Backlog battle - Meanwhile in Kalmistown

Haven't written a blog in a while so here is one. Not been as active on GB recently as I would have wanted. Been busy at work, as well completing games and preparing for the baby. We are expecting our first born any day now. My wife is actually two weeks overdue already. She has given me quite lots of time to finish up some games which is very nice of her. Naturally I wont have so much time for gaming once the baby is here, at least not in the same way.

Insert random baby themed game cover

Anyway here some recent games I've played and some thoughts.

Got through like 10 Xbox 360 games recently. Some good and some bad. More bad than good though. Too Human, Dark Messiah to name few. OK bad might not be the best word. Very mediocre maybe? Those and the ever growing Steam catalog has seriously made me thing about about my OCD of playing through bad games. So trying to include at least one "good" game in my currently playing each time. Like for example, going through Portal 2 and Saints Row 3 now. Both excellent of course. Tried also starting the last 8/16 bit Final Fantasy (VI), but not gotten far. And can not seem to be so interested in it for some reason.

Did something unusual just the other day. Started R.U.S.E. but gave up just after 4-5 missions. Nothing wrong with the game itself. In fact the setting and the story are quite cool. It is just that I kept thinking that I got a powerful PC that would surely run this game much better. RTS for a console just doesn't work as well no matter how polished the controls are. As with Giantbomb guys and probably many others I seem to be using more time on PC than on the aging consoles.

Some other recent games I've played to completion are Deus Ex and Tropico 3. Pleased with finally getting past the island level and actually completing Deus Ex. Really good game even on todays standards. Sure some mechanisms are tad clunky. At least with some mods and textures addons it is smooth as it can. Next up is Invisible War and then Human Revolution. Got IW installed on Steam already, as well a copy of Human Revolution for the PS3.

Wonder how Deus Ex would look like in a daylight

Another lengthy game that I enjoyed immensely was Tropico 3. The first game is one of my all time favorite city building/god games. Nothing wrong with this either. Hopefully T4 goes for a ridiculous sales soon as I wouldn't mind some more el presidente action. Although the latter campaign missions started to get bit boring. And not even touched the DLC missions. The addons from it are already in the main game anyway.

On multiplayer front been couple of times tried to go back to BF3 but with custom servers and the direction Dice seems to be going it just doesn't feel as much as fun as BC2 was. Also some random Fifa 12 matches against my brother. Thanks to Euro 2012 of course.

Been also doing some Day Z;ing with friend of mine. It is a great game, but shame that is only at alpha stage. Haven't played in few weeks now and the changes of removal of startup weapon and all the food bugs seem really off-putting. Yes its alpha build, unfortunately I don't have patience for that. Even if the game is at glimpses brilliant.

Used to post a Youtube link of some sort previously. So here is one as well. As it is apparent from profile picture going through some Opeth phase again. Triggered by The Lotus Eater in Saints Row no doubt. So here is their excellent Iron Maiden cover:

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Kalmis trying to survive Day Z

Managed to finally get some time and get some Day Z done. My mate had been hassling about this for a while. Since I had Arma 2 on Steam already I just went and bought the Operation Arrowhead on Steam as well. Bit more expensive than other stores, but at least the versions are always up to date and don't have any other cross version problems. This made the install easier as well.

Quite pleased with the first effort. Managed to stay alive for couple of hours. In the end run out of bullets and got killed by two zombies, after a lengthy run through the forest. Before this, I got to kill quite few zombies. Unfortunately did found hardly any loot, so could not have really survived much longer anyway. Didn't run across to any bandits and didn't have any tempting moments to shoot other players. Although I did see few survivors crawling towards farm. In couple of instances actually. Was following/hoping for these quys a while incase they got killed by the zombies. Which I would then have looted on clear conscience. That is much better, right? You wouldn't think, but keeping an eye on other players who are dodging zombies is surprisingly interesting.

Lessons learned:

  • Black screen doesn't mean that the textures are messed up. It is just night, doh.
  • Sound, super important. Really makes me appreciate the surround headset.
  • Also, footsteps. Zombies make lot of sound, but they aren't really a trouble if you keep down and quiet. And you can't hear their footsteps.
  • You can not out run zombies in open environment.
  • Zombies don't like stairs.
  • UI, had to do some offline reading for this. Understand now how the inventory and which chat channel to use. Most likely missed some loot because I didn't know how to use inventory.

Time survived:

~2h

Zombies killed:

Eight. Of which seven are headshots according to the stats. Only one of these would count as a real headshot. The last priest zombie getting a perfect single bullet between his eyes and going down instantly.

Things to improve for the next time:

  • Preserve the ammo better. Zombies die from one shot, even with the Makarov pistol.
  • Find a way to enter the buildings. And/or read which types can be entered.
  • Map, not really concerned about this since I do soloing atm. But might be good to see abit where I am going and where I should be going.
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Backlog battle - Episode 15 - No More BF

Made my first purchase with Dotemu last week. They had a Kalypso sale going on and had some titles on sale that are not available on other platforms. Had an account with them earlier because of some free games they were giving out. Anyway currently the are the only place where you can get the Cultures games. Cultures is a German made real-time strategy/city building game not too different to Settlers. Remember playing good amount of the first game so bought this again. Backlog is not getting much shorter if I keep on buying new ones, but had to feed the urge. And ended up playing a bit different take on it. BC Kings that is.

Enough rambling for now. Here is list of games from few weeks that I am done with.

Battlefield 3

First service star acquired. Got this on the Support class. Started with the Recon class next, but got a terrible map fatigue. And have not touched this for more than a week now. This might be better game than BC2 mechanically, but that game sure had better maps. The tiny corridor map's don't feel like BF. The bigger maps are bit too barren on consoles. Anyway will probably stick to this. Especially when the new maps are released soon. Also probably will buy this for my brother for Christmas.

Dungeons of Dredmor

I wonder if anyone has actually finished this? Game has "only" ten levels so it should be achievable. Early floors are easy enough, but oh boy the difficulty spikes up. I made it to floor seven. Then the game became too difficulty. Even with Permadeath off and Easy difficulty level. Yes I am a wussy. Still, how is that for a balanced game? Why would I ever want to play with permadeath. And/or with normal difficulty level if I can't past level 7 on easy?!?! Of course you can say I am not good at it. Although I had 3-4 maxed skills and some top notch gear already. So I'd like to think I know what I am doing at least little bit. Sure I could try another build had I not already used freaking ~15h on this. 15h staring at those eyebrows and the same floors and same enemies. Also what a missed opportunity to not have the crazy gear reflect how the hero looks like. Neat idea but I doubt I'll play this again. The Binding of Isaac is way more attractive than this.

ThruSpace

ThruSpace is a 3D Puzzle game that uses Tetris blocks. Game is decent enough. My review here.

Terraria

I might not have time to play all the 2011 games this year, but at least I should try to those indie games from this year that I've purchased. So next up was Terraria. Once you understand the mechanism and start to venture further into mines game gets bit boring. People keep on mentioning that this is nothing like Minecraft and that there way more objective to do. BS I call. This is as much as sand-box as Minecraft is. In good and bad. Multiplayer might be more interesting, but just can't be bothered.

Making History: The Calm & The Storm

Completely different to my normal games I play. Happen to own quite few such hardcore strategy games on Steam so might as well play these. Picked this since it seems to be a stand-alone franchise of some sort. Not the best idea, haven't played such hc strategy games in long time. Too long time it seems. Thought that it would be easy to start with big and powerful country like Russia. Not a good idea since the country is huge and there are just so many regions. After couple hours I thought that maybe playing a smaller country, but still one that is powerful would be easier to maintain. So United Kingdom and what an idiotic move that was. They have some colonies that it made it even harder. No I won't blame the games UI or the meager tutorial. It is just bit too much and I don't get it. Need to eas back in to these kind of games more.

No More Heroes 2

Did not like this much as I liked the first NMH. Sure this has way better minigames. Anyway, quiet random Tuesday morning and a review here.

