Totilo At Play

April 28, 2009

Game Diary - April 28, 2009: Losing ‘Riddick’

Filed under: Totilo Game Diary — stephentotilo @ 11:00 am

Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena

Somewhere in my apartment is a copy of “Chronicles of Riddick: Dark Athena.” It’s in one of the many bags I took home from MTV or in stack of files. Maybe it has slid under the couch.

It can stay there.I’ve been reminded during this beginning of my week-long vacation that first-person shooters contain multiple meals. That’s a warning, in case you forgot as well. They’re best not consumed in one sitting or even taken in more than a few helpings a day.

They just don’t feel good to consume in a long sitting.

F.E.A.R. 2” has solid gameplay and smart enemies. I played it through a good chunk of Monday. It is the latest shooter in my stack of games that need playing. I just confirmed before writing this, that it is, thankfully, my last.

Unless “Riddick” emerges.

Let’s hope it doesn’t.

Maybe no game is meant to be consumed in five-hour sittings, or spread more sparingly throughout a day. But I find shooters especially unhealthy for a vacation binge. All that killing becomes, pun intended, deadening. The dynamics of fear and weakness and power are lost. Combat becomes less of a thrill and more like the laundry or the dishes, an ever-mounting, never-exhausted chore. Each room I enter that has enemies in it who I have to kill is a disappointment. I’m looking for light and freedom, not five more guys to kill the same way I killed the last 84. I yearn for the first-person-shooter equivalent of a washing machine to handle this tedium for me.

Shooting. Shooting. Shooting.

I’d have liked this game more, perhaps, had I played it an hour a night for the nine or so I think it would take to finish it.

Now I just want it to end. Or to be interrupted by a driving level — not a mech level, as “F.E.A.R. 2″ did, because that’s just more shooting.

Have I reached a life quote of shooting games? Or at least of shooting game binges?

Or is it that the games with gameplay variety — the “Grand Theft Auto“s and “Fable 2“s and even the “Fallout 3“s — have made me less tolerant of games that show the only way to deal with this virtual world is through the cacophony of the barrel of a gun?

Next: “De Blob,” “Valkyria Chronicles,” anything that isn’t all shooting… please.


  1. I would tend to agree with you even if there are exceptions to the rule. I was very sick a week ago and spent an entire day playing Half-Life 2 again and felt great afterward. The boat and buggy sequences do a fine job of breaking it up, not to mention how fun it is to have Alyx to run around with. I guess it just takes a really awesome story with good characters to make it work.

    Comment by Bobby — April 28, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  2. I’ve found clear chapter breaks can increase my enjoyment of games via the multiple meal model. When I went through No More Heroes I would just do a chapter a night, sometimes two nights for bosses that were thwarting me. I think I would have enjoyed the game in any event, but I’m fairly certain that helped.

    I’ll have to give it a try next time I do a shooter, although next on my stack is Fallout 3 and I’m guessing there aren’t clear break points in a game that open ended.

    Comment by Greg Sanders — April 28, 2009 @ 11:32 am

  3. Also, I didn’t see Bobby’s comment, but I think I went through Half-Life 2 and subsequent episodes relatively quickly. I definitely enjoyed having Alyx around. Bioshock was a rather lonely experience for me by comparison.

    Comment by Greg Sanders — April 28, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  4. I don’t think I have that problem with shooters, as long as they have me totally hooked.

    I loved every minute of Bioshock, and even though I was basically killing everyone the same way, I could play it for hours on end thanks to the great story, excellent characters, and awe-inspiring atmosphere.

    Fallout 3, on the other hand, had me rushing to the finish line for the last half of the game. The atmosphere was fantastic, but I didn’t find the story or characters nearly as engaging. That, combined with repetitive battles, had me just wanting it to be overwith for the last few days I played it. I could only play it in short spurts those days.

    Comment by Minor Setback — April 28, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  5. I dont know.. whenever I sit and play FPS, I know that they’re short and hence finish them all in one go (on PC only)

    Cod2, Quake 4, Cod4.. all of those short games I just start in the morning and then play till the night..just take a break for lunch in between :P (ofcourse with bottles of water alongside as I play)

    There is just something in those not-so-complicated FPS that make me play them like that.. I usually play them after having a huge dose of arts fartsy and other fancy game (ofcourse which are all nice :P ) its a nice deviation from the others and gives you a taste of what you’ve been missing all along.

    Oh yes.. there is also my thirst for head shots, because of which I always find myself returning to such games.. Headshots using rifles can be VERY satisfying!

    Comment by Reeteshinator — April 29, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  6. Did you play Riddick on the Xbox?

    I think that Riddick is an exception to the shooter rule. With Riddick, you have a character that is so bad that violence IS his only option - it plays into the theme of the game instead of just being a chore. Also, you have a smooth transition to and from stealth options, as well as things like sparing use of mechs that break up the action. I hear that Dark Athena’s not quite as good as Butcher Bay, but playing the Butcher Bya segment is absolutely worth the time. It was easily one of my top 5 Xbox games.

    Comment by Eric F — April 29, 2009 @ 10:55 am

  7. @Eric, I started it and didn’t get very far. I was excited to re-try it with the new release. But now I’ve got that shooter fatigue. If I find it, I don’t expect I’ll play it any time soon.

    Comment by stephentotilo — April 29, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  8. Haha sux.

    Comment by cod4 hack — October 27, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

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