Gaming Goodness

M pointed out to me that this particular page is extremely outdated and whatddya know, she’s right! The games that were listed here I had “beaten a long time ago” according to her. Sometimes I’m able to play a game all the way through, and sometimes I won’t turn on the Xbox to play a game for over a month. Just depends on the events in my life and how warm it is outside (because honestly, who wants to play video games when it’s nice and sunny outside?). In the interest of New Year’s celebration, I present the top games I played in 2010!

Fallout: New Vegas

There’s a very quick way to find out if you’ll enjoy New Vegas or not: did you like Fallout 3? If your answer is yes, then you will enjoy New Vegas. If your answer is no, then don’t even bother. New Vegas is one of those “sequels” that very much follows the formula used in the prior game, and if you didn’t like it in 3, you will not like it here. One of the major distinctions, however, between New Vegas and 3 is the fact that the ending(s) are varied and depend entirely on who you choose to align yourself with. The very act of aligning yourself with a certain faction, tribe, group, etc., will alienate the groups in direct conflict with them against you. I’ve finished the game twice with different alliances, and I’m currently working on a third finish. So far, it hasn’t gotten old. I’ve also started another game where I’m simply taking on every side quest I discover, and let me just say that the 3 vault side quest is breathtaking. One of the vaults, in particular, is creepy as all get out and I was literally holding my breath through some of it. 5 out of 5 stars.

Alan Wake

I had been eyeing this game ever since it came out, but I didn’t actually end up playing it until a friend gave it to me for xmas and I’m so glad he did. While short (I’ve been playing it for maybe 10-15 hours), and I’ve almost beaten it (I’m on chapter 5 of 6), this game is well worth the money. This is not your same old, garden variety first person shooter or thriller genre game. The fighting sequences revolve entirely around light and you must use it in order to destroy the darkness “shell” around your enemies before you can eliminate them. Unlike some games, the amount of “ammo” you have (both in the form of batteries for your flashlight and bullets for your guns) plays a large role in the game. I’ve been in the middle of some intense battles when I didn’t pay attention to one of those levels and was forced to try and run around to avoid getting hit while I reloaded. This alone is enough reason to play the game. However, the plot line of the game is also incredibly interesting and is a refreshing break from the normal world’s in trouble and you must save it plot line that a lot of games have. 4 out of 5 stars!

Batman: Arkham Asylum

Yeah, I understand that it was released a long time ago, but that doesn’t make my first time playing this game any less awesome. Batman reminds me of Wolverine (which was also a favorite game of mine), but better. The number of gadgets that you get continue to multiply as you progress through the story line, the Joker and all of his mad schemes are continuously interesting, and the game is not all about fighting and kicking things. You must use your brain and strategize take-downs for enemies with guns, knives, and other weapons. There are also plenty of puzzles and riddles left by the Riddler for you to figure out. Unarmed enemies are a couple of punches and kicks away from unconsciousness, so you do get your fill of good old fashioned beat ’em up tactics as well. I haven’t finished the game yet, but I’ve managed to get a good 10 hours in so far and I’m loving it more the longer I play.  There are a couple of places where it can get glitchy (I had to literally start over from the last check point because I got stuck walking in place and nothing I did could alter it), and sometimes the camera angle is awkward, but it’s still well worth the playtime. Some of the dialogue is especially amusing and I appreciate the wit. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars!

Assassin’s Creed II

I love LOVE this game! I just beat it this morning to be honest (this was written on 5/17/2010 when I last updated this page, whoa), and it’s a sequel that dramatically improves on the original and keeps all of the themes from the original that were good. I know there’s debate on the subject (well, “debate” in gamer speak that is) over the quality of the first Assassin’s Creed, but I liked it. You will see themes from the original throughout the sequel, and it’s helpful to understand the references as you go along. 5 out of 5 stars!

Left 4 Dead 2

Yep, another sequel. Similar comments as the previous game. This game took what was good about the first one, and improved on the aspects of the first one that weren’t so great. Unlike its predecessor, this game has a host of interesting special infected that do some real damage, and suffice it to say, this game was a lot harder than the first. Unfortunately your AI teammates are all kinds of stupid, so you are relegated to playing online with some nerdy nerds that you don’t know, hoping that your friends are on Xbox Live when you are, or staying on the “easy” and “normal” settings in order to play. Valve released a downloadable campaign called The Passing, which was loads of fun and even included so-called “mutations,” which is Valve speak for new online game modes to play. The first one (Realism Versus) was quite enjoyable, but the next three released so far have been pretty much a let down. 4 out of 5 stars on this one.

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What kind of a 2010 list would be complete without some of the more overhyped, ridiculously bad games that I had the misfortune of buying and playing? Without further ado:

Final Fantasy XIII

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HUGE disappointment for me especially considering how much I love the Final Fantasy series…I even remember playing the first one ever made on the original NES. I, like so many others, believe that Final Fantasy VII and X are the best that have been made. I couldn’t really get into XI, and I believe was XII was online only so Final Fantasy XIII presented the first chance I had to play a new installment on the console. I’ll put the good news first: the paradigm battle system is ingenious and adds some flare to what can sometimes be a monotonous battle process. It also turned the boss battles into a much bigger type of strategy game than previous installments where the object was “just keep hitting, just keep hitting”. Since SO much of this game is the battle sequence, it’s a really good thing that the developers got this right. Oh, and it’s a really pretty game. The bad news? Um, emo alert. We’re talking ridiculous. Far more than your typical Final Fantasy dramedy type dialogue, this game literally had me thinking “what…” during so many cut scenes. Oh, and that’s another thing. Could there have been ANY more cut scenes in this game?!? Especially in the beginning? I still haven’t finished the game because Valve released The Passing, and I switched over to that, and was then introduced to the Assassin’s Creed series after that. 2 stars out of 5 on this one. I still haven’t finished it, and yes, I made it past the first 17 hours into the “good” part of the game. I still thought it was disappointing.

4 responses to “Gaming Goodness

  1. You get Red Dead Redemption yet? We got it yesterday and Matt is loving it. I think it looks pretty cool, but I haven’t played it yet because I have a hard time setting time limits for myself about play time…

  2. Nah I haven’t played it. I’m really interested in the new Alan Wake game, but I admittedly know next to nothing about Red Dead Redemption. I’ll have to check it out!

  3. Did you hear they are coming out with a second Batman this winter? I’m excited. It’s suppose to have a lot of the characters this one missed. I’m hoping catwoman makes and appearance. She’s my favorite!

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