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A Whole Freakin' Year - What I Played in 2009

Despite some unhealthy workaholism, I managed to play quite a few games last year. Many I finished; some I didn't; and several, I only tried the demo, which may not even be worth considering. Nevertheless! Every game I played, even if only for a few minutes, was a relatively new experience. And even the bad ones... well, at least now I can say I tried Too Human.

I'm fairly proud of my gaming progress in 20-aught-9: not only did I eat into my backlog significantly, but I was also able to keep up with some new releases. And now you're going to hear about all of it. Or, you could not keep reading, and create a content vortex that will inevitably swallow and destroy the entire universe. Your call, hot shot.

In no particular order, except alphabetical:


Afro Samurai (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
The look-and-feel of Afro Samurai is pretty slick, but the lack of on-screen HUD interferes with what little gameplay depth it has. And boy, is it little. The Afro Samurai anime/movie struck me as something that would work better as a game; but the game strikes me as something that would work better as a movie. Go figure.

Assassin's Creed (PC) - finished the game
I liked Assassin's Creed, but not for its epic, gripping plot of historical conspiracies and science fiction intrigue. Those parts sucked. So did the hand-to-hand "combat" system, and the "stealth" gameplay. Alternatively, free-running across rooftops felt like Prince of Persia-lite, with chase scenes; and leaping onto a guy and stabbing him in the neck, well, that's just awesome.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360) - tried the demo
As a big fan of the original N64 Banjo-Kazooie, the fact that Nuts & Bolts isn't a platformer doesn't make sense to me. And neither did the game demo - I couldn't make heads nor tails of the thing. Who is this King of Games asshole? Why do I care about this racing crap? And what part can I get to make the cars not handle like shit?

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC/Xbox 360) - finished the game (+ demoed on PC)
Man, this was great. From the voicework to the visual polish, from the gameplay intricacies to the thrill-a-minute pacing; Arkham Asylum doesn't just feel fun, it feels like Batman. Which is effin' sweet. And I'm glad that it plays just as well on PC as on the consoles - I would have gotten that version, but after trying the demo, I just couldn't wait any longer for the PC release.

Bayonetta (Xbox 360) - died in the demo
I was never able to get into Devil May Cry (see below), so I didn't expect to get much out of Bayonetta, aside from bare thighs and ridiculous music. That said, the tutorial really surprised me: it showed some significant depth of gameplay, and was easily accessible at the same time. Then I got to the real game, and had no fucking idea what was going on - enemies crowded my view, hits came out of nowhere, and then some giant in the background started breathing fire on me? What a dick!

Ben There, Dan That! (PC) - finished the game
I wouldn't call myself a point-and-click die-hard, but I do have some fond memories of Sam & Max, and some less-fond memories of Maniac Mansion. So I was really pleased with what Ben There, Dan That! brought to the table: a simple adventure experience, full of great wit and humor, but without the overly contrived puzzle scenarios that adventure games are often susceptible to. Short and sweet.

Bionic Commando (Xbox 360) - finished the game
What's not to love about a grappling hook game? Aside from drowning in knee-deep water. And dying in nigh-invisible clouds of radiation. And a completely retarded story. But despite Bionic Commando's many flaws, I still liked it, because swinging and flinging shit around with the bionic arm is wicked fun.

Borderlands (PC) - level 47
Me and some buddies got the Steam four-pack, and blasted the fuck out of the Borderlands' Mad Max rejects for a good two weeks or so. With friends, Borderlands is stupid-fun - it's the new Diablo II, but with guns! But solo play is, by comparison, pretty dull; so I haven't done much with it since my pals moved on. I'm really hoping to get pulled back in by some of the new-and-upcoming DLC.

Braid (PC) - finished the game
I'd been putting Braid off for a long while, waiting for an opening in my game schedule. Wow that was dumb! Not only is this one of the finest games I've played (possibly my new #1), it was a relatively short trip, taking a single evening and part of the following morning. Easily the densest and richest experience of anything I played this year. It fascinated me, stumped me, wowed me, and entertained me all at once. This is a work of real brilliance.

