This will be a shorter blog than last time! Q1 has been fairly busy so far and I've been able to play a few newly released games. Here are my impressions of some 2013 games.
Dead Space 3 came out in early February and thankfully it is pretty good. It's not quite the atmospheric, tense and well paced experience that both its predecessors managed. But its still an enjoyable game with more action, longer campaign, excellent weapon crafting and co-op. I played the game entirely through with co-op after single player. It introduces some minor changes here and there. Like Carver having visions, or short cut scenes with Clarke and carver. It's very easy to play in co-op and I replayed a some of the chapters many times.
My review of Dead Space 3 (external link)
Awakened just came out, not a bad little DLC although does reuse areas of the main game and doesnt introduce much new. The cult leader fight and last puzzle are fairly good though. It continues the story of Clarke and Carver with quite a bit of dialogue, sadly no Ellie. It's only just over an hour long but good quality. It ends on a big cliffhanger.
Aliens Colonial Marines is a game I wasn't going to buy. My love for the movie series, especially Aliens, forced my hand. Luckily I got it fairly cheap, because Aliens CM is one of the worst games I've played in a long time. About the only thing I liked about it were the constant references to the movie, Bishop perhaps the standout. Everything else was so below par it would have me shaking my head. Even the shooting is quite poor. It's so disappointing to see an awful game come from an intriguing universe.
Just to give you an example of how bad the game is. One sequence has you unlatching three fuel nozzles from a drop ship on the planet surface. The area is fairly open and of course Aliens come. Once you enter the nozzle animation (press E to unlatch) the aliens will run up behind you and slash at you multiple times. Because you are in the animation you cannot be damaged or killed. So rather than watching your surrounds for aliens and picking a moment to unlatch, you just run to the nozzle and press a button. After you remove each nozzle, you can turn around and see 3 aliens lined up behind you who have been slashing at you.
Crysis 3 also released in Feb, it took the graphics crown pretty easily. It is simply stunning in places and looks as good in multiplayer. C3 is my least favourite of the series. It's still a decent sci fi shooter, just nothing great or spectacular. I had a lot more problems with AI than before, spawning enemies annoyed me esp with the visor. The bow seems overpowered and other weapons felt imbalanced. There really isnt a good sandbox vehicle experience either. Story wasnt that interesting and it just felt quite underwhelming by the end (aside from graphics). The multiplayer is great fun, as in C2, although I havent played much because I feel like Ive done it all before. Cevat may call it gamer fatigue. I think Crytek could try harder.
My review of Crysis 3 (external link)
Tomb Raider is a reboot to a franchise I have enjoyed in the past. It changes a lot of things, most notably the combat. It also reduces puzzle and platforming so it's just a fun game to play. There are problems with the survival stuff they introduce early on. More puzzles would have been nice too. Once I ignored the pointless attempts at survival realism, I enjoyed the rest of the game very much. Actually I've been playing more and trying to find all items and having great fun. Love how the game repopulates the area with a few enemies so I can stealth them or just play with the combat. It has certainly brought a fresh new spin to the series while leaving room for improvement.
Bioshock Infinite in 10 days, looking forward to that! Keep watching the skies!
2012 is over and it wasnt exactly the best year for gaming. Still there were a few good games that deserve some recognition. I have decided to single out 7 games this year but there were a few others that were great games and worth mentioning
- Black Ops 2 - A surprisingly good single player campaign
- Botanicula - Another great puzzler from amanita design, best music / visual combo
- Darksiders 2 - Solid follow up to the original action / rpg / puzzler
- Tribes Ascend - Great free to play multiplayer game
- Prototype 2 - More of the same yes, but more of awesome is great!
The Top 7
7. Torchlight 2 is a great sequel, improving almost every aspect of the original. There is much more variety to environments and enemies. Once again it has a satisfying progressive loot system that isnt concerned about a global market. Combat is great fun and can be very involving when you bring together skills and spells. The coop left some to be desired but I had a great time with the single player and map works.
6. Sleeping Dogs is a solid open world game which takes inspiration from many games including GTA and Batman. The melee combat is awesome with satisfying combos that break arms or tackle people to the ground. You slowly learn these moves by collecting statues. It's the type of melee where I'm happy to see another fight scene, not just wanting to breeze through or avoid it. Driving action is fun because you can shunt into cars and also do some Just Cause 2 moves to switch cars. The shooting is rare but underrated; I wish they had more of it. The post release support was excellent, they fixed some PC things with a few patches namely car camera and mouse controls. The nightmare on north point DLC was short but relatively good too.
5. Black Mesa (Mod) just happens to be worth the wait. A mammoth effort for a team of unpaid volunteers to recreate, improve and tweak the Half Life formula. It was almost fully released this year. All pre Xen levels were launched and it was glorious aside from a few annoying crashes in the second half. I loved the little changes they made, helping flow and just making the play through feel fresh. I must have played the original ten times now and Black Mesa was every bit as good. It proves that not all so called vaporware titles turn into a mess like DNF. Hopefully we get Opposing Force remake after the Xen levels! I also need to replay HL2 but I'm waiting for Gabe to spill the beans on HL3.
4. Mark of the Ninja is an exceptional stealth game. Dont let the 2D viewpoint get in the way of what is a collection of amazing stealth mechanics combined with good AI scripts. It's satisfying to be sneaking about, dragging bodies, knocking out lights, ducking through laser fields or hiding in containers. It has more refined stealth ideas than the big stealth games of 2012, which I shall not mention for fear of retribution from the gaming gods. Now if only somebody could capture all the stealth ideas from MoTN and transport them into a beautiful 3D world....
3. Alan Wake technically came out on the 360 two years ago but that doesnt count. After so long Remedy was finally allowed to bring their magic to the PC and it was worth waiting for. I love how quirky this game is, the setting is alluring and it's a really well crafted single player experience. Playing one episode at a time and coming back to it yielded great results. The combat is all about light, juggling enemies and also shooting. I personally really enjoyed how it works together. Placing flares to reload or turn the tide. Using flasblangs to clear out groups or even shooting a flaregun into enemies like a rocket launcher. I'ts not quite as amazing as Max Payne 1 or 2 but its one bright spark in a gloomy year.
2. Far Cry 3 was a very close to winning my GOTY because I just love it. FC3 developers looked very carefully at the previous games and smartly chose things that worked in both games. They used the tagging system and rock throwing from FC1. They continued with the open world and fire propagation of FC2. There are other things too, and they even got some ideas from the lesser known Far Cry instincts. But they didnt stop there; they added some great things that fit well into the franchise and make it fun to get around and take down pirates.
I found it really enjoyable to clear each outpost, and they stay captured this time. This is essentially the essence of the original small areas of combat that lets you approach how you wish. From the jungle in stealth, from a mountain with a sniper rifle or up close with bullet proof vest and shotty. Most importantly it's the player who dictates when and how the action occurs, if their preparation is inadequate then the difficulty is greater.
FC2 had this to a degree but I could not stand the respawning checkpoints and never finished it (I may go back). FC3 introduces some dangerous animals that add a delicious amount of unpredictability without being annoying. I found the story was generally enjoyable although it fades towards the end and misuses some of the best characters. The AI is very good, allowing effective stealth play and I never thought they cheated. A return to a tropical island is appreciated and the only thing missing is the Trigens! Bring out the monkeys mutants!!!
1. Mass Effect 3 is my top game in 2012 and also the most controversial of the year. That ending! Yes it was rather short and not really fitting for such a great series. I like to think the whole of ME3 is the ending to the series, not just the final 15 minutes. The extended cut DLC offered a better conclusion and it was good to see Bioware release it without changing their vision. What I liked most about 3 was how it elegantly brought back characters you forged friendships with from the previous games. It wrapped up some long running story threads involving the genophage and geth for example.
ME3 also did combat much better, mostly due to the action pacing, level design and enemy variety. There were a few difficult decisions to make throughout although I wish there were more. I can't imagine playing through the series without bringing your saves over. Playing through these games mere weeks after each other would be even more rewarding. Also slightly impressed with the multiplayer; it has pretty good legs for a single player series and many free maps. I will not likely forget the ME series and the controversy surrounding it. But I will remember it as an amazing journey above all else.
Over at newgamenetwork.com we recently finished up our Game of the Year awards for 2012. Although I dont agree with all of it, I'm happy with the variation we have this year. Check out our awards by clicking this link!
Games I'm excited for in 2013
BioShock Infinite has the potential to slap gaming in the face with a perfect blend of narrative and gameplay. BioShock was an excellent game and Ken Levine is passionate and knowledgeable about the medium. He is already hyping the ending, which is a little odd given how the first games ending was so good because nobody expected a good ending.
Dead Space 3's development direction has me worried but I still love that universe and want to go back to dismember more necromorphs. This time they are going with coop which certainly could result in something like FEAR 3 (not scary). They are adding random visions in coop, so one player will be attacking something that the other player doesnt even see. I just hope single player preserves the strengths of the previous games and is not Gears Space 3.
Battlefield 4 (beta?) could make it out next year. Nothing much has been confirmed about BF4. Clearly EA and DICE thought BF3 was a huge success so I expect it will follow a similar structure and setting. Perhaps we might see the return of commander, battlerecorder or a third faction? Russians have had a good run. Access to the beta is the only good thing I got from preordering MoH Warfighter.
Last of Us is another game with the potential to elevate gaming as a medium. Naughty Dog are pedigree developers and if they put their collective skill together they could pull off something amazing with this game, just like they did with Uncharted 2.
GTA 5 might not make it on PC next year but it should be close. Its fair to say that there has been no GTA game I havent loved and this bodes well for the next game which looks great so far.
Crysis 3 aims to split the difference between the original and the sequel in terms of level design. This is a good idea and could result in a big pay off assuming they dont botch the PC launch again.
