…breeding lilacs out of dead land. That’s right, today marks exactly one month since my personal quarantine has started. Since we all know what happened and what is happening right now, there’s no point in writing another whiny introduction. Instead, here’s a few words about my personal month in the bibeo game world.
Even in the darkest hour, you can find pleasant surprises. Rejoice, for Niko Belić walks among us again! GTA 4 is my favourite part of the series, but despite repeated and desperate attempts, I’ve never been able to run my box CD on Windows 7. I’m always reluctant to pay for the same game twice and everything I had to go to was The Liberty City Stories. I really enjoyed the add-ons after purchasing them during the Steam sale last Christmas, then I finished both parts and was content with myself… then came the last Sunday of March and, to my confusion and elation, I discovered that my S-Library turned them into GTA IV: The Complete Edition. No extra charge required. Sure, I was a bit afraid to come back after so many years, but this is a game which matures like wine and even the dreaded City Rat hunting feels rewarding. Finally, after so many failures the time has come to reach the magic 100% rating.
The nostalgia doesn’t relent, and the sudden news about the remake of the early Command and Conquer games reminded me that the first part of Red Alert series still lingers on my personal Hall of Shame. I received the box edition from my parents as a teenager and failed to finish it, despite my attempts. Now the news reminded me that Red Alert One can be downloaded for free… Here comes the common cycle: search in duck2go, wait for a minute to downloaded, launch the installation file… shortly after, Tanya the ‘Professional Volunteer’ and her mates are rescuing Einstein, then our little band of brothers is digging trenches on the Polish-Czechoslovak border.
A few missions later and I come to the conclusion that this particular classic game is eternal. I can’t overlook its flaws, commanding large unit groups makes me furious and there’s some cringe to find in the FMV scenes, but the game still rewards us with much of joy. Its weaknesses aside, Red Alert still maintains its charm, especially the aesthetics starting from unit and building design and ending with the main menu. More than that, I got reminded that Frank Klepacki is a genius and the soundtrack still sounds flawless.
Another title I abandoned for months is Disco Elysium and finally I managed to get to the ending. Just as expected, my decision to use save-scumming for my first playthrough turned out to be a mistake. Sure enough, I finished almost every single side-quest, the crime mystery is solved, another bloody revolution postponed, and the protagonist didn’t get fired for being a miserable parody of a cop, hey, he’ll even work with Kim in the same unit, but… it came too easy, it doesn’t feel right, and in my next playthrough I won’t experience the wonder of discovering a superbly written world and plot. I knew I should’ve listened to reviewers and developers when they warned that it’s not your ordinary cRPG game.
DOOM DOOM WE ARE ALL DOOMED! Late to the party as always, I got the game on the Christmas Steam sale, played one or two levels, and sent it back into my library. See, the stars weren’t right and something didn’t click. Now, when D-Eternal finally got released, I decided for another approach and got sucked in straight into Hell for a couple of days. One thing is sure, the id soft crew could teach everyone else how to make proper remakes. They treat the classic stuff like real treasure, but still manage to take a more creative approach and the end product doesn’t feel stale. Let’s take the game arsenal as an example: all the iconic weapons from the first games have new, refreshed designs, but they still feel familiar–and glorious when used to spill demonic guts on the floor. What really surprised me, however, was the… platforming part of the game being as pleasant as the usual brütal slaughter. It’s like Super Mario in Hell, at times I felt jumping around and searching for collectibles more enjoyable than culling infernal legions, especially with the extremely helpful automap at hand. RIP AND TEAR!
‘Wait, that’s it?’, somebody could ask. Well, here comes the paradox: even though I spent the last month sitting in my four-cornered room, I didn’t commit more time to playing video games after doing my daily share of remote work. Somehow, lying on the couch and reading a book, or calling my friends and family seemed more appealing… Still, I really appreciate the instant access to games in times of isolation. Who knows, maybe I’ll even buy Plague Inc.
That’s it. Let’s go back to hunting flying plague rats hehe.