Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gamerscore Challenge 2011: First Past The Post

Victory is mine! I must admit, however, that it’s a slightly hollow victory, this triumph in the Megabits 2011 Gamerscore Challenge. My fellow competitors are holding down jobs, raising children and attaining degrees. Due to a regrettable lack of employment, the biggest demand on my time is the ironing, and I’m getting to be pretty swift at that.

Nevertheless, I’ve cracked it, first to our chosen magic number of 7691GS, and all false modesty aside, I bet my weekly playtime total doesn’t significantly exceed that of our dreaded blogmaster Bojeeva. Of course, I don’t spend as much time crocked as he does either, he’s the Robin Van Persie of gaming journalism.

Anyway, I must admit I’m glad it’s ‘over’. The quote marks are there as I’m being encouraged to try and break the 10K mark before our end of May deadline. I might have a crack at that, but for now I just want to enjoy playing some games without even thinking about achievements, just the way I used to. The worst thing about the Gamerscore Challenge is that you start to treat the games as a lesser adjunct to the achievements. The best thing, of course, is that the need to be playing during every scrap of free time forces you to play games you wouldn’t normally consider, which has led me to some unexpected crackers (Split/Second: Velocity) and some utter stinkers (Bayonetta).

The final points charge breaks down this way:

Transformers: War for Cybertron: 70G
I only made it through two levels of this disappointing game. To be fair, it is a perfectly serviceable third person shooter, but the high concept genius of Transformers is “Giant super-powered robots fighting a war on tiny, fragile Earth.” What we need is an approximate merging of the destructible environments of Red Faction Guerilla, the open world driving and shooting mix of Grand Theft Auto, and the free flowing melee combat of Batman Arkham Asylum, strung together on a plot that nods towards the best storylines of the 1980s comics and cartoon. To get instead a generic third person shooter with robots on a planet where everything is to scale was too much of a letdown to carry on with.

Left 4 Dead 2: 95G
Making a welcome return to my playlist, Left 4Dead remains the most enjoyable multi-player game there is, due to the conflict between the need for teamwork and the gameplans of the individuals on the team. I’ve always slightly preferred the darker campaigns of the first game to the tongue in cheek amusement parks and rock concerts of the second, but now that the DLC packs are bringing the Left 4 Dead campaigns to Left 4 Dead 2, this is pretty much the perfect multiplayer package.

Crackdown 2: 120G
I’m currently undecided about Crackdown 2. The gameplay is pretty much identical to the first game, which is good, but it already feels samey, and the lack of structure is deeply annoying. In Crackdown you dismantled the supply, manpower and transport arms of various organisations in order to weaken their bosses enough for the final fight, which gave the game a simple, compelling structure. In my limited playtime with Crackdown 2, that structure seems to be missing. Still, from an achievements point of view, it dished out 120 points in about forty minutes, making it one of the most generous games for point hunters that I’ve come across.

Call of Duty: World at War: 235G
It remains a minority opinion, but I’d happily play World at War ten times over if it meant not having to pick up either Modern Warfare or CoD:Blops again. The script and characters are nowhere near as annoying, the locales are more interesting, and the action is more visceral than the hectic, tinny combat of both Modern Warfares. Granted 235 GS isn’t particularly generous, but the game was good enough to make me forget the relentless hunt for points for a day or two.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II: 110G
Wow, now this is a short and repetitive game. The first 110 points I got from it were enough to get me across the finish line in the Gamerscore Challenge, but I got another 280 out of it soon after. A single day of dedicated play could probably net you an easy 600 points. It’s not a bad game either- there are no wow moments and the action is repetitive, but the sword flailing acrobatics that comprise the bulk of the gameplay are entertaining enough to keep you playing. Shame about that annoying Spire sequence though-if I liked platform games I’d still be using an NES, eh?

Also contributing to the score were some games I started last month:

Silent Hill Homecoming: 30G
This time last month I wasloving this slice of old fashioned survival horror. Sadly, it’s old-fashioned enough that if you’re a little reckless with your save files, it’s perfectly possible to come to a grinding halt. I found myself facing a boss battles with two bullets and a sliver of health, and not one of my three save files would have changed the situation appreciably. After dozens of attempts, I’ve been forced to put this aside to be restarted from scratch at a later date. Still a cracking game though.

Vanquish: 270G
This speedy little 3PS dished out 275 points last month and 270 this time, and while it was never hugely innovative or original, not once was it dull or frustrating either.

Fight Night Champion: 95G
I got another 95 out of this on top last month’s 375, and would have had a fair few more if my online pass hadn’t expired. The worrying realisation that you’ve played long enough to have thrown 10,000 jabs is slightly mollified by the 25GS you get for it.

Coming soon, our pick of the best, worst, cheapest and most satisfying achievements of the 2011 Gamerscore Challenge.


Congratulations (through gritted teeth)! But you may as well go for the 30k mark now - there's still plenty of time before the May 31 deadline... it will let you revisit Bayonetta at least :)

There's still six weeks left, don't go bottling it now, Robin!

Fair play, fair play, congratulations.... (*scowls bitterly). I know what you mean about treating games differently. For example, I completely gave up on Just Cause 2 (despite enjoying it) because the achievements were so stingy. All I want to do is crack the 30 K now and I'll be happy.

Me too, I ditched Oblivion as the points were only trickling in. Seriously though, isn't Just Cause 2 great?

Yeah I've really enjoyed playing it for the three or so hours that I have. It's definitely one for the "I'll finish this at a later date" pile. Picked up Deadly Premonition for a tenner the other day. Now that is one bonkers game...

Is that the crazy Twin Peaks style game that supposed to be completely $hit and utterly ingenious all at the same time? I've got that on my Lovefilm list, but at low priority in case the $hit outweighs the ingenious.

I actually love Deadly Premonition. Elements of it are completely and utterly rubbish (the gameplay for example) but it's genuinnley got one of the most involving stories of a game I've ever played. It truly is a love it or hate it game, but one that evryone should at least try