BF3 Aftermath (DLC) is getting a lot of play hours, as well as regular BF3. I just ticked over 300hrs in game time not too long ago. Aftermath is the best of the DLC packs. Premium has offered great value but the previous DLC packs have been at the extreme ends of the scale (except for B2K). Aftermath is the earthquake themed pack that splits the middle ground (glorious puns). It includes vehicles in midsized maps but keeps the equilibrium and ensures there is plenty of variety. The map layouts are exceptional and fit perfectly with the best in the vanilla game.
Binary Domain is a third person shooter with robots made by a Japanese development team. It's also a surprisingly good game. The shooting mechanics are enjoyable because the robots break apart and this also happens in the mostly good boss battles. The story is very hammy, as there are bound to be issues when things are translated. Still on the whole I found some of the characters interesting, the protagonist likeable and the story of Hollow Children intriguing. I found it to be a very decent port, as controls worked well, visually looks quite good and runs extremely well. Campaign is full of rather well made action cut scenes too. It's even the type of game I'd like to play again when I clear out my backlog.
Saints Row The Third was selling for cheap on steam a while back and I picked it up but only added it to my steam library after playing it during the free weekend. Finished it just recently and it was a whole lot of fun. There are a lot of laughs and mayhem along the campaign even if some of the missions structures were repeated. No doubt it borrows things from grand theft auto games but it ratchets up the crazy to 9000. Being able to throw yourself in front of traffic to get insurance is just one example. Anyway SR3 is a good port and a fun game.
Space Marine is a third person shooter / melee game in the WH40K universe. I dont know anything about that universe so I would assume fans love playing as an Ultramarine? I did not. Space marine is an incredibly dull and lifeless shooter. I found it so boring that my challenge was merely making it through as quickly as possible. It doesnt seem to have any character and 90% of the game takes you through brown corridors, elevators or grey war torn buildings.
The first half of the game is ok, with Orcs that fall nicely to melee attacks and weapons. Then the game introduces a new enemy that takes 10x more bullets (10 headshots). So the free flowing shooting / brawling turns into placing your ultramarine behind walls while you chip away at the health of enemies. The only change up was the jetpack sequences which make you overpowered so you can stomach another hour of gameplay. Interestingly enough there is not a single sequence that takes place in Space. Why call it Space Marine and not WH40K: Ultramarine?
Thief Gold has been a very different experience for a number of reasons. Firstly I have had to relearn everything about quick saving and how to abuse it. It's also surprising me how little the truly primitive visuals are having an impact on me. Good use of sound helps make for this very unnerving atmosphere, even when absolutely nothing is happening! It's hard to describe. In any case there have been some truly sublime missions. The mission "Assassins" has some of the best design in terms of level structure. If there was one thing I'm not fond of in Thief Gold, it would be the zombies. Hopefully there arent too many of them in future missions.
Anyway that is my little yearly summary with a bit of a blog tacked on the end. Hopefully somebody out there finds some use from it. Otherwise it will just have to be useful to me in the future. Also if anybody has a good recommendation for a long running relatively new sci-fi TV series I would be happy to hear it. Hope everybody is having a good 2013.
Hello gamespot friends! I have returned to the land of blogging, this is my biannual blog. Its going to be "bigger, better and more badass" due to my infrequency of blogging. Rest assured I am still alive and I have been playing loads of games.
Mass Effect 3 came out in March and most people would be aware of the controversy surrounding that title. Of course Im talking about the ending which was disappointingly abrupt and unfitting for a huge series. Fast forward to June and Bioware listened to the fans, ate their cupcakes and came up with something better. The extend cut is longer and ends up being a decent finish to a great game. If that ending was original included then I would probably have little problem with the way it ended. I ended up writing a review for ME3 a few months after release, this review changed far more than anything else Ive written. Consequently I reshuffled, deleted and redid a large portion of it. You can read it here.
Max Payne 3 came to PC a few weeks ago and I have to say that it is my least favourite of the series. Not a horrible game, not a great game. I found it merely average with multiplayer I could not get into. One of the problems I had with the game was the frequent, pointless and interruptive cut scenes. I dont understand why the game needs to take control from the player so often and for so long. Many cut scenes cant be skipped so its clearly a design decision to show bald Max walk through a door and hide behind a tiny piece of cover in the middle of a room. Max has always been strong on narrative but the older games flowed so wonderfully without these scenes. My review can be found here.
Red Ded Redemption Unded Nightmare has been on my wishlist for a while but I havent been playing much PS3 so I only got it recently when it was quite cheap. I must admit my first reactions were on the poor side. The first horses you get constantly pulls to the right or left, making navigating windy roads pure garbage. After I got the flame horse, navigating became satisfactory again. I also realised I totally forgot that this game has focus mode (slow motion aiming) which obviously vastly improved shooting zombies who really only go down when shot in the head. Also Ive had some quite awful framerate problems, mostly when Im riding a horse into a wall of zombies, it feels like it drops to something like 10FPS
The good news is that the expansion is absolutely hilarious. Probably the funniest game Ive ever played because of how it deals with the zombie characters and weird occurrences with individuals who are non-zombified. Marston is pure sarcasm in human form and its awesome.
Alan Wake has been a long time coming on PC. Remedy apparently persisted with Microsoft to have it released on PC. Then not long after that, they brought across American Nightmare. I really enjoyed both games, the combat remained good throughout. The unique feel is quite important in terms of it standing out, also liked the tv shows and the bits of humour. I would look forward to the sequel coming to PC, hopefully its not held back by the overlords at Microsoft. My review on gamespot is found here
Pretty early on I had low expectations for Diablo 3, just the way it looked but also because they didnt include the Paladin (ok not really). The beta came out and I enjoyed it enough to pick the game up at launch. Ive played through the game a few times now with Monk and Demon Hunter. My Monk is finding it very hard in Hell and I just finished normal with my demon hunter.
I think I appreciated it a little bit more after replaying segments and seeing things change. I also enjoyed the action for both classes. Act 1 is definitely my favourite of all four. I dont like D3 as much as the original or the sequel but I guess with all the hate in the forums recently Ive almost gone the other direction. Many people really had high expectations for it, expecting a 9/10 game and receiving something less will always turn the hate on. Instead I think its a good solid game but it wont change the world.
Journey is touted as one of the greatest games ever made, well at least it rates that way on metacritic. This short game failed to really impress me to those levels. Technically its very proficient and the art team really did a great job with the sand and the wind. It works so well because its minimalistic, it doesnt explain anything and I will do the same in case people are looking at playing it. It was quite enjoyable but, in similar ways to Flower, I fail to see what all the fuss is about.
Dear Esther is a pretty good contrasting game to Journey. Dear Esther has basically no real gameplay. Its walking and swimming and listening to some guy talk nonsense. It sounds like a waste of money but I actually enjoyed the ride. The real thing that appealed to me is actually trying to make sense of the visual and audio clues. Trying to link the pieces and work out what is happening, then talking about those theories with others. Making you think about a game for days or weeks after you finished playing is an achievement. My review of it here.
Guild Wars 2 beta hasn't been off to a good start for me, certainly not as good as the GW1 beta. But I'm happy that the beta weekends finished better than they started.
First Beta Weekend (BWE) terrible performance, not fun at all as warrior norn, cluster**** in all dynamic events, balance pretty terrible.
Second BWE actually playable on low settings, balance better, slightly more enjoyable even though instances (personalized story) are weak and downed state is not fun
Third BWE First time I actually enjoyed the game, possibly because I left my norn warrior in the gutter and played around with Slyvari Elementalist and Charr Necromancer. Dynamic events show more potential, better balance and some more interesting locations. They still need to basically redo the introduction / tutorial sections which arent good. At least this weekend has me hopeful that my money was not wasted and will attempt to sink some time when it comes out in late august.
Tribes Ascend is Free to play. Yes you heard that right, costs zero to play the game. Its a multiplayer shooter with jetpacks and skiing. Hi-Rez gets money from people buying boosts (non-boost XP earn rate is painfully slow) and buying weapons/skins with gold. In general the weapons you can buy are not better than the free ones, just better at a different role. Ive spent a meagre $30 and already got 70 hours of entertainment. Im impressed with how they have translated the series into a modern feel, appealing to casuals without losing that insanely high skill ceiling.
Its the first F2P game that has changed my perception about F2P games, they certainly can be relevant to me. With many more F2P games coming in the next few years Ill be checking out more thanks to Ascend. The game is still growing, which is actually a big plus, more maps, weapons and even modes etc. It has some teething problems, partly because they are a small dev team. I havent played it for a few months but I still recommend checking it out.
Darkness 2, Syndicate, Spec Ops and Sniper Elite v2
Linking these all together because they are all average shooters which will be basically forgotten in GOTYs and in years from now. Spec Ops has an awesome setting in Dubai with sand storms but pretends you have choices when you dont. Sniper Elite v2 has some satisfying long range sniper skills with moronic AI. Darkness 2 has an interesting art style, solid shooting and probably the best of these games. Syndicate has a pretty poor single player with a ridiculous overuse of Bloom, the co-op aspects are quite good but barely anybody is playing on PC. Apparently Syndicate sold like 150,000 copies across all platforms worldwide. These games more or less fill my shooter quotient no more, no less.
DiRT Showdown is like a party / demolition derby spin off for the popular racing series. They developed the whole game in under a year and I think it shows. Its really thin on content and quite unsatisfying. Not sure exactly what they were trying to achieve with it but they failed pretty badly. They should have made it more arcade or copied the formula from something like FlatOut.
Still playing Battlefield 3 recently broke through the 200 hour barrier which means its my second most played Battlefield game after 2142 (327hrs) . BF4 coming late 2013 or early 2014 sounds ok but I was really hoping for a futuristic Battlefield game. The new close quarters maps are pretty good but I can already see most people going back to normal rotations. Armored kill has some more potential for longer life but hopefully they are not ridiculously big just for the sake of being big.
