I'm going to start this rather late entry in this "Backlog Diary of the everyday working man" with a very quick sum up of the games I finished, so I can get on with the proper diary in Part 4. My apologies if these comments are brief, but in many cases, it has been months since I finished them: Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
was absolutely fantastic. Whilst it holds on to exactly the same formula that drove Ocarina of Time to success nine years prior to its release, the game brought back something I hadn't had in nearly a decade from a game. Midna was as interesting a character as any that you dare name to have come from Nintendo, it featured great sound design and an interesting variety of level design for the Twilight areas... yeah, really liked it. Makes having bought the Wii a good decision in itself. Although I have to ask, what the hell was with the postman? What the hell, Japan?
I just about managed to crawl through Halo: Reach
without getting bored. Halo: Combat Evolved was one of my favourite games of all time, but after playing this, I can't help but think that a change of hands from Bungie to 343 Industries could do for Halo what it has done for Tomb Raider as of late. It was graphically dull, with uninspired and unbelievable level design, and other than that was just more of the same. I think ODST was more fun to me to be honest. Can't even bring myself to try the multiplayer, as I know there are other games with more fun gameplay I could play instead. Assassin's Creed II & Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood
were both stellar entries in a now firmly established series. Whilst little changes between games, particularly between these two, the little additions that are made are just enough to make it not feel like an expansion pack, further boosted by one of the more genuinly interesting story lines of any game series out at the moment. No other mainstream game successfully replicates historic places and events (although notably altered) as well as AC, and I eagerly await the fourth entry in two months.
I'm a little disappointed wih Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
. It mostly felt like I was playing Tomb Raider, but with less back flips, more wang on the main character, and the common sense to duck and cover ala Marcus Fenix. It's damn pretty, the story is okay, and the gameplay is solid, but as one of the flagship titles of the Playstation franchise, I have to admit that I was expecting quite a lot more. I'm soon to start the even more critically acclaimed Uncharted 2: Amongst Thieves soon, so perhaps it's merely a matter of not having played the game when I was supposed to have. Also, didn't really get the underground troll guys. Wasn't feeling it. Sorry N-Dogs. Battlefied: Bad Company 2
is probably second only to Call of Duty 4 in realistic-ish military FPS. The characters were fun and likeable, the set pieces were fun, with enough explosive barrels and explosions to keep a mans eyes open, and it was darn pretty to boot. Multiplayer was skipped, but that was only because none of my Steam friends played it any more by the time I got my hands on it. I preferred it to all previous Call of Duty games aside from Call of Duty 4, because it made you feel like part of a unit, just like Call of Duty 4 did. Where it loses out to Modern Warfare is the drama; whilst the "first person death scene" effect of the COD games has worn somewhat thin of late, that first time the nuke went off is very hard to come close to in terms of player shock value. Crysis 2
was beautiful, well-designed and fun. Not a game of the year contender though (cough- Dead Space 2, or perhaps Skyrim when that happens) but a solid game. The plot was on a par if not slightly elevated above the average FPS, it handled nicely, the nanosuit powers gave it an edge, and, plus of all pluses, Crytek made sure everyone (except Wii owners) could enjoy such a pretty game, which I tip my hat to them for. It's hard to put down much criticism, except maybe some more enemy vairety, and some boss encounters, and an actual end boss would have been nice. My hope is for an expansion pack, as now the ground work has been laid out, Crytek can now get to work on a superior game, much as they did with Crysis: Warhead after Crysis. Splinter Cell: Conviction
was alright. I enjoyed it. Hard to say much more, except I'm really starting to miss old-school Splinter Cell. I kind of liked the alternative hud layout and hit system, and any game with black and white in it usually wins. I have often wished that Left 4 Dead 2 and The Saboteur would always be black and white, instead of being a measure of health, or progress within Paris, but to no avail. I think I'd have preferred this game to be a new IP rather than get Sam involved, so that it didn't feel that the series was truely lost from its golden age of Chaos Theory.
