Weekly: It’s Snowing In Mojave

This was supposed to be the post when I officially announce the beginning of the Winter Gaming Season. Then I would ramble how much I like spending long dark evenings with video games, make a promise to finally write a list of games which are most suitable for this part of the year. After all, it finally arrived last week and now its glorious snow everywhere and northern darkness is embracing us. So, it’s the right time to play Skyrim again and post a picture of my new character, right?

I’m sorry, it’s not going to happen yet. I’m still stuck in the desert.

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That’s right, New Vegas is just too good to abandon it now just because my favourite season has started. Last week, most of my gaming time was wandering from one settlement to another and looking for Wanted posters. The funny thing is that the third and final part of New Vegas Bounties takes the player to a new location which just happens to be a snowy mountain valley. What’s wrong with playing New Vegas in December when it looks like lo-fi Skyrim?

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Of course, the season will eventually begin and what would be better than celebrating it by the best winter game ever. I return to Transarctica almost every winter, but this time it has to be done right. No cheats, no walk-throughs, and I will play a properly installed HD0 version — which will require some tinkering with the WinUAE, something I’ve always hated.

Goals, goals, goals: Install Transarctica. Spend at least one hour writing that My Best Winter Games post.

 

 

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Hotline Miami 2: The Greatest War Game Never Made

If anyone asked me to name my favourite Hotline Miami 2 character or level, it would be very hard to decide, but if I were to point at the best three or five, the Soldier and his heroic tour of duty would certainly be among them. One of the main reasons is that his levels stand out from the rest of the game. The difference doesn’t lay in the mechanics, although they do have some unique traits, especially the Soldier’s ability to simultaneously carry two weapons. What really matters is the setting: instead of gang wars and vigilante raids in the corrupted Miami hive, we’re fighting a lost war in the exotic locations of Java and Hawaii. Personally, I find it a welcome change to play a character who finds himself in the middle of a presumably just war, defending his country, even if the actual gameplay is brutal as usual and the gore from the Russian throats slit open could fill the entire Panama Channel. Somehow, I have the impression that the game developers were aware of this change of tone, because the soundtrack for the Soldier’s levels is significantly more upbeat that the rest of the HM2 musical score.

Ultimately, playing the Soldier campaign feels like a separate game,  maybe a spin-off or a DLC. While I’m fully aware that the geniuses from Dennaton declared that Hotline Miami 2 was the final installation of the series, I cannot help but wonder how great a Soldier-centered sequel would be.

Just imagine another game in the length of HM2, maintaining most of its mechanics and the audiovisual style, but focused on the military theme. This would be a great opportunity to explore the dark aspects of war in the vein of Spec Ops: The Line. The short interactive scenes between the main missions could provide a chance to build up well-written characters through conversations and even subquests. Very well, I know that it’s not going to happen unless a modder gets the same idea… Or maybe I should become a modder myself?