8bit Killer

Fine indie shooter from Locomative. Not sure if people are aware of this guy, but he is awesome. He does this retro inspired indie games. With proper chiptune soundtrack and cover arts. OK he has different dudes to do the music, but still. 8bit Killer is nice traditional FPS with graphics similar to the original Doom/Wolfenstein. Not the longest game, can be finished in few hours easily. Almost have to be as well since it doesn't have a save function. Gameplay is very traditional FPS, still no doubt worth checking if you are like indie games and/or old school shooters. If only for the soundtrack.

Super Laser Racer

Slicks'n'Slide! \m/ Noone probably played that awesome 90's shareware racer I take? It was a Finnish made top racing gmae, slightly similar to Micro Machines. Game was viewed from top down perspective and the main catch was that you could do sliding all day long. Cars leaving tire threads and everything. Doing local multiplayer with one keyboard made it quite hectic. Anyway Super Laser Racer is from British indie dev: who are mostly know for their sports games. Especially their Sensible Soccer style footie RPG. Anyway, didn't get to play lot of Super Laser Racer. Simple because my PC wont run it. Can do single races but that is not really fun. Was going to buy a new PC right after our holiday, but then something else happened. Will get to that soon.

Darksiders

Not sure what inspired me to play this. Maybe all the talks about Skyward Sword. Anyway modern day Zelda from 2009. Fine game, but nothing new. Few really frustrating parts where the game just keeps throwing enemies at you. Got stuck to that one part after beating the first tower guard and coming out to the long stretch. Those freaking spinning bastards were so annoying. Must have played that part 10+ times. The puzzles in the game were amazing. Bosses and the upgrade system were not too bad either. This one particular battle left a bad taste. 4/5 that GB gave is perfect score for this game.

BC Kings

Played many games made in Hungary? Well here is one. BC Kings is basically Age Of Empire's in stone age setting. Only two factions though: stonemen and aliens(mutants). Also there are similar generation upgrades as AOE games only that it is just more tech that get's unlocked. You don't actually advance in times. Solid enough overall. The campaign consist of 12 missions. Game is also advertises to have more RPG elements, but this is the same as AoE campaigns where a hero follows through the missions. Campaign is somewhat hard. Or rather, time consuming. Most of the levels are spread into multiple maps where you need to send troops between maps. This is used for side quests and for the "adventure" elements. Somewhat fresh idea, but just makes the progression so slow. Other problem I had with this was that it take ages to unlock new tech with the campaign. When you got everything unlocked you understand why, there hardly is any variation. Kind of like playing AoE that is stuck on "Age". Not played any recent games of this genre recently, so not sure if this is a standard now a-days. Anyway BC Kings has a structure you can build that is called process mill. Which is genius. As usual you collect ton of resources, but depending on the map you always end up being short on certain resource. Well the process mill allows you to process the surplus items and change these to lacking resource. Very smart. Game wants me to go back to AoE 2. That AoE Online doesn't sound too tempting with the microtransactions but should probably need to check that out one day.

Crayon Physics Deluxe

This was much more of an game than I though. Not just a crayon physics demo/sandbox. This is a proper puzzle game. Game has more than 70 levels according to the Steam page. I managed to beat all of them except for the ones on the last island. 120 stars is required to open this one and I don't see myself never doing this. Beaten all the other levels once, but would need to go them through again with different solution. Got 95 for beating all the levels once and some of the earlier level twice. Sorry the game is just not so much fun that is worth it. Especially the later levels. Some of them where so nasty that if my usual pulley/scale solution didn't work adding bunch of lines to make the physics go crazy and getting the ball to the star by accident solved.

Costume Quest

Why haven't I played this before?!? Maybe because the Halloween doesn't make lot of sense here (EU). Got all the cheevos on this one. Will need to pick up the DLC next time it goes for a sale. Really enjoyable experience all and all.

Doc Clock : The Toasted Sandwich of Time

Got this from one the Steam indie bundles I assume. Anyway this was actually a pleasant surprise. Game is a physics based platformer in short. Sure the mechanism are wonky at times, but that is part of the charm. Building a vehicle and tuning the gadgets on it to make the craziest jumps is actually fun. Game doesn't look like much, but so far at least not regretting this.

Youtube clip of the week is something from a new band I discovered recently. They are called Orchid and play 70's inspired doom. Amazing stuff:

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Backlog battle - Episode 14 - Hooah! Batman

Something big has happened in my life which will no doubt have impact on my gaming in the future. Will write about it more later on. The last weeks have been crazy with the new game releases. Even me who normally plays just older games have made multiple AAA-title purchases. Three in fact: Fifa 12, which I haven't touched in weeks. Batman: Arkham City and Battlefield 3. Uncharted 3 and Dark Souls were other games that I really want to play (and will so one day). Just the idea of paying so much money for a game is not tempting, even when I can afford it. Wait few months and the price halves. Not like my backlog lacks titles. Here are few that I've managed to brush of since last blog.

Tesla - Weather Man

Interesting puzzle/platformer indie game. Available on Gamersgate or directly from the developers. Costs only few pounds and it is worth it. My review here

Batman: Arkham City

You know what, I don't like Arkham City. At least not as much as I liked Arkham Asylum. The button smashing battle mechanism and all the content recycled from the first game was bit too much. Story was slightly thin as well. Although the end was pretty good, especially "the song". Ending redeemed the game for me no doubt. As much as I like Batman I hope that they won't do another one of these. Of course they will. Slightly disappointed with this, not too interested in doing more side missions or riddler stuff. Which is slightly odd since I did that all on the Arkham Asylum, maybe this is just too much.

Arcadia

Arcadia is a twin stick shooter, not too different from Geometry Wars actually. Art style is simple two color grid. It is the similarity to Sega Master System games cover art-style (which I like) that drew me to this game. Can't change the colors quite blue and white though. Nothing special, same time nothing terrible wrong about this game. Music is really good, shame that there isn't more tracks. This game often is on sale for one pound, which I'd say its almost worth it. Although there equally good free flash games, such as the next game:

Pixel Purge

And more of that now. OK this 100% Flash game played through your browser, so free. Can be played via Kongregate or Armor Games. I played this back when it got the praises on some sites few months ago. Just wanted to go back to this after Arcadia. And you know what, this way superior to that game and this is even free(did I say that already?). Don't remember the gaming having trophy's back when I played this (might be wrong) before which is additional hook. If you like Geometry Wars or twin stick shooters you can't get much better than this. The dev is working on a sequel, which IMO would work as more fully fledged version. Stand-alone Flash game like VVVVVV or The Binding of Isaac.

Fortix

It's Qix. Not much else to it. Finished in less than 2h. Review coming out soon.

Advance Wars Dual Strike

Got an love/hate sort of relationship with AW games. These can really get frustrating at times. Especially the maps with fog-of-war. I've finished both GBA so should stick to this and finish it as well. Not really lot's of changes from the GBA naturally. At least not just Neotank. The additions with the upper screen action seems pointless. Not done with this yet, about 1/3 I'd say.

Battlefield 3

Hell yeah. Although playing the 360 version, so it could have been better. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with this. Of course there is no doubt that the PC version is superior with its 64 players and way better visuals. Not touched the SP or the Co-op. Doing somewhat well on the MP part. Sticking with Support class now. Thanks to combination of LMG and the C4's. Although should probably change to Engineer since I spend so much time on vehicles. Really enjoy the addition of the extra skills for the vehicles. Also on infantry front the addition of tactic light, laser sight and bi-stand are great as well. The other toys such as the mortar is nice addition. Not played with other classes toys yet. The suppressing fire and going prone feel also like good addition. BF3 most likely will be the FPS for me that will last next couple of years. I joined the GB platoon, but will most likely spending all my time with Konsolfin dudes. And with my brother once he buys the game.

Osmos

Ok this probably just me, but oh boy what horrible shitty game. I know that this is brutally difficult. I haven't even gotten so far yet! The gameplay is just the worst here. There is no persistence, well of anything here. You start each similar looking level the same way with the same brain-dead idea. Become biggest. Control a planet of some sort while costuming smaller planets. There is not one single compelling thing here. I hate games with random physics like this. Might I even add the nasty P-word here as well. Pretentious. Title that implies some relevant to Cosmos. And game trying to have a sort of law's of motion. What's the with the walls then? Or random moving. Just as random as say peggle, only that Peggle is somewhat fun.