Brutal Legend (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
A competent God-of-War-em-up with a funny slant. Brutal Legend didn't impress me at all until Eddie Riggs started talking to himself - Tim Schafer, that interminable scamp, still has a knack for great writing. That said, the gameplay didn't do much for me. I'll play the full game eventually, but not until I can pick it up for an Andrew Jackson, or lesser president.

Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia (DS) - finished the game
Order of Ecclesia borrows mechanics from the previous GBA/DS Metroidvanias, but is actually quite reminiscent of older Castlevanias - with less emphasis on map exploration, and more on straight-up, linear path monster slaying. Which, frankly, I don't care for as much. The last third of the game goes back to a nonlinear map in Dracula's Castle, which I had some fun with, but still not as much as Dawn of Souls or Portrait of Ruin.

CIMA: The Enemy (GBA) - gave up after the first level
CIMA is one of those GBA games I always wanted to try, but never picked up, and totally forgot about - until I saw it in a Gamestop case a few months ago. I'd remembered it as some sort of grid-based tactical RPG, but apparently I was completely wrong: the entire game is an escort quest. With godawful pathfinding, and one of the worst UIs in the history of ever. And retardedly-long cutscenes. Yeah! Fuck that.

Cogs (PC) - finished the demo
Linking together gears and chains and steam-pipes, to make a puzzle-block into a functional mechanism? Ultra-cool. Slide puzzles? Ultra-lame. More fun than I expected it to be, anyway.

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (PC) - finished the Ally demo mission
I like that Red Alert 3 eschews Red Alert's now-archaic interpretation of RTS, in favor of a more straightforward Blizzard-style approach. But then, sans those weird mechanics, Red Alert doesn't have much to call its own. The bizarre units are neat on paper - but don't really feel like anything special in-game. I do like the idea of co-op RTS action, but didn't get the chance to try that out, so I dunno if that's compelling or not. Sadly, attack bears aren't really enough to stand out in the genre anymore.

Conan (Xbox 360) - finished the game
As I mentioned in my thing on reviews that you didn't read, Conan is better than Golden Axe: Beast Rider (see below), but not as good as God of War. There's not much else to say about it- oh, except I guess, that you rescue topless maidens. Sometimes they'll request that Conan "crush" them "with [his] love," but I never found the Crush With Love move, so, whatever bitches.

The Conduit (Wii) - played a level
If this game came out alongside Halo in 2001, it would have been awesome. Eight years later, it's not that impressive. A competent shooter; but not really anything more.

Contra ReBirth (Wii) - finished the game
Contra is a series I was never able to get much out of, because, well, it was too fuckin' hard for me. Playing ReBirth co-op with a friend was just the fix I needed: solid sidescroller action, a good challenge without feeling unfair (until the last level), and we never had to completely restart the game. I can't speak for life-long Contra players, but Contra ReBirth is a perfect way for an idiot like me to experience the franchise.

Crackdown (Xbox 360) - finished the game, four-star cop
Crackdown is just plain fun. It's not as deep or involved as a Grand Theft Auto, which is both good and bad: there's nothing in the way of building up gang rep or unraveling storylines, but jumping over buildings and throwing cars at street punks is great, instant gratification. The RPG aspects of building up a super-cop are what keep Crackdown appealing, so although it's fun while it lasts, once my enforcer was top-level I completely lost interest. I'm looking forward to how the sequel (and APB, for that matter) work with this concept.

Darkest of Days (PC) - finished the demo
I love the concept of fucking up historical battles with high-powered weaponry, and the 'Tex' voice actor really sells the game's ludicrous premise. Too bad the game's actual shooting is tedious, trite, and unrewarding.

