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What I Played in October 2012

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Asura's Wrath
Finally dove into this, after hearing so many good things. Rightfully so, as it is one ridiculous adventure. Played it on the easy difficulty to enjoy the over-the-top nature of it, and honestly, it's potentially in my top 5 this year. The DLC was also definitely worth it (part IV), so if you're looking to pick this one up, do yourself a favour and get the DLC.

Medal of Honor: Warfighter
I'm possibly one of the few people who actually enjoyed the 2010 reboot, and spent some considerable amount of time in the multiplayer, as well. So when EA announced the sequel, I was all over it. Sadly, the campaign isn't as good as before, but it's still fairly passable. Multiplayer is on an entirely separate disc this time, and I put roughly 6 hours into it one day (if not more). The idea of two-man fireteams making up the "red vs blue" teams was a good one, as it takes teamwork and both players contributing to rise up the leaderboard. I'll likely be spending quite a bit more time in the multiplayer, as well, as the medals/commendations for milestones are rather enticing (and the gameplay is, of course, solid).

Borderlands 2
Got this at launch, and played up until roughly Lv 18 as a Gunzerker. I made the mistake of trying to play the original by myself, so I'll only play this with friends, and it's fairly difficult to get everyone on the same page/schedule. So this game will likely take some time, but I do very much like it. The humour is there, the guns are fun to shoot, and it's a blast to play with friends.

Hotline Miami
This was one I saw some limited coverage of online, and especially after seeing Giant Bomb's quick look, I was sold (especially at only $10). It's a top-down puzzle game disguised as an action game. You have rooms of bad guys with various weapons, from guns to bats, and you have to take everybody out. Arm yourself with a pipe and you better hope the next enemy doesn't have a gun, or you won't get far. Similarly, using a shotgun in one room will likely alert the folks two rooms over, so it's a delicate balance that needs to be found for you to succeed. I'm currently awaiting a patch that will make the game playable again, but even despite that it may also wind up on my GOTY list.

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I also bought XCOM on day one but I've barely put any time into it (just enough to know I hate Chrysalids), so that'll go on the next post. I also dropped the difficulty down on Dirt Showdown and finished that. And won the Super Bowl in Madden 13 with Washington, and then departed for the sunny skies of New England. Then we have Halo 4 next week and then nothing for like a month. Whew.

What I Played in September 2012

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Bastion
I recall getting this shortly after it released but never getting farther than the first few minutes. I think I had died and just focused on other things. Well after getting tired of it staring me in the face, I finally put it through its paces and this might be one of my favourite games of recent memory. The narration is fantastic, the combat is near-perfect and the visuals are nothing short of gorgeous. I beat it over a day and a half, and immediately jumped into New Game+ mode and beat that in the same day in just a few hours. I've got 10/12 achievements, the only two missing being the completion of all the vigils and all the Who Knows Where battles, which I honestly don't see happening. Regardless, absolute masterpiece of a game.

Bioshock 2
I had been putting this game off for so long, and finally I decided to jump in. It was a fairly quick romp through Rapture, though that isn't such a bad thing. The atmosphere was definitely Bioshock, and the scenes actually in the water were solid additions.

There are only two real complaints I have with it: Firstly, the little sisters were annoying. I did a few of those harvesting bits to start and when it began to drain my ammo (and cash, which would be needed to re-up my ammo afterwards), I just got to harvesting whichever ones I saw. Secondly, the Big Sisters were stupidly tough. I probably died a good 6 or 7 times on one attempt, and no part of each encounter was fun.

Finally, I should mention that the Minerva's Den DLC was better than the entirety of the main game. If you haven't played it yet, do it.

Fallout: New Vegas
This is the other game I'd been putting off (and I've had it since release, too), however this did not fare so well. I got only a handful of hours in when I kind of hit a breaking point. I was doing main storyline stuff, and had to get to some town. In order to get there, I'd have to basically get ambushed by dudes shooting from up high. Or, I could venture into deathclaw territory (no thank you), or I could try going to the strip and see how that goes. Except for where there were waves upon waves of radscorpions. So I ran out of ammo and then quit. I wasn't enjoying myself and I have other, better games to play. May return to this one day, but not right now.

Dirt: Showdown
Got this one for $20 after using a coupon code Best Buy gave me when they got Lollipop Chainsaw to me late. I adore me some racing games, and the demo sold me on it due to the rough-and-tumble racing. Me likey. I started on Intermediate difficulty and wound up dropping it down to Casual after a quarter of the game, and it's still a fairly nice challenge, which is nice. Some of the events (like 8-ball) are terrific and really show where the game shines, while others (like any of the trick stuff) is just plain frustrating. Been burning through this one fast, as the new Need for Speed is out in a few weeks.

