A study in contrasts:

I finished up a pair of games over the last few days, which would feel like more of an accomplishment if I didn’t have over 500 games left in my “play this someday” stack.

I don’t mean to imply that they’re all in one stack, mind you.  It’s more of a stack state of mind.  A metastack, if you will.

Anyway.

I finished up Dynasty Warriors: Gundam on the PS3, which was a game I’d had described to me as “you push X for a long time while you grind through hordes of weak robots, and then occasionally a slightly tougher robot comes out and you push X REALLY fast”

I will take exception with this description.

Having played it, I can now reveal that you spend most of the game pressing the Square button.

Not that you don’t press X.  In fact, since X is “dash”, you usually press X and then press Square a bunch of times.

Anyway, the game has two modes: One (“Official Mode”) in which you play through heavily abbreviated versions of the events of the One Year War, from the original Gundam series, followed by Gundam Z and Gundam ZZ.  In a bit of a twist, you play through them as the heroic characters first, then again as the bad guys, not that moral absolutes ever really apply to Gundam characters anyway.

The second (“Original Mode”) consists of tossing Gundam characters from 25 years of the franchise into a big blender, hitting “chop”, and pouring what comes out into a big glass of confusion.  The game play, revolving mostly around slamming on the Square button until you have to fight a slightly tougher robot, doesn’t differ much from the first mode.

I’m not implying here that I didn’t enjoy the game.  I played through the “Official” mode six times over, after all, to play through all the eras from both viewpoints, and then I played through the “Original” mode one time to see what that was like, and by the end I’d sunk about 20 hours of my life in to it, rather enjoyed it, and felt good about calling it complete and moving on.

I spent a little more time with “The Witcher”, probably 50 or 60 hours.  It’s the first long western-style RPG I’ve played through since Ultima IV, and I can’t even claim to have finished Ultima IV because I got bogged down in The Abyss in 1988 or so and never went back to it.

The genre has advanced a little bit since Ultima IV.

Anyway, I liked the Witcher too, though it’s a completely different sort of game.  It’s basically a single-player version of a MMORPG, right down to the “bring me 10 wolf pelts” style of side quest, and it suffers a little bit from all the running around it makes you do, and it crashes every three hours or so to remind you that you’re playing a PC game and not a console game, but it has two major advantages over an actual MMORPG in that a) it does actually have a story that ENDS and b) it doesn’t have all the annoying people that kind of come with the MMORPG environment.

Also it doesn’t cost 15 bucks a month.

The pacing at the start of the game is atrocious – the game is split into a prologue, 5 “chapters”, and an epilogue, and I felt like I spent half the game in Chapter II – but it was good enough that I stuck with it all the way through.

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