March Game Challenge: Week Three (Progress!)

the division cover

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m actually making good on one of my new year’s gaming resolutions: to play more games.

I’m also making good on a larger challenge for the year, and that was to complete more games. So far, I’m at ten for the year, having added both Firewatch and The Division to that list in the last week.

Hooray!

I had been anticipating Firewatch for some time, and I was excited to finally get my hands on it. After having played through the entire game, I’m a bit disappointed. The narrative of the game seemed to have three paths it was traversing, and only one of them seemed to have any sort of conclusion. The others felt ham-fisted into that same reasoning, and I didn’t really know what to think about that. It felt like either they ran out of ideas, or they just ran out of time to come up with better ideas, but it left me feeling very shruggish.

I was also less than pleased with the technical performance of the game. Often as I was simply walking from place to place, the game would stutter, sometimes quite badly. It took me out of the immersive experience, and I have no idea why it was happening in this particular game. I have played many far more technologically demanding games where this hasn’t happened.

Overall, I was left wanting. I wanted to like it so much more than I did.

The good news was that the game was gorgeous. I took so many screenshots of the environs while I was out and about on my missions. The color scheme was intoxicating.

And then there was The Division.

I remember when I played Destiny and completed the story, I at least knew I had completed the story. I can say no such thing about The Division.

I said something to my co-op partner like, “This seems pretty boss fighty. I think this might be the end of the game.” And he and I finished that mission and there were no credits or anything and we were puzzled. Things were left unanswered and there was no ritual end of game fanfare.

Turns out: it was the end of the game (narrative-wise). It was just entirely anti-climatic (except for the boss fight). Not even anyone back at the main base commented on the state of affairs.

It was just weird.

That being said, the end game content has me wondering. I decided to find all the collectibles (as I felt they added a unique dimension to the story), which took longer than I thought it would. Then I dove in to the daily challenge missions. There seem to be three per day, and two of them are fairly easy, with one of them being significantly more difficult (or at least it was yesterday). In fact, my co-op partner and I couldn’t even make it through the first section of that more difficult challenge mission. It was a bit surprising.

We were both keen on making our way through the Dark Zone, but a series of unfortunate incidences on Friday night had us both wondering.

The short version of the story is that there were two other players working in tandem to “force” people into going rogue simply so they could kill them. They were camping a safe house in the Dark Zone, and as soon as we came out, they followed us all over. As soon as we ended up in a fire fight, while I was shooting, one of them walked directly into my path of fire so I would turn rogue, while the other one was already aimed at my partner (if you go rogue, so does everyone on your squad). They killed us immediately.

That was annoying enough, but we saw them do the same to someone else almost as soon as we’d respawned at the nearest safe house. It made me wonder why there is no reporting feature in The Division. The game is basically rewarding those players for bad behavior. And that made my co-op partner and I reevaluate if we wanted to continue pursuing the Dark Zone.

We decided for the evening to leave it alone, but I have to say, it makes me want to play in the Dark Zone far less. Which is too bad, as before that, we had only encountered really kind people who were trying to help others.

So we’ll see how it all shakes out.

As for my gaming plans this week, I’m hoping to dive in to The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Bedlam, Layers of Fear, and Tales from the Borderlands. I love that I’ve been more fearless about having these new experiences, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

What are you playing? Do you have a March game challenge?

6 replies »

  1. That’s great that you are meeting your goal, kudos! I’m probably going to end up playing Firewatch anyway, but definitely with lower expectations after hearing many experiences that sound similar to yours. I’m also interested in The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

    It’s been hard to make time for games lately, which is in direct contrast to my goals for the first half of the year. Oh well. I did manage to finally see credits roll on Divinity: Original Sin, and spent a bit of time with Contradiction. Some is better than none I suppose.

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      • Yeah, work stuff mostly. We were initially working 6 day weeks for a while. Then dropped down to 5 day weeks once things were going smoother. My superintendent got sent to a different project far away that’s struggling, and it turns out he did a lot here, because now I’m doing it on top of what I was already doing on a daily basis. And then I took up scuba diving… Life always seems to surprise.

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