Backlog battle - Episode 7 - Battlefield and Monkey Island

Long time since last update. This is thanks to me getting properly hooked on Bad Company 2 multiplayer. Managed even to get my brother hooked as well. Have also teamed with some lads from Konsolifin (Finnish gaming site) to get some proper killing done. These guys know what they are doing. Anyway managed to finish some other games in between as well. Starting from the top:

Battlefield: Bad Company 2

  Rölli the Troll - Recon Class

Haven't touched singleplayer yet and closing in on full 2 days online and rank of level 20. That's a lot considering I don't normally play so many online games. My brother got this game as mentioned as well. We sank really way too many hours on this during the Eastern. Friday went pretty much all day on it with way too much beer and other alcoholic beverages. Haven't had such bad hangover in way too long time. Anyway will be playing in this future, but probably not as much. Want to at least get the majority of the MP cheevos. Currently playing with Medic to get unlock all the weapons. Next (and last) one is the Recon IE. sniper or Rölli as the Finnish gentleman's call it. Not really enjoying Medic tbh. Sure the M60 is darn good weapon but don't care that the second weapon slot is only for the defibs. 

Got one strange Battlefield experience to add. EA has this elaborate stats tracking where it keeps on track of your previous Battlefield games and rewards accordingly. For example if you own Bad Company 1 you get an extra weapon and so on. My BF 1943 on PS3 didn't get tracked so I had to contact the support. Have previously had dealings with them (EA support) and it has always been really good. Anyway got shafted here badly. Had to wait for 30mins and the agent didn't even reply. Ended up mailing them with the issue and mentioned this strange agent. They got back to within few hours and fixed it. And they also added veteran status for every single game by then. Depending on which stats screen you see my veteran status is 8 or 13. Such high number doesn't have any meaning. Other than makes me look pretentious. Also feels like I've cheated. Just can't be bothered contacting them again regarding this.

Battlefield Play4free

Beta has gone public so wanted to check this as well since got the BF bug. It is pretty much like BF2. So not the best looking game, but really smooth. Even with amount of people and vehicles. And just running from a browser. Did a mistake of taking an Assault class here as well. Don't have the same set of good add-ons as Bad Company 2 has. And you are restricted to your class. So no 4x scope for me (yes n00bs like me use it). Meaning, don't get anywhere near the distances here. I know its not a sniper but could have been bit better. After upgrade to the best (Veteran) weapon the game is way more playable. Just slightly annoying that buying with the ingame credits you only rent the weapon. Pacing here is completely different than on BC2 and no doubt there is less cooperative work. My brother had to call me just last night and had to brag that he gone past me (rank).

Battlefield Heroes

While checking the Play4free I went back to play some Heroes. It is way more polished and contained than Play4free. The most impressive is the amount of customisation one can do. Wouldn't dream of paying anything for these prices. At least here you get to keep the gear. Game looks bit kiddy of course and the experienced players (with the gear) gives bit too great advantage.

Deathspank

Picked both Deathspank games from a XBLA sale few weeks back. Got around playing the first game finally. Not the longest and most original game, but I've still really enjoyed it. The writing is at times really funny. At times it can be bit of a dire as well. Still Ben Gilbert's influence really shines through. It has an relatively easy S-rank which is rare treat for me, but I am closing in on that GB quest (8/10). As mentioned I got the second Deathspank as well but really have no interest of starting it straight after.


Gridrunner Revolution

This your average twin-stick(kind-of) shooter with flashy graphics and electronic music. Maybe I didn't play it long enough (15 levels) to get properly into it. Anyway I didn't like this. Didn't like it back in the C64 days either. Llamasoft or not.

Space Giraffe

Decided to check the other Llamasoft game same time. Can't believe I've paid money for this. Visually very similar to Gridrunner Revolution. Same with the music. Steam description mention trance shooter. I can only handle trance in small doses. Not sure why I've bought this to begin with. Gameplay is in vein of Tempest which makes this better of these two. Still I think that Jeff Minter is over rated. Just don't find the llamas sheep and the "crazy psychedelic stuff interesting or funny.


Space Invaders Infinity Gene

 One of the cooler bosses

Not a good game in my books. I like most of the Space Invaders games, just not this one. Mainly because this is a traditional SHMUP and the music and sound effects are plain horrid. Especially the sound effects after finishing a level must come from a tone deaf. Or maybe it is in purpose such torture sounds. Finished the game only on Easy because the last levels were getting ridiculous. I am sure fans of SHMUPs and electronic music can enjoy this. I just don't care for either. Didn't know that it was so bad. The black and white design is cool thought, could have been bit more of the variation still.


The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Played through this amazing XBLA version again. Wanted to play it through again because I've missed the S-rank first time around. Ended up screwing my save half way through the game and messed the second ending. So had to play it through twice. Playing it twice back to back still didn't make it feel like a bore. It is just amazing game and very good port. Experienced the second ending only for first time around. Slightly disappointing Herman's excuse for having a boat, but I suppose rules are rules. S-rank quest at 9/10 now.

Tales of Monkey Island - Chapter 1 to Chapter 5

Inspired by the original Monkey Island I decided finally go through with this series. Telltale had released this first game for free while back. Which unfortunately didn't run really on my PC. So decided to go with the Wiiware version. Only after getting the whole series realized that there is PS3 version as well. Doh. Anyway, despite the lag and lowish resolution I really enjoyed this. The music and the voice acting continues to relay the same cheery Pirate feel as in the Special editions. Kind of feels like natural progression to these games as well. Have heard the jokes on the two first monkey island games many times already. Good to hear some new material. All and all really funny stuff and relative good puzzles. Really liked the Morgan character. Bit disappointing that they didn't get the same Stan guy though. The end was left slightly open so there might be a second season one day. Although with all the projects Telltale has can't see it happening.

