Raiding Tombs and Reading Comics
Hello all! “The Maverick Gamer” here and today I’m going to be talking about a bunch of stuff I’ve been up to lately. It’s something I really need to do more often on here, so, here goes!
Tomb Raider > Uncharted
I’m not fooling you with the header, folks. This week, Amazon.com had the Tomb Raider reboot as part of their “Lightning Deals”, where they put some stuff on sale for a limited time throughout the day. Tuesday happened to be an all video game day. Anyways, I’ve been pondering picking up the critically-acclaimed title, as I’ve been busy working through my backlog (as you can tell from some of my reviews), but once it dropped to a mere $30 in that Lightning Deal, I just had to grab it. I actually regret not buying this game at $60. I know, it sounds nuts. I paid half as much, which from an economic standpoint is excellent, but the game deserves the full price treatment, at least so far. I’m pretty sure I’m getting close to the end, but seriously, the game’s been an absolute thrill from the beginning. I’m having a way better time than I ever had with a comparable series, Uncharted. Yes, the same Uncharted that’s been winning Game of the Year awards and the same series I’ve never been impressed with. I still have Uncharted 3 sealed. Why? I honestly never saw what all of the hype was about. Sure, it has dynamic, real-time, Hollywood-scale action scenes that flow seamlessly with normal gameplay, but besides that,the rest of the games are unremarkable. I know they’re some of the finest-looking games to date, and I know Nathan Drake is a funny-ass main character, but the shooting sections are drawn-out, dull, and unimpressive, to the point where they actually hurt the games. Tomb Raider, on the other hand, trounces Uncharted in every facet except graphics, and graphics don’t make the game. Lara’s struggle for survival is far more gratifying than some joke-spouting treasure hunter who couldn’t give a damn about the trail of bodies he’s leaving in his wake. Tomb Raider has more to do, better and far more brutal action sequences, and the shooting sections feel more tactical, are never drawn-out, and never get old when you’re releasing arrows into people’s skulls like a total badass. Expect a review for Tomb Raider at some point after I’ve finished it and played some multiplayer, but I have a feeling I’m not going to give a crap about the multiplayer. I don’t think anyone does.
How is The Last of Us?
The game drought keeps rolling along! There’s only two weeks left, though, as The Last of Us officially marks the end of the “gaming drought”, as I like to call it. Speaking of The Last of Us, and keeping with the Naughty Dog theme after talking some Uncharted above, the demo dropped yesterday for God of War:Ascension owners, which includes myself. After about 20 minutes of downloading, I started it up and was immediately floored. This game is gorgeous. I seriously don’t think anything in this console generation is going to top this, and considering the bulk of this generation is coming to an end this Fall/Winter with next-gen consoles dropping, that seems to sound realistic. Looking past the visuals, though, the demo really didn’t pack a whole lot of gameplay. It’s actually pretty short at about 15-20 minutes, but this is a demo after all, so I guess maybe I was expecting too much. The atmosphere of the game sucks you in immediately, though, giving you a satisfying amount of immersion. You’re traveling with Ellie and a woman named Tess through the “Outskirts” level. You get a good taste of scavenging, learning to avoid enemies, and how to combat them when you have to. For starters, you have to scavenge. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. If you do not scavenge, you will not survive. I found myself utilizing my full arsenal once I ran into a pack of infected and had to resort to some stuff lying around during the conflict, as well. You can pick up parts of scissors, wooden two-by-fours, pipes, tape, and the like, and combine them on the spot to make enhanced weapons, health kits, and more. Building these things happens in real-time, so you have to be careful that you’re in a safe place before building. I wound up assembling a wooden stick with a broken pair of scissors on the end as a makeshift weapon. It didn’t last long in a fight, but it at least staved off a couple of infected. Speaking of which, sometimes, it’s best to just avoid them. Ammo is scarce, so you don’t want to waste any bullets, and besides that, making noise will grab the attention of infected. The Last of Us isn’t a game where you can run into a room guns blazing and expect to survive. You have to use your head as well as your arsenal to figure a way out alive. This is why I can say that it’s shaping up to be a very good game. It isn’t like your typical third-person action game. You actually have to use your head as well as get crafty with your supplies f you want to survive. This should be a pretty exciting title, and June 14th isn’t that far off.
Over the past month or so, I’ve taken it upon myself to read the entire Ultimate Spider-Man comic series. A large investment, yes, but an absolutely worthy one, as the series is a phenomenal take on my favorite superhero. This is largely a result of writer Brian Michael Bendis’s outstanding writing, as he completely nails the character while also changing him up for a new generation. His retelling of past stories in the Spider-Man chronology are better than the originals, including his telling of The Clone Saga, Carnage, Venom; hell, the entire series is consistent. The man’s writing is an inspiration for one such as myself and I can’t help but feel truly privileged to have read it all. The reason I bring up Ultimate Spider-Man is because, as you may or may not know, a video game was actually made back in 2005 that was based off of the series. I took the initiative and sat down and played it, and I’ll be reviewing it soon as my first “retro” review on the blog. I don’t really have a name for older game reviews yet, but do know that I will hold them to the appropriate standards, as it isn’t fair to stack up newer titles against them when technology has evolved as far as it has, but will be judging them on how well they’ve aged to an extent.
Of course, if you know about Ultimate Spider-Man (the comic series), then you probably know that Peter Parker, the original Spider-Man, dies in the end. He’s since been replaced by a new Spider-Man, Miles Morales, and I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and read all three available volumes. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, as it’s called, is definitely a good read, as it’s still Bendis in the writer’s chair. So far, it’s mostly a similar song-and-dance to Peter’s origins. Miles is hiding his identity with the exception of letting his closest friend know the truth, Nick Fury has already found him out, and for whatever reason, he happens to act exactly the same as Peter while donning the tights, which is odd. I figured an opportunity would have been taken to try and make a more unique character, and I do realize that the wise-cracking is a large part of Spider-Man’s personalty, but this isn’t technically Spider-Man. It’s his replacement who just so happens to take up the title in order to honor Peter’s legacy. One other thing that seemed completely off was how accepting Aunt May, Mary Jane, and Gwen were of Miles taking up the title. Then again, the kid is honoring Peter and not trying to screw it up, and besides, no amount of grief will bring Peter back, so I guess it isn’t their right to fight it if Miles wants to use his gift for the greater good. Miles Morales is an alright Spider-Man, but he’s no Peter Parker, and I don’t think anyone could ever top the original, no matter how many additional powers and alliances with The Ultimates you throw at him. Peter Parker will always truly be Spider-Man. Anyone else is just a copycat.
Oh, and The Colbert Report’s quote that I found on the back of Volume 2 that begins with “Forget Peter Parker…” had me really steamed. No. You don’t just “forget” a decade-long legacy. If they’re talking Peter Parker altogether, then we’re talking over 50 years of stories, and that’s even more insulting. I’m guessing Steven Colbert made the quote, which doesn’t surprise me. The man’s an idiot.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!