Revenge of the Titans

Another game from the same Humble Indie Bundle, that is the 2nd HIB. This is better than Osmos no doubt. Although not the most exciting game either. Tower Defense is the idea here. What differs this from other TD games is that there is a slight aspect of RTS as well. Or at least somewhat deep upgrade system and resource gathering part. Same time the developers have forgotten the most compelling aspect of TD games. That is if there is one. What makes this (at-times) addicting is the fact that the enemies follow the same paths. If you have to play submissive, IE defend, defend and defend. At least you know where the enemies come from. But not on Revenge of the Titans. Someone thought that it might be smart to allow enemies to come from every direction. How is that fun? Was really struggling to keep on playing this. Lucky for me the game decided to screw my save file. Would have needed to start from the beginning. Not. Going. To. Happen. Life is too short to be wasted on playing freaking Tower Defense games.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock

No doubt the best Guitar Hero game. Simply because of Rush and 2112. The boss setting for this worked really well. Any game with Rush gets an approval from me. The other songs were not bad either. Although still quite a lot of annoying songs but less than in previous games. These moronic emo songs always make me turn of the volume, which makes way harder. There is just no way to "beat" the game without playing through most of the songs thanks to the daft story. Which was idiotic and the power-ups pointless. Especially when you need to play through the songs again with all the power-ups after beating the end boss. Seems that I beginning to handle the hard difficulty level now. Still some faster sweep solos give trouble, would become better if I played more I suppose. Few more Rock Band games to go and I've played all of these. Maybe by the time they've resurrect the genre. I am also kind of interested in Rocksmith, although I only got an acoustic guitar at the moment.

Cortex Command

Again from the Humble Indie Bundle 2. For a long time this game was on alpha stage and it didn't look like much was happening with it. Few months ago (September '11) the devs released a new build. Build version 26. Which is quite a difference from the one in HIB2. And apparently game is on Beta now. Owners of HIB2 can download the latest version from that same link still. I was surprised by the gameplay and how deep it is. At least on the campaign mode. I guess this would be some sort combination of Worms and Terraria. Campaign consist of scanning various location in a map/planet view. You need decide a budget and send robot team there. From there you can build base and defense structure in case enemy wants to land on same location. Building happens in pixelated environment not too different to Terraria. Which is not fair comparison since Cortex Command is way older game. Here play can mine for gold which gives player more gold to upgrade bases and buy robots. The actual battle which the game has good focus is more Worms style although this is not turn based. Game supports 4 player local co-op, which I don't see myself never playing. Art style and the environment mechanism makes this quite pretty and interesting game.

Youtube link of the week, some Finnish Doom metal from the 90's

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Backlog battle - Episode 13 - Mauritus

Quite a while since my last blog. Reason for this a two week holiday in Mauritus. That is no doubt the best holiday I've ever had. That place is a pure paradise. A proper tropical holiday with sand, palm trees, sea and you name it.. Enough to have by batteries loaded to handle the Indian people rest of the year. Had my GBA with me in there, but not once even started it. Anyway here games I played before and after this trip.

Fantasy Wars

Finally done with this. Not an easy game. Had to enable a cheat where one can heal and do an action movement on same turn. Got a some sort of OCD where I try to have perfect run. Ie. not loosing any dudes. Without that cheat it is not really possible. Game is so hard that a single miss-step can end the game. Luckily there is autosave. Wrote an review of the game and worked little bit on the wiki. Review here.

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days

This is actually pretty good. Really good looking game and the shaky-cam really works well. Although it gave me headache, but it was almost worth it. Had to go back to my review of the first game, because it had one the most annoying things were enemies could shoot you when you were behind the cover. Same still here. Also bit too much warehouse action, but the Shanghai city sequences are cool. Even when playing as a naked "bear-ly" man. And of course the game had to have a helicopter battle. The multiplayer sounds interesting, but I just didn't like the shooting too much. Enemies require way too many bullets to kill and then the shooting through the cover thing. Still, the 4-5h it took me to finish this was worth it. Don't think I payed more than fiver of this anyway. Both this and the first game are decent enough and the game would have potential with the gritty ideas. Bit more polish, especially around the shooting wouldn't hurt.

inFamous

Used pretty much one Saturday on this. Not because it was so good, just had the opportunity. Anyway I excepted this to be so much better than Prototype, but no. Brad gave this 5 stars which I can not understand. The platforming sequences are clunky as hell. Often there is no clear way where to go. Also what's with the enemies constantly shooting at you, especially on the latter part of the game. Still I think this is better than Prototype, just slightly. Game could also have used a proper means of transportation. Grinding on the rails and cables is fun, for a while. In the end very slow and annoying looking for a new route. Especially across the three islands. Played the game on evil, what else.

Beyond Good and Evil HD

The original game is from 2003 and it had a nasty bug. When entering the Slaughterhouse level it is possible that your companion is not following you as he should. Well guess what? The 2011 version of this game on modern consoles has the same bug. That is quite an achievement eh?! They re-do all the art assets in the game but leave glitch that was on every version. PC/PS2/Xbox and GC. Fucking morons. Anyway, this is my first attempt of playing the game and there is no way I can finish it now. Without starting again that is. Game is so good that it actually deserves it. Didn't mind the sneaking parts at all. Wasted about 5h, but the second run should be much faster. Will have a second try one day.

Art Style: light trax

My review

Two week break here

Battlefield 3 - Open Beta

Have this sucker pre-ordered and the open beta doesn't change that. Heard lot's of grumble on the presentation and some of the bugs, but personally didn't really experience any of this. Lot of people consider this as an early demo, which of course it is not. For those it would worked better with more open Battlefield type map. Anyway I really liked the map. The indoor metro action gets really hectic and there is a certain strategic aspect that reminds me of old R6 games. My brother who has almost become a professional BC2 player at this time had some serious worries about BF3. Mostly because at his dorm/flat doesn't have open enough internet access for Xbox and what not. And I haven't gotten around fixing it for him. He is studying to become a engineer but still I fix these for him!? Or should be. Anyway, what he has done is to get one these mobile broadband dongles. Just so that he can hook up his Xbox online. Else he could only play during the weekends. And that is something he can not have. Especially when there is a chance that I surpass him. I think he has closer to 250h on BC2 now where i just passed 100h.

Fifa 12

Right. Don't want to get a subscription on yearly EA sport games, but had to get this since I skipped the last one. Fifa 11 that is. Can not live in the UK and not be interested in football. My beloved Arsenal are playing so poorly atm so what better way to compensate than doing it myself(kind of). With improved squad and all. Played some Ultimate Team, but it is kind of pointless after certain point. To get to gold level at least. Need to grind so much of the bronze and silver games to get there. It is possible to buy gold card decks with real money, but no way I will be doing that.

Started career mode with Arsenal recently. Playing around with difficulty settings, with the new sliders this really easy. Still tuning the balance. Can probably get by on world class with assist on, but prefer playing without. Some playing on Professional to get used to it. Regret a bit that I bought it on a release week and paid full price. Need to delay Dark Souls because of this. Principle of getting 3 full priced titles in a month is daunting, even if I can afford it. Changes are I won't have time to play when they are fresh anyway. Got still un-opened Mass Effect 2 from its release data?!

The Binding of Isaac

The last previews and gameplay of this before the release wasn't really promising. Yet still I ended buying this. And glad that I did. This really nice and simple roguelike. Edmund's grotesque art-style and Danny B's chiptune really go well together. So far I've beaten mom only once. Took about 15 tries. Maybe get back to this. At least with the Halloween update if not before. Made me think of the first roguelike I ever played. Gateway to Apshai for the C64. Reading about the game now doesn't categorize it as roguelike. Although I am sure it had random dungeons and one life.

The Saboteur

My wife was away for a weekend which allowed me finally to play this. Well didn't want to play it on the small TV so I had to wait. Why you may ask? Well, my wife is German and in The Saboteur you kill a lot of Germans, a lot. Yes these are Nazis and Nazis are evil. Also this is just a videogame. Still, it would have been to strange. This gives me an idea of another blog.