Gunstar Heroes

From XBLA weekly deal where all the Sega games were 50% off. Megadrive was my first console and it of course still has a spot here. Somehow managed to avoid classic Gunstar Heroes. Wanted to some easy retro gaming so this was ideal candidate. And of course easy 200/200 cheevos as well. Which completed the 10x S-rank GB quest. Yau me!I

Not to forget the Indie games:

Inside a star filled sky

The most recent game from Indie mastermind Jason Rohrer. I guess since I paid for this game I am entitled to view my opinion. Did not like. The gameplay idea is amazing. Going inside things is very unique idea. Shame that it becomes such a bore so soon. The awkward shooting doesn't help. Idea and the graphical presentation are nice, but shame the actual gameplay doesn't work for really long periods.

Obulis

 Yellow needs to go to yellow. Blue needs to go....

This must be from one the indie packs during last holiday sales. Obulis is a physic based puzzle game. A rather casual puzzle actually. Purpose of the game is simply to guide coloured balls to matching vase thing. This is done by releasing the balls from hanging chains. Sound simple and that is the main jist of it. The levels are very smart and only downside of the game is the random aspects. Good timing is required for the balls to bounce of properly which is not as fun (?) as it sounds like especially when the balls tend to randomly bounce to all directions. The presentation is relaxing although the sounds after completing a level is always the same. If you are in market for casual physics based puzzle then this is the thing. In many ways reminded me of another made-in-phone-game-first casual puzzler: Zen Bound.


La-Mulana

Another awesome indie freeware from Japan. Quite similar to Cave Story actually. Especially on the gameplay part and how the game has evolved. Started as a freeware PC game and will be released as Wiiware soon. Didn't wan't to play too much of this since the Wiiware version looks so good. Hopefully the game is released soon. Gist of the game is retro inspired or MSX style platformer puzzler. In direction to Metroid and Castlevania. And Cave Story of course. This is one long as game. The wiki page here at GB gives good indication of that.

Stalwart

I play good share of indie games and flash games that don't make it to these blogs. Simply because these are not good enough. Stalwart is a Flash game in vein of Canabalt. Although way better music and even more retro-like graphics. Check it out here.

Tempted to post a link to gameplay of Stalwart as my random Youtube link since the music is so good, but that would kind of defeat the purpose. So here is the starting screen and link to the game instead. 


http://jonathanwhiting.com/stalwart/   
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Backlog battle - Episode 6 - Mediocrity

Seems that has already gone couple of weeks since my last blog. At least looking at the number of games I've played recently. So here is list of my recent games and some of my thoughts on them. Quite high number of of mediocre games this time around.


Battlefield: Bad Company

My brother got an Xbox not too long ago. Since we live in different countries I thought it would be ideal way to do some socializing now then. Been looking to get some cheap games for him since the prices in Norway (where he lives) are horrendous. So decided get the first Bad Company. I've played good amount earlier Battlefield and Battlefront games. Anyway all fine and dandy except that he hasn't gotten his Xbox online. And I haven't had time to go and fix it (Norway and all). Anyway wanted to just blast through th single player because I assumed it wasn't too long. Ended playing some multiplayer as well. Surprisingly there are still people playing this. Gold rush seems to be the one mode that is played. Or maybe the only one available. Works for me since I like objective based modes. The single player campaign was surprisingly long (~10h) and must say I enjoyed every minute of it. Story might be cheesy but I had no idea that it had so much open world. I actually like FPS games, but haven't played lot of multiplayer since the second UT 2004 and COD1. Anyway, this got me kind of hooked for more FPS. I won't ever have time to dedicate my time on single game but BF games seem to work well for me since its more about objectives and not twitch. Anyway this made me order Bad Company 2 and I've started look forward to BF3.


Dark Void

This is like bleak futuristic Uncharted with a Stargate-esq story. Not really bad but not quite as good as Dark Void Zero is. Still worth playing through. Don't think that there is really one thing that makes this bad. It is just very mediocre in every sense.


Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction

This is no doubt the worst Splinter Cell game for me. Way much worse than Double Agent. The projections are a really nice touch. Shame that this more shooting than sneaking. Granted this works better for coop and online stuff but its not really Splinter Cell anymore. Story was simply idiotic. Is Lambert coming back in a next game?


CivCity Rome

Rather Simcity than Civilization. Which btw is a franchise that needs to be brought back. Fuck that Sims crap. Your goal is of course to expand the city. Had this been more like SimCity 3000 ,in ancient Roman settings, it would have been awesome, but no. The catch here is evolve by upgrading residential houses. Basic shack can be upgraded to a hut with access to meat. Small hut can be upgraded to medium hut access to water and so on. Fair enough you would think. Unfortunately the range for the houses to acquire these items is limited. Meaning that at one point the range is not enough since the larger buildings take all the space. At one my point one of my idiot fruit farmers refused to upgrade to a bigger house because the meat shop wasn't fully in his range. Had the shop 90% covered on the are thingie, which wasn't good enough. Would have needed to knock down an existing building to make more space and this would screwed up the other housing. Anyway grapped this on a sale while back and managed to squeeze about 10h out of this.


Sonic Colors

Completed this in a weekend. Review here, had to post one since there wasn't really good one from before. Not saying that mine is good, but at least it is a proper review.


