Here’s the last part of this little mini-series, the final 10 games that I played in 2012 and this time with no cheating or repeats to contend with. This is going back quite a ways, but I still remember every one of them. Seems my memory hasn’t quite gone to hell just yet. I’ll even toss in a bonus mention for a 2011 game that I particularly enjoyed, but wasn’t exactly a mainstream hit. Here we go.
- Osmos - An odd little indie game that had me playing for a few more hours than I realized. You’re a little blog of goo, and you travel around a small area by firing globs of your self in the opposite direction. The goal is to collect other blobs smaller than you until you reach the point that you’re the largest blog on the board. If you run into a blob larger than you, it swallows you up instead. The bits you expel will cause you to grow smaller, and escalates the longer you hold down the movement direction. That’s really all there is to it. There were a couple of tricky levels, and the constant movement and danger does add a bit of difficulty. The levels are short however so you’ll spend quite a bit of time restarting and trying over and over. Not bad, a short time waster. Would enjoy it on my phone.
- Tribes: Ascend - Jetpacks and skiing and class-based third person shooter! Tribes: Ascend is the latest in the series and it seems to be the fastest as well. Fairly standard as shooters go, you have a variety of weapons and objectives, bullet travel is a pretty big factor, and of course the speed that you zip around the map makes things tricky as well. So combining jetpacks with hills and an the anti-gravity/friction reducer means moving really fast around the map. There’s a capture the flag mode, a domination (capture and hold points) mode, and teamkill battle, and a free-for-all battle. I quite enjoyed playing as an Engineer (you’ll notice this is a theme with me) and luring people into turret nests while assaulting them with a grenade launcher. The game is deceptively frustrating however, and there’s a cash shop tied to the more interesting and somewhat overpowered classes. Definitely a game to take a second look at before dropping the cash on it.
- Realm of the Mad God - This really was year-of-the-indie game for me. RotMG is a rogue-like hardcore-only adventure game. You start with the basest of classes and survive/advance as long as you can to unlock additional classes. I recall there being some cash shop elements in this as well, but it’s not the kind of game that I would bother slapping a couple of greenbacks against. There’s a tiny vault that you can use to store some of the better class specific gear for when you re-roll, and survival isn’t all that difficult provided you’re moderately aware of your surroundings. It does take some time getting used to the power scaling of creatures into higher levels, and it seems like a lot of the meta gaming is finding whatever train of players is currently zerging across the map.
- Bulletstorm - I always have this morbid curiosity for games that get universally panned by players but hailed by reviewers as the second coming of Joe Montana. I’m pretty sure I just played the game wrong, but it really seemed like there wasn’t much to it. 9 hours of story campaign and I walked away with a mere 3 achievements out of a possible 60. The game had it’s moments, like when you got to use some of the cool tools in order to kill all the things, but mainly I just stuck with the bullets and shooting the dudes. It’s not really much of a story either, and all the hype for style points in killing is just mostly hype. Gaming Masochism, it’s a thing.
- Dungeon Siege 3 - Because speaking of Gaming Masochism, Dungeon Siege 3 was one of those games that hurt so bad I couldn’t even finish it. This game goes out of its way to make you feel like you’re stuck in a tube of enemies that constantly fills up from either end, then fervently encourages you to run back and forth inside of it and conveniently forget all about the things that were dead mere moments ago. I liked DS2, that was a nice sort of gameplay. But that must be nostalgia talking. I spent two game sessions on this steaming pile of wank butter before giving it up and yelling angrily on the internet about it.
- Deus Ex - Picked up during a Steam sale because of my fascination with the recent release, I felt some odd need to go back and see what the deal was back in the day. This game holds up pretty well for as old as it is. That doesn’t mean I played more than three hours of it, but I could definitely see the appeal it would have had back when it was released. I would class this up on the scale with the likes of Goldeneye 007, or the original Half-Life for being ahead of it’s time back in the day. I would also note the three hours that I’ve spent in the game puts me at #1 on Raptr, so nyah.
- Killing Floor - I was talked into playing this by friends. It’s a zombie co-op shooter… thing. Like if Left4Dead were mixed with Call of Duty and Deadspace. There’s some freaky shit that you fight off waves of, then everyone scurries around at the end while a powerful stealthing insta-gibbing boss hunts everyone down. I’ve won less games than I’ve lost. Inbetween rounds you’re awarded money for the amount of things you killed, which means the weakest member on the team frequently falls behind. On the upside, you can always throw money at people. That doesn’t really happen as often as you’d hope. Oh, and while all of this is going on, there’s this ugly as hell film-grain filter on the screen at all times. Fuck that noise.
- Kingdoms of Amalur : Reckoning (Demo) - I used to fantasize about this game. For a long time I really did hope that it was going to be the next great action adventure RPG. A lot of people enjoy it too, so there’s that. I guess I was expecting something more open-world, along the lines of Skyrim, but with a more action-y feel to it. Games like this are basically on-rails the whole time with little room for deviation. I think the thing that annoyed me was the feeling when you were OUTSIDE, but still managed to feel like you were navigating a tunnel structure somehow. With the pedigree of lead developers working on this game, I expected more.
- Metro 2033 - Post-apocalyptic Russia is always a good time, amitrite? The Metro is the railway that connects to many different locations in the game, and it’s painful to travel along. This is a solo FPS adventure that reminded me mostly of STALKER, except taking out most of the humans and replacing them with monsters. Metro 2033 was a bit more story dependent as well, which was a nice change of pace. Well, that is if the story wasn’t so goddamn depressing. I guess most post-apoc games are on the depressing side. Alas… I’m pretty sure I picked it up on sale and still never managed to finish it. It’s installed though, so you never know, once I get done screwing around with Spec Ops : The Line, I might want to head back to it for a more cheerful perspective on depressing.
- Bastion - This is an amazing game. Considering the genre for sprite based action adventure games is pretty thin on quality, Bastion delivers in spades with an amazing narration to follow around your silent protagonist. The game delivers all the way through, and you’ll probably want to do it again to catch all of the things you missed the first time around. The variety of different weapons take a fair amount of practice and skill, not to mention utility against all sorts of critters. I found myself swapping through them frequently to deal with different situations. The story in the game is one of reawakening and reclaimation as you make your way across the skies taking back areas that had fallen in the war. Then, oh my god the ending. The ending makes the game. I mean, there’s some games out there where you expect the ending, or it’s ho-hum, but Bastion, you get a choice, and that choice is not easy. Doing the right thing never is, and sometimes, you still lose out in the end.
And just for kicks, a short video review of Skydrift. A really cool flight racing game that I’ve been playing on and off over the year.