Picked up Prototype 2 recently and its good to come back to this franchise. Just quietly I rank the first one up there with infamous. P2 continues that fun, its just really enjoyable to run around consume bad guys, slash groups of enemies, perform powerful attacks with tendrils or hammer fists. The powers are awesome and the story has lifted in quality. Few new enemy types which so far are quite good. Visually it looks a lot better too, the city is more detailed and less washed out. There are three zones in the game world and so far Ive only been to yellow and green. Ironically the green zone is far more dangerous. As far as PC ports go I dont think its horrible. Performance could be better because I get a playable 30-40fps. There are some strange mouse jitters but they dont bother me enough to switch to my 360 controller.
Steam sales were back this year and I must say I missed the achievement hunting activities. They did replace them with some smaller activities that go towards permanent badges so its not all bad. I picked up a few games some of which I have yet to play so my backlog grew a little bit. Im working my way through Rayman Origins which is a decent platformer with some really quirky music. Finished the free DLC pack for Hard Reset which was really great and much appreciated freebie from the developers. Three cheers for Flying Wild Hog!
Now we are getting into the business end of the year for games, its a shame quite a few were pushed back into 2013 but there are still plenty of games that look to be coming along nicely. Hitman, Torchlight 2, Ass Creed 3, Far Cry 3 and Dishonored all have the potential to be the best of the best.
Well that was quite a long blog, it's been forming for a few months now though. I've been writing bits and pieces on the games but never actually got around to posting a blog which I should have done months ago. Better late than never I suppose. I hope everybody is going well even though I don't see many blogs on my feed anymore.
Hello Gamespot friends! You may not remember me but I remember all of you. Yes even you! I haven't blogged in a few months but it is time to do my gaming year in review. Overall I think 2011 was good and better than last year. Of course there were quite a few disappointing games. Some will be making an appearance in this very blog, so grab your reading spectacles and come with me down memory lane!
Best Games of 2011
6. Crysis 2
The one problem C2 had was that it released 3 months before it should have been. However I'm not afraid to admit there were many situations during the campaign I felt were more enjoyable than anything Crysis 1 produced. Aside from some linear missions in the mid section it preserved the multi-option gameplay far longer than the original. I also thought the mp was very good but underplayed and buggy.
5. Deus Ex: Human Revolution
This third game is a good revival for the franchise after invisible war was spoiled by some questionable design decisions. DX3 acknowledges the strengths and weaknesses of the previous games and ensures simple mistakes are not made. I thought it was well written and has some quite good stealth / action gameplay. Also glad they didn't tack on a multiplayer portion just to fill checkboxes. I hope the next game is more ambitious. It's time to get creative with a genre mix that should be leading the industry.
4. Dead Space 2
This atmospheric nightmare has plenty of slick action. It doesn't change a whole heap from the original, just refines the formula and paces things well. Aside from the end level the game is rather well balanced. Really happy it made it to PC after rumours that it was cancelled. Multiplayer isn't bad but hardly good enough to compete with the leaders. I hope they continue with the franchise formula and give me more necromorphs to dismember.
This game is Oblivion with more snow. And I loved Oblivion. Sure they have a tweaked engine with some great shadows and environmental effects. Many locations look fantastic (Blackreach). The main story quest is better than fallout 3 too. It's a success because of how much stuff there is to do. I think it shows real confidence to hide some of the best quests in the most unlikely places. Have people explore and craft their own legend as the Dovahkiin. Bethesda knows how to use resources and they know how to make an open world game.
2. Witcher 2
Close call for #2 and #3, but Witcher 2 nudges through for a win. It is a truly rich RPG with incredible choices that have large impacts on future events. The combat is nicely tweaked even if the difficulty is a bit wonky. Visually a masterpiece with story that is layered and intelligent. It has great characters with solid voice work. I am still very impressed by both games from CD Project RED and look forward to their next game.
1. Battlefield 3
This flawed masterpiece is still the most deserving of my GOTY. No other game this year consistently produced these electric moments of action and amazement online. In the middle of a warzone with a tank on my right, attack chopper in the air and infantry moving between the rocky outcrops as sniper bullets crack past my ear. Every weapon feels superb from the bolted sniper rifles, carbines, pistols, shotguns and even the knife. So many ways to die and yet it retains rewarding teamplay aspects of the series.
A better collection of conquest maps than BC2, solid team deathmatch and a more interesting ranking system has already consumed over 90hrs of my life (colonel service star 2). It seems they even took some inspiration from 2142 to increase game speed. BF3 also happens to be the best looking and best sounding game of 2011. This combination and great animation elevates the multiplayer experience. I look forward to playing more in the months to come.
LittleBigPlanet2 (PS3) – more fun sack people platforming
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood – continues AC2's quality, for the most part
Portal 2 – Great follow up with solid co-op puzzles
Infamous 2 (PS3) – Nothing but improvements over the original
DiRT 3 – One of the best driving games around and it looks amazing
Biggest Disappointments of 2011
This game just turned out wrong on many levels. id software has my respect for Doom 3 and many of their older games. But they can't make an open world shooter if their lives depended on it. They clearly took some ideas from Bethesda but they should have just handed over development. Not only was the launch a complete mess on PC but the game is just not fun to play. The world is empty and lacks character and doing levels in reverse is not what I consider a good time. id software please go back to linear shooters.
Shock. Yes the sequel to my GOTY for 2009 is actually my biggest disappointment for 2011 although certainly not a bad game. The story is poor, badly paced and several characters never return or stay missing for too long. The gun play is limited by bad enemy locations and a melee system that saw unnecessary change. Even the co-op levels aren't that fun. I went back and replayed UC2. It only took me one chapter to realise how superior that game is, then I played 10 without a break.
Special Achievement Awards for 2011
Best original mechanic: Driver San Francisco (Shifting)
Greatest use of road-kill as armor: Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (armor of brutus)
Dullest use of AC-130 in a mission: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Most effective deployment of Russian dolls in a game: Stacking
Biggest bastardization of a franchise: Red Faction: Armageddon
Best use of dirt in a video game: From Dust and DiRT 3 (dual winners)
Least scary game that should have been scary: FEAR 3
Most cleavage present in a single slide manoeuvre: Batman: Arkham City (Catwoman)
Worst gaming meme adopted by the most people: Skyrim (no I won't say it)
And here is a brief list (40) of games I played from 2011.
LittleBigPlanet 2, Monday Night Combat, Dead Space 2, Stacking, Magicka, Bulletstorm, Killzone 3, Painkiller Redemption, Homefront, Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Crysis 2, Portal 2, Hydrophobia, Prophecy, Witcher 2, LA Noire, DiRT 3, Red Faction Armageddon, Infamous 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Alice Madness Returns, FEAR 3, Limbo, From Dust, Bastion, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Dead Island, Hard Reset, Trackmania Canyon, Driver San Francisco, RAGE, Renegade Ops, Costume Quest, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, Serious Sam 3 BFE, Batman Arkham City, Trine 2
Hope everybody is well and are enjoying 2012 so far. I haven't been very active on Gamespot of late with blogging or forums. If I have missed your blogs in the past few months I apologise. I've read some good game lists in the last few weeks, keep them coming!
It's been a while since I last blogged, Reason? None really, I just haven't got around to gathering my thoughts in an intelligible fashion. Still playing games, including some old ones as indicated from the blog title. Therefore this blog will proceed in chronological order so hold onto your hats!
Deus Ex (2000) Replay
I went back to this game weeks before the prequel was due out. I wanted to see how it stood the test of time and also get my mind into the franchise. Interestingly enough, not only did I finish the game I loved every single second. Therefore it's only fair to say that I think this game is the best game ever made (Half-life was always close).
There are many reasons for its success in my eyes. The whole game is still ambitious to this day, proving just how far ahead of the curve it was back in 2000. The choice through each level and the weaponry available makes it better on replay. I probably forgot just as much as I remembered so it was also refreshing to go back to Hong Kong and actually navigate it with ease. I even saw a few new things even though I've played through it a few times before, you can't put a price on that.
Call of Duty (2003)
I picked up the warchest on Steam thanks to the CoD sales. I never owned these games before, so now the only CoD game I'm missing is CoD 3 (eww console exclusive). To be honest with you this game did not impress me much, not to say it was bad. CoD seems like a franchise that relies on presentation more than anything. This includes the cut scenes, the set missions, the aerial bombers, the animations and the large battles. As technology moves on these things become less impressive so what's left is basically shooting, which I find merely adequate. The pacing is pretty good, there weren't many sections that feel too slow or repetitive. Interesting to see how World at War basically stole a few sections from this end of this game.
Call of Duty: United Offensive (2004)
Similar to CoD although it has some better missions but it also does some things worse. AI in particular is either brain dead or quake 3 nightmare aimbot good, there is no in between. The last mission is atrociously designed; it is the pure and raw form of whack-a-mole gameplay. CoD 4 had seemingly infinite soldiers running to a window to kill, UO is the true original for this mechanic. Plus it had numerous glitches – like one sequence when I destroyed a tank and it pretended I didn't, after which 100+ enemies kept spawning. At least the 3D credits are good.
Call of Duty 2 (2005)
This game fairs better in my eyes because of the visuals and shooting mechanics. This game is barely a few steps from COD 4. There are some more open missions that let you approach objectives in different ways. It is funny to come around an empty alley and see 4 enemies appear from the corner. Even the tanks you have to blow up try to drive away from you. Really enjoyed the "clear that house soldier" mechanic even if it was repeated dozens of times. Regenerating health makes this game much easier than the previous games for me, can totally Rambo it on normal. There is some reuse of levels which felt like padding to me. All the CoD games were pretty short though.
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune (2007) Replay
Finished this again on hard, the third game is due out in November. I love the colour palette and the game probably looks better than the uncharted 3 beta. Enjoyed it as much as a few years back. I guess its fun to be part of the adventure and perhaps also because I suck less with controller aiming (playing on Hard). Drake, Elena, Sully are now characters I know and love so seeing them again is great fun.