Shattered Union

This is mixture between Risk and Advance Wars. Game is bit too random and unbalanced for my taste. Presentation is nicely done and the hex-based map is interesting. Shame that the gameplay is so average and doesn't require lot of tactics. I always hate it when there is no way around of loosing so many troops. Or you could say I just suck at this. Probably. Anyway, the game has fog of war in every map, which I suppose is realistic. Not just fun. Sure Advance Wars has this occasionally as well but no on every map. Simply because it is just fun guessing all the time. Had the description been more clearer on size of the opponent one could have lived with the constant fog of war. Just now it is very hard to see and plan which size of enemy force is to be expected. Didn't realize before starting the game that this from PopTop Software. Company behind Tropico 1&2 and Railroad Tycoon 2&3. All of those are really good games. Shattered Horizon was this silly named company's last game. And do doubt the worst I am afraid. Still paying 59p for this was not waste per say.


Lure of the Temptress

Wanted to start and adventure game and happened to be browsing my GOG collection same time. This (free game) was the first that I noticed. Well it was Beneath the Steel Sky, but realized that this was the game before. Although probably not related. Anyway I think played this before, at least to some point. Quite short and crude, but what do you expect from a point&click game from 1994. Nice little story and quite moody thanks to the music and the dark(ish) art style.


Got some Indie games time as well..


Lead and Gold Gangs of the Wild West - Steam

I suppose you could call this indie, in a way? Have had this for while, but decided to pick this up only now because they were running a free to play promo this weekend. IE more players. My "better" laptop didn't want to run it at all so ended up using my Netbook. Which can barely run it. Shame because it seemed like easy to pick up western action. Planning to upgrade my desktop and should be able to play this better.


Plain Sight - Steam

Another Steam indie multiplayer game. Really interesting concept and art style. Also less HW demanding for me. Game is almost one year old and unfortunately almost none is playing this anymore. Maybe if there is a play free weekend like with Lead and Gold.

 
 

Blueberry Garden - Steam

This is a strange one. For first the game seems to be rather poorly optimized. IE. the HW requirements are not demanding, but still had problems running this. Anyway work laptop ended up running this. This is such a typical indie game. Interesting open world-ish gameplay with very distinct artistic look and feel. The story is interesting, with a lack of better word. Especially after realising there is an objective. Nice little game, but wait for an Steam sale before picking this up.


Epic Dungeon - XBLI

Now I played quite a few XBLA indie games but this is no doubt the best so far. Old school hack and slash RPG in vein of Diablo and Gauntlet. Closer to look of the latter though. Pure 8-bit retro coolness. You are thrown to a dungeon(epic dungeon mind you) with 50 floors and only got one life. Four different characters and skills. Good amount of loot and endless stream of monsters. Reminded me bit of Realm of the Mad God actually. Maybe I'll cough up further praise, in form of review or something later on.

Fetus/suteF - PC

Two different games but grouping them as one. Fetus is the first game. suteF is the sequel the more longer and more of an proper game. These both are Indie horror puzzle freeware games. The game mechanism is bit in vein of the excellent VVVVVV. Although not as C64 but still very retro looking. And no means as brutal in difficult. Somewhat disturbing though and the puzzles get very deviant in the end (of suteF). Definitely worth checking out. Fetus available here. And suteF here


This weeks random Youtube song should be something from Esoteric since been listening to them all week. Esoteric is a British funeral doom band. They aren't really Youtube friendly thanks to their long ass songs. So here something completely different. Posting a song from FantomenK album that was on sale in last weeks Yawma promo, which no one bought. This song would have worked without that White Stripes melody as well.

  

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Backlog battle - Episode 5 - Beer and videogames

Right, so it has been couple of weeks since my last blog. I was on holiday in Germany few weeks ago. Germany is known for their fine beer which I am of course fond of. I've discovered Kellerbier, which directly translated stands for basement beer and can be described as the most pure beer you can get. Although I had only the store version which is fermented. The real kellerbier is not even fermented and naturally doesn't have long shelf life. Got to also taste some nice crystal Weiss bier. Which as the name implies is a form of wheat beer. I like my wheat beer cloudy but this was a interesting experience with more traditional ale like colour and taste. Wheat beer lite if you like. Anyway really looking forward to the day when I will be living in Germany. The German beers is just > any UK or even Belgian (with exception to few) beer's.

Regarding gaming and Germany. PC gaming is still huge in Europe and especially in Germany. I did visit quite few different stores and got reminded of this. Sure they got the recent console games as well. Of course more of the European and German made games (RPGs). The PC selection is double the size on most of the stores. Strange thing is that they had lot's of games that we haven't ever seen a boxed copy. Like boxed copy of World of Goo or Puzzle Agents. And it is no dodgy stuff either. Just a completely different market. Didn't dare to buy any because was afraid that that language would have been German only. Which again would have probably been good for my German studies. 

Anyway enough rambling, on with the games..

Final Fantasy 4  

 Thunda!! No wait, that can be a spell as well

While back I decided to play through all Final Fantasy games in horological order. Made it to the 4th one now. Started the DS version on my holidays. I can fully understand why some would consider this to be one the best FF games. What I didn't except it to be so hard. I've played plenty of JPRGs before and can't really remember of having so many deaths as in here. Despite being grossly over-levelled in many places. The experience with the last dungeon kind of ruined the game for me. I beat the final boss quite easily in the end, but faced way too many encounters prior to that where I got killed on the first round. Granted I might not had the best gear but I was always was bit over-levelled. Of these four FF games I would still rate the 3rd to be the best.