Dead Rising (Xbox 360) - finished 72-hour mode
In theory, I love Dead Rising: believe it or not, it's one of the biggest reasons I bought a 360. But I quickly found out that my dream of trying to escape/survive a mall by slaughtering zombies, has little in common with what the actual game is like. All the weapons seem to break too easily - zombies respawn as soon as you turn around - those fuckheads in the jeep with the gatling gun keep coming back for more - aiming controls are total shit - bosses with guns are unreasonably difficult. This should be a game about kicking ass, but is more about getting kicked in the ass. I'll be keeping an eye on Dead Rising 2; I really hope it changes this bullshit up.

Dead Space: Extraction (Wii) - finished the game in co-op
While Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles took the rail-shooter genre and added little more than a stage select menu, Dead Space: Extraction might be the first rail shooter with a good story (with production values to match). Not only that, but the weapons are all great, and feel sufficiently different from genre tropes: big cutting lasers, flamethrowers, even plasma mines! I won't hesitate to call this the current-best in the genre.

Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening (PS2) - finished the first mission
As I mentioned re: Bayonetta, I was never able to get into Devil May Cry. I tried the first game a bit, and the third, too, but neither struck me as anything more than bland adventuring and too-complicated combat, stitched together by ludicrous cinematics that make Michael Bay look smart. I'm sure there's something here for people who love punching in button combos, but it's just not for me.

Dokapon Kingdom (Wii) - currently in chapter 3
Here's a game that is, by all measurable standards, bad. What depth of gameplay it has is largely overshadowed by random chance, the setting is more juvenile than most children's books (but deceptively lengthy), and the art style and voice acting are laughable. But when I play this with friends - while drinking - all these elements combine into a blast of a party game. You never know what's going to happen next, and that unpredictability is exactly what makes it fun.

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (Xbox 360) - died to Milliardo in the demo
Do people actually like this Dynasty Warriors shit? This is one of the dumbest games I've ever played. Well, I guess the Ninety-Nine Nights knock-off is dumber.

Eternal Sonata (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
The light-and-dark time-limit battle system didn't make any sense to me at first, but I'm glad I gave it a try, because I ended up really liking it. That the brain-damaged Chopin premise is interestingly bizarre, and that the game looks absolutely gorgeous, ice the cake on Eternal Sonata; all I need now is some time to play the game in.

Exit DS (DS) - got to world 4
What I like about puzzle games is using a set of rules to logically solve a problem. Exit, unfortunately, has a collage of nonsensical rules and exceptions that make a lot of the puzzles feel like getting punched in the brain. Why is the elevator weight limit so fickle? Why can't dogs fall down? Why are stairs so goddamn hard to climb? These should not be the puzzles of a puzzle game. Not to mention, the controls (both touchscreen and button!) are total ass.

Fairytale Fights (Xbox 360) - "finished" the demo
What the hell is there to like about this game? The style is bland. The gameplay is shallow. The controls suck. There is nothing of value here. Maybe the full game is completely different from the demo, in which case, uh, smart move, Playlogic.

Final Fantasy XII (PS2) - got to Belias
For the first few hours, I sleepwalked my way through FF12. Not exciting at all, but not frustrating or offensive, either. Eventually, the story showed signs of waking up, and license points started rolling in - I got pretty jazzed about all the items I'd be able to use. But then I couldn't buy them anywhere. Then I got to a boss that simply and utterly overpowered me, despite the enemies around him being pushovers. I got the message: FF12 wants me to grind. I want it to go fuck itself. As for the story? I looked up the ending on YouTube, and well, I'm glad I didn't waste any more of my time on that trash.

Flower, Sun, and Rain (DS) - finished the game
I liked Killer7: it was bizarre, but interesting, and with some unique gameplay hooks. I really liked No More Heroes: still a bit of nonsense, but super-stylish, and fun to play. Flower, Sun, and Rain felt like looking back in Goichi Suda-history - when 'quirkiness' trumped fun. FSR is a game about tedious puzzles, tedious walking, and tedious dialog. Frankly, it wasn't worth the effort.