Bulletstorm (February 2011)
After selling my soul to the devil (buying a game on EA's Origin) I was able to get this game for a decent price. My initial reaction to this game was pretty poor, too many cutscenes and a bad story opening seemed to indicate this game was destined to fail. However as the seven hour campaign progressed I found myself loving it. The vulgarity is stupid (and unnecessary) but the game is actually very funny and the combat is great. Using the leash, kick, environment and weapons is a magical dance of violence. In fact I enjoyed it so much that I wrote a glowing review for it
From Dust (August 2011)
Controlling nature is basically the premise for this game. You can absorb water, lava, earth and protect your tribe of idiot humans as they try to capture totems. Additional powers and crazy natural disasters give a sense of urgency to your actions. It is also technically impressive because you can mould the earth and redirect rivers. Check it out if you dabble in strategy games. My review.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (August 2011)
This prequel is a great game, no doubt about that. Good to see it is getting good scores and is being played by a lot of people. There are numerous things Eidos Montreal have improved on the original – the augmentation system for one. The persuasion battles fit perfectly in the franchise. The stealth gameplay is excellent and some later levels are great. Still I can't help but feel like this game has been held back, it's less ambitious. Some contrived design, some superfluous levels mars the otherwise great game. Hopefully at least it starts a trend, one that should have started back in 2000 after the release of the original
Hard Reset (Sept 2011)
This little game was announced and released in the same year and that in itself is pretty unusual. These days we get told about a game 2 years before they are coming just to start the hype train. As a shooter it's decent, but comparing it to the previously mentioned Bulletstorm it lacks in some areas, barely attempts a story (certainly not a comprehensible one) and doesn't do any twists or combinations that it perhaps needed to. Great looking game and it runs superbly well, I enjoyed the shooting aspects and the cyberpunk world. Hopefully Flying Wild Hog make enough to bring more.
And because you can't go back without going forward here is a list of games that I'll probably by buying during the next few months. Makes for quite a busy few months I must say!
Rage, Batman: Arkham City, Serious Sam 3, Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3, CoD: MW3, Elder Scrolls Skyrim, Tribes Ascend, Torchlight 2, Trine 2
This is a megablog mostly because I don't do blogs enough. However I still play many games then I get caught writing about every game I played. Thanks to the crazy Steam sales I now own over 300 games Did you guys pick up anything good? I've also been on GameSpot now for seven years (!) (16th July 2004) and just managed to hit level 63 which looks to be an especially slow one. Now for the games!
Red Faction Armageddon
This game proved to be quite disappointing in the end, the freedom and sheer madness of Red Faction Guerrilla has been lost. The open world nature of the previous game wasn't perfect but it was several steps in the right direction. The shooting in Armageddon isn't horrendous but it just seems like such a waste. From all indications sales have been particularly poor for it, I saw it 50% off just recently and it had only been out a few weeks which can't be a good sign for THQ.
Alice Madness Returns
I admit I never played through the first game, I did watch a few hours of a walkthrough on youtube. It looked OK but control wise rather ancient and combat looked more annoying than anything. I did enjoy the sequel though, perhaps my biggest issue is the game doesn't take enough risks and gets a little monotonous in places. I also found the music particularly dull. Game looks pretty nice but importantly plays smoothly. Hoping Spicy Horse sees some good sales for this one and aims for some bigger projects in the future. Reviews have been mixed which is understandable but I think it's a good game.
Picked this up on PS3 like a week before they announced it was coming to PC. I may end up selling it on PS3 and buying the PC version cheap because damn the roads are blurry. No game gives me more mixed feelings in recent times than this title. I was either loving it or hating it. The formulaic structure of game events (foot chases, car chases, shootouts) really gets on my nerves. But the basic investigation and interrogation is actually really neat even if it is repetitive. There were a few story related issues that I can't really explain without spoiling. I've tried my best to explain them in my review without giving anything away. I think the game is still good but overrated, I don't see enough good qualities to justify the 9+ scores here or elsewhere. RDR and GTA 4 are much better games from Rockstar.
As a FEAR fan I went into this third game with exceptionally low expectations and wasn't surprised with what I received. It's not a particularly bad game, most of the core fear elements are present but it just doesn't seem quite as fun as the Monolith games. Some parts of the game feel overly generic, others aren't quite up to the standard set by the original in terms of AI or effects. Their focus here was probably on co-op which is pretty underpopulated. I had to join various steam groups to even get a game at times.
I've managed to get a few games going in both the co-op and other mp modes. At times it can be fun, but mostly it just feels average Not a great deal changes when you play the campaign with another player, just go through quicker. Contractions is like the zombie mode from the recent call of duty games, which never appealed to me. I don't expect to play mp for very long but it would be a lie to say the mp is worse than the other fear games. I'll probably review it over the next week or so.
Just Cause 2
This is an interesting game, I remember trying the demo a long time ago and not really seeing the appeal. But playing through it now and it is genuinely quite fun. The world is so huge and just exploring by parachuting around is fun in itself. The basic gameplay revolves around getting into areas and doing damage to government facilities to have gang members take over the area. Combat with the grapple is reasonably fun, vehicle controls aren't great but workable. There are of course other side missions, like races or courier type scenarios. It doesn't get too complicated but it just gives you a world to play in and from a distance the world looks fantastic.
Uncharted 3 Beta
The beta is over but it felt a lot like Uncharted 2 from the game modes to the characters. Only this time you can customize what your character wears, hopefully they provide some more humorous combinations. Now they have Nathan Drake with a trucker hat and some silly taunt moves. The gunplay feels the same as UC2 with some little bugs that don't really detract from the experience. I have been playing co-op modes against soldiers who steadily get harder.
I think I prefer the coop to the competitive side of things. Visually it's a little disappointing compared to the second game, just seems to be running at a really really low resolution without anti-aliasing. Even Elena looks different compared to the last game, hoping this is just because it's the beta. Environments look pretty good and there is basically no load time between lobby and getting in the game.
Next few months might be a little thin for new games. Still there is From Dust later this month which looks a little bit like Populous. Then there is Deus Ex 3 next month which looks really great from the recent gameplay videos, preordered that already. Cartel was delayed by noobisoft again on PC which really irritates me because they always wait until the last minute to delay the PC version. Expect Assassin's Creed Revelations to be delayed into early 2012 on PC too. That's all, thanks for reading!
In May I was able to pick up two great games in Witcher 2 and DiRT 3. I am very impressed with both the quality and quantity of PC games this year so far. Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, Portal 2, Brotherhood to name a few. The year still has plenty of big games coming too.
What a fantastic looking world CD Project Red has created. The texture work and environments are something out of this world. The very first time I was in the Flotsam woods at night is something I won't forget. Streaming technology means basically no load times although it is a little choppy when things are streaming in. Characters and the animations look fantastic.
I've heard conflicting views about the combat but for me it is far more enjoyable than the original. Signs are more balanced, and I used a lot of bombs to harass enemies. I do agree that difficulty is pretty inconsistent, being extremely hard at the start and pretty easy at the end. Being able to meditate anywhere is very welcomed. Love the characters and most of the quests. Took me about 28 hours to finish, I know I missed a few side quests. The choices you can make are certainly more pronounced than the original. The entirety of chapter 2 changes based on what you do at a key moment near the end of chapter 1. I finished a long review for it on Gamespot which only really scratched the surface, it is essentially spoiler free.
Having a blast with this racing game, the driving controls are extremely satisfying just like the last game. Powering my way through Rally events with ease whether it is snow, tarmac or dirt. Gymkhana is all about controlling your car during spins and drifts which is surprisingly fun for me considering I hate drifting only events.
There is also no question that this game is extremely attractive. Weather effects are a pretty good addition. What astounds me most is how well it runs at absolutely maxed settings. I barely drop below 50fps with 8AA. It completely blows the visual versus performance scale out the window. The entire tour was good, has some nice variety toward the end with the tracks. The multiplayer has some more casual modes with some being quite fun but nothing that will hold my appeal for too long.
Imagine BioShock with real water effects, now take out the great gameplay and you have Prophecy. Hydrophobia may not have the best shooting, story or puzzles. In fact they are mediocre at best but the water effects far exceed those in BioShock. Water has real volume, resistance and bounces back and forth between the walls. More a tech demo than anything but if they could work out how to exploit the water effects to create some fun puzzles and make the combat well…better it would be a solid game. If you see it cheap then consider checking it out.
DON'T BET ON DUKE.
It feels like very little has changed since the 90s after I played the DNF demo courtesy of my Boredlands preorder. My initial reaction to the demo was not pleasant; in fact I would compare it to one of the bad shooters from that era. Certainly the worst 20 minutes of gaming I've played in many years. I actually felt insulted at the end because this is a product that will be sold to many people very soon. Duke3D I enjoyed for what it was, when shooters were in their infancy.
There is no nostalgic value for me with a poorly voiced protagonist spitting out a series of unfunny lines. The experience disregards the many years of evolution the shooter genre has undergone. Weapons placed lazily over the world, bad pacing issues, basic AI and a range of pointless interactive items. I expect it will still sell fairly well with the hype train but the demo has me wishing this had stayed vapourware.
POST E3 RUNDOWN
Although I am generally asleep for much of E3 I did catch some of the Noobisoft and Sony conferences. Nothing has really wowed me this year, the footage from Uncharted 3 looks amazing, Hitman absolution has piqued my interest. BF3 still remains a front-runner despite the thunder run demo being pretty stagnant, MP is where it's at. MW3 looked much better single player wise even if it had really similar sequences to MW2. Again I would get MW3 on PC if dedicated servers are confirmed but I won't be touching it otherwise.