 

Picross 3D

Another holiday game. Been playing this on and off for months. Seem to play more when I am travelling. Slowly progressing to get a perfect on all levels. Few hard levels left still.


Pacman Championship Edition DX

Picked this up for 400MS points and it really is as good as everyone says. Bit similar to Afterburner Climax I afraid. After the s-rank and playing all the levels won't probably play this again. Just too big backlog. At least I am on top of my friend leaderboard.


Rock Band: Beatles

Good game except that I don't like Beatles. Finished with Hard level very easily. Got the game for my wife, which she categorized to be boring. One Beatles song a year is perhaps enough. Got this for mere £5 @Play.com, so no big deal.


Wheelman

Played the PS3 version. Finished it on two days and this is very mediocre game no doubt. Still enjoyable play through thanks to the car battle mechanism. The original score was decent as well. Barcelona looks nice, shame that it is not really 1 to 1. Would have been nice to check Nou Camp. The last line from Jeff's review sums up this nicely: 

   "It's certainly mechanically sound, but you should probably attempt to find it at a slight discount."
  I paid £3.99 (+ same for shipping) and it was definitely worth it. If only for the kick ass end boss finish.


Sonic Adventure

Sonic 2 was the first console game I've ever played and no doubt one of my all time favourite platformers. I remember playing Sonic Adventure in the DC days, but don't think I ever finished. So when they released this on XBLA I wanted to correct that error and go and finish this game. After finishing the first level it became clear that I've never played this game past that level. Remember looking for the second level but never got to it. Had some problems finding this time as well because of the camera. Anyway not really a good game in todays standards, even though I liked it. The camera movement almost made the game unplayable. And no doubt this was the number one thing that killed me. It must have been Sonic Adventures 2 then which I never finished. Just remember a big boss in a round room where Sonic is running on different platforms and levels. Anyway I think I'll give Sonic Colours a try next, which should be the best 3D Sonic Game. Hopefully it doesn't have this adventure bologny.


Only Indie game this time:

SpaceChem

Which I got review coming soon. In short, strange but a great game.


Random youtube video is a strange cover by Dimmu Borgir. Symphonic black metal act doing a classic Purple track. Qe? Only recently got around listening to this album(Dimmu). Not my favourite band, but it goes in small doses. The Hammond organ on first beat gives this song away. Reason why I post it is because it is unexpected and pretty decent actually

  

  
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Backlog battle - Episode 4 - The one with Just Cause 2

Will be travelling to Germany this week and won't probably have too much time for GB. So here are the games that I've played last weeks, while I remember...  

 Plan is to take either GBA or DS with me and start FF 4. Will be missing two Bombcast's since I am not taking my notebook and can't be bothered with iTunes. Long story. There is also a Carling Cup Final on Sunday that I probably have to miss. Go Gooners \m/ Anyway on with the games...

Red Steel

On my previous blog I suspected that if there would be a frustrating boss sword fight I would not continue this. Well didn't get so far. About half way through the game I run into a save glitch. Or maybe it was designed not save during that level. No way I never want to play that shitty level again. Bunnies, ski-lopes and mannequins. It is not fun, cool, scary or anything. When game is not fun, like Red Steel, I see no purpose playing it any further.


Guitar Hero: Van Halen

Wolfie and daddy

This was interesting. Did you know that Van Halen existed only between 1978-1984? At least according to this game. I used to listen quite lot of Van Halen when I was younger but don't actually own any of their CDs. Wife liked some of the songs in the game so I ordered a Van Halen CD. The game is worth playing through once, but I doubt I'll ever play this again. Despite having only few songs short of completing the game on Hard.


Port Royale 2

Can't really decide on this one. Love playing Pirates! again but just hope that it wasn't so tedious to build the fleet back up after a big battle. Will write more about this later on.


Just Cause 2

 Yau!

Simply awesome. Shooting might be tad "funny" and the voice acting horrendous. And maybe the world bit too barren. Having said that. The crazy things the arm thing allows is just awesome. Not to forget the world it self. It is absolutely huge and the variation is very impressive. Some parts reminded me of Far Cry 2. Especially the jungle/boat sequences. Sure that game had its fault but it had a such a nice "serious" feel. Just Cause 2 is more wacky in every way. I'll probably return to this and do some cheevos later on. Was kind of thinking to return to first Just Cause which I never finished, but I remember it being more empty.

 

Alan Wake DLC

I really liked Alan Wake, gave it even a slightly biased 5/5. Got the 1st DLC with the my collectors edition. The 2nd was on sale during the holidays. Only now got to play these. Finished both in on one sitting.

The Signal, kind of pointless. Doesn't take the story really forward and uses the same locations from the main game.

The Writer was much better and it even some way concludes the story. The bizarre lighthouse section is probably closest to Max Payne, which is not a bad thing. The end boss here was bit unnecessary and the platform sections not really fun. I think the DLC's would have worked better as one since there is no gap (in the story) between them and both are rather short. Glad that I am done with this game now. Don't see myself ever returning it though. Not even for more cheevos. Kind of like Heavy Rain, one play through is enough.


Again with the indie love:

Quantz

Must admit, I don't like this. Game looks and sounds good but I just didn't enjoy the gameplay. The rotation mechanism and the way the small balls bounce around I feel that there is no control. Makes the game feel too casual and/or maybe its the match 4 element. I know that the puzzle game mode is different but just don't "feel" it. Also I found the game, well except for the bouncing stuff, to be too easy.