Shank

Started playing this quite late in the evening and was just going to do few levels. Ended up finishing it one sitting. Really enjoyed it and the complaints about the game being repetitive is something I would not agree with. Nice variation with the weapons and bosses. Only the last boss giving bit more trouble. Thanks to its irregular patterns. So maybe slightly easy/short. Same time i am not interested in the Hard Mode because there are no checkpoints. Thought that the normal level just had decent amount of those.

The Darkness

Oh my, not my usual genre. Horror that is. Not that there is much horror here. Missed this originally because Didn't know that Mike Patton was here when this was released. News of his return on sequel made go back to the first game. Length was just enough for me to finish this before arrival of GOTY. Picked easy difficulty because was kind of expecting a janky experience. Also tend to be bit sissy on the horror stuff. Anyway, not a bad game. The shooting which seems to get most critique wasn't the problem for me. The fact that the progress in "open-world" is so poorly explained made me almost quit the game few times. A bit more subtle map/checkpointing would have helped. One good example was one sidequest where I had to go a room 216 and kill some mobster or something. If the game told me about which building I was supposed to go when getting the quest I missed it. The quest on inventory literally says room 216, but not in what building or street. WTG! Still finished the game and thought it was decent enough. The Dark Void kind of overpowered and Patton's voice bit too dark/distorted. Promising what I would say.

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Backlog battle - Episode 12 - Confessions of an Compulsive Gamer

Sometimes I wonder why I even keep a backlog and play these old games. Or write these blogs for that matter. No one cares in the end. Then again these are for my own purpose reminding me of where I actually used my time. Which recently has been lot on my mind, where my time is going. Thanks to some mediocre and simply boring games. Have this compulsion that I have to finish a game before I can move on. Or try damn hard at least. Same as watching the credits in a movie I need to see in a game.

There was a shoddy article at CNN recently where they looked at Raptr stats of RDR. And they discovered that only 10% had finished the game. How accurate that is, that is something else, but for one. It can still get an indication. I've completed that particular game twice, which is a rare treat. RDR certainly get bit repetitive in the end, but it has somewhat great story and it irks me that so many people don't have patience to see how it ended. My wife often comments why I do keep on playing a game if I don't enjoy it fully. Little bit of swearing doesn't mean it is all bad!? I just need to see the credits. And the game might improve.

Anyway ,with this blog I am trying to break out of that mold a wee bit. My time is valuable as it is already. And we don't even have kids, yet. Recently I rejuvenated my Backloggery account and will be posting my updates there more often. So if you got an backloggery add me as a friend. Still probably keep on writing these blogs now and then though. With that, here are games I've played recently..

 

Gravity Bone

Now this is awesome. A short espionage story done on a early Quake engine. Reminded me of No One Lives Forever. Gravity Bone is free to download and doesn't require any install. And it will probably run on your toaster. And that is said in the kindest way possible. It is not apparent all that the engine is so old. The art style is very unique and fits perfectly the idea. The mood on this really well done as well. Game can be completed in 15mins. Only complaint is that it is too short! Incase you haven't played this before I would strongly recommend doing so.

Penumbra Overture

Last game from the first Humble Bundle that I haven't still played. Scary game, especially with headphones and dark room. Game has nice pacing and the the physics puzzles are nice and simple. The visuals, even for older game like this work really nicely. Especially with the panic/night vision thingie. I really should play more horror games. Maybe when that Resident Evil/Silent Hill HD bundles come out I'll start with one of those. Only complaint I would have with Requiem is "that" certain spider tunnel sequence. Took a bit too long to get out of there. If you played the game you know the scene. They really screwed up the quick saving here. Bunnyhopping in the end seemed to help. I've got Amnesia already, but should probably get Black Plague next and finish this story.

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

Ubisoft have really struck gold with Assassin's Creed franchise no denying that. Not sure if this is something to mention since gaming books have a certain reputation. Anyway, I have already read the book for Brotherhood(long flight) before starting the game so I was familiar with the story. Interesting with the book was that it was completely about Ezio, not a single word about the modern day stuff. Also it had more context naturally and more depth with events around Caterina and all. Also the ending is way more detailed and makes sense. Not the sci-fi stuff, well that is not fair. There is the apple, just not any of the modern bs. The game goes in to same category as Just Cause 2 and maybe RDR for me. It is just a very fun game(s). The worlds are so large and there is always something to come back to after beating the story. Couple of annoyances with this game I got as well. Ezio relies way too much on static aids for his assassin action. Good example is the machine gun mission. You need to infiltrate a fort and retrieve some blueprints. You can not be detected or else mission fails. To get the better score/full sync on the mission you need to pass it through without killing anyone. Do-able and not too hard just very time consuming. Ezio is such a bad ass that he doesn't do any cover mechanism other than hides in hay-stacks and wells? Very odd. Especially in the part where you destroy the prints. You are basically dancing around a soldier and a pile of boxes. Feels kind of retarded in game so complex. Similar awkward you see me/you see me not happens couple of times later as well. Game kind of moving towards Hitman series with the freedom, but not quite there yet. Other complaint would be the same as in GTA games. When restarting a mission how come your ammunition count doesn't get reset? Despite these, this game is awesome. Very much looking forward seeing how Cesc's... i mean Ezio's adventure's will end.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

 F you MotorsStorm

Still some on and off sessions with this. Got to about 75% of the career on this. To be able to continue with the levels you need to have 1st place on pretty every track. Sorry, not happening. Had it only been the cheating AI, unfair mechanism, or how the levels are designed that area against you, but no. Everything here is against you. In one race where I had the slow screen-covering monster truck against significantly faster buggy's and rally cars. The speed difference doesn't pay such a big role most times because of the rubberband mechanism. As usual was battling for the third spot on a wide curve where a small rally car managed to tackle my monster truck out of the cliff. This was a wide road and it could overtaken me easily being faster and all. Instead this car half the size of the monster truck's pushed the bigger car out of the cliff. Would have never worked had the roles been reversed. What a cheating and unfair game! As I said on the previous blog, don't think that this acceptable since the first game had exactly the same faults. I must be a minority here since they seem to churn out these games still. For me, I am done with MotorStorm for good now. 

Comic Jumper

So, had to experience this myself. And it is as repetitive as everyone says it is. If there only would be a way to play this game by listening through all the dialog and having short summary of the action sequences. Because the dialog is properly funny. Finished the story and glad about that. Normally I would try and beat my friends scores, since there are quite a few spots where Tordah (who is the only that I know who has played this) has better score than I have. Just can't be bothered with this anymore. So much wasted potential. Also seeing how I didn't fully enjoy Mr Splosion man in the end. And now this, I doubt I want to play Ms Splosion man, ever. Or another game from Twisted Pixel. Their games always tend to become a chore.

Aztaka

My review here. In short, not good.

Bastion

Good game, but I wouldn't quite call this GOTY though. Music and the narration is great as is the weapon combination system. Which is surprisingly deep. I can't stop and not think of Braid after playing this. Both very artistic and unique. Even tad pretentious. Yes, flame on. Also the gameplay is not the most exciting here. Still enjoyed pretty much every minute of it, but have really no desire for second run. I have not played too many 2011 titles so this will be probably be on my list end of the year.

Pikmin

 Kill kill kill!

