I had planned on playing Dead Space 3 next but my friend decided to play it so I made a last minute decision to borrow Alice: Madness Returns. It doesn't look to be a particularly high budget or well publicised game but it seems to be seen in a good light by those that have played it. It's the kind of game I needed to play as it isn't a shooter and although has some combat elements to it, it's a platformer first and foremost. I can't remember the last proper run and jump I played. Thinking back it was probably the new Prince of Persia game which I also loved.
Getting used to a game that doesn't stay completely grounded took a bit of getting used to. 10 years ago I'd probably have been getting bored of this type of game but now it was a breath of fresh air. It took a long time for me to get used to the physics of the game and how to time jumps and double jumps etc to move round the world. I was probably halfway through when I finally nailed it and rather than getting harder, the game seemed to get easier.
Each area had a distinctive look and feel and felt different enough to warrant being in the game. It did seem apparent though that a lot of the rooms/puzzles were being recycled in slightly different ways in each area, but just had different skins on them to make them seem different. I was getting very frustrated at times that it was getting a bit repetitive but once I got through the middle of the game where it seemed to be dragging on, I started to enjoy it again. The house of cards chapter was probably my favourite. The 'bridge' to the opening building where it just appears in front of you was pretty and pretty impressive!
The weapons in the game had plenty of variety and I'm glad the game didn't throw too many different weapons into the mix as I wasn't fussed about what I using. I did enjoy upgrading them to see what the array of colours would be. It doesn't sound like anything special but it was a nice touch to get a paint job as an additional reward to increased power.
The biggest thing the game excels at is the excellent array of characters that the world has to offer. Granted it's based on a world full of the weird and the wonderful but the devs have done a great job of bringing them to life. They all look pretty impressive and the voice acting was top notch.
To reduce the amount of monotony a platformer has on offer, the devs hit gold with the addition of alternate areas that played out different to the main game. The first mini-game puts you in a 2D world where the physics are the same but laid out in a whole new way. I though the art style and the change of pace with it being more thought out and less hectic made for a good breakaway. The second sees you in a weird scrolling pinball type game where you control a rolling head through obstacles. It was pretty infuriating at times but ultimately enjoyable.
On the whole it had more good bits than bad. The enemies, whilst not overly tough to beat, provided a welcome break from the endless jumping. The story was told in a great way but didn't intrude much on the game play. I gave this a 7.5 overall. Not as high as I could've given it but it but I loved in all the same.
In between playing retail games I decided to squeeze in The Walking Dead: 400 Days and it turns out I didn't have to squeeze a lot as it was over before I knew it! I guess I probably expected too much for what I paid. My biggest problem was it was very fragmented and each bit seemed to be over before I could get into it. If this is the cast for season 2 it was a decent introduction to them and the devs only included the good bits from the original game. There was no faffing around as each chapter got straight into it and to the point.
As ever I got frustrated in reading that your actions still don't make any real changes to how the game plays out. Ok, so you might get a different character that stays alive but ultimately the game knows where it's heading and will do it whatever option you pick. All you can influence is what happens in the bit leading up to the end of a chapter.
It does look like it has replay value though as playing the chapters in differing orders looks like it will give you a different perspective on things and what choices you make. I think I'll play it again before season 2 comes out if it does carry on from this.
Whilst some may argue this was just a teaser and a cheap price, it's still the weakest DLC so far in my opinion. I gave it a 7.0 because it was so short but the art style and character development is always spot on from these guys.
Lastly, I finally got round to installing Windows 8 a couple of weeks ago. I'm really not sure what all the fuss is about as it seems exactly the same as Windows 7 once you tweak a few settings so I quite like it. The main benefit to it is the ability to install game apps that tie into the Xbox universe with achievements. The annoying thing for me is that my gamertag is linked to a different Microsoft account so I have to keep switching between users to play games. Doesn't seem to matter what I try I can't get the accounts sorted so it's on the right one.
So far I've only played the free and easy games. I installed the three Microsoft games Minesweeper, Solitaire Collection, and Mahjong. These three took me about half hour to get full completion on so was worth the time. None of them were difficult but was nice to go seemingly back in time to when these games were common time wasters on PCs. I also had a go on Wordament which I've already played on iOS. The PC version is no different but it's just on a bigger scale. Some of the achievements look damn hard to get and I don't have a lot of patience for word games. The last two I tried out were Jetpack Joyride and Shuffle Party. Jetpack is my favourite game on iOS but unfortunately it doesn't translate so well onto mouse or keyboard. I've not got to grips with it yet but I'll give it a go. Shuffle Party suffers the same fate in that it's accurate enough with the mouse I have so can't really play it.
Next up is Batman: Arkham City and I might play a bit of Doritos Crash Course which I picked up off Live as it was a freebie.