In “Digital Noise,” we discuss the ongoing experience of being a gamer with the world of options available to us all now and ask one question we want you to answer for us.
If I have to make that same tank drive that same 40 square feet of the map one more time, I am likely to pick my television up and put it straight through the drywall.
Since setting up an XBox One in my home office, I have played a few games all the way through. “Call Of Duty: Ghosts” on campaign mode pretty much cemented the idea for me that I do not like the “Call Of Duty” series. There is something very strange about a game that uses real geo-political tensions as a springboard to tell a story in which poor overpowered America has to fight back, an underdog standing up for freedom and bleeding red, white, and blue. At this point, it makes me genuinely uncomfortable to spend time with the worldview of “Call Of Duty,” and I'm not sure I'll bother playing any future entries in the series.
I just started playing through “Lego: The Hobbit” with my sons on the XBO, and running through an entire campaign of anything with them is a lot of fun. They both get exasperated, but with one another, not with the game itself. We played “Lego Marvel” for the PS3, and they still have that and “The Lego Movie” videogame for the PS3 that they're playing when I'm not around.
“Dead Rising 3” is okay. I enjoy the running around and the use of all sorts of crazy gadgets to cut through the ocean of zombies that are everywhere in the city, as well as the ticking clock of knowing that the city is going to be destroyed and we have to finish all our tasks before that happens. But I made a mistake because I wanted to occasionally play the game with a friend of mine. I set the game up starting at the beginning and chose the option to allow other players to join me. It worked for the purpose of letting me play the game with my friend, but as soon as the game began, we suddenly couldn't hear each other through the headsets. The whole point of playing was to be able to speak to each other as we played, and it just plain wouldn't work.
A few days later, I was playing the campaign mode again, but it was just me. I hadn't invited anyone because of the first experience I had trying to do that. Some guy randomly dropped into my game, though, and I started trying to talk to him to see if we could co-ordinate our efforts at all. Nothing, though. No sound from his end. And when he ran off and started doing his own thing, I suddenly couldn't get my character where he needed to go. It was a maddening experience, and no matter what I've checked, I don't see a way to take a game that's in progress and change the settings so no one can randomly drop in on a game I'm playing without an invitation. That's frustrating enough that I'm not sure I'm willing to go back and start over with it set to private.
“Titanfall” has been the game that's gotten the most play since the system was added to my office, and I'm sure it will be for a while, too. I've played a number of matches now, and I've got a pretty solid group of friends who I've played with more than once now. There was a recent update to the game, and one of the new features is the “Private Match [Beta],” which allows you to pick all the players for both sides. Tonight, we ended up with a total of 12 of us who signed on, picked teams, and then played about 10 matches in a row. We had very different levels and skill sets within the two teams, and there was something much more fun about knowing who all six of the people on the other team were. I hope we can do more of that, because it changed the experience for me on several levels.
Oddly, there are people I've known for years who I am just now playing games against or with, and it's a very different way to get to know somebody. Since I never really got into the Playstation 3's multi-player set-up very often, this experience is all fairly new to me. The XBox One's controls for all of the live connection stuff can be tricky and buggy, but when it works perfectly, it is a gaming high unlike any other.
Finally, I was sent “Battlefield 4” for the Xbox One right after I was sent “Call Of Duty.” I played the “COD” title first just on a whim, and then started playing “Battlefield” afterwards. For the first four or five levels, I enjoyed it well-enough. I think the emphasis on giant set piece moments makes “Battlefield” more fun than “Call Of Duty,” and it doesn't seem to be grinding the same sort of ideological axe that the “Call Of Duty” series has been. Besides, I have to give it up for setting the opening title sequence to the unforgettable sound of “Total Eclipse Of The Heart.” Hilarious.
But then I got to one particular level that involves the use of tanks. You have to steal one and then go head to head with a bunch of other tanks and mobile infantry. You work your way slowly through the board, and no doubt about it, I was getting my ass kicked. I made it one checkpoint, then to another, and then my forward progress stopped completely. I know what I'm supposed to do. I can tell exactly what the process is by which I'm supposed to finish the level. But I played it something like 30 times in a row, and I simply couldn't do it before they blew my tank up. If I tried to hop out of the tank, I would get mercilessly attacked from all sides and I'd die. Finally, after it got to the point where I just couldn't push forward anymore, I turned it off for the night, and I haven't gone back it since.
Truth be told, I'm not sure I want to. I like to be challenged by a videogame, but I do not like to be punished by it. When I read someone's account of what they loved about “Dark Souls 2,” I can appreciate that they had a certain experience with it, but I don't relate. I have a limited amount of time I can spend on gaming. It's not even a matter of preference. It's simply a matter of how much time I have available for things. Gaming is not my main focus, and I would assume that's true for many people. I don't mind having to learn the layout of a board or needing to try different weapons to get through an area, but when I repeatedly find myself stopped cold by something, it does eventually reach a point where I just can't see the point in doing it again.
So let me ask you… do you ever decide that you're done playing a game because you reach a point where you can't do something or you just get tired of the mechanics of the thing? Or do you finish every game you start? I find that ever since I got GameFly, I am far more willing to simply not finish something because I don't have a full $60 investment in it anymore.
I'd love to hear your answers to this, and if you're on XBox One and want to play some “Titanfall” or anything else, my gamer tag is FatherFilmNerd. We'll do some more Twitch broadcasting this weekend, although Wondercon is going to hoover up most of my time.