Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Star Wars: Republic Commando - 7/20 hours

I've been dragging my feet playing Republic Commando, and I can't really say why. There's nothing wrong with it. Literally. There is no aspect of this game that I'd characterize as a flaw. It's a very well put together game. There's also nothing about it that excites or interests me.

Which sounds excessively harsh, I know, but I don't really mean that in a critical way. Everybody has their particular quirks and habits. I'm not sure how I would characterize my game preferences, but if I were to try and distill the quality I most enjoy, to come up with the purest essence of what makes a game worthwhile to me, I'd say that I like building things. And by that I don't just mean direct construction like Minecraft or, more recently, Starmade. I like games where you can watch things grow, even if they are just character stats.

Of course, it's possible to take an abstraction too far. I can think of games I really love that don't have that "building" quality, unless I stretch the definition of "building" into unrecognizability, but that feeling of being able to change the state of the game into something personal and cumulative is one that I relish. Republic Commando does not give you that feeling. It's a fine shooting challenge, but it's completely linear, and your character's equipment and abilities are entirely dependent on where you are in the story. Your only control is in how you use them.

Which is perfectly all right. Not everything has to have rpg-progression, and to expect a game about clones to feature character customization is completely unreasonable. It just doesn't do anything for me, personally. Because it's a good game, I'm not exactly miserable or annoyed while playing it, but because of its lack of "John Frazer appeal," I'm also not delighted or intrigued by it either. For me, it is the very definition of a time-wasting game - and I'm not sure that my time is so abundant that it could, absent the blog, successfully compete with any of the hundred other things I could be doing instead.

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