I suppose if one is to appear vaguely interesting to an unknown outside readership, perhaps is acceptable to post a little about this gamers background. My earliest gaming memory is Alex Kidd on the Sega Master System at age 3. The first game I was good at was Street Fighter II aged 5. The first game I was really good at was Sega Rally Championship at age 8. With my father doing most of the purchasing choices based on what he read was whilst browsing the magazines in the supermarket, I was allowed virtually unrestricted access to a large array of games and genres (my parents were never fickle about age ratings).
It is through this that perhaps I have a larger acceptance for different genres than most gamers. Whilst one genre I don't typically get along with is Real-Time Stratagy, I'm happy with a platformer, a fighting game or an RPG, but especially at home with racing games and shooters. I'd go so far to say I'm quite good at the latter two; I usually podium if not win on Dirt 3 or Forza 3 online, and have breached Top 100 ranks on various L4D and CS:S servers. I'm not immense, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that until last year, I was mostly wrapped up in the 17 years of education I partook in.
Now, I'm in a different position entirely; I work in a pub as a bartender at night, and by day, I'm an administrator for West Sussex County Council. Despite these two jobs, I do have a lot more free time whilst at home, without it being taken up by studying.
Add to that my disposable income, and you start to see the reason for the backlog.
As I said in my previous post, Left 4 Dead 2 has been my main gaming focus for the last year and a half, and despite my best efforts, I've never been easily torn away. But as the interest dies down, I find myself needing to shove the boat out hard and get on with some of the genuinely interesting and cool games that have come out lately, or that I have acquired lately anyway.
So I began this tackling of the backlog in January with House of the Dead: Overkil
l, which was to be the first Wii game I'd complete since purchasing the system October 2010. It was okay, for a �9.99 purchase, and I wasn't expecting the world from it, but it did mange to make me laugh, which in gaming, is a rarity. The over the top swearing and tit-swinging bosses were just ridiculous, and despite the bad voice acting (which I feel was actually embraced in order to further the B-Movie appeal), it was a damn good blast through. One word of advice though; don't pay top dollar for it. If you plan on getting the HD version, wait until it's at most �15 or so.
Then I shifted platform to the Xbox 360 and got Halo 3: ODST
out of the way. Very very average. I'm a big fan of what was happening six to eight years ago with the Halo franchise, but I really think a new development team for the single player is the best move here. The main motivation seemed to be "Let's get the guys from Firefly in for some reason". And thus, a game was built around this idea, and here it was. May have been better at the time if you were one of the Halo-starved, but I'd had my eyes elsewhere, and today, I find myself not entirely impressed with this DLC. Still, was only �8, and I'd say it was worth that.
Then came the fallout from the Steam Christmas sale in the form of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.
Fantastic game, although not exactly a choice for hardcore racing enthusiasts. Definitely the best Burnout game so far, purely for the Pursuit online game mode, which is hella fun with friends. Even the single player was decent enough, and kept me interested until the very end. Still, my heart belongs mostly to Codemaster's these days, and until the Ego engine is used to power a Burnout/Need for Speed style game, you won't have my devoted love Criterion. Still, kudos on Burnout Paradise!
Back on Wii, another light gun shooter in the shape of Dead Space: Extraction
, which was primarily in my scopes due to the impending release of Dead Space 2. The Wii game was pretty good, and has some of the most interesting use of the Wiimote as a gun that I've seen thus far, and whilst the voice acting was rather bad ad the graphics were soooo PS2, I had a lot of fun, especially considering my mother was home sick and joined me for the co-op. Word of advice; if you have someone to play a light gun game with, don't play without them, as it is always more fun, and one of the less intrusive multiplayer game types you can play locally. I enjoyed it more than House of the Dead: Overkill, but that might just be for the Plasma Cutter; might want to look into one of those Sega...
Feeling quite comfortable with the Ishimura, I moved on to Dead Space
on PC. Whislt I felt the game was as technically good and surpassed graphically and artistically the likes of Resident Evil 4, the first Dead Space just didn't have that initial WOW vibe. The atmosphere was too similar to many old games I remember, with flashbacks to some old Saturn horror games, System Shock, Doom3, and even Half-Life (which will return later in this diary hopefully, as I'm yet to finish it). It was a solid game, and to give it credit, I don't remember being as tense with a game before, but maybe there was just something lacking that I couldn't put my finger on.
Whatever it was that was missing, Dead Space 2
had it. I love that game. It's in my top 10 of this generation easily. It delivered on the Epic Games catchphrase of "Bigger and more badass". Isaac suddenly opened his mouth, and hey presto, one of the most likeable protaganists to come out of the genre, or many other games, in a long time. It was pretty in a gross way, it was tense, it was creepy, and it had a decent pace, along with some horrific death scenes and cool level design. Maybe it wasn't your traditional "Penumbra" experience, but hell, give me jet pack legs, and I'm a happy camper.
My recounting of the backlog completion up to this point will resume next blog update. Ta ra for now.
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