Category Archives: 2013 Game Log

#40 – Deadpool (PC)

I got this more or less on Steam sale impulse, and I was pleasantly surprised! Deadpool is kind of a dumb character, and Deadpool is kind of a dumb game. But it’s dumb in a good way! There are a ton of stupid jokes that miss more than hit, but the action is pretty fast-paced and varied, and the platforming is mercifully brief. Deadpool talks constantly, as is expected from the character. I heard “what’s your blood type?” more times than I want to count.

The environments are not the most exciting. Sewers, a prison, the ruined island of Genosha, and a rather tame interpretation of Hell. What kept me going was the cameos from X-Men and how Deadpool interacted with them. The main story isn’t exciting, or particularly cohesive, but Deadpool’s interactions with Cable and Death were good. What particularly hurts the action is the camera, which doesn’t always seem to be in a good position to follow what’s going on. But it’s not a deal breaker.

It’s also a game that makes fun of a lot of video game tropes, some more competantly than others. Remember the strip club scene in Duke Nukem Forever that was really weird and creepy? In Duke’s fantasy, he’s the coolest guy and all the ladies want him. It’s just the weirdest thing because sexy polygon ladies is always weird and they’re coming onto you. Deadpool takes this in the other direction. There’s a pool party and Deadpool tries to hit on the women there and they just shoot him down every single time. He’s gross and weird and they want nothing to do with him, and it’s hilarious. Deadpool frequently breaks the fourth wall and points to the dumber stuff in video games.

It’s no masterpiece, and it’s short (6 – 7 hours), but if you’re into Deadpool and competant action, it’ll keep you entertained for a weekend or a long afternoon.

#39 – Antichamber (PC)

I don’t know what I really think about this. It’s a really visually striking as it’s a lot of white rooms with splashes of color. The puzzles range from simple to what in the hell, mostly because not a lot of it makes logical sense. There are plenty of parts that are really awesome with how it plays with perspectives, but a lot of it also feels like “look at this cool stuff I did in Unreal engine”. I also managed to hit some hard limits of the engine as I crashed it three times using one of the later abilities in the game.

But I don’t know. It’s no Braid or Portal, but it’s got a lot of puzzles that got stuck in my brain until I solved them, or shamelessly youtube-d the solution.

#38 – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Brothers has been on quite a few top 10 lists this year for good reason. It’s fantastic. It’s kind of like a single-player coop game, in that you control two characters with the control sticks of the gamepad and they’ve got independent movement and actions. Most of the game is traversing terrain and simple puzzle solving, but it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s relatively short (about 3 hours) but it’s perfectly paced and no part of it overstays its welcome. It’s three hours well spent.

#37 – Dishonored (PC)

I probably should have finished this game long ago, but I wanted to get the “good” ending, and that requires not killing everyone, and this game makes it a lot more fun to kill everyone. It requires patience to sneak around and choke out so many of the things in your way, and I’ve played this in fits and starts because I’m much more direct than that.

There’s also a lot in this game. The levels are enormous and there are books and lore and non-hostile characters all over the place. Much more of the game world is revealed in the texts than ever presented on the surface. Maybe I didn’t connect enough of the dots, but I want more of that world-building because it’s really interesting. It’s a great blend of sci-fi and industrial age.

#36 – Papers, Please (PC)

It’s hard to describe what’s so fun about Papers, Please. To put it simply, the game is about checking the documents of people trying to cross a fictional Eastern Bloc nation’s border with ever-changing rules and procedures. It’s an oppressive environment as you’re constantly choosing between strictly enforcing the rules of your superiors, or bending them at your own expense to do what seems right. You can have people detained for cash. You can take bribes. Everyone seemingly has a story or excuse for their discrepancies. And all the while, the rest of your family is starving and cold because you can’t afford food and heat.

But it is fun! It’s so fun. It’s almost entirely mouse-driven, but everything feels perfect. You move the documents onto your desk for closer inspection. Stamping papers makes a satisfying “kachunk” sound. Upgrades to your interface bring shortcuts. There’s a time limit to each day, and you get paid by the person processed, with fines for screwing up (either intentionally or unintentionally) more than twice. It moves pretty briskly but once I got a rhythm down, I never really felt oppressed by the clock. Everything just works great.

Glory to Arstotzka.

#35 – Resistance 2 (PS3)

This might be the last game that I finish this year, unless I really buckle down during my vacation to wrap some up, namely The Last of Us.

