I entered the second half of 2011 with a pretty clear goal of what I wanted to achieve; whilst it looks like my goal of reducing The List down to 50 (as arbitrarily – and optimistically – stated in My 2011 Gaming Resolutions) is out-of-reach, most of my other targets are much closer. I’d actually started mentally steeling myself to tackle six past-gen titles for completion, along with a couple of other current-gen games, and even went so far as to nominate a month in which I wanted them Completed.
Unfortunately, the plans have all gone awry.
My July game was none other than Deus Ex: Invisible War. Fresh off a playthrough on Normal, I figured I could just leap straight back into it on Hard, opting for the opposite choices that I made in the previous run, then return on Realistic for a “breaking” playthrough. However, a little research told me that some of the breaks I was planning can make the Xbox version of the game unstable – “possibly resulting in game save corruption.” And boom – just like that, I’m discouraged to the point where I cannot face those grey, bland textures again… especially after the teeth-gnashing week at work I had (and am likely to be facing this week, too). Coupled with the fact that I know my “seventeen hour” Normal playthrough was actually more like thirty, and I was starting to feel like I would be pushing to squeeze another two runs into July anyway – what with the expectation of work travel and the upcoming AVCon knocking out a weekend.
So I looked at the other titles planned for the rest of the year… and I couldn’t find a morsel of inspiration in any of them. Except for Tempest 2000, but the task of digging the Jaguar out put paid to that idea.
Luckily, a workmate was kind enough to lend me his Kinect while he was away, so I decided to set that up and have a play. I discovered the Kinect Fun Labs series of toys; four free downloadable titles that tinker with the capabilities of the Kinect. And hey – they have Achievements… Free? Gamerscore? Sweet.
So all four of those “games” were acquired and completed in short order – you only need an hour or so (each) to snaffle all the Achievements. The problem is that, despite the glossy production values of the toys, they’re only vaguely entertaining for about five minutes – the rest of the time spent feels like a grind. Still, I pushed myself through it because, I figured, these “games” could count as my Completion(s)-of-the-Month, as well as keeping my new-game-percentage up.
The problem is, even with all four on and off The List within a day, I feel so dirty. It feels so cheap to have even let those things taint my profile; and my temporary leap into the Top 100 of Australia’s Completed Games Leaderboard has sharpened the sour taste.
To cleanse the palate (still not feeling inspired enough to make any real progress), I decided to focus on the main reason I wanted to borrow the Kinect in the first place: Child of Eden. Much has been written about Eden‘s Kinect mode, with many comments suggesting it’s the best use of Kinect to date… and I have to admit, I actually found it easier to play whilst standing and waving my arms. The brain soon compensates for the lag as you sweep your arms around, and releasing Perfect Octo-Locks seems much easier as you throw your hand forward with the beat. But the finicky nature of Kinect also jars, too, with many instances of confused hardware popup spoiling the flow of the gameplay.
But at least Kinect managed to conjure up some interest in Child of Eden – and I consider that a big win for the week. However, I’m now convinced that Eden will be a long-time List-dweller; even with the lax targeting and reduced scoring targets of the Kinect mode, the best I can manage is a four-star completed level. I’m buggered if I know how I’m ever going to gold-star those buggers, especially when the fourth Archive is so severely kicking my arse…