Some Thoughts On Games I’ve Recently Played

Arranged alphabetically by game.

Assassin’s Creed, despite being janky and repetitive, and reminescent of the grand tradition of Rare-style collect-a-thons (“Help, Altair! Collect 18 flags in three minutes and I’ll give you the item you need!”), remains strangely enjoyable. I can’t put my finger on why, but I did notice my enjoyment went up considerably when I stopped worrying about the flashing “SOMEONE IS WATCHING YOU” meter and just ran around like a noisy dickhead assassin.

Audiosurf came onto my radar as the HOT INDIE MUSIC GAME to play this year; it’s available on Steam for $10. It is quite a lot of fun, and I enjoy throwing random songs at it. That said, I’m not experiencing the lose-hours-at-a-time thing many others in the community are.

For some inexplicable reason, I played all the way through the story mode of Bomberman Land 2. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t.

Burnout Paradise shows how to re-invent a game series properly, even if that involves pissing off a large portion of your fanbase while you hold out your hands and swear it’ll be all right.

It only took Namco Bandai a year and a half to get Culdcept Saga released in the US after putting it out to die in Japan. I fit the target demographic perfectly: the card game nerd who also likes board games. Consequently, Katie hates the game with every fiber of her soul.

Devil May Cry 4 seems to have held my interest for the same length of time as every other DMC game: five levels. Actually, this may be longer than the previous games. No idea when I will return to it.

When Rockstar put their games on Steam, I took the opportunity to buy the GTA Complete Pack. It is such a thrill to actually be able to accurately shoot thugs with a regular mouse and keyboard interface rather than struggling with shoulder buttons.

During a week off from work in January, I played Mass Effect start to finish. It’s rare to find a game where the plot keeps me playing through horrible gameplay, but here we are. After one run through as a virtuous Infiltrator, I started a second play-through so I could be a jerk to everyone in the galaxy. Even that wasn’t enough to keep me playing, sadly.

I am not one to buy a lot of sports games, but the demo for MLB 08: The Show reminds me of why I loved last year’s edition so much: it’s not so much the sport as the technical accomplishments of what can be done taking a real life game and putting it into a video game.

Along the same lines, I picked up a pre-owned copy of NHL 08 today solely based on good buzz for it. The gameplay itself is surprisingly fun; I just wish EA would figure out how to make a sports game with a halfway decent menu system for people that are new to their series.

My immediate thought upon playing No More Heroes is “Suda must be fucking insane”. I’d like to expand upon that: he must be insane to have come up with such a high art game concept, and he must have been equally insane to load it down with the worst overworld engine I’ve seen in any game in the last five years.

Patapon is easily the must have PSP game of the first half of this year.

Poker Smash for XBLA is an enjoyable twist on the Tetris Attack formula. Unfortunately, I am largely terrible at it.

Professor Layton found an odd place with me. On one hand, as a child who read things like What Is The Name Of This Book? and Puzzlegrams, it’s basically a living breathing puzzle book. On the hand, it’s a goddamn electronic puzzle book. Were I still 12, this would be my dream game – but seeing as I’m 27, it makes me wonder why I was ever entertained by matchstick puzzles.

I picked up Rez HD when it hit XBLA, but I didn’t get a chance to finish it until this past weekend. I always liked Rez, but it never clicked – and apparently, the reason was because I never got very far into the game. Area 5 made it click.

Rock Band remains the most compelling gaming reason to buy an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.

The greatest gaming travesty I can point my finger at right now is that Singstar PS3 is not yet out in the US. I say this not because the game is perhaps the best pure karaoke game ever made (it is), and not because the online functionality is incredibly easy to use (it is), but because the US SingStore isn’t up, and I can’t buy any extra tracks. And that, my friends, is a travesty.

If you don’t own Team Fortress 2, you are part of the problem.