Gamecube is a strange platform for me. Remember getting the console for birthday, but barely played it. Finished Windwaker and Starfox Adventures while back, but that's about it. Anyway, have my study sorted and my old CRT hooked up now. So played through Pikmin on original hardware and 14" CRT telly. And it was great. Idea and the gameplay are fun and original. Had some trouble with the controls to begin with, but once that was OK had absolutely no problems with the game. Understand now why people are asking for a new Pikmin. Wife saw me playing this and asked if it was a children's game. Trying to explain her the RTS mechanism didn't get far. This was actually one of the things that put me off while back. The visuals that is. Yes, I was an adult back when this was released already. Anyway very glad that I went back for this and played this. The 14" TV, the full blown SD experience was brilliant. Well except for one thing. Our cat likes to sleep on my lap while I do my gaming. Have just a office chair in the study. It is comfy, but not comfy enough for two. Need to look into getting into that and sequel too.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising

From Pikmin to Operation Flashpoint. Quite a difference. Anyway, hardly played the first game, but keep getting reminded of this by my closest boss who is kind of FPS/shooter-nut. Got this game for peanuts on Ebay while back, the Xbox 360 version that is. And after all the time I've used on Bad Company 2 it was quite a learning curve. Man, this game is hard compared to BC2. Challenge is always refreshing. I've got couple of serious problem with this game. It makes you wait, constantly. You end up running and running between locations which is “realistic”. Just very boring. Everything in the game takes time. Changing your gun to a RPG takes about 15 seconds. Getting out heal pack playing the small mini game takes the same if not even more. Your duder can not jump, but he can go over obstacles. Taking his time. To get around the endless running you can always use an vehicle. Your 3 man squad will generally/are supposed to follow your actions. Meaning when take that jeep you have literally wait for them. Games like GTA and Mafia manage to do the same without making you wait and wait. Add here the long loadtime you end up thinking why are you wasting your precious time with something like this. Had the AI been smart this would have been bearable, but no. The enemy behaves relatively realistically. When getting shot they will duck. They will also try to heal their downed teammates and seek for cover. Your own team mates on the hand have not been so lucky with the intelligence distribution. As mentioned they are monkeying your actions. When they feel like it. On a certain stealth mission I was doing good progress on approaching an enemy location only to have the alarm triggered by my team mates who were running behind me, even though I was crawling and had ordered the team to stand down. Other fine example of this games moronic behavior is spotting. Since you are in charge of the team it is up to you point the team to correct direction. Their shooting efforts leaving lot to be desired for, hardly ever getting a kill. Or even shooting at the correct target for that matter. Here you can point to an enemy and order them to engage. Problem here is that you need to be very accurate with the aiming and pointing out to an tiny head popping up in several hundreds of meter. If you happen to miss this you end up sending the team there. The aiming and engaging being so clunky and slow always end you taking the shot yourself. Knowing your team would use 5min on it anyway. In the end it is almost easier to leave the team behind, because shepherding them is too time consuming and in-effective. Only time when you need them is when facing higher number of soldiers. The squat can be ordered around with number of different commands and tactics. This gives a nice sense of depth, but using this interface is just clunky and slow. Idea is nice to have more control on your team, such a shame that they are so useless. After about half way through I had to stop playing this. My time is too valuable for waiting some moronic AI in an mediocre FPS.

Fantasy Wars

From flora RTS and tactical FPS I jumped into a Russian made Fantasy strategy-RPG. Really enjoyable experience and challenging for sure. There is quite difficulty spike on the 6 mission, but I am determinated to finish this. Only complaint so far would be the voice-acting which is slightly awkward. Still playing this, might pen a review later on.

Six Gun Saga

RPS made me do it. This is a strange one, card based western game. Game has quite a learning curve, but once get it it is rather addicting. Would be nice if the game had multiplayer. Been only playing the demo and would want to get the full version but dishing out $15 for a yet another game that is not available on Steam or GOG is not tempting. Hard enough to keep the track of all the indie games as it is.

Rock of Ages

Usually games with rolling stuff tend to get annoying because of the randomness. Here it is not a problem because the basic idea is so simple. Just racing through well designed and pretty levels. The tower defense aspect, which more of you building stuff to hinder the opponents progression is addicting although in the end it doesn't play big role. Still, off those my favorite thing is the big elephants, those are just so random and cause lot of grief for the enemy. If placed well that is. One of the few 2011 games that I've played when these have been new still. Tried some online multiplayer but had some strange issues with the controller not responding. Although that might have been batteries running out. Anyway this a great game and will be interesting to see what kind of DLC they can do. This made also download the demo of Zeno Clash. Didn't know these guys were from Chile.

Dark

Had just a brief encounter with this. Nice minimalist platformer ala Limbo. This having the cheapest XBLIG pricing so had to of course purchase it. I think I've almost finished it, but still not sure what's going on.


Mute Crimson

Another great XBLIG title. Super Meat Boy would be closest relation. The visuals might look simpler, but the this is definitely not a simple or an easy game.Another 80MS title which I would highly recommend.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The recent go-to-games have been:

Bad Company 2

What else. Looking really forward to the BF3. Slightly gutted that I "need" to get the Xbox version. On BC2 I've gotten my brother to play more of the Vietnam maps now. He also had some problems with logging in to EA servers from his Xbox. This seems to be quite a common thing for all platforms. And surprisingly there isn't a fix from EA's end. Doing some port forwarding on his router solved this. We were comparing our stats and he has kind of gone past me on the hours spend. I am at ~100h where he had 204h. Uh? No question what he used his summer on.

Desktop Dungeons

Been playing this for on and off for months, but haven't mentioned it here before. Perfect game for bite sized gaming. Was playing the v0.15 version for a long time when I realized there was a newer version already v0.21. Still free. Quite big difference here. On earlier version you could start a game that you could not beat with chosen character combo. This is more of an puzzle than dungeon crawler. The paid version has nice features, but don't really care for the visuals. Also bit the same as Six Gun Saga, don;t really need yet another indie game outside the usual platforms. When this gets full release it will most likely be on Steam.

 

Random Youtube clip of the month..

Another comment about my age. I've noticed that when getting older I seem to have mellowed down a little bit. Can't say that word like hate belongs to my vocabulary anymore. Even tomatoes which used to be my nemesis has started to be tasteful. There is still one thing that I hate. With a fucking passion. AUTOTUNE. Luckily I am not exposed to this too much. Occasional glimpse is enough to give me an headache though. The so called "artists" using autotune should be gathered and taken behind the shed and shot. Ignorance is bliss, usually, but when this attacks my music I can not do anything else than vent.

So there is this band called Pain. They are Swedish electronic/metal hybrid something. Comes from mind of Peter Tägtgren who is a known heavy metal producer and the guy behind band called Hypocrisy. Who play melodic death metal. I like Hypocrisy and kind of like Pain. They are perfect gym music. At least the earlier albums. Pain released a new album in June called You Only Live Twice. And it has some decent some songs, but there is, you guessed it. AUTO-FUCKING-TUNE. On their recent albums they gone more and more towards the mainstream more. And now with such strong autotune presence it is simply too much. I had to give that CD away. Sorry Peter, you went too far. So here is a goodie from 2nd Pain album. When this shit still sounded fresh. Back in 1999 at least.   

  

TLTR

Kalmis will not buy another Motorstorm, Twisted Pixel game ever again. Or a Pain album for that matter. Oh and OP: Dragon Rising is shit. Rock of Ages is awesome. And all autotune artists should be shot.

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Backlog battle - Episode 11 - Swear word

New week(s) and new toys. Actually it is less toys for me. Been getting rid of some of my consoles. Sold my older Nintendo consoles. Just GB/A,GC,DS and Wii left. Was contemplating quite long if I keep the SNES or not. Especially since I had quite a good selection of games for it. Zero-FX, Legend of Zelda Link's Awakening, Lost Vikings and some others. And also because I have yet played this Links Awakening through yet. There is a GBA version of it out which I prefer.

Not that there is an audience/interest, but should have a banner for my humble blog next week. As usual apologies for the spelling and extra apologies goes for the nasty language. Not sure where that is coming from. On with the recent games:

Final Fantasy V

 White Mage / Black Mage

Finally done! I used closer to 50 hours on this. And must say this is my favourite of Final Fantasy now, but I've only played the first five games so far. I know that the IV is big favourite amongst FF fans, but I didn't like it too much. Probably because I played the DS version. The 16-bit style graphics on GBA work so much better and has much more charm. Even if the music is not as good or the screen is smaller. Back to V, for a good part of the first half the story was very deflating, but it picked up little more after the "big reveals" about half way through. My 50h on this game cover's pretty much everything/side quest/class/summon/ Only missed few Blue Magic spells. Also good indication how well I was prepared on the final boss was that he didn't touch me even, once. Next one in the series will be FF6, got the GBA copy of this already. Won't be starting this straight away though.

