Confessions Of A Novice Video Gamer

I have never really been a gamer, until now. Up to this point I never really had an interest. The only games that truly caught my eye were the civilization games for the personal computer. Even then, I tired of them pretty quick. I guess maybe it could be age. I am not part of the younger generation so I never really understood the fascination.

However, because of a long serious illness, I received a gift from my family which was a playstation 3 game console. Even though I was very surprised, I wasn't really interested in gaming initially. At first, I simply used it as a dvd player. It wasn't until I received as gifts a few games that this all suddenly changed.

One game in particular, hooked me. It is Sony's Killzone 2. It is funny how I found myself reacting to this game in ways that I could not have imagined. These are my observations on playing this game. First, I couldn't believe how easy I got sucked into the story. It is somewhat scary and unnerving when a helghast soldier is in your face slashing you with a knife or setting you on fire with a flame thrower as he growls in a low voice how he is going to kill you. Yes, I even found myself leaning back in my seat trying to avoid them as I backpedaled as fast as I could. The one scene on the train was somewhat unnerving where you have to cross over to the other car on your right just to get rushed by the enemy. This is just right after you have to mow down a bunch of them using the machine gun on the tank. Going up steps always made me somewhat hesitant wondering how many of them were lurking on the floor above. Many times I found myself with blood splattered on the screen and the image turning to black and white. Anytime I got to that state the adrenaline and fear would be gone, replaced with wanting to get even, especially while seeing the helghast soldier taunting you and doing a victory dance as if he were a football player who just scored a touchdown.

Every once in awhile a heavy helghast would show up which is a heavily armored soldier who you can only kill if you shoot its power backpack. In one scene a heavy shows up as part of a boarding party on the New Sun spaceship. He insults you, saying how small and puny you are but also says he only wants to talk. It was quite satisfying putting a few bullets into the head of his carcass with the pistol while stating somewhat loudly, “The puny little guy does not want to talk!” Yes, it is quite satisfying getting even.

The scenes are quite impressive. I don't have a high definition television so I haven't yet seen exactly how good they really are. Some questions I have are, why so many catwalks? Is this normal for a first person shooter game. I could also probably ask, why so many stairs?

There are sentry robots that shoot at you. You shoot back and even though they are smoking and burning, they will still fly around gunning for you. I guess this applies also to your fighting partners. Yes, they can can get shot a hundred times, but once that 101st bullet hits they go down screaming and moaning for help. If you take too long you will be told that you won't get a tip. It is funny seeing your comrade on fire crying out and when you finally assist him the flames miraculously go out and he jumps back to his feet. Well, maybe that isn't so funny. If only curing injuries and illnesses could be that easy.

There is positive reinforcement from your comrades. Blow a helghast's head off at a great distance and your comrades will compliment you. Kill a number of them quickly and your comrades will implore you to save some for them. In real life, people get trophies for winning at sports, for showing athletic prowess, or others get ones for doing something smart, like winning a science fair contest. Well, I got a trophy for killing 150 helghast. I got one for killing a heavy soldier in less than a minute. I even got one for killing ten helghast in less than 15 seconds.

The language is shocking. There is profanity. Some of the statements that the soldiers make are goofy but others are hilarious and surprising. But it is understood that this game is rated mature.

Overall, I may find some of the aspects of gaming odd, it doesn't mean I am against it. In fact, I am hooked. I do enjoy watching movies. I do have some series television on dvd but I hardly watch anything more than once. However, gaming is different. Most games do tell a story and you become a part of it. You participate in it. Replaying the story doesn't have to be the same because obviously you can control that aspect of it. I now find watching the occasional dvd not that exciting anymore. I guess I won't be using the playstation as a dvd player anymore.


What I Have Played Since

Obviously I have played Killzone 3 since I originally started with Killzone 2, but I have played quite a few other games also. I will briefly comment on the ones that I particularly enjoyed which are:

  • Killzone
  • Killzone 2
  • Killzone 3
  • Resistance Fall Of Man
  • Resistance 2
  • Resistance 3
  • SOCOM 4 U.S. Navy Seals
  • Battlefield Bad Company
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Call Of Duty World At War
  • Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops
  • Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 2
  • Borderlands
  • Borderlands 2
  • Red Faction Guerrilla
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Just Cause 2

The first seven on this list are playstation exclusive games while the rest (from Battlefield down) are available on multiple platforms.

Brief Description Of The Games

The original Killzone game, which started on the PS2, was eventually ported to the PS3 and sold with the other two games in a Killzone Trilogy pack. The graphics on the first game were not really improved from the PS2. The only real change was the addition of trophy support.

Killzone 3 was a welcome game after playing and devoting so much time on the second one. It is a good game which can be played in 3D. The only complaint is that it was actually less challenging than the second game and less challenging than the original PS2 game. Also, the graphics seemed to be slightly less defined or “fuzzy”. I had heard that they used a different 3D renderer on the third game which might explain why the graphics on the second game was noticeably sharper. The second game also had a lot of extra little touches that showed that it was a well thought out and polished game. I especially enjoyed the incredible graphics and tips that was displayed when you had to wait for each chapter of the game to load. The graphic itself would move when you moved the controller. This nice touch was absent on the third game, replaced with simply a black screen and the loading indicator on the bottom right corner. Even the chapter select on the third game was only in red text on black with a outline red drawing next to each chapter. In the second game, the chapter select was far more detailed and colorful. Each chapter had an actual graphic next to it from the particular scene in the game. Anytime I played either game on a select chapter or mission, it was more difficult to find what I wanted to play in Killzone 3 because of the lack of graphics. This is probably expected since many game makers are trying to churn out sequels more frequently, resulting in short cuts and shorter single player campaigns. This can be seen in the intro animation to all of the Killzone games where the first two games have rather impressive introductions. Even the original Killzone with the limited graphics of the PS2 had a better intro than Killzone 3.

