#14 – Bioshock Infinite (PC)

The less I say about Bioshock Infinite, the better it is for you who has yet to play it. It looks great, plays great, has an engaging story, and builds a world more immersive than most games I’ve played. I’m mad that I’m going to have to wait a million years to get another game like this. You don’t need to play Bioshock or Bioshock 2 to get into it, even though they’re also fantastic. Just get it.

5 out of 5 mechanical George Washingtons

#13 – Proteus (PC)

Proteus is so short, it shouldn’t count. Less than 45 minutes for a full playthrough. It’s a lot like Dear Esther, except there’s no narrative, and the graphics are 8 bit at best. It gives the game a real unique aesthetic. There are different seasons. There are unique landmarks, and the island you’re exploring is generated each time you play. It’s a less linear experience than Dear Esther, but I feel like there is less to see in Proteus. It’s a pretty game, in its own way, and the music reacts to where you are.

But having heard a lot about the immersiveness of this game, I can’t help but feel I missed something.

2 out of 5 musical frogs

What am I doing?

It’s only been a week but it feels like I’ve not done enough. On consoles, I’m floundering between God of War 2 (because I have the PS3 collection, and I want to play 3, but I somehow feel the need to finish 2 first) on PS3 and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow on Xbox 360.

I picked Lords of Shadow back up because that new 3DS game is out, and I’ve been playing God of War 2, and I figured I could quickly wrap it up. I was wrong. Last time I played it, I was stuck on the music box level because I rage quit during the lightning bolt section. When I picked it back up again, I managed to stumble through that part and finish the level, but now I’m fighting monsters again and I’ve completely forgotten how most of that game works, so I’m rage quitting for being frustratingly shitty at it. I still want to finish it but I have to summon up some real willpower to do so first.

On PC, I’m lazily replaying Bioshock 2 because Bioshock Infinite is coming out in a little more than a week and I want to get myself in the right mood. Then Steam had a sale on Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that I couldn’t resist. I’ve wanted the game for quite a while. It’s not bad. It’s kind of like Fable crossed with Elder Scrolls. There’s a shitload of stuff to do, but it’s mostly fetch quests, which are disappointing. The world is very rich and full of lore, but it’s really hard for me to get invested in it because I know nothing more will come from the series. Since I bought it with all the DLC, I ended up with some DLC weapons from the start, which made the beginning of the game entirely too easy, but I’ve finally gotten to points where I had to think about what I’m doing. I’ve put 10+ hours into it within the last two days, but I still feel like it’s something I’m playing until something better comes along.

I got the wild notion to reinstall Fallout 3 so I could continue my quest to complete its DLC. I hope that doesn’t go anywhere because that’s a rabbit hole I don’t need to fall into any time soon. Gears of War: Judgment comes out this week, and I couldn’t be bothered to get excited for it. Nothing leading up to the release has really excited me, and the middling review on Giant Bomb doesn’t help matters. I still feel Resident Evil 6 calling my name, but then I also keep thinking of playing Silent Hill: Downpour too. And of all the stupid things, I’m playing Chaos Rings on my fucking phone. Seriously. But I’m not that invested in it.

#12 – Civilization 5 (PC)

Okay, this one is kind of cheating because you can’t really finish Civilization 5, but I did finish one game of Civ 5 and it took me over 8 hours to do so. I hit the “play now” button and I got the Iroquois on a small world, continental map with five opponents on “prince” difficulty. I ended up on my own isolated continent (except for two city-states) while almost everyone else ended up on a much larger continent. The exception was another civilization that was just to my south, whom I quickly annexed. My people were mostly unhappy as I had too many cities, too many people, and not enough happiness to go around. Because of my isolation, I had a hard time fighting other countries on the big continent, but they also had a hard time getting to me. I lost a lot of land units in transit, and I ended up bombarding a lot from my ships off the coast. Not effective at taking cities, but plenty damaging to units on land. I spent the early game a little behind in technology, but when it mattered, I was ahead. I finished off with a space victory about 30 turns before the end.

The city-states make an interesting addition, and the “one unit per tile” rule means my attacks were made in waves rather than one pile of units hopping around. Cities seemed rather more difficult to take than Civ 4, and I clearly did not pay enough attention to happiness. I went with a space victory because I was strong on research late in the game, and couldn’t muster the culture for a policy victory, no one liked me enough for a UN victory, and conquering everyone would have been a serious slog.

4 out of 5 mohawk warriors

Sleeping Dogs: Nightmare at North Point

If the Zodiac Tournament was a kung fu movie, Nightmare at North Point is a cheesy horror movie, steeped in Chinese mythology. An evil spirit kidnaps your date, and you have to fist fight demons and possessed people to get her back, with the help of some mystical tea, and peachwood swords. There are hell money, yaoguai, restless ghosts, jiang shi, and no police so you can run over and stab whomever you wish! It exists outside of the main game, so it goes rather bonkers at times, with possessed people attacking you at random, and the world constantly raining and night time. It’s not the most exciting piece of DLC ever, and it’s kind of short, but it’s cheap. If you want more Sleeping Dogs, or more Chinese myths, go nuts.

#11 – Sleeping Dogs (PC)

I picked up Sleeping Dogs shortly after finishing Saints Row the Third. I’d heard that Sleeping Dogs was really good, and I was in the mood to give another open world game a shot. I can’t say I was disappointed; Sleeping Dogs is fantastic. The driving is arcade-y and fun, the fist fights are Batman: Arkham style, and the shooting is competent enough. It feels like a good cop action movie, which is what it aims to be. There’s plenty of side content and they make decent distractions. Most are centered around punching guys in the face or chasing them, but there are also races and betting on cockfights. The story is rather good as you play an undercover cop in a Chinese triad.

4 jade statues out of 5

Sleeping Dogs: Zodiac Tournament

I’m back on Sleeping Dogs, and I felt like I was at a point where playing The Zodiac Tournament would make sense. Being an open-world game, there was nothing stopping me from starting the Tournament from the start, but I figured I should level up a few times first.

Zodiac Tournament is heavily influenced by old kung fu movies. It’s got the film grain cutscenes, and the sound of punches and kicks are replaced with the over-the-top kung fu chops. The Tournament is very short. You meet seven other fighters with no more backstory than what you get from a one minute conversation. Then you fight! If you’re any good at fighting in the main game, you will breeze through the tournament like I did.

It’s an enjoyable hour of running around a very small island and fighting guys.

#10 – Killzone 3 (PS3)

Killzone 3 picks up immediately following Killzone 2. The story is kind of bad, and it ends very abruptly. It’s not really an ending at all. But the rest of the game is pretty great. It’s easily one of the best looking shooters I’ve ever played. The amount of detail in every level is absolutely nuts. In some of the later levels, when stuff is really going down, it’s a beautiful sight.

The game plays pretty much the same as it did in the second game. If anything, the controls are slightly less floaty. The music also improved between the two games. I’ve embedded the title theme, which is pretty amazing. I don’t have much else to say about it. It’s very good.

4 out of 5 war profiteers