Lara Croft and the Long Title

Oh dear, this was odd. My brother was travelling for few weeks, so had to finish this on my own. Needless to say, it is not as fun solo. After the first few hours I would have said that this is an excellent game. After finishing the game I would say that this is just OK. This is because of the strange issues I(we) came across. Earlier when playing the co-op we got stuck for 5 minutes because of a red skull. Went through an route that we were not supposed to. Odd the level would even allow this. Later on, when playing solo on the last level before the boss. I entered a closed area called: The Arena. There was a huge shield mob, fire golem and one other big enemy. Problem was that I had no ammo, could throw the puny spear at them. Which is no good against the big mobs. There is a way to kill the enemies by leading them to these lava rock spots, but that was extremely time consuming. And kind of hard. Game auto-saves so often that I had no change to go back. Would have needed to restart level, which no-one likes of course. Ended up cranking the difficulty to easy to get past this. Such a shame because that literally tarnished my experience. This game has lot's of promise, but falls short. Co-op is definitely the way for this. Need to see if we go back to this and play it through.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift

 And then you crash

Haven't played a PS3 game in a while and wanted play some racing game. So and ideal candidate?! This is one good looking racing game and at times it is fun. But mostly, freaking chore. The driving is just too chaotic and unfair. Shame really, but I can only play this in small dozes. My wife doesn't speak Finnish, but she knows enough swear words to calls this Vittu-game (not going to translate vittu, but it something not so nice) since I tend to swear a bit when playing this. Don't have really desire to play the Apocalypse game anymore. The first MotorStorm was just about enough with the silliness. Pacific Rift is just as unfair and dumb as the first game. Which is major disappointment. They had an opportunity to make this game more fun. Or dare I say: easy. What really bugs me here is that, because the janky physics and the cheating AI unfair why does the game insist on showing the crashes in such detail and slow speed. So infuriating! The typical scenario here is when you had two perfect laps and loose your first spot on the last turn when crashing to a stone or landing a jump differently. BS. Must admit that the PSP version of these MotorStorm games is my favourite still.

Lost in Shadow

Right, this is interesting. Lost in Shadow the moody Wii exclusive silhouette platformer. Game starts off really well and all and all looks pretty good. It has a nice somber-like feeling over it and a suiting low-key soundtrack. Can't talk about this game without comparing it to Limbo of course. Biggest difference is that Limbo was just a suitable short, maybe even too short. Lost in Shadow in other hand is ten times longer game. Or at least feels like that. Actually Lost in Shadow can be beaten in about ~15hours. Anyone who has seen the trailer or the QL know what's going on. The shadow boy needs to climb the tower to get his body back. And I've done that now. Kind of. I've climbed to the top of the tower, which is about 54 floors/levels. It started to feel like a bore after 20 floors already. Puzzles and battles are mostly the same. Would compare this game as album of some monotonous sludge doom, which I normally like. But try to listen that for 10h or just one song?! At the top of the tower there is nice surprise waiting. From your descent you got one shard, but you need 5 more. So back to the previous levels! Fuckers. Yes, backtracking the worst possible way. So I am quitting here. I got to the top and that's it, clock says ~10h and ~60% of the game done. After some reading it seems that there is couple of further levels and a boss battle which I missed. Or won't miss. Youtube is savior for such. Really a shame because the game is promising and puzzle platformers are always interesting.

 
NHL10 & Bad Company 2

Some multiplayer action with my brother   

Spiral Knights

Tried couple of times, but just can't get into this. On one of the first groups I got into had some 8-year old sounding kid playing with the mic on. That made me feel like a darn perv so it put me off straight away. This probably ideal game for younger audience, too simple for me.

 
indieeeeeeeee....

Proun

 Adding a large image since this is so stylish

A strange indie racer that is pay what you want funded. Works well on my fucktard netbook which was a surprise this being such a visual game. Very simple and very indie. There is not much to this other than steering the ball left and right. Kind of like modern/artsy version of Trailblazer.

Epic Dungeon

Been filling the wiki and wrote and an review for it. In my opinion this is the best Xbox Live Arcade Indie Game.

Platformance Temple Death

Right, another good XBLI game. Sequel of some sort to the Platformance Cast of Pain. This is more polished than the first game. Magiko (the devs) who also have released two other (shit) XBLI games, released a patch for Temple Death recently. Which actually allows player to finish the game. Ok, maybe it was not so harsh, but there was literally one part I could not get past. Strange/random timing was required. After the patch I am able to do it every time on first try. Oh right, might as well write about the game as well. Platformance Temple Death is single screen platformer with 8-bit graphics. Lot is borrowed from Super Meat Boy with it's brutal difficulty, endless life's and 8-bit visuals. Even on the easiest difficulty the game is hard, which is written as normal difficulty. The next level is Hard which as the name implies hard, very hard. The cool thing here is that the harder difficulties have the same game and level design, just added spikes, fire and what not. I couldn't even get past the third obstacle on the hard difficulty. Nightmare, well it speaks for itself. Game is made longer than the 1st game by having you backtrack the whole level with the damsel, which is not as bad as you think. Pretty decent game for 80ms that I would recommend this

Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES

 You are dead!

A yet another horrible difficulty XBLIG game and not too different from the game above. Bought three now (this + both Platoformance games) difficult XBLIG games now. Only 80MS pop though. The old-school gameplay is awesome as are the pixelated visuals and chiptune music. But damn, this is freaking hard. Even harder than Temple Death. The concept/term masocore is perfect fit. You got 1000 lives travel throught bunch of excruciating platform levels. Game lends lot from Rick Dangerous, that Indiana Jones look-a-like cave treasure hunter from the early 90's. You need to travel through treacherous caves to get hold of an artifact. This feels even harder than Super Meat Boy, if that is even possible.

Tale of Tales

Got the Tale of Tales bundle while back when it was PWYW. Breezed through all of these in couple of evenings.

The Graveyard

The bizarre grandmother goes graveyard simulator. Interesting. And I didn't know it had two endings.

Fatale

Way more game that then The Graveyard, but same time really revealing that these guys really don't know much about gameplay. Sure blowing off the candles is neat mechanism, but couple had been enough. Not 20 or whatever the number is. I still did all of those all, with moderate swearing.

The Path

This is no doubt longest of these three and most videogame-like. Still not a game I want to play ever again. The Path has a rather nice atmosphere, but the gameplay leaves lot to be desired for. Game is a third person exploration in Little Red Riding Hood setting. With wonky camera/controls and the amount of repetition this has. It is easy to admit that this is not fun.. The problem I have with all these three is the same I had with Braid. These might be different and artistic games, but that doesn't make these good videogames. Waste of money to be honest.

Cat and the Coup

Even more of the same. This might be harsh thing to say, but Cat and the Coup is not as pretentions as the Tale of Tales games, thanks to the nonexistent price tag and game being more factual. This feels more like an indie showcase where the above are pure art games. This one is great little informative adventure game. Mix that strange artsy gameplay with more madness from Samorost and you got Cat and the Coup. Available free on Steam, recommend checking this out. 

Random Youtube video of the week

.I understand that these aren't weekly, but it just rhymes better.Unseen from latest The Haunted album. You can say what you want about this album, but it sure has some catchy songs. Such as this title track. It is no DOA material, but still OK. And something my wife can handle. She is saying I am turning soft because I am listening to Rush and The Haunted pop-record.    

  

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Backlog battle - Episode 10 - House Move

We just recently moved house. From one bedroom flat to a two bedroom flat. Thanks to the fuckup with my ISP on this move I was without internet for few weeks. Virgin Media lost a customer and they didn't even notice. Morons. Was able to get online with neighbours Wifi and 3G.

The biggest change in the new flat is of course the extra room. Meaning I get to have my retro room. Or a study as she calls it. It still needs some work, but I'll get to finally use/display all my retro consoles. Also will be getting rid of some of these since I got better overview which I have/use/want. NES was first to go. Always been a Sega man. Anyway, enough rambling. On with the recent games I've played. Good share of indie games again.

Final Fantasy V

Right, back on track with this. Playing through the GBA version. They've expanded the job system significantly from the 4th game which adds even more depth. Got to the second world just few hours back. Been doing some grinding so the clock says that I've got 20h spend on this. Need to finish this before I can start anything new.

