Random Friday: RDR2, PUBG, & replayability

Giant ships and a planet? Must be Star Wars. It might be a Star Wars weekend.

And the big news is…

Red Dead Redemption 2 has been scheduled for release on October 26th. That’s much later in the year than most of us had hoped, but what are you going to do? March on Rockstar and demand an earlier release date? Wait… actually…

Yeah, maybe not.

According to Rockstar, it will be worth the wait. Given all of the anticipation that’s built up around the game, it damned well better be. Eight and a half years is a long time to wait for a sequel — although it’s not, by any means, the longest wait ever. Not even close. According to Guinness World Records, that honor goes to Wasteland 2, which was released 26 years after the original.

Games have nothing on movies, though. The sequel to Disney’s Fantasia came out almost 60 years after the original (which was called Fantasia 2000, but premiered at the end of 1999).

I can’t wait 60 years for a sequel to anything. Unless I figure out how to transfer my consciousness to the internet, I won’t live that long.

Spam of the week.


To recap…

I had never played PUBG. /recap

And now I have.

I installed it a few days ago, and by the time it was ready to play, I was ready for bed. I decided to play a quick game first, and just hit the play button without thinking. Then I spent the next minute frantically trying to bind important keys so that I could actually play. I ended up spending the entire match with some menu popping up every time I crouched, and I was too paranoid to stop and hunt it down in the settings.

I landed near an old barn and quickly gathered some ammo and a weapon. Since I was busy binding keys, I’d paid zero attention to where I was when I jumped out of the plane. Then I spent the next several minutes running. Then a bunch of bombs started exploding around me. Then I spent the next several minutes running, while watching my health get lower and lower. Then I died. I never even laid eyes on another player.

Then I went to bed. The next night, I loaded up PUBG again, took the time to get my keybindings set up properly, and hit play. This time, I landed near a house, looted a shotgun and shells, and headed toward the play area (which is not that red circle, btw). I heard gunfire in the distance, and decided to be sneaky and look for high ground. I climbed up the side of a small mountain and surveyed the area. I slowly started making my way down the side of the mountain. Then I fell down and died.

Night three, and I was kind of liking this, “One match per evening, learn everything the hard way” idea, so I loaded up PUBG again. Hit play. This time, I made a point of jumping out right after a whole bunch of people. This time, there would be shooting, dammit.

I landed at a house that was isolated, and luckily, no one else was too close. I quickly grabbed up everything I could carry, jumped into a truck, and went looking for some action. I saw several people darting around inside a more city-like area nearby, so I swung around the back of a warehouse, got out of the truck, and snuck inside. Nobody was around. I decided to check the one closed door that I could see. I opened it, stepped inside, and the air erupted in a hail of bullets. I crouched, spun around, and managed to get one shot off before I died. (According to the ever-so-handy, “See just how you screwed up!” death cam, he saw me go into the warehouse and ran like hell to hit me the moment my back was turned.) I learned two things from this: one, I probably shouldn’t play with the sound off, and two, I should probably be a little more careful when I don’t have an automatic weapon capable of hosing down a room… because the other guy quite possibly does have one.

I’m going to keep doing this, because it’s kind of fun. I’m the clueless, innocent nobody who was kidnapped off the street and dumped into a death match without the faintest idea what the hell is going on. I’ll die over and over and over again in sad and embarrassing ways. It’ll be like that Groundhog Day episode of Supernatural. I’m going to maximize the new-game-suckage period and milk it for all it’s worth.

If nothing else, restricting myself to one match per night will keep me from getting burned out on it. At least for a while.

Someone should set a battle royale-type game in South Park.

On replayability.

Some games are naturally replayable because there’s a lot of choice involved, and those choices can lead you down different paths, or to different endings. Sometimes, they even have completely different experiences on offer, based on what class/race/etc. you choose to play.

Dragon Age Origins is one example that covers both of those scenarios. Want to play a dwarf? Ok, what kind of dwarf? Noble or commoner? Depending on your choice, you get a completely different intro story. Granted, the story converges once you get past the intro section, but there are a ton of ways to make each playthrough different than the last. Side with the werewolves. Kill off that annoying idiot Isolde. Spend the entire game doing the opposite of whatever Morrigan wants you to do (yes, I’ve done that). Toss morality aside, assassinate everyone and steal all the things.

Star Wars: The Old Republic is another excellent example, because every class has a completely different quest arc for the first 50ish levels. Even replaying the same class can come across as a different experience; depending on the choices you make, you can set an entirely different tone, even if the ultimate outcomes are on rails. I’m on my third (ok, technically fourth, but the third one is still somewhere in the 20s) Sith Warrior, and this time, instead of trying to forget everything I know about the class arc, I’m playing her as a psychic who knows what the future has in store. Even so, every time I roll up a class I’ve already played, I’m struck by just how much of the early story bits I’ve truly forgotten about since the last time. Every single time I hear, “I AM LORD VACUUS!” I start laughing hysterically. I’d forgotten about this idiot. Faced with a wannabe dark, scary, and intimidating Sith Lord, the hero is valiantly trying to stifle a fit of the giggles…

Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag is endlessly replayable, because pirate. Seriously, I can’t get enough pirating. Especially boarding other ships from atop the mast. That never gets old. When I want to blow off some steam, loading up AC:BF and just running rampant through the streets of Nassau helps a lot. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, for all people seemed to hate it, is another one I keep going back to. Not so much for the story, but just to wander around London aggroing gang members. Hey, it’s not my fault — they started it! Plus, fighting on top of trains. That also never gets old.

I’ve replayed the Saints Row games a lot. Agents of Mayhem is another one I find myself loading up just to spend twenty or thirty minutes shooting at shit, because the world lends itself to that sort of thing very well. Forget missions, just do a little sightseeing and you’re guaranteed to find something to shoot. Same goes for Grand Theft Auto V. Wander around for a bit, and shit will just happen to you.

In the end, I think replayability — at least for me — has more to do with how much I like the world, or how well the game scratches a particular itch, than anything else. I’m constantly yelling at myself about it. “How about instead of playing Saints Row 2 for the eight millionth time, you actually play one of those games you haven’t finished yet?”

Yeah, I could do that. But certain games just keep calling me back. And that’s ok. I’ll keep trying new stuff, but I won’t feel bad when the old stuff calls. If nothing else, it’s confirmation that my $$$s were well spent.

And finally…

I just found out last night that the Super Bowl is this weekend. Who knew? (I mean, aside from just about everybody everywhere.)

I used to be into football in high school (I went to high school in Texas, so it was pretty much mandatory) and for a little while into my 20s, and then I realized that I just didn’t care. At all. So, in the spirit of that Super Bowl thing that’s apparently happening this weekend… this is as close as I get.

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