Tomb Raider looks interesting, although carefully controlled for an open world game the sequence demonstrated that it is trying some new things. I would like to see that franchise become a high quality one. I'll be following Far Cry 3 closely too, fast travel should remove most of the annoyances I had with the highly overrated Far Cry 2. I barely use my PSP so I don't see much reason to buy a PSP Vita even if Uncharted looks great on it. Wii U doesn't interest me due to the game selection. Even though more third party support is promised I don't see those games selling well because the audience won't be there. Time will tell.
Overall there was nothing really big or amazing that I wasn't already interested in. There were a few great videos that I enjoyed watching so for that reason alone E3 was worth it. Once again an E3 without anything Half Life related.
RED FACTION: ARMAGEDDON
Another sci-fi shooter, I just can't resist them. The demo on PS3 was ok, nothing at all like red faction: gorilla. After picking it up on PC it's a straight forward underground on-a-rails third person shooter with destruction and some nifty weaponry. Played it for a few hours, the combat is alright, the magnet gun hilarious to use. I miss the open world stuff, so in that way Armageddon seems like a step backwards
Portal 2 is another great game from Valve with lots of clever puzzles and hilarious writing. The new characters bring plenty of complimentary humour to GLaDOS. Some of the end puzzles have that great moment where everything fits together so nicely. Not many of them gave me trouble, only a few at the end of co-op and single player. I'm not upset that it was fairly easy though, I'd rather the puzzles be on the easier side than hard because it makes the game flow much better, and boy does it flow really well. I like the new tools they introduced and how they gradually taught you the basics so you could naturally work out the progression of the puzzles. Co-op and it is fairly good with the exception of the times you are replaying puzzles.
I reviewed the game and gave it perhaps a fairly harsh score in comparison to critics and gamers alike. It is currently 9.5 on metacritic and users rate it almost as high which means it's probably front running for GOTY. It is better than the original I think if only due to the co-op but not a game I loved as much as most others.
Picked up the almost universally accepted GOTY 2010 for a very good price on PS3 and ploughed through it over a week or so. Rockstar certainly know how to make funny games with circumstances that do more than enough to keep you interested. Once again a selection of great characters (West Dickens was a favourite) and varied missions kept me going back for more. They did a great job taking the GTA formula to the Wild West although I don't think I liked it quite as much as GTA 4. Toward the end the narrative fades away especially compared to the strong first half. Also the end missions, with few exceptions, tended to be just 'shoot everybody'
Maybe it is just me but there seemed to be too much horse riding across the country side too. Yes you are given some more story when you ride along with your posse (think lost and the damned). They also throw in random mini-missions on the side of the road which was done carefully enough so it doesn't become overbearing when you are doing other missions. Somebody in distress might steal your horse, or you might see criminals escaping the law. Still a great game, it wouldn't replace my GOTY from last year but it might've grabbed one of the lower spots on my list. Tempted to pick up the Undead nightmare pack considering my affinity for zombies.
My MS Internet Media Pro keyboard has served me well for a while now but the ridiculously cheap stickers on the keys have all but worn away (WASD the first to go) so decided to get myself something new. Backlighting was important due to my tendency to game in darkness. MS Sidewinder X4 was my final choice and I have been using it for games and typing for a few weeks now. Pretty good keyboard to type with and great keyboard to play games with, backlighting is very nice. Not sure I'll ever use the macros but I do use the media / calculator keys. Considering the price it was well worth it.
Finished Brotherhood and it was as enjoyable as the previous game but didn't really last as long as the second game. I question the mindset of the people in charge with creating the endings to each of these games. They are probably related to the people that did the Mafia 2 ending. I can't say I've liked any of the endings in any of the Assassin's Creed games. I also couldn't say they have gotten better. Solving the Mensa puzzles was also a complete waste of time that served to only create more questions. In terms of game quality and endings they rate as follows AC2 > Bro >> AC1. Revelations was just announced and my feelings are mixed, I did really enjoy AC2 and Brotherhood but is the franchise going to be about yearly releases? And am I going to get a proper conclusion this time?
Finally finished Guild Wars Nightfall, the gate of madness mission actually wasn't too bad. All I needed to do was go in the right direction and use some of the recommended skills. Considering my good luck and work on optimizing my heroes I tried my luck at finishing the Eye of the North which had given me problems for months now. Pleased to report that expansion pack is also now complete. I was stuck on destruction depths for quite some time and the Destroyer was a royal pain. Basically he is located in an area that sets everybody on fire and almost kills every party member in one hit. Never has pain inverter been more useful than against this guy. Now I've finished all the retail games for Guild Wars. I also finally got my Hall of Monuments to level 30, giving me the GW2 title "Closer to the Stars" and a few neat items. It marks the end of my HoM grinding but it reminded me what a great game Guild Wars is.
Witcher 2 and Dirt 3 show their beautiful faces this month. I am predicting good things for the little RPG and hope it lives up to expectations. Some of the environments look great in Witcher 2. DiRT 3 should be a solid racer, hoping the car handling remains as brilliant as the second. Dx11 should also look great for that game.
Crysis 2 is completed and I can say without hesitation that when things are going right it's better than the original. When the levels are open and not scripted, when the AI functions and doesn't get stuck it's superb fun. I played on Veteran and enjoyed over 10 hours (long for a shooter) of mostly fantastic levels. The aliens are probably more fun to play against than the humans and in some ways it feels like the humans have been made a little dumber to demonstrate how smart the alien Ceph are.
Loved the last level and even the ending seems so much stronger story wise than original although the story is flaky at the start. Game has a lot of bugs – AI respawning or walking against objects. My melee stopped working a few times which was a nice nod by Crytek toward Bad Company 2 . And the nano catalyst upgrades failed to register – among other issues. Still on the whole great game and highly recommended for shooter fans.
I'm starting to get into the multiplayer side now and it can be really fast at times, much faster than probably anything I've played online before. Since you move quickly and have to spot cloaked units on small maps. Perks stolen from Call of Duty but the suit gives it enough individuality.
I finished Homefront last weekend, all 3.6 hours of it. The experience wasn't mindblowing or genre changing by any stretch of the imagination. It was a by the numbers shooter with its share of flaws. A few funny moments and some good scenes weren't enough to propel to anything more than average. While I can see how structurally it's very similar to the new CoD games it doesn't quite match them for excitement, variety or polish. Multiplayer was better but has a few other issues. Snipers are powerful due to map size and the damage rate. Took a few hours to start enjoying it but due to the problems the game is unlikely to have a huge following online. My Homefront review on gamespot.
Finished Killzone 3 too and I have to say I didn't enjoy it as much as 2. They had the opportunity to fix a lot of the problems in KZ2 but didn't really fix any. The only thing it does better is the environmental variety. The stealth mission was bad, a movie every 5 minutes was annoying, the checkpoint pacing wasn't good, the dialogue had numerous sound cut outs and the story was full of gaps. And that is just a few of the problems I had. I think a lot of people scored it highly because of Rico's 'fro.
I tried to play some online but struggled with that too. Lot of fun modes but I think I'll forever have trouble playing competitive mp with a controller. It just feels like I'm fighting a battle with the thumbstick every time I want to aim. Having to invest time in getting good at the aim controls and the game itself is a challenge I don't accept.
Started playing Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood and boy is that a big jump up in terms of quality from Homefront and Killzone 3. The story quality, the gameplay direction, the sandbox world and even the visuals are amazing. I had so much fun with AC2 and this is essentially a continuation of the story in that game. PC gamers will be pleased to know now that the buttons are actual real pc buttons (it shows "shift" or "spacebar") and the texture and shadow filtering is twice as good as the second game. So finally I think we could say Brotherhood is a good PC port. Running 1920x1080 with 2aa seems to be highly playable. I think it looks great but take a look for yourself
Few differences to the game this time, you have Borgia towers with a head guard you need to kill but the area essentially puts you on high notoriety so you either find a stealth way to the guard or fight through lots of enemies. One time I swam up to a patrolling guard on a pier, stabbed and pulled him into the water and swam away before the others even saw me. Another time I leaped onto a guard and ran away and came back to burn the tower later. This time you get to buy stores all around rome, like your villa in AC2. This allows you to buy items and get more income. I think the curse of AC2 will be back, once you buy all the items the money becomes useless. You even get to recruit assassin's who can be called in at any time to kill all the guards lol. Not sure why you'd do that since the combat is so fun anyway.
I'm still playing Guild Wars and managed to raise my HoM score from 7 to 21 in a several weeks. All that means is I get some items and some minipets for GW2 – which is looking good. Hope to get a few more points for my hall in the weeks to come. Just got to the "Gate of Madness" mission in Nightfall and had my party wipe out trying to close the portals. That mission is probably going to be the death of me. Guess I'll try to tag along with a group of humans instead of my hero misfits.
Portal 2 next month, Witcher 2 in May. So far the year has been pretty good for gaming.
After reaching level 10 in the Crysis MP demo I have concluded that it is superior to the multiplayer in the original. Rather than the Battlefield gameplay of the first the sequel goes for Call of Duty pacing and feel. I like both game types but its clear the implementation in the sequel is just better.
I like the two maps; they both are decent size and have plenty of action with 12 players. The suit energy management and cloaking makes it really fun at times. Loved diving in water and cloaking to come up undetected. Got a kick out of air stomping an enemy. Loved spotting the shadow of cloaked enemy and taking him down.
Disappointed they locked settings. To edit commands you have to do it via command line shortcut. Looks better without the glow / blur effects but the game is still not as crisp as the original. I'm betting that the full game will let us remove this blurring effect in motion that has yet to be removed completely. Either that or modders will find a way to edit shaders so it doesn't feel like I'm playing in Interlaced mode.
So I'm picking up Crysis 2 on launch and will likely spend some hours with the mp. Still have high hopes for the single player though even if I think it will be a little restrictive.