Ninja Escape

Not really much to write about this. Another Japanese Xbox 360 indie game from Dot Zo Games. Idea is simple freefalling game over 10 levels. Nowhere near as good as Ninja Bros which is a proper puzzle game.

 

Ninja Train

A platformer ala Bit Trip Runner except that whole game is viewed from window of a moving train or a plain. Meaning bad visibility. Visuals are in the cool retro style as all Dot Zo Games are. No doubt worst of their game I've played. Didn't even want to buy the full version. Trial was jut too buggy for me. It froze multiple times. Not really tempted to pay for something like that. Even if its 80MS points only


PlasmaWarrior

 My proof beating the game

Another cool Metroid-type indie freeware game. Really like the retro black/blue visuals. Nice little story and a boss fight. Link 

 
 
 
 


Bennu

Old Egyptian themed physics based puzzle. I've got the XBLI trial version which I was planning to buy. Anyway this has been recently made available for the PC as well. For free. Works like a charm with the Xbox 360 controller still. Really interesting gameplay mechanism, but not really easy. The controls are really tricky and too much random things (again) going on which I don't care for. Link to the PC version

    
 
 
 
 
No random Youtube video this time
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Backlog battle - Episode 3 - Indie heavenly Joe

Time with a new entry on my backlog battle blog. Not been able to game as much as I would want to recently. Thanks to ramping up of my German studies and recent movie watching efforts. Decided to start watching all the movies that have been piling up. One a day. Anyway, on with the games:

Mafia 2: Joe's Adventure  

 Joe is not as funny on his own
Mafia 2 was a great game and a game that many understood wrongly IMO. Original Mafia was never an open world game and the second game should not have been viewed as one one either. Anyway, this what most of the media and buyers saw the game as. The developers replied to this with two DLC's that suit open world game more. The first DLC: Jimmy's Vendetta was nothing special. I reviewed it and kindly gave it one star more than it had deserved. Joe's Adventure, the second and the first "real DLC" tells what happened to Joe Barbaro during those 10 years when Vito was locked up. Story picks up where Vito is taken away and then the story is quickly forwarded with 5 years of Joe being in exile. Cheap move if you ask me. The first proper level takes place in new lake location. With some stealth, shooting and driving sequences. Beeing more critical about the game I can admit that it doesn't do any of these too well but gets the job done. At least there is some proper story this time. Compared to the Jimmy's 100 side missions DLC at least. Unfortunately that was the coolest part of the whole DLC, the first mission that is. There is couple of other brand new locations and actual real missions. Rest are just the same silly side missions as Jimmy's DLC had. The actual last mission escalates to killing of some boss. Who 
happens to be in exactly the same tower building that Vito and Joe escaped from in the main game. Also the way it concluded got me baffled. The end cutscenes seemed to be something lifted from the main game. Joe wearing that silly red/white flower shirt which we didn't see for the whole DLC. Also the last cutscene had absolutely no sound. Could have been a bug as well since I've encountered quite many of those. The DLC is about 3 times larger than the first DLC size wise. It has some new songs and Playboy magazines, as well as couple of cars and those new locations. This was very disappointing. The story on Mafia 2 might have not been the most original at least it was told well. This is just a buggy side mission filled waste of time. 

Port Royale 2 

Still playing this. Kind of stuck on the first pirate lair. I can finish it, but not without loosing any ships. Which I don't like so keep on trying it. Probably posting a review of this soon since GB doesn't have one and this certainly deserves one.

Heavenly Sword 

Hello chubster 
OK, this is a strange one. I played it until the second last boss and have no interested playing it any further. Game itself is not so bad, well except for the sixaxxis controls and the voice acting. Game looks really pretty but I just don't feel it. Maybe it has to do with the fact this game was recommended by a idiot "friend" of mine who's opinion I don't really care for. Maybe return to this and finish the game one day.

Red Steel  

Yes, started playing this early Wii game. And oh boy game doesn't look good. And it is not just the low resolution. Not that I care for graphics anyway. Just feels like a huge step down from Xbox 360/PS3 game. Anyway, the controls are absolutely terrible. How are you supposed to play a FPS game without strafing? Still, the weird thing here is that. I still kind of like this game. Get a strange 80's feel from it. I just got just into the Japan level and the difficulty seems to get more challenging now. Game is fine in short periods, but I know if there is going to be a nasty boss sword fight with these broken controls I can't handle this any more. The waggling is passable in any other parts of the game except for the sword fighting which just feels so unresponsive. Dodging is fine since it can be done from C (or Z) button but the slashing doesn't work at all.

Indie stuff

 I just love indie games that look like old C64 or NES/SMS games. Here are couple that I've discovered/finished recently:

 Tiny Barbarian
Tiny Barbarian - This is an awesome freeware game. Deliberate retro platform hack/slash. I've tweeted about the game to be like VVVVVV, but it would closer to compare this to Ghost'n Goblins. Game is quite short but definitely worth checking out if you like retro style platformer. Link here.

 
 
 
Kruunu 
Kruunu - Another delightful freeware PC game. This is more like Super Meat Boy. Bit longer than Tiny Barbarian and way more deviant, especially the Hell level. Xbox 360 controller works here perfectly. Only annoyance is that the progress doesn't get saved. Sure you can continue from a checkpoint, but if you don't complete a world you need to start it from the scratch when starting the game again. Still worth checking out. Link Here
 

 Star Guard
Star Guard - This a simple platform shooter. And yet another freeware game. It comes with 9 levels, two difficulty levels and a time trial mode. Very simple mechanism but somewhat nasty boss. Pro tip here, he always jumps. Link here.
 
