Friday, June 1, 2012

Humble Bundle V

It may be the fifth in the Humble Bundle series but it was the first one that I have bought. I've never really paid attention to the whole Humble Bundle craze because I'm not a PC gamer. I use a MacBook, and a one from 2007 at that. So that means this computer is no where near powerful enough for any of todays games. Soon though I will be replacing this machine for the new MacBook Pro. I plan on having Windows installed using Bootcamp so I have started to consider some PC gaming.

I will just keep it simple, play some indie games that I find interesting and aren't too taxing on hardware. So with that in mind I dropped €6.69 on the Humble Bundle V. So I've increased my Steam library six fold in one swoop. The games included were:

Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Superbrothers: Swords & Sworcery EP

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Good games, good prices

Yesterday was a good day for my collection. Four titles added across three different platforms and all for bargain prices.

PES 6 (Xbox 360)
Rage (Xbox 360)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PS3)
Zelda: Skyward Sword (Wii)

I bought Rage on Amazon for £10, which is a decent price for such a recent title. I wasn't that interested in it at launch but for that price I felt it deserved a place in the backlog. In order to secure free shipping on the order from Amazon I needed to spend another £3. I found PES 6 under the bargains tab and put it in the basket.

I had this version of PES a few years ago when I originally had a 360 and even earned the full 1000 Achievement points in it. I felt owning it again was important. The next two purchases are strange in that I bought them in good old fashioned bricks and mortar stores

I bought Reckoning in GameStop, as it was reduced to €19.98 brand new. I guess the knock down price is due to the recent closure of it's developer 38 Studios. I am excited to try this game as I have grown more fond of RPGs in recent years. Plus the combat mechanics look like fun. Some of the reviews mentioned that the side content is poor but I guess if I stick to the main story I should have a good time with it.

Last up is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii. This was knocked down to €18.99 in Argos. Phenomenal saving for a first party Nintendo game. I have no plans to play this anytime soon having only recently disconnected my Wii. But I wanted it for my collection and at that price it couldn't be turned down.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

360, my FPS machine

Since I bought the Xbox 360 back in late summer last year it has not gotten as much use as I expected. Some of that is down to life getting in the way but a lot of it has been the fact that I continue to buy the majority of my games on the PS3. Even multi-platform games. The exception though are first-person shooters. 

The 360 has become my console of choice for any new shooters, or old ones that I've missed. To me there is a better feel from the 360 controller when playing a shooter. Plus if it is multiplayer then having Xbox Live is a bonus. My backlog of shooters thus far reads:

  • Battlefield 3
  • Borderlands
  • Crysis 2
  • Rage
  • Skyrim

I realise Skyrim is not a first-person shooter by definition but it is a game played from the first-perspective and the word on the PS3 version was that it was very buggy. I have plenty of shooting to get around to whenever I get the chance.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

God of War III

Gamepedia entry.

God of War III is the first in the series that I played. I missed out on the PS2 games because I wasn't really following the video game scene with much interest during that period. By the time GoWIII shipped for the PS3 though the hype was huge. I was impressed with the footage I'd seen and decided I'd give it a try.

On the while I enjoyed my time with it but did not find it to be anything special. Graphically it is very impressive, particularly the opening battle against the Titan. Not being a real beat'em up aficionado I didn't get too bogged down with the combo system. I would say I only scratched the surface of what is possible but that was fine for me.

It didn't offer much replay value as I haven't thought about it since it was done.


Just another random Gamepedia entry.

A quick glance through this blog would lead you to believe I am a Pro Evolution Soccer fanboy. That assessment would be correct. But that doesn't mean I can't see the faults in the PES franchise and back in 2008 there were many which lead me to buying FIFA 09 that year, along with PES. As expected the presentation in this FIFA is amazing. We expect nothing less from EA Sports. It was also fun to play but a bit simplistic compared to PES. I always felt that the CPU was doing more of the work than I was at times. I remember putting a good few hours into this but never truly enjoying it.

Fallout 3

I am genuinely shocked that I have never posted anything about Fallout 3 before this. Like a lot of my games I picked this one up way after it's release. I think I bought it about a year into it's life because I was never convinced that I would really enjoy a first-person RPG. I was very, very wrong.

