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July 5th: Out Of My Comfort Zone

To keep myself interested in the absence of “whore” titles in my gameplay habits for the year I’ve decided that, on occasions when I have a couple of days off, I’ll start a game that I wouldn’t normally spend that much time on… of which there are a couple in my backlog.

In this case there was a small added advantage (and I do mean very small) in that, having had my Live subscription upgraded to an Ultimate Gamepass Subscription, I now have access to loads of additional games, and can partake of quests to get extra Reward points… and there happened to be one for popping any Achievement in any Gears of War game.

Now I’ve ignored Gears of War since it released, what I saw was utterly unappealing to me, shooters tend not to interest me much… yet I downloaded the first two games when they were free on “Games with Gold” and even bought both Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Gears of War 4 for the Xbox One cheap off Ebay… why did I keep doing this when I have no interest in the game?

No idea… none whatsoever.

What I had forgotten as I loaded the game up, and by game I mean the remastered Ultimate Edition of the original game, is that the next game where I would unlock an Achievement would be the 250th game on my card… so Gears of War has that dubious honour.

Now having ignored the games before I was clueless… and skipped much of the dialogue out of habit and thus, when faced with the first obstacle to jump over, found myself having no idea how to get over the pillar in question… this does not bode well.

I work through the tutorial, pop a couple of Achievements and claim my extra Reward points… I keep going and, while I’m by no means even close to competent, I do seem more clued up than my team mates who seem to have the most stupid AI ever seen in a game… I had to reload one checkpoint when a character got stuck in the stairs, others refused to move onto the next checkpoint after I’d cleared everything… ho hum.

Yet… around 9 chapters into act 1 the story has me interested… I may be useless, but I’m going to work through the game at least once (and as it will probably only be once I’m using a video guide for the collectables along the way) to see how it ends… and I may well end up playing the sequel at some point after… and, of course, it looks gorgeous on the X.

June 26th: Surprising those who know me, and myself a little, I go back for some more, and continue to enjoy myself… most of the time.

In Act II the game introduces a new mechanic that I’m not overly pleased to see or have to play through… keeping out of the dark.

Seems there are areas of the game, or the whole landscape for all I know, where the skies fill with an enemy known as the Krill which will devour anything foolish enough to walk in the dark… so progress through the playing field revolves around keeping near a source of light, either a street lamp, a blazing barrel or, and this is where you get to help, a leaking propane tank left on the street in a convenient manner.

These are not always easy to see and because the control scheme sucks balls (running requires you press the A button rather than pressing down on the movement stick) it’s easy for a novice (or a completely useless player such as myself) to get caught on the scenery and become a sitting target for the Krill to take down.

I’m not enjoying these sections, even if they do add a little variety to the gun play.

The second new mechanic was the vehicle section… driving is fine, but with the AI being shit thick you have to jump between controlling the vehicle and manning the turret to take down the krill who are set on attacking you.

It’s at the end of this section that I call it a night, almost 4 hours of play in total and a dozen Achievements unlocked… and I want to go back for more… for someone who avoided playing the game as long as I have this is getting quite worrying.

The start of July sees the next session and I’m in danger of finishing a game off that I never thought I’d start at all… what is the world coming to.

I work through the fourth chapter and the niggles are still creeping in… I reach the end of one chapter and am told that I’ve failed it on account of my partner hasn’t made it to the end with me… because my partner is taking cover in a section we’ve already cleared… what’s worse is that he’s taken cover behind something that is no longer there as it’s been destroyed, so he’s just squatting there for no reason and I can’t make him move.

Then, a couple of chapters further on, we’re working our way through a building when we’re attacked… what does my good buddy do?

Sod all… just stands there and lets the enemy pass by on their way to me… thanks pal!

With the final chapter all that stands between me and the end of the game, with only the bare minimum of clean up to be done for an extra Achievement or two it’s been fun… but I’m not going anywhere near the sequels without a break first.

July 5th: The day I finished my first Gears of War game, by which I mean finished the story… as opposed to the “unlocked all Achievements” type completed… no way do I have the patience for that.

Even though I’m generally a ham-fisted player with close to zero ability this didn’t really hold me back until I reached the end and the, frankly unfair boss fight at the end… how the hell do the sodding Krill keep killing me when I’m in the light permanently and nowhere near General Raam?

I’d picked up the collectibles along the way, paused momentarily to compose myself for the final battle and got repeatedly crushed… it started to get a little disheartening when, having reached this far, it looked for a few minutes like I’d flop hard at the end.

I checked YouTube videos and finally, possibly more through luck than judgement I got him, in a fraction of the time I’d spent before trying the same thing… I think this time the frag grenades were better placed than before.

After a further 15 minutes to collect 1 final Achievement for killing multiple enemies at once and I’m done with the game less I stumble over a co-op partner for a couple of Chapters I have no intention of going back and trying to play it on harder levels or attacking the online game… fun… but not something I’m going to rush back to.