Long time no write.
Starting last autumn, I've been playing games whenever I had a chance. I had to build a new computer so suddenly all these new games I couldn't run before became available. And my Steam and GoG libraries are so shiny... If Gandalf asked me what I found in the caverns, I would keep my mouth shut as well. MINE! I never know what to play next, and I always install 10 games at a time.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine - This one was longer and way better than I expected! The fighting tends to get a bit repetitive, but only towards the end of the game. Many things felt right - the powerful feeling of making my way through hoards of frenzied Orcs, demons and Chaos Marines; different weapons + the jet-pack; a believable world completely destroyed by Waaagh! and a strong sense of immersion. Not to mention how visually stunning the whole thing is! The dark setting of Warhammer was successfully translated into this story of brotherhood, duty, trust and betrayal. Elements all to familiar, but combined in all the right ways.
Fallout: New Vegas - Hooo boy, where to start. The Fallout saga first gave us the Vault Dweller. Then appeared the Chosen One. Lone Wanderer followed. And finally... came the Courier. Mojave, mo' problems amiright. 100+ hours, 90% of the world explored, all DLCs finished, all quests I found - completed. For me, New Vegas is to Fallout 3 what Fallout is to Fallout 2. (While Fallout 2 & 3 are widely praised and loved, New Vegas and the original game tend to sit in the corner when their big brothers are around.) Original Fallout was incredibly immersive for me, a fact which made it a fonder memory when compared to the more versatile and eventful Fallout 2. And while Fallout 3 was super fun and had an intense main storyline that took me through haunting post-apocalyptic city ruins, I had a much more personal experience with New Vegas. (Later I found out the writer was Chris Avellone, THE guy behind Planescape: Torment. So yeah, that explained a few things.) Roaming the Mojave, exploring Freeside and the Strip, investigating casinos and the gangs behind them, 'playing poker' with the big guys (NCR, Legion and Mr. House), finding all the companions & straightening out their life stories... The biggest joy were the DLCs though. Dead Money was an uncanny trip through a resort made prison called Sierra Madre. Honest Hearts was a welcome vacation to the precipitous heights of the Zion canyon. Old World Blues was a quirky trip to Big Mountain, a scientific haven full of crazy things (Like my brain. Talking to me out of a glass tank). Lonesome Road was a captivating walk through the Divide, a tragic place intertwined with the history and future of the Courier(s). After my final return to New Vegas, all that was left to do was pop in uninvited at the main Legion camp, headshot everyone with a Gobi sniper, then blow up the almighty Caesar & his 20 guards with a rocket launcher. Oh, and back-stab NCR, detonate the Hoover dam power plant, take over the whole damn thing with my robot army and throw the general into the river. No gods, no masters \m/
Trine 2 - An improvement upon the first game, in every possible aspect. I especially liked the expansion, with its varied scenery and funny character remarks. Every single area is beautiful, and the backgrounds and animations are amazing. Every once in a while I had to stop and appreciate the sheer awesomeness on my screen. Needless to say, it's a blast in co-op.
Stacking - Finally finished it. Double Fine did not disappoint - this game is one of a kind. A unique mechanic of possessing other characters by jumping into them is made possible through one fact - everyone is a Matryoshka doll! It maintains a very stylish approach to storytelling, constantly being very meta and aware of itself which is what allows it to be genuinely funny. I especially liked the original campaign ending (the DLC is almost redundant), the way they handled the 'boss fight' (including the slo-mo sequence - I lol'd) and the message it conveyed. In short: Witty, colorful and fun!
Lone Survivor - A chilling, sometimes funny, always uncanny, thought provoking survival adventure. Not just another zombie game! It's a rich experience filled with meaning - one of those interactive pieces of fiction which is more than simply sum of its parts. Scarce yet captivating music + simplistic yet powerful visuals + disjointed yet coherent plot + surreal yet unforgettable characters = Lone Survivor. Or is he?
Dear Esther - A walk through a creepy but beautiful island changes into a mysterious inner exploration. Every play-through can trigger different audio logs, thus gradually uncovering the story. Although I felt it was a bit too vague (at moments bordering with pretentious), I can't deny how atmospheric it is. I still think it's unfair Esther was highly praised by many while Trauma was flamed by most.
Papo & Yo - There aren't enough superlatives to describe the feel and look of this game! Absolutely loved it. The puzzles or the platforming aren't particularly challenging - they aren't meant to be. Exploring the surreal world of Papo & Yo is more like experimenting with laws of a different reality than testing your skills in a familiar one. It's like being a kid again, getting lost in a playground full of possibilities. Traversing the dreamlike slums as a little boy while trying to tame a wild Monster goes from enchanting to touching when you realize the Monster is a representation of the boys alcoholic father. The ending was especially powerful. Soundtrack fits the game perfectly, making the whole experience even more immersive. I'm really curious about Minority Media's next game called 'Silent Enemy' (dealing with bullying).
Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons - This is a rather dark and tragic tale with dreamy fantasy coating, quite short but very effective in its determination to tell a meaningful story. You control both brothers simultaneously - this feature proves to be the key link between you and them. It establishes the emotional connection and the catharsis that follows. The fairy tale setting contrasts beautifully with the underlying theme, evoking a genuine sense of loss. A very rewarding experience!
Other than that, I played some Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2, and got super bored super fast. I also fooled around with Guild Wars 2 and The Old Republic: none of the two managed to keep my attention longer than 30 hours. I played a lot of Toki Tori (an interesting puzzler) and Anomaly:Warzone Earth (a stylish tower attack) on my new android - both are slick, fun and challenging.
P.S. I watched a talk by Jonathan Blow about how medium is the message, and a talk by guys explaining the importance of 'juicing up' your game with details. I got excited by Stephen Wolfram's upcoming programming language. I liked the article about why indie developers go insane and another one on why and how is Rust awesome. And that's about it! Further gaming awaits, gtg glhf kthxbye