I can't check right now what my official play time with this game was but I would put it at about 80 hours. There is just so much content in this game that it is crazy. I very much doubt that I have seen all there is to see. Those 80 hours were spread across about 18 months I'd say. I would play it a lot for short periods of time, get bored but would always come back to it. 

There was a bonus to playing it late in it's life. There had been several patches for the PS3 version so I never encountered any significant bugs and all the DLC had been released. As as PS+ subscriber I got all the DLC for free. Some of it was poor like Mothership Zeta but some was very good like The Pitt and Point Lookout. 

By the end I was throughly burnt out on the universe and I still have Fallout: New Vegas in shrink wrap. But it was one of the best games of this generation.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Of the many games in my backlog this is one that I most often want to play. I played the demo on PSN and enjoyed it. I thought the world looked interesting, the graphics were colorful (a nice change for an Unreal Engine game) and I am very interested in it because of the involvement of Andy Serkis and Alex Garland.

I think the main thing stopping me is fatigue with third person action games. Also the camera made me feel queasy the last time. It is though a game I most definitely will play.

Mega Monday bargains

It happens every weekend. A flood of e-mails proclaiming the great 'Mega Monday' sale on Zavvi. There is normally a bargain to be had but a few weeks ago I loosened the purse strings for a 2 for €30 deal.

First up was El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron. I'd heard talk of this on various podcasts and some forums praising its uniqueness. The videos look interesting, particularly the art style that changes throughout the game. I though it would be a good addition to expand the collection

The other game was Infamous 2. I'm not sure why I hadn't bought this before. Perhaps I was waiting on the price to drop. I enjoyed the first one, playing it to completion. I'm sure I will enjoy this one too. The first game left the story at an intriguing point so I want to see how it goes.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

There was a lot of anticipation for this game prior to release but I was not paying much attention. I never played the previous games in the series and attention always seemed to be focused on the story and the universe of the game. I didn't think I would be able to jump in at this late stage.

I should have known better because Human Revolution is a prequel. No need to know the story thus far. And besides at the time there was nothing else coming out and I wanted something new to play.

From the first few moments with the game I knew this was something special. The music on the title screen is beautiful. In fact most of the soundtrack is excellent. I loved the aesthetic of the world and the story had me right from the start.

I also really appreciated the fact that you could ignore the stealthy approach and go in guns blazing. I mixed it up a bit during my play through but I did favor the more direct approach. My only gripe with this game is the ending. It should have been something epic but it is rather subdued and underwhelming.

That aside I am tempted to say this was the best game of 2011.

Dark Souls. Or how I met my match.

I never played the Demons Souls of which Dark Souls is the spiritual successor. That type of RPG never really appealed to me but I kept hearing talk about how amazing, challenging and rewarding the game was. I felt as though I was missing out on one of the great communal gaming experiences that don't come along that often. 

So when I saw that the Dark Souls Special Edition could be pre-ordered on Amazon for less than the standard edition of most games I put my money down. The special edition is pretty cool considering the low cost and the game isn't bad too. In fact, I really liked the game for a short time. Right from the very beginning I found the going tough but fair. Mostly. Every time that I died I could see that next time I could do better and I would start over again and again. And again.

I managed steady progress for the first 15 hours or so. I got stuck on a couple of early bosses for quite some time but I always knew that I would beat them, I'd just have to prepare better each time. At one point I found an area where I could gain huge amounts of experience and leveled up significantly. It didn't help though. Soon after I was stuck. No matter which path I took, they all led to an enemy I could not defeat. More importantly, I did not see a way in which I could defeat them. I lost the will to continue to try. Dark Souls had beaten me.

It certainly isn't a game for everyone and I am not one of the people that the game was aimed at. I am glad though that I gave it a shot. I know what the experience was like and it was nice to have something different. 

Call of Duty: Black Ops

This Call of Duty has a special place in my collection that elevates it above the other titles in the series that I own. It remains to this day the only one that I have finished the single player campaign.

That is a big deal, for me anyway. Normally I will jump straight into multiplayer and stay with that until I'm bored by the game. I will normally check out the campaign but I've never made it past the second chapter before. I think what made this one different was the approach that Treyarch made to the game. The story in this one was less about war but had an element of mystery and science fiction. It also owes a debt to elements of Lost too.

I enjoyed my time with the game and I'm sure I'll pick up the sequel later this year. The multiplayer was good too but I would say I spent less time in it than I did on other titles like MW3.