However, there are exceptions. The Resistance Fall of Man series, another playstation exclusive, seemed to buck the trend. I liked all three games but the second and third games were vastly better graphically than the first game. The story line was just as good in the first one but the colors seemed washed out. The textures were not as good, making the game lack that realistic feel.

The Modern Warfare series is also another exception. Modern Warfare 2 was a good game but I was somewhat disappointed with Modern Warfare Black Ops. I just thought it came out way too early, right after MW2. Its single player campaign was too short and the story wasn't that impressive. One of the redeeming qualities was how some of the scenes looked when they were played in 3D.

I wasn't expecting much when MW3 and Black Ops 2 came out but I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the feel of both games. I thought the graphics were better and the story length, in single player mode, was adequate. I especially liked the change in the special ops in MW3 compared to MW2. In MW2 you had to accumulate a number of stars before you could unlock other ops missions. Some of the missions were hard and required co-op play to help you get to the next level. In MW3, the missions are a little easier where you unlock by moving from the rank of private all the way up to general. You can play any of the missions over and over again to help you advance your rank.

The Battlefield Bad Company series is also a good series. I actually liked these two games over all of the Modern Warfare series, and in a remote way it reminds me of the Killzone series, since it has the same setup, in single player mode, where you are deployed with the same squad throughout the storyline. However, in Battlefield, there is a good level of humor that was somewhat refreshing. It is humor that is based on the fact that you and the soldiers you are fighting along with are the rejects and misfits of the army. This is in sharp contrast with the seriousness of the Modern Warfare series. Also, it was amusing that you could blow holes through walls with your grenade launcher or level a forest with it. Yes, why go around a building when you can simply go through it.

Just Cause 2 is a remarkable game just for the virtual reality alone. The storyline for this game takes place on an island nation. There are a set of main missions but there are also quite a few side missions where you help the three factions vying for power on the island. The reality created in this game is amazing. There are over 368 cities, towns, and military bases to discover. The island itself is a simulated 400 hundred square miles. There are over 104 vehicles that you can drive, which include, cars, trucks, motorcycles, planes, jets, jumbo jets, helicopters, tanks, armored vehicles, and boats. The cities vary from small villages to large cities with breathtakingly high sky scrapers.

Red Faction Guerrilla is a game that takes place on Mars. It is very similar to the style and storyline of Just Cause 2. It also has a large map, many vehicles to drive but not to the extent of Just Cause. Red Faction is on a much smaller scale but still impressive none the less.

SOCOM 4 U.S. Navy Seals is a first person shooter and is very much like the Modern Warfare series with that authentic military feel and lingo. It has one very impressive feature. In the game you play the leader of a squad of soldiers. They are broken up into two teams which you are able to instruct where to go. If you are pinned down, you can command one or both of them to flank the enemy, so this game has the added bonus of some strategy. There are also a few missions where you are actually one of the team members which happens to be the women sniper expert. I found these missions both hard and fascinating, where you had to learn to be both patient, and covert.

Resident Evil 5 is obviously based on the series of movies of the same name. If you like zombies or mutant humans then this is the game to get. Along with the foreboding background music and the approaching mutants, this game can definitely deliver the fear factor.

Finally, and probably the best game series, is Borderlands. This is one of the most creative and imaginative games ever. The graphics and the texturing is excellent, with bright color and bright scenes. Each game has four characters that you can play and each one has a particular skill. For example, the character Brick has his rage and his fists and Lilth has her ability to phasewalk. Between the two games there are a total of eight characters that you can play, all with a special action skill. You gain points through jobs and missions where you level up. Each time you level up you can then improve your action skill. The highlight of this game or games is its wonderful complexity. There are so many colorful characters, creatures, and challenges. There are so many types of weapons, shields, grenades, and action skills. The pure imagination that went into this game is unbelievable. For all of the people involved in creating these two games, they all should take a bow. They deserve it. These are two great games.

3D Games

Of the games on the list, these are the ones that can be played in 3D

  • Call Of Duty Black Ops
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 2
  • Killzone 3
  • Resistance 3
  • SOCOM 4

Playing the games in 3D is different. The affect is there but it doesn't pop out of the screen (most of the time) like I think everybody expects. It goes the other way. The depth into the screen is what occurs. To me, the television becomes like a portal to another world as if you could step right in.

Of the games mentioned above, the Black Ops games and the Killzone 3 game had some unusual features that made them stand out when it comes to 3D. For example, in both Black Ops, the guns that you hold look much more real. One scene that was striking, that I can think of in Black Ops, was the Russian assault on the German held ship in the arctic. You are given a machine gun and a rifle similar to the American M1. When I first aimed and fired the rifle I was amazed at how long it was!

In Killzone 3 I never noticed the smoke trails of the enemy bullets until I played it in 3D and now I understand why they put them in the game. It looks like they are really shooting at you! There is one scene where snipers are scattered throughout the surrounding buildings using laser pointers. In the 3D mode the lasers really jump out at you.

High Definition Games

Of the games on the list, most of them are 720p with the exception of the following which are at 1080p:

  • Call Of Duty World At War
  • Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  • Call Of Duty Modern Warfare 3
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 2
  • Red Faction Guerrilla

As you can see, the makers of Call of Duty have really gone all out in delivering a “real” experience with their games at 1080p.

Obviously this is not the end of good games to play. While online looking for video reviews, I noticed some other future games that I may try, such as Crysis 2, Rage, and Mass Effect.

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