This Game Is Perfect
I just had to stop playing a game because I was really mad at it. I picked it up after not having played it in a while, and upon playing it I realized that there was a reason that I shelved it so many months ago. It felt much like when I stop playing a JRPG because I reached a boss that I could not beat and did not want to go back and grind my way to a higher level and eventual victory. In that JRPG, I would pick it up, fight the boss, lose, and then just put it back on the shelf. With this game, and the games I want to highlight, the design decisions in the game itself were the barriers for me to continue playing it. It was a great game, but the combined annoyance of certain factors all combined into a perfect zenith moment of obnoxiousness. I put it down, came to my computer and wrote two articles.
Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers
I have spent an inordinate amount of time playing this game. It is probably the most shameful and terrible game that I own (luckily it is downloadable, so it does not stain my boxed collection). I have spent some time thinking about how it is a videogame of a collectible card game. This is awfully nerdy, but it is probably the only way that I would play a CCG. The whole spending tons of money to collect all these ridiculous cards and then track people down to play against them seems like significantly too much work for any sort of recreational venture in this day and age. Getting rid of the collecting (for the most part, as you have to earn additional cards by winning matches), the tracking down of warm-blooded competition, and the storing of these things was something that I was immediately drawn to when I heard about this game. I could just play it whenever I wanted and only have to invest in the game itself (and additional expansions as they are released). It was certainly a fun romp, and something that I return to to play with my friends and just as a fun time-waster since I have farmed this game for all of its juicy achievements already. There are, however, some real problems with this game that are baffling to my mind. A friend of mine called this game perfect, because it follows specific rules and thus cannot cheat or glitch itself to a cheap victory. However, this has now become a running joke since when he comes over and we play it cooperatively, the problems show themselves quite readily. I have decided to write a c-blog about this specific game, and have also written one about another game, but I'll put it out later.
I have played some videogames in my time and witnessed low numbers of frames per second. Doom on the SNES, Shadow of the Colossus, running halflife 2 on my old PC, these games brought their respective platforms to their knees with what the software demanded from the ageing hardware. Magic: The Gathering - Duels of the Planeswalkers turns into a choppy, slow, and AI destroying mess when a match goes long in coop. The CPU opponents can start making ridiculous decisions that they would not make under normal circumstances. It takes maddening amounts of time for the computer to complete their turn. Sitting their and making a decision to put out a land. Just put it out computer! You don't need to think about it. What processes have been programmed into you that causes you to think about putting out a land? Even if you just have one card that is a land you must sit there and think about if you are going to put it out or not.
Now, the best part of this slowdown process is that this is a card game. A card game is causing my Microsoft Xbox 360 to experience slowdown like I have never seen before.
This is a quick little bit of minutia. The CPU opponents will, on frequent occasion, spend their time tapping all of their leftover mana to regenerate a creature in need. This is an extremely time consuming process when the game has gone long and they have 8+ mana in which to regenerate their creature with (usually one mana per regeneration). One single regeneration would be sufficient, but they do it over and over and over again, needlessly wasting my time as if to break my will and cause my schedule to gang up with the computer and make me admit defeat. Well, maybe I'll be late for school just to show you what is what computer. Maybe I will just do that.
Before a recent patch came out, this game would crash regularly during coop matches. It was extremely saddening to prematurely end a match due to crazy malfunction. This has since been fixed, but believe you me that crashing still occurs. On multiple occasions this game has crashed when a game has been dragging on for some time and there are many cards out. This is the most devastating because you have probably invested about an hour of your time getting to this crucial point. Finally all of your tactical plays have paid off and you finally are able to play this much-needed card and then FREEZE! Your game has crashed and your tactical brilliance means nothing. No card has been unlocked, no opponent foiled, you are left with a sunken heart and nothing else.
This game has filled countless hours and I will recommend it to anyone (who I don't think would look down on me for recommending this extremely nerdy game). Go out and download it and have much enjoyment from it, but beware these spiky thorns on this rose of a game. read