Madden NFL 13
Still playing this, about halfway through my second season as the Redskins (7-3). Still on the pro difficulty, and in my first season I lost in the NFC Championship to the Packers. Got 'em back during the season, though. Pulled out a clutch victory against New England, and come to think of it most of my wins have been pretty close. I've settled into a bit of a rhythm with the players and whatnot now, so I'm definitely enjoying it a lot more. Might play online with some guys from work, too.

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Got Borderlands 2 at launch but I'll play it a bit more before I talk a bunch about it. (Short version: I like it.) Plus, this blog was long enough. I'll be starting Asura's Wrath in the next day or so as well, and might even contemplate getting XCOM: Enemy Unknown. This, of course, is right before I get three games in as many weeks later on this month. Oh boy, this time of year is busy.

What I Played in August 2012

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Sleeping Dogs
This was one of my most anticipated games this year, and rightfully so. This is what I had hoped it would be all along, since it was first announced as a True Crime game, they absolutely nailed it.

The melee combat is fluid and responsive, very Arkham-esque. The driving is good considering the pedigree (former EA Black Box devs, who have a spotty track record with Need for Speed), and the variety of cars is nice. I actually found myself using smaller cars while doing inner-city driving, as I can weave through traffic better with it.

The story was kind of what I was expecting, and overall I wound up with a good 20 hours put into it. Solid game, and so far a solid personal Game of the Year candidate.

Binary Domain
This game rocks. The visual style very much reminds me of Vanquish, as does the penchant for large-scale set pieces. There's not much more satisfying than running towards enemy robots, firing rounds into them and seeing their armor plates just shatter into pieces. Story also took a few twists, but it was mostly pretty throwaway, also similar to Vanquish. Basically, if you haven't played this, get it.

Madden NFL 13
After playing Madden 11out of curiosity and really not enjoying it, I swore the series off until they changed the animations and engines, etc. Well, they did. And it's pretty good. This is the first one I've bought day-one since Madden 06 on the GameCube, believe it or not.

The one thing I still don't like is that the defense intercepts passes way too much, so for the most part I just run the ball (playing as the Redskins) and that seems to work. It was working well enough that I've just raised the difficulty up to All-Pro (second-highest), and that is right back to the super frustrating football I don't enjoy. This kind of happens with every sports game. The default "pro" difficulty is too easy, but the next-highest one is way too tough and kills any fun I have with it. So there's that.

Saints Row: The Third DLC
It was all on sale, so I bought it and went through it in a single night. It was pretty good, and rather humourous, as Saints Row tends to be. Very nice getting back into that, and it makes me look forward to whatever comes next for that series.

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I also did finish the Undead Nightmare run-through that I started last month. Very much enjoyed that, too.

Otherwise, I just picked up Dirt Showdown for pretty cheap, and Stacking is on sale. You guys will hear about Fallout: New Vegas next time, and by that time I may have played Bioshock 2 or Asura's Wrath (or both!).

What I Played in July 2012

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Lollipop Chainsaw
Oh my what a ridiculous game. You play as Juliet, a high school cheerleader who happens to also be a zombie hunter, naturally. And the head of her boyfriend Nick hangs from her waist. And she disposes of zombies with a chainsaw. Yep, nothing out of sorts here.

But man what a fun game. Yes, it was a tad repetitive in some ways, but what made the game for me was the humour. Some of the dialogue between Juliet and Nick was hilarious, and the musical choices also really stood out. You have "Mickey" by Toni Basil as your "superpower mode" music, "Lollipop" by the Chordettes in the shop menu and, at one point in the arcade-themed level, "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia.

I knew it would go on sale right after release, but I like supporting Grasshopper's games (like Shadows of the Damned last year) and I have no regrets on this one. It's ridiculous in the best ways.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare
After Lollipop Chainsaw I decided to stick with the zombie theme and I had been putting this one off for too long. Only a bit into it so far but it's really good, as I fully expected it to be. Everything has this kind of exaggerated feel to it, and I forgot how much I liked the aiming system in that game. Good to get back on the horse, so to speak, and I look forward to finishing this DLC.

Hydro Thunder Hurricane
This was on sale for 600 points on XBLA a few weeks back so I bit, as I had been looking at it for a while. Definitely a solid purchase, it's quite fun and while frustrating at times, I feel like I'm getting the hang of things a bit better. Playing the tracks several times and getting to know those better is helping as well. I'll usually power through an hour or so at a time, but I expect to give that some attention for a while still.