 
 

K.O.L.M 
K.O.L.M. - Now this is a flash game, but bear with me. This is moody a platformer in vein of Metroid. Player needs to obtain upgrades to be able to access new locations. Game has a nice Portal vibe and absolutely amazing music. Worth checking out only for the music. Available on Kongregate and Newsground

 Treasure Treasure FF- Wrote an review of this and been working on the wiki. Maybe using way more time on this that I should.      
 
 
Random Youtube clip, been listening to Bloodbath all week. Here is their most catchy song: 
  
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Backlog battle - Episode 2 - Artsy indie games and Chopin

Continuing my endless battle of the huge backlog of games. Here are the games from recent weeks. Not so much exciting stuff here thanks to Eternal Sonata which has taken up most of the time. According to my Raptr it says I used 34 hours on it. Some of it is idling though.

As earlier, apologies for the spelling. English is not my first language.


Eternal Sonata  

This 8 year old kid is kind of badass 

Almost stopped playing this after couple of hours. The horrible cute graphics and one of the slowest starting stories I can remember. Anyway in the end it was worth playing. Got couple of strange issues with the game. The camera is fixed and mostly this works fine. Except for the battles. You can not see where the enemies are without zooming out. Wont take long before you see from the pre-fight scene how the characters are located. Still wasting a turn on running to wrong direction bit too often. Other huge annoying fact for me was the items. Each of games multiple characters can upgrade his/her weapon and armour like in any RPG. The most important stats shown clearly +ATT, +DEF and so on. Only problem here was a number of cursed items and complete lack of description on these. Only way of checking this is on the actual battle. There seemed to be sizeable inventory and later parts of the game you are carrying 9 characters items with you. Try to remember and distinguish which of those were cursed. Idiotic. Other than that that. Game certainly has a beautiful looking art style. Cel-shaded world with lots of colour. Even to borderline yucky cute. Story is interesting. The dual arch with Chopin's dreamworld and the more standard RPG story was kind of interesting. The fine indie game Cave Story actually had very similar story where stronger force is exploiting local people and turning these into soldiers. All and all I found the story to be decent. Only gripe on it was the fact that it starts way too slow. After 1st chapter you don't have a goal. Talk to the count about taxes huh? Being a failed musician I enjoyed the music aspects here. Even though classical is not really my thing. The fact snippets about Chopin were interesting to read. Could have gladly read even more about him.


Trine

I must be in the minority here but I didn't like the game. Despite the game being Finnish and me being half Finnish. What's this got to do with the actual game you might ask? Well people from small countries are very proud of games from their countries. Anyway start with the good. I'll admit the art style is stunning. Music is beautiful as are the backgrounds. The Lost Vikings type gameplay is always interesting and introducing the levitation mechanism the wizard is somewhat fresh? Shame that physics were so strange. Not to mention the awkward jumping or or the camera that made the jumping even more tricky. Also I experience some framerate issues (PS3). Not to forget the countless skeletons. These just keep on coming and coming. The horrible knight character has trouble killing the end level skeletons despite the upgrades. Sure you could use the hammer but how do then block their first invisible sting. Almost tempted to write review since Brad's 5 star or the 4.3 average of user review are too generous IMHO. 




Toy Soldiers

Getting close to the end of the campaign. It is great game except for the tower defense mechanism. Must admit this is much harder than I expected. At least from a tower defense game. Artstyle is a amazing, but I doubt I'll ever play this again once I've finisjed it. Bit too long loading times and that unfair difficulty, especially on the boss battles. I like difficult games ala N+ and Super Meat Boy but in such a tower defence game. Sure you can handle the randomness by manning the turrets yourself. In the end it is still just defending fixed attacks.


Archon Classic

My review here. This is of course a remake of an old C64 game. Feel bad always rating a indie game with such bad score, but there simply isn't anything to go for here. The developer completely missed how cool the deliberate retro games are. Instead they made a 90's version of Archon. Yes 90's. Archon originally is from 1983. They've also added lot's of nonsense to the gameplay that is supposed to make this modern.


Windosill - The sequel to classic Atari 2600 title Windowpane. Ok maybe not.

bird has it

Normally I write a review of the indie games that don't have any here. For this particular game it is not going to happen. Simply because this a 30min game. A 30min game with a price tag. Must have gotten this in one of the Steam holiday sale indie packs, don't actually remember. Currently it goes for $2.99. Game is very nice artistic adventure puzzle. Idea is simple to manipulate the screen and find a small block. This block is used to in a slot above door in lower right screen. Once block is inserted the door can be opened and the characters toy car can be pushed to the next screen. There are totally 10 screens or levels. Most puzzles are to do with different kind of physics based quandaries. Presentation is really artistic as seen in the screenshot. It is definitely worth playing if you got this on your Steam collection. Would I recommend paying the $3 price? Well it is for a nice little indie game. So of course. Maybe would suit better fans of this genre and artstyle. Game, if you can even call it that is just too short. Not wanting to go into substance over dollar debate. Just don't feel that why you should pay for something like this. Especially when there are free and as nice games available. Maybe I'll blog about such games more later on.


Coil

Not really sure if this can be considered to be a game. Game is developed by Edmund McMillen (and some other person) which caught my attention. The full version is available on Steam. It says demo but it is a full game. Interesting concept if nothing else.


Lugaru HD

This was actually surprisingly good. Posted a review of the game here.


Current:

Port Royale 2. Still really early but man this is a great game. Modern version of Pirates! with even more complex mechanism. Such as trading and small element of city building.

