Ok video games...I’ve had enough of scanning!

I didn’t have much opportunity for gaming this week with the new school year starting for my son plus my wife’s niece and nephew visiting our house.

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I did manage to play some of The Conduit on Wii and had a couple sessions of Star Trek (2013) online with my buddy. Both games kind of stink now and I’ll be glad to see them finished.

The Conduit is just sort of boring. The AI is dumb and as a result the combat is less than fulfilling.

Star Trek is also dull but it is absolutely no fun to control your character which just compounds how uninteresting the game truly is. Also, Star Trek is RIDDLED with bugs. Some are game stopping and some are persistent and unpleasantly annoying. While The Conduit has many redeeming features, I can’t recommend Star Trek at all, even if you are desperate for co-op. It really feels like way too much money was spent on getting the real actors to voice and scan their likenesses in to the game. While this should be applauded, as it is alway amazing to have the real cast from the movies also reprise their roles in the video games, it shouldn’t come at the expense of the game itself. Also, the writing is just terrible for the game, so it feels like the voice acting is just wasted. It is a shame, I’ve really enjoyed many of Digital Extreme’s games in the past.

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As I trudge through the games, dreaming of better games to come, I have finally come to an epiphany about games. I hate scanning and scanning modes.

I’m talking the scanning from Batman, The Conduit, Metroid Prime, Tomb Raider, Star Trek, etc. I’m talking about the scanning that brings the pacing to a screeching halt, the scanning that ruins all the wonderful art in the game, and the scanning you feel compelled to do.

I am not an achievement collector or trophy hunter. I have been known to enjoy collecting things in games and have some compulsions to collect, but I have my limits. Banjo-Tooie was the first game I remember simply giving up on the collection aspect of the game. I don’t enjoy reading emails, books, or sifting through piles of info at the expense of the action. I enjoy my info in audio-clips that allow the action to continue while I listen to them and not having the game root me to the spot to get the information.

I want a well paced action game that doesn’t have me peering into every corner and smashing every barrel in the 1/100th of a chance that I’ll find some collectable that I need.

However, scanning is the worst of this. Instead of corners and barrels the whole playing field is fair game for “secrets”. I spend ridiculously large amounts of time rotating the camera around rooms and it isn’t fun. I don’t get any joy doing this at all. It ruins the action and slows the game down. It also usually involves a graphical change to the view that usually wrecks the nice art and the atmosphere of the game.

And the worst part is that you spend an awful lot of time in these views, checking every pixel in the game to make sure you haven’t missed something because these scans are often necessary to get XP or to find enhancements for your character or weaponry. Other times, you aren’t even sure what you are actually getting from finding these secrets which is even worse. If you know upfront what you are getting and if the secrets mean nothing to the actual game then you can choose to ignore them.

Some games are better than others, Tomb Raider feels more like a help than a chore with the Survival Instinct mode and actually doesn’t let you move around in this mode. Other games make you feel compelled to walk around in the alternate view-mode a good chunk of the time to make sure you aren’t missing something.

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I know many of you love the collecting and are proud of your achievements and trophies. I dislike them, but I can generally just ignore them. Scanning is a whole other level of collecting that I think detracts from the game more than it adds and one I am often forced to participate in.

So, I’ll do more scanning this weekend with The Conduit and Star Trek, hopefully polishing them off and never speaking of them again.

What are you scanning/playing this weekend?