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Best Video Games Of The Year lists are good for fomenting argument. But maybe they can also give an overlooked game another chance for attention. Here's one man sticking up for Metro 2033, and sticking up for it... interestingly.
Amid the Red Dead Redemption talk and Call of Duty conversation over at Slate.com's Gaming Club (I used to be a member, sob), here is writer Tom Bissell giving love to a game I ignored all year:
What I love about Metro 2033 is that it takes the power fantasy tropes of the first-person shooter and effectively Russianizes them. In Western shooters, typically, you progress through the game, unlocking deadlier and more accurate weapons and cooler and ever-more-neato technology. Metro 2033 says, To hell with all that. Your sniper rifle is pneumatic. You actually have to pump the thing up manually before firing it. Your bullets suck. Really good bullets are the gameworld's only currency; they're literally what you use to buy stuff. This means that, when you switch to the good bullets to fight, you're losing money. Ammunition's expensive in real life, of course, and this was the first shooter I've seen that tries to explore that fact. Also, you've got a miner's light on your helmet for use in the gameworld's underground Metros (where most of the action takes place), but the battery sucks, and it's constantly running out of juice, and, yet again, you have to manually pump a hand-held generator to brighten up the light again. This is a shooter imagined by the heirs of a resource-scarce culture, and as such it's a culturally revelatory experience. Metro blew me away.
I notice he's not saying the game is fun. Let us nevertheless all at least think about playing this game again, or, perhaps, for the first time.
The Gaming Club [Slate.com]
If you're planning on picking the game up--or own it and haven't fired it up in a while--make sure to download the "Complete" mod, which adds a slew of enhancements to the game. The latest S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Complete 2009 mod kit is available right now, for free, on FileShack.
The Games for Windows marketplace is offering a new title for 99 cents each day until December 8. Previously the sale featured Viva Pinata and Deus Ex, among others.
More post-nuclear fallout action is planned for the far-flung future, with S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 planned for release in 2012. The series' most recent entry, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat, launched earlier this year.
Fans of the apocalyptic action-adventure Darksiders better get ready for a new hero to take the reins in the game's sequel, because it appears War will be taking a back seat next time.
According to a report from IGN, THQ core games guy Danny Bilson says that Darksiders 2, which is due sometime in 2012, will actually be set during the same time period as the original game and for a very good reason.
"It's a different character and takes place simultaneously to the [first game's] story," Bilson said at the IGDA Leadership Forum, "because there's only one apocalypse, and has new mechanics and features that differentiate it a lot and grow it from the first game."
While we dinged the first Darksiders for being a little too much like The Legend of Zelda, the sequel is said by its creators to be more along the lines of Darksiders. Can't wait to see how they pull that off.
Brian Farrell, CEO of the game's publisher THQ, said this morning during an earnings call that the sequel to one of 2010's sleeper hits (who could have guessed grown men would love a Zelda game that looks like World of Warcraft!) would be out in fiscal year 2013, which for THQ runs from April 2012 to March 2013. Even the best-case scenario of April 2012 is still a long way away.
Considering the first Darksiders was supposed to be out in 2009, that's a long wait for a sequel. Makes you wonder whether the game's relative success caught THQ off-guard, the publisher not originally planning to turn the thing into a series and having to get the ball rolling on a second game only after the first one hit shelves.