Yesterday turned out to be much less productive than I’d have liked. The subjects I considered for writing didn’t coalesce. But then, I’ve been meaning to start some editing passes through my blog from inception to today, to catalog then add useful tags and keywords. It’s a two-pass process during which I may also add cats and clean typos and dead links, where I find them. I didn’t get very far but the first pass is started.
The Division occupied my gaming. For my first play-through, I’m scavenging to afford or craft fancy guns. It seems that my stash (accessible to all my characters) doesn’t have a limit to the number of things it can hold, so any good gun that gets too small for my current level can be tossed in there for future play-throughs.
My big annoyance of the moment is that the bad-guys in the game are super-accurate, and can hit me at distances where I require a sniper rifle to hit them. Worse yet, they can do so running and side-gripping their pistols. So it feels like I’m in a tactical shooter, but the enemies are in some buddy heist film. Again, this is supposed to be a game franchise that is supposed to take very seriously the particulars of firearms and gunplay.
In the meantime, I learned that the side-grip became a cinematic device to capture the pistol and the face in a tight frame. It’s also used tactically with ballistic shields, or when shooting AK-47s from ground cover. (I suspect it would apply to ground-firing any long-clipped small-arm.)
It’s omissions of details like these that have become, it appears, a recurring shortcoming of AAA games, such as where Far Cry 2‘s weather patterns seemed to follow a natural flow (fog in the mornings, for example), Far Cry 3 seemed to only have sunny and rainy, and they seemed to occur randomly. To be fair, The Division does feature a pretty amazing repertoire of weather, and FC2 enemies all knew where you were once one of them found you. (Then again, Division enemies seem to know right where I am instantly, even if I use an indirect attack. In FC2 stealth attacks and attacks at distance meant bad guys would have to actually look around for the cause of people dying.)
Regarding proper gun stances, a neat bit of GTA San Andreas reflects the side-grip popularity in gangsta culture. CJ (the player) will default to a lackadaisical side-grip when aiming while standing, and consequently can’t hit anything further away from point blank. When crouched, though, CJ drops to one knee and uses proper Weaver stance (supporting his gun hand with his other hand for stability) and his accuracy vastly improves. It’s a running artistic theme throughout GTA (at least up to San Andreas, the most recent one I played) that as the protagonist learns certain skills (shooting, driving, flying, etc.) his behaviors more closely match professional technique, and CJ’s transformation from city gang-banger to established professional crime boss is thus illustrated.
There are other grievances I have with The Division that make it feel like an unfinished game with a very shiny shellac (and I’ll probably trickle them out here). They don’t make me stop playing, but they do make me feel resentful when my enjoyment suffers due to them. Interestingly, games I particularly like commonly have elements that are diametrically the opposite, details that please me and bring me joy whenever they reveal themselves.
Edit: 2017-03-14 I added the to be fair… bit, above.