Stacking is a puzzle game by Double Fine (pyschonauts) that I got for free with my PSN+ subscription. It involves using Russian stacking dolls to solve puzzles. Essentially you find the right doll and stack inside it to use it on another doll. Not much more to it than that but has this certain charm and unique feel. It tries pretty hard to be funny but is not always. Not as impressive as Psychonauts but still pretty good.
Dead Money is the first DLC for New Vegas and to be blunt my first few hours with it sucked. It was very difficult with repetitive environments. There are traps everywhere and a collar that explodes in proximity to indestructible radios. The story almost makes up for the gameplay quality by having a lot of depth and interesting characters. I really liked the ending of it also so despite my issues it has been better than the Fallout 3 DLCs (pitt and anchorage).
Got aggressively back into Guild Wars and putting in a lot of hours. So much to do and I'm trying to do many things at once. Mostly trying to finish the Nightfall campaign with my Monk and am about 2/3rds of the way through. Starting to hit the hard missions though that require me to actually do something instead of just giving orders. Great news is now you can have 7 hero henchman instead of 3. Basically means I can complete the War in Kryta quests now.
Also doing a bit of PvP combat in the Jade Quarry which is actually kinda fun now I know what the hell I'm doing. Other than that I'm trading, equipping heroes, doing zashien missions and some skill capping. It is quite amazing how much the game has evolved, especially with daily and weekly tasks. Trying to also increase my HoM score for Guild Wars 2, will need plenty of money to buy all the armor and materials though.
Started playing Killzone 3 and it seems ok so far. Feels much the same as the second game to me. Rico continues to annoy me with his regular comments "watch my six" "cover me" etc. He just got his Fro after a 6 month hiatus (and gap in story). I don't think the pacing is as good as the second game. Difficulty seems all over the shop, some sections are kinda hard while others are more balanced. The stealth level wasn't that great either. It also seems they make video cutscenes for arguably the best action sequences. I just keep thinking "that would be fun to play" as I watch it.
Start of Feb already and so far so good for gaming this year. The year keeps getting crowded with release dates. Got a chance to play two new releases last month one of them I've been anticipating for a long time now.
Dead Space 2
Impressed with the sequel, they keep the game much the same with necessary improvements, made everything flow a lot better and even made Isaac talk (which works well). Although it was not quite as long as the original it was still a great experience. On my PC it was regularly 100+FPS and it looks pretty good at 1920x1080. Multiplayer isn't actually too bad either. It doesn't really feel tacked on like Bioshock 2. Easy to play for many rounds but doesn't seem like a lot are playing online. I reviewed the game (and multiplayer) on ngn if you want to read it.
The sequel is again improves the original across the board with a more consistent art between the worlds, better story and turns out to be much less frustrating. They take things a notch higher with new items and the ability to make all these interesting game modes. Even some of the community levels are better than those in the actual game. Multiplayer is sadly very poor, time outs are frequent and most of the time it is really laggy for me. When you have delay between button press and jump the platforming gets really frustrating. LBP had its problems online and the sequel really doesn't seem to have made many inroads in that area
Actually I was really disappointed that most of the reviews on launch failed to mention these online issues. Hell most of them didn't even mention online play at all. I checked Joystiq, Gamespot, IGN, Gamepro, GameInformer, CVG, GameTrailers and Gamespy and none of the reviews mentioned these online problems that plague the game.
This action adventure game surprised me more than any other game from 2010. Visually very nice looking with great art design. It's a third person action / rpg game that includes some simple puzzles to break up the combat. Lengthy single player and good variety between the enemies and the locations make this a very good PC game. I will definitely keep an eye out for the sequel. You can read my review about Darksiders here.
Riddick Dark Athena
Well I got this game cheap on Steam a long while back and decided I should really play it. Turns out that was a bad decision because there wasn't much of the game I actually liked. Butcher Bay was alright but a little overrated. However Dark Athena is just ordinary. Some of the stealth was good but the shooting and fist fighting is bad, the AI is terrible. The whole six hours was just a mess really. Games like Thief DS do stealth better and just about any FPS does shooting better To see my rant review click here.
Battlefield 3 – finally some news, 64 players, prone and jets sounds good so far. I think my copy of MoH came with a BF3 beta key so that will be great.
Bulletstorm demo - Unimpressed with the demo, points just don't seem to work for me
Also waiting very patiently for the Crysis 2 demo. I just really hope it runs much the same as the first game otherwise there are going to be some angry PC gamers
Finally some Left4Dead 2 Stats to prove my ongoing addiction
344 Hours played
429 versus games played (212 won, 196 lost)
100,000 zombies dead
PC had a good year in 2010 as it was definitely an improvement compared to 2009, just more good games released. Here are my top 6 games games from 2010 in reverse order; all are PC games.
6. Battlefield Bad Company 2 – Destruction is certainly not a gimmick and if anything the way it changes your mindset during battle is enough to put this game in my top list for 2010. The brilliant sound engine truly makes the battlefield a captivating place to kill or be killed. Although the game was flawed on release and without enough new content at the beginning it still succeeded at bringing that huge battlefield feeling back only surpassed by 2142 and BF2. Single player seemed poor to me although who buys BF games for sp right? Multiplayer without the silly imbalances and ridiculous spawn camping is sublime. The vietnam expansion is also a nice little pack to check out.
5. Call of Duty: Black Ops – Although structurally very similar to the previous three CoD games I felt the single player was well done especially toward the end. Thankfully it had very little respawning of enemies aside from the damn barrels section. Multiplayer is extremely similar to Modern Warfare 2 with the obvious dedicated server improvement. So smooth and fast online at times with better balanced weaponry and killstreaks. For some reason it's so easy to just keep playing this game online in the many modes. Online you level up really quickly which gives you even more reason to progress. Game was buggy at launch and the prevalence of 18 player 24/7 nuketown maps (seriously people stop playing that spam map) keep this game down the list.
4. Fallout New Vegas – Going back to the wasteland to lose hours of time exploring was fantastic. Better story writing and dialogue than Fallout 3, great new wasteland to explore, companions and good side quests probably just the start. I liked the variation in the quests and the not so straightforward resolutions with some moral decisions thrown in for good measure. The engine does show its age with some crude animations and some strange bugs. Exploration is certainly a huge appeal for me as is being able to choose how to approach quests and who to help. I suffered from some framerate issues and bugs especially around the strip, but nothing serious or enough to detract from the great experience
3. Assassin's Creed 2 (PC) – Although console versions came out last year the PC was treated to a sequel early this year that improves just about everything from the original, better combat, more interesting side tasks, interesting story, better ending, more stuff to do in the world that looks great and is just a lot of fun to move about in. Such a joy to play around in the sandbox cities and harass the guards on the rooftops or just look for things. Using throwing knives to take down guards or pulling them from high on a roof, chasing after messengers, taking on some heavily armoured combatants requiring different tactics. And also the nice little villa you get to call your own and watch grow as you level up. The ubisoft DRM was a non-issue for me playing this.
2. Mass Effect 2 – A superbly crafted cinematic game with a range of interesting and likeable characters, better combat and a great finale mission. Although "streamlined" with the removal of inventory it helps the game focus on what Mass Effect was really about – squad interaction and the combat between it. All the squad members were interesting and there was a real sense of place with some super dialogue and interesting missions even if the structure was fairly formulaic. Although the mining was terribly dull there and some side quests were incredibly bad there was very little I didn't enjoy when helping my squad members. Really looking forward to taking my saved Shepard character into the third game late next year.
1. STALKER: Call of Pripyat – Possibly not a big surprise this wins my GOTY given my love for the franchise. Although it doesn't have the huge impact as my first time in the Zone as with Shadow of Chernobyl, Pripyat does everything I wanted the franchise to do. Brand new locations, visually impressive landmarks, killer atmosphere and best of all-the most bug free of all the stalker games. There is certainly plenty of room to improve things like story presentation and certain aspects of AI but I just cannot hold those features against a game that puts you in this deadly, beautiful, engrossing landscape and sets your free to do as you will.
Making three larger open areas as opposed to the smaller zones in the previous games was a perfect decision, meaning among other things less load times and you get drawn into the world more. Just searching for a stash location in the far corner of the map could mean you'll come across a pack of bloodsuckers or maybe an anomaly with artifacts you can sell if you navigate the dangers. Call of Pripyat is not a game you play and just stick to the very poor main quests because you would be missing what the game is about. When I look back over 2010 many games have impressed me but Call of Pripyat was something truly spectacular.
Other notable games that didn't quite make the cut but still very good
BioShock 2 – Great to revisit of Rapture with improved combat, throwaway mp
GTA: EPLC – More GTA 4 with great characters and fun missions, still runs horribly
Heavy Rain (PS3) – Engrossing story and some impressive visuals, disappointing "twist"
GT5 (PS3) – Cars, I need more cars!!
Starcraft 2 – Great single player, EA please take the formula and make it work for C&C thanks
Amnesia – More scares, more puzzles, more oppressive, go frictional go
List of 2010 games I've played:
Dark Void, Mass Effect 2, Bioshock 2, Aliens vs Predator, STALKER Call of Pripyat, Heavy Rain, Supreme Commander 2, Assassin's Creed 2 (PC), Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Command and Conquer 4, Metro 2033, Dragon Age Awakening, GTA: Episodes from Liberty, Plants vs Zombies, Splinter Cell: Conviction, GoW Collection, Blur, Alien Breed Impact, PoP: Forgotten Sands, Singularity, StarCraft 2, Kane and Lynch 2 Dog Days, Mafia 2, Amnesia, Alien Breed 2, Darksiders, Lara Guardian of Light, Medal of Honor, Lost Planet 2, Fallout New Vegas, Call of Duty Black Ops, GT5, Super Meat Boy, BC2 Vietnam
Hyped for in 2011
So '10 was better than '09 and I'm going to predict that 2011 is going to blow them both out of the water! Here are my most wanted games with their current release dates
LBP 2 (PS3) – Jan 18
Dead Space 2 – Jan 25
Assassin's Creed Brotherhood (PC) – Feb 22
Dragon Age 2 – March 8
Crysis 2 – March 22
Portal 2 – April 19
Deus Ex: HR – April 30
Trine 2 – May 1
Witcher 2 – May 17
Torchlight 2 – May 31
Red Faction: Armageddon – May 31
Metro 2034 – June 1
Duke Nukem Forever (!) – June 1
Max Payne 3 – August 1
Batman Arkham City – September 1
DiRT 3 – September 1
Rage – September 13
Tomb Raider – October 1
Uncharted 3 (PS3) – November 11
Elder Scrolls: Skyrim – November 11
Mass Effect 3 – December 1
When it's Done (maybe 2011)
Half Life 3 / Episode 3 / Gordon's Revenge
Guild Wars 2
Pretty huge list of games I am very excited for but expect a few of them to be delayed into 2012, should be good if half of those release in 2011. Most interesting thing about this list is there is only one game that isn't from a franchise - Rage by id software. Already tried the demo of Dead Space 2 on PS3 which was great (and looked really good on PS3) and the LBP2 demo was also all kinds of awesome, taking the creativity even further this time. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.