Fracture (Xbox 360) - finished the game
I was impressed by the demo: unlike so many other one-trick shooters, Fracture's gameplay actually revolved around its terrain-manipulation gimmick. At least, in the demo it did. The full game wasn't as creative, and felt like a pretty standard set-piece-driven third-person shooter. Nothing special, but not bad, either. At least the weapons were pretty cool.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Wii/Xbox 360) - finished the game in co-op (+ demoed on Xbox 360)
The gameplay felt competent, at least, but the real draw of the Ghostbusters game was its authenticity to the franchise: with its appropriate writing and acting, it did really feel like helping out the Ghostbusters. Unfortunately, the platform differences are a significant trade-off; while tossing ghosts around in the Wii version was fun, the diluted look of the game (Ray is half Egon's height!) hurts the effect. Conversely, the hi-def version of the game looks and sounds great, but button- and stick-mashing to catch ghosts felt pretty stupid.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider (Xbox 360) - finished the game
The ending cinematic's final words are the dwarf exclaiming "Blood and shit!" I feel like this is a pretty appropriate evaluation of Beast Rider.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS) - finished the main missions
Chinatown Wars isn't just good for a DS game, it's good for a GTA game. Driving is surprisingly fun, given the overhead perspective; missions are bite-sized and feel rewarding; and extra stuff, like the drug trade and optional missions, make the whole city feel significant. Plus there's some clever touch-screen usage that even Nintendo could learn a thing or two from.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2) - finished the main missions
Having heard favorable comparisons of San Andreas to GTA4 (and Vice City, which I enjoyed quite a bit) I went into GTA:SA with perhaps too-high expectations. Too many of the bugs and engine quirks from GTA3 remain; the map (especially the non-populated parts) is too big, taking forever to get places; and I really didn't dig the gang-banger theme of the game's opening and closing acts. Maybe I'm just racist.

The House of the Dead: Overkill (Wii) - finished the game in co-op
Other than weapon upgrades, HotD Overkill really doesn't offer any gameplay you can't find in an arcade. But arguably, Overkill isn't about that - it's about swearing a whole fucking lot, and being a laugh-out-loud grindhouse experience.

Jurassic: The Hunted (Xbox 360) - got to wave 3(?) of the demo
This game looks goddamn hilarious, and I really want to get drunk and try it sometime. Unfortunately, the downloadable demo is just a fort-defense mini-game where you try to keep dinosaurs from invading an empty base. No dino-punching at all! What a disappointment.

Knights in the Nightmare (DS) - finished the demo
This is why I'm glad the Nintendo Channel distributes DS demos. Knights in the Nightmare (like The World Ends With You, which I've also mentioned below) is one of those games that is just unreasonably complicated. It's a real-time tactical RPG, except your units can't move, and you have a time limit, and you're a magic fairy that has to dodge bullets, and there's a night/day system, and what in the hell? Interesting premise, but way too much to wrap my head around.

The Last Remnant (PC) - died in the demo
Playing The Last Remnant is like watching The Lord of the Rings. There are orders you can give in battle, but what consequence do they really have? It's a mystery! And how does the game decide what options your parties get? Who knows! I didn't really understand the "game" part of Last Remnant. So far as I can tell, the point is just to watch shit fight each other.

Legendary (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
Legendary exemplifies the one-trick shooter. You fight mythical creatures like griffons and minotaurs! With ... shotguns! And machine guns. This may as well be a re-skin of any FPS made in the past ten years. It's a competent game, but really nothing special.

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks (DS) - finished the game
Frankly, if it wasn't a Zelda game, I would have given up on it in the first half. The questing was slow; the dungeons were insultingly simple; and the train, man, what a pain in the ass. It felt like a very average adventure game. But! the latter half of Spirit Tracks made up for it with a faster pace, intricate dungeons with some incredibly clever puzzles, and less train bullshit. In the end, it's still not among my favorite Zeldas, but is a good game nonetheless.

