I never used to pay attention to strategy guides before working in a video game store. But when you’re constantly encouraged to shift certain stock, or you’re stuck working in the stock room for your whole shift you learn to gain a whole new appreciation for stock you never paid attention to. Without those isolated stock room shifts I would never have been exposed to a lot of niche games that I didn’t know about, on the other hand I wouldn’t have a working knowledge of Activision’s Skylander characters. A blessing and a curse.
So yes! Strategy guides! They’re pretty neat guys, honest. I don’t have that many (the three pictured here and one more), but the collection is steadily growing! I think they’re an amazing addition to every gaming collection, especially for games you’re going to invest a lot of time in and you know you’ll keep. I buy them because they’re a nice companion to the game I’ve bought and while I don’t use them as often as I should, I gain a little bit of insight into the game that I didn’t have before.
My favourite is the Special Edition Borderlands 2 guide, because there is just so much information in there it’s mind boggling. The guide is littered with funny references, insults and more importantly useful information. And, and and! The best part is that it’s all written as if Claptrap was sat next to you, helping you through the game. I’m really glad I bought it when I did as they were super hard to find shortly after the game was released. I’m sure the staff played no part in it. We didn’t each buy a copy of the guide. Nope. *cough*
So far my most useful is the Paper Mario one. I cannot explain to you, how frustrating this game is. Utterly punishing. I’m so used to playing games with checkpoints, that I totally forgot that Nintendo doesn’t give a rats ass about you and your stickers. If you mess up when fighting a Goomba and that’s it, back to the World Map for you. It’s so frustrating! If you engage an enemy and don’t have the right stickers to fight them or don’t have any Health stickers, then that’s back to the World Map! So yes, I’m done with not understanding how certain stickers work, done with getting my butt kicked by Shy Guys and Poison Mushrooms that hurt me (what!?) I’m going to use the guide to navigate the game safely dammnit!
Another great thing about the guides, besides the content is that while most games come with a pre-order bonus, sometimes guides come with extra content too. The vast majority of the time the content isn’t part of the game, but in the case of Darksiders 2 (and others that have escaped my memory), it can be! Most of the extra content comes in, either cheat codes, tips that people won’t have figured out yet, or other fun items related to the game. My Borderlands 2 guide comes with some really cool Pandora based papercraft, and the Paper Mario one comes with cool stickers! For all who don’t know, I love stickers, like a lot, so yeah, it’s a big deal!
Hopefully I finish the game by the end of the month, because I want to move on and be done with Borderlands 2 already! If that game spills over to 2014, I’m going to be so mad!