Bioshock 2

Bioshock 2 still sits on my shelf unopened after nearly two years I would guess. I have not played the first game in the series and was not really interested in Bioshock 2 either. But I remember that quite soon after it's release the price on the game plummeted. 

I'm ended up picking the game up for about €3 on one of Gamestops Madness sales. I do wish they would bring back those offers. 

Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway

A quick entry here for my Gamepedia project.

I acquired this game through my association with the website, that sadly is no more. I was reviewing games for the site at the time and this is one of the games that I received as compensation. There was no review needed for it and I never actually did get around to playing it. 

In fact, I barely consider it as part of my collection as I do not have a proper case or manual for it. 

Batman: Arkham City

Unlike the first game in the series I was onboard with Arkham City from day one. I was really looking forward to this game after enjoying Arkham Asylum so much and on the whole this game didn't disappoint.

The combat is still as satisfying as ever and the characterisations are all excellent yet again. The move to a more open-world environment was a good choice too because it gives you the freedom to traverse a large play area as Batman. And being Batman, he has some cool ways to get about. The game is bursting with new characters, villains, puzzles and side quests. In fact when you first start the game the amount of content vying for your attention is a little overwhelming. Plus the sheer number of Riddler puzzles is off putting too. 

I felt that the story was a little lacking and towards the end it became a bit muddled. For me the ending was a bit anti-climatic too. I feel it is still a great game but not quite as good as it's predecessor. That could mainly be because the first game was such a surprise and felt so original. 

I should also mention that this game gives you the opportunity to play as Catwoman and those sequences are fun and the character plays a lot differently. Thankfully these sequences are short because playing as Batman is still the number one draw.

Some words on Batman: Arkham Asylum

Another in the Gamepedia series of entries. 

Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of the best games of the current console generation but I didn't always feel that way about it. I remember I was excited to play this game and I downloaded the demo on the PS3. I was very disappointed in it though as I felt the combat was just a button-mashing mess. I never even considered purchasing the game after that.

Then about 18 months later after hearing nothing but praise for the game I decided to try again. This time I got a much better appreciation for the combat. I realised it is all about rhythm, to a point where this could almost be considered a rhythm game. Once you get the hang of the combat it becomes immensely satisfying to take on a gang of thugs and pull off amazing combat moves one after the other.

The design of Arkham Asylum and the characters is excellent along with truly wonderful voice acting. The plot and pacing of the game is also extremely tight. My one main criticism would be the difficulty spikes when battling some of the bosses.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Assassin's Creed: Revelations, some thoughts

I was looking forward to Revelations immensely. Hell, I even pre-ordered the excellent collectors edition. The box of which, has pride of place in my collection. But during the playthrough I will admit to a little franchise fatigue. Just a little.

I still really enjoyed my time with the game and it was great to get a sense of closure to Ezio's story. I think Ezio will and should go down as one of the great character creations in video game history. Apart from the new setting, which was excellent there were no new game mechanics that really separated it from Brotherhood. The only new one was a tower defence mini-game which I only did once because of the mandatory tutorial. I hope it has been dropped for the forthcoming ACIII.

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, some thoughts

I had waited over a year to buy and play Assassin's Creed II so by the time I had achieved the Platinum Trophy on that game Brotherhood was almost out. I decided that rather than risk series fatigue I would bide my time with Brotherhood.
It came out in November I think and I only bought it in January. As soon as I put it in the PS3 it didn't leave till it was done. I personally think it is a better game than ACII mainly because of the Brotherhood aspect. The ability to recruit a team of assassin's and have them do your dirty work was brilliant. Having a fully leveled team of assassin's appear out of nowhere and destroy your target is one of the best moments gaming has to offer.

Assassin's Creed, my thoughts

A quick note to link to my Gamepedia entry again. 

I have actually owned Assassin's Creed on three occasions and I don't even like the game. Allow me to explain...

I bought it first, cheaply, on eBay for the Xbox 360 and played it briefly. I was so bored inside the opening hour that I never played it again. I managed to trade it in for the same price I paid for it. Skip forward 18 months and I became a huge AC fan after playing, loving and unlocking the Platinum Trophy in ACII on the PS3. 

So after ACII came Brotherhood, which I also loved. So I decided that to complete the set I would need to own the first AC game. So I got it cheaply enough but could only find the Platinum version unfortunately. So that is the second time I have owned the game. And the third? It came as a bonus downloadable game with AC: Revelations last year. 