I bought Kane and Lynch 2 for $5 during the steam sales and I can't honestly say that it was great value for money. The single player itself is 3 hours of which maybe 1 hour was enjoyable enough to be worth playing. The online community is basically nonexistent, I had to join steam groups to get a game and even then we are talking bare minimum numbers for games. K&L 2 is certainly not recommended unless you really have nothing else to play. You can read my review of that game here.
My home internet was down for about a week (I survived) and thus I was playing a lot of Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3. It is true what they say, at times the game looks kinda ugly, at times it looks spectacular. The gameplay is probably just as mixed with the super frustrating b-spec (commanding AI drivers) and the ludicrous rules of licenses. Yet some of the races are great and it can be very satisfying to take a Lamborghini to a hatchback tournament and lap the other drivers in a race.
The game includes a photomode which from what I can tell just renders the entire game in a much higher resolution and then scales it back down again (bit like what Crysis does) but it also makes things like reflections and shadows look better. In game shadows can be very block at times. Pictures below are from photomode.
I managed to play through Dark Void also which would be best described as a mix of Gears of War, Lost Planet, Tribes and Half-Life. It has the jetpack which pretty much took me the whole game to get competent with; the controls are pretty horrendous as is the sensitivity. You move pretty fast with it, and need to use the brake a lot for turning and aiming. They also do this slightly weird vertical cover along with just normal jetpack floating in big hangers. The story is B-grade type action movie scary but not without some charm with Nolan North voicing yet another lead character. Overall I have to say Dark Void is not a bad game at all but one that for mechanical reasons is difficult to fully enjoy. Certainly the franchise, should it ever continue, has a lot of potential.
Still playing Black Ops online and getting close to prestige level 2. Not sure how much longer I'll be playing it because it seems more than half the servers seem to be running Nuketown which is complete rubbish for gameplay with a full 18 man server. But people must like it because you can get a lot of points during games, spawn killing does that I guess. The new patch fixed some things and I guess right now it's the quality it should have been on release.
Spike VGA were nice with some great reveals on Elder Scrolls 5, Mass Effect 3 and of course Uncharted 3. 2011 is shaping up to be a very good year for gaming.
After a brief hiatus I'm back online with faster internet at home, all it means is that I will be getting even more games digitally. I expect I will post a blog about my best games in 2010 in a week or two. I'm still deciding over a few good games. I wish everybody a Merry Christmas for 2010.
Been playing a fair bit of Black Ops online for PC, which has been a lot of fun. Right now there are only a few minor issues for me in regards to the multiplayer (like final killcam stuttering) but its still better than the MW2 system. I think I've only lost connection to a server once so far. Currently level 47 and will likely go into prestige because it is so quick to level up.
Played some wager matches including one in chamber, sharpshooter, sticks and stones. They are all fairly good fun, lot more at stake during the rounds. MP wise I'm sticking with CTF / Domination / Demolition most of the time due to the speed and structure. Most of the maps I think are great. apart frome Nuketown which is just ridiculous with 9 v 9. Needs to be more like 4 v 4.
The game feels a lot like MW2, they tweaked some of the perks and killstreaks but the speed and even most of the weapons feel like they would be right at home in MW2. Single player was good, some poor missions but a solid story and great musical score. If you want to read more check out my review.
I signed up for PSN+ which hasn't been the best decision due to the lack of content, but there are some discounts. Hopefully over time it becomes more worthwhile. Anyway yesterday I noticed that I can play Killzone 3, the multiplayer beta was ready for download so I decided to check it out.
KZ3 definitely looks nice, although improvements over KZ2 aren't huge. The biggest visual change is probably better LOD system, so moving away from objects doesn't seem to make them drop it quality rapidly.As for online well its slow paced but includes a level up system that makes it hard for lower levels. Netcode was good even though I'm pretty sure I wasn't playing with people in my country.
The ranking system also seems really slow played a few hours and I'm still on rank 1. The other thing is that I can't aim very well with the PS3 controller, I haven't really used it for a shooter in a long time so quite frankly I suck at it. Kinda frustrating when they build an objective below a few platforms for campers to get easy kills.
Screenshots (1280 x 720 captures). And yes they have a pretty aggressive film grain filter applied.
Worked my way through a Medal of Honor review, in summary the single player isn't bad but suffers presentation issues like NPCs running through trucks. The multiplayer is weak and suffers from a vast number of balance problems that make it uncomfortable to play. Here's a gif of my buddy running through a vehicle, remember kids quantum tunnelling allows for this! Keep in mind he did this about 5 times.
Almost december, and you know what that means right? Correct, no more big PC game releases until next year. Oh well still GT5 I might pick up on PS3 to keep me busy driving each of the 1000+ cars and smashing them into barriers for fun
I completed a review for New Vegas. A great game in its own right that has more mature quests and mature characters with plenty of options on how to complete quests. You can simply go for aggression or deception. You can win trust with speech or convince with science. My approach was generally find out everything about the situation and decide who best to kill.
I also thought the main story quests were good with a few exceptions. Exploration is still good fun in a similar way to the Stalker games. Disappointed that the performance is at times horrendous and a few crashes and glitches hurt the game. If you liked Fallout 3 for the side quest stuff then New Vegas is highly recommended.
Finally finished the main campaign in Halo 2. One word to describe the entire experience would be: dull. It is true that the game doesn't have extreme laborious repetition like Halo 1 had in sections. But there is still excessive repetition. They copy 3 smaller sections / rooms and then change to another layout and copy that 3 times. Then mix in a vehicle section and do it all again. It's like they decided to push the absolute limits of copy and paste without annoying people, well I still got annoyed.
If I had to guess the amount of actual unduplicated content (minor changes aside) the game is really only half the length. Took me about 8 hours to grind though the game. I'm thankful the game didn't get worse and although the ending was no shade on Halo 1s end sequence it was still fun enough to keep my rage down.
It's hard to get over how ugly the game looks, it feels like a game from 2002, not 2007 (or 2004 for xbox) but graphics aside the campaign was just tiring and lifeless. The whole duel wiedling thing just meant I used two guns 90% of the time and spammed grenades the rest.
Haven't tried multiplayer yet but I enjoyed Halo 1 mp on PC so maybe I can get some enjoyment out of that.
Quick update on Medal of Honor multiplayer which I feel is just as broken if not more than single player. Not really techincally broken (apart from the stupid ragdolls) as it runs great and looks fantastic. Gameplay is broken with awful spawning, poor movement and absurd chokepoints. DICE wanted something like modern warfare 2 but only managed to get halfway there and I don't think it works. I may finisha review for it at some stage in the near future.
Black Ops comes out tomorrow and although I don't know much about it I'm still looking forward tomy preorder arriving.I'm just about due for another good mp game with my l4d2 addiction fading away. It may be the last new game release that I'll be getting for the year although depends on when GT5 comes. Analysts predict it will sell 18 million copies, insane numbers for Activision.
Medal of Honor came out last week and I've made my way through the campaign. It took me just over 4 hours (4.2 on Steam) so those wanting value for money in a single player game look elsewhere. I haven't tried tier 1 mode yet.
Straight up I will say that MoH is not a bad game at all, in fact I kinda liked it. Drawing from recent CoD games but also doing a few things different enough so it's not a complete rip off. MoH doesn't have you going from one country to the next in the space of 5 minutes like the modern warfare games. What it does is lets you see the battle from a few different perspectives and the way those perspectives link together is at times impressively done.
The major missing piece in MoH for me are that the last minute polish. I had probably a dozen game glitches that really let you know this is a game. Examples include: Friendly AI running through a truck, AI through a closed door, MG gun firing without a gunner, ATV driver getting stuck, cutscene getting stuck, Invisible walls. It's easy for me to overlook a few issues (hey I played the stalker games) but when you have around 10 issues in 4 hours in a extremely tightly scripted movie like experience it has a telling detrimental effect on the experience for me.
Multiplayer has been OK so far, too many chokepoints. Defenders can get ridiculuos kill death ratios. It's improved a little bit over the beta but the ragdolls still suck. Early days but I doubt I'll be spending more than 20 hours online with it.
In summary MoH is alright, but I really think 6 months more development time would have helped it compete with the CoD series, instead it will likely be overshadowed by Black Ops.
I'm still playing Halo 2, not sure how far I have to go but I'm thankful the gameplay hasn't gotten worse. Cortana just told me that coming up soon is a "Library" like that seen in the original Halo. And if you played the first you know it was the point the game copied the same room layout dozens of times (with flood). Not looking forward to it. I don't think I'd say Halo 2 as a bad game, again the action can be pretty fun sometimes - but it has to be because the rest is in my opinion very mediocre.
Fallout New Vegas comes out today (currently downloading on Steam) and it could be another good timesink like Fallout 3. Graphically it is starting to look aged but I can live through that (I'm playing Halo 2). Will be interesting to see if the main story quest is actually good this time but even still side quests make the game.
