I used to be a big fan of first person shooters, with slight preference towards arena games like Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. I've spent hundreds of hours playing Q3A and UT since these games came out more than a decade ago, and recently I played through the Q3A (not team arena, the original game) single player campaign once again to reinvigorate my interest in FPS (first person shooter) games. I enjoyed every minute of playing Q3A; the final confrontation with Xaero was as good as ever, but unfortunately, that's as much as I could get my te eth in to FPSs.
I thought after replaying Q3A, I'd feel more interested to play through some modern FPS games like Battlefield Bad Company 2, Duke Nukem Forever, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, etc., but I couldn't really bring myself to playing any of these games. I did install and play DNF for a while, but even the new age Duke could not interest me much. I have been reading a lot of good stuff about MW3, and I also went to the store to buy it, but as soon as I picked up the DVD box, a silent alarm started ringing in my head which said "Don't waste your money, you'll never end up playing this!".
Instead of buying MW3, I came back home, dug my ****cs collection and re-installed a couple of old real time strategy games that I really enjoy(ed) playing. These are: Age of Mythology (AOM) and Lord of The Rings: Battle for Middle Earth (LOTR: BFME). I already finished AOM and AOM Titan's campaigns and I started playing the evil campaign in BFME, which I've always wanted to beat but never ended up doing.
I had a blast playing AOM and AOMT as I'm now an experienced gamer. When these games first came out, my primary objective was to beat them as soon as possible so that I could move on to other games. That was when I was still in my 20s. But now, at this point of time in my life, instead of having a rushed lunch, I wanted to try a relaxed meal with starters, 2nd dishes, desserts and even coffee, which resulted in a bigger and better playing experience.
I discovered a lot of optional quests, previously unseen areas, eccentricities and new ways of winning the same battles. The memory of my last gameplay was quite vague, as it's at least 8 years old, but still glimpses came back to me while I was playing, and I found some of the rather tough and irritations missions to be quite intriguing and innovative. Instead of rush based battles, I followed more turtling, and only attacked the enemies when I had a sizeable force, which means upgraded units with all sorts of armors and weapons. Previously I solely concentrated on the mythological units, but this time around, my armies were balanced and often the human units played a better part in the battles.
Both of the above mentioned games are quite old. AOM was released in 2002 and BFME in 2006. I played AOM campaign twice before (I did not finish the 2nd playthrough) and BFME good campaign twice. When I was playing BFME, memories of the movie was fresh in my mind and I just couldn't force myself to be on the evil side and watch the hobbits and the members of the fellowship die helplessly.
However, this time around, I am happily killing the good people and having a blast trying out the different unit combinations of Isengard and Mordor army. BFME was built upon a modified C&C: Generals engine, which has served Electronic Arts (EA) quite well. In fact, versions of this engine was used as recently as in the expansion for Red Alert 3, which is still a relatively new game.
Before getting in to the RTS games again, I've spent a significant time playing only RPG games. I believe I've spent the better part of years 2009 to 2011 Q2 playing Neverwinter Nights, Witcher, Mass Effect, Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2. I am still playing DA2, and even after 5-6 playthroughs, I still enjoy the battles. Albeit the story has become stale and nowadays I skip most dialogues. The new expansions (Mark of The Assassins and Legacy) are quite interesting, though.
Especially, Mark of The Assassins was a welcome change of pace and I look forward to playing it again. However, it is pretty much frustrating in one aspect--you need a high lever player character before attempting the expansion, or else you will keep on dying. Even with a healer character, all my companions died in my very first battle when I tried beating MAO at around level 5 or 6.
Unlike DA:O expansions, MAO can't be played after beating the main game. That is, you can't play it with your previous save games. Thus even if you've beaten the game with a two handed warrior before, you can't use him to play MAO--you need to start a new game with a new incarnation of a two handed warrrior in order to play it, and which also means you have to level up this new character up to at least 10-15 levels (beating Act 2 will take you there) until you get a feel of Talis, the new female companion available in MAO.
I've also bought and installed Stronghold 3, the new version of an old castle building game, and I am finding it quite frustrating. There are two types of campaigns in the game, military and economic. I started off with the economic campaign, and I had to leave the game within 15 minutes--cause a rogue bear massacred my whole city! I thought this was the "economic" campaign where I was supposed to focus on resource gathering and building, but I didn't realise that the poor villagers needed protection, too. I had the poor excuse of a lone soldier; a settler with a weird looking pike (which actually resembled a rake rather than a pike) who was killed by a solitary pawing attack from the rabid bear! Even the apple farmers were tougher, they ran for their lives and took a couple of blows before going down.
I am yet to read a review of Stronghold 3; I just bought the game because I wanted to play a new RTS game. I also bought Cities XL 2011 sometime ago, but that game didn't really interest me much due to the sub-par graphics and complicated gameplay. I found the learning curve for Cities XL to be a bit higher than my current patience level.
As for SH3, I just read the wiki and found out that the game is heavily bugged and there's already a number of patches out. I guess I should apply the patches before attempting it again.
I actually ended up buying Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Since I started playing Skyrim, I haven't touched another game. My experience with Skyrim deserves a full blog entry (or probably several blog entries), so I will write them down separately.