MadWorld (Wii) - finished the game
MadWorld is good, but flawed in two important ways. For one, there should be no time limits in the levels - not that you should be running out of time, but a time limit makes you think you might, and that changes playing style significantly. MadWorld is great fun when you take your time, coming up with clever and convoluted ways to inflict violence upon the level's enemies; when you just try to rush through and dispatch dudes as quick as possible, it's a boring grind. The game's second problem is that it's only about four hours long.

Mass Effect (PC) - doing some shit in space
The gunplay is cool; not Borderlands cool, but still pretty fun. Aside from that, though, I'm still not sure how to feel about Mass Effect. Between the dialog and the Codex background, I haven't done this much reading since the last time I actually read a book. Why won't these goddamn aliens shut up? All I want to do is kill them or have sex with them, but those options barely ever show up in my magic conversation wheel.

Mega Man Zero 3 (GBA) - finished the intro mission
I enjoyed the first two Mega Man Zeroes, despite their initial learning curves, as solid action games with robots and f'in lightsabers. Mega Man Zero 3, as far as I can tell, is more of the same - which is good, in a way. But it still doesn't understand what a checkpoint is. I simply do not have the patience anymore to get all the way to the boss of a level, die, and then have to repeat the entire level over from the beginning. Fuck you, Zero!

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (PS2) - captured the Ace of Clubs
I'm still playing this one (or, I will be when I get back home). Of all the clones of GTA I've tried, this might be the one that actually rivals it: instead of warring gangs, there are warring countries, and instead of police, North Korea. All the same basic concepts apply, doing missions for different factions and being able to free-form blow shit up, but you're not a criminal like in Liberty City. In Mercenaries, killing people is what you're supposed to be doing. I'm surprisingly pleased with Mercs, and look forward to all the trouble I'll get in later in the game.

Metroid Prime: Trilogy (Wii) - started replaying Metroid Prime 1 and 2
I actually didn't play a whole lot of the Trilogy - just enough to see that, while Wiimote point-and-shoot in the first two Metroid Primes feels pretty good, it also notches up the difficulty a bit (since the Gamecube games assumed your lock-on was 100% accurate). All three games are still great, even the second one.

Metroid: Zero Mission (GBA) - finished the game
Unfortunately, like many other NES classics, I was never able to get more than a few minutes into the original Metroid. Where's the map? C'mon Gunpei! So Zero Mission was a blessing, bringing Metroid into the 21st century for me. I liked it, and the final levels (new to Zero Mission) were interesting, but I still prefer Samus's more recent outings.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii (Wii) - finished the game in co-op
I haven't played much New SMB Wii solo yet, so I don't have much to say about that mode - but with four players, this is really like (almost; see Trine below) no other game I'm aware of. It's utter chaos: minor traps become deadly, everyone is accidentally (or otherwise!) killing each other, and it's damn near impossible just finishing a lot of the game's stages. But it's fun. God damn, is it fun!

Ninja Blade (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
Playing this made me feel retarded. Not because it was challenging, at all. Because it was retarded.

Overlord (PC/Xbox 360) - finished the game (+ demoed on PC)
Conceptually, I love the Overlord franchise. It's like Pikmin, but fucking evil! The level design could use some work, and the controls are kind of shitty, but the theme of the game is just good enough to make up for its mechanical problems.

Overlord: Raising Hell (Xbox 360) - finished the expansion
...and the DLC is more of that. Some of the extra levels are pretty good, some aren't. The humor is the same, though, which is great.

Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode 1 (PC) - finished the game
As a bizarre adventure-RPG hybrid, made to exploit the PA comic, I didn't expect much from RSPD's gameplay. But it ended up pleasantly surprising me: its unique mechanics for improving your character, and doing super- and combination-attacks, are actually pretty compelling. And of course the game's sense of humor is fantastic. Episode 2 is on my list now, and I really hope they finish the trilogy(?) eventually.