Metro 2033

Managed to finish this during one weekend. At one point had to put the difficulty down to easy which might have made this shorter. Hate when I have to put the difficulty to easy, but there were couple of really frustrating parts. The air filter and ammunition gathering part makes the game really interesting. I didn't have lot's of trouble with these, but few times almost got screwed being stuck on outside level and no air filter. Can see how this could get annoying or even become a show-stopper. Or maybe they've hidden enough of filters just to get by, which is kind of what I experienced. Playing most of the game through the gas mask really sets a mood perfectly. Also having the voices in the original language makes this stand out from the average FPS's. I checked Dave's review after finishing the game and must say I agree with the complaints he had with this. The weapons really could have used more kick. As mentioned I didn't have problem with ammo, other than since it was used as currency as well I never had any money (to spare). Still a nice idea and further conveys the apocalyptic world. Had enough shotgun shells for most of time but strangely this was not the strongest weapon. Although didn't realize this before I got the sub-machine gun with a silencer near near end of the game. It killed the Librarians with few headshots. Also must have done something wrong since I did not manage to do a single stealth kill. This is not a perfect game, but still better than the average shooter of the day. Also after more though there is actually something funny going on with story as well. The end when there is a suddenly something that can save everything. At least the final descent is epic. Shame that the end battle not and it doesn't make sense. It was never fully explained what was the deal with those dreams. Got some similar vibes to the last chapter of Ender's Game, which I just recently (for the first time) finished.

Red Dead Redemption

Having not played RDR through with Xbox yet decided to go back for this great game. And get those achievements of course. For some reason I bought this for PS3 when it came out. Wanted to do some multiplayer gaming back then I suppose. Things have changed since that and I've got years Xbox live subscribtion now. And also brother is on XBLA so there is no question which is my main console. I must admit i experienced more bugs on the Xbox version, even though the game has been patched multiple times since that. Need to also admit that I am really enjoying the ambient challenges, again. The two new additional outfits are somewhat challenging. Anyway Red Dead Redemption is very good game. The story doesn't move me anymore but the sheer world and hunting/goofing around is amazing.

RDR Undead Nightmares

Got this from a sale while back and blasted through it in few days. It is good value for the money, but I didn't really like it. Zombies are cheap fun and the ammunition collection is bit of an bore. Interestingly played throught both of these such so that I could do some more of the ambient quests, but have not touched either since finishing them.

Bad Company 2

Few first games after almost two months break were brutal. Will be probably playing this on/off until BF3 is out.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Wanted to start this for a long time but I know how good the co-op is so waited for my brother to join. In the end I ended up gifting MS points for him so that we can play together. And damn, this is really awesome. Especially on co-op. The puzzles are brilliantly done always requiring some coopering and planning. Awesome stuff. We should be done with this soon. Let's see if he is into playing it through on hard or getting more cheevos.

Galcon Fusion

Some game from earlier Steam Indie bundle. The Steam Summer Sale made me install it and get the achievement. Before writing it off and never playing it again I thought I used bit more time on this. Purpose of the game is to conquer various number of planets. This is done by directing your troops/ships from one planet to another. Number of troops regenerate based on the planet size. The larger the planet the faster the regeneration is. Troops are moved by dragging lines between planets. And that's the game in nutshell, or at least 90% of it. There are multiple modes which all follow the same formula where troops are moved between the planets. Up to six? players can be play these modes online as well. As with most indie multiplayer games there isn't so much people playing outside campaigns/sales. I wouldn't necessary say that this is a shame because I don't think that Galcon Fusion is very good game. Gameplay is very simple, even too simple. There are more complex Flash games out there than this. If you want to play good/competetive/challenging indie multiplayer try Altitude.

Nimbus

Another game from Steam Summer Sale bonanza. Got "the" achievement for this as well but wanted to use more time on this as well. Well, play the game to completion that is. Nimbus works perfectly with Xbox 360 controller which made this so much better. This game is really hard to categorize since the gameplay is pretty unique. Only game that I can think to compare this with would be the excellent GripShift, a game which not many have played. Unfortunately. Both of these games can be called well puzzle racer games. Which is a strange combination to begin with. GripShift is of course 3D and has got even more things going (platforming to mention one). Nimbus is perfectly example of indie game with the unique idea. Game is split into 50+ levels where goal is simple to navigate the ship player is controlling to a goal. Gravity plays big role here since the ship doesn't actually have a trust. Difficulty growing little by little where the first level are simple vertical levels where player just need to navigate downwards. Different kind of pads and keys are required to be unlocked to progress within later levels. Gravity starts to player bigger role about half way through the game when player needs to turn this around. Couple of tad frustrating levels but all and all I enjoyed this a lot. Only complaint here I would have is the boss fight in the end which seemed absolutely pointless.

Knytt Stories - Within a Deep Forest

Beeing from a Nordic country moving house involves usually trip or two to Ikea. For many (nordic ppl) Ikea is more of an institution, not just furniture outlet. They are known for their cheap, stylish and functional furniture, but also promoting the Nordic design and food culture. These two game are from a Swedish indie developer and might as well be promoted by Ikea. And not necessary in good sense, such as with Ikea. These just don't last. Also if you have to visit there often, such as I had to when refurbishing our previous flat and getting kitchen from them. You will notice that while the design is nice and Nordic looking it is mostly the same. Same as with these two games. The levels across these two games and stories are very alike. Within a Deep Forest the latter game of these two is clearly to more polished, also less fun. Comparing to Knytt Stories which is platformer here you are controlling a ball through the platform environment. Except for the awesome Wizball I can not ever remember playing a ball and though it was fun. OK maybe in some puzzle games, but generally the bouncing is too random and just not fun. Both of these are freeware and as with my realization about Ikea. It is sometimes better to opt-in for the more expensive model. Thinking of something very difficult and retro looking from last years top 10. Yeah I know it is not fair to compare these, but still I'd rather play SMB than these two again.

Another observation about Ikea. They have stopped to sell the Swedish beer's there. Yeah I know the Swedish beer isn't really best you can get. Pripps. Mentioning this because wife is more leniant for me buying beer from Ikea than Tesco.

Random Youtube song of the week/month/blog is more Rush. Yes, Rush again. Been listening to them pretty much night and day for several weeks now. Within last week I've bought 4 Rush albums and one their t-shirts. This is the first (of two) concept songs from their third album Caress of Steel. Just listen to tha ending the amazing guitar riff about half way through.

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Backlog battle - Episode 9 - The one where Kalmis goes to India

More than a month since my last backlog blog. Didn't get to do most game since most of this month I spent in India. The trip was pure business and simply didn't have time for gaming. Worked most of time, but did get to sample a decent variation of Indian cuisines. Stayed in Mumbai which is a huge city with massive contrast between the poor and the rich. Had to pass a slum neighborhood every day on my way to work. Around the corner the huge shopping malls look exactly like the ones in the UK or other European countries I've been into. One thing I didn't know or expect was the smell. Warm weather doesn't make this better of course. You get used to it after a while, but no video or picture does justice before you experienced the smell. Especially in a town like Mumbai where the space is so limited. On vidjagames business, didn't get to buy any games either, well other than on Steam/GOG and various Indie games bought online. Did get to see how videogame market there is still though. In short, it is no different to the UK. They had all the latest games. Such as La Noire, Infamous 2 and Duke Nukem Forever, which were current in June. The prices are pretty decent as well. New games in stores go for £20-30 which is cheaper than in te UK. The older games were bit more what you can get these for on Play.com/Amazon. They didn't seem to have lot of used game market. They got the average DS/PSP/Wii/PSP/PC and Xbox 360 games of course. Interestingly they had still active market for PS2 consoles and games. You can still buy a new PS2 console there. Was toying with the idea of buying a new one, but had already enough luggage. Most of the stores selling the games (except for the games only stores) had all these mixes up. The recent Xbox 360/PS3 titles mixed with some old PS2 games and what not. Will be going back to southern Asia in few months time. A honeymoon (of some sort) in Mauritus.

Anyway, some words about my gaming last month as well....

