Monday, September 26, 2011

Old Guy Game Guides: Watchmen the End is Nigh

This review of Watchmen: The End is Nigh is a perfect example of why my game guides will be completely useless to a majority of people.

Wow, with that kind of intro, I’ll be attracting new readers by the truckload!

I’m a big fan of the Watchmen film (and justsomerandomguy as you can see by the interloper on the right), and knew I’d be getting some extended version or another for the home release.  I liked the unusual pacing in the movie and felt inserting the Pirate cartoon into it might spoil that, leading me to choose the “non-ultimate” extended cut.

Turns out it was the right choice, as relatives found the Black Freighter DVD on sale and wasn’t too impressed by it. However, the also included (and longer) Under the Hood pseudo-documentary was phenomenal, making the choice a win-win.

The extended version came with a copy of the PS3 game which leads to this sort of meta-review.  It is less about the game itself and more an example of why any review I write is especially for past their prime gamers like me, and not the hard core normal target audience.

Game Age:

The End is Nigh was pretty old by the time I got it. That’s going to be the case for almost every game I buy. There are a near infinite number of titles out there, and considering I was impressed by some of the advancements the Intellivision had to offer over the Atari 2600, I really don’t need state of the art on the Playstation 3 to be wowed.  Therefore, spending top dollar on a new release when the shelf life of games is now measured in minutes is a waste of funds I could be frittering away on things like food and shelter.

Also, not only was the game pretty old when I got it, but it became VERY OLD by the time I finished it.  A combination of lack of skill, lack of time, and lack of sleep required to make any progress (brought on by the previous two “lacks”) means by the time I’ve completed a game there will be multiple reviews available on line for the sequel…

To the new franchise…

That the original game’s fifth follow up has spawned.

Thanks to the above, these commentaries will be for bargain bin games at best, and trash bin games if I had a really tough time.


I read many reviews of this game before initiating play that raked it over the coals for repetitive battles, simplistic combat controls, and a lack of complex abilities to unlock.

And in response to these complaints I say:


I never did actually figure out all the Mortal Kombat fatalities…in the 1993 version that is; honestly Defender had too many buttons for me.  This game not only has simplistic combo moves, and one button finishers, but it also takes you through them one at a time AND lights up the keys on the screen.  Perfect help for the old gamer who has problems remembering where he left the controller, never mind what thirty seven button combination is required to give his opponent a wedgie.

As for repetitive tactics, the one point I got stuck on (for several ages of man) this game was the mercifully few Boss Battles (the lack of which being another positive point for the old guy gamer). They are like all boss battles dating back to the flying saucers in Asteroids.  The strategy, viewpoint, difficulty level and possibly the laws of physics of the game change radically when that point is reached.  If everything isn’t perfectly right, you have to do the same exact steps over and over again until it’s complete.  I have no problem with repetitive methodologies, as it makes things easier to learn, but the repeated duplication of a series of moves required to pass a game section destroys any fragments of patience I may actually have. (The technical term for the measurement of the amount of abject repetition required by a game is “Marioness”…at least in my anti-Nintendo head.)

Another important old guy feature is subtitles.  Since I am forced to play any game with questionable language after my daughter (and usually my wife) has gone to bed, the subtitles are vital to know what’s going on when the sound is reduced to levels which prevent them from being woken up by random explosions screams and profanities. (At least preventing them from being woken up by the TV, the random explosions screams and profanities often emanating from me, especially during the Boss Battles, are still a problem, but I’m working on that.)

Licensed Properties:

The modern gamer tends to turn up his nose at licensed games.  In order to meet the release date of the film they are attached to; often schedules are rushed, corners are cut, and older technology is used. 

Frankly, my dear gamers, I don’t give a damn. 

Having cut my teeth in the age where the king of the arcade was a flat yellow circle with a mouth that was geometrically impossible for a two dimensional creature  who was controlled by a single buttonless joystick, losing a generation or two in graphics and game play doesn’t exactly show up on my radar.  Here’s the thing: as I’ve mentioned, I have no room left in my head for any more fictional universes. The main reason for this is I tend to delve into the details of those universes in order to get a richer experience out of watching/reading/smelling the fiction.

Since movies and games are different media (although with the overuse of CGI, it’s getting harder to tell, but that’s a rant for another day) the game has to have some differences from the film it is based on.  In this case, the game is a prequel, a necessity for Watchmen, otherwise you’d find out you lost thirty five minutes before you started playing.  Like most of the licensed games I enjoy, it adds to the fabric of the fictional universe while allowing the player to become a part of it. The game got the original actors from the film to do voices, and also uses very Dave Gibbonsy looking cut scenes between levels to tell the story.

Yes, I had to beat up the same unruly fat guy countless times as I traveled through, but the setting, the music, the banter between Rorschach and Nite Owl and a myriad of other elements which do not directly add to (or, luckily complicate) game play allowed me to spend some time in one of the fictional universes I happen to like.

Really that’s all I look for in a game:  A trip to a normally non interactive place that usually exists primarily in my head that provides as little aggravation as possible.

Those like-minded Old Guy Gamers may benefit from my reviews…

As for younger hard core gamers who have already built their own Playstation Fives…

Ah, who am I kidding?

They all left after the first paragraph because they have the attention span of a gnat on acid. 

Get off my digital lawn you rotten kids!

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