Still haven't put more than an hour into the original though.

Darksiders, some thoughts

I finished Darksiders way back in March 2011, the 28th to be precise according to my Trophy stats. I'm just writing up some thoughts now so that I can link my Gamepedia entry to them. This type of post will probably become common over the next while on the blog.

I remember buying this game along with a few others like GTA VI, Saints Row 2 and some others I can't remember in a blaze of bargain hunting glory. I started it that night but the game didn't immediately draw me in. I played the opening section, finished up for the night and never went back. I'd say it was easily six months later before I tried it again.

This second time though, I stuck with it. Once I got through the opening hour or so I really started to feel it. The general consensus about this game is that it is a Zelda clone but a Zelda game done with a modern feel. That might well be the case but seeing as though I've only ever finished one Zelda game to completion I can't really comment. Regardless, it is a very good game in it's own right. The combat feels satisfying with just enough button combos to elevate it above simple button mashing. I like the upgrade system to the weapons in the game and traversing the game world is great fun once you have gotten War's horse. 

I did like the story but found that I had to resort to Wikipedia to get a full understanding of what exactly had happened. Some of the story points feel a little rushed and as a result, unclear. That and some moments where the difficulty really spikes are the only things I would hold against this game. 

Darksiders II is out this summer and I do intend on picking it up. Maybe not day one though as THQ games tend to drop in price pretty quickly. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Battle of The Backlog

If anyone had actually taken time to read some of the entries on this blog then they will have realised a large part of it is devoted to my video game collection. As one would expect the regular acquisition of new titles (and old) will naturally lead to the creation of a video game backlog. A terrible first-world affliction that haunts so many collectors. Of course I am not immune to this and my own backlog has now become quite substantial.

There are titles spanning the PS2, GameCube, Wii, 3DS, PS3 and Xbox 360. Across home console and handhelds. The backlog list does not discriminate.

For my own purposes I have split my list into two categories; games unfinished and those still unopened. Unfinished games are ones that I feel still have more enjoyment to offer. Such as the two Call Of Duty titles on the list. I've put hours into multiplayer but have not scratched the single player campaign. The other half of the list are those games that for some reason or another I have yet to even start. Many still remain in their shrink wrappings.


Battlefield 3 (Xbox 360)
Braid (PS3)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (PS3)
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (Xbox 360)
Crysis 2 (Xbox 360)
Dark Souls (PS3)
Dead Space (PS3)
Fable II (Xbox 360)
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PS3)
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Mario Kart: Double Dash (GameCube)
ModNation Racers (PS3)
Prince of Persia (PS3)
Pullblox (3DS)
Saints Row: The Third (PS3)
Shift 2: Unleashed (PS3)
Skyrim (Xbox 360)
Stacking (PS3)
Star Wars: Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II (GameCube)
Super Mario 3D Land (3DS)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Super Mario Sunshine (GameCube)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (3DS)
Toy Story 3: The Video Game (PS3)

Not Started

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (Xbox 360)
Bioshock 2 (PS3)
Borderlands (Xbox 360)
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (PS3)
Fallout: New Vegas (PS3)
Luigi's Mansion (GameCube)
Lost Planet 2 (PS3)
Metroid Prime (GameCube)
Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (GameCube)
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift (PS3)
Muramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
Punch-Out!! (Wii)
Resident Evil (GameCube)
Shank 2 (PS3)
Star Wars: Battlefront II (PS2)
Super Smahs Bros. Melee (GameCube)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (GameCube)
Trine 2 (PS3)
Viva Pinata (Xbox 360)
XIII (GameCube)
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure (Wii)

The plan as always is that I will return to them at some undetermined time in the future. If all goes to plan that will be when I have turn my attic into a fully equipped entertainment hub. Someday...

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's been a while.

Yesterday I was trying to remember the name of a hotel I stayed in during my holiday in New York two years ago. I knew I had written it on my blog so I logged in to find the post. I found my answer but I was very surprised to find it has been nearly a year since the last post. Once again I felt that urge to write something.

So here it is; that something. Although for the first time this is being written with the Blogger App. On the evidence if the last five minutes it is pretty slick. Although I'm not seeing too many formatting options yet.

That's it for the moment. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I want to post.