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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dust is a great game in the metroidvania style, but here’s the amazing part: the credits are very short. Basically the whole game except the music and vocals were done by one guy. It’s got a great cartoon style, along the lines of old Disney shows like Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers or Darkwing Duck. I’ve read that plenty of people are turned off by that because they see it as some kind of furry thing. It’s got bipedal talking animal-people. But it’s a video game, right? Lots of video games have talking animals.
Yes, yes, it took me 10 years to finish KOTOR. Let’s get the bad out of the way. It’s not a mechanically exciting game. The pathfinding AI is frustratingly dumb. It’s no pushover, and sometimes the difficulty feels unfair. The last area is a serious slog through a mountain of Dark Jedi and Sith troopers and that is barely fun.
What keeps it moving is the setting and the story. Even though it’s set well before the Star Wars movies, it’s very clearly a Star Wars game. It starts with an exploding planet and runs through all kinds of Jedi/Sith/force nonsense. It’s got tons of different races, languages, cantinas, and smugglers. Those things KOTOR does very well. And the story is interesting, if a little simple. I had a major plot point spoiled for me years after the game had been out, but it was still worth experiencing for myself.
But I really only wanted to finish it so I could play KOTOR 2, which I’ve read tells a much better story and is an improved game despite some quirks. KOTOR on Steam crashed pretty frequently, which really impeded my progress and pretty much forced me to quicksave every 5 minutes. Here’s hoping KOTOR 2 goes better for me.
I finally got around to finishing up Torchlight 2! This is a pretty big victory for me. I’ve never finished a Diablo-like action loot RPG. You don’t have to tell me, I know. I’ve played an awful lot of them (Diablo, Diablo 2, Titan Quest, Dungeon Siege 1, 2, 3, Torchlight, and others), but this is the first one I’ve finished. Unless we’re counting Borderlands as loot RPGs, which I’m not.
The closest I got before was getting to Hell in Diablo 2, where I was mercilessly destroyed over and over before even getting to Diablo himself so I quit playing it. That’s probably the biggest reason why I never finish these games. They’re loot and run oriented and I hate grinding. Where as many many others would play these games repeatedly for better loot and cooler stuff, I could not care less about loot. The loot is secondary to enjoying the game for me. As soon as it starts feeling grindy, I typically move on.
But Torchlight 2 is pretty fantastic. It’s paced well enough that if you do most of what’s available, there’s no grinding needed to continue on. It’s structured a lot like Diablo 2, where you have a hub area that branches off, and then you move to a different hub after you’ve cleaned out the last one. And then you click on a lot of stuff until it dies.