Perfect Dark Zero (Xbox 360) - gave up on the demo
Boring, uninspired crap.

Plants vs. Zombies (PC) - finished the game
It's a PopCap game, and yet-another-Tower-Defense. I really have no right to like Plants vs. Zombies so much. But it's easy to get into, deceptively deep, and has a great blend of action- and planning-oriented gameplay. Plus there are so many extra modes and collectibles, you can sink hours into them without even realizing what day it is.

Prince of Persia (PC) - finished the game
Sure, the gameplay is pretty simple. Sure, the combat can get silly. Sure, the ending is kind of bad. But I really had a lot of fun with the new PoP. Jumping across chasms, running along ceilings, just leaping around and enjoying the view. I didn't mind the Light Seed collecting at all; traipsing through the game world just felt awesome.

Prototype (PC) - finished the game
So there's this boss, maybe 2/3 of the way through the game - a giant tentacle monster that comes out of the ground. I didn't have the abilities I needed to kill it the "right" way, and I was unable to go back and grind for them, because the game autosaved me in the boss fight. Took me four hours to kill that motherfucker. Prototype had its moments (grappling up to a helicopter and eating the pilots: cool!), but was brought down for me by frustrating bullshit like that.

Red Faction: Guerrilla (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
I wasn't real impressed with the game world. Sure, it's Mars - fuckin' A! - but it's basically just a red desert with buildings in it. What's sweet about Red Faction is what I wanted from Fracture: being able to fuck up the game landscape. I don't know why knocking down buildings is so fun, but it is! I've got the full PC version waiting in the wings, whenever I've got the time for it.

Resident Evil 5 (Xbox 360) - finished the game in co-op
As a co-op experience, RE5 isn't bad. The controls do feel more awkward than they have to, sometimes, and the story is just as retarded as you should expect from Resident Evil (volcano, what?). It's a fun ride, but there are better co-op games out there. And solo, well, it can't really hold a candle to RE4.

Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles (Wii) - got to Code Veronica chapters in co-op
I was hoping to have this finished last week, but man, the Code: Veronica chapters just keep going. I've never played REC:V, but if it's anything like its chapters in Darkside Chronicles, I'll be staying as far away from it as possible. Anyway - Darkside Chronicles has some incremental improvements over Umbrella Chronicles, but still doesn't approach what Dead Space: Extraction has accomplished.

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (PC) - finished the game
I take great shame in admitting that, prior to this year, I'd never played Monkey Island. I know! I am a terrible person. And now, having played (and enjoyed quite a lot) the Special Edition, I'm sufficiently spoiled by the voice acting and high-res art that I won't be able to play Monkey Island 2, until there's a special edition of that as well. Damn you, LucasArts!

Shadow Complex (Xbox 360) - finished the game, 100%
Donald Mustard at Chair has said that Shadow Complex development started with an extensive internal review of Super Metroid, and it really shows. On one hand, it's easy to call SC a complete rip-off of Metroid, right down to the door colors. On the other hand, it's fun. The "new" gameplay Shadow Complex brings, namely third-dimension depth, isn't really compelling; but that doesn't stop the game from being thoroughly enjoyable.

Sonic Unleashed (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
The demo didn't include any Were-hog segments; it was strictly daytime hedgehog-running, and was actually pretty alright. If I actually believed that the full game was like this, it'd be on my shelf by now.

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (Wii/Xbox 360) - finished the game (+ demoed on Xbox 360)
Much like Ghostbusters, I like the creative gesture usage in the Wii version of Force Unleashed, but am kind of let down that it looks like a PS2 game. And yet, while the Xbox 360 version does a much better job of wowing me visually, using button combos for Force powers, and jamming a button for the lightsaber, just feels stupid. (The story blows in either case.) I got some enjoyment out of TFU, but not enough to get suckered in by the Ultimate Sith expansion.

Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal (PC) - finished the episode
A good adventure game, as far as adventure games go. Great humor and writing; occasionally arbitrary and frustrating puzzles. Not as well-polished as the Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition - I would have killed for an in-game hint system - but impressive and fun, regardless.

Tales of Vesperia (Xbox 360) - died at the demo boss
I liked Tales of Symphonia, on the Gamecube, in 2004. Five years later? The same game, in higher definition, with a lot more inane chatter and time-wasting; well, I didn't really care much for it. I was pretty happy when my party died at the demo boss. They were all whiny bitches anyway.

Time Gentlemen, Please! (PC) - finished the game
I enjoyed Ben There, Dan That! because it distilled the good parts of a classic LucasArts adventure into a succinct, delicious experience. Time Gentlemen, Please!, as a full-length and full-complexity game, sidesteps those benefits and takes on the major pitfall of older adventure titles: many puzzles seem needlessly complicated and arbitrary. What worked so well under a microscope in BTDT, became a reminder of moribund genre tropes in TGP.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. (PC) - finished the demo
I like that HAWX is a flight sim easy enough for an idiot like me to play. Doing barrel rolls (!) and tailing enemy craft, obliterating them with my overpowered weaponry, was pretty fun in the demo. But I'm still not a flight sim guy (unless it's Star Wars), so, no dice.

Too Human (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
What a waste! Too Human might be a competent game, but it's impossible for me to take it out of the context of ten years of development. No matter what minor successes it may have achieved, they're nothing compared to the game's colossal development failure.

Trine (PC) - finished the game in co-op
Alone, Trine is an interesting physics experiment, a fun game with some creative quirks. With three players, it's co-operative mayhem; not on the same scale as New SMB Wii, but still enough to engender some (more-or-less) friendly rivalry on the couch. As the wizard, it was my pleasure to create platforms and boxes over or in front of my cohorts, occasionally to their great detriment and death.

Watchmen: The End is Nigh (PC) - finished the episode 1 demo
A pageant queen of a movie-game: End is Nigh looks great, but has absolutely nothing of substance. Beat-em-ups on the Super NES were deeper than this. A gorgeous, vacuous button-masher.

WET (Xbox 360) - finished the game
I should have stuck with the demo. It was great fun! WET's grindhouse aesthetic is engaging and cool, and the gameplay is simple, but fun to play around with. Unfortunately, the full game never offers anything more. Shallow shooting, poor acrobatics, and an incoherent story culminate in a quick-time-event finale that left me wondering - was the awful ending intentional? A joke on the player, riffing on rushed endings in grindhouse movies? Not that this would make it any better.

Wheelman (Xbox 360) - finished the demo
Call me naive, but I was genuinely excited for Wheelman when it was announced. The notion of cutting the narrative "fat" out of a Grand Theft Auto game, and enhancing the driving elements, sounded right up my alley. But Wheelman's driving controls and physics suck. That's really all there is to it.

Wii Sports Resort (Wii) - played some minigames
This is a new Wii Sports. If you liked the original, you'll like this; if you didn't, you probably won't. That being said, Resort improves on the first Wii Sports in every way imaginable (plus, uh, wakeboarding!). So if you host Wii parties, it's a no-brainer, even without the bundled MotionPlus.

The World Ends With You (DS) - Joshua day three
I tried this when it was new, but couldn't really get into it; TWEWY is pretty long-winded for a portable game, not to mention having a ridiculous abbreviation. Now that I'm revisiting it, I'm interested to see what the game's mysterious narrative is hiding - but the gameplay still seems too overly complicated for its own good.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (PC) - level 80
Fuck you, Blizzard! You cocksuckers! Fuck you! God damn it! (When is Cataclysm coming out?)


Sweet zombie Jesus. I've set a pretty high bar for myself this year. I think I can make it, though, as long as World of Warcraft leaves me the hell alone.

By the way, there was never any vortex threatening to destroy the universe - that was just a meticulous, intricate lie.
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