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By the way I would've replied to all the comments on my last few blog posts but I think the comment indicator at the bottom of each post is broken, as it always says zero. So I'll make a better effort this month :P

What I Played in June 2012

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Saints Row: The Third
You know why I never came back to this from January until now? I just hadn't found the difficulty slider. What was stopping me was the default difficulty :P So I changed it down to easy/casual and ended up having a blast. Arguably a better game than GTA IV, which I recently nearly beat. Put about 15-20 hours into it as well, though I'm not sure if/when I'll buy and play the DLC. I've heard mixed things.

This game probably has the slickest driving mechanics in any open-world game I've played. Everything about it was great, especially the sliding around corners. Absolutely nailed it. Plus, literally jumping into a car through the windshield is without a doubt the best way to carjack.

Battlefield 3
I put some time into the single-player campaign, which is pretty meh. Got up to the point where I'm supposed to be covering a hotel or something with a sniper rifle at night, and I magically failed the mission, so I kind of stopped. Haven't touched the multiplayer in months and don't know when I will next.

Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice
Bought this DLC right after I beat the main game yet never played through it, so I decided it was time. Had a blast with it, even though it took me one sitting to play through. It was still more Costume Quest, which is what the world needs.

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Not much played this month. Now that I've downed Saints Row, though, I'm diving right into Lollipop Chainsaw (for real this time), probably followed by Binary Domain. I also recently acquired the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. And I still have Fallout: New Vegas to get to at some point.

What I Played in May 2012

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Not terribly much...

Grand Theft Auto IV
I continued on with this, making it as far as the final mission of the game. And that's it. Something about the physics of the game and driving along that beach just makes it near impossible, so I stopped trying. I gave it like 5 or 6 honest tries, and even tried to pick it up again days later to try, and it just wasn't happening. So I basically finished it, but I don't anticipate giving that another go any time soon, if ever.

Regardless of completion percentage, I did put a solid 25 hours into it, probably, and I did enjoy the game. It had some pretty good missions and storylines, and I'm glad I went back and played it. I might play The Lost and Damned DLC after I play through another game.

Max Payne
Yes, the first one. I started on it, and nearly got through the first act, but I had to jump on some train during some chase sequence, and it either glitched or something a bunch of times so I stopped playing. It's not terrific, but I did genuinely enjoy my brief time with it, enough to make Max Payne 3 a likely purchase at some point.

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And that was literally it, next to some NHL 12, but that's the usual. I didn't play a ton of games in May, but June might be slightly different, as I'm due to get Lollipop Chainsaw in a week. In addition, I've been thinking about starting Fallout: New Vegas, and I should probably actually play Trials Evolution. I did buy it and all.

What I Played in April 2012

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Grand Theft Auto IV
My previous GTAIV experience had been on my PC, which isn't the best game platform and was rather choppy, so the experience wasn't all that amazing. Last year I picked up the complete edition for 360 and never got around to playing the main game, so after putting Skyrim down for a bit (I'll explain) I dove into GTA.

I think I've put maybe a dozen hours into it so far, roughly a quarter of the percentage complete, and I'm really enjoying it. Previously I had gotten to the point where the plot twists a bit (it involves cocaine) so seeing that happen again with the knowledge I had was rather funny, that nobody knew but her.

Gameplay-wise I think it's solid, and the minigames are still fun to play as well. Likely won't touch multiplayer (if that's even still active) but I anticipate going through the DLC chapters after the main story. I've already played a bit of The Ballad of Gay Tony, and stopped playing at some terrible helicopter mission, so we'll see.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I powered through the civil war storyline and then didn't save, which was dumb, because then I went into a main-story mission (party at the ambassador's house, i think it is) without understanding what exactly I was doing. So I quit. My last save is about 2 hours back, so if/when I get back into it, it'll be a while from now, since I sure don't feel like doing that again anytime soon.

Tron: Evolution
I picked this up for $10 during an EB Games "deal of the day" kind of promotion. While the music, setting and combat are all kind of nice, the platforming is atrocious. Like in a put-the-controller-down-and-walk-away kind of atrocious. Not to mention I completed the game in one sitting in just 5 hours, so $10 is probably all that I would've paid for it.

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Finally got component cables for the PS2 to set it up on my 42" HDTV, so I haven't gotten around to playing Max Payne 1, 2 and God Hand yet. Their time shall come, though.

What I Played in March 2012

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Whoops, guess this one was a bit late. Ah well.

Mass Effect 3
Hey guys, this game is super awesome. I'm a self-admitted Mass Effect fanatic, going as far as owning *deep breath* the games, an N7 mug, an N7 hoodie, the Alliance-branded Normandy replica, a ME2 art book, the collectors edition of The Art of the Mass Effect Universe, a numbered (63/500) hardcover copy of Mass Effect Evolution signed by Mac Walters and I'm currently awaiting the signed-and-numbered copy of Mass Effect Invasion.