 As usual, random Youtube video. Got introduced to this bands just few weeks back when I played Brutal Legends for the first time. \m/ 
  
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Backlog battle - Episode 1 - Debut albums are always the best eh?

So I thought that I try something else here. Doing a review for every game that I play gets really tiring after a while. Plus there is not lot of benefit of reviewing every piece of garbage. Even if the original idea was to have something for myself to remember. Blogging does the same thing. So here goes my weekly or bi-weekly blog of games related stuff I've been doing.

Indie game developer 

My bosses friend, (who is kind of like a half friend) asked if I wanted to getting into games developing with him. He knows that I am big gamer and always "promoting" some weird indie game. It does help that I can code and generally know lot about games and different application. He introduced me to Unity and I've done some tutorials and playing around. Really fascinating stuff. Never thought that it would be so easy to get into. Anyway I haven't time have proper chat with him since our last alcohol infused get-together. Still 100% sure what he is up to since he has his own company on the side and at times it sounded like he was looking for free labour.

Regarding indie games. I will still keep on reviewing and adding wiki entries for indie games I play. And, trying to have one in my playlist all the time. Before starting with a game, just word of apologies. English is not my first (actually not even second) language. I am trying to improve on it my doing more writing and so on. Just tend to forget the articles and occasional verbs. If something is unclear, please let me know.

Starting the blog of with a golden oldie.


Disciples: Sacred Land.

A PC game from 1999. Picked this from GOG on their holiday sale. As mentioned on the old game thread(which I can't seem to find now). I've never played this before or any game from the Disciples franchise. Wanted to start with the first game and on the franchise. Finished the campaign now with one faction now. Really nice combination of strategy and RPG but maybe bit simple. Each chapter in the story starts with level 1, but you get to keep one of your hero characters and 3 items. At chapter 3-> the hero starts to be so strong that you want to use him instead of other heroes. Making the game slow since you end up killing majority of enemies with this hero. Probably not the correct way to play. Looking forward of starting the second Disciples. Shamed to admit that I've missed this genres completely. 

Space Invaders Extreme 2

Reason why I picked this can found in Radiangames: Crossfire 2. Played some of that fine XBLA indie shooter. Also reviewed it. Kind of like stylish Space Invaders clone with a interesting twist. Anyway found the game to be very easy and wanted to play some more Space Invaders. First game I could get hold of was the Space Invaders Extreme 2 for DS, which I had not played yet. Just to see if I somewhere along the line had developed a l33t/sick/? Space Invaders skills. And turns I am decent. The point attack on normal was relative easy. Hardest branch giving some grief on the last boss. Not sure when this happened.. that I turned out to be OK Space Invader. Usually I suck at these games (especially shmups). Anyway Space Invaders Extreme 2is pretty good. This is very basic 2D Space Invaders game, had it not been the flashy backgrounds and 2nd screen meta game that is. There is an interesting join between the music and the shooting. End up shooting with the beat of the music and getting really into the music. Not my kind of music but still enjoying the "trance" like gameplay. Strange.


Big Brain Wolf 

WET

Finished and reviewed both. WET is not worth talking about, but Big Brain Wolf is. Nice puzzle adventure ala Telltale meets Layton.


Current

Started Eternal Sonata on Xbox. Liking the occasional JRPG and haven't play on in a while. Very cute looking game. Almost too cute. Sticking to it because of the music, at least for now. I have always problems playing with a female protagonist but Chopin just joined my team so should be able to change to him soon. So far very slow start and no sign of any kind of emergency/danger. All cutesy still.

Tried some Toy Soldiers which I picked up a while ago. Looks absolutely amazing. Didn't know it was tower defence game though.


Co-op stuff

My brother came over from Norway for a weekend. The weather happened to really bad (and wife was working)so we ended up playing(and drinking(but that is given)) too much. It was interesting experienced because even with all the consoles and games I got we were struggling to get a good local co-op game going. Mostly because his weird taste. He is that guy who buys those Tour De France games or dedicated Ski Jumping games. NHL11 was of course a sure pick. Also I happened to get hold of Tiger Woods 2010 for Wii which he wanted to try out. We ended up using most time on that. Motionplus+ makes it bit more enjoyable and realistic-feel. Got some really fierce battles and often the 18th hole being the decider. Only other game worth mentioning is Splosion Man. I had no idea that the local co-op would work like this way. It is of course Splosion Man, just with two dudes in one screen. Both needing to progress equally. Requires good timing on the splosion part, which worked really well. Thanks to the counter thing. By hitting left trigger a trigger will count from 3 to 1. Making it easier to time to elaborate tricks. Helps to have levels so short as well.


We ended up checking out my villages pubs as well. I had only been into few, but as with many UK town there is a pub in every corner. Anyway found this small place that turned out to be this great pool hall. Didn't look anything like that outside. Really relaxed atmosphere and 9 tables. They showed some footie as well which might require me to go back there. That's all for now.


On my previous journals I always added a Youtube clip of a song that has been on my playlist whole week. Recently, for a months time it has been Betus Blues from Super Meat Boy. Very good song, we all know that. Did you know that some piano dude had done a great piano only version? His also done some similar arrangements.


  

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Indie game of the year - that no one played

2010 was a great indie game year. We saw lot's of excellent titles and some sort of commercial successes for some of these. Minecraft sold like crazy while still being in alpha stage. Super Meat Boy and Limbo both received lot of deserved publicity and sold pretty well I would assume.
 
