figured out how to escape and going to do some farming while I tackle Darkroot. Good game I say.