By cstrang 3 Comments
Hey, kids, I hope your holidays are/were spectacular. With the calendar year coming to a close and Game of the Year discussions coming to a head, I figure I should write a blog on the games I've purchased since my last blog post. These are just my impressions on the games I've purchased/played since halfway through October, nothing more. If you're interested in my official GotY list, check it out here. Alright, let's begin from the beginning:
Castlevania: Lords of ShadowCastlevania: Lords of Shadow was an impulse buy. I wasn't really looking forward to its release, nor particularly amped to play it. It was something to fill time until Fable 3 came out, so my time with it was relatively brief. The game is definitely a solid character-based action game. The combat doesn't feel as tight as or balanced as God of War did in its hey-day, but it's still fun and flashy. The environment traversal stuff feels a little stiff, but it's a valiant attempt. The graphics are far from the years best, but the models show care in their design, and that's something I can appreciate. While I only got through the first boss-fight in my brief time with the game, it was pretty epic, if not a little too easy. I'm intrigued by the story, and there seems to a be strange, dark sense of humor randomly packed in there. The game seems to scream "money-to-time-investment ratio!"; it's long, and there is a focus on revisiting levels to pick up extra things. It's a worth-while game that I look forward to revisiting and finishing.
Fable IIIFable III was one of my most-anticipated titles of the Fall. Of course, Peter Molyneux promised the world, and, of course, it failed to deliver. I rather enjoyed Fable II back when it came out two years ago. I played the crap out of that game and its DLCs. Fable III is essentially more of the same, only with a more irritating protagonist, improved graphics, and some interesting changes to character development. Fable III saw the end to the "silent protagonist" of the series, which was disappointing but acceptable. The thing that really irked me was the change in the way the game changed how it let you access your characters abilities. Instead of being able to say... Steal something or buy property on the out-right, the game slowly lets you purchase these abilities after you pass predetermined, arbitrary points in the story. The story's pacing was also a little questionable; the first act took way too long to come to a close, and the final act came way too quickly. Everything in between the two points, though, was largely enjoyable. The game was a pleasure to play as soon as it opened up. There was also an intriguing economy/trade system for inter-character interaction. It was a game that I sunk about 30 hours into overall, and might go back to it to finish my "downright evil" playthrough.
Super Meat BoySuper Meat Boy was a game I wasn't expecting to buy, much less like, but the Giantbomb love and temporarily lowered price-point brought me, and the ridiculously awesome gameplay made me stay. Sharp visuals, sharper controls, good sense of humor; all-around greatness. Read more about it on my GotY list (yeah, it's on there). Great game that deserves all the gushing-over it has gotten.
The Force Unleashed IISucked. I can't believe they tried charging full price for that game. Moderately entertaining for the first hour or two, but ultimately falls flat. And it's one of the blandest looking games of the year. Maybe I'll actually purchase it when I falls below a $25 price-point, but I refuse to pay more than that.
Call of Duty: Black OpsI'm not a multiplayer person; I don't play games for competitive multiplayer or really anything other than local co-op. That being said, I know I missed out on one of the things Black Ops was supposed to be. But I played most of the single-player campaign and... it's a Treyarch Call of Duty, yo. The thing is, Treyarch wants you to go "Oh, was this game made by Infinity Ward?!" and that's not going to happen. Don't get me wrong, the handling and the story of the game is leaps and bounds over Treyarch's last outing, World at War; they went bigger than they did before. The problem is that they fall into the same old cheap tricks they used to, like infinity-respawning baddies with ridiculous aim. It's a decent game, one that I'll finish eventually, but not one that I can recommend as the "next first-person shooter".
Assassin's Creed: BrotherhoodHoly shit, this game is epic. It takes the already-improved Assassin's Creed II mechanics and makes them even better. A more high-risk combat system, reworked terrains to give you the ability to be really, really sneaky if you want to be, a better economy system, upgraded graphics, and another dose of that ridiculous story. It's all anyone can ask for in an action-adventure game. The first-time multiplayer was pretty good, too. Nice and sneaky, mindgame-y. Sure, it needs to be balanced a little bit better, and by God, it needs a better matchmaking system, but it's pretty fun.
Fallout: New VegasNow, I'm probably the most vocal in the Giantbomb community about how much I dislike this game. I picked this game up for $20 from Amazon on their Black Friday sales. It got to my house right as classes were starting to close out, so I didn't get to start playing until a few weeks ago. I loved Fallout 3, and played through almost all of its DLCs, so I was kind of hoping for more of the same, and it wasn't. The world of New Vegas doesn't feel anywhere near as populated or interesting as 3's did, and it feels as if the developers didn't really want to invest a lot of time in the "do it your way" thing. There are fewer, stricter ways to get that treasure behind that locked door, and it feels like some of the skill requirements for such exploration were not properly balanced. The morality system is nonsensical, and the allegiance system is a little too harsh. Then add in all the ridiculous game-breaking bugs it shipped with and the not-improved and frequent loadtimes, and you easily have one of the most disappointing gaming experiences of the year. I haven't finished this game yet and, after losing 5 hours of gameplay to a not-really-corrupted-but-the-game-thinks-it-is save file, I'm not sure I will bother.
Recettear: An Item Shop's TaleThis was one of the games I bought during this year's ridiculously awesome holiday Steam sale. It's a charming little game that I find myself addicted to. I've played near 20 hours of it over the past week or so. It's a little grindy and the story isn't interesting, but it's charming and simply addictive.
That's about it... I may write another blog doing a full-year retrospect...