My sincere intention was to have a thorough review of Overlord II ready for your consideration this week, my new brothers and sisters in arms. (Er, thumbs?) Oddly enough, although I am thoroughly enjoying the game so far, I've found myself having difficulty playing over the last 4 days. It's not the wonky camera. It's not the bad targetting system. It's just that every time I go to boot up the console, I find the lovely Mrs. Path already getting her evil on!
This can mean only one thing -- my insidious plan to turn my once controller-shy wife into a gamer is proceeding apace. Brief pause, ladies and gents, while I run outside and get my "muhahahahahaha!!" on.
There. . . that's much better.
She always said that while she didn't mind my gaming enthusiasm, she really didn't see ever getting into games herself. I knew better, though. You see, Mrs. Path and I share a history of pen-and-paper games like D&D, and a love for fantasy and sci-fi. And so I told her, like Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark taunting Indy -- "You and I are very much alike. . . I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light."
Mrs. Path says : "First throw me the controller, then I throw you the whip!"
Since we've been together, I've paid attention to which games she took an interest in watching while I was playing. And when she decided to take a turn running over some pedestrians in GTA IV, I learned a little bit more about what was keeping her from embracing the power of the darkside. She was having fun as long as she was driving around and sideswiping the citizens of Liberty City. But when she began to run through some of the story missions, the combat and camera controls drove her batty, and she was back to her hit-and-run lifestyle in no time.
I found that as much as the subject matter and presentation, it was really the controller learning curve that was holding her back. She didn't have the years of practice I did, and unless there was a strong incentive for her to overcome that aversion, she wasn't going to put in the time. I really couldn't blame her. So I had to find some games that drew her in enough to stick around despite the time commitment.
Being a goth girl and metal head back in the day, Guitar Hero and Rock Band were great gateway drugs for her. Although she struggled at first, her love for the music saw her through, and now she's rocking out with gusto. She got all giddy when we got GH : Metallica, and as we sang Nothing Else Matters to each other recently, I was reminded of how lucky we are to have found each other.
Since the controller curve was my enemy, I also brought the PSP into the mix -- LocoRoco (1&2) was adorably fun and chocked full of character, and the simple two shoulder button control scheme instantly appealed to her. I didn't see my PSP for weeks. Seeing this success, I decided to level it up by getting her hooked on Patapon (one of my favorite games of the last few years, btw). The familar rhythm based gameplay combined with some RPG elements and great music and art style was right on the money as well. We are waiting for August so we can get a PSP Go! and pass Patapon 2 back and forth. (Our PSP and UMDs got jacked recently)
Mrs. Path puts me in Fever Mode!
With these successes, I was startled, but not entirely surprised, to finish up a writing/blogging session only to find Mrs. Path in the middle of a group of baby seals, wreaking sweet, sweet destruction. I had noticed her chuckling and laughing when she saw me play earlier. Despite the crappy camera controls and weak targeting mechanic, she was fighting through it all for the kind of experience that only a fun videogame can offer. My eyes welled up with tears of pride as I watched her slaughter innocents for enjoyment. I'm lucky the game isn't even more female friendly. If the minions brought her shoes as plunder, I'd never see my console again!
With her love of metal, her hack 'n slash skills honed, her tolerance for learning new control schemes improved, and her affection for good writing and twisted humor, I know that Brutal Legend will probably be the final nail in the coffin. The nudge that pushes her out of the light and into the shadow, like me.
Mrs. Path makes this overlord look like a bible salesman.
My nefarious plan has almost come to fruition. I've already heard her cursing at the screen from the other room when she plays, and my only thought is -- "Gooooood. Use your aggressive feelings, wifey. Let the hate flow through you. Soon your training will be complete."
Kudos to Codemasters and Rhianna Pratchett!