Tyrian 2000

Loaded my PC with some GOG games before heading there. Wanted to started from the top, the first game I got from GOG. A freebie. Never played it back when it was released. For what it's worth it still a attractive SHMUP game with its RPG mechanism. The ship has health and armor, but the game is still pretty hard. Granted I don't normally play SHMUPS.

Final Fantasy 5

Started this (the GBA version), but didn't really get too far. Got only to the third or fourth boss. The one that uses fire attacks &stuff. Got my ass handed to even though I am bit over-leveled. Need to tune the jobs and abilities and try again, soon.

AC Brotherhood book

This actually my first real videogame book. Got this as Christmas present last year. Pretty decent, but the "gamey" parts shines through. Haven't still played the actual game but really looking forward to now. Even though I know the story now. Had some rupees to spend on the way back and bought the book based on the 2nd game. Didn't realize this before getting home and checking it out. Pointless since I've played the game(AC2) already. Local charity shop gets yet another gift from me. Ordered the Ass Bro game, but Play.com have screwed up the order. For first time in 10years or so! Need to give them another call.

On the weekend when I came back we had to move house. Got a extra bedroom now and better view and whatnot. Still waiting for internet to get sorted. Wife had to arrange it so it wasn't ready when we moved. Anyway been playing only these two so far...

Prototype

Was slightly dreading come back to this, but it wasn't so bad in the end. Not really a good game, but there were glimpses of brilliant. Controls and the visuals bit on the funky side. Game just looks very grey and red, not intentional I'd assume. Gameplay tends to get tedious with the endless amount of enemies and chaotic levels. Luckily this is not a long game. So, I finished the story now. Did hardly any side-missions and ended up skipping most of the cut-scenes.

Runespell: Overture

I mostly play old games as you may have noticed. Occasionally I do play new games as well (Rockstar/Rockstead). This is completely different though. A beta of an yet to be released indie game. Signed to their newsletter way back and got an invitation to this closed beta. Anyway, Runespell: Overture is a RPG themed poker game. Very similar to Puzzle Quest except that instead of match-3 there is card game mechanism underneath. Game has heavy fantasy theme with stylish art style an epic fantasy soundtrack. The beta seemed tad easy and short, more like an demo not beta. At least the runs smoothly, even on my netbook. So far really enjoyed this and will be getting this on day one most likely. Will be available on Steam 20.07 for less than a tenner £$€. Story takes about 10-12h according to the devs. What makes this interesting that you get to think for different tactics and if you are good(or decent) poker player it will help. At least there is challenge here. Yes Telltale Poker Night, I am looking at you.

Random Youtube video as usual: A typical Maiden ballad from their last album. Silly lyrics and all over very tame song. Just wanted to post this since this is my only outlet to internets and all. Maiden totally ripped chorus of Highwayman here. Not sure if that is good thing that I know (can hear) this.

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Backlog battle - Episode 8 - Linux and India and something about

....and something about L.A. Noire

 Was planning to make lengthy rant about gaming on a Linux machine since I recently got a new work laptop and picked RHEL as the OS for it. My company's policy has recently changed a bit and we can't run dual-boot any more. Meaning “my” strongest PC with the RHEL is rubbish on gaming. Anyway will return to this later on. Not sure how much I get to follow or be involved with Giantbomb for this month since I am flying to Mumbai this weekend. Will be packing my trusty GBA and DS with me and plan is to dust of some RPG's. It is going to be monsoon and all. Before that, here is list of games I've played recently. As usual apologies missing articles and spelling

L.A. Noire

Yes a new game for me, for a change. Can't say no to a Rockstar game. Anyway, just finished this and bought the Rockstar Pass for the extra content. Will be continuing with DLC cases when I come back. And maybe go for an S-Rank. Then again probably have said this for every game I enjoyed a lot. My take on the game is no different to majority. Simply, this one very good game. Probably the most interesting story and best character build-up in a long time. Still, by no means perfect game. Some open world jank and unfortunate checkpoints placement where a minor annoyance for me. Also there are bit of similar clue logic issues that Phoenix Wright games have where it is really hard to determine what is the correct clue, especially if there are multiple choices that match. Anyway haven't played many 2011 games and this will no doubt be high on the GOTY list. Really looking forward to see how the characters evolve in form of DLCs or sequels

Bad Company 2

Finished the single-player campaign in one sitting (~6h) few weeks back. It was good, maybe not as good as the first one. Been playing lot of multi-player still. Especially on the weekends when my brother is available. This is his first console FPS and he has been doing really well. Most times even better than I am. What bugs him is that I have

higher score/per min figure. I had already a full day in multi-player when he started. He has now passed 100h where I am just past 80h. I assume this will be my go-to-multi-player until BF3 comes out.   

Forza Motorsport 3 

 Norwegians would call this Harry

Went back to Forza because of a car pack that I bought from a recent sale. The one with El Camino, Sierra Cosworth and Saab 99 Turbo. I really like to drive with not the most ordinary cars and tune them out. Like my pimped El Camino. It couldn't quite keep up with A-class cars but it was still fun. Getting closer to level 45 now and end of season 5. Still one dreadful season to go and quite many gold medals to acquire. This is really solid racing game like I wrote in my review. It is just

so freaking boring with these R-class cars. Just end up using Hired Driver on those. Quite a fun experience when you need to use to AI to finish up the races. The more I play this the more I miss PGR games. Those had at least goal and purpose.


Numen: Contest of Heroes

This actually pretty decent. I think I paid £2 for this. Game is action RPG in a ancient Greek setting. Wrote a review here.


Sonic 4 Episode 1

I guess you could call me a Sonic fan boy. Or Sega fan boy rather. Anyway purchased this on the recent XBLA sales. Have already played it on Wiiware and did a review while back. I actually really like this game. Sure Sonic handles differently and the music is strange but it is one good looking Sonic game. Especially on HD, which is why bought it again. Maybe go back and do the emeralds...?

Guitar Hero 5

Got this strange obsession to get hold off all these plastic guitar games and play them through. And this is no doubt the worst I've played so far. Even worse than RB: Beatles or GH: Van Halen. Whoever idiot that decided to put Coldplay in here should be shot. That has nothing to do with rock music. Or music for that matter. Sorry I just can handle that whining at all. OK fair enough they were dishing these games out so often that couldn't contain to rock genre any more. Or music. The UI and the party play mechanism are surely updated here, but I always rate these based on how I enjoy the track list. And this is utterly shit, except for few odd songs. Not even the two last (excellent) prog songs could save this.

Prototype

 Game no one played: Urban Chaos

Tjaah. Reminds me slightly of DC Universe Online and Urban Chaos. The latter was one the first open world games where player could freely roam on top of buildings

as well. On few instances Prototype had a same sense of thread where the monster would follow you no matter how high you climbed. Which is kind of awesome. Urban Chaos was one great game, which not many played. Other similarities where the messed up end. Kind of similar to Protype tentacle action. Remembering Urban Chaos made me just Ebay the PS2 sequel, which I've never played. It Is developed by Rocksteady \m/.

Haven't played Infamous yet which was of course released same time as this, but that game just looks so much better. This is just so generic and absolutely mindless killing with somewhat awkward controls. Especially when running on the walls. After getting L.A. Noire lost completely interest in this, but still want to finish this. 

Puzzle Agent

Really nice and cute little puzzle adventure game. Charming art style and music. Some of the puzzles were bit meh, but at least decent fake-Swedish accent. Looking forward to the sequel.


Plants vs Zombies GOTY

I must be the last person to buy and play this. This went for some pennies on Steam just recently so had to get it. Tower defence at its best no doubt. This sure is one

polished game. This GOTY addition, I assume, adds all the mini-games and other add-ons. Not that those really interest me after playing through the story. Only tower defence, but one darn good such 

Picross 3D

Only non PC/Xbox game in this list this time. Finally managed to get all the puzzles solved. With the bestest score you can get here. Played only few hours a week so you can imagine it took a long time. 

 VITTUSAATANA! It took a while

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Random Youtube song is something from Dio era Sabbath. Been listening to a lot of Dio since his demise. And recently re-discovered this amazing song. 

  
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