So having said that, this game is what I was looking forward to this year, and I enjoyed every one of the 30 hours I put into it. The combat improved and so did the personalities of the characters, and the visuals/settings were fantastic. That first intro scene with things coming down around you, the battles raging on as you were running around doing your own thing, that atmosphere was great.

A lot of people complained about the ending, and honestly, while it wasn't amazing, it wasn't bad. It's pretty damned tough to wrap up a story arc like that, especially given the ambition of the series with the freedom and choices. So overall I'm very pleased with it.

Costume Quest
Finally sat down and finished the rest of this, which had been staring me in the face for a month. Still really cute, I really enjoyed it, and bought the DLC to play soon.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Still plugging away at this, after about 32 hours spent (probably around Lv 32 now, too). Had my first game-breaking experience, too, in some cave doing a Thieves Guild mission (won't spoil). All of a sudden my game started skipping, the frame rate took a nosedive and it became unplayable. I'm sure it was just an isolated incident, so I'll dive back in and see if it continues.

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Mostly a month of Mass Effect, though I'm sure you can understand why. In anticipation of the upcoming Lollipop Chainsaw, I bought God Hand from eBay (I also obtained the fat PS2 my dad had originally bought for me and my siblings in late 2003, which had been at his house until last week. Still works like a charm, too.). I hear it's kind of funny, so I'll give that a whirl soon.

What I Played in February 2012

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Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
As of this writing, I'm Level 25 with about the same number of hours put into it. Focused a lot on leveling up my sneak, pickpocketing, lockpicking and archery while I joined the Thieves Guild. I spent some time recently with miscellaneous sidequests, so it's about time I got back into the thievery quests.

I'm still amazed with the world Bethesda created in this game. You can just go exploring and find random caves, people, dragon encounters, etc. And the number of things I have sitting in my quest log is daunting, but I guess that's how people manage to play for 100 hours.

NHL 12
I finished my first OHL season in Be A Pro mode quickly, as I thought I would be drafted to the NHL. That was not the case, as I am back with my hometown Spitfires, but this time I'm eligible when the draft comes back around, so I'll be putting a focus on building my player and filling the net. Within the last week or so I've already played 10 games of the 68-game regular season, and my player sports a 71 overall rating.

Costume Quest
I also finally played this, or at least most of it, for the first time since I bought it back around Halloween. And ya know what, it's rather wonderful. It's cute, it's funny, and just the right length so far. I'm about 2/3rds of the way through, and I know there's DLC waiting for a possible purchase after the fact. Quite a fun little game and definitely worth a download if you haven't yet.

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So I really didn't play anything else this past month. I spent an evening with Forza 4, putting another quick season of career mode (or whatever they call it) behind me. However, this month is going to be something, as I just got the much-anticipated SSX (I've been waiting for this since SSX 3 back in 2003) and Mass Effect 3 comes out next week. Not too much going on other than that. What about you guys?

What I Played in January 2012

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A month into the new year already, eh?

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Finally put some time into this now that I'm done Batman. What an incredible game. I'm sure you've heard that before, but man, this game is epic in every sense of the word (and I don't normally use that word). The enormity of the world, the sense of fear you get when you're atop a mountain you thought you couldn't scale just 10 minutes prior, all of that is unmatched.

The menus are fluid and quick, the interface is much improved over the last iteration, and overall it is a very slick, gorgeous game. I had put only a few hours into it before deciding to finish Arkham City first, and once I picked Skyrim up again, I sank seven hours into it in one sitting. It's that addicting.

Saints Row: The Third
I was super excited to get my hands on this, especially for $30 just weeks after release, and boy it's ridiculous. After maybe 7 or 8 hours and nearly 20% completed, I hit a wall on a certain mission involving waves of enemies pouring into a room. I'll put more time into it when I feel ready to die a bunch of times, but I'm not quite there yet. Hoping there aren't a lot of those kinds of missions following it.

Warhammer 40k: Space Marine
I had heard good things and managed to get this for a rather good deal as well, and so far I'm not disappointed. Managed to power through a healthy chunk of the game so far, though I've hit a wall, similar to Saints Row, with a large room of enemies, this time with a teleporting dumbass who I have trouble killing. I'll find the patience to hopefully prevail and continue, as it is quite a fun third-person shooter. It makes the Ultramarines really feel like badasses.

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In the next update expect a lot of Skyrim, as well as talk of a cute little downloadable title I finally got around to. Because after that, two of my most anticipated games of the year are out in the next 3-4 weeks.