ThievesDamnedEden

Short, sharp and shiny this week, since not much gaming has taken place in the last seven days (due mainly to a spot of sickness, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, and offering oodles of moral support to a friend in need).

After belting through Uncharted 2 last week, I wanted a bit of a palate cleanser; I decided to push on and finish my first (Easy – or “Lemon Hunter”) playthrough of Shadows of the Damned. I noted in my last post that the game’s writing had been improving as the game went on; later chapters are a cunning mix of frustration (there’s lots of instakills) and glee, especially once the weapons get amped up and the demon parts start flying. There’s some wonderful nuttery (the oft-cited segments where you control the protagonist as he runs over an enormous rendition of his girlfriend’s lingerie-clad body) and a few choice bits of dialogue; the bosses aren’t too obtuse, and it was all a good bit of fun. Lemon Hunter complete; three difficulties to go!

Having got that out of the way, I thought I’d bounce back to Uncharted 2 for a second playthrough; I managed to get to the first of the stealth bits before turning the PS3 off in disgust. I didn’t mention hating the stealth segments in my last post, but my word I thought they were awful. And far too plentiful! So that’s a nice little turn-off.

Feeling spurned, and having snaffled a fair few GamerSmarties from Shadows, I started poring over my 360 titles for more gettable Achievements… and decided to give Child of Eden another bash. Playing through the earlier – and hence familiar – levels was fine, but when I attempted the fourth level again I was reminded at why I found it tough going previously: the “game over” mechanism amounts to little more than a very sudden (and occasionally disorientating) message that can be crudely translated as “fuck you”.

And that, y’know, doesn’t really inspire me to leap back into the fray.

Still, I was convinced that Eden was at least beatable… and, after many attempts, I managed to squeeze through the end of the Passion Archive. That unlocked the final regular level, and when my first attempt lasted for a good fifteen minutes before that blunt message reappeared (doubly galling given the glacial pace of the Journey Archive’s opening minutes), I had a peek at YouTube for a level playthrough… only to discover that I’d died within about ten seconds of the final “danger” spot of the game.

On my second attempt I breezed through… grabbing a nice, fat, hundred-point Achievement in the process. But the end-game… oh my. For all that Rez managed to emote in its final stages, Eden completely misses the mark for me. Now, I’ve raved about Miz previously, but there’s one crucial bit of evidence that indicates that he and I aren’t on the same page: he thinks Heavenly Star is an awesome and inspiring song, and I most certainly do not. So that’s a bit of a bummer.

My OCD quakes at the thought of having to gold-star all those levels, especially when my first attempt at the Hard difficulty ended in shameful failure. So that will be an interesting learning experience…

One last note: I was sorry to hear of the passing of Steve Jobs. The first computer I ever coded upon in anger was an Apple ][e, and once upon a time (in the System 6-7 days) I was a massive Mac Fanboy – I’ve still got the “Windows 95 = Mac 88” t-shirt to prove it. Whilst everything I’ve read (and heard, from people who’d met and worked with him) indicated that he was a… difficult man in the workplace, I’ve nothing but admiration for the bloody-mindedness that Jobs applied to his companies to ensure they produced the products he thought the public wanted. Without his focus, I’m certain the smartphone market would be nowhere near as vibrant and exciting as it is now, and the computer market in general would be stuck with beige-box aesthetics. But most of all, I respect Jobs for not caving to the music industry – and for setting a precedent for the paid digital download of media. That’s something that I really do believe in, and without Jobs’ efforts the digital delivery landscape would be a far more fragmented beast than it is now.

Rest in peace, Steve.

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