Just noticed Gamespot still have the GFW Live box art for Fallout New Vegas which is no longer correct given that New Vegas is a Steam game now.
No Mercy in L4D2 is great, some good spots for the new infected but mostly it just changes the rules. Spitting and incapping 2 survivors at the elevator crescendo (the infamous corner camp spot) is something quite special. My other favourite spots include a charger instant kill out the elevator in the finale or off the open rooftops or into the car up the stairs in NM1. Now that I think of it, I haven't seen somebody charge anyone into the exploding gas station yet. Something to try.
The year has gone by pretty quickly, very much like last year. Full time work probably the main culprit, not enough free time at least for me. The last few months haven't been huge gaming months sadly. There only seem to be a few games out before the end of the year.
I picked up F1 2010, being fan of codemaster racing games - GRID and DiRT 2 were great. F1 2010 is not as great sadly but it does a pretty good job with the trademark. My biggest issue probably has to be the inconsistent penalties but also the fact that my season save got corrupted (a known issue still left unresolved).
WHAT. Yeah Halo 2 PC. Saw it for cheap and thought what the hell, this was the game on the xbox back in 2004. My first impressions were terrible because the game wouldn't even work. I had to do this crazy renaming of windows folder and deleting some files to get the thing to start. Nothing has been patched to fix this, which I think summarizes quite well the attitude Microsoft has about PC gaming. Once started I can't say my impressions got drastically better.
From purely cosmetic perspective this game is pretty ugly. In fact I think it looks worse than Halo 1 on PC, mostly because I think Gearbox at least upgraded some of the common textures, here they are just blurry everywhere. Faces and characters look like something from 2002, not 2007 when it released on PC.
Moving to gameplay leaves me a little underwhelmed, the pacing isn't the best and the dialogue is pretty dry. You can dual weild now (remeber that lol). The vehicle action is decent enough. Supposedly the single player is kinda weak with a cliff hanger ending so doesn't sound like things will improve much for me.
Medal of Honor comes out soon but I'm not expecting big things. Just a few days ago DICE posted in their forums asking for top 3 things gamers wanted changed. The list grew quite long but there simply isn't enough time to make these changes. I have it preordered on steam though, hoping for the best in regards to single player but kinda expecting the worst.
L4D2 got DLC last week, including campaigns The Sacrifice and No Mercy both with the survivors from L4D1. It's a strange feeling to be playing with the Zoey, Bill, Francis and Louis again, it's basically like seeing old friends again. The sacrifice seems decent so far and No Mercy plays out differently with the new infected. Great DLC for free.
I haven't blogged in over a month time but I have a few things to blog about today. Namely game reviews! I have three of them completed. Mafia 2, Left 4 Dead 2 and Amnesia: The Dark Desceent. You can read them by following the links or just read my quick summaries below!
If you played the Penumbra games think of Amnesia as a natural evolution of those mechanics, but picture it with better presentation and well crafted scares and you get the picture. Basically Amnesia is a very good game with cool puzzles. I wish there were a few more physics puzzles like Requiem but I can't complain. Highly recommended unless you don't like scary games
Wanted to get this review out, yes it's a bit of a rant and I spent a lot of time on the negative aspects. It does look great and combat works well. It really does feel quite atmospheric at times and the music / cars are amazing. The rest is not so rock solid - I found it generally inferior to the original and I couldn't stomach the ending. Apparently the new DLC is pretty much a waste of money too from what I've been hearing. I just call this an average-good game, nothing amazing
I've played 184 hours of this game so far and there is a ton of stuff to talk about. I tried to keep it to the basics but map design, new infected and new survivor tools just take it up a notch from the original. Good news is new DLC is on the way for the game and we get to play no mercy with melee weapons and new infected. Can't wait to spit corner campers while they wait at the elevator.
Playing Worms Reloaded, which is pretty fun online actually. Lot of problems actually getting into a game sadly but it can be pretty funny to watch people do brilliant and stupid things at the same time. It's also a nice change of pace from other games, laid back turn based
Finished Starcraft 2, really enjoyed the campaign and even went back to play the other missions in the sections where you need to choose which mission to complete. It is nice to have a base building RTS with good quality missions and attention to detail. I did try some multiplayer, but only played a three games online, of which I won two. I wish I played more but I didn't get much enjoyment even out of winning. I think I definitely need the adrenaline rush of FPS games in multiplayer. Even still great single player well worth it
Xfire has been particularly slack of late. As many of you would know Titan took over Xfire (apparently at no cost) and have been moving servers and slowly learning to add updates. It took them a month to get an update out and they only added one game - Mafia 2. Many games still remain unsupported including worms reloaded, kane and lynch 2, amnesia.
The support has been pretty poor and they are effectively slowly killing a great tool with many opting to use Raptr or just stick with Steam. It would be a shame to have the xfire program fade into oblivion because the new owners can't update it frequently enough but it appears to be the way it is going
Sadly most of the game I was waiting for have been moved to early 2011 (Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, Max Payne 3 to name a few) but there are still a couple of releases that should tide me over until the new year
Fallout: New Vegas - Hoping this one has as much side quests and exploration as Fallout 3, not completely phased that it looks much the same as Fallout 3
Call of Duty: Black Ops - Dedicated servers are back, albeit restricted. Still hopfully I can get many good hours of multiplayer out of this game. Lots of game modes so chances are there is good replay value if it is balanced enough and I'm sure the community will be there.
Saw the movie Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time recently and have to say its one of the better game movies I've seen. Funny enough with good action and a decent storyline. I think so far only Hitman, Prince of Persia and Resident Evil 1 (not 2 or 3) are decent game movies. I would certainly watch sequels to Hitman and PoP.
Long blog! Thanks for reading.
I noticed that I've been on Gamespot for six years now (as at July 17th 2010), although it is not the oldest community I am apart of it is probably the oldest I spend the most time on these days.
In six years I have made
74 Blog Posts
36 Written Reviews
Left 4 Dead 2 – Yes I tipped the scales with this one and have racked up over 100 hours so it joins that exclusive club for me. Most of it again is versus and I absolutely crave those moments where the infected are working like a well oiled machine, timing is essential to success and charging people never seems to get old.
Rage quitting is sadly a big problem in L4D2, probably worse than the original I think. I also think the game is more frustrating because the distance between complete success and utter failure is larger.
Mafia – I got this with my Mafia 2 preorder on Steam. This game starts out excruciatingly slowly, the cars are slow the combat is slow and cumbersome; the cut scenes are full of long cinematic pauses. Then if you want to avoid the pestering police you need to drive at 40mph.
But I pressed forward and it only took me a few hours to appreciate the flow of the story and the variety of the missions. After finishing it I ended up enjoying it, the graphics aren't too bad for an eight year old game either. Really looking forward to Mafia 2 now can't wait till the end of August.
StarCraft 2 – Not sure if you guys heard of this game? It's a little RTS created by the small dev team Blizzard . Something about Zerg Rushes. Well I'm taking my time with this game playing through the campaign slowly because I'm in no rush to finish. I've played about 6 missions now and its starting to get really good actually. I really enjoyed some of the missions with the variety and the objectives. Also appreciating the way they handle characters on your ship and mission briefings. Hopefully some of the good stuff is stolen by EA for the next CnC game
Singularity – Finished that, reviewed it. It's not a bad game and I actually enjoyed it a bit more than Wolfenstein, but whether that is because of the expectations of the franchise or not. If you like FPS games then perhaps it is worth looking at but fairly standard affair. (not for multiplayer though)
My imod phase is over, eight weeks of learning the ropes of being a gamespot moderator and I'm now a general mod. All I will say is that there is a lot of work done behind the scenes for the gamespot community that most people wouldn't be aware of.
Best villain of all time voting is up on gamespot for wildcards not already selected for the bracket voting. Although I have to say I'm a bit sad that G-man (Half-Life) and Vlad (Max Payne) didn't make the cut.
Hope everybody is well
Got my feet wet with some Medal of Honor action. If you are wondering it's mostly like Bad Company 2 but with a few ideas from Modern Warfare 2 like killstreaks (scorechains) but sadly there is virtually no destruction present from BC2. The game has a lot of bugs, even for a beta. Some are presentation, some are map design (bad chokepoints) and some are just gameplay balances. If you want to know more just click the picture and away you go!
Finally after my long boycotting phase I've joined the "new" survivors for a taste of L4D2. I got it during the steam sales. So far it's proving to be like visiting an old friend, skills are coming back to me. To start with the spitter, jockey and charger would often completely destroy me but slowly I'm getting used to them and the levels. Played versus just before and managed to incap 3 green survivors with one shot by knocking a car up the side of a railing.
Jockey is funny but I also like the spitter, no more pesky campers! I think I've played all the campaigns now in versus but only finished like half the maps (if that). Haven't yet completed a campaign.
This one was a pleasing surprise. I expected something like Sands of Time but generally inferior. Instead what I got was something like Sands of Time without frustration. The combat is easy, but that just makes the combat become like a break between the platforming. The platforming also gets interesting toward the end with frozen water and invisible walls. A very solid effort and one I recommend.
Got my hands on Singularity, and so far it seems alright. I'm only a few hours in and I am suffering badly from the texture streaming problem. It's probably even more annoying when my framerate is 120fps and I see these extremely low res textures below my feet. The game takes plenty of inspiration from Bioshock, Dead Space and even Wolfenstein. I will let you know how successful that is.
Also playing some Infamous on my PS3. The similarities between it and Prototype are uncanny. If you played prototype imagine a game that has a better story (also better presented) with some more conventional weapon type powers (rockets, grenades etc) and it revolved around electricity not an infection and you probably have it. I'm not sure the actual combat (when things get crazy) is as good as prototype but the game is still good fun.
Enjoy your weekend everybody