My pleasant surprise of the year, Vanquish
is amazing. It may have a shite story line, but when it looks and plays this cool, who cares? Jet pack legs? Instant win. Jetpack legging across the flaw? Knockout. Jet pack legging across the flaw and then flipkicking a twenty foot snarling robot man one hundred feet in the air? In slow-mo? FATALATY! Very stylish, if not shallow game, which I thoroughly recommend above anything else I've mentioned above, purely because it's so different to anything else you'll be playing right now.
From pleasant surprises to expected disappointments, Fallout: New Vegas
was a rather dirty looking, dirty feeling game. I only played the main quest, as I never feel obliged to do anything else. Fallout 3 was just about enticing enough for me to do a few, but the games are dated, and it seems to really show in this one. Also, New Vegas itself was very underwhelming. Is this supposed to be the height of corruption and power within the Wasteland? Because all I can see is three robots, and two geezers in bad suits pretending it's still 1940 and that they're meeting Frank Sinatra for cocktails. The plot was nothing to write home about, I felt nothing as I made my choices, eventually choosing to be a dick to anything that stood in front of me, and felt no real guilt or thrill as a conscequence. For some, this might be a great RPG, but there's a lot you have ot get past to find it, and I frankly didn't have the patience.
I was pleasanlt surprised by Call of Duty: Black Ops
which within the series, I would put third, after Call of Duty 4, and Call of Duty 2. The story was actually pretty good, and even though I guessed the twist quite early on, it was still satisfying to see it pan out. And whilst Treyarch lag behind Infinity ward in terms of level design, they have more than made up for it with some good writing and zombies. Fable III
really showed that Peter Molyneux doesn't play any other games. I admire the fact that the man has ambitions, but without seeing what else is out there, how can he know if he is driving towards what gamers want? It seems generous to call this an RPG, or even a decent action game. It's just kind of stuck between the two. It tries to be funny and fails, it tries to be dramatic and fails, and it tries to be epic and fails. It feels like I'm just mucking about in this small county, and that the only conscequence of my actions is that farmers make more rapberry noises at me as I walk past. Peter, if you're reading, play Skyrim when it comes out, and then proceed to shit yourself, as I can only imagine that it will be one of the best action-RPG's to date. Then make Fable 4, ditch the soppy humour that takes the lowest denominators of British humour, get some decent script writers and voice actors, and maybe completely redesign Albion. Oh, and stop with all the direct "fork in the road" choice parts. But do keep Stephen Fry. Tom Clancy's: Hawx 2
was shit. Half jet fighter sim, half interactive Call of Duty loading screen. Just stick to planes Ubisoft, as we thick bastards who can't play a real flight-sim like those. I don't want to be a UAV Drone. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
was okay. I'd been missing a hack and slash game for some time. Whilst the apparant canonical Star Wars storyline was a bit pants, the only redeeming Star Wars feature was lightsabres, and force tossing Wookies. Oh, and fighting Darth Maul... chessy, but a nice touch. Despite poor reviews, I shall be buying the second one, as no over Star Wars game gives you a lightsabre and says "Press A/X/Left Click to swing". I like pressing A/X/Left Click to vring, vring frumph! VVVVVV
is one of the few indie games that I started, and then, two or so hours later, finished. I didn't put it down. Lot's of fun, even through frustration. I loved the music, and the sense of achievement when you finally got to the top of that tower with the rising spikes. Dirt 3
was a let down from Dirt 2, but that's no surprise, as Dirt 2 stands as my second favourite racing game of all time, behind Sega Rally Championship 2005. The campaign was good fun, although the big thrills come from going online and taking on the world. Only spoilt by the fact that you have to purchase the best cars through DLC, but then who needs to win? Very good game, especially if you're willing to pay an extra �10 or so on top of the asking price. Star Fox 64 3D
was pretty good. Finished it a few times now through different paths, and I will inevitably play it a few more times. I like the 3D, but other than that, it seems little has changed. I always play in N64 mode, so I can have the 3D on, as opposed to gyro contols with 3D off. (By the way, yes, I have a 3DS now) A good portable game, which I look forward to playing on Holiday some more in between Peace Walker missions Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition
is again, very similar to its console counterparts. I will say that it works in portable and 3D form, and I like the dynamic view.
In part 4, I hope to talk about a freshly finished Deus Ex 3, and any progress I'll have made with Uncharted 2 and F1 2010. Ciao for now.