We saw two Indie Humble Bundles this year that both were a great success. Also Steam has pushing their indie-bundles lot on the sales. Maybe they've done this always?
Game's wise there was the already mentioned Minecraft, Limbo and Super Meat Boy. As well as: Joe Danger, VVVVVV, Cave Story (Wiiware) no name few. Not to mention the crazy selling IOS games such as Angry Birds and Game Dev Story.  
  



One thing makes me sad to see is the absence of one particular game in majority of lists. Worst part of this is the fact that this game is completely free. Hero Core is the name. And it is a cave shooter with that is taking inspiration from Metroidvania and displaying this on the best retro graphics way. Only downside which might turn some people of is the presentation. This is only black/white. Even more HC than the excellent VVVVVV. Still has a catchy soundtrack and "modern" gameplay if you can call this genres games. I'd recommend anyone who has a soft spot for these deliberately retro games.  
Link to the GB page.  
Link to my review.  
Link to the developers site where it can be download for FREE
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Doritos free games impressions and Star Wars

Doritos is sponsoring a Unlock Xbox contest where some new XLBA games are being judged. There is also $50 000 price money to be won. Not sure where the moneys is going, but I assume it is for the best game. The Unlock Xbox site is very ambigous around this. Anyway what this means that we all got two free games and we can vote which of these is better game.

Idea is great to push new developers to XBLA. Shame that is so poorly marketed though. Hadn't been the the word free this would have probably not even picked up. And also this kind of ridicules the concept of XBLA indie games.


Cheevos!

The two final games are throw-away 5 minute games. Both games have 200/200 achievements which is almost the only reason to download these.

Quick impression of the lesser game in my opinion. Doritos Crash Course is a game-show like platform game. Ala Wipeout or Takeshi's Castle. Not too different from the Wii game that got a QL from Ryan and Vinny. Looks decent enough and was fun for couple of minutes.  

I am one of those suckers who have put money to avatar outfit. Which makes this game slightly more enjoyable. Especially when my avatar is Stormtrooper. There is something terrible wrong seeing it dash around.

Getting a S-rank on this game is bit more time consuming since you need to finish all the 15 levels with gold-level time which requires some memorization of the levels and almost perfect runs.

The second game Harm's Way is a strange combination of Motorstorm and the Tusken Raider part of Star Wars Episode 1 podracer scene. The most interesting thing about the game is the fact that player can choose to either play as a driver which makes the game as any offroad racer game. OK, any bad offroad racer game. Terrible mechanism, collision detection and AI. If player chooses the shooter part you will get something completely different. Player is placed in a static turret and goal is to shoot at enemy cars. Tracks is filled with such turrets and these can be jumped in/out with single trigger click. The track environment has good share of objects that can be shot down on top of cars. Not too different from Blur where huge objects can dropped to the track. The shooter and driver are placed in a team where driver can pick up turret upgrades for his turret guy. As well as turret downgrades for the opponents shooter. Interesting mechanism which makes the co-op action very fun.

Getting a S-rank here is much easier since only one race is required to be won. Most of the achievos come from the shooter anyway. Only difficult part could be the multiplayer one. This is unlocked when player joins a game, which can be tricky. Even on release day (yesterday) it was really difficult to get a quick match.


And the conclusion:

Seeing my Stormtrooper running in a crazy obstacle track was fun, for 2 minutes. The Tusken raider aspect of Harms Way is really interesting and I hope they would use that in more polished game. This wasn't fun enough for time it lasted me to get a S-rank. Wont be ever touching these game again. 

   
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Winter Voices Prologue: Avalanche impressions

While back I made silly decision to start reviewing all the games I play. Well I finished Winter Voices Prologue today, but I won't be writing any review for it. This is a seven episode game series and I don't feel that a review of just the prologue does any justice. Especially since since the biggest part of the game. IE. story has just started. Anyway here are my impression of the play through.

Let's just with the most obvious. This is a indie game. Artsy indie game developed by French people. Hard to top that eh? As you can see from the screenshot the art style is very stylish. It has very hand drawn look. Game can be classified as a adventure/RPG. Story is very different to any other game I ever played. Normally I am the last person to pick a female character but don't have lot of choice here. She comes across as a whiny annoying kid bit too much. Sure she has experienced her fathers death just. Strange too see a game around this kind of horrible experience. While all the internal battles she has with her memories suit the story well it doesn't make this a story I could relate to or be interesting. Even thought it's relative well written. Very different to you standard RPG. There are several things she discovers about her father and herself ,but still I am simple not interested in role-playing a 24 year female who has lost her father.

On the presentation part what I found most enjoying was the music. Some of the songs have a really heavy doom (metal) feel. Which was actually the reason why I bought this game first place. Snowy setting and that distorted guitar on the trailer. Music reminded me of early Saturnus. A fine Danish doom metal band in case you didn't know. The snowy setting also brought a slight Icewind Dale feel as well which can only be good.

 

 As mentioned this game is the first part of the seven episode game. Each episode going for £3.5 which is not a bad prize for one episode. Especially seeing that the prologue took 7.5h for me to finish. Next episodes are supposed to be bit shorter though. To conclude. Will I pay the next episodes? Most likely not. I really like the art style and the music and even the bizarre slow pace pacific combat is OK. It had some nice grid based strategic challenges. Biggest problem besides the sluggish pace and sobbing girl was the controls. I was facing issues multiple times where the game didn't recognize my clicks. Needed to walk to top of the screen to get to another screen but this just didn't work. Frantic clicking around the location where I needed to go helped in the end. This happened countless times and got really on my nerves.

Still really fascinating concept and I usually love indie games but this is maybe bit too odd. Even for me.

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