Monthly Summary - January 2011

Played This Month:

First month of the year doing this, and I really didn't think I played much. says otherwise and reminds me that the list isn't too thin. I ended up playing a fair amount of games whilst listening to podcasts, it's becoming a bit of a trend for me. This included playing Borderlands whilst listening to MBMBaM, plenty of DiRT 2 with TNT archives going, and some Undead Nightmare too.

I decided to play a number of last year's best DLC episodes, after the debate for GOTY. Minerva's Den was definitely the highlight of the bunch.

I bought Darksiders having borrowed when it was released and not really giving it time. Will come back to that in the coming months. Played a bit of Brotherhood but it hasn't hooked me in after several hours; When I look at the box it just doesn't fill me with the desire to fire it up, something about it seems boring and monotonous to me. Also got some Blur in from time to time, chipping away at the Career mode.

I played a lot of Nier this month, 6 hours in so far and I cannot wait to make that a regular thing, really enjoying it so far. Also back on the Super Meat Boy, unlocked the extra internet levels so.. yep. Also playing ilomilo with Lorena again, now they've released a title update that stops it crashing every time you do something unexpected.

Played the following titles a little bit: Winterbottom, Perfect Dark. Started Dead Space 2, a few hours in and it's great so far. Finished Conviction and Dog Days in split-screen co-op with J (finally).

The big obsession is Halo: I'm onto Novel 4 and I'm addicted, to the point where I'm now playing through all the games again, back to back over the next few weeks. Halo is down, Halo 2 is in the drive and already a few hours into it tonight.

Completed This Month:

Raskulls [2011] (4)
Borderlands [2009] (5)
FEAR 2 [2009] (4)
Halo [2001] (5)

Zombie Island of Dr. Ned [Borderlands] (4)
Minerva's Den [Bioshock 2] (5)
Shadow Broker [Mass Effect 2] (5)

Co-op [Splinter Cell: Conviction] (4)
Co-op [Kane & Lynch 2] (3)

Game of the Month:

2011 Release: Raskulls (by default)
Most Played: Borderlands/DiRT 2
Overall: Halo 

Game Complete: Halo: Combat Evolved

Completed: 31st January 2011 (01:50)

Involved: Completed game on normal difficulty.

Summary: And so the start of my Halo games marathon begins. Though I'm not playing them all in a single session, I won't be done until they are all done and I'm looking to absorb as much as the story/fiction as I can. Coming back to this with the perspective of having read the first 3 novels (including 'The Flood', which tells the story of this game with further detail and side stories), I really enjoyed wringing it dry of all the dialogue and cutscenes. Though the graphics don't quite hold up to today's standards, the combat is perfect and its still a ton of fun to play. 
Next: I'm already 3 hours into Halo 2, you know where this is going...

Rating: 5


Game Complete: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin

Completed: 19th January 2011 (01:50)

Involved: Completed game on normal difficulty.

Summary: Had this sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for ages, finally snapped it up and played through it in a few neat sessions. I enjoyed the combat and the weaponry, and the atmosphere got intense in parts but it was never at a scare level that Condemned reached. I recommend it for the price I paid (less than £10). 
Next: FEAR 3 is coming soon, though I'm skeptical of the co-op and abilities-based gameplay. Did they ruin it?

Rating: 4


Game Complete: Borderlands

Completed: 12th January 2011 (23:50)

Involved: Reached credits by defeating final boss, finished on Level 33.

Summary: I've had Borderlands since launch. Got it on PS3 and played for an hour, then gave up. Decided to get it on 360 when it went cheap, and played maybe 2 hours. After months and months of listening to the Bombcast where they talk about it so much, and after them giving it '2010's 2009 GOTY' award, I decided to go and play through it, with the 3 good DLC add-ons in tow. Now I'm done with Playthrough 1 and I loved it. It kept me thinking about it, itching to play more. I love the leveling up, the loot, I think the combat is awesome and had to strategise a fair few times to get through. Recommended. 
Next: Gonna go play Armory of General Knoxx, then Robot Revolution. Not sure how that fits into a Playthrough 2 but I'd like to get more done.

Rating: 5


DLC Complete: Borderlands - Zombie Island of Dr. Ned

Completed: 11th January 2011 (00:50) 

Involved: Completing all plot-based missions in DLC area.

Summary: I decided to jump into this DLC at around Level 25 of my base game playthrough. It was a nice change of enemy type and location, and I enjoyed the brief detour it provided. Good fun, and made me wanna play further and continue my marathon (been playing it after work every day this week).

Next: Continue Borderlands progress.
Base Game Rating: NR

DLC Rating: 4


Game Complete: Raskulls

Completed: 9th January 2011 (22:20)

Involved: Completed Mega Quest mode, reaching end of story until Credits.

Summary: This is a unique platform-puzzle-racer the likes of which cannot be found elsewhere on XBLM, taking the central game mechanic (break blocks, fit like-coloured blocks together, don't get crushed by free-falling blocks) from Mr. Driller. It adds plenty of its own ideas, and conains a significant challenge for those who want it. The multiplayer mode is a lot of fun, with close-call photo finishes and plenty of shouting.
Next: I've critical-pathed this for now and only had one multiplayer session. I've got loads of untouched challenges in the Mega Quest to do and online play to get into.

Rating: 4


DLC Complete: Bioshock 2 - Minerva's Den

Completed: 6th January 2011 (14:30)

Involved: Played missions through to the end, explored all content, unlocked all DLC-specific achievements.

Summary: Incredible piece of downloadable content. It was around 4 hours long, consisted of a whole story of its own and was more fun than the base game! The characters were enjoyable, the levels were tightly designed which made me want to explore every corner to get the most out of it. No wonder GiantBomb gave this their DLC Add-on of 2010 Award. Worth the 800 Microsoft Points, I'm looking forward to more DLC like this for more of my favourite games.
Next: I think that's it for Bioshock 2.
Base Game Rating: 4

DLC Rating: 5


DLC Complete: Mass Effect 2 - The Lair of the Shadow Broker

Completed: 4th January 2011 (22:30)

Involved: Played missions through to the end, explored all content, unlocked all DLC-specific achievements.

Summary: The new locations were all very interesting, taking the action in a different direction from the rest of the game. I thought there was a lot of combat, which was fine, but I'd have liked a little more buildup prior to the shit hitting the fan. There are a good number of setpieces that all feel different, and kept it interesting. It wasn't quite long enough but I paid a low price due to the Christmas Sale (200 Microsoft Points) so it felt like great value. Its the best piece of DLC I've played for the game so far, as it feels unique.
Next: I'm done with this DLC, but I have Overlord to play through too, before prepping for a 2nd run at the final mission of the base game...
Base Game Rating: 5

DLC Rating: 5


Gaming Blog - My Plan for 2011

So yeah...
At the start of 2010 I decided I'd keep track of the games I complete through the year, and aimed to finish at least 40. It ended with a list of 48 games completed, and a score out of 5 for each one. For 2011, I've chosen to create blog posts for each completion in addition to the List as before. I'll list the Completion Time and Date, an explanation of what that completion means (whether I reached the end of the story, the career etc.), and a Rating out of 5. I'll talk about what I liked, what I didn't, and what's next for me with that game. 
I'll also make a post at the end of each month to sum up what I played, with review scores for any games and DLC I finished, as well as games I'm done with that can't be completed traditionally (online only games, arcade games for example). Then, as before, I'll tell you what my Game of the Month is.
Anyone reading this? Cool, just me then.