What to say about Resistance 2? It’s way better than the first game. It’s got a lot more color even if it’s all green and yellow, and there’s a more distinct style to it. It’s just really lacking in story. Each level feels really different and none of them feel interconnected by much at all. It’s also at least twice as difficult as it should be by making the player very fragile. Sure, you regenerate health, but it’s really not a lot of fun to replay parts over and over until you memorize the locations of enemies, or spend half of the game staring up close at the waist-high scenery in cover.

And what the fuck is up with PS3 exclusive shooters with horrible endings? Holy crap, there’s not much story to this game, and it ends very poorly.

Now that I’ve wrapped this up, I might be able to get around to the entire reason why I played Resistance and Resistance 2. I might get to start Resistance 3, which I’ve read is fantastic and takes a lot of cues from Half-Life 2. Or maybe I’ll throw myself down a JRPG hole and start Ni No Kuni.

#34 – Medal of Honor (PC)

This game also came from the Humble Origin Bundle! Or else I wouldn’t own this either. Despite being a video game, and the part about mowing down hundreds of bad guys, Medal of Honor is slightly more grounded in reality than Battlefield. There’s a threat and it’s Al-Qaeda, not an nuclear bomb. And instead of playing just plain old marines, you get to swap between a Navy SEAL, a special forces operator, and a ranger. There’s also a much greater emphasis on infantry combat over vehicular.

But it’s very short. Less than four hours short. And it’s kind of buggy. There was one part where I was supposed to wait for a patrol to pass by before continuing, except one of the bad guys just kind of stood around forever. If I shot him, it wouldn’t raise the alarm. But if I crossed an arbitrary threshold, whether this guy was alive or dead, it would trigger the alarm. I had to drop out of the game and reload it. There was also some clipping issues with dudes running through each other. It’s not particularly broken, it was just some weird stuff to see in a big budget game.

#33 – Battlefield 3 (PC)

I play Battlefield games wrong. I’m not really interested in the multiplayer, which is pretty much the whole purpose of the series. And I’m not really into modern military shooters. The only reason I even own Battlefield 3 is because it was part of the Humble Origin Bundle.

But I might as well play it, right? It does have a single player campaign. The first turn off is something I read about but forgot a while ago: Battlelog. When I launch Battlefield 3, it opens a tab in my browser for Battlelog, which is kind of like Battlefield’s social networking site and server browser. Even though the single player doesn’t really touch Battlelog, I have to launch it from Battlelog, which means having to keep a browser plugin up to date. It’s a hassle. I don’t know why none of this is actually in-game.

The campaign itself is nothing special. It looks really good, but it’s still just shooting pop-up bad guys with automatic weapons and occasionally getting into a vehicle to shoot other vehicles. I guess it serves as a competent introduction to Battlefield’s multi-platform warfare but not much else. The story is senseless and there’s nothing exciting here.

So uhhh I don’t know. I’ve got Medal of Honor to play from the same Humble Bundle, and I realize that Battlefield isn’t really a single player game, but this isn’t changing my life.

#32 – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (X360)

This one barely counts because I played most of it a couple years ago, but whatever. I had to come back to finish it. I got really jammed up on the music box level, which is an awful platforming sequence. Then it was immediately followed by a level full of the most difficult enemies (creeping coffins) in the game, so I dropped it again. Yesterday, after finishing God of War 2, I decided to buckle down and wrap it up. I’d heard so many good things about the ending.

Which is important because the ending is the whole reason I played this game. You see, this is not Castlevania as anyone really knows it, unless you’re one of the few who enjoyed those PS2 or N64 Castlevania games. This is God of Whip. Or Belmont May Cry. It’s 3D third-person action. It doesn’t really bear much resemblance to the better Castlevania games besides some of the names and some (some) of the monsters.

It’s not a bad game by any means. It’s pretty decent, if overly long. It’s far longer than any game like it. This fatigue, combined with the difficulty in later stages, is what caused me to drop it so close to the end. You’ve got to have a reason to continue and that music box is a real buzz kill.

Does it pay off? Well, kind of. But I’m a pretty enormous fan of Castlevania and I’m not sure all that was worth it.

Edit: I forgot to mention, this game somehow manages to cram in a Portal reference. I can’t even joke about that. It’s not as tasteless as the Portal reference in Duke Nukem Forever, but it’s just as out-of-place.

#31 – God of War 2 (PS3)

Wow, it’s taken me a long time to finish this one! I mean, this game came out at the end of the PS2 generation. I got halfway through it back then and never wrapped it up. But I got the God of War Collection for PS3 and felt the need to finish God of War 2 before I play the third one.

What is there to say? It’s better than the first game. There are less balance beams, and less Hades. Those two alone are a huge improvement.