Okay, I’m really really behind on this. Largely due to a whole pile of indie games (damn you humble bundle!!!) that are piling up in my Steam account. That effing halloween sale didn’t help either. But, let’s make some progress. I was waiting to put more in this, but now the Thanksgiving sale happened and I am overwhelmed, I’ll push this out and do the next batch later!
Alpha Protocol – So this is basically Deus Ex. I know the most recent DE just came out, but I only buy games that are 5 bucks on steam, so I’ll get to that in a year or two. This is from a year or two ago, and it’s quite good! It was pissing me off something serious at first because it wouldn’t run. FIRST big budget game I try to play on my fancy new computer, and no dice. Letting steam do the PhysX install ended up being the secret. The game itself was actually very good. It looks great, it’s decently well acted. There’s nothing amazing about the story, it’s kind of a normalish secret agent story, but it was still good. I went half stealth half hacker, which was alright. I have the feeling that the different paths aren’t all THAT different. Hacking got me into some doors and computers more easily, but that’s only barely different than shooting everything in sight. But still, it’s fun. The action is fine, set pieces are a little monotonous, but not bad. I was actually pretty happy with this.
Amnesia: Dark Descent – And we have a new winner for scariest game I’ve ever played. Silent Hill is still up there. The difference there is perhaps that I played it on console. Playing on a huge TV from across the room just isn’t the same as a computer screen a foot away with headphones on. The first night I played in the dark too. God damn did it freak me out. It’s from the same guys who made the Penumbra series, which was alright. Those games were a bit buggy, I found I could kill bad guys by throwing boxes at them repeatedly, which ruins the suspense. What is amazing about this game is how utterly helpless you are. No weapons, you can’t run very fast, and you get scared easily. You have a health meter and a “sanity meter”. The more time you spend in the dark, the more freaked out you get. Also spooky events, and being near monsters, and looking at monsters decrease the sanity bar. You can’t fight, you can only hide, or run, but that doesn’t usually work. It’s basically a puzzle game, walking around finding the right pieces to get further into the castle. But hooboy did it scare me. More than once I considered stopping, that it wasn’t worth it. I’m sure you could play this game un-scared. Don’t put headphones on, and just blunder around. If you die, oh well, reload. But if you take just one step into that immersion and really act like you don’t want to die, it scares the bejeebus out of you.
Civ 5 – Oh look, I played a civ game again. I’m pretty sure I haven’t played since Civ2. It seems basically the same to me. I’m sure Civ experts have all kinds of opinions on how things are different, but it’s the same idea. I went through once as the Japanese on the normal difficulty, winning militarily. It wasn’t super hard. I was never in danger of extinction. Sometimes I made bad choices and started a war too early. But presto chango reload from 10 turns back and that was erased. It did kind of take over my life for a week or so, as civ tends to do. I don’t know if I’ll ever play another campaign, there’s just too much stuff to try. But christ, I got it for 7.50 on sale, I can’t really complain.
Atom Zombie Smahser – Indie game, top down looking at a few city blocks, zombies over running a city, try to get in and save as many people while fighting off the zombies. That’s a single level, many levels make up a city map and you go from place to place trying to save as many people as possible. It’s actually very fun, and pretty challenging. I only went through it once and managed to win (by getting enough points before the zombies got enough points, even though they had thoroughly destroyed most of the city). I tried to play again but found I didn’t have the patience for it. But perhaps I just have too many games to play
Hammerfight – This game is SO GREAT, but I got stuck on a level and really annoyed. It’s a physics game, but you are a little flying pod with a huge weapon attached (hammer, axe, sword). The physics come in in that you have to swing your pod around with the mouse to make the weapon swing, and then move the pod at the same time so that the swinging weapon hits similarly equipped enemies. It’s really fun and works pretty well most of the time. But then I got to this one level with a boss that can kill you in one mega-blast that he generally does right away, and I stopped. I feel like I’m missing something, how does a one-shot-kill boss make any sense? Sometimes he literally does it the moment I enter the room and I have to restart the level. I don’t understand, so I gave up, sad.
Revenge of the Titans – This is basically a tower defense game, but there’s resources involved, and research in between levels to develop new weapons. It’s pretty fun, cheesy little glowey graphics. But eventually I reached a point I couldn’t beat, and gave up. There’s a lot of that going on…
The Stanley Parable – This is actually a Half-Life 2 user add-on. It’s a very quirky little story. No fighting or actions. You are a worker in a building, and everyone disappears. You try to find out what happened. There is constant narration which tells you what to do next, unless you ignore it and do something else, in which case it gets mad at you. It’s extremely clever and very humorous. There are multiple endings depending on how you play. It’s very short, a single run through takes maybe 10 minutes. Very weird, but totally worth the time.