Day 15 – Game you’re playing right now
The game I’m currently playing is Dragon Age 2, the sequel to the brilliant DA: Origins.
The game is effectively told in flashback, with one of your companions (under interrogation) recounting the story from the beginning of your tale.
DA2 starts out in parallel with the beginning of Origins, as you and your family are on the run, attempting to evade the Darkspawn horde, with the Blight officially under way. Eventually you make your way to the city of Kirkwall, outside of Ferelden and a safe enough distance from the Blight, and there the adventure begins, as you play out events recounted by your companion of how you became the Champion of Kirkwall and why you play an important part in a war that is about to begin.
I like the changes made from Origins. The graphics and character animations were vastly improved, though the gameplay was made to be more hack ‘n’ slash rather than tactically micromanaging your team’s every action in battle. With the Blight defeated in Origins, you play a new character, a human-only warrior/rogue/mage, and DA2 takes on a more political tone to the story.
Day 14 – Hardest game you’ve ever completed
There are many games out there that I have been unable to finish, simply because I have found them to be way too difficult, such as Ninja Gaiden and Contra 3. Try as I might, but I find them damn near impossible.
The hardest game I have ever played AND successfully completed though, is Devil May Cry 3: Dante’s Awakening.
A fun, stylish hack ‘n’ slash game on the PS2, DMC3 would continually ramp up the difficulty spike with the level you were on, and the difficulty mode you were playing on.
The bosses got harder, enemies took longer to kill and the rating system was especially cruel. You could spend 20 minutes getting through a particularly tough section slicing your way through a horde of demons, then at the end of the checkpoint you would be punished for not being fast or stylish enough and only be awarded a ‘D’ rating.
The highest difficulty level in the game is also one that, in order to simply survive the first five minutes, you basically needed to memorise each enemies’ movements and attack patterns to the letter – aside from boss battles, you only needed one hit to kill a demon, and they only needed one hit to kill you.
Day 13 – A game you’ve completed more than five times
“Completing” a game could mean different things. It could mean finishing the single player campaign, finding and unlocking every collectable/bonus, or even achieving every possible achievement/trophy. I’m going with simply finishing the campaign several times over. One such game I have completed many times is Dragon Age: Origins.
Orgins is just a brilliant fantasy RPG epic. Although the graphics were sub-standard, the gameplay was challenging even on ‘normal’ difficulty and some of the NPCs kinda looked similar, the story is what kept me coming back for more.
Choosing your character at the beginning, you were either a male/female human/elf/dwarf commoner/noble warrior/rogue/mage. An hour’s gameplay established your character’s backstory before thrusting you into the game proper. Events in your origin story caused you to join the Grey Wardens, a highly respected order dedicated to keeping the world safe from the Darkspawn threat. A Blight has just begun, with a huge Darkspawn horde gathering and led by an Archdemon, the spirit of an ancient God corrupted and bound to the body of a dragon.
The King of Ferelden had amassed an army to combat the Blight, but was betrayed by his second-in-command and the King’s army was slaughtered.
As one of only two Grey Wardens to survive the massacre, it’s your task to travel round the land of Ferelden to put together a new army to replace the one lost, gathering allies and preventing a civil war in order to combat the threat.
Day 12 – A game everyone should play
For this one I’m going to go with a classic. Mario Kart 64 on the N64.
For me, it’s the best of the Mario Kart series, improving on its predecessors and being more original than its successors. Easy to pick up and play, it can get really competitive and yet stay fun.
It’s one of the best games ever made on the N64, and is still my favourite racing game to date.
Day 11 – Favourite gaming platform
No contest. The Sony PS2 was pretty perfect.
First released in 2000, the PS2 was the console everyone had when I was a teenager. It could also be used to play DVDs and CDs, and when playing games you never noticed it was even on.
What I love best about the console is that there is no shortage of quality games. Whatever kind of game you’re into, it was on the PS2. It was also a reason to go over to a friend’s house – memory card in tow so you could compare game saves and play multiplayer games the way they were intended.
Nowadays, games developers have quite the task of making games either for one particular console, or going multi-platform to try and please everyone. With the PS2, everyone had one, and probably still has. To this day, games are still being made for the PS2, and consoles are still being sold worldwide. I doubt I’ll be able to say the same for the Wii, XBox 360 and PS3 when their successors eventually arrive.
Day 10 – Best co-operative game
Another easy one. Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead really is all about teamwork. While you can play team games in other shooters like Call of Duty or Halo, they don’t give you much of an incentive to actually work with other players. With L4D, it’s an absolute necessity.
The zombie apocalypse has happened, and 4 of you have decided to band together to survive. This actually means staying together and working together. If you’re the kind of person who likes to go the lone ranger, you’ll get overwhelmed by the horde very quickly and you and your teammates will get taken apart. The only way to survive each of the campaign missions is to stay together, conserve ammo, heal each other and work as a team. You would be surprised how many people seem incapable of grasping the “teamwork” concept, then wonder why they keep dying.
Day 9 – Saddest game scene
A pretty difficult one, but I would have to go with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and the death of US Marine Sgt Paul Jackson.
Here’s what happens: you’re (as Sgt Jackson) manning the guns on an army chopper in the middle of enemy territory, when you see a nearby chopper get downed by an RPG. Your crew decide to land and see if anyone survived the crash landing. After a tough firefight you make your way over to the wreckage, and see that the pilot is still alive. You help her out, and help her towards your own chopper while avoiding enemy fire.
After barely getting away, you hear on the radio that a bomb is set to go off, and you see many other units racing away as well as your own. Thinking you’re about to get to a safe distance, an explosion suddenly erupts and the cloud suddenly hits you, taking down your chopper and everything around you.
Eventually, you come to and crawl your way out of the wreckage. That’s when you realise the bomb that detonated was a nuclear warhead. Continuing on, you think there has to be someone around, that you’re going to be saved as is what usually happens in games. Then nothing. You’re alone, you’re going to die and the screen fades to white as you collapse.
It’s a sad scene as it hits you suddenly, and leaves you completely helpless.